This evening, I had the pleasure of photographing three-generation family portraits! Linda’s two adult children and their children are staying in Indian Rocks Beach, so we took advantage of the scenery for some on-location portraits. Here’s the whole group. untitled-1002-2 Aren’t those matching dresses adorable? These kids were full of energy, and so ready to play in the water! untitled-1092 But we managed to get them to hold still for a few posed shots. untitled-1120-2 untitled-1130 untitled-1039 But of course, kids will be kids, and sometimes that’s the best. untitled-1072-2 untitled-1086 untitled-1107 untitled-1171 untitled-1085-2

Aloha, friends! Well, my summer vacation is drawing to a close, but this past weekend I crossed off three things on my “must do” list! Stairway to Heaven was one, photographing a sea turtle was two, and seeing Oahu from the air was the final one! This, boys and girls, is it. I’m glad it was one of the last things on this trip, because I got to revisit several of my previous adventures from 1,500 feet! This is the Cessna we flew in. IMG_5727 We almost didn’t get to go up! The weather was less than pleasant yesterday morning, and this is a small plane. It would’ve been tossed around like a leaf on the wind if the conditions had stayed like that. But we got the call around 10 that we were set to go, but it may be a little bumpy. Here we are preparing for takeoff. IMG_5728 We headed up to the North Shore. Captain Kevin Loughnane, our pilot (and Kelsey’s boss at work), flew over the water so that we could follow the shore. It was beautiful! I cannot get over how bright and jewel-toned the water is! DSC_3963 DSC_4024 This valley has been the location for several big movies, including Jurassic Park and Windtalkers. DSC_4029 Look how clear the water is. You can see everything below! DSC_4046 We also passed the previous day’s hike. You can just barely make out the radar station in the clouds. DSC_4067.1 The water is deeper here, around Makapu’u Lighthouse DSC_4100 And here’s a small island off the coast from Makapu’u. DSC_4090 We flew by the butt-kicking Koko Crater. DSC_4118 And nearby Hanauma Bay, which is a popular snorkeling spot. DSC_4133 And one final shot of the coast before we went in for a landing. DSC_4152 How’s that for adventure? I’m so thankful to Captain Loughnane for offering me this unique opportunity to view the island from the air! And I couldn’t repay Kelsey’s hospitality this summer if I had two lifetimes to do it! But I can keep saying thank you!

Readers, don’t think I’m done yet. My plane leaves on Thursday, so I plan on trying to fit in at least one more adventure.

Mahalo,
Jen

Last night, I headed out solo to the Haleiwa Jodo Mission. Why? To watch and photograph their lantern floating ceremony. I got there early thanks to advice from the internet, and kinda just wandered around for awhile. I’d settled under a palm tree and had just finished up a FaceTime chat with my love when I heard people talking about turtles on the beach. So, of course, I went to check it out. Holy smokes, there were a lot of them! All just chilling in the afternoon sun, no apparent notice of all the people! DSC_3847 Look how cute they are! DSC_3842 A reminder, dear readers, that these and other endangered animals should be given plenty of space and not be touched at all! DSC_3850 This is why a telephoto lens is a must! After I documented the turtles, I headed to a clear spot of beach to wait for the sunset. I caught a lonely bubble that had escaped from some kids playing a little ways away. DSC_3869 Some people in a kayak passed by. DSC_3860 And a festival attendee stopped to snap a couple pictures of the golden sky. DSC_3876 Then the way was finally clear for me to capture the setting sun. DSC_3892 I hung around for about another hour when it started to rain. The lantern float wasn’t scheduled to start until 9 o’clock, and this girl had gotten up at 2:15 in the morning for a hike. I was tired, and it was dark and rainy. I was happy to have seen the crowd of turtles and a beautiful sunset. I don’t regret heading out early, considering what traffic was going to look like after the festival was done. Besides, I had another exciting day planned for tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Mahalo,
Jen

Our last day in Maui (which also happened to be Grant’s birthday) was another fairly relaxed day. We slept in so that we wouldn’t be exhausted by the time we caught our flight at 11 pm. After a leisurely breakfast, we packed up the rental car and headed to ‘Iao Valley State Park. It was a pretty valley tucked between some mountains, with a view of the ‘Iao Needle. DSC_3398 DSC_3396 After the park, we headed out in search of more beaches (because that’s the thing to do on Maui)! This time, we turned to the southern part of the island, towards Wailea-Makena. We stopped at one beach for a bit before deciding to find some food a little further south at a highly recommended food truck called Jawz, near Makena State Park. Their fish tacos and quesadillas were indeed delicious, and we sat under the shade of a tree and watched and listened to the waves crash on the shore while I read a book and Grant played games on his phone. DSC_3414 DSC_3426 This particular stretch of beach faced more south than west, however, and we wanted to catch one more sunset before heading back to Oahu. So, we packed up again and set out along the highway to find a more west-facing beach. We found one tucked away among some trees and rocks. DSC_3436 Grant hadn’t yet had a chance to really explore the water, so he broke out the snorkel and mask and went for a swim. DSC_3495 He was fortunate enough to spot a sea turtle! He said it popped up less than six feet from him, and it was massive! Grant swam a bit more, then joined me where I’d staked out the best spot for the sunset. DSC_3525 It was a happy accident that we chose a beach where the sun set right behind an island, making it look almost like an erupting volcano! DSC_3540 DSC_3620 And there ends our birthday adventure in Maui. The experience was unbelievable! I’m so thankful to Kelsey and Devlin for sending us on this trip (I don’t know how I can possibly top that gift)! I’m back on Oahu now (Grant headed back to the mainland the next day), and my summer here is winding down. I have a few more hikes I haven’t done, and a special adventure a few days before I head home (I’m keeping it a secret so I don’t jinx it).

