Nicole Wasko Photography: Blog http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog en-us (C) Nicole Wasko Photography info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) Thu, 09 Apr 2015 20:58:00 GMT Thu, 09 Apr 2015 20:58:00 GMT http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/img/s/v-5/u773072020-o478713563-50.jpg Nicole Wasko Photography: Blog http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog 120 80 We have a new blog!! http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2015/4/we-have-a-new-blog Over the next couple weeks we will be updating our website and switching over to our new blog, but we wanted to give you a sneak peek before it is official! Head over to ---> www.nicolewasko.com/blog and make sure to check out Anna and Sam's recent engagement session in downtown Portland.

To see more of Anna and Sam's engagement visit our new blog --> www.nicolewasko.com/blog

To see more of Anna and Sam's engagement visit our new blog --> HERE To see more of life behind the lens with the Wasko's --> www.nicolewasko.com/blog

To see more life behind the lens with the Wasko's visit our new blog --> www.nicolewasko.com/blog

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info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2015/4/we-have-a-new-blog Thu, 09 Apr 2015 19:26:50 GMT
Wooden Wedding Albums for 2015 http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/12/wooden-wedding-albums-for-2015 There are a lot of changes in store for Nicole Wasko Photography in 2015. We recently moved to Portland Oregon and are excited to start photographing mountain weddings around Mt. Hood and vineyard weddings in the Willamette Valley. We have updated our pricing to include albums in almost every wedding package, because one of our goals is for every single couple to walk away with a printed piece of art to display in their home. In addition to our leather and linen albums we have also added a very special and unique wedding album to our collection: a real wooden album with a leather binding. I just got my sample album in and cannot wait to start showing this off to new clients!  The wedding I chose for the sample was Valerie and Donald's greenhouse wedding in Santa Barbara that was featured in Style Me Pretty

 

Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album Wooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding AlbumWooden Wedding Album

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info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) Wedding oregon portland products http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/12/wooden-wedding-albums-for-2015 Wed, 10 Dec 2014 17:27:35 GMT
Family Session on Film http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/11/family-session-on-film Meet our good friends Scott, Marcela and Isabella! We miss being able to see them on a regular basis when we all lived in San Diego. Now they are in LA and we have moved farther north to Portland, OR.  This was the first time I shot a session 100% on film, and it was one of our last weekends hanging out in sunny Santa Barbara. Enjoy!

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info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) Oregon Portland family santa Barbara http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/11/family-session-on-film Tue, 18 Nov 2014 08:15:00 GMT
Our Santa Barbara Neighbors on Film http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/11/our-santa-barbara-neighbors-on-film  

Meet our adorable next door neighbors from Santa Barbara...Mariella, Steve and Gizmo! 

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info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) family oregon personal portland santa Barbara http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/11/our-santa-barbara-neighbors-on-film Mon, 17 Nov 2014 08:15:00 GMT
Sarah's Portraits on Film http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/11/sarahs-portraits-on-film

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info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) family individual oregon portland portraits http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/11/sarahs-portraits-on-film Sun, 16 Nov 2014 08:00:00 GMT
Family Portraits on Film http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/11/family-portraits-on-film Meet the Caffery's!

 

 

Meet the Van Vleit's

 

 

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info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) family oregon portland http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/11/family-portraits-on-film Fri, 14 Nov 2014 20:16:03 GMT
Paula + Dan on Film http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/11/paula-dan-on-film I was inspired by the girls at I Heart My Groom to create a blog series of my recent film photography. I've been dabbling in 35mm film lately on my sessions. I love shooting 35mm because I can use the same lenses I use with my digital SLR and an old film camera that cost me 20-bucks. The film is the secret sauce though ;) Enjoy the creamy skin tones and the pastel colors in these film photos!
Paula + Dan Newlywed Session Paula + Dan Newlywed Session Paula + Dan Newlywed Session Paula + Dan Newlywed Session Paula + Dan Newlywed Session Paula + Dan Newlywed Session Paula + Dan Newlywed Session Paula + Dan Newlywed Session Paula + Dan Newlywed Session Paula + Dan Newlywed Session

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info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) engagement family newlywed oregon portland http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/11/paula-dan-on-film Fri, 14 Nov 2014 19:32:56 GMT
Wedding | Santa Barbara Courthouse Part 2 - Black & White Film http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/8/santa-barbara-courthouse-wedding-part-2-black-white-film Black and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photographyBlack and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photography Black and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photographyBlack and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photography Black and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photographyBlack and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photography Black and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photographyBlack and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photography Black and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photographyBlack and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photography Black and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photographyBlack and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photography Black and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photographyBlack and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photography Black and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photographyBlack and White film Illford XP2 400 35mm wedding photography

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info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) Wedding santa Barbara http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/8/santa-barbara-courthouse-wedding-part-2-black-white-film Wed, 06 Aug 2014 17:45:00 GMT
Wedding | Santa Barbara Courthouse Part 1 http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/santa-barbara-courthouse-wedding-on-black-and-white-film Santa Barbara Courthouse Santa Barbara Courthouse Santa Barbara Courthouse Santa Barbara Courthouse Santa Barbara Courthouse Santa Barbara Courthouse Santa Barbara Courthouse Santa Barbara Courthouse Santa Barbara Courthouse Santa Barbara Courthouse

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info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) Wedding santa Barbara http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/santa-barbara-courthouse-wedding-on-black-and-white-film Wed, 30 Jul 2014 17:45:00 GMT
Wedding | Emily + Dustin Part 2 - film http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/emily-dustin-on-film-part-2 Part two of Emily + Dustin's wedding was all shot on 35mm film. I'm absolutely in love with the look of film and my goal is to incorporate at least one roll into every wedding by 2015. Enjoy!

