Volcanic Sunrise

Posted on August 27th, 2012 by

Inferno in the Sky

It was the most glorious sunrise I have every witnessed. If you visit Maui, the Haleakalā National Park visit is at the top of my recommended list. It’s an extremely early trip. We were staying in Kihei, so it was about a two hour drive to the summit of the volcano. As we neared the time of sunrise, we continued to wind forever up, up the road. The sky continued to change ever more interesting colors and hues and I had a hard time not watching the specical, but rather keeping my eyes on the dangerous road.

Ranger Blocked

As we neared the top, a ranger stopped everyone saying the summit was full. Were were told we couldn’t go to the summit and instead would have to stop at the Kalahaku Overlook. I was terribly distraught by this at first, but it turned out to be a blessing in disguise. The summit would have been terribly crowded and I would have been very restricted as to where I could put my tripod. At the overlook, no one seemed to care. I actually hiked way out to the rim of the volcano. This photo was at the very start of sunrise, from the official overlook. Get up even earlier then you think you need to, the sky changes wonderful colors WAY before the official sunrise time.


This is a three shot bracket (-2, 0, +2) combined in Photomatix. I then did some exposure blending in Photoshop to really bring back in the blackness of the sky. I love sky gradients where there is a change in light (or an absence in this case). I then used the Nik Suite to add contract and clarity, and perform sharpening. The final exits were done in Lightroom.