​Sunset tour of South Maui – February/March 2018

A re-post from my blog page at my former photography web page.

Sunset Kamaole Beach
Nikon 24-70 mm, 44mm, f/11, 1/15s, ISO100

Aloha! Earlier this year my wife and I spent two wonderful weeks on Maui at the end of February and beginning of March. It was our second trip to Maui and we stayed in Kihei, which is known locally as South Maui. We stayed in a studio apartment that was only a short walk to Kamaole Beach Park and within walking distance of numerous shops and restaurants. Much of the time was spent relaxing on the fabulous local beaches, but I did get some time to take photos.

Early morning rain soaked hibiscus
Sigma Marco 105mm, f/5.6, 1/800s, ISO400

The weather included sun, clouds, and rain on most days and not in that specific order, which provided fantastic opportunities for photography each day. Fortunately, most of the rain was light and fell after dark.  Being on the southwest end of the island most of my photos were taken at sunset. I did try to get out twice for sunrise; however, with Haleakala looming in the east at elevation 10,000 feet all of the pre-dawn colors were long gone by the time the sun made its appearance.

One of the many things I enjoyed was the number of beaches and their accessibility. It seemed like there was a beach every half mile where we stayed, beaches we visited included Kamaole, Kalama, Ulua, Baldwin, Makena, and Kanaha. Access was not limited to just that from the streets as most of the resorts that dotted the shoreline in between the beaches provided public access along the shoreline as well.  Providing beautiful walks along the ocean that we took full advantage of, including two long walks to Wailea from our resort.

Sunset Ulua Beach
Nikon 24-70 mm, 27mm, f/11, 1/13s, ISO100

Each beach offered a unique quality or experience that we enjoyed, such as Makena State Park Beach that our niece is named after.  It is a large crescent-shaped beach with the remnants of a volcanic caldera located at the north end of the beach.  Here on our first day, we spotted 45 sightings of humpback whales as it was peak season of their annual migratory visit to the Hawaiian Islands. We participated in two whale watch tours with Ultimate Whale Watch in Lahaina.  The whale watch tours were excellent with the second being more memorable as it provided more favorable weather with plenty of whales, including one group with over 10 whales.  For the whale watch tours, I brought my new Tamron 150-600 mm telephotos lens that provided the reach to get some spectacular shots.  Getting the shots was a challenge despite the long lens, the primary issue was the inflatable tour boat that constantly moved, not knowing where or when the next whale would surface, and taking photos among other photographers on the boats as well.  I chose to use aperture priority, continuous shooting mode, and auto ISO compensation and setting this feature with a minimum shutter speed of 1/500sec in hopes to improve my chances to get sharp images.  While this did provide some great images, the number of out of focus or missed photos greatly outnumbered by winners, which is expected. 

Whale Tails
Tamron 150-600mm, 500mm, f/6.3, 1/500s, ISO100

Another highlight of our visit was finding green sea turtles at Baldwin State Beach located near Paia. A friendly passenger on our flight to Maui mentioned that sea turtles can be frequently seen at this beach. We were not disappointed as we made three separate visits and spotted beached turtles each time.  The turtles typically beached themselves at the north end of the beach and were not bothered by all the beachgoers, including pesky photographers like me.  I used my Nikon 70-200 mm f/2.8 lens to get tightly cropped images of the turtles.

Taking a break
Nikon 70-200 mm, 200mm, f/5.6, 1/1000s, ISO320
Kite Surfer at Kahana Beach
Tamron 150-600mm, 450mm, f/7.1, 1/500s, ISO100


Other activities that we enjoyed included visiting downtown Lahaina with all the different shops and vendors.  Three we made our second visit to the Lahaina Inn one of our favorite restaurants on Maui. We also made stops to Lappert’s Ice Cream shop and fell in love with Lava Java for our morning shot of caffeine. I also enjoyed photgraphing the kite surfers at Kahana Beach, a popular destination of the more advanced kite surfers.  For these photos I used my new Tamron 150-600 mm telephoto lens, and probably spent nearly 2 hours sitting on the beach firing off hundred of action photos. Lastly, we frequented several local fish restaurants in search of the best fish taco and found that Paia Fish Market served the best fish taco and was conveniently located a mile from where we stayed.


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