Papohaku Beach Sunrise 1

Papohaku Beach Sunrise 1

I spent a week sea-kayaking Molokai‘s remote north shore 7 years ago and had always wanted to return. I finally had the opportunity when I took my family to Maui for our recent family vacation. Molokai’s tranquil charm is the total opposite of the tourist chaos of Waikiki or Lahaina. There really isn’t much to do, other than relax and do nothing, which is exactly what we did.

Hawaii experienced a huge tropical storm during our week-long visit, which was a bummer, especially for my photography ambitions. After several days of torrential rain, I finally experienced perfect landscape photography conditions and created this dramatic image on our last morning on Molokai. At almost 3 miles long, Papohaku Beach is the longest beach in Hawaii. Of course, since this was Molokai I had this beautiful location all to myself. I located these lava rocks embedded in the sand on the north end of the beach and knew that they would give some texture to the outgoing waves crashing into the beach. I also anticipated  that the clear sky in the east was going to allow the sunrise to light up the cloudy remnants of the previous few days’ storm just offshore. By taking extreme chances with my camera equipment and through trail and error, I created this dynamic image. From the silky water rushing over the sand and rocks to the breaking wave with the clouds billowing in the sky, this picture has an elemental, dream-like quality that I am completely enamored with. I created this image with my Canon 5DmkII, Carl Zeiss 28mm f2 ZE lens, and Singh-Ray 2-stop Hard Graduated Neutral Density filter on my tripod. It is a single exposure that required minimal processing using Aperture 3.

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13 thoughts on “Papohaku Beach Sunrise 1

  1. Love it. I especially like what the long exposure did to the breaking wave and the water around it. That area has almost a fairy tale fantasy painting feel to it. Is the water really green like that? What causes that?

  2. The water is normally turquoise, but because of the heavy rains all of the run-off of red dirt into the ocean caused the water to turn green.

  3. Really beautiful shot! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a seashore image quite like it. It’s really interesting the way the shore and wave are so soft and creamy with the motion-blur, while the clouds are sharp: neat to see the land as dreamy and ethereal and the skies as more concrete.

  4. Excellent seascape John! The middle ground is just smashing!

  5. Love the softness of the water over the rocks, the crashing waves, and the sky is beautiful.
    All from a single exposure…wow!!!!…stunning!!

  6. Thank you, Steve & Ron!

  7. This was a jaw-dropping moment for me. It must be the tenuous, ethereal quality of the image, but I’m not going to over-think it. Thanks for the moment, Jon. Travel safely.

  8. Some very nice water action to complement the sky. Later late than never!

  9. This is just stunning…thanks for sharing!

  10. What an amazing shot we’ve got here! Looks like a picture painted by hand! It’s beauty is striking! Great job.

  11. Awesome shot! Love the drama.

  12. Such great energy captured in the waves with the texture in the clouds. Excellent.

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