Ceremony: Santa Barbara Courthouse

Bouquet: Whole Foods Market

Dress: Etsy

Rings: Zales

Thanks to Monica for being a great second shooter!

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info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) Wedding film santa Barbara http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/emily-dustin-on-film-part-2 Wed, 23 Jul 2014 17:30:00 GMT
Scott + Anoushka's Wedding | The Santa Barbara Mission http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/scott-anoushkas-wedding-the-santa-barbara-mission Happy Friday everyone! I just wanted to share a couple images of Scott and Anoushka's wedding last Friday at the Mission rose garden in Santa Barbara. Aren't they a gorgeous couple?

Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Santa Barbara Mission Wedding Pictures by Nicole Wasko Photography Santa Barbara Mission Wedding Pictures by Nicole Wasko Photography Santa Barbara Mission Wedding Pictures by Nicole Wasko Photography Santa Barbara Mission Wedding Pictures by Nicole Wasko Photography Santa Barbara Mission Wedding Pictures by Nicole Wasko Photography Santa Barbara Mission Wedding Pictures by Nicole Wasko Photography Santa Barbara Mission Wedding Pictures by Nicole Wasko Photography Santa Barbara Mission Wedding Pictures by Nicole Wasko Photography Santa Barbara Mission Wedding Pictures by Nicole Wasko Photography

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info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) Wedding santa Barbara http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/scott-anoushkas-wedding-the-santa-barbara-mission Fri, 18 Jul 2014 16:08:13 GMT
Wedding | Emily + Dustin Part 1 http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/emily-dustin-sb-courthouse-wedding Emily and Dustin stopped in Santa Barbara on their way to Bora Bora for their honeymoon for an intimate wedding ceremony at the Santa Barbara Courthouse. 

Ceremony: Santa Barbara Courthouse

Bouquet: Whole Foods Market

Dress: Etsy

Rings: Zales

Thanks to Monica for being a great second shooter!

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info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) Wedding santa Barbara http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/emily-dustin-sb-courthouse-wedding Wed, 16 Jul 2014 17:30:00 GMT
San Diego Engagement Session | Balboa Park http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/san-diego-engagement-balboa-park Linda and Harrison's engagement session in Balboa park on July 3rd.

Scott and I had such a great time photographing this couple because they were so natural together. I encouraged them to hold hands in order to make a visual connection in their photographs. I think it is important to show connection between a couple especially during an engagement session. We cannot wait to photograph their wedding on the sand in Santa Barbara this August!! Congratulations again Linda and Harrison. 

Cheers!

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info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) balboa park engagement san diego http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/san-diego-engagement-balboa-park Mon, 14 Jul 2014 21:12:09 GMT
Wedding | Goleta Stowhouse http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/goleta-stowhouse-wedding Ellie and Ian's afternoon spring wedding was held at the Historical Rancho La Patera & Stow House in Goleta California in the outside garden of the historical house. The rustic outdoor style of this venue fit with her navy blue and white themed garden wedding complete with lawn games and a photo booth. 

Venue: Rancho La Patera & Stow House, Goleta, CA

Food/Rentals: DJ's Catering

Photo Booth: SB Photobooth

Officient: Weddings by Christine

Hair & Makeup: Joyce Kim

Photography: Nicole Wasko Photogrpahy

Cake, Flowers, Decor: DIY

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info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) Stow house Wedding santa Barbara http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/goleta-stowhouse-wedding Thu, 10 Jul 2014 00:30:00 GMT
Session | A Wine Country Engagement http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/a-wine-country-engagement Jessica and Andy came up with the idea of having their engagement session in the Santa Ynez valley so they could take advantage of the great scenery and the great wine! We spent the entire afternoon together as they sipped wine together while I crashed their date with my camera. It was well worth the creepiness of following them around all day, even after getting kicked out of a vineyard and turned away for dinner at the place we had reservations at. Long story short, always make sure you not only have written permission but also print it out and physically carry it with you at all times, and double check with the restaurant after making an Open Table Reservation to make sure the restaurant is actually open on the night of your reservation. All in all we ended up at a fantastic place called Root 246 where we enjoyed a bottle of Stolpman Syrah and even better company!

Here's to Jessica and Andy! A big congratulations and many more happy times to come. 

 

 

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info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) engagement los olivos http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/a-wine-country-engagement Mon, 07 Jul 2014 18:00:00 GMT
Session | Amy + Neil http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/6/amy-neils-maternity-session-on-film Amy and Neil wanted to do their maternity photos on the beach, so I took them to my secret location in Santa Barbara. I shot a few frame of 35mm black and white film just for fun. Many thanks and congratulations to the lovely couple as they welcome the arrival their first child very soon!

Santa Barbara Maternity Photography Portraits at the beachSanta Barbara Maternity Photography Portraits at the beach Santa Barbara Maternity Photography Portraits at the beachSanta Barbara Maternity Photography Portraits at the beach

 

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info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) beach maternity santa Barbara http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/6/amy-neils-maternity-session-on-film Mon, 30 Jun 2014 18:00:00 GMT
Trip Report | Kalalau Trail Kauai PART 2 http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/6/trip-report-kalalau-trail-kauai-part-2 Click Here to read PART 1 of this Trip Report

 

This blog post is for entertainment only (and maybe a bit of information gathering). We are not backpacking experts, and don’t recommend you follow what we did as a good idea at all. So we hold no liability if you hurt or kill yourself or others while reenacting the tale below. In fact, we would encourage, nay, implore you to not repeat what we did, how we did it. There’s probably much better, safer, and saner ways go about this endeavor than we did. But if epic is what you want, then yeah, sure, make the same mistakes we did and get yourself into trouble. Danger is fun. 

