Life in Volcano.
One of the things that I love most about wedding photography is the pace of it. It’s fast. It’s never the same. It changes from minute to minute, hour to hour. It changes from wedding to wedding. Every wedding has a different feel from the last. A new vibe. Weddings hardly ever hold still.
Neither does my own brain, so it all works out pretty well.
I love the things that do hold still, though. The things that don’t change from wedding to wedding. Family and friends coming together from far off places. The love in the air. The blue of the ocean. The way the wind blows a bride’s hair astray and yet they all still look as perfect as can be. People dancing as music fills the air.
So it was great fun putting together Cassidy & Matt’s wedding photography. Their Kohala wedding had an amazing vibe. A sense of movement and of remembrance and nostalgia as we visited places from Cassidy’s upbringing. There was a feeling of change and a feeling of things staying the same, as they often do in a beautiful, rural place like Kohala.
It was very dynamic and exciting for me as a photographer, and made for a beautiful wedding day.
A beautiful, secluded ceremony.We visited a few spots in Kohala to hang out, take pictures and enjoy the day, including Mahukona Beach Park, above. I grew up swimming, camping and jumping off the old pier there so it was quite a thing for me to be back. After a few minutes, we continued our tour with a trip to Kapa’a beach park —Kohala is truly a special place on the Big Island. I’m not sure how to describe it — There’s just something about it that pulls at my heart. Below, the scenic lookout at Pololu Valley.As night fell, the reception began. Hundreds of family members and friends filled three massive tents at Cassidy’s family home in sleepy Kapa’au town. Loud music, good food and tons of laughter! Cassidy and Matt were just so happy. Happy at home in Hawaii. One of my favorite moments was when they had their first dance, surrounded by their families joined hand in hand, now a single huge family —You know it’s a local, hometown wedding when there are a ton of kids around! 🙂 They had front row seats to a few keiki hula performances.And a fire dancer!
Thank you again, Cassidy & Matt! Being a part of your family celebration is something I won’t ever forget.
Coming up next, their Trash the Dress session!
Cassidy & Matt’s wedding was an amazing day. A day of relentless celebration, fun, love and family. And they themselves were wonderful. So I was stoked and ready to go the next day for our Trash the Dress session.
I wanted the TTD photos to be a natural extension of those from the wedding, but I also wanted to change it up. I wanted that same sense of motion that I aimed to get during the wedding, but wanted the TTD photos to be more peaceful. Less grit. Not quite as dynamic. Less drama. More polished. Hard to explain.
We wanted a secluded beach. White sand. Velvet water. Serene. Emphasis on secluded. So we did the TTD session at the beautiful and highly popular Hapuna Beach, in south Kohala.
If you’ve ever been to Hapuna, you know that there are only two occasions when there aren’t a zillion people there. First is during a Tsunami Warning. The second is when Cassidy, Matt and I did this session — early in the morning, before the parking lot opened.
The sun was just peaking out onto the sand, the water was calm, and the beach was practically empty. It was a perfect morning.
I got a kick out of how Cass flung her bouquet and shoes — fast, far or fast-and-far.After strolling on the beach for a bit, we went to get some intimate shots at the rocks. Luckily, the tide was low and the surf was calm, so we were able to enter the hidden cave at the end of the beach.Cass & Matt, you two are perfect!Time to get wet and trash the dress! When I was running along with them taking these pics, I was wondering what was going through Cassidy’s mind. I mean, one of my top priorities is client comfort, so I always get a bit nervous when I tell the bride and groom to run anywhere, nevermind into the ocean…But then she turned around with this big, perfectly photogenic smile on her face, and all was right in the world.Quick shot of the beach as we were leaving.
Cassidy and Matt, thank you so much for allowing me the priviledge of photographing you for two awesome days, and thank you for being such lovely people!
From the very first email I received from Melissa, I knew I definitely wanted to be the photographer for her and husband Sean’s Big Island Honeymoon:
“We will be on our honeymoon (getting married here in CA in May of this year) and would like photos of us taken against the beauty of the water, islands, scenery, etc.”
“I really want photographs that capture the beauty of the Big Isle and I want these pictures to evoke the feeling that the location is Hawaii & not CA. For example, if a guest came in our home & if they saw the photos, I’d want them walking away with “I’ve never been to the Big Isle, but I want to go now.”
Evoking feelings? Showcase the Big Island? Sign me up, please! That’s just my thing — evocative, epic photos are exactly what I’m best at.
And after we exchanged a few emails back and forth, I quickly saw that Melissa was a really cool person. Cool in a way that I could readily understand. She used words like “plethora”, “stabilizing” and “hella” within the context of a portrait session. She had a certain indomitable geekiness to her, as our emails turned from planning the session, to talking about Spam Musubi as a suitable meal for the Easter holiday.
Which it definitely is.
Melissa is cool — we’ve established that. What about her husband Sean? Well, no matter what Melissa might tell you, Sean is a really cool guy. Cool in a way a guy should be. Cool how I wish I was. He’s as mellow as a sunset and as patient as the shore is with the waves. And smooth — he knows just how to make Melissa smile. In fact, she hardly stopped smiling the entire time! Just look:
Oops… maybe Melissa wasn’t smiling all the time…Never mind, she’s smiling again!A hawaiian sunset is more than just the moment when the sun is about to split the ocean; it’s a story that should be told over time. I wanted to clearly show this progression of time in the photos, and I hope I was successful. You be the judge.
After the sun went down for the day, we randomly decided to make a quick stop at the always awesome King’s Shops at Waikoloa for a few “Retail Vacation” themed photos. I thought it’d make the entire collection more varied, and I had always wanted to do some night time, location-lit wedding portraits…Compared to Melissa, Sean is more reserved, but when he does talk, apparently it’s smooth as butter. Oh, and I loved the light this ad box was giving out!What an awesome afternoon and evening it was! I was excited since Melissa, Sean and I would have a second session the next morning, at Onomea Bay, in Hilo…..And in typical Hilo fashion, it was raining when we arrived. After a few minutes of shaking my fist at the sky and pondering my list of sheltered back-up portrait locations, the rain passed and the skies cleared. Thank you skies! We were worried that it might rain again, but these worries turned out to be unfounded when we walked down the trail into the bay proper…I have to say, Melissa is one talented newlywed. She made both of her dresses you see here. And both of Sean’s shirts too! — the 2nd of which is a Barong, traditional Filipino wedding attire for the groom. Great work, Melissa!
So happy to be on such a beautiful island. I really tried to give the Hilo photos a truly “Hilo” feel.The awesome jungles of Onomea. I was half expecting to see a blue alien yelling “I am Toruk Macto!” flying around the canopy.
Congratulations Melissa & Sean, and thank you for having me along for 2 fun days of photographic adventure!
– Jim 🙂