Puanlu’u County Beach Park is located just south of Volcanoes National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is easily accessible by car. This beach is a great place to see Honu – or endangered Green Sea Turtles. The black sand beach is beautiful year round, and there are bathrooms and a picnic shelter for tourists. Trails leading in either direction along the coast are well worth exploring, but the rock terrain makes for difficult hiking conditions in some places.
On our first visit to this location, we could see the sea turtles in the water, but were unable to photograph them due to high winds and rain. The following day, we returned to find two turtles sunning themselves on the beach. While we photographed them, three more made their way out of the water and onto the sand.
Photographing them was not difficult as they don’t move very fast – we recommend using a longer lens so you can keep your distance per the instructions on signs posted nearby. The black sand surrounding the sea turtles made exposure adjustment a bit tricky. I used the histogram on the back of my camera to be sure of proper exposure. I got down low with my camera so I could be on the level with the turtles. I let the camera blur out to help soften the background and make the Honu stand out.