 

Kalalau Trail Kauai PART 2

 

Miles 10 - 11:

As luck would have it, we couldn’t have timed our arrival to Kalalau Valley any better. The beach was still one mile away, but we made it to the overlook just as the sun was beginning to set and offering the best light possible for photos. The DSLR had pretty much been relegated to the backpack since Hanakapi-ai Beach at mile 2. We definitely got it out now and took some of the most amazing shots from the entire trip!

 

Kalalau ValleyKalalau ValleyTaking in the sunset

Sunset from Kalalau TrailOne mile from the beach Kalalau ValleyKalalau ValleyPanorama of the valley at sunset Kalalau ValleyKalalau ValleyScott enjoying the sunset and the view of Kalalau Valley after 10 miles of hiking. Kalalau ValleyKalalau ValleyNicole resting after 10 miles. Only 1 to go!

 

Lingering just as long as we felt comfortable, we began the hike down the red dirt ramps towards the ocean. At this point, my knees were screaming, but I was too happy to care. It was with about a half mile to go when we decided it was a good idea too break out the head lamps. Unfortunately, we did have one last major stream crossing left, and it was certainly a bit sketchy doing it in the dark.

Once we made it to the other side, it was pretty much a straight shot to the campground by the beach. We knew we’d arrived when we saw all of the other tents set up by other backpackers. Not wanting to disturb them, we carried on for a little while, past the toilets in the middle of the campground, to the far side. Once we found a nice, open spot it was a delight to take off our packs for the last time that day, knowing we wouldn’t have to put them back on. Somewhere in the distance, we could have sworn we heard a goat shriek, shouting out a death cry after being shot by a homemade bow and arrow.

 

Day 1 - Kalalau Beach evening:

We set up the tent without any problems, and I wandered off to find the waterfall at the far end of the beach to fill up our camp reservoir with water to boil for dinner. We inhaled our rehydrated meal and crawled into our tent, fully expecting to fall asleep almost immediately. That did not happen.

Whether it was due to being wired from the trail, not yet being used to sleeping in a tent again, or having a full belly of rehydrated Jamacian jerk chicken and rice, I don’t really know. What I do know is that neither Nicole nor I were sleeping at all. Rather than waste the opportunity, we decided to head down to the beach to look at the stars and maybe take some photos. We were incredibly fortunate that it was cloudless night and a new moon. With the lack of light pollution at this remote location coupled with the weather and moon conditions, the stars were absolutely phenomenal! Neither Nicole nor I know the first thing when it comes to astrophotography, but with stars like the ones we say, even n00bs like us could get away with some pretty nice shots.

 

Kalalau Valley StarsKalalau Valley StarsISO 1600, 40mm, f/4 25sec Kalalau Valley StarsKalalau StarsISO 1600, 40mm, f/4 25sec

 

After about 45 minutes or an hour, we decided it best to force ourselves back to the tent to get some sleep. I feel I could have just sat out there and looked at the stars until the sun came up.

 

Day 2 - Kalalau Beach morning: 

The next morning it was time to dawn our bathing suits and explore the beach! As we unzipped the door of our tent the sight we were greeted with was… penises (penes, actually is the correct plural of penis, but that’s a relatively obscure fact). In the darkness of the previous evening, we didn’t realize that we’d set up our tent right next to the hippy encampment. They were up early, wandering around and letting it all hang out, literally. We grabbed the cameras, our bathing suits and towels, and ran to the waterfall for a morning shower, trying to avoid the unwanted scenery. The beach itself is a marvel! Rather than write about it, I’ll let the photos and captions do the talking.

Our Campsite at Kalalau BeachOur Campsite at Kalalau BeachNight 1

Kalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiKalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiThe waterfall at the far end of the beach, closest freshwater source for the campground and a nice place to shower off the grim of the trail!

 

Na Pali Coast Kalalau Beach KauaiKalalau BeachWalking to the caves at the west end Na Pali Coast Kalalau Beach KauaiKalalau BeachBetween two cliff faces at the west end Na Pali Coast Kalalau Beach KauaiKalalau BeachLooking back towards the east end (the direction we hiked in from) Na Pali Coast Kalalau Beach KauaiKalalau BeachThe cliffs beyond the sand on the west end are only accessible by boat/kayak

Kalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiKalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiCave at the west end of the beach. Looked like some cool bouldering to be done, if it wasn't so wet... Kalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiKalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiEven in late April, the shore break was pretty rough Kalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiKalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiTime to do some posing for the camera! Kalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiKalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiSuck in that gut! Kalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiKalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiPanorama of the beach shot from the west end Kalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiKalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiTurtle's nest freshly hatched Kalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiKalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiTurtle's nest freshly hatched

 

Kalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiKalalau Beach, Na Pali Coast, KauaiLookin' cool!

Day 2 - Back to Hanakoa:

Nicole and I aren’t exactly the type of people who can just go to a beach a laze about for a day. We get too restless staying still for too long. But we could have stated at this beach all day and then some. Sadly, come midday we knew it was time to start the hike back so we wouldn’t be rushed getting to Hanakoa. And so we broke down camp, packed up our bags, and shoved off back down the trail we’d come up the previous day. Since we’d hiked this final half mile with headlamps on the previous night, this was the first time we got to see what we’d missed. The trail cut through a giant field of tall wild flowers. It was a wonderful farewell aloha & mahalo gift for us, almost like beckoning us to return some day! It definitely left an impression on me and I hope to indeed return in the future.

