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…

a few from that wedding…

a few from that wedding...

Since the article for the New York Times was published on Sunday, I can post a few here.

I was pretty smitten with this photo but what really makes the entire job is actually the couple.  They were a blast.  They were completely unaware of me and that’s what made the photos.  I caught moments unguarded.

Friday Night Lights, no wait…Birds? Ho, brah…

Friday Night Lights, no wait...Birds?  Ho, brah...

Audrey and I went to Kauai a few weeks to work on a story about Friday night football games and how an endangered species of birds has threatened a traditional and community way of life.

The story appeared all over the country and you can read it here or from hereThe New York Times ran it on their web page but you have to sign up to see the story.

I won’t repeat what Audrey wrote about but I will mention something she did not.  In my opinion, much of the community in Kauai seems split on how outsiders, namely mainlanders and haoles, have come to the Islands pushing their (righteous) ideas of what is good for the state with little regard to what the citizens of the state want.  Yet, we surely can’t allow the peoples to just get whatever the majority wants.  The birds are endangered and do need some protection from us; however, how far will environmentalist go to ensure we protect the earth from ourselves?  Many would advocate such radical policies that we’d go back to the stone age so there has to be a balance.  All in all, the County dropped the ball on not placing proper lighting into the existing stadium (the County can’t get a guarantee that the lights will be a solid solution so why spend the money on what might not work–and still be responsible for dead birds) but the county disregarded the feelings of the community.

You sometimes have to wonder who has the smaller brains, us or the birds…


Shopping in Kauai with Jen.

Shopping in Kauai with Jen.

Last month, I had a great opportunity to photograph a travel piece on shopping in Kauai for the New York Times.  Story can be found here. My assignment took me all over from Hanalei to Hanapepe.

One funny incident involved me and actress Jennifer Aniston.  While at Kong Lung Trading Company in Kilauea, I was minding my own business snapping pictures of the store when all a sudden Ms. Aniston, Jen, as I’ll call her now, whose hairstyle launched a nation of Rachel-look-alikes in the ’90s, waltzed into the shop and stopped my photo shoot.  I did hate that Rachel haircut…I dated a girl…actually I stopped dating her when she got that cut.  I couldn’t bare it.  I never liked Friends.  Of course, being the non paparazzi photographer that I am, I couldn’t go against the good graces of the store owners who surely didn’t want to loose a customer, especially Jen, who is, as we say, is a celeb.  So I had to stay back and wait patiently as her and her entourage went from rack to rack of clothing and the likes, all the while I whittled my thumbs waiting for her to go. I wanted to rush up to her with cameras ablazing and take that great front page shot for the travel piece but I didn’t.  I imagined all these readers rushing to the store cause “Rachel'” er, Jen was there…I mean if its good enough for her, well…

Her publicist bodyguard marched up to me immediately and confronted me about what I was doing with a camera.  I stared her down and explained I had nothing to do with Jen and that was that.  I can give stink like the next person.  We then chatted about all the inside info I had about shopping on the island and I actually became the shopping hero to the publicist as she took Jen to the shops the Times would write about.

Finally Jen saunters past me and gives me a nice Hollywood smile so I gave her my Clark Gable grin and she left.  I must say, she is a very beautiful woman in person, more so that TV.    From top to bottom, she’s a good looking broad…as some might say…well the Situation might say, not I…well…she did have nice legs.

The Transmission

From my recent story shot for The New York Times, I spent behind the scenes time with Ryan and Jen Ozawa, creators of ABC’s Lost podcast “The Transmission.” Although not affiliated in anyway with ABC or Lost, the couple as spent the better part of every season (sans the first one) producing a weekly podcast for a legion of followers who download and comment on the Ozawa’s post show discussions.

Story is here.

I preferred my selects over the newspaper’s selections so I posted my outtakes. Jen and Ryan, two who couldn’t be more visually different, were hard to place. I wasn’t sure how to fit them into a frame and make sense of who they were and the environment. I mean this was a story about two podcasters, not the people standing in front of me.

We met way out in Waialua at Camp Erdman, aka, the Other’s Village. Dusk sank quickly giving a strange glow to all around and the sickly yellow walls of the camp lent to that eerie Lost feeling.

What was hard about snapping the couple together is that they didn’t say “Lost podcast.” Jen has a motherly school teacher vibe while I felt Ryan was going to lecture on derivatives or something very cerebral. I think my problem was Jen showed up in a red dress that seemed out of place and I think she knew it. Ryan showed up in Hawaiian work attire…an aloha shirt. Funny, once we got back to their home, Jen put on a green tee shirt and jeans transformed into a totally different person. That red dress stopped her, and for that matter me.

However, I stopped doubting myself and moved forward working with my awkwardness and placed them in juxtapositions. In the fence shot, I was thinking of Grant Wood’s American Gothic painting.

My awkwardness visually placed them into an interesting place.

I was very happy with the shot. Nothing says American Gothic…yet maybe it does. Sadly, the eds didn’t see it as such but it gives me a moment to write about it for my blog.

The Ozawas pushed me to make a tough story into a really great shot, at least for me. I really appreciated working with them. They were amused…well maybe annoyed with me…using the word “interesting” as I posed them in different situations and poses. It wasn’t so much they were making my job hard, I made it hard for them. I just couldn’t find what it was to make the image work. But it did. I think they were one of the better jobs I’ve shot as it allowed me to think out of the box and do something slightly different than the usual shtick for a portrait job.

Striking to me is how the couple have grown a small home based project into an international sensation all from the den of their home. Two mics, headphones, a bit of software, and the solitude of nighttime help them create a very interesting show.
Sadly, I’ve never heard it. For that matter, I’ve never watch Lost. I don’t know anything about the show other than I’ve photographed Lost red carpets events and cast members over the years.

I shot Daniel Dae Kim and restaurateur DK Kodama at the Counter Hamburger joint for Modern Luxury and

Michael Emerson for the cover of Hi Luxury Magazine. He loved the issue and images and signed a copy which I framed and am very proud of. I should have been watching the show. Thank goodness for reruns.