Sunset at Pele’s Well

Sunset at Pele’s Well

Happy 2024! Looking back on 2023, our trip to Hawaii was certainly amongst the highlights of the year. And, sunset at Pele’s Well was certainly one of the cooloest things we witnessed while there. Pele’s Well is one of the magical island locations that we loved on the Big Island of Hawaii.

On this trip, we spent eight fantastic days on the Big Island of Hawaii. We experienced some really unusual and spectacular sights during our nearly 900 miles of driving and exploring on the Big Island. It was there where we fell in love watching the sunsets at Pele’s Well.

The photographer's camera and tripod setup to capture a sunset at Pele's Well near Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Here’s what Pele’s Well looked like from where I was standing behind the camera.

We set up “camp” at a wonderful Airbnb that we found near Kona. The home was fantastic, and the owners, Debi and Bob, were too! Each and every morning, I enjoyed watching the moon set over the Pacific followed by the sun rising over the volcano behind us.

Then, at about 6:15 every morning, all kinds of birds dropped by to visit! Including, on one morning, a beautiful Hawaiian Short-eared Owl, also known as a Pueo Owl, right there on our lanai! Of course, that was the one morning I did not have my “Big Boy Camera” out on the lanai with me! Oh well, at least I got to witness that beautiful bird!

Decorate Your Walls With One Of These!

If you love Hawaii (especially during our long, cold winters) and would like to decorate your home or office with some professionally produced Hawaaian photographs, the link below will take you to our special Pele’s Well Photo Gallery to enjoy and purchase these images!

Pele’s Well Artwork Gallery

We also have a gallery of Humpback Whale Photographs. Since all of our humpback images have been captured while visiting the island of Maui, we will donate 100% of the profits from your purchase to the Maui Untited Way to help Maui recover from the devasting wildfiles in August of 2023. Joannie and I will continue to do that for the foreseeable future.

An adult humpback whale breaches off the coast of Maui, Hawaii.

A breaching humpback whale! By far my favorite thing to witness on a whale-watching trip (or from shore)!

Humpback Whale Photo Gallery

Who is Pele, and What-the-Heck is Her Well?

Pretty photograph at Pele's Well on the Big Island of Hawaii.

This is one of our favorite “pre-sunset” images at Pele’s Well. This image was taken on our very first night at Pele’s Well. The sky was pretty awesome looking that evening!

In the Hawaiian religion, Pele is the goddess of volcanoes, fire, and lightning. She is believed to have created the Hawaiian islands, and is considered to be a sacred, primordial force.

“Pele’s Well” is a deep lava tube located at Wawaloli Beach Park on the North Kona Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island. It is also surprisingly close to the Kona International Airport. While there, we actually found two of Pele’s Wells located there.

The first, and the one that you’ll see featured the most in this post, is actually a series of one large and three smaller “wells”. These are actually lava tubes leading to and from the Pacific Ocean. The second well (pictured below) is located about hundred yards away, and is a single lava tube.

A beautiful sunset captured with an iPhone at Pele's Well near Kona, Hawaii.

Pele’s Well captured with my iPhone 12 Pro. Not quite the same quality as my Canon R5, but very pretty none the less!

We didn’t find that second one until the night before we left to head over to Maui. We had met another photographer earlier in the week and he told us about it.

I only had my iPhone with me that last night on the Big Island, but I gave it a shot (pardon the pun). My results using the camera found in my Adobe Lightroom App turned out ok, especially considering that they’re from a phone camera. But my “Big Boy” camera, the Canon R5, blew it out-of-the-water on the earlier evenings there. I guess we will just have to go back! 😉

A pretty sunset, with a big wave splashing, captured with an iPhone at Pele's Well near Kona, Hawaii.

If you go here, please use extreme caution as the ocean is very unpredictable here!

This Is Not for the Faint of Heart

A photographer capturing a sunset at Pele's Well on the Big Island of Hawaii.

That’s me! Pretty darn close to the action as Pele’s Well fills up with water!

