Volcanoes National Park

Volcanoes National Park is located on the Big Island of Hawaii. The Park contains views of Mauna Loa the largest volcano on our planet. According to the USGS "Mauna Loa rises gradually to more than 4 km above sea level. Its long submarine flanks descend to the sea floor an additional 5 km, and the sea floor in turn is depressed by Mauna Loa's great mass another 8 km. This makes the volcano's summit about 17 km (56,000 ft) above its base! The enormous volcano covers half of the Island of Hawaii and by itself amounts to about 85 percent of all the other Hawaiian Islands combined."

This post picture is that of Mauna Kea which is a smaller volcano, yet it's 35 meters higher than Mauna Loa. During the winter months snow will fall on Mauna Kea. Yes it snows in Hawaii! Volcanoes National Park itself is a little more than 2 hours from Waikoloa Village. Waikoloa village is the home of several resorts and a great place to stay when visiting the big island. Volcanoes National Park reminded me a bit of The Grand Canyon. It's easily accessible and it has vast views of craters and lava fields. Crater Rim Drive, much like the rim drive at Grand Canyon, will take you to several different views of the volcanic destruction. At the time I went there was no "flowing" lava but the Kilauea Volcano is active. Kilauea spews steam, sulfur oxide and other volcanic gases. There are signs warning that the gases are harmful so do take caution.

Bring your wide angle lens for the vast landscape, volcanoes, and the craters. During a clear night you should see the glow from Kilauea. A tripod is a good idea being that you will often be shooting at f16 to get everything in focus. A telephoto is good to isolate some of the fine details of the park and the unique pattern of the lava rock.

First off I will say I enjoyed Volcanoes National Park. I would of loved it more if there was flowing lava but In terms of my favorite National Parks this would be towards the bottom of my list. Yosemite, Death Valley, Grand Canyon are all more enjoyable in my opinion. If you are in Hawaii do check out the park, it's worth the price of admission.