Maui Sunsets

It is said that the sunsets on Maui are the most spectacular in the world. Whether that is a fact or an alternate fact I can’t say, but I can tell you that Maui sunsets are gorgeous.

The weather here for the past two weeks has been a bit on the dicey side, with rain, mist and cooler weather than usual. That weather pattern happens every few years, but it doesn’t change the fact that the island is the perfect getaway. There is always lots to do here, no matter how you define vacation, or in my case, workation.

Still, I enjoy breaking away when the weather looks promising (and for a photographer that could mean cloudy, miserable days) and settle down at one of the local beaches for a sunset shoot .

The lead image was taken on Maui, north of Kahana. The wind was blowing something fierce, and the sun was rapidly disappearing when I arrived. I had wanted to use my 45mm Nikkor tilt-shift for the scene, to make sure the rocks and distant objects were all in critical focus. But I found that my 45 gave me too narrow a field of view, so I switched to my 24-70mm lens and shot this at 24mm, tripod mounted, of course. I hooked my camera bag to the center column to add more mass. I used hyperfocal distance to focus.

I wanted to calm down the turbulent water, so I shot at ISO 100 at f10 for 15 seconds. Why f10? Because I screwed up when I thought I set the aperture at f11. Hey, stuff happens!

I used a Singh-Ray 5-stop filter to slow down the shutter speed and for part of that 15 seconds I used a 3-stop ND filter on the sky to hold back the light on those looming clouds on the left to get the feel I wanted.

Because of the mountains that were off camera to the left of the image, the RAW file was a bit dark on the shadows of the rocks, so I upped the exposure 1/3 a stop and lightened the shadows a smidgeon in Lightroom. This was a new location for me, so I plan to go back soon. I liked the blue-hour feel of this image and thought to share it with you.

This last image is a more traditional sunset.

The lesson here is to find foreground elements that add something to the scene. This small rocky beach has some wonderful seaweed on it that has spread over the past dozen years and at sunset seems to glow. So here I did use my 45mm tilt-shift, with a long exposure and a 4-stop ND filter to keep the sun from blowing out. Again, I lightened the shadows just a tad in Lightroom, but other than that left the image alone. I plan to return to this spot soon and shoot lower down by the rocks so that I can catch some of that golden reflection in the still water tide pools. I just have to wait for another amazing Maui sunset!

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