This time last year, I embarked on a personal project 52 with a group of fellow photographers. We picked 52 themes and made a plan to take one themed photo each week of the year, which we shared with each other in a private Facebook group.
We each had different goals with this, some wanted to hone certain camera skills, many, like me, wanted to record more of their personal daily life, something us photographers often forget or “don’t get around to” with doing photos for other families as our job keeping us busy.
Up until that point, I had mostly only iPhone snapshots of our life and adventures. It’s one thing to remember to take photos of your own kids, but when it’s just you, or just the two of you, it can be more challenging to photograph your life. I put a lot of pressure on myself to make each photo meaningful, and almost gave up come February when the theme “cake” stumped me. Then one morning, a friend showed up with birthday cake she baked for herself, and we shared it over tea and good conversation, which made me I realized that these little moments are exactly what I wanted to remember. I’m so thankful now that I didn’t give up when things got hard.
Never really having done personal projects before, I didn’t realize their power.
Without this project, I would not have this beautiful collection of images, telling the story of what turned into a very exciting year, with small and big moments alike.
I wouldn’t have pushed myself to try out new and rediscover old techniques. Like freelensing, which became one of my favorite things to do, and reignited my joy for creating more artistic images.
I wouldn’t have gotten to know and grown close to a group of photographers I mostly only know online. Working from home can get lonely and they are my co-workers, my community and my support group, there for me when I needed them and giving more meaning to my day by supporting them through their challenges.
Needless to say I’m hooked, and added a couple more personal projects to my list for 2016, including a 365 (actually 366) project which I am tackling together with my dear friend Jennifer in Calgary (jenniferkapalaphotography.com). I can’t wait to experience this year with a photo every day! We will be sharing more of this soon through our Life Entwined project, so stay tuned, but for now, I present to you a summary of my 2015 🙂
Well here she is. The little girl, who everyone (and I mean everyone – including strangers at costco and a bus driver on Oahu) but me was convinced was a boy, made her arrival into the world the morning of October 29th and immediately stole our hearts.
She is perfect in every way, and this thing called motherhood is every bit as amazing as it’s cracked up to be. People keep telling me how time flies and to enjoy every moment, so that’s exactly what we’re doing. I look at our little family and still wonder – how did I win the jackpot in this game called life?
It’s the week of Thanksgiving and I couldn’t be more thankful for all I have, including all you kind clients and supporters who make my business possible. I hope you get to count your own blessings with those you love.
Here’s a few phone photos of Kate’s first weeks, I’ll be sharing more soon but meanwhile feel free to join us on Instagram for your daily dose of Kate 🙂
With my baby belly about as far along as this beautiful Maui mom was when we took these last year, I feel inspired to share this fun maternity session under the palm trees and at the beach with a sunset that didn’t disappoint.
I just wanted them to enjoy each other, and soak in life as a family of 3 for a moment, before little brother’s arrival would change their family dynamic. Talking about her pregnancy, she told me it felt like it flew by and yet at the same time it seemed like she’d been pregnant forever, and at this point it just felt like endless waiting.
With 5 weeks to go, I can now understand exactly how she felt 🙂
Today is our first anniversary. As I sit here, paging through our wedding album, and tell our little one the story of how his/her mom and dad married each other on surfboards out in the ocean, feel free to join us and have a peek at the pages that represent the best day of our life so far.
We are both simple people. We had always said, when we get married one day, we don’t want it to be a big showy affair. Just simple like us and about our love. So when the stars aligned and the time was just right one day in early September, Jarret proposed the idea of getting married and we decided to just go for it.
For our very first date, we went surfing. Well, Jarret was surfing, I was mostly paddling around trying to catch waves and standing up (with emphasis on “trying”). In-between sets we sat and talked, and that was the beginning of ever after for us, as we became pretty much inseparable ever since that day. We always spent our weekends surfing or otherwise playing in the ocean together, so we thought, wouldn’t it be cool if we could get married on our surfboards, in the ocean, the place that means so much to us? Turns out, we could. We planned it in a week, told no one except these photographers I had just met who recently moved here from Australia and seemed spontaneous and into this kind of thing, and on September 15, 2014 we found ourselves paddling out into the waves at one of our favorite and most frequented surf spots, followed by our adventurous officiant.
