It seems like this whole winter season I’ve been on a bad rotation. All the good windows to capture swells didn’t match up to my schedule. Finally I was able to link up and capture some of this solid late season pulse. After a slow morning the sets started to fill in throughout the afternoon. I was hoping to capture happy hour with more consistency, though we were greeted with high clouds and long intervals. It was nice to be out in the water for a few hours regardless. Honolua is such a sacred area that we are all lucky enough to enjoy.
Sometimes we get the opportunity to hone our photography skills on our great friends. We love taking photos of nature and all the life within it, technically humans are included in wildlife photography J It can almost be more difficult to photograph ourselves because of our changing emotions. When we do have the opportunity to photograph special moments in our family and friends lives we always try to make the backdrop match their lives and lifestyle. Hoping to bring out natural emotions and to allow the beauty around them to help them feel more at home and comfortable. We had the privilege of photographing two of our dearest friends Serena Neff and Sean Sultan.
Both Serena and Sean have a maritime background, both working on a daily basis on the ocean, and helping others to see the mystery and beauty that our oceans hold. So even though they spend sometimes their entire day in Lahaina Harbor it made the most sense to take their photos here.
2012 was a challenging time for Serena and Sean, but it ended with a beautiful proposal to help carry them over into 2013. This year has already been a very eventful one, which will eventually lead up to their wedding at the end of October. It is very apparent the love these two share for each other as well as the third member of their family Scupper! He found himself in almost all of the photos J
There are times in our lives when things side track us from the road we thought we should be traveling. It takes a large amount of courage, dedication and love to help guide us through the tough times and back onto this curvy road called life. Serena’s battle with cancer has lead her to a place in life where she has more clarity and determination to help not just herself but those around her. It was one of the hardest times in our lives as well watching someone you love so much be challenged on a daily basis. Not even knowing if we would get to the day where we could photograph this sweet moment in their lives. But in difficult situations it is almost easier to find the light instead of the dark, the positive instead of the negative, and to rely on your friends and family instead of sinking inside your self. Serena has taught thousands of people through her blog about the struggles of cancer, but she has also taught everyone a new way to look at life. So that when special moments like an engagement or a wedding happen you can really grab hold of those moments and squeeze the most love, laughter and happiness out of them that is possible.
The second winter swell of the season graced the islands earlier this week and played out to be one for the books in many ways. Though I wanted to spend my limited time at Jaws, we have yet to invest in a telephoto lens worth making the trek. Hanging tight for the highlights is sometimes the way to go I suppose. Like many others I was up at early dawn to no avail in the swell prediction the first morning. This is why we love you Maui; just when we think all the elements are set up and systems are a go the crickets start chirping. Maui’s swell windows are very particular. On the North West end we are hoping for storms to produce a swell direction between 335°-360°(for Honolua Bay mostly). Any more or less of an angle island shadowing comes into play. Luckily the period of this swell was pretty long at around 20 seconds. This helped refract the waves around Molokai allowing the peak of the swell to crank on a few of our favorite destinations. Unfortunately my schedule worked against me this time and I was not able to capture much of the event. I did manage to click a few keepers however that I hope you will enjoy. Check out the full album Here. Aloha!
What if we told you that there is an animal out there where the male actually carries, cares for and births the babies! Sounds crazy, I know… but it does exist. Male seahorses are heros! We have been hearing about sea horses right here in the waters off of Maui. They are not commonly seen but do inhabit near coastal areas. We finally went out to explore, I don’t know why I thought it would be a quick process in finding them, I guess because so many people told me just where to look. It took us about 30-40 minutes of holding our breaths and diving looking for a creature we thought was the size of a quarter…to our surprise when I found them they were more like the size of a dollar bill! These are known as Smooth Seahorses because they lack spines. Hippocampus kuda.
This one is the female, the one below is the male and he looks very large., possibly full of fertilized eggs. The gestation period is two to four weeks. The numbers actually being born are hard to distinguish in just one species because there are so few, but a males can have 100 to 200 young.You can see the protruding belly here. The way they move in the water, they aren’t great swimmers, but they still flutter around with the surge. I still can not believe that such delicate creatures live in only 5 feet of water. It is a catch because you want signs up to not walk on the reef, but you don’t want everyone knowing that they are out there. When we were leaving there were people walking out on the reef with their reef walker shoes…I had to bite my tounge from yelling at them “There are seahorses out there please don’t walk on the reef!” Luckily seahorses are fast moving and can see people coming, we hope!