 

Na Pali Coast Kalalau Beach KauaiWildflowers on the hike outDay2

 

 

We eventually made it back over the river crossing to the red dirt ramps that climb up out of the valley back into the higher parts of the trail. While it looked miserable from below, we had our backpacking legs under us and hiking up wasn’t nearly as bad as we thought it would be.

 

Kalalau stream crossingThis is what we had to navigate the night before wearing headlamps

Na Pali Coast Kalalau Beach KauaiRed Dirt Ramp leading out of the Kalalau ValleyDay2

 

The hike back to Hanakoa was quite delightful. The previous evening, we didn’t exactly have the time to relax and enjoy it since we were so hurried to make it to Kalalau before it got too late, and we were exhausted and sore by the time we were this far. On the hike out, our spirits were buoyed by our morning at Kalalau Beach, and our legs were fresh. We ran into Matt and his dog walking back towards the beach, but no goat in hand. 

He told us that he’d given up on his hunt because there was going to be a formal hunt sponsored by the Hawaii State Parks office soon. Hunters with permits and guns were going to be brought in for a goat culling. Since goats have no natural predators on the island (like the wild boars, goats are an introduced species by the Europeans), their population can grow out of control rather easily. The herds can cause serious erosion problems for these trails that need constant maintenance to prevent them from falling into the sea. So, unfortunately, no smoked goat treats for us on the hike out :(

 

We made it back to Crawler’ Ledge in no time at all, and this time there was no fear or anxiety. We just laughed, hooted and hollered across the ledge. There was a small herd of goats on the switchbacks leading up to the entrance of Hanakoa Valley who gave us funny looks, but then scattered as we approached. Shortly thereafter, we were back at the campground we decided to pass the previous day. This day, however, we set up camp on a terrace next to a very large tree, which I’m embarrassed to say I’ve still been unable to identify the species.

 

Hanakoa ValleyCamp in Hanakoa Valleynight 2

 

 

Having arrived with plenty of daylight, we relaxed at the campsite took stock of our remaining supplies, and cooked dinner. Compared with Kalalau, there’s not much to do or see here, so we just lounged in the tent, enjoyed a brief rain shower, and called in an early night. This time, we were able to fall asleep quite easily.

 

Day 3 - Hiking out:

The next day we were excited to pack up and head back to Hanakapi’ai Beach to meet back up with Daniel and Prasant. They enjoyed their day hike so much that first day that they wanted to do it again and we all would hike out together. Nicole and I put on a change of clothes, took down camp, and got back on the trail. We made it through Hanakoa Valley, and the other smaller valleys along the way. Though we did take a brief stop to cool down in a waterfall along the trail.

 

 

Kalalau Trail, Na Pali Coast, Kauai, waterfallCooling off in a waterfall along the trail Cooling off in a waterfall along the trail

 

 

We exited the natural reserve boundary and tiptoed down the muddy switchbacks towards Hanakapi’ai Beach.

 

 

Kalalau Trail Day 3 Kalalau Trail Hanakapiai Beach in the background Kalalau Trail Day 3 Kalalau Trail

 

Conveniently, we arrived at the beach just as Daniel and Prasant did. They wanted to push onward to see Hanakapi-ai Falls, which was 2 miles up a side trail from the beach. Nicole and I wished them well, but we didn’t particularly feel like hiking an additional 4 miles that day, so we stayed at the beach, swam in the ocean a bit, ate some food, and took naps. Daniel and Prasant came back a bit prematurely due to a sprained ankle along the way, so we actually had a reason to break out the first aid kit. With Prasant’s ankle all taped up, we crossed the final river, and moseyed down the final 2 miles to the trailhead with the promise of showers and beer waiting for us there.

 

End of the trail! After a much needed shower.Ahola! - Scott + Nicole

 

There are some places you’re satisfied only visiting once in your life, and other places that you want to go back to. The Na Pali coast is definitely in the later category! We’re both looking forward to a return visit, whenever that might be.

 

Aloha!

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info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) adventure kauai personal trip report http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/6/trip-report-kalalau-trail-kauai-part-2 Fri, 27 Jun 2014 15:43:15 GMT
Trip Report | Kalalau Trail Kauai PART 1 http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/6/hiking-the-kalalau-trail-trip-report This blog post is for entertainment only (and maybe a bit of information gathering). We are not backpacking experts, and don’t recommend you follow what we did as a good idea at all. So we hold no liability if you hurt or kill yourself or others while reenacting the tale below. In fact, we would encourage, nay, implore you to not repeat what we did, how we did it. There’s probably much better, safer, and saner ways go about this endeavor than we did. But if epic is what you want, then yeah, sure, make the same mistakes we did and get yourself into trouble. Danger is fun. 

 

Intro:

I don’t recall when or where I first heard about the Na Pali coast. I couldn’t even say when Nicole and I started talking about backpacking along it. Probably it was towards the end of 2012, around the time we began planning our honeymoon. Like many couples, we were thinking Hawaii but weren’t sure about what island. All of the info we got on Kauai and the Big Island suggested that roughing it was the best way to get the most out of those locations. But that’s not what we wanted after the stresses of planning our wedding. We ended up picking Maui over Kauai and the Big Island mostly because we were looking for a relaxing time rather than an adventure. But we vowed to visit those other islands in due time since, after all, Nicole and I do like a good adventure from time to time!

 

At the start of 2014, we began to seriously look into the logistics of a Kauai trip. And we knew the main objective was going to be backpacking the Na Pali. Upon digging deeper, we found that the Kalalau Trail (the one trail leading down the entire Na Pali coast) is a narrow, winding, muddy foot path complete with serious elevation gains, steep drop-offs, and hazardous stream crossings, that just happens to take you to one of the most pristine, wild, and beautiful beaches in the world. Sounds like fun!

