Take Monday Off!

Take Monday Off!

I’m not sure if you can, but according to the Wall St. Journal’s late December travel piece (shot by me of course) you can manage to see Oahu in three days!

See article here.

I’ve often thought travel to Hawaii is tough as we are a long way from “da mainland” so considering flight times, jet lag, Oahu traffic, etc, it seems like a tough path to follow.  However, the story lays out a great argument of what you can see and do on Oahu in a short period of time.

I had a helluva time shooting the job all considering it rained during the entire commissioned time to work. I had to dodge rain, clouds, and gloomy seas but I was able to produce wonderful telling images of Oahu.

The WSJ article produced a really nice video with all my images which can be seen on their website here… Take Monday Off

Of the wonderful Oahu spots, Iolani Palace is one of those places that lots of tourist seem to visit from the outside but hardly go in.  The interior shows the elegant side of Hawaii’s Royal Family with 18th-19th century imported indulgences giving the Royals that touch of European royal class.

Waimea Bay without waves can be boring as most tourist expect big waves and surfers but when the water is flat, its like swimming in a big lake.  Brilliant place to spend the afternoon and see the sunset…if you can park!

And of course the not well visited Doris Duke’s Islamic shrine, Shangri-La.  Duke, the trust funded daughter of a super rich tobacco tycoon, used her wealth to import only the best art, furniture, and artifacts from all over the Islamic World.  The home is now a museum with limited access.  The ocean side estate is a Pacific mecca of Islamic art and architect bringing scholars from around the world to study and conserve the many artifacts and pieces on the estate .  Although some may see controversy as Duke purchased priceless art and pieces throughout the Middle East, including having an entire room (floor to ceiling) imported from Turkey, she helped preserved parts of Islamic culture that might have been lost dude to neglect or theft, or sadly zealots.  Imperialism aside, Shangri-La is fantastic and well worth the time to visit the home.

36 Hours in Honolulu

36 Hours in Honolulu

…0r as I’ve said before, Honoruru

After several weeks of anticipation, the New York Times (find it here) published my travel piece, written by Jocyln Fujii, on 36 Hours in Honolulu.  The piece loads of locations for me to cover but I got to choose the more scenic and most exciting places to photograph.

Of course Masaharu Morimoto, (yes, the Iron Chef…you might remember him from my posting here) made for the most exciting images as his relationship with me allows him to tako…uh…i mean octopus…uh…ham it up (yeah, that’s it) for the camera.  Its always great to photograph someone when they do all the work for you.

I shot all over the East Oahu and Waikiki and had a darn fun time doing it.  As I’ve been told, its not work when you love what you do.

I was sad some of my hotel work from the Edition Waikiki wasn’t used but alas, you can’t publish it all.

The three floaters just lined up perfectly for this shot. I mean who wouldn’t want to swim around in a pool in Honolulu?  Or at least see it on print…

The martini shot

The martini shot

The past few weeks have been slightly tough with work and personally.  My father in law sought refuge with us after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan.  He lives in Tokyo so there was no damage to his house or anything around him.  Minor broken dishes and the likes but life went on.  However, with dwindling food supplies, continuous aftershocks, and the fear of a radiated Godzilla returning to strike Japan, it was best to have him come and sun in Honoruru.  Having a third person in our condo isn’t bad but its not holiday time so work must go on.

As far as the tsunami is concerned, I must say its been tough not going and documenting the drama unfolding has overpowered my desire to travel to the wasteland.  We figured its best not to have a retrospective on my life after going.

Before and during all of this I had a hectic shooting schedule which had me shooting numerous jobs and as it always seems, all at once.  One of the most intensive jobs shooting a travel piece for Delta Sky magazine.  Sky assigned me to travel to several islands and I got to shoot everything from horseback riding to a celebrity chef. The spread was published in their April 2011 issue. I’ve already had a few flying friends send me notes they are seeing the Delta line across the friendly skies…no wait that United.

The pdf spread can be found here.

Sky tasked me to document multiple locations around Hawaii within a short time and lots of freedom.  I got to pick and choose from a list of locations and venues and decide which would make great art versus what could be picked up from hotel stock.  We figured there would be very little value in shooting hotel rooms and beautiful sunsets because most hotels have libraries of that stuff.  So I concentrated on the unique, rather, the more editorial view of most of the locations.

