Steal Nothing But Photographs
14Jul/140

Big Island Hawaii ( Pololu Valley Black Beach):

If you continue north on Hawaii Highway 270 away from the Lapakahi State Park and slowly begin your transition away from the beautiful grasslands through a series of roadside bungalows (many of which are peddling fresh coconut water and fruits from the lush tropical vegetation) everything seems to come to an abrupt stop.

You have arrived at a location known for centuries as the beautiful Pololu Valley Lookout and it is literarily indescribable. You are approximately 550' above the ocean at this point and the scene can only be communicated via photograph:

The Amazing Pololu Valley Lookout (D3s, ISO200, f/7.1 @ 40mm, HDR, through Nikkor 24-70mm Lens)

Further investigation of the area yields a very steep trail that will take you all the way to sea level. Its a very simple descent that gives you very mixed emotions. On one hand You simply cannot wait to get below to experience your first black beach, on the other you know that the only way out is to climb up this trail in which you are descending. The trail leaves you in an odd oceanside forest with only a faint glimpse and echo of the ocean beyond it:

Path to Paradise (D3s, ISO200, f/5.6 @ 70mm, 1/2000th, through Nikkor 24-70mm Lens)

When you leave the trail you have the same feeling as if you walked from a dimly lit theatre into the sunlight on a bright afternoon. Its the kind of transition that makes you sneeze and inhale the ocean air. The scale of the entire area is so immense and you feel so tiny that the view of the valley really hasn't changed much even though you are 550' lower than when you experienced the first time.

Pololu Valley Black Beach (D3s, ISO200, f/7.1 @ 24mm, HDR, through Nikkor 24-70mm Lens)

The sand is a fine powder, further evidence of the beating that the crushing waves have been giving the volcanic rock here for centuries. You cannot resist the urge to remove your sandals and revive them in the cool ocean water after that rocky hike down from the top of the cliff:

Revive Those Toes (D3s, ISO200, f/5.6 @ 24mm, 1/1250 through Nikkor 24-70mm Lens)

Your so taken with the ocean and its beauty and power that you don't even realize what stands behind you. Your standing at the end of an immense valley that looks like something out of Fantasy Island or Lord of the Rings. This is one of my favorite images from the week.

The Pololu Valley (D3s, ISO200, f/5.6 @ 24mm, HDR, through Nikkor 24-70mm Lens)

Your so awestruck looking at this valley that you hardly even notice the 550' ascent back to the car.

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