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Na Pali Double-Rainbow

Posted by
Don Smith (California, United States) on 5 August 2009 in Landscape & Rural.

We have made it one of our favorite places on earth, Kauai, Hawaii. First up on the agenda was a morning boat tour along the beautiful Na Pali coast. Our trip started at roughly 7:30 am, but we were soon greeted by this spectacular double-rainbow. I have photographed many rainbows (and they are plentiful on this island) but I would be hard-pressed to say I have seen one more vivid than this.

Actually, my wife Beri saw it first and notified me. We were heading out of a rain storm with blue skies ahead, and the rising sun was perfectly positioned directly behind my back. These bows appeared just at the end of the squall line giving the impression they were hanging in a clear blue sky. I simply turned the polarizer until the bows appeared (polarizers can actually make a rainbow disappear).

Processing was pretty straight-forward, my normal RAW to TIFF conversion in Photoshop CS4. I did try Nik's Color Efex Pro Brilliance/Warmth filter to help bring out the second bow a bit more. As with all the Nik products, it is simple to use and effective. If you don't like what you are getting, simply trash the layer - it's really that easy! Check the links below for discount information on this product.

Because the sea was a bit rough, I had to hand hold my camera. I settled on 200 ISO, at f/8 (which I knew would hold focus at this distance) which in turn left me with a shutter of 1/320. I played with various compositions (and had many to chose from), but kept coming back to this frame, which was my favorite becasue the bows were at their most vivid.

We will be on the island for a week and I look forward to many awesome shoots. Kauai is called the Garden Island and is famous for its off-the-charts rainfall. The island averages over 440 inches (36 feet) at its highest point (Mount Wai'ale'ale) earning the moniker as "the wettest place on earth." But it's because of the precipitation that the island is so lush and has so many rainbow opportunities!

Aloha for now...

Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III 1/320 second F/8.0 ISO 200 42 mm

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