Sunday, December 26, 2010

You've Got a Friend

This image is one I took two years ago, just after my oldest daughter graduated from high school and her friends were all getting ready to head to different colleges.  They were sharing one last sunset at the beach together.  Their friendships have endured since grade school and they most recently got together just a few days ago for a party at our home.  It's wonderful to see them all grow and change, and to see how their friendships still remain strong.

So when a friend shared this song today, it reminded me of how valuable our friendships are.  (This song was suggested for someone who's creating a playlist of positive songs to listen to whenever she gets a little down.)  This song takes me back and always wraps me in warmth.  I'd forgotten how much I love it. 

To all of you who are reading this, my warmest aloha to you and yours and I hope all of you are blessed with an abundance of love, gratitude, and great friendships!  I hope you'll share the warmth!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Maternity Portraits

Oh, how I love doing maternity portrtaits.  I get to photograph some amazing things, and a woman awaiting the birth of her baby is so magical.   Here's a portrait I recently did that I just love.  I think the look says it all.  I call this one, "Lindsay Waiting".

Sunday, November 14, 2010

I'm always chasing rainbows

I was ready to settle in and do some office work this afternoon.  Then it started raining.  Pouring.  And the sun was shining!  That meant only one thing-- rainbows!  I'm a sucker for rainbows.  So I grabbed my camera, jumped in the car and headed to my favorite little bluff overlooking the city.  Of course, rainbows only come about when it's raining and the best shots are when the water is still coming down.  I really don't like taking the chance of getting my camera wet, but you really can't get a good shot while you're sitting in the car.  So I hopped out and snapped away.   Getting wet was worth it.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Living in the Moment

I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but I truly, passionately, absolutely love what I do!  I get to capture a moment in time.  A moment that will never be repeated.  The light will never be the same, the clouds will never be the same color, the expressions will never have the same look.  Just recently I got to capture a moment with Peter and Tiara against the beautiful Ko'olau mountains.  As I put them in position, we saw the sky start to change color and the sun shoot across the top of the mountains.  It was one of those "omigosh" moments and as soon as I snapped the image, I knew this moment was a keeper.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why I love senior portraits

High school senior portraits are definitely one of my favorite types of sessions.   Maybe it's because I have two teens of my own and love the challenge of capturing their personality.  I get to be really creative and we have a lot of fun during the session.  We chat.  And sometimes we just stop and laugh.

I think the main reason I like working with seniors is their energy.  They have the whole world waiting for them. We talk about their plans for college and what they plan to study.  Where they want to go  and how they came to their decision.   It's fun knowing I'm photographing future surgeons, nurses, journalists, designers, engineers, and who knows?   I hope they'll drop me a line in the future and let me know how they're doing.

More Senior Portraits

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Hawaiian Shaved Ice--In Kansas!!!

Who would imagine finding a Hawaiian Shaved Ice stand in Kansas??!!! This little place in Junction City, Kansas was a surprisingly great find.  Living in Hawaii I'm used to having some delicious, authentic shave ice.  Pelican Pete's in J.C. was a treat!  The ice used at Pelican Pete's was more finely ground than what we're used to in Hawaii (I liked both kinds), and the flavors were just as yummy.  The 110-degree heat index also made these taste especially good.

We got a huge kick out of the decor......

 Tiki man was a bit scary-looking.....

And I'm pretty sure we don't have alligators in least not on my roof we don't! 

The kids (my two daughters and a friend) enjoyed the oversized swing.

But my favorite decorative item was the pedal-boat-to-nowhere....

A great place to go on a hot summer afternoon!  (Evenings are great, too--the place is ablaze with twinkly lights and happy music.)  How can you help but love a place like this??!  It'll definitely be on my tour stop the next time I'm in town.

Friday, August 20, 2010

City Girls and Country Cows

I was in Kansas recently, helping my oldest daughter get settled back at K-State.  It was also a great time to visit with friends and family.

One of the first days I was back home, we visited a dairy.  Since my girls are "city girls," my mom thought it'd be fun for them to see some cows close up.  Visiting cows was not on my girls' list of things to do while on vacation (their idea of sightseeing is to visit shopping malls), but they went along for the fun.  We were warmly welcomed at Hildebrand Farms and invited to go visit the cows in their pens.  (I had to remind the girls to stand upwind, not downwind!)  It was great fun, and I'll bet those cows have never been photographed so much!  

This little calf craved attention:

She even offered free kisses:

And more pics:

It was a great little visit to Hildebrand Farms.  Although we didn't get a chance to try the ice cream, we did buy some delicious fresh cheese curds.  The ice cream will have to wait til our next trip....

