• hawaii, beach sunrise,

Kappa, Hawaii – Island of Kauai Hot Spot Location

This was a pretty incredible sunrise on the beach of Lydgate State Park on the east side of the Island. This spot is only suitable for sunrise. This area does not have any dynamic locations for photography. We searched high and low and traveled almost every street in the area, and we were so disappointed we called to see if we could get off the island and go somewhere else. We have traveled extensively, and this was the worst photography trip we have ever taken. Sorry, we tell it like it is.

We would like you to be very well aware, so you do not make the mistake that we have. We are in the business of traveling to find the most excellent photography locations around the world. We assumed Hawaii would be incredible for photography, and we believe it is the very worst location that we have traveled to. Just because it is Hawaii does not mean its automatically a photographer’s paradise. In fact, we called it photographers hell.

Yes, there are a few spots to get award-winning photography, but just a few, and each will keep you busy for a few hours. We could do all of the good spots in one day, and we were stuck here for If I remember right 5 or was it six days. We would like to forget about this trip.

DIRECTIONS:  You get there by going down Leho Drive off of Kuhio Highway (Route 56), the main road on the easternmost side of the island in the center of the island. It’s behind the Aston Beach Hotel. You can go through their parking lot too.

Several homeless people live in this park. Every morning you see groups of people at the tables eating. I have to wonder if some organization comes in with food in the morning. The morning we took this picture a younger homeless man spoke to us of Jesus and how he helped him and helped everyone.   At one point, he said, “Ask Jesus, and he will deliver.” Not making fun in any way, but in frustration, Pam responded, “Can we ask Jesus to get that girl to move out of my picture?”  His response was spot on when he said, “It seems Jesus wants her in the picture.” Pam smiled and decided he was right. Instead of fighting Jesus as he called it and the universe as Pam calls it, She rolled with it and accepted that that was precisely how it was supposed to be.  A clear message that we don’t always have control over everything we shoot.

Pam references this day and this moment often. It was a very profound experience. One she will never forget. When something seems off in her photography, she now accepts that it is supposed to be this way and remembers this man the great valuable lesson he taught her many years ago. She also is reminded of this moment many times in general life. Sometimes it is just the way it is meant to be. It’s called acceptance.


  • A sturdy tripod will be vital for getting silky water shots.
  • A wide-angle lens will help you fit the scenes in your lens.
  • Pack plenty of extra batteries and memory cards, as you’ll likely take many photos.
  • Bring your macro lens to photograph the vast and intricate details of the surrounding nature.
  • Pack an array of filters, from UV to polarized, to take the glare off the water and neutral density filters for long exposure to milky water effects.
  • Bring a spare set of fully charged batteries and extra memory cards; you never know when a perfect shot will present itself, and the last thing you want is your camera battery.


  • Organic bug repellent. (Non-organic is very toxic)
  • Organic Sun protection. (Non-organic sunscreen is a cancer cause.)
  • Durable hiking boots for any trail or terrain you may encounter.
  • Have a waterproof backpack or rain cover to protect your equipment.
  • Packaging a rain jacket and long pants.
  • A hat and sunglasses to shield yourself from the elements.


From December to March, Kauai’s green landscape transforms into a lush playground for the frequent showers that hit the island’s northeast side. But if you dare venture west or south, you can avoid the rain and find pockets of paradise hidden among the rugged cliffs and vibrant foliage. However, despite this knowledge, our favorite island spots were all within this rainy stretch. Winter months also bring rough sea waters that churn and crash against the shore, adding an extra element of danger and beauty to the already stunning scenery.

As photographers, we searched endlessly for picture-perfect locations on this island but could only find three that met our expectations. The desolate expanse of desert on the south side left us feeling disappointed during our journey to Waimea Canyon.

Our hopes for capturing breathtaking shots were dashed as we arrived at the top, greeted by just one tourist viewpoint. It was a bleak and unfulfilling experience, but we persisted in our pursuit of the perfect shot. In hindsight, we realized that attempting photography on this island during its rainy season was a mistake. Despite our disappointment, we couldn’t deny the raw beauty of Kauai and found ourselves grateful to experience it in all its wild and unpredictable glory for a week.




You have moving subjects, you will want to shoot in shutter priority to ensure your shutter speed is high enough to have your subject in sharp focus. Approximately 1/250th of a second is appropriate for people walking by, and adjust your ISO accordingly. If they are moving fast, increase your shutter speed to about 1/500th of a second. A fast bird flying by would be shot at about 1/1000th of a second. If it’s a bright sunny day, go as high as  1/1200th of a second. Remember, the higher your shutter speed, the less light comes into the camera. For More Details, see our Shutter Priority Page.


You can do your long-exposure running and milky water shots if you have moving waters at the location. You will have to use a tripod for this effect. Your settings will vary depending on the lighting and your neutral density filter. You will shoot in manual mode for the milky waters. ISO is always 100 or as low as your camera will allow. The aperture is f22, or the highest f-stop your camera will allow. Your shutter speed will be the only variable depending on the light. Roll your shutter speed until your meter reads zero. (In the center)  Use your shutter release or 2-second timer to prevent camera movement when exposing. You will want at least a 2-second exposure for milky water. If you don’t have a neutral density filter, you may not get more than 1/15th of a second in the sun. 

You can buy an ND filter here.  We highly suggest you do not go anywhere without one. Long exposure to moving waters makes all the difference between lifeless images and outstanding, dynamic images.


Aperture Priority is often used to blur the background of your images and control your depth of field (how much from the subject to the background is in focus). For more information on this – see our Aperture page 


The higher you set it, the more light is when exposing an image. The higher the number, the more digital noise, so stay below 800. If you need to go higher to get the shot, you can use Topaz Denoise to filter out the digital noise later. See the ISO page here.


Be sure to set your white balance each time the lighting changes. Auto mode is not always accurate on many cameras, and we prefer to set it manually. It’s one of the more straightforward basics of photography to master. If you need more help, you can get some more details here. See the white balance page here.


If you’re going to do the milky water photography shots here along the water, you must have a tripod and a neutral-density filter. Preparing before embarking on a waterfall photography excursion is always best. You can also explore long-exposure waterfall techniques by visiting our waterfall photography page for tips.

Park and Area Information:

Entrance Fees: Free open park. No fees

Hotel Information:

Aston Aloha Beach Hotel – 3-5920 Kuhio Highway Kapaa, HI 96746  •  Reservations: 1-855-410-5694

We stayed here. Great bang for the buck. Best price on the island. Please pet the black kitty cat that lives there for me if you stay here. I him in my room. I traveled alone this trip and got lonely.

Bobby V’s Italian Restaurant

4-788 Kuhio Hwy
Kapaa, HI 96746  -(808) 821-8080
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