As always, mahalo for reading,

Jen

Aloha! Yesterday we all got pretty well acquainted with the water here in paradise! We spent the morning down at the beach surfing and boogie boarding. The waves were much more forgiving this time than they were during my first attempt at surfing. Grant and I decided to try boogie boarding first. Look at that smile. He has no idea what’s in store for him. DSCF4193 DSCF4231 But we still had fun. DSCF4239 Here’s Devlin, paddling to catch the wave. DSCF4251 And Kelsey, riding the boogie board in like a pro. DSCF4254 DSCF4257 After surfing, we were invited to join Kelsey’s commander on a good old-fashioned booze cruise. The boat left out of Waikiki and took us out to a spectacular view of Honolulu and Diamond Head. DSCF4258 They dropped anchor and some people jumped in the water and swam for a bit. We all enjoyed the lovely breeze coming off the water and the partial cloud cover cutting the sun’s harsh rays. After a while, they hoisted sails and took us back in. DSCF4326 It was a pretty quintessential day in Hawaii. I’m even eating some fresh cut-up pineapple as I write this.

Submission for the print contest is still open on the blog. Go to this page and write a comment recommending a hike or day trip for me on Oahu. If yours is voted the favorite, I’ll send you a free 12×18 metallic print from that adventure. Click here to enter.

Mahalo,

Jen

Aloha, friends! I know it’s been a few days since I posted, so I’ll do two posts about my weekend. As you may remember, we were planning to hike Koko Railway on Saturday, but Kelsey had a late night on Friday, so instead, they decided to sleep in a little bit then take me out to introduce me to surfing. Now, those of you who know me know that I’m not exactly graceful. Surfing requires a certain amount of balance. I am happy to report, however, that my balance had absolutely no impact on my ability to surf. The constant barrage of waves flipping me over, yes…but not my balance. Apparently, it was a pretty rough day for someone just learning how to surf. DSCF4171 Yeah, we’ll go with that. Meanwhile, Kelsey manages to stay on her board, if not standing, at least riding the wave in. DSCF4178 I did get to see a Hawaiian Monk Seal sunning herself on the beach! Just a warning to those who may not be aware, the Hawaiian Monk Seal is an endangered species, and it is therefore illegal to approach these creatures. I took this photo from a distance with a zoom lens. DSCF4179 Stay tuned for my recap of our Koko Railway hike!

Mahalo,

Jen

Grant and I went on a cruise, and of course I took photos!

Our first stop was Nassau, Bahamas. No excursions or guided tours here. We walked along the shore and enjoyed the beautiful blue water.untitled shoot-0829

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Our next stop was St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Some people recommended that we take the water taxi to St. John to enjoy the National Park there, but we found a very good tour guide named Maryann who took us on a (sometimes terrifying) open air bus ride up the steep and winding road to Mountain Top, with a couple stops along the way for photos and interest. First was Blackbeard’s castle…untitled shoot-0928

…where I found a statue of Jack Sparrow…untitled shoot-0940

Oh, and there are giant iguanas. Everywhere.untitled shoot-0965

Here is a view of Magens Bay. The day was a little hazy, but apparently on a clear day you can see many more islands.untitled shoot-0976

Our last stop was Saint Martin (Sint Maarten in Dutch, Saint-Martin in French). It is a small island governed by two different bodies. One side is Dutch, and one side is French. We found another tour van that took us in a circle along the island’s main road. Here is a view of their harbor, which is apparently filled with boats when there’s a hurricane.untitled shoot-1007

Anyone interested in real estate? Construction is underway for homes in Indigo Bay.
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Maho Beach, on the Dutch side of the island, is adjacent to the island’s only international airport.untitled shoot-1044

And when I say “adjacent,” I mean the planes fly right over the beach. Right. Over.untitled shoot-1074

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Well, that was our trip. My next adventure is coming up in a little less than two weeks, and I am SO EXCITED!

Thanks for reading!