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Shooting my kids

This was literally one of the hardest sessions I've done in a long time.  It was hard because these are my daughters.  And they wouldn't sit still!  They kept giggling, tickling each other, refusing to get close, and then they'd complain they were hungry.  One would make a comment and they'd fall over in a fit of laughter.  I told them it was easier to photograph the family pets than it was to photograph them!  (You can see some of the pet pics in an earlier post.) 

We'd been planning to do a formal session for awhile.  My oldest daughter (the one on the left) was home from college for the summer and both girls wanted formal portraits taken.  (Caroline will be a sophomore in college and Catherine will be a high school senior this fall.)  My friend Corvette Dela Cruz is an awesome hair and makeup artist and she offered to come over and make the girls up.  They were so excited!  You would think that being the daughters of a photographer they'd be tired of getting their pictures taken.  Not necessarily.  When they're in the right mood, they love to ham it up for me.  This session was especially fun (and challenging!) because I'd shown them some ideas I had and they were just plain giddy.

It took me over an hour to finally get the shot I wanted.  Not because I'm slow, but because they'd sit for a second, then look at each other and burst out laughing.  It's a far cry from when they were younger and would argue constantly or simply refuse to cooperate.  (Someday I'll have to post a pic I used for our Christmas card when the girls were little.  I tried to get everyone smiling, but my youngest refused to smile.  So the annual card had a family pic with her scowling while everyone else was smiling.)

For this session I was finally able to get them to settle down by doing what I always do when working with wild animals.  I bribed them with food.  I told them that if they'd sit for just a couple more shots, my husband and I would take them out for a nice dinner.   It worked like a charm.

It's nice to have this image of the two of them because creating the image was almost as fun as seeing it finished.  I smile every time I see it.

Monday, July 19, 2010

How did I get here?

 I'm often asked, "So how long have you been doing this?"  That's not a quick answer.  Most of the time, I find that when people ask this question they really want to know how I became a photographer.   It seems photography is one of those jobs a lot of people dream about and so they're curious how I actually got to where I am.

I opened my photography business almost 3 years ago.  But I've had a camera in my hands since I was about 10 years old.  When I was a teen, I trained in a darkroom learning how to develop my own film and processing my own black and white/color prints.  I absolutely loved the smell of the darkroom and the magic of seeing a photograph develop right before your eyes.  If I'd had a good mentor, I'm sure I would've pursued a photography career right out of college.  But instead, photography took a back seat while I followed a military career and raised a family.  I continued to take pics, but mostly just happy snaps here and there.  After I retired from the military, I spent several years as a consultant teaching photo organization and preservation.  Finally, I decided it was time to get back to my love of photography.  It was time to pick up my camera and get serious. 

I studied, took workshops, and studied some more.  I've been fortunate to train with world-class wedding and portrait photographers.  I've trained with a photographer who was a Pulitzer-prize runner up.  I've learned printing techniques from a Digital Print Master.  I continue to take classes and workshops to improve my techniques.  I'm also a member of several professional associations which has helped me become a better photographer and a better business-person.  Photography may seem very glamorous, but there's a lot of hard learning that goes along with it.

About the above picture.  It's my absolute favorite place to go and relax.  Do you know where this is?  Hint:  It's not on Oahu.  My family and I go here to relax, unwind, and do absolutely nothing.   I go here when I want to reflect on where I've been, what I've done, and where I still have yet to go.   I don't get to go here as frequently as I'd like, but the few days spent unwinding is all I need to get re-energized and re-focused.   I hope you have a special place where you can do likewise.  

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Lantern Floating Ceremony

Last night I attended the annual Lantern Floating Ceremony at Magic Island.  What a beautiful experience.  The ceremony "remembers those who gave their lives in conflict, allows for reflection on the memories of loved ones and dedicates prayers for a peaceful and harmonious future."

Even though I don't like crowds and was feeling a little under the weather,  I told myself I would go this year.  I've seen the beautiful images of the lanterns floating on the water and knew I had to take my camera and go.  Over 40,000 people were in attendance, yet my daughter and I were able to make our way to the water's edge for a good view.   As the 2,000 lanterns were released, I found myself wading into the water (jeans and all) to get a closer view.

The music, the ceremony, and the incredible sight of the lanterns floating off in the distance was truly one of those "chicken-skin" experiences.  If you've never gone, this is one of those events you shouldn't miss.  The event is sponsored and officiated by a Buddhist sect in Hawaii, but people of all religions participate and the ceremony is one of "inclusion and harmony".  What a great concept!!

And in case you're wondering, the lanterns are collected from the ocean before they get too far out to sea. This keeps the environment safe and the platforms are re-used the following year.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The sky was singing

I was working very late last night.  I was overwhelmed by paperwork I'd been putting off and feeling rather frustrated by the whole mess.  I had the TV on and was half-watching Oprah when she announced The Canadian Tenors would be on her show.  They had no idea that they were going to be surprised by Celine Dion (whom they'd admired for years.)

