After three years of planning and two years of Covid-related delays we were finally able to take our trip of a lifetime to Hawai'i in November 2022. It was everything that we had hoped it would be and more. The awesome beauty of this place can't be done justice by even the most skilled of photographers, but I did my best.
This vibrant place was our home for our first two days on the island. Sunsets and sunrises at the beaches of Waikiki were a must as we took in the tropical climate and bustle of this beautiful city.
Maui - The Kahekili Highway
On the northwestern shore of the island of Maui is a road called the Kahehili Highway, which is quite possibly the most simultaneously terrifying and beautiful road I've ever experienced. Weaving along Maui's rugged northern terrain, the road often drops to a single lane - no more than 12 feet wide in some places - with blind curves and sheer rock on one side and cliff edges dropping down into deep ravines on the other. So dangerous is this road that rental car companies often tell their customers they are not allowed to drive it. Yet this road offered some of the most awe-inspiring vistas I've seen in my entire life. We'd often stop the car where it was safe to do so to take in the sweeping valleys, jagged coastal cliffs, a dense tropical foliage. We drove this road in the mid afternoon on a day that clouds from the ocean were piling up against the West Maui Mountains, leading to dramatic skies but admittedly poor lighting. I've affectionately nicknamed this road the Kahekill-you Highway, and it was a highlight of our trip.
Maui - Haleakala Crater
We rose at 2:30 in the morning to take a trip to the summit of Haleakala, the tallest volcano on Maui and third tallest in the Hawaii Islands, rising 10,000 feet above sea level. When we arrived just as morning twilight broke we were treated to an unfettered field of stars. Indeed Haleakala is considered prime stargazing territory, as evidenced by the various observatories dotting the peak just outside the National Park zone. The wind at the summit made holding the tripod steady long enough for a night sky exposure a challenge, but that's not what we were there for. As dawn broke we began to see the sun rising above the clouds below us, casting blazing light on the tops of the clouds. As the sunrise progressed it threw light and shadow across the barren volcanic landscape and the crater of the peak - some seven miles wide, three miles long, and over 2,000 feet deep. It was a breathtaking sight, and it became clear why Haleakala means "House of the Sun" in Hawaiian.
Kaua'i - The Na Pali Coast
The grand finale of our trip was an afternoon cruise of Kaua'i's Na Pali coastline, a beautiful stretch of the northern coastline of the island of Kaua'i that is regularly regarded as one of the most beautiful places in the world. Shear volcanic cliffs jut up from the ocean like daggers to thousands of feet in the air, piercing the clouds like green arrows. When we arrived it was late afternoon and several rainclouds were dropping showers along the coast, letting us only see silhouettes at first. As we drew closer we marveled in the sight of the coastline. It almost didn't look real, as though it were drawn up in the imagination of a cinematic CGI artist trying to create a fantastical wonderland. Wispy waterfalls dotted the cliffside, plunging thousands of feet the valleys and ravines below as the last light of the afternoon sun lit up the peaks and cliff faces.