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helicopter vs. airplane tour and photography

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helicopter vs. airplane tour and photography

Hi. We are going to Kauai in August and we are trying to decide on a helicopter vs. airplane tour. Obviously, the airplane tour is cheaper and it also includes a Na Pali boat/snorkel trip with tour. We are going to hike in the canyon another day so I'm not too concerned that we don't go into the canyon on helicopter. My question is can you get good photographs from the airplane. My husband loves taking photos but we are concerned that you are too far away or it will be too hard to take photos from the plane. Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks!

Ottawa, Canada
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6,439 posts
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1. Re: helicopter vs. airplane tour and photography

I can't comment on the conditions that a plane trip will provide, but as a serious photographer I can say that my helicopter trip (doorless) had an advantage to using the open cockpit biplane, and several over a closed passenger area. It was my very first helicopter ride, and it was an amazing experience. The biggest thing that I noticed that helped my photographic thirst was that the pilot would hover & rotate 360 degrees so that eash passenger got to see the view of whatever thing of interest he was pointing out. This made it very easy to get shots of all the scenery, and without doors or windows there was no glare to ruin the photos. This link will get you to some of my photos (I shot 420 in a 1 hour flight) and to my review.


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47 posts
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2. Re: helicopter vs. airplane tour and photography

Aloha! I am an amateur photographer who went with Jack Harter helicopters on their doors-off Hughes 500 flight just this May. First time in helicopter, first time in Kauai, and it was absolutely the height of the trip for me. Fantastic amazing scenery, and doors off makes for unbelievable photography opportunities. I had a hard time culling down my photos when I got back, trying to decide which to enlarge. After this experience, anytime I have a choice between doors off or on, it would be a no brainer. BTW, I'm not known to be a risk taker and I didn't at any time feel unsafe during the flight....well strapped in and obviously experienced pilot. No matter how you do it, you are going to love it. Enjoy!

Kauai, Hawaii
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8,506 posts
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3. Re: helicopter vs. airplane tour and photography

Sierra, Aloha

Great reports on the helo tour.....and totally agree. Having about 8500 hrs flying fixed wing, the photo ops in the interior of the garden island will be very special from the helo.

You are planning some super activities.

The NAPALI COAST boat tours, and hiking the wiamea canyon, and also up in kokee. Other wonderful hikes are available on the east side ( Kuilau ridge trail, and sleeping giant ) as well as Hanakapiai on the north shore.

Not putting down flying a fixed wing over Kauai, it would be fun, and we have excellent reports from those who have flown with Wings over kauai. So dont discount your original plan if it feels good to you. It is just that the photo ops from a helo can be spectacular.

You are gonna have a super time.....


4. Re: helicopter vs. airplane tour and photography

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