A Sunrise Hike To The Lanikai Pillboxes Atop Ka’iwa Ridge

Collecting sunset and sunrise timelapses throughout Oahu is a current (and recent) obsession of mine. However, in order to capture these spectacular sunrises requires me waking up during obscene times in the morning. Take for example my most recent sunrise timelapse to the Lanikai Pillboxes located atop Ka’iwa ridge in the beautiful and affluent town of Lanikai. If memory serves me correct, I woke up at around 3:30 am to get ready for the hike and then left my apartment at around 4:30 am.

The drive to Lanikai was a smooth one, which was expected considering that most normal people tend to be asleep at 4:30 am. I guess that makes me abnormal? Anything for a timelapse – I guess. It took us about 25 minutes to drive from Manoa to Lanikai (see below for driving directions). Once we reached the trailhead we quickly grabbed our bags, flashlights, and headlamps and made a dash for the first pillbox. Having scouted the area a few days earlier, Joel and I were familiar with the trail. Marvin, however, went into this one a bit blind – good thing he had a flashlight.

The trek up this particular trail is not bad at all. It’s a relatively quick 20 minutes to the first pillbox. The nice breeze and the sound of the ocean make the time go even faster. Once we reached the first pillbox, I promptly set up my tripod and GoPro HD and proceeded to capture still images. These morning hikes are appealing to me because they are very fast (I never choose hikes longer than 45 minutes when doing early morning sunrise timelapses). Once everything is set up, you sit and wait, and of course you enjoy the sunrise. The sunrise on this day was particular beautiful. It was a clear day. Even better, we had the first pillbox all to ourselves. Everyone seemed to crowd at the top of the second Pillbox.

Kaiwa Ridge. Photo by Marvin Chandra.

Coty and Joel look on. Photo by Marvin Chandra.

Joel gazes as Coty is getting out of OWLing formation. Photo by Marvin Chandra.

The sun just about ready to fully rise over Lanikai. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Na Mokulua in the distance. The larger island is Moku Nui and the smaller, Moku Iki. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Marvin Heads Down. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

I take a photo of Marvin taking a photo of the sunrise as the GoPro takes a photo of the sunrise. Very meta. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

Marvin gets on his butt as he makes his way back to the car. Photo by Coty Gonzales.

About Coty

Founder of Exploration: Hawaii. Adventure, Minimalism, Vinyl, Typography, and Coffee + Matcha. A single space after a period, please.


    • Thank you Sherry! These are older photos taken with simple point and shoots. The timelapse was taken with a GoPro. Most of are photos are now taken with husky DSLR’s with varying lenses.

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