the gift of time

written for the incredible motherhood with a camera blog, a gathering of images and writings, each swirling around a specific theme. this week, the topic was time and here is my submission.

time precious and fleeting unstoppable time gives time takes your past is a memory your future is a mystery all you know for certain is your time now this very moment each day a present how will you spend your time? from the time you rise till the time you rest it’s a choice your choice what will your legacy be? that you lived your life fully and spent your time well that you were kind and good and giving i hope so because time is a gift i will do my best to cherish every minute and celebrate my time but for now it’s time to say thank you for your time!


you can view the entire choir of the beautiful and inspiring voices here.

oh canada!

goodness, it's been a while.a long while. i could make lots of excuses but i won't bore you -- other than sharing that it's been an amazing, whirlwind, full-of-travel, kick-ass kind summer. so where do i start? oh canada. yes...CANADA!!

this past june, i held a workshop in grand bend, canada. i feel so incredibly blessed to have been able to share with 10 amazing, awe-inspiring, beautiful women!! i truly feel that each and every workshop i am able to teach is such a gift in my life. i am blessed -- and so very grateful. and so i start with some special and very important thank yous --

to those who attended my canada workshop, i cannot thank you enough for entrusting and believing in me. thank you for opening your hearts, minds and souls to all that i had to share. each of you is unique and special and i can't wait to see where your journey takes you over the coming months and years. from the bottom of my heart, i thank you: lisa tullett amber lowe meg henderson tracy higgon sherri davis stephanie jackson heather ellen jennifer floyd & jessica thew

thank you hilary camilleri, for taking such awesome care of me while in canada and ensuring the workshop was seamless, from beginning to end. and i thank you for your kind and gracious friendship!

thank you sherri davis for working so hard on this beautiful, heartfelt video, captured during our workshop days together.  i will never forget our foxy visitor and the full moon rising...meant to be!!

thank you to the cranston family, claire and nina, who all volunteered to model for the workshop (photos shared below).

thank you to the wonderful workshop sponsors: dream a little dream with me the organic bloom lensbaby ketti handbags baby p designs 3 annies camera bags erin darcy design the flower studio

in closing, i wanted to share this incredible email i received after the workshop, which had me in lots of happy, grateful tears:

Dear Deb, Shortly after our workshop, our family packed up and headed to the cottage for a couple of weeks. It was complete chaos and I didn't end up getting the time I needed to honestly reflect on what you gave to me at the workshop. I knew I had walked away refreshed, motivated, and inspired, but also knew that something deeper had happened in those two days.

I am home now and the kids are asleep. I can finally sit down, think, and write.

I can't thank you enough for your honesty and for presenting yourself as a "real" person. Until the workshop, you were some famous photographer that I worshiped. After the workshop you were Deb. Deb who had a dream, worked her ass off and is now one of the most talented photographers I know. You weren't handed your gift on a silver platter. I needed to see this more than you know. I needed to see that an everyday mommy like me, could be great at this art.

You took the time to explain things and teach things that I am sure are very second nature to you. I felt safe those two days knowing that I was there to learn and you were there to teach. No stupid questions could be asked.

An inside look into your work and how you approach a shoot and editing was incredible. I can't even begin to tell you how much I learned during that time!  You inspired me to keep going with this art and be honest and true on my journey. These words have not left my head. Before I arrived I wasn't sure if I should be doing this or return to teaching. I am now committed to this amazing art and have put teaching on the back burner. I understand I have a long road ahead and that there is no end to the journey. Before you, this would have scared the shit out of me. Now I am excited.

More than anything you have motivated me to KEEP GOING.

Deb, you were incredible those two days. I could have listened to you forever. You add so much value to this art and I respect you more than I can express.

THANK YOU for the opportunity to learn from you and get to know you. I would do this all over again in a heart beat. I hope that we will meet again some day but for now know that you have left a really big awesome mark in my world. So grateful for our time.

last but not least, some of the photographs that i took at the workshop...

i'm hoping to now get back to regular blogging.  or maybe a bit of tumblring.


there will never be a perfect time

you will never have this day again.each day is a gift. breathe and notice. today. every day. relish the beauty and charm of the present. enjoy this day because... before you know it today will be gone. [modified from poem by jan hatmaker]

for my dear friend, robin, who i met during my air force days (we worked at the military hospital in tucson together). we haven't seen each other in over 12 years, but she will forever remain one of my dearest, truest friends.  a few days ago, she wrote on my facebook wall...

