by Justin

THe Koko Head Arch Hike is located on the south shore of O‘ahu and is near the Halona Blowhole. This hike is fairly short, roughly 30 minutes at a manageable incline. The hike leads you to a natural rock, arch. This arch occurs on one of the ridges leading up to the top of the Koko Head mountain. To get to this hike, park at the Halona Blowhole parking lot, then walk to the beginning of the ridge on the otherside of Kalanianole Highway. Quickly gain elevation on the ridge and you will be rewarded with ocean views and views looking down upon a long stretch of Kalanianaole Highway and many beautiful beaches.

Kalanianaole Highway and the Ocean Views

As soon as you climb up the ridge you will get views of the first photography opportunity on this hike, the windy, Kalanianaole Highway. This road is one of the most scenic routes on the island of O‘ahu, but it can also be used as a part of your photograph to provide a path for your viewer's eye to follow. Typically, these types of photographs are composed such that the road starts near the bottom of the photograph and ends at the top of the photograph. Other compositions occur where the road moves diagonally through the photograph from bottom right and up. Try different compositions to see which one you like the best.

If you use the highway as a guide in composing your photograph, you should be able to ensure a photograph that has a ton of depth. For example, if you took the photograph looking directly out to the ocean, you would have a photograph with the road moving from right to left on the bottom of the photograph, in the middle would be the blue ocean and the top would be the sky. The viewer's eye would tend to quickly glance at this photograph, because it has limited depth, since the road was not used as a guide. If you positioned the photograph, such that the viewer was able to follow the road through a larger portion of the photograph, then this 2D photograph will give the illusion of being 3D. For example, in the above photograph, the viewers eye naturally follows the immediate foreground and then onto the road, following the light trail, noticing the ridge on the left and the ocean on the right, then the eye goes to Sandy Beach and the lights in the distance and finally the Kaiwi cost line and the sky above.

The Arch and the Ridge

The arch is a very impressive natural feature. There are many different ideas when composing a photograph for the arch and I will try to give you some ideas that will hopefully spark compositions of your own. In this photograph, the top of the underside of the arch is used as the foreground, then the eye naturally follows the path down the arch and onto the ridge, where the viewer ends at the sun reflecting off of the ocean.

Other ideas include, incorporating people into the photograph, such that the viewer can gain a sense for the size of the arch. Be very mindful of your background in these photographs. Some photographs of the arch lack color, because the background looks the same as the arch. If possible, try to incorporate the ocean into your photograph to add blues to your photograph.

Best Time to Shoot

The best time to shoot is at sunrise and the hour before sunrise. There should be a lot of parking spots available during this time.

Local Tips

The best time to shoot is an hour before sunrise and through sunrise. The parking lot should be empty during this time and should have no trouble finding parking or having people ruin your shot.

How do I get there?

Address: 8483 Highway 72, Honolulu, HI 96825

From the airport:

    • Head east on the H1 for 10.4 miles
    • The freeway will end and you will now be on HI-72 or Kalanianaole Highway.
    • Follow this road for 7.4 miles.
    • You will enter windy road along the coast, with amazing ocean views on your right and views of Koko Head on your left.
    • Stop at the Halona Blowhole Lookout parking lot. Look for the sign.
    • Parking cost = FREE