In Photos | 10 Days in Hawaii

It has been 249 days since we returned home from Hawaii. I had really hoped to share a few photos from our trip long before now, but between almost losing my hard drive our second day on Oahu (Travel Tip: check the storage on your hard drive BEFORE lugging an almost full laptop over 4,500 miles on a possible once-in-a-lifetime vacation), taking 1,082 photos during our stay, and then attempting to sort through and edit those 1,082 photos on a painfully slow, limping computer... well, it just wasn't happening in any sort of timely manner. I'm happy to report that I've finally got all my technical difficulties worked out now and I'm starting to make a dent in processing the overwhelming backlog of images that have been sitting abandoned in my pictures folder for the last 8 months or so.   

I'm working on a few more detailed posts on what we did during our trip, but until then, here are a few of my favorite moments and photos from our time in Hawaii. Enjoy! And have a happy weekend!

VIEWS FROM THE TOP OF DIAMOND HEAD CRATER

NORTH SHORE OAHU | 'EHUKAI BEACH PARK + BANZAI PIPELINE + KUILIMA COVE

WAIKIKI BEACH + DIAMOND HEAD CRATER NATIONAL MONUMENT

MANOA FALLS WATERFALL + TRAIL

LANAI LOOKOUT

WAIMEA VALLEY WATERFALL + BOTANICAL GARDENS

Waimea Valley Botanical Gardens Hibiscus | North Shore Oahu

10 Years of Penelope

Hi friends, happy Friday to ya!

Guys, tomorrow is a very special day. Tomorrow is Penelope’s 10th birthday!

Happy 10th Birthday Penelope! 

Also known as, recognizes, and responds to: 
Penny, P-na-lope, P-na-low-pay, Punkin’, Punky, Punk, Chunky-Punk, Punky McChunkersons, Roo, Penny-Roo, P-Roo, Roo-da-begga, Pook/Pooks, Burrito, Snugga, Snugglepupagus, Lazy-Butt, Monkey, Chunky-Monkey, Tooomuuuh, and Sissy

I realize it may seem pretty weird to write a blog post about my dog’s birthday. Of course for those of you who know me, you know I’m a little nuts about animals, especially my own, and while we don’t usually make much of a fuss about our pets’ birthdays around here, ten years is a pretty big deal for a doggo and well deserving of some celebration, don’tcha think? 

Oh, but it's so bittersweet. While I am absolutely over the moon that she’s been a part of our family for ten years and that she’s in such great health, it’s difficult to have so much love for something you have such a short amount of time with. You know it in your heart all along, but then one day you notice their snoot is a little whiter, they move a bit slower, and suddenly you’re the girl ugly-crying in the middle of the pet food aisle because you’re holding a bag of kibble labeled, 'Active Longevity for Senior Dogs'. But then you come home, play fetch until you no longer have any feeling whatsoever in your right arm, and as she’s begging to keep going (‘you have TWO ARMS, mom!’), you realize just how lucky and thankful you are to have had even one single day with this furry little ball of love. 

[And then suddenly, you’re the girl ugly-crying at your computer while writing a blog post about your dog’s birthday]  

Chihuahua puppy with big ears

Penelope when she was just a few months old and approximately 97% ears

It’s hard to believe my little Chunky-Punk is ten years old already. Heck, I'm still trying to figure out how we ended up with not just one, but TWO chihuahuas. Before Penny, Ken and I considered ourselves to be “big dog” people. We both grew up with German Shepherds, and when he and I first met, his BDF (Best Dog Friend) was a rowdy Siberian Husky named Roscoe. We talked frequently about getting a Great Dane someday when we had a nice, big backyard. Yes, we were even *those* people who rolled our eyes and scoffed at yappy ankle-biters and the people who carried them around in purses.

And then we met Penny, and everything changed. 

[Thankfully without the yapping, ankle-biting, or Paris Hilton-esque accessories. We didn't go totally nuts.]

How she came to join our family is a long story for another day, but to say she is the best terrible idea we’ve ever had would be an understatement. She is nothing like we thought she would be, and a million times better than I could ever imagine any dog could be, big or small. So here's to you, my sweet Penny-Roo. And to many, many, many more years of tennis ball obsessing, sleeping in way past noon, and rides in the car to your favorite french fry store <3

Lighting Workshop with POSE Athens

One of the things I promised myself I would do this year was to get out and get more involved, especially in the photography community. I joined a Facebook group for a local photography guild about a year ago and had already resolved to attend January's meeting to become an official dues-paying, event-attending member. At the end of that meeting, I started chatting with fellow photographer, David. He and a colleague (Craig) had recently started another photography group called POSE (Photographers of the Southeast). They were hosting their inaugural meet up and a strobe lighting workshop at the end of the month and, not buying my lame excuse of "I don't shoot people", he encouraged me to come anyways. Studio photography and strobe lighting wasn't something I'd had an opportunity to try before, so I figured, "Why not?" and made plans to attend. Even if it wasn't something I thought wanted to really get into, it would be fun to try something new and completely out of my comfort zone. At the very least, it would give me another chance to get to know and learn something from other photographers. 

On the day of the workshop, I walked into the studio and instantly realized just how out of my comfort zone I truly was. What David and Craig had put together for everyone was amazing. There was a handful of other photographers there along with make up artists and several models. Not really knowing what expect when I arrived, it was a little overwhelming for someone who hadn't stepped into a photography studio since the Olan Mills days of yore. Thankfully, I was quickly spotted by David who explained how everything worked. There were six different lighting stations set up, each with a remote trigger and a card with recommended camera settings to use. "Just grab a model, pop the remote into your hot shoe and go!", he said as I gave him my best deer-in-headlights look. After observing everything that was going on for a few moments, I realized that I wasn't going to learn anything by just standing around, watching everyone else; as nervous as I was, I needed to just jump in.  

Thankfully, everyone was warm, welcoming, and willing to help. I have almost zero experience when it comes to directing and posing, but all of the models I had a chance to work with were amazing and knew just what to do with very little guidance from me. When I struggled with getting the exposure right on some of my images, the other photographers were quick to jump in and give me some great suggestions on which settings to try differently. The entire workshop was a collaborative effort— models helping models helping photographers helping photographers helping models. It was amazing to see so many people working together and having a great time doing it.  

The one thing that blew me away every time, was how each lighting set up produced a certain type of result. Every time I moved to a different station, I would go into minor shock after seeing the first few images on the back of my camera, trying to figure out "...HOW did it DO that?!". I think my favorite set up was the beauty dish with Lauren (first and last image in this post) and Courtland (second to last image), simply because it somehow made everything in the background completely disappear. What the photos don't show is that this station was set up in the middle of the room and directly behind the model is a wall of props and a desk of computers and everyone's camera gear lying about and a table of pizza and people standing and walking just a few feet behind them... 😳 Seriously, I had spent half the day trying not to walk behind anyone while that station was in use and it was totally unnecessary.

By the end of the day, I was exhausted but so happy I made the decision to go to the workshop even though it was so totally different from the type of photography I usually stick to (thanks again for the push, David!). I learned so much and made a few new friends in the process. And even though it's been a few weeks and I've looked at my photos over and over again, it's still hard to believe I captured the type of images I never thought I'd have the ability or opportunity to. 

I hope you've enjoyed them, and if you're in the Athens area and would like to get involved in a photography group or two, be sure to join the Athens Photography Guild group and/or like POSE Athens on Facebook! Have a wonderful week and weekend!

xo, Steve