In the event that you want to visit this location, a strong word of caution is required here.

The areas around these lava tubes can be very dangerous! It is very slippery when wet (basically all the time), and the ocean swells here are very unpredictable. Add in that fact much of the lava is very sharp, and you can see where this could become a bad situation in a heartbeat. It would be very easy to slip and fall, get severly cut, and even worse, get sucked into the lava tube and out into the ocean!

What makes this such a unique photographic opportunity, is that the ocean waves surge through, and occasionlly overflow the lava tube openings. Sometimes the force is strong enough to create a geyser if the wave is big enough! Then the receding water pours back into the cauldron creating a lot of churning white and aqua blue colored water. It is that flowing water that makes for incredible landscape photographs (and sunsets) at Pele’s Well.

A stunning sunset at Pele's Well near Kona, Hawaii.

One of many beautiful sunsets that we enjoyed, and photographed, at Pele’s Well.

Sunset at Pele’s Well

I had researched Pele’s Well after seeing wonderful images in some of the art galleries on Maui years ago. I knew that I would love to try my hand at creating something special if we returned to the Big Island someday.

Previously, our one-and-only visit to the Big Island of Hawaii was when we had the honor of photographing Willie & Brittany’s stunning wedding back in 2012 at the amazing Hilton Waikoloa Village.

Once I knew we were returning to the Big Island once again, I did my best to figure out where this unique location was, and how I might try and photograph it. Longer exposures at sunset would be the ticket to success. And I think they turned out even better than I imagined before our trip!

A beautiful sunset at Pele's Well near Kona, Hawaii.

One of many beautiful sunsets that we enjoyed, and photographed, at Pele’s Well.

Thankfully, Joannie loves sunsets, especially in Hawaii, because we visited this beautful spot on many nights during our stay on the Big Island. I did the photography part while she enjoyed the scenery.

I’m pretty sure that she was more than a little nervous at times with me that close to the action. Trust me, I was very, very cautious the entire time, and on each visit to photograph the spectacular sunsets at Pele’s Well!

Not a One-and-Done

Knowing that a wide angle lens would make for a really cool image of this beautiful rugged landscape, I brought along my widest lens, the huge-and-heavy Canon EF 11-24mm f/4.0 USM. At 11mm on the wide end, this lens is crazy wide! It would allow for a very unusual perspective at Pele’s Well.

What it also meant is that I would have to get pretty close to Pele’s Well itself to take advantage of this len’s extraordanary angle of view. Once we arrived for our first visit, I knew this would be much easier said than done.

This is a photographic location that I could easily loose my camera and tripod in the Pacific Ocean, and/or get seriously hurt, or much worse! It was very important that I not let me guard down. Extreme caution was in order! I kept a mound of lava rock between me at Pale’s Well so that I had more secure footing. I usually kept my tripod right in that lava pile so it would not get away from me too.

A really stunning sunset at Pele's Well on the Big Island of Hawaii.

One of many beautiful sunsets that we enjoyed, and photographed, at Pele’s Well.

As I mentioned, Joannie and I returned on several different nights to photograph and watch the sunset here. Yes, it’s that beautful! It helped that it wasn’t too far away for our home base.

We hope you loved reading about this beautiful location, and we also hope you enjoy the photographs too.

If you’ld like to enjoy, and possibly purchase, any of these images. I’ve created a gallery of our favorite sunset photographs captured at Pele’s Well. Please check them out at the link below:

Pele’s Well Artwork Gallery

As a side note, these sunsets created at Pele’s Well will look absolutely amazing on photographic paper or canvas, but they will really come alive printed on metal!

And, here’s that link to our Humpback Whale Photo Gallery as well:

Humpback Whale Photo Gallery

Mahalo and Aloha! – M&J

A photographer capturing a pretty sunset at Pele's Well near Kona on the Big Island of Hawaii.

Joannie captured this pretty sunset photo of me and my camera and tripod at Pele’s Well.

Sunset at Pele’s Well © 2024 Michael Anderson Photography