Dave's Photo & Travelblogue

Photo shoots. World travel advice. Tips on Munich & environs.

The Green Flash

No, it’s not a superhero. It’s a phenomenon.

When it comes to the green flash, there are four groups of people.

  1. 1. Those who have never heard of the green flash
  2. 2. A few who know what it is, but never saw it themselves
  3. 3. Fewer still who have seen it and recognized it
  4. 4. A tiny handful who have photographed the green flash

For readers in group one, you’re about to join the esteemed second group! What is the green flash? When the sun sets over the ocean, just as the disc disappears completely below the horizon, you can sometimes see a green flash. It depends on the right conditions, and usually requires a rather clear sky. Kind of like this Hanalei Bay sunset from May 22nd, though I was worried the clouds would mess it up:

Sailboat Sunset over Hanalei Bay, Kauai

I noticed as I was photographing the sunset that the green moment (one second, really) had arrived, and held down the camera shutter button. The first two or three photos actually have a bit of green visible! You really have to zoom in, but here it is:

Green Flash over Hanalei Bay, Kauai

This photo is highly cropped, but has no color adjustments of any kind.

So now you know about the green flash. The next time you’re viewing a clear sunset over the ocean, watch for it! If you have a D-SLR, try to catch it in pixels. Just hold down the shutter in high-speed-shooting mode, and look at your pics later to see if the rim of the sun looks green as it disappears underwater.

What else did I do this lovely day besides join the ranks of green flash photographers? I rode a helicopter around Kauai with Island Helicopters! This outfit is fantastic, and I wouldn’t have changed a single moment of the tour. A truly impressive (and safety oriented) operation. I’ll be writing a full article about the tour shortly, but here are a few teaser pics to get you drooling.

Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific:

Waimea Canyon, the Grand Canyon of the Pacific

The Na Pali coast, inaccessible by roads:

Kauai's Na Pali Coast

I would say a helicopter tour is a MUST for anyone visiting Kauai, provided you can afford it. And remember, there are a few areas where you never want the “cheapest available” – medical services, used cars, and small aircraft flights. I’d spend the extra few dollars for a safety-oriented, professional tour operator like Island Helicopters.

As I’m writing this, I’m feeling rather isolated as the only person in Camp Sloggett, a cool but currently empty campground near the top of Waimea Canyon. That story, however, must wait for another day.

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Posted in Around the World 12 years, 1 month ago at 3:41 pm.


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7 Replies

  1. Man, my high school physics teacher told us about the green flash. I remember every time I was at the beach in SW Florida I’d look for it. Years past and I forgot all about looking for the green flash, probably a good idea given my eye sight. Awesome that you captured the moment!

  2. Well, it’s the only time I’ve ever seen it, and I happened to be ready with the camera zoomed in… my luck on this trip has been astounding! Great weather. The neo-tropical otter photo. First up Wayna Picchu. AND the Green Flash!

    I’m glad that I’m not the only one I know who’s heard of the flash… 😉 I feel 10% less geeky now. Double thanks Heza!

  3. especially for you dave, XKCK.com today : http://xkcd.com/766/ The green flash 😉
    .-= paul´s last blog ..Dogs Snowboarding =-.

  4. Hahaha, that’s an awesome comic! I’ll have to remember that for the next time I’m with someone on the beach for sunset. “Let me just hold your car keys, in case you’re so amazed that you fall over. I’ll just grab this heavy camera tripod with my other hand…”

  5. sparky Feb 9th 2011

    The best sighting I ever had was at a tail gate party near the pier on Hanalei Bay.We all backed out pickups on the beach ( as you do) and waited.No cameras but haole me and my now Hawaiian brahs
    have some thing in common.We ALL saw it , just right of Bali Hai .The flash seemed to last forever.I no forget.
    Waikiki is good too, as long as those catarmarans going out at sunset no get in the way.Utterly awesome.They are so reliable there, next time I am on Island I take the camera.

  6. Cool story, Sparky – I’m jealous that you have such frequent opportunities to spot it! You gotta move from just seeing it to taking a picture ;-). I’d love to see it, I could post it here if you do manage to get a good one.

  7. I’ve been on this site for 7 or so minutes and it’s incredible (for what I’m looking for). I’m a local but often take my visiting friends around to play tourist. This site is perfect for them to review before they arrive. This pic of Napali coast is spot on and impressive from a moving aircraft.

    Green flash – I’ve lived here all my life and none of the locals talk about it.. but then again we live on the east.

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