Just watching this and listening to their beautiful vocals was everything I needed to end my day.  It was amazing how a great song could so quickly change my mood. (Their reaction to Celine was equally priceless.)  And it got me thinking about how a great image can do the same thing.  A great image should make you pause. 

I shot this image after a long day of meetings and various errands.  I was tired and my drive home was made even longer by slow traffic and rain showers.  As I neared my house, the clouds and the sky started to take on this beautiful hue.  For half a second I was tempted to just continue on home, I was so tired.  But the sky was SO incredibly striking and I had my camera with me, so I pulled into this park and started shooting.  Even after the sun went down, I just stood there amazed.   It was the same feeling after listening to this song.  I hope you'll pause a moment take this all in.

Song:  Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen.  I first heard it by kd lang at the Winter Olympics and I was mesmerized.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Who says you can't have a second chance?

A few weeks ago I got a nice pic of a rainbow.  My biggest disappointment was that I didn't have my wide angle lens with me.  The rainbow was so big that I couldn't get it fully in the frame from my vantage point.  I knew I'd have to have just the right conditions to try and capture it again--late afternoon, showers coming in, and I'd have to be up on the hill with my camera ready--not an easy thing to plan since I don't generally have time to camp out and wait for rain.

So when showers started rolling in again, I made sure my camera was ready and that I had my wide angle lens on it.  Fortunately, I was at home when it started raining and could see the possibility for a good rainbow.  So I grabbed my camera and drove to this spot near my home.  I was rewarded with this insanely beautiful rainbow.  And this time I was ready!

Draw whatever conclusions you'd like, but there's a lot to the saying that "Success happens when preparation meets opportunity."  I thought it would be a long time before I'd have the opporunity for a shot like this again, but fortunately, I was ready for it to happen sooner than expected!

Are you ready?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Rain brings rainbows!

Last Wednesday was a very busy day for me.  I started out with a meeting in town in the morning, followed by another meeting and some errands.  By the time I was ready to head home, I was tired, hungry, and stuck in rush-hour traffic.  Off and on showers made the traffic even slower than normal.

Rather than do battle with traffic, I decided to stop and pick up a mock-chicken salad wrap from Down To Earth (if you've never tried it, you absolutely must!).  That perked me up and I didn't mind the slow drive home.

As I neared my house, I saw a beautiful rainbow forming overhead.  I drove to a good vantage point and pulled out my camera.   This was one of the hugest, most perfect rainbows I'd ever seen.  In fact, it was a double rainbow!!  It was so big I couldn't get all of it in the frame! (If I'd moved, there would've been a huge ugly fence in the picture.)  This is a shot looking from Makakilo towards Honolulu.

What can I say about rainbows.  They come out after the rain.  They make a brief, spectacular appearance.  You have to be quick to catch the moment.   But usually, things are always brighter after the rain.  Rainbows are proof of that.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Riding out Hawaii's tsumani warning

I awoke yesterday morning about 6:00 a.m. and my usual routine is to groggily flip on my computer and check my e-mails.  The first one I got was from a friend, titled "Praying for you!"  That opened my eyes and I was instantly awake.   I really didn't know what she was talking about until I read further and realized that the entire state of Hawaii was under a tsunami warning as a result of the 8.8 earthquake which had struck Chile hours earlier.  I turned on the news just as the civil defense sirens started blaring.  Facebook and Twitter came alive with chatter.

We live on the top of a mountain which is at least 900 feet above sea level and we're 15 minutes from the nearest coastline.  So I knew we were safe (but if floodwaters ever do reach our house, then you can assume the rest of Oahu is underwater).  Nevertheless, we filled our bathtubs with water and made sure everything was charged in case of power or water outages.  We also checked our supply of toilet paper--you see, we live on an island and if anything happens to shipments, t.p. becomes one of the hot commodities around here.  Food--I'm filipino so we always have plenty of food in our house, so no need to even check if there's enough to last us for a few days.

The first wave was expected to hit Oahu at 11:19 a.m.  It was 6:00 a.m. when sirens started going off and the entire state began serious movement.  I've never experienced anything like this, and to make a long story short, it was comforting to see the coordinated state response and the effective communication.  Hawaii was very fortunate that the waves were much, much less than anticipated.  We had been told to "prepare for the worst and hope for the best" and again, we're thankful for the way things turned out for us.   Our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Chile.

As a photographer, I couldn't resist the urge to go out and take a few pics.  (Yes, I know we were told to stay off the roads.)  I wasn't about to go near the water (police were making sure people didn't), but I wanted to go see what was happening since I'd heard people were starting to fill the park and church in our neighborhood.

Since we live on a mountaintop, hundreds of people in lower areas began making their way up to our neighborhood.  The main road uphill became a constant procession of cars.   This normally empty street was packed.