My beautiful, talented friend....So I pose a question that lots of my friends are requesting an answer to as well...... I MUST get family photos done, but I hate the way I look in pics. I would like something hip and funky to wear.... Got any advice on photographing moms like me? Seems all the families you take pics of are BEAUTIFUL. Also, if you lived in a cold area, would you postpone your sessions until it warms outside? XXXOOO your fluffy friend.

short on time, my initial reply to her was that she is beautiful and fabulous through and through and THAT is what the camera will capture.  and i shared with her that she needs to read THIS.

i told her that i would post a cold-weather chicago shoot here on my blog, for her to see.  so here it is. i was supposed to photograph this family three weeks prior to our actual shoot date (when it was much, much warmer), but i was really sick at the time and had to delay my chicago travel. the original planned 70-degree weather ended up being in the 40s.

i also think it's important to include the words from my client, emailed to me after she saw her gallery for the first time...

I LOVE THEM!  Thank you so much for the amazing pictures. You delivered exactly what I had hoped to get! I have looked over the gallery several times before sending you a note so that I could let you know some of my favorites, to impress upon you, more than just a simple thank you -- how happy I am. But I ran into the problem that I could not choose.  I love them all.  I'm so happy that I can look past the weight I need / wanted to lose before you took our pictures.  Love love love.  That is a lot of love coming from me.  They make my heart happy.  Okay excited!

of course, can't help but love the last two photos of the night.  after our shoot, the kids were excited to show me their play room, so of course, i brought my camera back out and took a couple more photos.

and here's a few photos from my family's cold-weather session in kansas (2009), courtesy of leigh miller photography.  it was FREEZING!

at the lake

let yourself be open and life will be easier. a spoon of salt in a glass of water makes the water undrinkable. a spoon of salt in a lake goes unnoticed. [buddha]

beyond grateful for my week in minnesota and all that it offered me...

questions & answers regarding my underwater shooting:

Q: what camera do you use? A: i shoot underwater with my D700 and 35mm f/1.8.

Q:  do you use a waterproof camera? A: i don't use a waterproof camera (refer to next Q & A).

Q:  what underwater housing do you use? A: i first purchased an equinox housing, but it was way too big and heavy, for the type of photography i was doing. i later purchased an SPL housing, which is what i am currently using.

Q: what are you able to adjust once your camera is in the housing? A: i'm able to adjust aperture and shutter speed, once my camera is in the housing.

Q: were you able to stand while shooting the lake photos? A: i was able to stand some of the time. other times i was doggy-paddling or floating in a tube (so not easy).

Q:  are you wearing any special gear or clothing during the shoot? A:  no special clothing; i wear a bikini and sometimes a rash guard. if i'm shooting in the pool and need to stay underwater, i sometimes wear a diver's weight belt (refer to next Q & A)

Q:  how do you stay down?  do you use weights in shallow water? A:  if i'm shooting underwater, in a pool, i sometimes use a diver's weight belt.  if i don't, i'm pretty quickly floating back to the surface.  when i'm shooting in the ocean or lake, no weights with me.

Q: do you use the lensbaby or filters on these shots? A: i cannot use any other camera or lens in my housing except D700 and 35mm. and no filters.

Q: how do you keep things so sharp? A: same principles apply as regular shooting (out of the water).

Q:  do you do much to your photographs post-shooting? A: no, i don't do much to my underwater photographs in post-shooting. basically just standard post-processing, similar to my regular (out-of-water) photographs. i never add any additional blur, textures, etc.

Q:  my questions are a little different as i'm interested in how you fell into this - if you are open to sharing the images that sparked the idea, any thoughts around the creative experience - roadblocks or challenges you found along the way and how you worked through those to these today.  A:  i'm not exactly sure what initially sparked my interest in underwater photography, but i do know that it wasn't images.  i think it really was just something i wanted to try. my first attempt with underwater photography took place about four years ago when i lived in san diego. i rented housing to do underwater maternity photos of a friend.  while it was definitely challenging, it was at that moment that i fell in love with underwater photography. even back then, i dreamt of shooting underwater in tampa.