Last night we went out on our first night dive of our lives! We went off of Black Rock Kaanapali, where we have heard the nightlife under the sea there is the place to be! There has been a lot of surf over the last few days so we weren’t sure on the conditions. Diving at night is already a little unnerving and then adding in the surf plus murky conditions created a little more anxiety. Once we dropped down and all of our lights were shining in and around the same area helped ease this anxiety. We were greeted with so much wildlife from the beginning. Our hour dive was filled with a lot of nocturnal animals that you can’t always see during the day. Here are a few of the animals we saw:
Splendid Pebble Crab
Jeweled Anemone Crab
Hawaiian Whitespotted Toby
Ambon Toby Sleeping
Hawaiian Conger Eel + Poor Little Multi-Band ButterflyfishWe also saw a small white-tipped reef shark, slip lobsters, cowries, seven sea turtles, and the list goes on!! By far the highlight of the night for us was watching a Hawaiian Conger Eel snap its jaws around the Multi-Band Butterflyfish! Doing anything at night adds that element of unknown, whether you are on a night hike or scuba diving, you just never know what is out there with you, because you can only see where your beam of light is shining!
Wow! What an awesome swell to kick off the 2012/13 season. Similar to the earliest Humpback Whales ever spotted in Hawaii this year, these early waves had to have set a record as well. I need to get better at documenting the actual direction, period, size, tide, ect… For future reference… Over all I would say the weather cooperated pretty good. Some much needed rain broke the stream, though it seemed to wash out quick enough to not affect the waves and reef very much. Plus it made for the shot of a lifetime over the cave (see cover shot)! Even more killer was the fact my stay-cation started the day the swell showed up and was the most optimal, Sunday. The super high tide midmorning/early afternoon made for more walled conditions, luckily the evening low shaped thingd up for some more consistent caves and an awesome swim.
I absolutely love surf on Maui. Coming from being an avid skimboarder in Santa Cruz and Laguna Beach, CA, my appreciation for fickle conditions runs deep. This is why I feel Maui is one of the most unique surf destinations in the island chain, when she turns on. Though most spots are super inconstant on island, when she fire’s she rivals any similar world class break of her kind. Honolua, amongst many other spots on island, is very temperamental in this aspect. She is super picky about the conditions required to make her pop. Though when she does decide to display her plumage, it’s almost like a triple rainbow! Mālama Honolua.
A BIG Mahalo to all the contributions towards the newly created Honolua Hale, the final outcome is more than everyone had imagined. Mike Parsons described Honolua Bay once as “The Most Natural Surfing Arena in the Sport” and I think the Honolua Hale just brought it to another level.
Here’s to a textbook season! Let’s keep it up Mother Nature. Your hard work and dedication, to bring us super consistent tasty waves, does not go unnoticed or unappreciated. Aloha. Check out the rest of the photos on our facebook page.
We have been trying to dive a lot more these past few months, and we have always wanted to try a kayak dive on our own out at Hawea Point, but a little nervous to do it without seeing it once with a professional. So today we went out with Kapalua Dive, paddled up the coast and anchored in a little calm bay on the back side of Hawea.We just purchased a new Canon G12 camera and underwater housing, it worked really well! Here are some of the marine animals we saw!
Zebra Moray Eel
Dragon Moray Eel
The Dragon Moray Eel was a first for Thomas and I, and it is very rarely seen out here on the reefs!! I knew it was a Dragon Moray Eel because it has long nasal tubes over its eyes, kind of like horns. It is said that they are more common in the Norther-Western Hawaiian Island Chain vs. the main islands. Its Hawaiian name is Puhi ‘o’a, the species name means “Leopard”. We are still so excited about this find!
