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Waikiki Wandering


Black fish in the water at Turtle Canyon

Something has changed in me over the last few months. Despite growing up as an outdoorsy-kid gallivanting all over Maui – hiking, snorkeling, body surfing, exploring in general – I’ve spent most of my 20s cooped up inside, sitting in front of my computer. However, a few months ago, I started to get this feeling like I needed to get outside and jump in the ocean. Of course I’ve been to the beach plenty of times in my life, but it was never really a part of my adult lifestyle, mostly due to constantly having a camera in my bag that I did not want to leave alone on the sand while I was in the water. Combined with my eyes getting worse and being prone to infection with my contact lenses, I rarely swam anymore…until now. I haven’t regularly exercised since I was in the 8th grade, and the older I get, the harder it is to stay in some semblance of good shape, and I guess my body had enough of it, because I could feel it craving the ocean.

I’ve also been shooting for 2Chillies Swimwear for nearly a year now, and since I started being around the ocean for our photo shoots at least once a month, I finally invested in an Outex underwater housing for my camera. I have so many awesome friends who are underwater and surf photography experts who basically live in the ocean, and I’m really happy I can finally go out to play with them!

Photo of me courtesy of Shannon Cummings of Memories Aquatic!

Photo of me with my Outex housing courtesy of Shannon Cummings of Memories Aquatic!

And play truly is the key word. In any passion-turned-business, you run the risk of burning yourself out on it, and I have to be really careful about photography. Of course I’ll always love it, but I’ve recently been so focused on shooting for work purposes that I find myself uninspired to go out and shoot for myself – to play, experiment, and have fun with it again. Business has been great, but my personal work has been suffering, so forcing myself into a new environment where I’m almost learning from scratch, combined with legitimate exercise, has been amazing for my mental health and spirit.

So that explains my recent foray into the world of underwater photography, but let’s get to the actual purpose of this post – Waikiki Wednesdays! Since Hawaii’s weather has been really bipolar so far this year, I’ve taken to trying to get out and into the ocean on any sunny day I can. My lovely friend Lauren, who kind of does everything  – dancer, model, designer, sailor, stylist, makeup-artist, businesswoman – is also the manager of 2Chillies Swimwear Waikiki, so she’s been the most amazing producer for our shoots over the last year, and also happens to be super fun to hang out with. She happens to have Wednesday mornings off, so I texted her if she wanted to go adventuring with me yesterday, and off we went!

So, first off, we managed to get ourselves aboard a boat sailing out to Turtle Canyon off the coast of Waikiki for some snorkeling. Unfortunately, the water clarity was pretty awful (likely do to the recent south swell we’ve been having), so I only managed to get a few decent photos. Through the murky water, I could see gigantic sea turtles wandering around the ocean floor, so I can’t wait to go back again sometime in better conditions!  After we got back out of the water, the boat sailed around for a bit before heading back to shore. Lauren and I had lunch, then went while she went back to work, I ended up wandering around Waikiki on a solo photo walk for the rest of the day. It’s been ages since I was just shooting for the sake of shooting, and I hope you all enjoy the images I came up with, which are so very me in aesthetic that it was incredibly therapeutic to just shoot what I wanted the way I wanted to.

Sailing past a surfer.

Diving toward the barely-there bottom.

“Lauren, swim toward the camera!”

Oh hey friend-honu!

Black fish storm.

Sorry Lauren, I liked this shot best! ;)

Nearly attacked by pirates.

An almost perfectly clear sky between the bouts of stormy weather.

Post-lunch Diamond Head view.

Hanging out on the jetty by Ft. DeRussy to chat with my mom on the phone.

Trump and trolley.

The Bus is always photogenic!

At this point, the decision became “Go home? Or stay and enjoy this great afternoon light?”


I come into Waikiki for shopping more than I’d like to admit.


The trick to shooting in Waikiki is to make it feel like there’s some breathing room – which there honestly is, but with a wide-angle lens it’s hard to dodge people walking into your frame.

Some people save up for years to be able to come here, and honestly, it’s beautiful.

Maybe I’ll learn to…someday.

The renovation and sand that was trucked in has given this beach a new lease on life.

There’s all kinds here – scenes of Waikiki are like looking at a Where’s Waldo illustration!

I got distracted by the light/water patterns.

My polarizer almost blackens the sky at this time of day…and I don’t mind. :)

This guy was just chilling out on the wall, letting the waves slam into him. I need to come back with a longer lens one of these days.

It wasn’t that crowded while I was here!

Watching body boarders from the wall.

Obligatory Duke Kahanamoku Statue photos.

Pictures of people taking pictures of a sunset.

Picture me crouching down trying to get out of everyone else’s shots while simultaneously trying not to get my shorts wet.

Overall, it was a great mental health day in Waikiki.


On a final note, I’ve always found it interesting that while Waikiki has been successfully marketed as THE Hawaii destination for tourists, the locals usually scoff at its commercialization and how overcrowded it is. While I can’t deny that those are legitimate concerns, the revitalization of Waikiki has really transformed it into a much more enjoyable destination than it was when I first moved to Oahu in 2004. Sure, it has its big city problems with homelessness and crime, but at the same time it is truly a lovely little area for what it is, and we’re lucky to have it so accessible as a quick escape from town life.

I’ve renewed my energy, and am excited to spend the summer making the most of my free time by going outside and enjoying life with my friends! In the meanwhile I have some big portfolio changes and updates to do in the next couple weeks, so check back!

Till next time…Aloha!

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