it didn't take long for me to purchase underwater housing here in tampa, since we have a pool in our backyard, we're surrounded by water and it's hot as shit half of the year. and i quickly confirmed that underwater photography is not easy!! but i continued to experiment in the water -- shooting of my kids and friends in my backyard pool. recently, i moved into the ocean and then last week, i had the opportunity to shoot in a lake.  i've come to prefer the ocean and lake, to shooting within the constraints of a pool.

some of the challenges / roadblocks with underwater shooting -- it's a bit challenging to adjust settings and things on the camera are hard to see. a lot of patience is required.  i also have a problem with the 35mm lens i'm using, and when the problem occurs, i have to take apart my housing to reset the lens (very frustrating!).  the simple task of getting someone to the ocean or a lake, to shoot, is not exactly easy (i'm about 50 minutes from the ocean). and my dreads. :-) they take forever to dry, so getting them wet often can be a bit problematic.

regarding the creative experience -- for me, the creative process is the same; i shoot no differently in the water than i do out of the water (martha can attest to that, as she was with me the entire week, while at the lake in MN).  it's what's in me. it's how i shoot. it's what i see.'s difficult to explain.

if you look at my underwater work over the past year, it's definitely evolving and growing -- and i'm trusting. it will be interesting to see how things feel when i get back in the pool. it will be interesting to see how things continue to progress.  one thing i know is that i absolutely LOVE shooting in the water. i can't help but feel it's exactly where i'm meant to be!!

i'm not sure where the water will take me, but i'm sure enjoying the ride and oh-so-grateful!  you can see more of my recent water images HERE.

Q:  I would love to know if you are ever worried about water leaking in? A:  the first time i put my housing and camera in the water, i was a bit nervous, as i ever-so-slowly submerged it under water.  but now, i do a quick initial dunk, check if any water leaked in -- and start shooting.


if you're interested in purchasing underwater housing, i highly recommend renting one  before purchasing, as many are custom-made, not returnable and NOT cheap (around $2000).  or maybe even play with an underwater disposable camera, point & shoot or casing for your phone first.  for a very casual underwater shooter, i'm not sure expensive underwater housing is the answer.  just my honest two cents.

i'm not sure where the water will take me, but i'm sure having fun and enjoying the ride!  you can see more of my in-the-water photographs HERE.




Q: I am wondering what else you need besides the housing for the camera. Do you need specific rings? What if you want to use a different lens. Is it possible? Are you happy with your housing? Have you ever heard of Sea and Sea? I

i don't need anything else besides my housing. if i wanted to use a different lens, i would have to buy a different front piece for the housing, which would cost about $700. i cannot use a different camera, as my housing is designed to fit only the D700. yes, i'm happy with my housing. i have never heard of sea and sea.

what _____ looks like | month twelve

hard to believe i've been sharing these monthly posts for a full year now. although technically, this is really post eleven since i didn't share last month. BUT i think i had a pretty good excuse, being in tanzania and all -- and  i think i made up for it with my RIDETZ posts. :-) july was an exciting month for us, filled with lots of traveling: san diego, CA carson city, NV tahoe, NV san francisco, CA vegas, NV (an unplanned stay & ER visit) battle lake, MN.

we spent less than a week at home in july, which was perfectly fine by me.

what our july looked like begins at camp oma's in NEVADA...

with the cousins

my animal lover

izzy and her walking stick, on our hike

at the top

and back down again

the 1989 van

hands off

sky & great grandma mary

guitar practice


TAHOE lake stop

our hotel in SAN FRANCISCO

cool paintings that filled the walls of an entire alley way

overnight at alpana's

sick at the airport causing an unexpected two-day layover stay in vegas, NEVADA

back home in TAMPA & boating with our besties

a week family vacation in MINNESOTA with martha & her family. new friends...

sometimes, but not often, cheering up was necessary

with daddy

at our cabin, which we didn't spend much time at all (thanks to martha & her fabulous family :-) )

photo shoot of ellie & sky (shooting with and styled by martha)

cabin break

paint by number

soul sisters

lots of swimming in the lake and some super fun time shooting in the water.  a separate post on that coming soon.

there’s a small circle of photographers participating in this what ____ looks like monthly project.  i hope you’ll check them all out [clicking link to link] — starting with stephanie moore | tucson family photographer.

and with that, i say good day and...

rideTZ | day six

day six entailed a 30-mile bike ride, a 3-mile hike up the usambara mountains, absolutely amazing views and most of the riders beginning to feel better.

so many majestic views along the way.


