Ala Moana Beach Park : A Sunset Picnic and Fireworks

A Magical Honolulu Sunset

Town isn’t far. It’s maybe a half hour drive from Kailua, but it feels far. The kids balk and throw their little bodies dramatically on the couch as we pick them up from school with news of our evening plans. “Noooo!” they moan. “We don’t want to go to the beach!” #truestory #Hawaiiproblems

Friday traffic certainly doesn’t help. Well, Friday traffic coupled with the (surprise!) Punahou carnival as we make a poorly timed sushi detour in Makiki. As traffic came to a grinding halt, brilliant, arching rainbows encourage us. They’re like a pat on the back for getting our lazy buts out of the house to meet with friends.

We arrive as the sun dips close the horizon, creating a golden shimmer to the still waters. Despite the chill, the kids approach the water. First, just testing the temperature with their toes before being drawn further and further. Thier fully clothed friends join in for a racuous water firght and no one can be coaxed back out of the water.

Waikiki Friday Fireworks Show

At 7:30 pm we hastily make our way to the Diamond Head side of Magic Island for the show. Barefoot kids lead the way with chattering teeth and excited talk. Every Friday without fail, the Hawaiian Hilton Village hosts a small fireworks display around 7:45 pm.

It was such a beatiful scene that I couldn’t decide between video or photos so I went with both.

silhouette of kids playing in the water at sunset in hawaii
ala moana buildings at sunset
a brilliant blue and orange sunset in waikiki
waikiki fireworks display from ala moana beach park

Need More Inspiration for Family Fun on Oahu?

You can hike out to the very tip of the island for a bit of nature, adventure, and a dramatically different type of Hawaiian sunset.

If you like what you see, sign up for the Little Bird Post for access to the activity library and monthly, off-the-beaten-path ideas for your family.

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Oahu Photos | Exploring the Tide Pools at Ko olina Lagoons

Oahu Photos in the Rain

The resorts at Ko Olina were created around the coast’s penchant for sunshine. The mellow lagoons were branded as a second Waikiki where sun lovers could catch rays all day against the deep blue of the Pacific. But every once in awhile, rain finds its way to Ko Olina.

About the Session

A light drizzle and a hint of pink colored the sky as we walked to the beach at Paradise Cove. A stubborn cloud seemed to have settled over the entire island and was unwilling to budge. Even so, it was a pleasant morning. A polite mist dappled our eyelashes and Mynah birds bickered in the trees as we started to explore. Ayla clung shyly to her dad while baby Kolter’s mouth gaped in a wide yawn. The beach was peaceful and empty.

The weather had a calming effect. Thick clouds seemed to muffle all sound which made everything feel slow. Kolter braved the water first. He began by dipping his chubby toes in the water and was drawn in further by the flash of fish and crabs. The kids scrambled over the rocks sharing delighted giggles as they uncovered new treasure. A hermit crab. A sea cucumber. A wide-eyed goby peering from a hole.

We explored until the rain became more persistent and drove us indoors in search of warmth and coffee. It turns out that Oahu photos are lovely, even in the rain. What a lovely way to start the day.

mom and son explore tidepools during a fun family photo shoot by little bird photography in hawaii
engagement photographer captures a couple at ko olina beach in oahu
little girl laughs during a family portrait session at a beach in hawaii
oahu photos captured mother and son at a sunrise family photo shoot in hawaii
mom and daughter at a quiet lagoon in ko olina hawaii
grabbing mom for a big hug
siblings explore tidepools in koolina oahu during family photography session
mom and daughter share a laugh during family photoshoot by little bird photography in hawaii
girl being silly during a family photo session
fun family photography session at ko olina beach in oahu
mom holding onto little boy's hands as they play in the water in hawaii
quiet moment between mom and daughter at a hawaii beach

What Does Your Family’s Story Look Like?

Every family is different. Your family may be high energy and looking for action-packed adventure or you may simply want to share a low key morning together. Let’s plan a morning that fits your needs. Find out more about my fun family photography sessions here.

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Hawaii Family Lifestyle Portraits | Searching for Fairies

A Special Birthday Gift

Tanya reached out from Australia, bubbling with excitement. Her brother and his family were visiting Hawaii to celebrate his 40th birthday and she had the perfect gift idea. Family photos – a little family adventure and some beautiful memories to take home to Australia. Well, Tanya couldn’t quite decide between family photos and family film so we did a little bit of both. Shay and Kellie were nearing the end of their two-week stay and were feeling completely relaxed and mellow. They enjoyed many perfect beach days, lounging by the pool and browsing through boutiques in Waikiki. A dolphin encounter at Sea Life Park was a major highlight. They were feeling good and up for anything.

About the Session

The family was staying in Waikiki without access to a car so I suggested nearby Nuuanu Valley Park. It conveniently happens to be a personal favorite. Bird song flows from towering banyan trees and oversized leaves tickle your legs as you move through the park. It’s vibrant and full of life. Everything feels a bit magical there. You get the sense that if fairies were real, they would definitely live in the park. Three-year-old Emily came prepared with wings of her own and we set off to search for fairies. We checked under leaves, inside trees, and among roots snaking through the forest floor. No luck finding fairies, but it was certainly fun to look.

Watch their sweet little film below.