 

It’s a 22 mile round trip from the trailhead to the beach and back, with over 10,000’ of elevation gain and loss over those 22 miles. This means that you’ll be hiking up hill for 10,000’ of vertical gain, and also hiking downhill for that same 10,000’ over the course of those 22 miles. The Sierra Club has a degree of difficulty rating system ranking trails from 1 (easiest) to 10 (really flippin’ hard!). The Kalalau Trail comes in at a 9. This would be an ambitious goal since I hadn’t been backpacking since 2007 and Nicole hadn’t been backpacking since she was born. But, whatever, we were going on an ADVENTURE!!! <channeling Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit>. 

 

Kalalau Trail stats:

  • Length: 22 miles round trip from trailhead to Kalalau Beach and back.
  • Difficulty: 9 out of 10 on Sierra Club’s difficulty scale (very difficult).
  • Elevation gain/loss: 10,000 feet
  • Hazards: Muddy/slippery footing, Exposure (steep cliff drop offs), rock fall, river crossings, flash floods, wildlife (goats and boars, but nothing poisonous), and last but not least - dirty hippies who’ve dropped out of society to live on the trail full time (they’re actually quite friendly, but are frequently naked, high on drugs, and smell really bad)
  • Permits: If you plan on hiking past the past Hanakoa Valley 6 miles in from the trailhead, a permit is required.
  • Time required to complete: Some badasses do the 22 miles as a day hike. We are not badasses and decided to take 3 days. In retrospect, taking 4 or 5 would have been nicer.

 

 

Kalalau Trail Elevation MapKalalau Trail Elevation Map

 

Kauai Kalalau Trail MapKauai Kalalau Trail Map

 

Online resources:

By far the best resource we found for this was http://www.kalalautrail.com. It’s packed with all sorts of information on the trail, planning, and trip reports from other hikers, as well as providing info on other ways to enjoy the Na Pali coast. http://www.napali.com is ok, but more geared towards guided boat and helicopter tours. There are plenty of general backpacking and camping websites out there, find which ones work for you. Apply for your permits here: https://camping.ehawaii.gov/camping/welcome.html.

 

Gear list:

  • ~50L lightweight backpack: Make sure it’s comfortable and fitted to your body. 
  • Lightweight tent/shelter: We have the REI Quarter Dome T2. 
  • Lightweight trail-runners, broken in: DON’T skimp on these! I wore Salomon XA PRO 3Ds and Nicole wore Vasque Velocitys. They’re both mesh/draining which is useful for all of the stream crossings done in them. We saw all sorts of footwear on the trails from heavy hiking boots to Keens and Chacos to Vibram Fivefingers, and even one dude wearing what looked to be aqua socks. The hippies were all barefoot. All have pros and cons, just wear what’s best for you.
  • Treking poles: They are worth their weight in gold, frankincense, and myrrh, COMBINED!
  • Lightweight sleeping bag or liner: We have Cocoon sleeping bag liners.
  • Sleeping pad: We have Thermarests.
  • Inflatable pillow: If you like to pamper yourself, and we do.
  • Lightweight backpackers stove: We have a Primus Classic Trail stove.
  • Cooking pot: Unless you use a Jetboil where everything is one piece.
  • Fuel: Note - if you are not permitted to fly with camping fuel, even in your checked luggage. If you have a canister stove you can buy fuel canisters at Kauai Kayak in Kapaa. They also sell partially used canisters at a discount. When you’re done on the trail, stop by and give them your canister back so they can pay it forward!
  • Eating utensils and bowls: The bowls are optional, but unless you plan on only having finger food, I recommend bringing a spork.
  • Multitool: Swiss Army knife or Leatherman.
  • Sunscreen: You’ll need it.
  • Bug spray: Unfortunately, you’ll also need it.
  • First aid kit: Hopefully you won’t need it.
  • Water bladder/bottles: We each have 2L bladders that fit in our backpacks. We also brought 2 1L Nalgenes but didn’t really use them. We also have a 3L camp bladder, MSR Dromedary, which works great once you’re at camp.
  • Iodine or other water purifier: We prefer iodine since it’s lightweight, kills viruses that water filters can’t remove, and UV SteriPens can only purify one Nalgene at a time.
  • Nuun or other hydration tablets: Not absolutely necessary, but really nice to have for electrolytes.
  • Clothes line: Your clothes will get wet, it’s nice to hang them to dry when at camp.
  • Toilet paper: There are toilets at the trailhead and beach, also at the 2 and 6 mile points along the trail but TP is not guaranteed. If you think you’ll need additional potty breaks, bring a WAG bag too. Pack it in, pack it out.
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, other personal hygiene stuff and medications.
  • Copies of trail permit and map: We didn’t need to use either, but better safe than sorry.

 

Clothes (bring as few changes as you’re comfortable with):

  • Sun hat
  • Sun glasses
  • Bandana 
  • Rain jacket
  • Lightweight shirt
  • Hiking shorts
  • Lightweight socks: Merino wool is great!
  • Undies: Going commando can lead to chaffing.
  • Long underwear or other insulation layer: Nights do get chilly! A lightweight fleece might be necessary if you run particularly cold at night. 
  • Bathing suit: You ARE going to the beach, after all! Or you could just go in your birthday suit…
  • Camp towel
  • Sandals or other camp/beach shoes

 

Food:

Different people have different ideas when it comes to food on the trail. Regardless of what you do, make sure you bring enough calories. You’ll be exerting yourself quite hard on this trail and you don’t want to bonk in the middle of it! Bear in mind that with rain being unpredictable in the area, flash floods closing down stream crossings is a real possibility. You might want to bring extra food in case you’re stranded for an additional day. Below is a list of what we took. All in all, we estimated to have brought 10,000 calories each for the 3 days.