People began setting up tents on the sidewalks.  This is an overlook which gave a view of Diamond Head and much of the leeward coast.  I saw trucks loaded with grills, water jugs, and pets. 

The pets--I saw an elderly man sitting by himself, cradling his little dog in his arms and you could hear the civil defense sirens in the distance.  I was driving too quickly to get the shot, but of all the things I saw and heard yesterday, that image stays with me. 

All people could do was watch and wait.  It was nerve-wracking for everyone, not knowing if their homes would be safe.  Yet, there was an air of calm acceptance for whatever might happen.  

While I was out driving around with my daughter and taking pictures, I got a text from a photographer friend on the mainland (Rita Lawrence with Bitsy Baby Photography).  She said she was thinking of me and hoping all was well.  I texted back saying "Believe it or not, I'm out driving around taking pictures!"   She texted back saying, "I KNEW IT!!!

I didn't get the shot I wanted of this, but I had to take this one anyway.  Earlier, there'd been a little girl sitting on top of the truck next to the box which said, "FISH FOR SALE."  I thought it was priceless. 

The tsunami turned out to be no more than a gentle 2-foot wave.  But you never know how these will really turn out, so we stayed prepared. Anyway, all of Hawaii is breathing a collective sigh of relief today.  I've been chatting with friends and every one of us seems to be using today to wind down from yesterday's emotional events.  It was stressful.  But we're all so grateful things turned out the way they did, and I thank all of my distant friends and family who sent their thoughts and prayers to us.  (P.S. I'm still keeping my surfboard and swimfins within easy reach!)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Bridal Photo Shoot

Over the weekend I got to do a bridal shoot arranged by awesome hair and makeup artist Corvette Dela Cruz.  (Corvette has this wonderfully bubbly personality and you can't help but have fun whenever you're around her.)  We had great models (friends and family of Corvette) who agreed to have their hair and makeup done, put on some beautiful gowns and pose for the photographers.  Such a tough job!  They were so patient with us photographers as we tried to capture them from every beautiful angle.  It was a fun day with everyone oohing and aahing over the gorgeous gowns.  (Made many of us think about wanting to get married again, if only to slip into the satiny material for just a few moments.)

Hair and makeup by Corvette Dela Cruz, 220-0376
Wedding gowns by Princess Brides, 592-8888
Tuxedos by Hale Niu, 734-2125
Flowers by Pauahi Leis & Flowers (Leny), 521-6156
Location by Ocean Front Oasis, 497-2749
Photography by Kathleen Davenport, 372-0065

Here are some of my favorite images from the day:

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Photo session with Miss Windward 2010

I get to do fun stuff!  The other evening I had a photo session with Miss Windward 2010, Lauren Cheape.  Lauren is a sweet gal and we had a wonderful time doing some beach portraits.   I think it's so fun to combine a formal gown with sand, surf, and sunset. 

Lauren will be competing for the title of Miss Hawaii in June.  Good luck, Lauren!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Looking Back and Looking Ahead

       Engagement portrait by Kathleen Davenport Photography

I've been really busy these past few weeks experimenting with some new techniques and outlining some exciting new plans for my business.   As I looked back at some of my work from 2009,  I was still figuring out exactly what kind of a photographer I wanted to be.  Now,  I'm much more clear about the type of work I love and want to do.   As I tell people, I'm skilled at photographing a wide variety of things, but I specialize in family and individual portraits.   I love interacting with people and bringing out their joy in the photos I take.   I love the creative process.  And my "style" is developing. 

As I move into 2010, I've got a clear vision of where I want to go.  Now I'm putting the pieces in place.  I'm excited about some new services I'll be offering.  I'm excited about the new opportunities that are developing.  I hope you'll stay tuned!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

A vintage-inspired session

I love looking at old photographs. I love old movies. I love the elegance of the 1940's and '50's. So it's only natural that my style is a nod to the classics.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to do a vintage-inspired photo session with hair and makeup artist Corvette Dela Cruz. Corvette has an amazing ability to transform her models into period timepieces. I have a young model who adores vintage fashion and was all-too happy to pose for us.

My good friend Tracie joined me on the shoot and we had a wonderful time making some awesome images.

(Click on the arrow to start the short music video.)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Pets like to have their portraits taken, too

Today I was practicing some lighting techniques using my daughter as a model.  After we finished, I noticed one of my cats had jumped up on the settee and looked at me as if to say, "I'm ready to have my portrait done." 

So I quickly adjusted my lights, put a new memory card in my camera, and started shooting. Eventually all four of our cats took a turn, but Boots turned out to be the most relaxed and willing subject.   He even came back for a second sitting after the other cats had finished.

Boots (aka "Mr. Photogenic")

Misty--if she were human she'd be a 1940's or 1950's glamour girl.

"You can bring me a drink and the paper now."

All images copyright Kathleen Davenport Photography