Sometimes life is full of challenges, sometimes…who are we kidding lately it seems challenges are an everyday occurrence. We are reminded by our friends and family to lift our chin and push through these challenges because you can only become a stronger more well rounded person after you face them. This past Thursday we weren’t reminded by our friends to conquer these challenges, but instead by golf ball sized Hawksbill Sea Turtles who hatched from their nest and proceeded to the shoreline. Golf ball sized hatchlings! Don’t believe us see below:
The amazing thing about sea turtles is that they return to the same beach that they were born on (the females that is). They haul out dig a body cavity and drop anywhere from 80-150 eggs in their nest. The top 10 or so eggs are unfertilized, so that if any predator were to dig up the nest at least the remaining eggs will have a chance at survival. The eggs incubate for about two months. The temperature of the sand plays a huge role in the sex of the turtle. Hot chicks and cool dudes. Once the turtles hatch they face such a long life full of challenges that is if they even make it to the sea! Once they make it to the sea they live out in the open ocean and will reach maturity at ago 30, and will return to the beach they were born to start reproducing. It is estimated for the leatherback sea turtle population at least that 1 out of 1,000 sea turtles will survive until adulthood! Talk about a life full of obstscles!
Sometimes life can defiantly seem unfair and tough, but there are reminders all around us trying to point out just how lucky we really are in life. Whether it is the sunset you get to watch in the evening, the animals in your life, the friends that you surround yourself with, the fact that you can drive to and from work without getting picked off by a giant flying predator, or that amazing feeling when all the elements come together and you are able to capture that moment in time with a photograph. We do live challenging lives, but they are also full with so many rewards!
We had the opportunity to do a photo shoot with our good friends The Kozama’s. They were celebrating their eighth wedding anniversary and Marcelo’s Birthday! A lot of happiness, excitement and love poured out of these images. We were talking later that evening about how fast time goes by, and I mentioned in our last blog about my parents how photography is an incredible way to capture those moments you want to hold onto forever. The saying I chose above captures the feeling this photo shoot had… you can see it in their body language and eyes how much these two love each other and how devoted they are to one another. We can’t forget the third member of the Kozama family, Brother! He wanted to be in all of the shots!
The location where these photos were taken holds a deep meaning to Ocean Allies and also to Christy and Marcelo. Kapalua or Honokahua are rich in Hawaiian Culture and history. Hawaiians believe that from such a place ancestor spirits continue to lovingly watch over the land and its people. The area is now carpeted with lush grass and bordered by native naupaka bushes. Also at the site is a portion of the 16th Century Alaloa or King’s Trail, a footpath that once encircled the island. While shooting at these locations you can’t help yourself from standing in awe of your surroundings.
Thomas and I are so thankful for the friends and family that we have in our lives and look forward to helping them solidify those memories through images that can last a lifetime.
Hau`oli la Ho’omana’o, Happy Anniversary Christy and Marcelo!!
When moved to Hawaii we knew that there was something special about these islands, we couldn’t put our finger on it but we knew. We weren’t expecting what we have seen and experienced. As photographers we want to photograph those moments in time where you wish you could press the pause button and just hold onto that time forever. So often we realize how special that time was in our lives a little too late, and wish that we could go back and have some solid memory that it happened. Sharing our photos and experiences with people allow us to expose a side of Hawaii that so many forget. Hawaii isn’t just about the Mai Tais, Leis, Zip-Lining, Shopping, there is so much more here that so many fail to see. Having my parents experience the spiritual side of the islands helped them to understand why we have grown roots here and feel so connected to the land. Thomas being a concierge and myself being a Marine Biologist and Naturalist has allowed us through work to learn about the islands and have a better understanding of their history and their future. On the night of July 31, with a little bit of the old Hawaii and the new, the islands welcomed us with open arms and rewarded my parents for the thirty years they have dedicated to each other, and healed their hearts to allow them to move forward another 30 years. We can sit here and write about how this evening made us feel, but sometimes images tell the story better. We are so thankful and blessed when the people closest to us can experience the hidden majesty and allow the aloha spirit to resonate within.
The skies opened up and sunshine flooded our lens as well as rainbows, emerald green mountains, turquoise ocean, Hawaiian chants and musical notes from Thomas’s ukulele:
These are the moments that we live for, the ones full of love, laughter and happiness. These photos make us happy, we hope that you enjoy them as well.
Our blog gives us as photographers and environmentalists an opportunity to put words to our photos. Many of our photos do not require much of a description but there are usually so many emotions attached to our photos and we would like to share them with you!