 

Breakfast (in camp): 

  • “Concoction”: Instant oats, buckwheat sprouted grains (grouts), flax meal, almond slices, dried cranberries, peanut butter chips, all mixed together. Just add boiling water. YUM! Brought enough for 3 meals. 
  • Starbucks Via: Definitely need that caffein kick! Bring creamer and sugar too, if that’s your thing.

Lunch/snacks (on trail):

  • Simple trail mix: Mixed nuts, raisins, and M&Ms.
  • ProBars: Whole food bars very high in balanced calories, and taste great. We each had 4.
  • Bagged tuna in oil: Great serving size, less bulky than cans, get tuna packed in oil instead of water for extra calories (and taste!). We each had 2.
  • No refrigeration necessary cheese: Sounds gross, tastes great when you need calories.!
  • A few of bags of jerky: beef, turkey, and pork
  • Flour tortillas: Less bulky than bread, same calories.
  • Single serve peanut butter and nutella: Spread on tortillas for a great afternoon pick-me-up!! 

Dinner (in camp):

  • Backpackers Pantry or Mountain House prepackaged dehydrated meals: These are easy and after a long day of hiking actually taste pretty good. Just add boiling water, and they cook in the bag so no clean up either! Each meal/bag is 2 servings, but only ~350 calories per serving, so we brought 3 each. I recommend trying to find the low sodium meals. If you bring tortillas, these prepackaged dinners make excellent burritos when wrapped.

 

Cameras:

This is a photography blog, after all!!! We debated long and hard about what to bring. The GoPro Hero3 Black was definitely coming. But we we unsure about what high quality camera system to pack for those shots that require some extra quality. The options were a DSLR, compact mirrorless with interchangeable lenses, or a nice point and shoot with manual controls. The DLSR was bulky, but we already own a few of those and they take great shots! A nice point and shoot would be compact but how much better would it really be than the GoPro? A compact mirorless would be a great combination of quality and convenience, but we don’t own either a camera or lenses and renting a full system would be expensive.  In the end, we ended up buying a pancake 40 mm f2.8 lens to put on our full frame Canon 6D DSLR. 

 

Canon 6d with "pancake" 40mm f/2.8 (AKA shorty forty) and GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition with 3 extra batteriesCanon 6d with "pancake" 40mm f/2.8 (AKA shorty forty) and GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition with 3 extra batteries

 

Training:

As mentioned above, I hadn’t been backpacking in almost 7 years and Nicole hadn’t been backpacking in her entire life. We’re young, active people (well, not as young or active as we used to be) but knew we’d have to get a more miles on the trails in before tackling this Hawaiian monster. Fortunately, living in Santa Barbara gives us access to a great trail system and we were able to go for short hikes after work during the week, and longer ones on the weekends.! We started just hiking with water and a bit of food, and gradually increased our pack loads up to the same weight, or at least close to the same as what we were brining with us to Hawaii. We got a few looks from other hikers since we had so much gear on our backs, but whatever. We were feeling a lot tougher compared to them.

 

Inspiration Point Santa Barbara, CATraining Hike. Inspiration Point Santa Barbara, CA Inspiration Point Santa Barbara, CATraining Hike. Inspiration Point Santa Barbara, CA

 

The Main Event:

We flew from California to Lihue airport on April 26th. During the approach to the airport we could see the sea cliffs on the southeast side of the island and knew that the northern coast had just as much, if not more waiting for us.

 

Kauai from the airKauai from the airThere will be plenty more cliffs like those on the trail!

 

After getting our luggage we took a shuttle to the Courtyard Marriott in Kapaa. Our friend, Daniel, travels an ungodly amount for work and basically lives in hotels. Marriott is his preferred chain and he gets treated like royalty at any Marriott hotel in the world. He happened to have a free night available for the Courtyard Kauai resort and hooked us up! After a lunch of kalua pork sliders and local beer, Nicole and I took stock of all of our gear, organized and packed our bags.

 

Na Pali Kalalau Trail Backpacking Gear for 2 peopleNa Pali Kalalau Trail Backpacking Gear for 2 people

We still had a few hours before our Dan and our other friend Prasant were set to arrive (they were planning on day hiking the first few miles of the trail with us, but not backpack the whole way), so we decided to walk a couple of miles down the road to Kayak Kauai as a warm up to the trail, and also to buy a canister of camp stove fuel. As mentioned in the gear list above, Kayak Kauaii in Kapaa sells partially used isobutane fuel canisters. You can’t fly with them, so backpackers can just drop off their canisters here after finishing up their trip, and frequently they have more than enough fuel for at least a week long hike. Score!

Back at the Marriott, Prasant finally showed up but Daniel was delayed, so we got some pizza and beer at Bobby V’s, just a quick walk from the hotel. The restaurant doesn’t have a liquor license, but you can buy a 6-pack and bring it in. It was damn good NY style pizza and is highly recommended.

 

Our original plan was for a 3 day backpacking trip. We would cover the full 11 miles from the trailhead to Kalalau Beach on day 1, hang out on the beach and hike 5 miles back to Hanakoa Valley on day 2, and then leisurely hike the 6 miles back to the trail head on day 3. Since tomorrow was going to be the big 11 mile day and we were still used to mainland timezones, we all went to sleep rather early. Daniel eventually showed up sometime in the middle of the night, which is good since he was our ride to the trailhead in the morning. We woke up around 6 am hoping to get on the trail by 8 or so, but didn’t actually make it there until about 10. Sunset was just after 7 pm, so we knew we had to get a move on if we wanted to cover those 11 miles without resorting to headlamps.

