The Ka’aha Coastline

For the past couple of days, Jon Cornforth and I have been backpacking to an area called Ka’aha in Volcanos National Park.  It is a spot that isn’t often photographed because it’s very difficult to get to.  The 5.5 miles to get to this spot is some of the most unforgiving terrain Hawaii has to offer.  The first mile is down a 2000 foot cliff with a precarious switchback trail winding down to a plateau.  The plateau is about 3 miles of sunbaked lava and thorny grass that constantly needles your feet and legs.  Then, it’s a short steep drop to the campsite.  Once you reach the campsite, you still have 1.5 miles to scramble over broken up lava to get to where this picture was taken.

Once you get here – it’s gorgeous.  It’s very remote and pristine – and you’ve got it all to yourself.  There are tidepools teeming with fish to swim in, ancient ruins, and scenic vistas.  Best yet – lots and lots of things to photograph.

This shot was taken just before sundown on Friday as the sun was peeking in and out of the clouds behind us.  Within minutes, the sun would go behind the clouds never to return that day ending any chance of an epic shot.

We walked out of this location this morning the same way we walked in – in 85 degree heat and no shade.  It was still worth it!

Vital Stats: Canon 5D Mark II w/Canon 17-40 f/4L @ 17mm  ISO 200, f/22.0, .4 sec.

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