Day Three: Holy Haleakala!

It’s vacation, but we are up at 3:00 a.m. Ahh, the glamorous life of a photographers wife…..For those of you that know me well, you know that I am not a morning person. However, my husband is. As a consequence, I have committed myself to, at a minimum, not be cranky in the morning. I am working towards downright cheerfulness, but often fall short. Yesterday was NOT one of the days that I was lacking. I was actually up and ready to go with the very best bright-eyed optimist demeanor I could muster.

Carl had all of his gear packed, we bundled up (we were heavily warned by all the travel books that it is very cold at the summit of Haleakala), when I say “bundled up” the extent of bundling was a pair of sweats, a hoodie, tennis shoes and my ever trusty pashmina. We were also advised to get to the summit at least an hour before sunrise or you might not find a parking spot and would need to instead park at the upper visitors center parking lot. We called the night before and found out sunrise was at 6:13 a.m. so we planned to leave at 3:30 and get their by 5:00 – MORE than an hour before sunrise. Now, remember people, this was also our first year anniversary (yesterday the 10th).

We pulled out right on time at 3:30 (I think it shocked both of us) and away we went. It is a long drive, but the stars were amazing, however, the STARbucks was not open….pooh. We get to the National Park, pay our entrance fee and head up to the summit. On the way, we passed the upper visitors center but proceeded on up to the summit parking area only to find THERE ARE NO PARKING SPOTS! It is 5:00 a.m.!

Now is the tricky part because it looked to be at least a mile from the visitor center parking lot up to the summit, and we have all this photography equipment (tripod, camera, video camera, extra batteries, etc.). There was only one choice in my mind. I knew Carl needed to get his equipment set up and find a good shooting location, so, on my ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY, I volunteered to drop him and the equipment at the summit, drive down to the visitor parking area and hike back up. Did I tell you it is 10,023 feet elevation? I didn’t? Well it is. And. Pitch. Black.

I head off to the parking, Carl heads to the viewing area and I tell him I will find him when I get back. I found parking easy enough, but the minute I stepped out of the Jeep I realized I didn’t get the flashlight from Carl. So, now I am walking a mile, uphill at 10,023 feet elevation in the pitch dark. Good Lord. I was so determined to make this a good morning that I set off at a brisk pace, I decided this would be my workout for the day, and wasn’t I fortunate to be outdoors hiking instead of on a treadmill?

It really didn’t seem to take long at all and before I knew it, I had found Carl at the viewing area, but he was inside the structure. I knew immediately something was seriously wrong. Carl doesn’t shoot behind glass unless he absolutely has to (like in a helicopter). I walk up to him gasping for air and he just shakes his head and says “you wont’ believe what I did”. “What?” (I’m kind of freaking out at this point – but maybe it is just the altitude). “I brought the wrong camera body”. Ok, photography terminology – the camera body is the camera itself and we had brought two of them. Carl’s original 5D Canon (which we had brought for me to use and start learning photography) and his new Canon 1DS Mark 3 – the “Big Kahuna” of digital cameras. Unfortunately the day before the 5D stopped working. We aren’t sure if moisture got in or what, but we couldn’t get it to work. But better that one than the 1DS Mark 3 – right? Except he brought the 5D to Haleakala, not the 1DS. We have the broken camera. And all the lenses. And the Tripod. And the backup Batteries. For the camera that doesn’t work.

Crushing. So, in keeping in the spirit of making it a good adventure regardless, Carl took pictures with the small backup to the backup digital camera, we watched an amazing sunrise and decided it really wasn’t as spectacular as others we’ve seen – like the Grand Canyon and Patagonia. But, we had a wonderful morning and drive. We were together and we laughed our “Lahaini’s” off!

Sunrise at Haleakala

Sunrise at Haleakala

Best laid plans my friends…..

Cute bird! - Photo © Carl Amoth

Cute bird! - Photo © Carl Amoth

Also – we posted a Luau video for your enjoyment in the previous post.


  1. Peter
    Posted October 11, 2009 at 5:43 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Carl, I am telling you Nikon is the way to go! ;). I feel for you. We all have those “Doh!” moments (like when I thought I got amazing shots at dawn one morning only to find I had left my ISO set to 6400 from the night before). Great story, and man you have one supportive and understanding wife! Sounds like a fantastic trip otherwise…enjoy, Peter

    • Posted October 11, 2009 at 7:38 pm | Permalink | Reply

      VBG. Perhaps you’re right about Nikon. I think they have better glass too. You’re spot-on about Bev–she’s incredible! (has to be to put up with me 😉

      Thanks for the comments.


  2. Pamela
    Posted October 11, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Hawaii is determined to take you into its calm.

  3. Heidi
    Posted October 11, 2009 at 8:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Happy Anniversary you guys! It is all about togetherness anyway.

  4. Charles Oliveria
    Posted October 13, 2009 at 5:25 am | Permalink | Reply

    Carl & Bev,
    Very cool trip and blog. I took my family to Hawaii several times for vacation and then we took a year off and moved to the big Island (Hawaii). I don’t know how long you are going to be in Hawaii, but here are some suggestions. You did the moutain visit, you may want to do the road to Hana with a guide. Plan a day to drive the narrow, windy road to Hana making frequent stops to enjoy the stunning dual views of ocean and mountains. Stop at Waianapanapa for black sand beaches and underground pools. Continue past Hana to Oheo Gulch to see beautiful waterfall-fed pools.
    If you are looking for incredible pictures, the Island of Hawaii, also known as the big Island offers the best diversity. As I remember, you can take a quick hop to the big island and return at night. It as 11 of the 13 climate zones. from subartic to rainforests to arid & dry. Take the Helicopter tour of the Kilauea, the active volcano, and visit during the evening to night hours. Incredible lava flow pictures during the night. At the windy tip of the island, all the trees are slanted by about 30 to 45 degrees due to the wind. At the top of Mauna Kea are some the largest telescopes with 7 different research stations at an altitude of 13,700 ft and sub artic temperature zone. Wiapio valley offers great hiking with a incredible pictures of the steep cliffs. They have both green and black sand beaches. It was very cool to see. If you decide to go there, I have a friend who can show you around.

    If you have any questions, call my cell (407) 312-1231

    Charles Oliveria (Charlie O.)

    • Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:26 am | Permalink | Reply

      Charlie, thanks so much for the great advice! We’re actually only in Maui & Kauai on this trip but plan to return, and spend time on the big island. We’re returning to the mainland this Saturday.

  5. Nedrra Lanakila
    Posted October 13, 2009 at 7:00 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Well, I’m with Charlie. I know we missed our opening for you and Bev to schedule Big Island into this trip, but Charlie sure makes some great points.
    And just in case destiny makes some delightful ‘other plans’ for you two, give us a call. Although we’re now at our home in Cupertino, CA, you’re welcome to stay at our place in the Volcano area amidst 12 magical rainforest acres – you’ll just need to rendezvous for the housekeys with Earl-J who’s in Kona or Waikaloa.
    Also, if the possibility of nabbing incredible lava flow pictures peak your interest, we can steer you towards the skipper of a boat who will bring you ‘as close as possible’ to where the lava flows into the ocean. I think he’s nuts, but I have seen some of his pictures and he really does get close.

    • Posted October 16, 2009 at 5:29 am | Permalink | Reply

      Nedrra, we truly appreciate your generous offer, however our schedule has us returning to the mainland this Saturday. We’ll have to get together on our next trip to Hawaii. The big island sounds awesome. Talk to you soon.

      Carl & Bev

Post a Comment

Required fields are marked *


%d bloggers like this: