Driving into Kahului from the up country we most often take Haleakala highway. At Dairy Road the name changes to Kamehameha Highway, but the direction remains the same. If you continue the road comes to the port at Kahului where it bends to the west, heading up to Wailuku.
But wait – you just passed a scenic wildlife gem.
I can’t count how many times I drove by Kanaha Pond with little notice. It’s easy to ignore this wildlife sanctuary as it looks like a brackish marsh wedged between the road and an industrial complex. In the past few weeks I’ve driven by thinking it could be a nice place to do a sunrise that didn’t involve the seashore. So we’ll start this journey at 5:00 am on an August morning.
I selected Kanaha Pond for this sunrise because of the reflection potential. Morning colors in Hawaii have many personalities. Some mornings the sky is ablaze with magenta, reds, pinks, and yellows. Other mornings the setting is made up of pastels, not as striking, more subtle but beautiful in their softness.
It was dark when I arrived and I walked from the small parking lot to the small shade structure that had been constructed on a peninsula, reaching out into the pond. As I had never been here before I wanted a little time to pick some spots to capture images of the sun rising. I was quick about my surveillance as i know how rapidly the light changes during sunrises and sunsets, and there was already a glow on the eastern horizon.
As I walked out to the structure I was greeted by the sound of an aerator that I’m sure was installed to oxygenate and freshen the shallow water. And then there was the sound of the birds in conversation that consorted with a frequent gust of tradewinds rustling through the palm fronds.
I wanted an unobstructed view of the area of the sunrise and hoped for a decent array of clouds, high to low, perched to become screens for the sunlight as it streaked through the atmosphere. In the past the billowy nebula’s had become shrouds, reflecting the sunlight as it rushed through the thickest part of our atmosphere. Reds, yellows, magenta to deep purple are common here and this morning had promise of the same..
After finding several locations I wanted to shoot from I settled next to the shade structure and prepared my camera for the images I was about to take (ISO, f-stop, all the usual settings) and watched as the sky began to lighten. I rattled off a few shots so I could check how the 7D was recording the scene.
And then it began. There was a band of clouds along the horizon and they began to glow yellow and the color stratified upward – magenta, purple to deep blue. Higher clouds were replaced on this morning with a thin mist of clouds that glowed pink and purple.
As I said before, the light changes rapidly and there’s no time to be fumbling with settings, its time to make some beautiful images.
I shot a couple hundred images at Kanaha pond this morning. I enjoyed the quiet sounds of nature going about her business as my 7D interrupted the natural music with a rapid click, click, click. And I enjoyed the changing color of another sunrise. Each rising of our star is different, the same routine on the same canvas, but a different hand holding the brush.
When the sun peaked above the clouds out came a spray of golden light and in moments the curved edge of the solar furnace raised above the layer of clouds. In an instant the scene glowed in sunlight and daybreak was upon me. What I came for was over, but I will always have the memory of this sunrise.
And did I mention the bird chorus?