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Hawaii: Tropical sunset on the Big Island

Updated on January 6, 2018
punacoast profile image

Part-time farmer, part-time traveler, Viet Doan lives in Puna on the Big Island of Hawaii with his partner and a lazy old cat.


A collection of sunset photos taken at various locations on my island home - the Island of Hawaii, also called the Big Island. Some of the photos were taken in Puna district, along the wild and scenic Red Road and near Kalapana black sand beach. Others were on the west side of the island, shot from the mauka (mountain side) above Kona town and at Waialea Bay on the Kohala coast. Each photo captures the sunset in its magnificent yet fleeting moment at the end of each day in tropical paradise.


Clouds make the most spectacular - and most unique - sunset photo! I love the dramatic effects of the setting sun on the cloud formations. The more clouds the better, especially when there are dark stormy clouds rolling in from the Pacific.


No tropical sunset photo is without the classic coconut palm silhouette! To capture a perfect sunset photo I have to work fast with my camera because the light changes every second. And the sun goes down very quickly! One moment it’s hovering so gloriously above the ocean horizon, next it’s gone!


This photo was taken in my neighborhood. The setting sun was almost behind the mountain but it still lit up the cloud (and the cloud’s reflection on the ocean) with such vivid pink and orange colors. A half moon appeared high above in the tranquil early evening sky.


I love the pink glow on the clouds in the three photos above! The color became very intense for one split second and then faded away almost immediately. Just as with us humans, the life of a sunset is short and everything can change quickly.


If you look carefully there’s a sliver of moon on the dark sky above the sunset. This is my favorite photo in the collection. I wanted to capture the tiny moon and waited and waited for the sky to get darker and then held my breath (didn’t have the tripod with me!) to take the shot at the right moment. Peace and serenity are the two words I think about whenever I look at this photo.


This fiery sunset was taken in Kalapana where at the end of the road there’s a short trail that goes to an awesome local black sand beach! In 1990, a massive lava flow from Kilauea volcano completely destroyed and buried the original famous Kaimu black sand beach (and the old Kalapana village) under 60 feet of lava. Some twenty years later, a young beach emerged as the result of waves crashing relentlessly against the rocky shoreline, breaking large chunks of lava into smaller and smaller grains of sand over time. Just another amazing story of rebirth in nature that gives us hope and inspiration!


About This Hub

This hub is dedicated to Puna Keli’iho’omalu - acclaimed musician, gifted singer, beautiful dancer, gentle soul, loving friend, kind neighbor - who left us too soon and too sudden on Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012. He was 44. Aloha Puna! The Kalapana community will miss you very much.

All photos were taken by the author with a SamsungPL120 DualView 14.2MP Digital Camera and SamsungDigimax 301 3.2MP Digital Camera.

All Rights Reserved

Copyright © 2012 Viet Doan (punacoast)

© 2012 Viet Doan


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    • punacoast profile image

      Viet Doan 6 years ago from Big Island, Hawaii

      Hi catchadream! What a great name, I love it! Oh yeah, Kauai is a beautiful island and perfect place for adventurous nature photographers like yourself.

      Hi Movie Master! Thank you so much for your kind words. It's so encouraging to get compliments from you and fellow photographers around the world.

    • Movie Master profile image

      Movie Master 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      My condolences on the loss of your friend.

      Your photos are fabulous, I love photographing the sunset - these are so dramatic you have captured the moment beautifully.

      Thank you and voted up.

    • catchadream profile image

      catchadream 6 years ago from Lakeland, Florida

      Beautiful photos, I have been to Hawaii twice and there are the most beautiful sunsets there. The island of Kauai is my favorite.

    • punacoast profile image

      Viet Doan 6 years ago from Big Island, Hawaii

      Thank you Seeker7. It actually has been very rainy here, typical February weather in Hawaii. And a little cooler in the evening too, but that's nothing compared to where you are. Keep warm my friend!

    • Seeker7 profile image

      Helen Murphy Howell 6 years ago from Fife, Scotland

      A very beautiful and awesome hub! Your photographs are stunning! It makes me really want it to be summer, instead I'm sitting watching the usual Scottish wind and rain of February!

      Loved this hub + voted up!

    • punacoast profile image

      Viet Doan 6 years ago from Big Island, Hawaii

      A big THANKS to each of you for your kind comments and votes. I'm so glad the photos bring everyone a sense of awe and wonder. Sunset is beautiful. Life is beautiful. Let's enjoy every single moment of it!

    • Imogen French profile image

      Imogen French 6 years ago from Southwest England

      Just beautiful - what more can I say!

      Saving up for my next visit :)

    • sgbrown profile image

      Sheila Brown 6 years ago from Southern Oklahoma

      This is a beautiful hub. Wonderful pictures and such a nice tribute to your friend. My condolences on your loss. Voted this up and beautiful! :)

    • Docmo profile image

      Mohan Kumar 6 years ago from UK

      Stunning,awesome and singularly beautiful - loved these pictures. What a wonderful tribute to your friend. Aloha to you and thanks for sharing. Voted up!

    • Princess Prisca profile image

      Princess Prisca 6 years ago from Heaven living on Earth

      What a wonderful, heartfelt tribute you have given to your dear friend. Thank you for sharing it with hubpages.

      You are a gifted photographer and your photos are breathtaking!

      It is one of my goals to live in Hawaii (Paradise on Earth) before going to the ultimate Paradise (Heaven.)


      Ciao...Princess Prisca

    • CreateSquidoo profile image

      CreateSquidoo 6 years ago

      How a wish that I could go to Hawaii and have a vacation with my family.