 

April 27-29th 2014

 

Miles 0 - 2:

The first couple of miles of the Kalalau Trail are a popular day hike since at Mile 2, you’ll reach Hanakapi’ai Beach. That means these first 2 miles are crowded, foot traffic is high. and the trail well worn. It had also rained quite a bit in the prior days, so the mud was deep and slick. We’re glad we had trekking poles to help with the hills! Daniel and Prasant weren’t content to move at the slow pace that Nicole and I were going at (probably because they didn’t have 25 and 45 pound backpacks on) and decided to forge ahead to Hanakapi’ai without us.  It took some initial adjusting to efficiently hike on the wet stone and mud of this trail compared with the dry, hard packed dirt of the Santa Barbara trails we were used to. The heat and humidity didn’t help either, but we were enjoying it none the less. Perhaps a bit too much. There were all sorts of great spots to stop and take pictures and we were doing just that way too often. Eventually we realized that if we didn’t pick up the pace, we wouldn’t make it to Kalalau that night. So we plugged on ahead.

 

First two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailFirst two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailThe sign at the trailhead. Let's start this adventure! First two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailFirst two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailIt's all smiles these first few miles. First two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailFirst two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailOne of the first ocean views from the cliffs on the trail First two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailFirst two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailYou can almost see down the coast to our final destination. Almost... First two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailFirst two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailLooking back towards the starting beach First two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailFirst two miles of the Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailThe mud gets thicker and thicker the further you hike

 

Just before making it to Hanakapi’ai beach, we had to go down what was essentially the equivalent of a mud water slide. We ran into several day hikers who decided to turn back at various stages of this slide, mud coating their butts and backs because they couldn’t stay on their feet walking down. At the bottom was our first major stream crossing. Due to all of the rain, the water was rather high, but not particularly treacherous looking. None the less, we dutifully undid our backpack waist and chest straps before heading in. It’s always a good idea to do this just in case you fall down. You don’t want to have your backpack pin you down in moving water, and unbuckling straps lets you slip out easily.

 

Na Pali Coast Kalalau Trail Stream CrossingFirst Stream CrossingThree cheers for hiking poles! Na Pali Coast Kalalau Trail Stream Crossing. Two mile beach.Hanakapi’ai beach - 2 miles inDan and Prasant greeting us to the beach

 

Just on the other side of the stream was Hanakapi’ai Beach. We had a little food and found Daniel and Prasant, but didn’t linger too long. We had to keep on keeping on, and so bade our farewells, agreeing to meet again in 2 days time.

 

Miles 2 - 6:

The trail continues on from the beach and immediately heads up switchback after muddy switchback. Over the next mile, we hiked up to the maximum elevation point on the trail at 800 ft above sea level, a formation called Space Rock. Some of the switchbacks are in dense foliage while others are more exposed to the sun. It’s shaded and cooler when you’re in foliage, but the trail is at it’s muddiest slickest, while in the sun the footing is better, but it is quite hot! At the 3 mile mark, you’re at the trail high point and can enjoy the views and some much needed food as you cross over into the natural reserve area.

Na Pali Coast Kalalau Trail Mile 3: entrance to reserve area and Space Rock on the right. Space Rock Kalalau Trail Na Pali Coast KauaiMile 3 Kalalau TrailShot from behind Space Rock, highest point on the Kalalau Trail

 

For the next 3 miles, the trail follows a similar pattern: Head downhill and inland away from the coast into a valley (frequently passing waterfalls), cross a stream at the valley center, head uphill and towards the coast (passing other waterfalls), round the corner and follow the coast for a little while, repeat. The views down the coast were phenomenal, and the more miles you hiked down the trail, the better the views back up the coast became! The cliffs surrounding the valleys were tall and imposing, but also always covered in a verdant, welcoming coat of foliage that made it more Garden of Eden than Mordor and Mt Doom. There weren’t any terrestrial animals to see, but we could hear birds calling back and forth across the valleys and occasionally see them flying overhead. We also saw and heard a LOT of helicopter tours above and power boat tours in the ocean. It’s big business here and if you think the hike is going to be a tranquil nature experience away from the sights and sounds of the city, well, it mostly is. But there’s still the random helicopter and power boat to bring you back to reality.

 

Eventually we got to a valley that was MUCH bigger than the ones we had previously been traversing through. It was about 3:30 pm at this point and we were starting to get worried because we hadn’t even passed the halfway point yet. We encountered a couple hiking the opposite direction and they told us that we were entering Hanakoa Valley now and would get to that campground soon. 30 minutes later, at 4 pm, we were there.

 

Kalalau Trail Na Pali Coast KauaiKalalau TrailLooking into Hanakoa Valley. Shot taken on day 3 hiking back out.

 

It was concerning to us that we were only moving at a pace of 1 mile/hour. If we held that pace we wouldn’t make it to the campground at Kalalau beach until 9 pm, a full 2 hours after sunset. Hanakoa Valley is the only other location on the trail where camping is permitted, so we had a decision to make. 

 

If we wanted to stick to our 3 day plan we had the following options:

  1. Stick with the original plan, charge ahead and make it to Kalalau Beach that evening. Picking up the pace would be necessary.
  2. Stay at Hanakoa that night, leave the camp set up and our overnight gear there, and day hike out to Kalalau Beach and back the next day. Hike out from Hanakoa to the trailhead on day 3, as originally planned.
  3. Stay at Hanakoa that night, pack up camp and go to Kalalau Beach and camp there the next day. Hike all the way from Kalalau back to the trailhead on day 3.

