Mason here with another review about Hawaii's South point on the Big Island. This one is about Green Sands Beach. One of only two beach in US territory to have this unique color (2nd is in Guam.) Its a great beach that makes for a fun beach day. I'll go over everything to know about the hike to this must see spot on the Big Island.
Wide shots of the beach do not quiet capture the green color, it comes out more as a hue. The sun washes the color out. When your up close to it though it has a distinctly green olive tone. as you can see from my photo here to the right.
Here are the details on why the mineral is green.
"Green sand is composed primarily of olivine crystals which erode out of basalt (lava) flows. Made up of iron and magnesium the crystals are heavier than most sand types on the beach and remain behind when lighter sand grains are washed away by strong wave activity." -USGS
First of all photo prep!
If you are planning to take more then the cell phone photo & bring a camera then pack light! This is a 5 mile round trip, a bag full of camera gear gets mighty heavy after that for most people. However if your use to hauling your gear around be my guest & get those pics!
Far as lenses I feel that anymore wide the 35mm is not necessary for most peoples style of shooting. Everything gets pushed away & half your photo is just blue sky. Of course with the right composition & a good foreground its possible to get one, you just need a dynamic sky. Because of all the wind at south point you dont often get clouds above, so the sky is plain a lot of the time. I would say bring your mid range zoom if you wanna go light & pack one lens.
If your willing to bring more then one lens I suggest a 50mm lens (35mm lens for crop sensor body cameras). These photos of mine where shot with the Sigma 50mm 1.4 Art lens on my Canon 5D Mark IV. Bring your lens hood & polarizer to fight the sun & haze.
If you get a polarizer buy one that matches your lenses quality. Dont put the $15 filter on a $2000 lens. My top choice is B+W filters for my pro glass. They are machine brass filers that are weather sealed & have German optics. Since Hoya bought Tokina I have been impressed with those filters as well. However if you have dropped $2000 on a lens buying a $150 B+W filter over a cheaper $50 one is not a huge price difference to pay. Treat your lens right & get the best for it. You dont buy a Ferrari & put cheap tires on it, know what I mean?
The drive to hiking trail.
Starting the hike.
From the parking lot there are a couple paved roads heading to the coast, follow anyone towards the ocean & you will see a boat ramp ahead of you. You can park down here instead of the parking lot if your confident, I have seen a caravan make to this part. Just be careful with your car. If your worried play it safe & park at the parking lot & just walk in from there. it only shaves off 10 mins of the hike. From the boat ram take the path to the left heading East/North East.
Near the beginning of the road to Green Sands there are some serious rock humps in the middle. This is good cause it tests cars. If you can make it over those beginning humps then you should make it to the beach by car with skilled off road driving. I would not even try it if your renting a car. You need one foot of ground clearance on a car to make the whole drive.
One of the big reason it is good to walk along the coast at least once is because you will find spots of the green sand that are more vibrate then the beach is.
The walkway down is a little tricky. This is the area where shoes with some tread are best not slippers, cause there are loose rocks all on the cliff sides. However from the photos you can see Pete & Loni walked off the trail to go down. If you have good shoes this may be the best option.
Once your down the steps you are at the beach! You made it!
The waves are usually calm & safe. Still always be careful, I have heard that when the tide is high if you wade out a ways you may run into a strong under toe. I hope you enjoy your visit to Green sands Beach!