For our last night on Hawaii’s Big Island we stayed on the Kona coast, and just like so many other nights in Hawaii it offered up a fantastic sunset. Despite the signs warning people away I spent a while exploring the rocks outside the Sheraton hotel looking for some interesting foreground to shoot.
The boat you can see out to the right is not there for the sunset, but to serve as a base for people snorkelling and scuba diving to see the Manta Rays that are very common in this part of the world. Unfortunately we didn’t have a chance to experience it this time around.
The Manta Rays have been ‘trained’ to associate light with plankton, so after dark they are attracted to the torches that tour guides shine under the water. I just need to become a certified diver so that I can get down there and take some photos!
After a stunning drive around the northern edge of the Big Island this was our reward, the view from the Pololu Valley lookout. From here you can hike down to the black sand beach which occupies the middle of the valley, and I can tell you it’s certainly worth it!
There are only 5 or 6 parking spots by the lookout. If you miss out you’re left to decide where is a reasonable place to park alongside a road that’s already pretty narrow! But it’s doable nonetheless. Thanks to our early start we managed to get a spot before it got too busy up there.
This part of the island is often covered in cloud with intermittent rain. Although we had a brief shower during our visit we were pretty lucky to see the sun for the majority of the morning, even if it made the hike to the beach that little bit more tiring!
It’s a short downhill hike to reach the black sand beach which occupies Pololu Valley on the Big Island. Of course that means it’s uphill on the way back to your car! But I’d say it’s achievable for pretty much any able-bodied person, so long as it’s not wet and slippery out there.
Once we reached the bottom of the valley I spent some time walking up and down the beach, listening to and watching the waves. The ocean was so powerful here, with a really strong undertow pulling the water back out. It’s probably not a great place to go swimming! Especially since there is no lifeguard at all.
What it lacks in swim-ability it makes up for in isolation. We were sharing the beach with about 10 other people, so between the what must be about three or four hundred metres of sand it wasn’t too difficult to feel alone with nature. An incredible spot, and definitely worth the hike!
One early morning we took a beautiful walk along the Big Island coast near Waikoloa, admiring the palm trees as we went. Wandering south from the Fairmont Orchid hotel there were so many small bays, some sandy and some full of lava rocks. It was the perfect place for a relaxing stroll in the relative cool at the beginning of the day.
I’m not sure why, but these trees are just so pleasing in photographs! Perhaps it’s because they just look so clean, with the slim narrow trunk leading up to such well defined leaves at the top. I don’t know! It’s not often you find trees that look so great as the single focus point of a photo, but I think the palm tree really pulls it off.
I used my Lightroom preset ‘Summer Sky’ on this shot, which I’ve been using a lot recently in photos where the sun is shining and the sky is just a plain blue. It just looks really boring without any clouds! Playing with the colour a little seems to make a big difference.
I’m thinking of putting some of my presets into a bundle and selling them online for a small fee. Would you be interested in that? I think I’ll try to sort something out over the next few weeks but I have no idea where to start!
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.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think about this week’s photo challenge is coastal drives. And is there any better than Highway 1 in California? Driving from San Francisco to Los Angeles was definitely my favourite road trip to date, but I really struggled to capture the true scale of the landscape’s grandeur in any photos.
The great vastness of the ocean has the ability to make you feel very small, especially when coupled with a dramatic coastline. From slowly eroding cliff faces to flooded coastal cities, the power of the oceans is undeniable. Whenever I find myself looking out at the sea I always end up at the same thought – nature will have its way and we are powerless to stop it.
What’s your favourite coastal drive? Have you driven Highway 1? Please feel free to share your thoughts below!