Traveling the world taking photos isn't always as fantastic as it sounds. It can be lonely, frustrating and overwhelming. I don't always get to choose where I go, or who I photograph. Often, places of interest don't live up to what I've imagined... or the perhaps the people I encounter aren't quite as welcoming or excitable as I'd hoped. After years of rolling the dice with destination photography, I've learned to keep my expectations in check. I'm beginning to let the experiences come to me, for better or for worse, and not go chasing my predisposed ideas about a place.
So when I found myself in Hawaii, almost exactly half way between my two homes (Florida and Adelaide), I couldn't help but feel like something else led me there. It was a much needed chance to pause, breathe and be open to whatever opportunities present themselves.
I made very few plans outside of the wedding and proposal shoots that brought me to the Islands. I was very much a passenger. Somewhere during of my week long effort to do as little as possible, I met Sandra and Hunter. Two locals who showed me exactly what it means to follow your heart, embrace the signs that are all around you and immerse yourself in your own personal paradise, no matter where you're from or what led you there. They shared there story with me, which was nothing short of beautiful. They showed me the places they love and care about... They spoke with pride and enthusiasm for their Island home and were eager for me to feel welcome. When it got dark, we sat in a sandy lot, surrounded by tiki torches and ate incredible food from the back of a truck. We talked, laughed and became fast friends. It was an awesome reminder that amazing experiences can come your way with very little effort, if you just pause, breathe and be open to whatever opportunities present themselves.
Oh, and in the midst of all this, we also took some photos...