The rest, as they say, is history – see the album pages below 🙂 Neither one of us has yet regretted getting married like this for one second, and I know we never will, because I don’t think you can go wrong by following your heart. For us, that meant to get married in the most intimate way we could imagine – in a simple way that was about nothing but our love for each other and for the ocean surrounding us.
For our little baby, our other future children, and anyone reading this, I wish for you to follow your heart like we did, in all areas of life. May you have the courage to choose the path that is right for you. There is never only one single right way of doing things, no matter what people and society may try and tell you, and only you know which path is perfect for you.
Thank you Love & Water Photography for readily agreeing to photograph our unconventional elopement, the amazing photos, and the friendship that has followed since that day a year ago. You’ve given us a beautiful gift!
And on the note of photos – please people, print your photos, get books and albums, and hang them on your walls (I don’t care if you order it from your photographer or do it yourself – just do it!). We have looked through this album countless times and can’t wait to watch our children page through it, and one day our grandkids. There is just something about holding it in your hands, and seeing photos on paper instead of a screen. As my husband said when we first got the album, “wow, I thought the photos were impressive before, but seeing them printed is amazing!”.
We will cherish this day and these memories until the end of days, when we’re old and gray, and hopefully still surfing 🙂
As promised in my last post – the beach portion of this family’s day in the life vacation session on the Big Island.
I enjoyed observing them celebrate life, family, and being together with both laughter-filled moments and some of the more quiet kind.
Here’s just a few random favorites of mine 🙂
A while back I flew to the Big Island to join this extended family for a day of fun, documenting a very special vacation.
We started with a few family photos around their house in Kona, and then dove right in – into the pool that is! I love how much joy being in the water brings out in kids of all ages.
Day in the life are my favorite type of vacation photography sessions, because it allows the family to be completely relaxed, act like themselves and just enjoy each other, and never fails in making for some great, true vacation memories.
Join me on here next week for part 2 of this family’s vacation fun as we head to the beach, but for now, here’s a few of my favorite underwater photos.
What better excuse than National Dog Day to share this fun dog and ocean playdate session.
Dogs here in Hawaii are extra lucky. For them, the fun doesn’t end at the dog park, they get to play in the ocean too. Luna loves it, especially when there is a ball to chase. And I have to say I never knew just how graceful the doggie paddle looks underwater.
I hope you enjoy these, and if you’d like some photos of your own four-legged family member’s adventures, I would love to do a pet photography session with you – underwater or on land 🙂
Sometimes, in the chaos of fun and play, for just a split second, the world stands still.
As much as I enjoy movement, splashing and laughter, I love moments like these.
This family. They bring aloha wherever they go. I first met them as a family of 3 when they visited Maui almost 2 years ago, and instantly fell in love with their kind hearts and easy-going ways as they let me photograph them playing on the beach just being themselves.
Of course when they wrote me this spring to ask if I’d come meet them on Oahu for updated photos with their newest family addition, I hopped on a plane in a heartbeat! We enjoyed a windy afternoon at Lanikai Beach in Kailua, doing what they do best – being in the moment with their kids, enjoying life as a family of 4.
I could document their life all day long – here are a few of my favorite moments.
Life often feels much like the ocean. Sometimes it’s calm seas, glassy water and smooth sailings. Other times it’s a perfect storm of crashing waves, rip tides and coming up for air just to get sucked right back under.
Between a backlog of photos to edit, moving into our new house, and getting ready for our baby’s arrival, it’s been mostly the latter for me. Yesterday however I went for a quick swim to test out some camera settings, and remembered how much the ocean tends to balance me.
So while I use my renewed energy to catch up on editing, enjoy these hues of blue, and dream of calm oceans. (I used these hues to inspire paint colors for the house but that project will have to wait!)
Oh and don’t mind the little update of my fast-growing belly at the end 🙂