While we were in Hawaii I found it surprisingly difficult to get good beach shots — largely because so many beaches were so packed with people, no matter the day of the week or the time of the day. When I did come across a lovely empty expanse of pretty beach, it was overcast and the water looked the same muddy gray as the sky.

So here are some of the few beach shots I managed to get:

Waialea Beach

Waialea Beach Hawaii
1/200 at f5.6, 35mm, ISO 200

Waialea Beach is on the Kona side of the big island, just south of Hapuna beach. It’s a rocky beach with a bunch of shade trees, as opposed to the gorgeous white sand of Hapuna beach. Waialea was still really crowded, but I managed to get this shot lined up and waiting for people to stop walking in front of me, and hit the trigger just as some swimmers went behind the big rock and were temporarily out of sight.

Green Sand Beach

Green Sand Beach Hawaii
1/125 at f4.5, 42mm, ISO200

Green Sand Beach, on the southern tip of the island just northeast of South Point (the southern most point in the US), is an absolute horror to get to. You drive to the nearest lot and then it’s a 3 mile one-way hike across a dusty, barren, blazingly hot landscape to a descent into the rare green sand beach. We managed to get a ride in the back of a pickup from a local who was charging $15 for the trip, and I think that might have been even worse. The “roads” were horribly rutted and the back of the pickup was bottoming out, and there was no door on the back. It was a nightmare ride and I arrived covered in dust. I was blowing more and more dust out of my nose for the rest of the day.

When we got there we discovered that the wee beach was positively packed solid with people, and this was the best shot I could get without skinny guys in tiny speedos in the shot. The sand was, however, actually green.

A Random Wave

1/250 at f5.6, 170mm, ISO 400

Here is a shot of a wave curling at the beach of the Hualalai resort where we stayed for our first few days. I really wanted to get a cool curling wave shot, but of course we were there in summer when the waves are smaller — and we were there during a hot low surf period as well. So this was as good as it gets. I was a bit disappointed with the lack of stop motion on the wave: I had thought 1/250 would be sufficient speed, but I definitely know next time to really get the shutter speed up there, 1/500 at a minimum.