 

Option 2 wasn’t really all that appealing since even though it would make the hike a lot easier by not requiring us to carry all our stuff to Kalalau, it would really eat into our time at the beach and would add pressure for us to make it back to camp and our tent even if there was an accident or flash flood. Option 3, with us hiking the 11 miles on the last day when we would be the most tired, didn’t seem that great either. Though the hike out would be with lighter packs. What really made up our minds was that Hanakoa Valley wasn’t really all that nice a place to camp, and we really wanted to see this beach. So after a quick bite of jerky and trail mix we decided to forge ahead.

 

Miles 6 - 8:

Hanakoa is a long valley, but it’s not particularly deep. After the second major stream crossing (the bigger the valley, the bigger the stream crossings) we were able to hike up and out relatively quickly. So far so good with the increased pace! Immediately after cresting the other side of it, we encountered very steep switchbacks leading down to the infamous Crawler’s Ledge, a section where the trail narrows to just a few feet across and traverses a rocky cliff a few hundred feet above the ocean below. Fortunately, this section is so steep that no foliage covered it, and the trail was bone dry, improving our footing. Still, once we passed the ominous signs warning us of death and dismemberment, fear and doubt crept into our minds. This was further advanced by legs that were already wobbly from exhaustion. Now they were becoming wobbly with nerves.

 

the infamous Crawler’s Ledge. Na Pali Coast Kalalau TrailThe infamous Crawler’s LedgeJosh Schulz is hot. The sign doesn't lie. Starting down the steep section looking onto Crawler's Ledge wrapping around the cliff in the distance.Starting down the steep section looking onto Crawler's Ledge wrapping around the cliff in the distance.

Kalalau Crawler’s LedgeThe infamous Crawler’s LedgeReturn Trip

 

It took us probably a good 10 minutes to traverse the 100 yards or so of Crawler’s Ledge and get up the other side. Here, for the first time, we could see our destination (though we didn’t realize it at the time…).

 

Na Pali Coast Crawler’s LedgeHiking out the steep section just after Crawler’s Ledge

Kalalau Trail Na Pali Coast KauaiMile 7 Kalalau TrailThat green grassy field in the middle is just above Kalalau Beach

 

Miles 8 - 10:

Once we made it past Crawler’s Ledge, we were able to ride the adrenaline rush for another mile or so before we began to crash. Coming off an adrenaline high when you’re already exhausted and your body’s struggling to convert food into energy is no fun. Fortunately, right around that time we encountered our first full-time resident of the trail. A jovial bearded fellow with dark curly hair and an energetic dog, who was as equally unkempt as his master, came bounding down the trail towards us. Nicole and I saw him in the distance and just sort of stared at what he appeared to be holding in his hands. We turned to each other and said, “No, seriously? Is this guy really carrying… a bow and arrows?!”

 

Sure enough, he was. As he got closer we could see the homemade hunting equipment he had and also noticed his bare feet. We stopped and chatted for a little bit. After introducing ourselves I figured this guy’s name would be something like Sierraphish or Rainjava. “I’m Matt,” he said. He told us he was out hunting goat for his friends who were all down at Kalalau Beach. He was planning to take one down and then smoke it in Hanakoa Valley somewhere before bringing it back to Kalalau for a feast. It’s one thing to hear stories of goat eating hippies on the trail, but another entirely to encounter them on your own. My day was officially made. More importantly, Matt informed us that we were actually getting pretty close to the beach at this point. We just had a few small valleys to traverse before we got there. It was a little after 6 at the 4time, so we thanked him for the info and wished him well on his goat hunt before setting off, reenergized by the encounter and the promise that were were almost there. Sure enough, after making it through 3 more small valleys with 3 more small stream crossings, we came across the sight we were waiting for.

 

The Kalalau ValleyThe Kalalau ValleyGetting there just at sunset!

 

Part 2 coming next week! In the meantime we are off to hike Mount Whitney!

 

Aloha

- Scott + Nicole

 

Click Here to read PART 2

 

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info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) adventure kauai personal trip report http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/6/hiking-the-kalalau-trail-trip-report Fri, 20 Jun 2014 16:00:00 GMT
Personal | Anacapa Island Orca http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/6/personal-anacapa-island-orca On February 15th I surprised Scott with a trip to Anacapa Island with Island Packers, who are the only ferry system to get the public to and from the Channel Islands, that I know of. They do a great job, we highly recommend any of their tours! Anacapa is one of a chain of islands in the Channel Islands National Park. We had both visited a neighboring island Santa Cruz, which can be seen from the Santa Barbara coastline, but we wanted to check out the smaller island of Anacapa because of it's intriguing jagged cliffs, natural rock arch and it's chain of connected razor thin islands. Little did we know that we would run into a pod of dolphin and a family of orca on our one hour ferry ride out to the island. Dolphins are a common sighting but our guide said this was only the third time he had ever seen orca on one of these trips. 

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info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) personal http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/6/personal-anacapa-island-orca Thu, 19 Jun 2014 21:26:53 GMT
Session | Ellings Park Engagement http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/ellings-park-engagement-session Ellie and Ian's engagement session at Elling's Park and Hendry's beach in Santa Barbara CA. Keep an eye out for a post of their DIY wedding at the Stow House in Goleta, CA coming soon!

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info@nicolewako.com (Nicole Wasko Photography) engagement santa Barbara http://www.nicolewaskophotography.com/blog/2014/7/ellings-park-engagement-session Thu, 19 Jun 2014 20:24:57 GMT