Kauai from on High: The Magnificent Seven

Our Fire Pit drone specialist selects his favorite images from Kauai

By Patrick Koenig

As part of my responsibilities at the Fire Pit Collective, I am often called upon to be the eye in the sky for important golf happenings. In this instance, I was in charge of patrolling the skies over the island of Kauai as we highlighted some of the amazing golf and people on the island. As we prepare for the full-length feature to drop, I have compiled my seven favorite drone images from the trip.

These images are more than just a quick capture for me; each one holds its own little story. Maybe it is great lighting or a fortunate break in the clouds. Each of the seven images below stands out from the crowd. Please enjoy this special behind-the-scenes peak at why I like each image and what it took to capture the shot.

No. 7: The Club at Kukuiula

A lot of cool things are happening in the photo below. We have the Hawaiian coastline, high-end golf and sun splashing across the green grass. Most often it’s a “less is more” approach that captures my attention, but this one scores points in the opposite direction. This image starts off our list strong despite the mid-day sun.

No. 6: 16th at Poipu Bay Golf Course

This image has the potential to be much higher. With a coastline that fits snugly into the composition and a green neatly settled against a rocky precipice, this scene has the potential to be world-class. Sadly, the lighting did not deliver to maximize the potential greatness of this photograph. A little break in the clouds would have blown this picture to the next level.

No. 5: 6th hole at Puakea Golf Course

The strength of this image is in the background. The rays of light shooting over the mountains and illuminating the fields in the backdrop propel this beauty into the top five. You will notice the lighting gets progressively better as we move down this list. Lighting is everything. The jungle vibes surrounding the hole also make this image special.

No. 4: Princeville Makai

Although, we had to wait for the clouds to clear at sunrise, the lighting is about as splendid as it gets. The setting is also spectacular. Two green sites sit atop cliffs overlooking the Hawaiian coastline. However, what really makes me smile about this image is that those trees on the center-right portion of the photograph are breeding and nesting grounds for a group of albatrosses. These birds are almost as beautiful as the courses they represent.

No. 3: 16th green at Hokuala Golf Club

As we move into the top three, we find images that offer a little more than just good lighting and a good golf scene. This image was captured moments after I got FAA flight clearance to update on my drone and minutes before the sun ducked behind the clouds again. A slight adjustment on either end of these variables and this image falls flat. The way the palm trees are set against the morning sky and look down upon the crashing waves gives this image the extra boost it needed to reach No. 3.

No. 2: 18th hole at Hokuala

There is something special about island greens and aerial photography. So I can’t really be surprised this gem ended up here on the list. The palm trees set against the water make this photo really stand out for me. The low light and the little touch of sun-kissed fairway in the background take this photograph to the next level.

No. 1: 17th green at Wailua

There was about five minutes of sunshine when the early morning sun broke through the clouds on our visit to Wailua Golf Club. Fortunately, it lit up the 17th green like a Christmas tree. I was there in the sky with my drone ready to pounce. The resulting photograph captures everything I look for when capturing an image. The clouds in the background add some attitude and provide a spectacular contrast to the illuminated green. The foreground provides interest and extends its presence all the way up through the photograph. When you add in the dramatic beach setting, this drone photograph becomes one of my all-time favorites.

4 thoughts on “Kauai from on High: The Magnificent Seven”

  1. I’m not a golfer but the softness of the greens in these photos makes me want to stretch out on them. Love your point of view.

    1. This is my 1st time time reading of fire pit collective. I find it very interesting and fun to read. My wife and I are at Hanalei Bay Resort in Princeville now and have enjoyed Makai. It has to be hard to choose what hole is the most spectacular.

  2. Planning a trip to Kauai later this year, never been to Hawaii. Would love to play 1-2 rds. My game is off right now (mid to high teens). What would be the best 1-2 courses to try and get out on?

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