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Mango Skies - Hapuna Beach, Big Island, Hawaii | by PatrickSmithPhotography
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Mango Skies - Hapuna Beach, Big Island, Hawaii

The 'vog' made for a perfect end to the day at Hapuna beach. This was the view a few minutes after the last upload. I went swimming afterwards. Title by:

Jim Patterson! No HDR.


Free wallpaper for over 100 of my images in 6 different screen sizes is now available!


See the 1200 pixel version!



Settings etc.:



Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 17-40L @17 (just a bit from the widest setting)

1/4-second exposure @F9

LEE soft ND grads (100x150mm - 4x6in) 0.9 + 0.9

Lee foundation kit filter holder with Lee 77mm adapter ring

No polarizer.

ISO 100

RAW file processed with Capture One by Phase One

TIFF file processed with Photoshop

Small Slik Sprint mini II tripod

Manfrotto 322RC2 pistol-grip ball head



The Story



This was the view just as the sun touched the horizon at Hapuna Beach as the volcanic fog (vog) from Kilauea moved in on the left side of the frame. The vog turned the lower part of the sky a surreal shade of very light red compared to the usual blue you would normally see. I made sure to capture the sand at the most reflective moment to bring even more of the sky into the picture. Other than that, there was little drama involved here. In fact, it was so relaxing and perfect that I had to remind myself that I was shooting!


I showed this in the back of the camera to a curious person standing behind me. He said, "Wow, I didn't see that!" That was an unexpected response since he was right there. I think that he missed this reflective moment while staring directly at the sunset instead of noticing everything. Photos can capture what a video or a direct experience can miss. The lesson here is to never forget that fact when you are out shooting!


Processing was super-easy. I left the colors alone other than selecting the reds in the sky and de-saturating them a bit to bring out more of the fine detail. It took about 2 minutes to create a TIFF file! Usually it takes about 10 minutes.


Information from the last upload: Hapuna beach is often rated as the #1 beach in the US, with perfect weather year-round, perfect sand and a water temperature of about 77 (25c) year round. Not too hot or too cold ever. The beach gets about 5 inches (12cm) of rain per year. It is a state park, so access is easy. It is also a great place to watch the sunset. Although rain clouds are blocked by the twin 14,000 ft (4300m) volcanos Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea, clouds and volcanic fog ('vog') still wrap around them creating lots of thick atmosphere for dramatic sunsets.


Check out this overview of Hapuna!


The map shows the exact location.



Other stuff



My pictures are featured on the front page of the newly redesigned

The state Gov. of California website. Have a look! It is Flash with my pics cut into layers for a 3-d slideshow. If you are into building apps, the State has opened up lots of data to the public, so check it out!






Google Earth


Simply the best way to scout out locations that there is. You can see sun angles and pre-visualize light under lots of different conditions. Sometimes you can actually pre-compose your shots! This has saved me many thousands of vertical feet of climbing by avoiding spots with blocked views etc.


Satellite imagery (choose 'National' for a local US region or use your fave website)


Tide charting and preditions: (chose your area in US, other countries have similar websites)


Wave Heights (I choose 'North Pacific from Global')

Or Here:


Photos of every inch of the California coastline from a small plane. Excellent for close in detailed views.





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Taken on July 31, 2010