Saturday, June 7, 2014

Green Sand Beach Pano

We're gonna go back to Hawaii for this shot, specifically from the "Big Island". This is a panorama of what's known as Papakolea and affectionately as the "Green Sand Beach".  It's only one of about 2 green sand beaches in the world.  You can kind of see where the brown sand ends and the green sand begins as you get closer to the water.  According to, "the green sand gets it’s color from olivine crystals created from eruptions to a dormant volcano years ago. Nestled in Mahana Bay, this is truly a unique place and one of only two green sand beaches in the world."

It was quite an adventure getting there.  This beach is pretty far away from any towns or villages for Hawaii standards.  It's located at almost the very southern tip of the island.  So you have to drive for a little while and when you get about 2.5 to 3 miles away, the road pretty much ends.  Then you can either walk, 4-wheel, or you can hitch a ride for about $20/person in an open-air beater of a Mazda pickup truck for a 4-wheel ride that will clog your nose and other portions of your body with dust. There are other vehicles there to take you out as well, but they are all in a similarly worn-out shape and all covered with dust.  We just happened to get the Mazda. :-) The people who run this little business are an Hawaiian family and it seems they do pretty well, at least during tourist season.  You can also drive out there yourself, but it can be pretty treacherous if you aren't used to 4-wheeling.  Needless to say, we made it out there and back, but not without fear of falling out of the truck a few times.  We never did, but it seems like we came close a lot!

The beach itself was incredible!  There's nothing quite like it!  I mean, how often would you see green sand? It has the potential for privacy because it is a cove, but yet it is very public because people want to see the green sand.  Seriously, if you had the means, why not see it? But, it's kind of far away from everything that one can't spend too much time there because it's just not feasible.  For that reason, we didn't stay too long after we got there. It was rather windy plus we didn't really bring any beach stuff with us.  We're certainly happy we did it, though!  To conclude, it's worth seeing, but if you decide to see it yourself, don't plan on spending a whole day there if you want to explore other things during the same day.  Keep in mind, we are adventurous, but not THAT adventorous, so your mileage may vary. ;-)

I made this shot using my panorama technique.  Well it isn't all mine, but it's what I do and the camera I had did not have a panorama function in it anyway.  As a matter of fact, I don't like most cameras' way of doing panoramas.  They all seem to do it in landscape orientation, whereas I like to do them in portrait.  I think you get more in the shot that way.  They only thing that I know of that does panos in portrait orientation is my iPhone!

Oh, and one thing about doing panos that I didn't mention is, if your camera has manual mode, use that.  First take a good test shot of what you want in the center of your pano using Program or Aperture Priority, note the aperture and shutter settings and then switch to manual and put those settings in.  Then flip to portrait orientation, take the shots ensuring you have at least 1/3 overlap between shots and then process those accordingly in either Photoshop or whatever you use to stitch the resulting images.  That seems to work best for me.

If you would like to purchase a print or digital copy of this image, please contact me or visit my on-line gallery.

Exif data:

Camera - Nikon D700
Lens - Nikkor 28-300mm f3.5 - 5.6 VR
Focal Length -28mm
Aperture - f8
Exposure -1/1000
Exposure program - Manual
ISO speed - 200
Exposure bias - 0 EV
Tripod - No
HDR - No
# of brackets - NA

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