A walk along the shore

For all of its flaws and hassles, there is one aspect of living in Hawaii that I cannot deny is fabulous: being in such close proximity to so many lovely beaches. There are perfectly manicured resort beaches; wide-open beaches with an endless, wide swath of sand; wild beaches with rocky shorelines and coral bottoms, perfect for exploring with a snorkel; tiny alcoves of sand tucked back into the cliffs, where the water gently laps the shore; and steep shorelines with massive waves crashing against the sand. I recently decided to swing by a beach just a few minutes from our home. Nimitz Beach will never make the tourist guide: it is a bit rocky, there are abandoned WWII pillboxes littering the shore, and the surf break is lousy, but it is quiet and still and lovely. Generally, I have this beach to myself, occasionally running into a lone fisherman or a photographer with a family clad in matching outfits. On this day, I wasn't wanting to swim--I just wanted to walk the shore, enjoying the sound of the surf crashing against the beach, and take in the sights and textures.


Solitude: it's a theme I frequently explore in my photography.  Perhaps it is my own desire for solitude that drives it: as a homeschooling parent of two busy children, I frequently retreat to the bathroom just to have a moment of quiet time, hoping that the short ones will leave me alone for just a moment of quiet. Unfortunately, it rarely works and now my children just think I have bowel issues. As solitude is like a mythical unicorn in my own day-to-day life, I find myself drawn to this theme more and more in my work. Recently I spent an afternoon on a beach on the North Shore, and when I noticed this lone woman on the rock, surrounded by a sea of clouds and water, I dove for my camera bag and quickly fired off a few shots before she jumped back in the water.


I see this photo, and I so want to be the woman on that rock at times, sitting quietly and enjoying the beauty of the world around her. I try to imagine what would happen if I should swim out there myself.  I know that without a doubt, in a few moments I would have a life-jacket-clad six-year-old at my feet, requesting that I help her climb up, where she would plop her cold, wet behind on my lap and proceed to jabber away about her imaginary worlds of pet crocodiles and flying unicorns. Then a rambunctious 10-year-old would swim over, splashing us, poking his finger into crags of the rock to pester the sea urchins. Brad would climb up to join the fun, looking over the heads of our children to catch my eye in a Never a quiet moment, is there? glance. He would slip his hand in mine and we would sigh a sigh that is equal parts wistfulness for the quiet days of yore and gratitude for this noisy, messy life that we now cherish.

Hmmm...perhaps I don't want to be that woman on the rock after all.

In the shade of monkeypod trees...

Here in Hawaii, we've been dealing with record-setting rains and even flooding of downtown areas, thanks to an unusually-busy hurricane season. Beaches have closed due to sewers overflowing and running off into the ocean, and the usually-blue skies have been endlessly grey for weeks. Our family has managed to squeeze in a little beach time here and there, but mostly we've been trapped indoors or the kids have been playing in the rain in our front yard. Over the weekend, we saw a small reprieve from the wet weather, and although the skies were still a bit grey, we braved the insanely humid conditions to head over to one of our favorite restaurants on the island, Monkeypod Kitchen. The food at Monkeypod is good and of great quality (albeit a bit expensive), but our favorite part of the restaurant is the cocktail menu and the open-air, laid-back atmosphere of their patio. With live music every day and a gorgeous stone patio flanked by tropical flowers set in the shade of their namesake monkeypod trees, the restaurant is a wonderful reprieve from the day-to-day frustrations of island living. Brad and I sip a cocktail while listening to the trade winds mingle with the notes of the acoustic guitar, and the kids run and play in the grassy lawn surrounding the patio. A slice of the Hawaiian good life.


Okinawan Festival

I had great photographic hopes for the Honolulu Okinawan Festival. In my head, I imagined colorful costumes, painted faces, elegant dances and performances--a street photographer's dream right? Well, the reality was a bit disappointing. The festival was small, not very picturesque, and the tight quarters of the dark tents made shooting a challenge. I did manage a few fun street shots, but nothing close to what I was imagining. And to top it all off, the andagi-dog (like a corn dog, with the hot dog dipped in andagi--Okinawan doughnut--batter) made me sick all night. Boo. However, seeing the man pushing his dog in a stroller made it all (mostly) worthwhile. I mean seriously, the dog was wearing a kimono. And sunglasses (doggles?). With a hat. Come on.