One of my favorite images came out of the Halekulani Resort in Waikiki.  The Resort has numerous gorgeous stock images of their hibiscus signature pool but the images sell corporate beauty, not what its like to actually see it.  You see an idea, a concept, not the reality of a pool filled with tourists.  I scouted the pool before I realized dusk and above would get me a great shot.  I asked the hotel to get me a room above with a balcony overlooking the property.  It didn’t take long to see the images I wanted to capture.

The mag loved it.  They actually wanted to use it as the opening spread but the higher ups wanted a different type of image showcasing Hawaii a bit more.

The opening shot of the spread ended up being, again, at the Halekulani.  I got a really nice room at the hotel and tried to shoot the model, Cindy, slung sexily over a lounge chair with Diamond Head in the background.  Sadly, the sun decided not to cooperate.  We had NO sun…the entire day was cloudy.  At the end when we gave up, we popped a bottle of wine and Cindy went out onto the balcony to enjoy the view from the $7000/night sweet…errr…suite at the Halekulani.  Diamond Head, the night sky, and the beautiful girl drinking wine on the balcony all lined up into a perfect martini shot.  Delta was extremely happy as was I.  This is the second major spread in their magazine in so many years.  I’m fond of this shot and all the work it took to make all of this work out…actually what little work we did to get this shot.

A red umbrella

A red umbrella

Just a quick post on a quick little action shot I found today while doing a bit of a scout on the Windward side.

We went to the Valley of the Temples to check out the location.  The Temple, a replica Japanese style Buddhist temple, is part of this grand, beautifully sculpted graveyard.  It sits in the back of this gorgeous valley, mountains jutting up around it, mist and clouds all around.  Every time I go there I think it would be pretty grand to take that super long nap in such a valley of splendor.

Anyway, this blurb isn’t about some beautiful eternal home but of some small girl with an umbrella.  As we left the (mosquito infested) Temple, there was this long staircase and this girl dressed in some type of Asian-style outfit jumping up and down the stairs as her family stayed above.  I assume it was some type of memorial (we are in a graveyard) and the little girl just decided to fool around while the adults stayed above.


The little girl didn’t seem to really notice anyone but herself and the umbrella. It wasn’t really raining but she seemed to use that red umbrella as a parachute.  She was having loads of fun.

Funny thing about the really quick snap of the photos was I didn’t feel I was in the US.  I mean Hawaii is only America on paper…

A famous camera

A famous camera

I sadly have decided to part with my work horse Canon 1D Mark II as technology has moved quickly and need the larger, faster, and overall better Mark IV model.  I placed the add on craigslist the other night and yet to have anyone with any real interest make an offer. I did get the ridiculously fictitious email from some kid in a third world internet cafe asking me if I’d sell my item (they got no clue what I’m selling) to them at a higher price and if I would ship it to their cousin who is attending Oxford.  Uh huh…ok.

Funny enough, I spied myself on TV the other night during a news spot on a Japanese real estate developer here in Honolulu filmed about three years ago in Kahala.  I was taking pictures with that trusty camera I’m hoping to sell.

The photos were shot for the Associated Press and they went around the nation.  The New York Times ran the story on their metro section.  That was a big story because this rich Japanese guy was going to let several homeless people of Hawaiian decent live in his multimillion dollar mansions in one of the riches parts of Honolulu.  Needless to say he wasn’t too popular with the neighbors.

You can see the story here from the Times.

A bit of reminiscing about days past and time with that camera.  It got me through a big portion of my growing career.  How that camera got me through tough times and the easy days indeed. The camera has taken pictures of just about anything you can imagine. It has photographed Tiger Woods, Dwane “Dog” the Bounty Hunter, Felicity Huffman, actors on Lost, University of Hawaii football, Kobe Bryant and Michelle Wie. Its shot food, beaches, and girls. Its done everything.

One of the more pungent moments was the depression of Banda Aceh.

The shot above is of a group of Rescue workers organized in Mexico called TOPOS.  I met and followed the group around Banda Aceh as they pulled bodies from the remains of that destroyed city.  It poured like only a tropical city can at that decisive moment when they carried a body out of a decimated building.  The camera rattled away.  What a moment.  What a time.  It was really my loss of innocence at that point.  More on the tsunami in the future.

As I researched through my photos for this blog I came across this photo of myself from 2005 while I stood in the mess of Banda Aceh’s destruction…my trusty camera at my side.

Why part with it?  Well…its just a tool. Its really how you use it.  Cliche, yes but absolutely true.  I’ve gone through so many cameras in my relatively short professional career.  Yet to depart with this one is like parting with the memories of said picture of me.
Eh…its just a camera.

You wanna buy it?  Its a bit famous.

Here is the ad on craigslist.org