You May Have Seen a Sunrise, But Have You Seen a Moonrise?


About this time last year, my friend Kelly was preparing to return to Colorado after spending a summer guiding sea kayak tours in beautiful Hawaii. On the eve of her departure, we threw her a goodbye BBQ with all of the people who had befriended her in a short three months. With it being a beautiful evening outside, the group decided what was next on the agenda.We were going NIGHT SWIMMING! We headed down to the beach, drinks in tow, where we waded in the calm, cool ocean and enjoyed the nighttime sky.

Moku Nui sunrise adventures with Kelly last summer!

Several minutes later, we saw a bright, flaming speck on the horizon. “Is it a cruise ship?”, I wondered. “Maybe it’s a super low flying plane,” Aya offered. Kelly ended up being the one to figure it out, “GUYS, IT’S THE SUN!!!” At this point, she was slightly inebriated. One’s last night in Hawaii saying goodbye to new friends is often a bittersweet one.


After we poked fun at Kelly and listened to her brother, Eddie, sarcastically chastise her (because that could not possibly be the sunrise, and because that’s what siblings do best), we watched in awe as the moon continued to rise (yes – the rest of us figured it out!). Bright orange and fiery red, it rose quickly in the sky. A BBQ feast, nighttime swimming, and a surprise moonrise made for the perfect goodbye party for our friend Kelly. Kelly – we are still waiting for you to come back!!


Since my first chance moonrise encounter, I have witnessed many more. As it turns out, moonrises are stunning, and each one is different from the last! Moonrises are the perfect opportunity to get out your camera and play with long-exposures. But for every few moonrises that I photograph, I try to simply witness one without the confines of my view finder.

Want to plan to witness a moonrise? A timetable of moonrise times can be found here – just enter your location! For Hawaii readers, Lanikai is a wonderful, beautiful spot to watch and enjoy!


Tips for Photographing the Moonrise:

  • Bring your tripod.
  • Take several overexposed images of your subject to ensure your manually-focused lens is in focus. Auto focus tends to not work in the dark!
  • Always shoot in RAW to allow for optimal editing.


4 thoughts on “You May Have Seen a Sunrise, But Have You Seen a Moonrise?

  1. Thank you, Leah!! I have learned through various jobs that require me to operate a camera (i.e. Wet Planet!), but also through playing and enjoying photography as a hobby 🙂 Glad you enjoy the photos! ❤


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