When traveling with a handful of seasoned photographers, dinner table discussions tend to be about all the awesome places you've been -- and the one you're going to the following morning for sunrise.

After about 20 minutes of iPhone Googling last night, we determined that Pololu Valley Lookout was the winner. The only catch? We had to be on the road by 4am to make it to the north side of the island in time. We wanted to be in position to shoot by 5:45am, and we knew it would be a 20 minute hike to get the prime view of the ocean and the cliffs. The drive itself only took an hour, but seeing as it was still dark out, we wanted to be careful. This was something we didn't want to miss.

We arrived just as a few flashes of purple began flickering across the horizon. Thanks to headlamps and good company, the trail wasn't a challenge at all, but it wasn't nearly as much fun on the way back. After setting up and chatting for a few minutes, we saw the first burst of yellow light, which bounced off of the ocean cliffs, illuminating the vegetation and a few waterfalls we didn't even know existed. The clouds began to turn shades of peach and pink, and it was one of those moments where you don't know whether you should scream, shoot or just stand still and take it all in...

After the magical morning light faded away, we headed down to the beach. There are rocks and roots to watch out for, but the trail is well maintained. The view at sea level is just as impressive, and there were a number of purple flowers blooming just feet from where the waves were crashing on the shore. Favorite spot on the trip so far? Definitely.

#Hawaii #BigIslandVisitorsBureau #sunrise #PololuValleyLookout #beach #ocean #landscapephotography