Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls: Path of Darkness

Pipiwai Trail through the Idyllic Bamboo Forest
Waimoku Waterfall
At the end of the road to Hana is Haleakala National Park, it's "seven sacred pools" (Oheo Gulch) and the Pipiwai Trail.  In my opinion, the Pipiwai trail is a much greater attraction than the seven sacred pools. It goes from the seashore up the canyon until ending at a 400 foot waterfall. Along the way there are two other major waterfalls, a picturesque banyan tree and a thick bamboo forest unlike anything else I have ever seen. The bamboo goes on for nearly 1 mile.

I had previously seen several pictures of this beautiful trail. It is truly enchanting, peaceful and filled with sounds of the bamboo gently swaying in the wind. In reality it is also very dark. The bamboo comes together so tightly that most of the light is filtered out. Although the pupil can dilate to allow more light to see, the camera is not so complicated. To get a similar amount of light in, the camera has to have an open shutter a long time, allowing more light to get into the sensor (film). In the middle of the day, I had some shutter speeds of 30 seconds in the darkest part of the forest. The particular shot taken above had a shutter speed of 5 seconds. A tripod is necessary to hold the camera precisely still, allowing this kind of shot to be taken.

I have called this photograph "Path of Light" because a little more light does creep through onto the trail compared to the surrounding thick forest.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Island Dawn: Koki Beach and Alau Island

Koki Beach and Alau Island
Hana is not just the location for waterfalls.  Because it is on the east side of the island of Maui, it is a great location for seeing the sunrise over the ocean.  Just south of Hana, Koki beach has gorgeous sand and the Alau Island off shore makes for a sight at sunrise. On the top of this jagged island, there are a few ragged palm trees. This is actually a bird sanctuary and cannot be visited by tourists.

 Like most sunrise locations, I arrived in darkness and set up my equipment. Slowly the light started to come through the clouds and reflected off the water.  The stormy clouds gathered before dawn, but enough orange light came through to make my day. This is my favorite sunrise of the trip to Maui.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Black Sand Beach (Waianapanapa), Maui

Macro shot of the smooth and highly tangible rocks and pebbles of Waianapanapa State Park (Black Sand Beach), Maui. These lovely rocks make an excellent fine art subject.
 Black Sand Beach (a.k.a. Waianapanapa State Park) is a location that I was hoping to visit. I had seen some very good as well as some very bad photographs from this location. I was not sure what I would find. Getting to Black Sand Beach was much easier than Red Sand Beach because a road goes right to it and there is no hiking in the dark on the side of a cliff required.  I was surprised to discover there was no one at this highly accessible and very beautiful location. I had the entire place to myself for two hours until I decided to leave. One of the most delightful things about the beach is the rocks themselves. They are smooth, black. When they are wet, they reflect the light from the sky. It's really a beautiful sight. Normally reflections are things you want to remove in a photograph with a polarized filter. In this case, they added to the magic and so I chose to photograph them without a polarized filter.  Green vegetation added to the delightful scene.

Black Sand Beach, Maui
Green palm trees and lush vegetation growing out of the volcanic sand of Waianapanapa State Park framed the black sandy beach at sunrise.