Sunrise at Hanauma Bay Rim Trail (Hawaii)

I took this photo while visiting Hawaii for the first time. The highlight of the trip was early morning hike along the Hanauma Bay Rim Trail on O’ahu Island.

It was a beautiful and warm morning but when I reached the top of the crater the wind became extremely strong and gusty. I had to hold my tripod with the both hands to minimize the camera shakes and to prevent it from flying away.

Hawaii. O’ahu. Hanauma Bay Rim Trail
Loc: 21.272665, -157.6987727


The light of the scene was very dynamic with the bright sun and the dark shadows. I knew from the beginning that in order for me to pull this shot I had to shoot for HDR. I took 3 bracketed shots with 2EV intervals  (-2, 0, +2) plus I used exposure compensation -1EV so the actual exposure values of the shots were -3, -1, +1.


I keep experimenting with my editing workflow trying to streamline it and make it more efficient.

For today’s shot, I decided to stay away from pure Natural Look. I wanted to try something more creative and maybe even edgy.

First, I merged 3 bracketed shots for HDR using new Lightroom Merge tool. I outlined this technique in my latest tutorial “Lightroom HDR – Natural Looking HDR In Lightroom”.

After I produced HDR image I used a Lightroom preset based editing.

I started applying different presets from my Landscape Collection to HDR image. I selected the following looks that I liked the best: Brocken Clouds, Skyshine, Clock Tower and Tropical Morning.

After I played with ToolKit adjustments and compared 4 version again, the obvious winner was Broken Clouds look.

Preset: Skyshine


Preset: Clock Tower


Preset: Tropical Morning


Preset: Broken Clouds


Deconstructing Featured Photo

Camera: Sony a6000
Lens: Sony 10-18mm
Focal Length: 10mm
ISO: 100
Aperture: F8
Tripod: FEISOL Tournament CT-3442  – Check my FEISOL Tournament CT-3442 Review.
Ballhead: FEISOL CB-40D

Processing: Lightroom HDR Preset Based Workflow

Lightroom: import, tagging, HDR Merge, preset based processing (Brocken Clouds preset from Landscape Collection)
Photoshop: contrast, color correction, cleaning and removing distracting elements with the help of the Stamp Tool. I used the Content-Aware Move Tool to move the sun area slightly to the left.

Photoshop Plugins: 

  • Topaz DeNoise was used to reduce digital noise (sky, ocean).
  • Topaz Clarity was used to enhance details and boost colors (mountain, grass).
Archiving: I save all my photos as JPEG (quality: 100%) at full resolution and with the help of the Lightroom plugin, I synchronized them with my portfolio on SmugMug for safekeeping, sharing, image hosting and online sales.

Do not forget that my FREE Lightroom Preset Collection is always free for all subscribers to my newsletter.