Last June, on my way to Europe, I spent a few days in New York City for the first time, staying with my good friend Jonathan. Here’s a collection of my NYC photographs from June 19th-22nd, from the perspective of an island girl on a whole other kind of island.
This is an image post I’ve been wanting to do for a couple of months now, and Father’s Day is the perfect reason to finally get it done! This past April, my dad and I took Ed on his first family overnight trip into Haleakala Crater, which has been a family tradition since before I was born. Even though my dad retired from the National Park Service in 2009, he still spends a lot of his time up on Haleakala leading volunteer service trips, and this was the first one I had been able to make in a few years.
My dad’s a pretty awesome guy, and my brother and I have been super lucky to have him as our father. He’s always been a truly hard worker, and I surely would not be where I am today without his support. I inherited my adventurousness from him, as well as a love for nature and landscape photography, so I’m always happy to spend this kind of time with him. Sometimes I get a little scolded for not keeping up while hiking, but this time I intentionally was hanging back to photograph my dad walking through the amazing mountain where he’s spent most of his life working to preserve and protect the land.
Please Note: We are off-trail for some of these images, but that is because we were doing an official volunteer weed-pulling service trip, and needed to check specific locations for the weed we were targeting. Never walk off-trail in Haleakala National Park unless you have explicit permission to do so – it can be extremely damaging to the environment.
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!
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.
So, those of you who follow me on social media might have already realized that my mom is pretty cool. But besides that, I’m super stoked to have a mom that has not only been a massively good influence on my life (obviously), but who is also a person I have tons of fun hanging out with – she’s seriously one of my best friends. So, to celebrate Mother’s Day, here’s a ton of candid photos of her and I hanging out in Japan last December that I lifted from my dad’s camera and slapped some VSCO filters on.
Please note that we were wearing the exact same coat for most of this trip. Also note that this is one of the rare times I’m truly exhibiting my ridiculousness in front of the camera in public – no retouching, and lots of stupid expressions. :D
PS. Thanks Dad, you’re basically the only person besides Ed who takes pictures of me. <3
PPS. I’ll try to update my blog again soon without the 4-months-between-posts.