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Oheo Gulch Sunset 1

Oheo Gulch Sunset 1, Haleakala National Park, Maui, Hawaii

Most Hana visitors spend a long day driving from one side of Maui to the other along the zig-zagging Hana Highway. However, I recommend that people spend at least 1 night in Hana. The drive is too long and the traffic can be infuriating. (Pull over please, especially if you’re blocking a local!) In general, visitors miss out on the magic of this paradise by only making it a day trip.

The Hana area is best photographed at sunrise, but several afternoons I drove the twisty road to Oheo Gulch in order to photograph the sunset. The gulch is located on the southeast shore of Maui and is part of Haleakala National Park. It is home to the Seven Sacred Pools, a name that was made up to promote the area in the 1940s.

I’d previously visited Oheo Gulch, but had never put any effort into photographing it. While the pools themselves were swarmed with tourists, I focused my camera looking out from the rugged lava shoreline toward the the ocean waves breaking against the black sand beach. As with most ocean wave images, I begin the exposure as a wave recedes. This image was one of the first exposures that I took, which was lucky for me since the later light was a bust. The sunset light in the clouds adds dream-like color to the image, but I am most attracted to the tumultuous wave breaking just off shore. I used a shutter speed of 1/4 second to record movement in the wave, while still being able to freeze enough of the motion to not render it as unrecognizable mush. This image was created using my Canon 5DmkII, Carl Zeiss 28mm f2 ZE lens, and Singh-Ray LB Warming Polarizer & 3-stop Hard Graduated Neutral Density filters on my tripod. It is a single exposure that required minimal processing using Aperture 3.

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