Friday, August 30, 2013

Black Sand

Punalu'u Beach, Big Island, Hawaii

The Punalu'u Black Sand beach is a unique and beautiful place in the south of the Hawai'i Big Island. The black sand is formed when volcanic lava flows into the ocean and it disintegrates when it gets in contact with the cold water: A beach of black sand is thus formed: unfortunately it lasts only a fleeting moment in geological terms, since the black sand is quickly washed away after few decades. This beach is surrounded by beautiful palm trees, giving a wonderful tropical feel. The sunset sky played along by being moody and menacing, which contrasts nicely with the calm water. Turtles are often companions of the photographer wandering around here, but that day they might have been too lazy to approach. Or too shy.

Like Black Ocean, this image is also a study of leading lines: the rocks in front gave a great lead pointing straight to the clouds, where I eventually want the viewer to rest. I focused roughly where the stones meet the water and closed to f/13 to get as much sharpness as possible on the foreground black rocks and the black sand: the rest of the scene in the distance is smoothen out by the long exposure and didn't need a second exposure to stack focus. A 0.9 graduated filter kept the sky in check. I slightly dodged the foreground rocks and burnt the top of the sky to lead the viewer inside the frame. The feelings the image tries to carry across are contrasting again: calm walking towards the storm.

This image is best appreciated at high resolution. Click on the image for an even better view.

SONY SLT-A99V, f/13 @ 22 mm, 10s, ISO 50