Double Rainbow at Makahuena Point

When exploring the south shore of Kaua’i, the arch at Makahuena Point makes a special sunset location. We were especially lucky on June 20 to witness a double rainbow offshore as we hiked to the Point. I had to set up my tripod quickly to capture the double rainbow. See how the second arc shows the color spectrum inverted, relative to the primary arc?  Not only is it exciting to view this natural phenomenon of light defraction just before sunset, but to have this spectacular foreground, too! A spotty shower hit us, and  a little rain hit the left side of the lens, but “small beans,” I say, because I captured the scene in time: 26 mm lens at f/11 to hold the foreground and horizon in focus at 1/8th second at ISO 200 (evening light was low).  I also used the Singh Ray graduated neutral density filter to decrease the brightness of the sky, bringing it closer in brightness to the rest of the scene. My Nikon D800 captured this image with enough pixels to make a 24 x 16″ print. I think it would be perfect in my eye doctor’s office, don’t you?

Double rainbow at Makahuena Point, Kauai, 6/20/14
Double rainbow at Makahuena Point, Kauai,

As the rainbow vanished, I turned my attention to the surf rushing in under the arch. I wanted to capture the warmth and texture of the rock and trigger the shutter at just the right moment to show movement in the water and a splash at the end of the open tunnel.  In composing the shot with the help of the steady tripod, I exercised “border patrol,” and made sure to include all of the water tunnel as well as the puddle close to the right edge. I didn’t want to cut off any features and tempt the eye to leave the frame, or wonder what was beyond the frame.  In processing, I burned (darkened the lower right corner of the image to keep the eye in the frame, and keep the water action as the focal point. (24 mm lens at f/11, 1/10, ISO 200, processed with Nik Color Efex Pro filter).

Arch at Makahuena Point, Kauai
Arch at Makahuena Point, Kauai


The sun slipped lower in the sky and began to light up the clouds with its pink cast. Soon, I noticed the reflection of the pink clouds in the ocean. Moving my location on the rocks, I found that I could pick up a reflection of the clouds in the puddle as well. Now the photo is about the pink hues reflecting.

The color of dusk: Clouds reflecting at Makahuena Point.
The color of dusk: Clouds reflecting at Makahuena Point.


You can see the richness of nature on Kauai, just from this sample of images in a 45 minutes period. It has only been one month since my trip, but I miss it already!

Author: cathykellyphotography

Independent photographer based in Pittsburgh PA and Naples FL. Nature, landscape and portrait photography. Portfolio includes international work in USA, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand. Email to review work in your area of interest. Nature portfolio includes flowers and wildlife. Prints and digital files for sale. See website: