Photo Essay: Getting away from it all in Hawaii

Photo Essay: Getting away from it all in Hawaii

Photo Essay: Getting away from it all in Hawaii

I’ve done some pretty crazy trips recently, but I still love getting away from it all.

Aloha, Hawaii.


Aloha, shot on Fuji Velvia 50 film


Aloha, Hawaii

Aloha, Hawaii. Fuji Velvia 100


Colors in Hawaii

Colors in Hawaii. Portra film


I finally managed to get some time off in late July. With memories from Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit still fresh in my mind, I spent much of the month racking my brain eagerly planning another grand adventure. Late nights and countless hours of internet searching yielded few results, and I eventually realized that my long awaited first trip of the year would be to the only place that really worked: Hawaii.

At first I didn’t think it sounded particularly exciting (I know, I know, who doesn’t like Hawaii?) But as it turns out Hawaii holds just the right amount of adventure to satisfy travelers of all kinds. Every kind of water sport that exists can be done in Hawaii. There’s hiking and running along ridiculously scenic trails, and waterfalls and indigenous plant life to explore. You can rent a car and drive or take the tourist buses to get around (which I don’t recommend – too crowded in summer). And when you tire of all that, just collapse onto the nearest beach of your choice and let the R&R begin.

Assuming you enjoy white sand beaches, clear blue water, and near perfect temperatures year round, Hawaii is about as refreshing a place as there ever can be.*

For the first time since the dawn of digital, I shot only film in Hawaii. I mostly used the Mamiya 645 1000s camera, shooting with both Kodak negative and Fuji slide films. To my eye film produces a warmer, more welcoming look which is perfect for the laid back vibe of Hawaii.

*Except, of course, for right now, when Hawaii’s first Hurricane in 22 years is hitting head on as I write this… but let’s focus on the last 21 years and 364 days shall we?

Trees in Hawaii

Trees in Hawaii. Shot on Kodak Ektar 100 on Mamiya 645 1000s


Fishing in Hawaii

Fishing in Hawaii. Provia 100F film.


Hanauma Bay

Hanauma Bay, a snorkeler’s paradise (so I hear… too crowded for my tastes). Provia 100F


Paddle Boarding

Paddle boarding Oahu’s uncrowded North Shore. That’s more like it. Provia 100F



It was a bit odd boarding a 9 hour flight from Chicago without needing to show our passports. Hawaii’s a domestic destination for us Americans, but upon stepping into the open air terminal in Honolulu you know you’re somewhere vastly different. The sky is bluer, the air is crisper. Even coming from a pleasant Chicago summer, 80 degrees just feels better in Hawaii.

Waikiki, the main beach in Honolulu, is laid back and incredibly tourist-friendly. I was wondering if there might be some amount of prejudice against us mainlanders, but I sensed absolutely none. The beach was crowded in the daytime, but not terribly so. We always found a spot to lay out in the sun, go swimming, or have a drink at one of the many beach bars. As you walk further east along the beach, hotels give way to trees and crowds disperse. This quickly became my favorite area to hang out.


Surfing Waikiki at Sunrise

Surfing Waikiki at Sunrise. Fuji Velvia 100.



Waikiki at night. Kodak Portra 400 shot at 3200 ISO.


A day at the beach in Waikiki

A day at the beach in Waikiki


Beach bar Waikiki

Beach bar in Waikiki. Fuji Velvia 50


Surfboards at sunset, Waikiki

Surfboards at sunset, Waikiki. Kodak Ektar 100 film.


Beachfront condos and hotels

Beachfront condos and hotels in Waikiki


Waikiki Sunset

Waikiki Sunset. Portra 160


Fuji Velvia 100 Waikiki

Waikiki evening on Velvia 100


Waikiki on Velvia film

Waikiki at night on Velvia 100

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