I drove about 6 hours to get one photo.

On my vacation to Maui I wanted to capture one awesome photograph that I could use on my about page on my site. I had found an awesome shot on 500px by Eric Kraus that inspired me to make the journey to the summit of Haleakala (thanks to Eric for giving me permission to use his photo in this video). I got up early for my night drive from sea level to 10k feet to capture the sunrise.

Not knowing the island well I began to think that all the gas stations didn’t open until 5am and I would have to coast down the mountain if i ran out of gas at the summit which was how it was looking, but I finally found one.

Once I hit 8,000′ feet I was in the clouds I started to worry me that I came all this way for nothing. Perhaps an awesome shot was not in the cards for me.

I was hoping for somewhat if a spiritual experience by myself to ‘worship’ Haleakalā “house of the sun”, but there were surprisingly more people at the summit than I thought. However, everyone was very quiet because they either wanted that same experience as me or just tired from getting up early.

When the sun rose and hit my face it felt amazing because I was so cold and wet. It happened really fast like an explosion of light and I know others experience it too and I heard some ‘ah’ from the crowd. This is when I started shooting like crazy and ended up getting what I consider an awesome shot for me site.

I ran the cameras on the way down to and I’m glad I did because the trip down was not uneventful. Watch my downhill skateboarding Haleakalā coming soon.

Straight To The Light‘ by Alex / CC BY 3.0

The One Shot I Was Going For

Night Drive from Sea Level to 10k Feet for One Photo

The Visitor Center When I First Got There

Haleakala National Park Visitor Center

Sea Level to 10k for One Pricture.Still003

Products Used In This Video – Find Prices

Help me make more of these types of videos by purchasing gear from the links posted on my site. It costs you nothing extra, and helps support me to make more videos.

GoPro Hero3 Black Edition
GoPro Hero3 Black Edition
5D Mark3
5D Mark III


  • Great video clip and awesome result. Love the idea. We have La Concha mountain behind us in Marbella, Spain at 1100 meters. Trouble is one has to walk the last 2 hours. Your result is all the inspiration I now need to have a go to.

    Thanks for sharing

  • Awesome video. Love the production. You’re one of the reasons I took on this hobby 🙂

    Beautiful dancer at the beginning.

    Saludos amigo,


  • Cool video Dave, thanks for sharing. And indeed an awesome end result – the lens flares add to the atmosphere of the sunrise…what lens did you use and were the flares from the lens?

  • Dave,
    I’ve enjoyed your videos over the past few years but as a 50 yr old man myself I’m also impressed with your lifestyle, house in Boulder, vacations in Maui, BMW’s. Very nice!!

  • Amazing work Dave! Huge effort but worth it for the results. Again, I have no idea how you stay in the wife’s good books! 😉

  • I remember that drive up there well, watching the sunrise on Easter morning – having the juice and donut while waiting for just the right moment. Then the ahhhhhh from the crowd when the sun peaks out. Great memories.

  • Dave,
    Great shot, but can you please talk about how you achieved it? What camera, lens, settings, grading, etc? HDR? Who shot it? Remote work? etc…

  • @Ian I took with a remote timer, ISO 100, F22 and different shutters speeds at 24mm I think. I use Photomatix Pro to process the HDR and lightroom.