Roadside Photography - Makapu'u Beach, Oahu

Traveling around the islands of Hawaii is a photograph waiting to happen at any point.  All the islands, are of course, fantastic for their blues of the skies and oceans and for their greens in the lush foliage covering the towering peaks.  Rich black lava can add an extra element of contrast to many areas, as it does on Oahu's Makapu'u Beach on the island's east coast.


Take the H1 out of Honolulu through Hawaii Kai and continue around the tip of the island past the road/trail for the Makapu'u Lighthouse (which is a great little hike).  Makapu'u Beach is clearly marked on the right side of the road and is a simple walk out of the car to some great views of the volcanic beach and of the Makapu'u Lighthouse to the south.  Several islands also dot the background of some photos, giving a nice element of perspective for photographing out into the ocean.  I loved going to Makapu'u Beach both in the mornings and in the evenings as the brilliant sunrise could be spectacular over the Pacific to the east.  In the evening, the sun, of course, sets on the other side of the island, but this still gives a great opportunity for long exposures and even lighting at dusk.

I would often compose images with a wide angle lens, such as a Canon 17-40 mm, with a circular polarizer and one or several graduated neutral density filters.  Foreground elements about for front to back compositions, such as strangely shaped volcanic rock, pockets of green foliage, or reflected pools.  The lighthouse to the south is great to catch at dusk as well, as a long exposure can smooth out the light's beam as it circles the area.  From this angle, the tail lights from cars will also blur adding yet another storytelling element to the scene.


Options abound in the nearby Hawaii Kai area on your way back to Honolulu, and of course you can always hold out for the Honlulu options.  Thai food is reasonably priced and tasty with great atmosphere at Maile Thai Bistro in Hawaii at 333 Keahole Street.


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HawaiiJoel addamsJune 2012Landscape photographyMakapu'u beachOahuPhotographyPicturelineRoadside photographyWhere should i photograph in hawaii