The Sliding Sands trail is perhaps the most perfectly named hiking route I’ve ever come across. As I descended into the Haleakala crater I could feel my body fighting the slippery terrain, fighting to keep me upright.
But it’s the way back up that will really get you. At around 3000m above sea level the air is thin, the sun is relentless and the terrain is as frustrating as it is beautiful. On the sliding sands it’s easy to feel like you’re making absolutely no progress at all!
I only spent 90 minutes on the trail, but if you time it right you can spend a full day hiking all the way through the crater. Once I made it back out alive I turned to take a shot of the trail, hoping to capture the barren landscape and the human struggle to defeat it.
If I were ever to see martians land on earth, this is the spot in which I would be least surprised. The Haleakala volcano dominates the eastern side of Maui, and really looks like another planet entirely. Given its size, Hawaii sure has more than its fair share of incredible landscapes!
This shot was taken as I explored the Sliding Sands trail that passes through the main summit crater, which actually isn’t volcanic in nature but the result of erosion over many years. As the name suggests it was pretty sandy, so I had to be quick when switching to my zoom lens for this image.
I took so many photos at the summit, but this was one of my favourite compositions. The colours and flow of the landscape would be perfect for a painting, and I tried to maintain a softer feel while processing in Lightroom. At the top of the frame you can see the clouds and beyond that the Pacific ocean. An unforgettable view!
As I walked back to our room at the Andaz Maui resort I turned around to take one last look at the Hawaiian sunset. The blue hour was just beginning, and what a sight! I’d just spent an hour shooting at the beach, but I couldn’t resist setting up my tripod one more time to capture this scene across the pool.
I often find the best light comes after the sun has set, and this evening was no exception. As always I exposed this shot for the highlights, expecting to have more success recovering the dark areas of the sky in post-processing.
Unfortunately as I brought up those shadows in Lightroom a huge amount of ugly noise was revealed. Using a combination of Topaz DeNoise and Lightroom I had to do a fair bit of work to balance the noise reduction against loss of detail in the image. It’s a bit of a black art and I still feel like an apprentice!
After three weeks in Hawaii, this was the perfect way to say goodbye. Whilst our time on the south shore of Maui was short, I was hopeful we’d get to see one last sunset over the ocean before it was time to leave.
Unfortunately our last day on the islands was plagued by an unusual amount of rain which kept us inside for most of the day. But the bad weather lifted just before 6:30pm. I rushed out from our hotel to the ocean at Mokapu Beach Park so I could shoot the sunset.
It didn’t take long for me to find some interesting foreground on the shores of Hawaii. There were fantastic lava rock formations almost everywhere we went. It was at this moment I realised how much I was going to miss the ocean once we returned to Switzerland, but also how lucky I was to even be there at all.