• Perspective//Underwater (my version of a COVID-19 update)

    Happy Aloha Sunday! What a week. I started writing this as an IG post on Thursday, but it got really long, so I decided to write a blog post. I clearly don't update this regularly, partly because I've been planning to change things up for years, and just haven't made the time. I can't remember when I last logged in here...and just saw a message that the entire platform will be shutting down for good in a couple of months, so that will force me to build something new. :)
    I took a long social media break at the beginning of the year, it was lovely. I spent the last chunk of January in San Francisco, visiting my good friend who is having her first baby in a month. :) I hiked around Mori Point and Land's End, explored Sutro Baths, the Presidio and Marin Headlands, saw some bison, rode some cable cars, and even had my first surf of the year at Linda Mar. It was wonderful. I love the bay and have since been making moves to see if I can realistically expand my business over there. During the trip, I was also mentally preparing for what I knew would be a challenging February. Perhaps one day I'll share details, but suffice it to say, February was the hardest month of my life. I am fully aware that I've had a fortunate life, but everything is relative. And after being inactive, out of water, and in semi-isolation basically all month (on top of a whole host of other things), I was so excited to gradually re-enter society, just in time for the world to go into lockdown.
    These are crazy times. Since last Saturday, I had a wedding and four sessions scheduled, and fortunately the wedding went beautifully, and all but one couple were able to make their trips/sessions, and the weather (usually the main stressor in my work life) somehow cooperated! But also this past week, in the span of 3 days, all of my work for the next 3+ months vanished. *Poof* As much as I was shocked and worried about not having an income for the foreseeable future, it was heartbreaking to hear about the huge life milestones being canceled or indefinitely postponed. I love my job and feel fortunate that I get to help people document amazing moments and memories in their lives, which is why communicating with everyone took an emotional toll. Weddings, honeymoons, babymoons, family reunions, all canceled. I know how much time, effort, and heart went into planning all of these events, and I could only imagine being on the other end.
    *I'm not writing this to complain, or for sympathy. What's happening around the world is DEVASTATING. I'm extremely worried about our elder and immunocompromised populations, and I personally don't think we're doing enough to protect everyone. I also know that aside from the horrendous health crisis, there are far worse places to be and people and industries that are struggling much more. I truly feel for the restaurant and visitor industries, all artists and small businesses, and let's be real, I feel for humanity right now.
    I'm simply sharing this for solidarity's sake. We are in this together, and we will get through it together. Let's continue supporting each other in ALL THE WAYS. I truly believe that we can come out stronger on the other side if everyone steps up their kindness game just one notch. I loved seeing the infinitely long IG story repost string of "Artists Supporting Artists" that my studiomate Gavin (Reckonshop) tagged me and all of the other Lana Lane Studios artists in. I so appreciate the hilarious memes, the SF Create Night cancellation email referencing toilet-paper-based cryptocurrency, the challenging and comforting conversations about social distancing, the group chats keeping us connected, the uplifting stories of people helping people. They give me hope. And laughter goes a long way right now.
    On Tuesday, I jumped in our (now-closed) pool because there was a south shore brown water warning and I needed to be in water. I got my dive mask and was hanging out underwater looking up, watching raindrops fall. I grabbed my phone and started taking photos (iPhones say they're waterproof but my speaker didn't work for a few hours after, so I don't entirely recommend this). This isn't a reflection, but a tree shot from underwater. I sent it to my friend in the middle of our text conversation about social distancing, and she said, "Love that pic! So totally how life feels right now." I replied, "Do you mean it feels artsy and mysterious, or like drowning?" She "haha'd" it but never answered the question. ;) Talking to another friend on Wednesday, I said that usually I love it, but right now it would be nice to not live alone, and she (wife and mom of 2) said, "I would LOVE to be alone right now!" :D I guess the grass is always greener. She told me she'd kill all 3 of them by the end of the week. We laughed really hard and I said I should offer my mom friends my place for a few hours when I go to surf or hike. She said that if I did, everyone would get divorced.
    Keep the humor coming, friends. And the kindness. Compassion goes a long way right now, too. I know this post was a mixed bag, but I hope to share positive messages while also keeping it real. I'm excited because I may *for once in my life* actually catch up on editing!!! Once I do, I plan to create a print shop. It's been on my to-do list for years, and what better time than now. Feel free to hold me to it. I know by the time it's ready, no one will have money to buy prints, but I'll gladly accept the aforementioned crypto. ;) Sending love and light and virtual hugs. #keepyourdistance
    **I'd like to give a sincere THANK YOU to everyone providing essential services right now to keep us going...from police/fire/security to grocery store workers to delivery truck drivers and everyone in between, and especially ALL medical professionals. Thank you forever.
    (Sorry for all the --- I can't remember how to create paragraphs here) *facepalm emoji*
  • Hawaii Destination Photograper | Sunrise Family Shoot

    Brittney found me online and asked to do a shoot while her family vacationed on Oahu from Nebraska. The only issue was that they were leaving in three days. I was free one day, but they had already purchased luau tickets for that evening, so we decided on a sunrise shoot. She said the kids would be fine due to the time difference and their 2-year-old Layne had been waking up by 5 am anyway.

    I am not a morning person and I always worry about lighting at sunrise because it gets REALLY BRIGHT really quickly, but I'm so glad we decided on sunrise at Sandy's...the beach was empty and the light was beautiful.

    All three kids were delightful - I wondered if Linden and Tucker were bribed with snorkeling or shave ice because I couldn't believe how happy and well-behaved they were at that unreasonable hour. They just wanted to smile and make my life was amazing! I learned that Blake is a farmer in Nebraska, which made me like them all the more. I have a soft spot for farming families.

