North shore family hike with ocean views

I went to Japan recently and it struck me that people were really working for their photos. Everyone seemed to be a photographer. They squinted at their screens fervently directing their subjects into different angles and expressions. At first I thought, hey, these are my people. They appreciate and love photography as much as I do! But then, as we visited more tourist-y places, and the crowds swelled, it began to grate on my nerves. One morning we decided to escape the crowds with a stroll through a bamboo forest. As we turned onto the trail, we ran into a wall of people; selfie sticks gently bobbing over the crowd. There were so many people stopped on the trail taking photos of each other that it wasn’t possible to move.

I was reminded of this at the top of the Ehukai pillbox hike. Not the crowds, but the selfie behavior. We picked this hike as a compromise. The kids wanted to go to a beach on the north shore and we wanted to go hiking, so we agreed on a short hike (about 2 miles round trip) followed by a dip in the ocean. It was rainbow weather. Intermittent bright sun and brief squalls created a soggy trail. We slipped and sloshed our way up the path stopping to climb banyan trees and snack on strawberry guava. There was a bit of whining over muddy hands, but everyone was happy when we emerged into the cool, dry trail beneath the ironwoods. The kids happily skipped along proclaiming, “I love this hike!”

At the pillbox, I saw the peace sign and realized that I recognized this hike from Instagram. A loose line had formed as people waited their turn to capture a perfect Instagram photo. I don’t know. Maybe i’m just being old and crotchety, but I couldn’t help but roll my eyes as hikers jumped and flexed for photos. Of course i’m being completely hypocritical as I stalk my family regularly with camera in hand. Case in point – video and photos ;)

banyan tree on ehukai pillbox hikekid friendly hikes on oahuviews from ehukai pillbox trail north shore oahubanyan tree roots north shore oahumountain view from ehukai pillbox trailbest hiking trails for kids on oahunorth shore family hike

If you love hiking, but aren’t up for the mud you can try the very easy, stroller friendly hike through Waimea Valley Botanical Garden.

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The Middle | Lanikai Beach family photographer

When you live in Australia and your parents live in California, it’s nice to meet in the middle with a family reunion trip to Hawaii. Since they don’t get to see each other often, it felt like a great opportunity for a photo session. Back in Australia, Francisca and her family live close to the beach. She wanted a beach that stood out and represented Hawaii. What “Hawaii” means really depends on where you come from and what you’re interested in. Some people want nothing more than blue water or palm trees while others envision long stretches of sandy beach and mountain views. For Francisca, we decided to to go for a mix. We would start with sunrise over Makapuu Beach and head to the blue waters of Lanikai Beach for a refreshing dip.

The group had already been vacationing hard on Big Island for awhile before hopping over to Oahu. Ale emerged from the car in a burst of enthusiasm. He promptly introduced himself, tried to tell me all the things, and then passed out with exhaustion. It was maybe three minutes into our session. Over the course of the morning he slowly became revitalized. We searched for crabs, explored tide pools and chased the waves before going all in at Lanikai. Somehow, by the end of the morning everyone else was wiped out, but he was ready for more.

sunrise family photo session over makapuu beachrainbow family photo session on oahu hawaiifun family photos at the beach in hawaiifamily reunion photo session oahu hawaiilanikai family photo sessionfamily playing at lanikai beachLanikai Beach family photographer

Want to make some beach memories with your family?

Let’s plan a fun morning so you can enjoy your vacation and take home beautiful images. Find out more about my fun family photography sessions here.


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Rainbows | Kailua family documentary photographer

Connie and her family were visiting Oahu on vacation. They wanted to take advantage of their time here and capture family photos with the beautiful backdrop of Hawaii. Based on past photo experiences, however, she knew the kids would protest. They hated having their picture taken and she didn’t want to make everyone miserable on vacation. We talked for a bit and came up with a game plan. The kids love playing at the beach so we would just let them play and have fun.

In fact, the kids love the water so much that they begged to come early. They were already splashing in the water before I arrived. After much consideration, Connie selected kid-friendly Kalama Beach Park, but it was … well, it was packed full of families. I was about to move them further down the beach when a sudden rain squall took care of the crowds. Families packed up and scrambled for cover while we hit the water. We were gifted double rainbows stretching over Kailua Bay and fun evening playing in the surf.

kailua family photographerkids playing at kailua beachhawaii-family documentary photographerKailua family documentary photographer


Do you have a water-loving family?

Let’s hit the beach for a fun afternoon of body-boarding and splashing in the surf. Maybe we’ll get some rainbows to top it off. Find out more about my fun family photography sessions here.

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Kaanapali morning | Maui family lifestyle photographer

Do you remember how you spent your birthday last year? I can’t. Of course, at some point in my 30’s I started forgetting how old I was on a given year. It’s gotten so bad that recently that my kids convinced me I was a full year older than I actually am. I bring it up because having a photo session on your actual birthday is pretty special. Especially when you’re turning one.  How many babies get to celebrate their first birthday with sunrise on a beautiful Maui beach?

I scouted a few beaches near their Kaanapali hotel and fell in love with lovely little Kapalua Beach. The day before the beach had been packed with sunbathers and snorkelers baking in the midday heat. The morning scene was quite different – peaceful and serene. We walked to the beach amid birdsong, a light breeze, and the gentle lapping of ocean waves on the shore. The sand was chilly so we searched out spots of sunshine to warm ourselves. Despite the chill, the boys were excited and ready to get in the water to play. Little turtle heads popped out of the water all around, beckoning us to come closer. We splashed and played until little lips began to turn blue and then it was time for a birthday breakfast of pancakes. A happy birthday indeed.

Maui family lifestyle photographerLahina family portraits at the beachkaanapili family photographer mauikaanapili family portraits on mauihawaii family photographer mom and baby at the beachdad and son playing in the water in hawaiihawaii lifestyle photographermom and sun snuggle after a swim at kaanapili beach maui

Make the most of your family vacation with a morning of fun and adventure and beautiful images to take home.

Based on Oahu, but availabile for interisland travel. Find out more about my family photo adventures here.


A perfect Maui evening | Hawaii family filmmaker

Barb is a fellow family photographer and dear friend. We met at a photography workshop on Maui many years ago and have been friends ever since. Photography friends are a treasure. Being a photographer is a lonely job after all. About 80% of your time is spent in isolation behind a computer screen, so it’s a joy to meetup in person to talk story and share ideas.

I was heading to Maui for a photo session and Barb asked me to make a film for her family while I was there. It turns out that Kate, her little one, likes to watch the family films on my Vimeo channel on repeat. Now she could star in her very own film. The ocean is a big part of their lives. Their wedding ceremony was actually in the water on surf boards. It was really beautiful. We spent the day filming around the house, but we definitely had to end at the beach.

It was overcast with howling wind when we left their Wailuku home, but as made our way to Kihei, the sun emerged. The cloudy weather may have scared off other beach-goers because we had Poolenalena Beach to ourselves. We set down in the sand and soaked in the beautiful surroundings.

You can see their sweet video from the beach here –

And a few photos

Hawaii family filmmakermaui family photographer sunset over kiheimaui sunset

Family films are a beautiful way to push pause and capture on your life right now.

Let’s plan a fun family day together, doing something you love with your favorite people. With a film and photos you can return and share those moments for generations. Find out more about my fun family film and photo sessions here.