Very cold and VERY windy. I had to wrap an arm around a pole to change film (this was a couple of decades ago). We took a blanket from our motel room to wrap up in and was still cold. On the second film change, the gusty wind caused me to accidentally stick a finger through the Nikon shutter. Shot another roll with the backup camera and quit for the day. All-in-all, an expensive and futile trip! Would I do it again? Of course (except for this time it would be digital and I could take hundreds of pictures without changing film).
We were there several years ago and went up to see the sunrise. What I found was that due to the high elevation the light was much brighter than down at sea level. If you plan on taking pictures, you might want to invest in some ND filters. I think the extra brilliance of the light may be due to the thinner atmosphere at 10,023' above sea level. Be sure to wear some good sunscreen.
ND filters really not necessary...just stop down and/or faster shutter speed, low ISO. Don't forget the long undies!
We did sunset instead. I highly recommend that you consider that.
We were able to watch weather forecasts to avoid getting up there to have rain; were able to drive up in daylight; had plenty of time to explore and did not have to deal with the cyclists on the way down. There is also a lot more room to view the sunset.
The purpose of requiring tickets is to address the lack of parking, but I'm not sure about the mobs, because their are a lot of tour operators that take groups up there for as much as $100. Must apply at 60 days in advance during busy times or you are probably out of luck. I did not make it on 12/23 or anytime that week this year. By the way the park remained accessible and the rangers worked the gates for tickets even through the govt shutdown, even though the park facilities were not opened. Definitely take a tripod if you want quality pictures and be there at least an hour before sunrise for the best pictures. If there are too many spectators that you can't get a good view from a tripod I would be surprised--they are all there for the same reason and will probably respect your space. Good luck on getting a day when sunrise is not constrained by clouds--that is often the case--but the views are with it if you do get a nice day.
I live on Maui and have had the pleasure of photographing Haleakala Sunrise a number of times. As with any natural occurrence, you never know what you will get till you get there. Some mornings there are no clouds, and other times the blanket of clouds lays right below the summit, giving you a ethereal experience. If you are serious about getting a good shot, you may need to go more than once. Regardless, we take all our visiting family and friends, and no one has ever been disappointed. The best place can be debated, but everyone is correct in saying get up early to get a good spot. Plan on being there by 3-3:30, and bring lots of blankets and warm clothes. We wear our ski clothes and are toasty warm. As for filter or no filter, the most beautiful time is right before and when the sun just starts to peak its way over the clouds. Once it gets above the clouds, you may want a ND filter or just keep adjusting shutter speeds. It gets bright very fast. I tend to like to keep adjusting my shutter so not to miss a shot, but everyone has their own method. Personally I like to hike to the very top peak, right next to the visitor center. It is usually not as crowded, but bring a torch to see your footing.
[quote=wkillham]We did sunset instead. I highly recommend that you consider that.
We did the sunset on the Big Island last time on Manua Kea it was an amazing experience. Thanks for all the great comments. We will be staying in Wailea so thinking of leaving around 3:00? To see some stars and get a few star shots before sunrise? We are planning doing this the next day after we arrive we arrive so 2:30am will be 8:30am “our time”.
Also would like to just be able to go when I wanted ie best weather but the “ticket” has to be reserved 60 days prior or they do have some they release a couple days prior. I had though I might try getting tickets for several days but if it is good the first morning and then we do not use or need the others we would take the chance away for someone else.
Maybe raffle them off at the hotel for a profit?? Hmmmmm
We went many years ago and I would suggest if taking stairs or walking up hill to take it easy. The elevation (10,000+) and low oxygen supply can surprise you.
Looking into the sun at that altitude is intense so bring the sunglasses.
Kind of an off the wall suggestion but watching the shadow on the west side disappear as the sun come up is an interesting site we enjoyed during one of our visits. I forget the specifics and do not have any pictures taken (it was probably 1986 or 1987 and of course all I had was my Pentax ME Super film camera. Have a good trip, the tickets are a new thing as others have said. but we did have to pass through a ranger station when I was there 10 or so years ago. Again, have a good trip. There is also a great flower (Protea) farm on the way down in Kula. If not directly on the road down, look it up, not far away and worth the trip. Especially if you like Macro flower shots.
re brightness - I've climbed to 19,000', often on glaciers, and never had any problems with light being 'too bright'
I have now shot it several times. I say forget the rail. Get there early and continue up an park in the upper lot. Walk along the mounds until up find a spot. May something with foreground. Who knows?
We were just there. Wind factor made it around 32 ... (
And whatever you get, make sure it comes with the Portuguese Sausage. It's not at all like mainland sausage. And don't get chopped up sausage, get slices.