    Layne decided she'd had enough of the waves and made a break for it. :)

  • Oahu Family Photography

    Happy New Year! It's early-mid-January, so I can still say that, right?

    I took a break from posting over the holidays to spend lots of time with family and friends, and to do a few shoots. My first work week of the year was busy with four shoots and I'm finally back in the swing of editing and catching up on correspondence. One of my goals this year is to share photos in a more timely manner, so I'm starting with family shoots from the end of last year that were edited and delivered, but never shared.

    This family is basically my family, and I may be biased, but Parker and Jack are pretty much the cutest, fiercest kids on the block. Don't mess. :)

  • Oh, the Places You'll Go! | Family Shoot | Magic Island, Oahu

    Oh he-ey.

    That's what I imagine Baby Ced is saying while he winks at me. Oh he-ey. And while he waves, and peeks, and throws his hands in the air. And especially while he walks. Seriously, have you ever seen such 9-month-old SWAGGER? I have not. I challenge anyone to a 9-month-old swagger-off with this here adorable child.

    Baby Ced's parents brought balloons to take a few shots for his first birthday party invitation. The part I LOVE was that it wasn't just any balloon photo, it was for an Oh, the Places You'll Go! theme. Love love love. An amazing Dr. Seuss read for all ages.

    Baby Ced's mom and dad could easily be models, so it's no wonder they made a ridiculously cute little man. Cheers to all the places you'll go, Ced!


  • Baby Baby Grand Piano & Shave Ice Smashing | First Birthday Shoot

    Who brings a baby baby grand piano to the beach? This girl! *points up*

    Thalia wanted to do a shoot commemorating her daughter Phoebe's first birthday and incorporating the same baby grand piano she played with as a child. She later showed me a photo of herself playing the piano, only a few months older than Phoebe. I melted. I love when parents bring props, especially sentimental ones.

    Thalia asked if I had any other ideas for the shoot, and I told her that I'd recently done a cake smashing and thought it would be fun to do a spin on that - shave ice smashing! Phoebe had yet to try her first bite of shave ice and Thalia thought it was a cute idea. was both and fun and super cute, but ultimately not my best idea. More on that later. Take a look and see why I heart first birthday shoots.

    Cutest frowny face!

    So, as you are probably aware, shave ice is cold. And the average person eats it with a spoon. Not just because it would be messy otherwise, but because it would be cold. You see where I'm going...

    Phoebe did indeed like the shave ice - she liked the sweetness - but she didn't like that it was so cold. She wanted more of the deliciousness so she kept grabbing the ice, eating it, then looking at her hand and crying. Annnd repeat. It was cute and funny the first couple times and then we just felt bad. So, lesson learned, shave ice smashing for a baby's first birthday is not the best idea. Unless you have a dextrously-advanced child capable of using utensils...or gloves.

    Phoebe is pretty darn smart because at some point she was like, screw frozen hands, I don't need my hands.

    And this is one of many reasons why I heart first birthday shoots. :)

    For more photos from this shoot: First birthday piano & shave ice photo gallery

  • Malo Monday | Family Shoot | Papahana Kuaola & Paepae o He'eia

    Happy Malo Monday!

    I decided to do everyone a favor and start the week with these photos. If you aren't smiling by the end you may need professional help. ;) This shoot was a combination of beautiful locations, amazing sentimental props, and the cutest subjects ever.

    Noelle and Pono wanted to do a family shoot with a focus on their younger son who was about to celebrate his first birthday. We started at Papahana Kuaola, an incredible site and home to a non-profit that focuses on education, environmental restoration, and Hawaiian culture. Noelle brought these gorgeous koa chairs that her uncle made by hand for her and her sister when they were children. The chairs were beautiful and the sentiment behind them even more so. They added another dimension to the photos.

    We walked down to the stream where my favorite part of the whole shoot happened...malos!

    See? Cutest. Ever.

    We drove to Paepae o He'eia, a non-profit dedicated to restoring the ancient Hawaiian He'eia fishpond and perpetuating cultural sustainability. Noelle is the education coordinator there and the kids call it their second home. I couldn't have imagined better locations for this adorable, loving and playful family.

    Kahiwa likes to "build wall" and Keewe likes to "eat wall." :)

    Ok, serious faces, everyone. Except you, Keewe.

    See their Malo Monday gallery for more photos!

  • Babies and bubbles and dogs, oh my!

    I walked into Hawaii Camera and asked to see two 85mm portrait lenses. Then I asked which lens would be better for photographing a one-year-old child…and two dogs. Christine laughed and waited for me to say "just joking." She called Josh to the front for advice and to spread the humor. We joked about how they get random questions quite often and they should have an app where you enter an obscure scenario and it tells you what to rent. Its value would be less technical and more “confidence booster” for shoots where photographers feel out of their element. Especially, as in my case, shoots where they’re thinking, “what the hell have you gotten yourself into?”

    I left with the faster focusing lens because Josh pointed out that it would be more ideal for quick-moving babies and dogs. Sage advice, Josh.

    En route to the shoot I had visions of dogs dragging a leash-tangled baby or sitting on her in a bathtub filled with bubbles. (If you can’t tell, our family dogs have a history of disobedience.) I was prepared for disaster, which made the actual experience all the more amazing. This adorable girl and these well-behaved pups were INCREDIBLE. Too cute for words. I couldn't stop laughing while going through the photos because unlike adults that have “smile” or “no smile” expressions (I’m generalizing but you know what I mean), these three had unlimited, adorable, hilarious expressions. In. Every. Frame. I’m so happy I can share some of these gems.

    These three would make a great sales team for Canon lenses. I loved how the shots came out so much that I bought that lens the following day.

    As we left the beach, the star of the photo shoot reached out to me to carry her back to the car. I melted. I’m not ready for babies just yet, but if you can guarantee me one like her… :)