Pele's Chair Milky Way

Hawaii Starscapes III: Mokuleia, Pele’s Chair, and Eternity Beach Astrophotography

With the Milky Way (Hokunohoaupuni) shooting season coming to an end for the year, Jose and I decided to check out a few new spots to see if we could catch it in novel locations. Last month, we would go to the Kaena Point parking lot on the Mokuleia side which would offer the darkest spot we’ve come across on the island so far. Recently, we checked out Pele’s Chair and Eternity Beach on the East coast. While the latter two are not the darkest spots on the island, it offered interesting landmarks to be coupled with the Milky Way.

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Lanai Lookout Hawaii Milky Way

Hawaii Starscapes II: Lana’i Lookout and Multi-Exposure Milky Way shots

Lana’i Lookout on the Southern East coast of Oahu offers an ideal spot for Honolulu residents to practice astrophotography. Nestled behind Koko Crater and not too far from Hanauma Bay, this scenic lookout is packed with tourists and experienced divers during the day and offers a wide view of a mostly dark sky at night where the Milky Way is strongly visible during the summer months. While the darkness here does not rival Kaena Point or Mokuleia, it is a shorter drive for the majority of the residents on the island. The first time I would ever shoot stars would be here and I would return multiple times with new gear and ideas.

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Kalalau: 2 Day Coastal Hike along Kauai’s Na Pali

Over Spring break, Ikaika and I decided to hike Hawaii’s best known trail: Kalalau. The trail is 11 miles long one way and ends at a famous camp spot. Originally planned as a 4 day and 3 night event, we ended up shortening it to 2 days and 1 night while still completing all of the 22 miles, camping at the beach, visiting one of the major waterfalls, and capturing the Milky Way along the way.

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Halemaumau Crater Night Viewing at Jaggar Museum

The Halemaumau Overlook at the Jaggar Museum in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is a must see whenever visiting this one-of-a-kind national park. We decided to visit the Jaggar Museum on the last night of our stay at the park. It was about 5pm, or so, when we found ourselves at the famous volcanic museum. Unfortunately for us, it was very cloudy with slight showers. The clouds were plentiful and hovering close to the crater, leaving us and every other spectator with nothing to see. So, we decided that we would head back to the Volcano House, wait a bit, and then return to the Jaggar Museum later in the evening with our fingers crossed.

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Haleakala Backpacking Adventure Night 3: The Milky Way, Shooting Stars, and Caves

Our third night at Haleakala would prove to be the most memorable for me. Earlier in the day, we had explored a nearby lava tube. The lava tube is fairly out of the way and there are no markers, just a rough trail leading to it. Basically, if you don’t know where it is then I imagine that it would be quite difficult to locate, despite being less than a mile from Holua Cabin. With these conditions in mind, imagine exploring the lava tube during the dead of night. This was the most memorable night on Haleakala.

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Haleakala Backpacking Adventure Night 2: The Sunset, The Milky Way, and Shooting Stars

Second night in Haleakala and the second night of missing my shower at home. What helped, though, was the cool and crisp air. It’s not very humid at this elevation, unlike a typical day in downtown Honolulu. At Paliku cabin, slight showers would come and go. I figured that this was a more than common occurrence, based on the lush, green vegetation.

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Haleakala Backpacking Adventure Night 1: The Sunset, The Milky Way, And Shooting Stars

As soon as the sun disappeared into the horizon, our entire group just gravitated to the outside of Kapalaoa Cabin. The cold air was nice and crisp. A jacket and my slippers were enough for me. Mike needed even less. While we (Ahnate, Allison, Coty, Janice, and Joel) were busy clicking out shutters, trying to capture the night sky, Mike simply lied flat on his back on the lone picnic table and watched as Mother Nature did her thing. And he did it all in his tighty-whities. We learned a lot about Mike that night.

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