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Haleakala National Park has two sections on the island of Maui. The Kipahulu District is at the end of the Road to Hana and includes waterfalls, Hawaiian cultural features and ocean views. The Summit District contains the Haleakala crater and its surrounds. The drive from the coast can take two to three hours depending on where you are staying. For this reason, we stayed at a B&B about halfway along that drive.
We visited the evening before for sunset and to scout out the location. On the way up, we didn’t encounter a single car, so I was feeling smug that our starting point had given us a good head start on those staying at coastal resorts. Wrong. When we arrived, the upper parking lot was full, and the lower one almost full. We decided to shoot from the lower viewpoint next to the ranger station and shoehorned our way into the crowd. You will not find solitude here (look at the first photo on the NPS website for the park), but you will have an almost spiritual experience looking at the sun rising above the clouds and this Martian like landscape. Nowadays you need to make a reservation online to be there for sunrise.
Aside from trying not to be jostled by my neighbors or accidentally stabbing them with my tripod’s feet, the biggest issue I encountered was lens flare. I managed to get a few shots as the sun rose above the clouds but didn’t like the foreground as much in those shots. This image is my favorite after I excluded the sun on the right. I was pleased that the curves on the sunlit side of the crater lead your eyes into the
midfield and the clouds beyond.
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