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.
Long exposure photography has become popular as digital cameras have become more common and one of the most fun and interactive type of slow shutter imagery is Steel Wool photography. A simple technique with a few cheap items can produce exciting images limited only by your imagination.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Throughout the most popular spots in Waikiki exists 23 markers for an urban trail. While it is easy to stumble upon a few of them simply by chance, visiting all takes some effort. Most of the markers are wooden surfboards with both images and text that narrate the history of Waikiki. Building upon the efforts of Troy Solano, I was able to finish the whole trail over 2 days while also practicing long exposure night shots.
Troy became interested in the urban hike a few months ago after finding an essay documenting all the markers. Despite becoming the laughing stock of the hiking community for his ridiculous mission, Troy would finish the trail over 3 days. The final day of his hike also included me and allowed me to see a few of the markers before attempting the whole thing at night. The following will list all the markers locations as well as images from nearby locations. Detailed information about what is found on the markers can be found here.
Night photography is something that I only just recently became interested in. And it took a little nudge by Ahnate, who suggested that we spend a Friday night on the east side of the island, in the cold darkness, and try to take pictures of the Milky Way. I didn’t think that it was possible to take photos of the Milky Way without the use of expensive photography equipment and super fancy lenses. I was wrong. And Friday was awesome.