Catch some highlights from their photo session here.

hawaii family lifestyle portraits at nuuanu valley parkfun oahu family photography by little birdmom kissing daughter during family photo session in hawaiidad and daughter in the forest at sunsetmom hugging daughter close during hawaii family photoshootdad dipping toddler daughter at nuuanu park with sun flare

What would your family adventure look like?

The best photos, the most meaningful photos, come when you’re having fun and enjoying time together as a family. So let’s plan a fun day for your family and head off on your own custom adventure! Find out more about my Hawaii Family Lifestyle Portraits and films here.

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Hawaii Portrait Photography | A Thorny Visit to Koko Crater

Hawaii Portrait Photography with a Desert Vibe

Sweat dripped into my eyes as we made the short, but intensely hot walk through Koko Crater Botanical Garden. Our destination was the cactus garden where the spiny succulents would contrast beautifully with the soft pastel clothing and cherubic cheeks of one of my favorite families.

I first had the opportunity to photograph them against the graffitied walls and urban decay of Kakaako. The bright colors and fun vibe still make me smile. Today, we planned something entirely different. We traded the city scene for a bit of nature. Maybe too much nature it seemed as kids and gear were pushed and dragged over the rutted path. It would have worked out smoothly if the unrelenting summer heat hadn’t followed us well into fall, but the heat made us feel heavy and slow. We’ve had enough summer for a bit thank you very much.

About the Session

Despite the heat, everyone was in good spirits. Well, let me adjust that. They were in good spirits, just not at the same time. There’s something about three kids during a photography session. You can get two happy and engaged, but the third will most likely be off in their own world or making faces at a sibling. But they’re like slippery eels. If you get that one on board, you lose another. It feels like some sort of practical joke and you can’t help but laugh.

As the sun began to drop behind the crater walls, we made our way out of the gardens. It was an evening of laughter and hugs mixed with complaints and tears and that feels just right.

hawaii portrait photography at koko crater botanical garden
mom and daughter portrait by little bird photography
fun family photography session in oahu hawaii
sisters laughing together during a hawaii family photo session
toddler being silly in the cactus garden in koko crater
mom and daughter play in the barrel cactus garden in oahu hawaii
family sitting on a blanket in the botanical garden
fun childrens portraits in hawaii
mom and daughters stand in a cactus garden in hawaii
baby portraits at koko crater
family playing in the cactus garden in hawaii
mom and daughter play during family photoshoot by little bird photography
sisters hug during a family photo session in oahu
dad and toddler daughter playing
family walking along path at koko crater botanical garden hawaii

What Does Your Family Adventure Look Like?

Let’s plan a fun day exploring the island and making memories. You can find out more about my fun family photo sessions here.

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Sunrise Family Photos at Lanikai Beach | The Dreamer

Photographing the Photographer

It’s always a joy to photograph another photographer’s family- get them out from behind the camera for thier own bit of adventure. They were making the long journey from Texas so we planned something special. It was supposed to be a two-part morning starting with sunrise family photos at Lanikai Beach followed by a waterfall hike to Likeke Falls. Finding a waterfall was 4-year-old Hannah’s idea and hike is perfect for kids. It’s a short hike under dense jungle canopy dripping with green vines and bright flowers. The path opens into a small clearning where the falls tumble into a shallow pool to splash in. The forecast was warm with a cool breeze. We were ready to explore.

Lanikai is for Mermaids

As soon as her toes touched the sand, Hannah was entranced by the beach. She spent time drawing in the sand with salty sticks, dancing along the shore, and humming quietly to herself. She was happily enveloped in her own private world. Mermaids were definitly involved. She’s always been comfortable in the water, swimming like a fish in pools and lakes since she was a baby. Her first time in the ocean gave her pause, but soon she fully submerged, wriggling her little body in an attempt to get a closer look at the coral. She may have used her dad as a prop.

The water was clear and warm and once she went in, she never wanted to leave. “Just a little longer”, she pleaded again and again. The weather made it near impossible to leave. It only become warmer and more inviting as the morning stretched on. We never did make it to that waterfall.

Sunrise Family photos at Lanikai Beachlanikai beach family photosgirl writing her name in the sand in hawaiimom and daughter snuggle during family beach photoshoot in hawaiicloseup of girls curls a the beachfamily photo session at lanikai beachdaughter pulling her dad at the beachfamily telling stories on lanikai beach at sunrise during family photo sessionoahu family photographer at lanikai beachgirl playing in the sand at lanikai beach hawaiigirl playing with a daisyfootprints in the sand at lanikai beachgirl walking at lanikai beach during family photoshootfun oahu family photography session at lanikaigirl riding on dads shoulders in the waves at lanikai oahugirl swimming under the water with coral head in the background in hawaiidad and daughter exploring lanikai beach for treasuresdad and daughter swimming under water in hawaiifamily playing in the water during family photo session at the beachgirl tiptoes on the beach in hawaii during fun oahu family photoshootdad and daughter swimming in clear blue waters in hawaiigirl walking on the beach during little bird photography photoshootgirl snorkels with full face snorkel mask in hawaiigirl swimming to mom in clear blue waters of hawaiigirl running on the beach with mokuluas in the background

Do you have a little mermaid in the family?

Let them loose at the beach to splash and play for a fun, stress-free photo session you will want to remember. Find out more about my family photography sessions here.