Saturday, July 18, 2015

"House of the Sun" - Haleakala Summit, Maui, Hawaii

The summit of Haleakala Volcano rises 10,023 feet above sea level on the Hawaiian island of Maui. It is said, viewing the sunrise at Haleakala Summit is "most memorable" and a somewhat spiritual experience. As a nature photographer, I was thrilled to capture the spectacular sunrise at Haleakala Summit.

Arriving at Haleakala Summit more than a half hour before sunrise, the large parking lot was already almost full! Hundreds of people were already standing and waiting at the edge of the crater where the sun was supposed to come out... The cold gusty winds was blowing across the arid volcanic crater, and the tourists were shivering in hotel blankets... I was wearing Alaskan winter clothing which I wore from home to the airport. The sky was still dark with millions of stars.

When I set up the camera gear at the edge of crater, the sky was starting to get lighter. The ocean of clouds were spread beyond the crater... The reddish volcanic rocks were mysterious purple under the light of dawn. A  group of Hawaiian women chanted in their local language as the sun continued to rise. "House of the Sun" in Hawaiian language, Haleakala is an ancient sacred place for Volcano goddess, Pele.
The sky slowly lightened up above the cold, windy crater... The background chanting keep going... Finally, the bright sun came out above the clouds. The sky was reddish orange!

As sun goes up, the warm light painted the crater in golden orange. Now the volcano landscape comes alive. The crater and volcanic cones. The colors of the landscape and sky changed every moment!

The sunrise was dramatic but quick... and COLD. The endangered Hawaiian bird: Nene were hanging around in the lower elevation in the park.

Here are Haleakala Summit sunset from the night before... Sunset behind the Observatory.

Flaming clouds at Summit area at sunset. 
Another sunrise over Haleakala. Sunrise rays above the Haleakala Summit, viewed from the ocean.