along with poor eugene getting attacked by a bush.

navigating through the herd of cows.

passing children on their way to school.

lunch break. barry was still really sick this day.

most were already exhausted, pre-hike.

after lunch, the hike began. what started out as a standard hike, ended up being the absolute toughest hike i've ever done.  probably one of the toughest things i've ever done...period!! we hiked / climbed for 4-1/2 hours -- 3200 feet up hill.

with about 1-1/2 hours still to go, we stopped at this man's house on the mountainside. he carried ake's backpack and led us up the steepest part of the mountain.

his wife and children.

this was a welcome message painted on the rocks, as we neared the end of the hike.

the views were beyond words. i wish i could have taken more photographs but the climb was so challenging, i could barely breathe, let alone breathe and take photographs.

the first thing we saw at the top of the mountain.

our campsite, at irente view point.

which as a non-rider, meant a room, a bed, a toilet and a hot shower for me :-)

and a group photo at irente view point.

two of the most wonderful, kindest people i have ever met -- kaitlin and meghann, of TFFT.



rideTZ | day two

day two took us from moji moto hot spring to a campsite near lake nyumba ya mungu (house of god).


along the way, we encountered this man at one of our break spots. he was a bit drunk, crazy and carrying a machete (as so many people carried along the way). while he looks a bit scary, (i think) he was pretty much harmless.

this was a church service nearby one of our break points.

at one point, we learned that one of the bridges was down because of the recent rains. so ake (our main guide) ended up having to negotiate with one of the local sugarcane farmers, to see if he would allow us to bypass the bridge via his land. it took a while, but in the end, we were able to pass through the farmer's land.

this man, from the village we stayed at while ake did his negotiating, provided drew a map in the dirt and provided directions for us.

while ake went to speak with the farmer, we were able to spend lots of time with these wonderful people.

the children so loved the beach balls we shared with them.

this was the bridge at the end of the farmer’s land.  it was a wee bit very unsteady and…scary. our landcruisers weren't allowed not the bridge so they had to take a really long way around.

entering another village district (karibu = welcome).

waiting for the cows to pass.

lots of falls. everyone crashed at least once.

our doc, who was the best sleeper and snorer. and a great doc too. :-)

our incredible guides.

the driver of the land cruiser that pulled the bike trailer.

the bike mechanic, who also took video and some photographs for adventure international.

getting our campsite ready. the guys worked so amazingly hard each and every day.

each day, the bikes were meticulously cleaned, inspected and repaired, if needed.

a few maasai men walking through our camp. you can see the batteries on the left, which were recharged daily by solar panels.

locals from the nearby maasai village…


remembering max

most who read my blog already know about my journey with max and his family.  the mikulak family graced and touched my life more than i could ever express. i do my best to continue to photograph the mikulak family in san diego every year. and this year, our session took place a few weeks ago...

and when our session was done, there stood hannah just like this...

with the light beaming through max's urn and hannah. and it was in that moment that i was so perfectly and beautifully reminded that max was right there with us!!

i feel so very blessed to have the mikulak family as part of my life.

and don't ever forget to live life to the max!!

my very first photograph of max, captured december 2007.

open your heart

i wish you that you will open your heat to all these presents [light, water...] and let them flow through you that everyone that you meet on this day will be blessed by you just by your eyes by our smile by your touch just by your presence let the gratefulness overflow into blessing all around you then it will really be a good day. - happiness revealed | louie schwartz

such a wonderful video. please -- just keep watching...

so grateful to gorete, who not only hosted our workshop a couple weeks ago, in san francisco; but also, so graciously opened her heart and home to me the following days.  i cannot thank you and your family enough!!



i love

i love when clients share their photo displays with me -- displays of photographs that i have taken.  makes my heart so, so happy. francesca shared these with me last week [all photographs from our session in chicago, this past october]...

and em sent this to me yesterday, sharing that it was her most favorite wall in her house.  the wall that makes her smile every time she walks by.  the boots and happy trash can photographs are enlargements made from polaroids i took, while in north and south carolina. the i love you so much print is from another artist.

seeing these has me longing to get my polaroid camera out this week.  i think i'll play a bit.

and you can see some of the photographs on the walls of my home, featured here.  i hope you are displaying  your family's photographs proudly.  if not, you should!

what ____ looks like | month five [part II]

every christmas break, we head to oma and opa's in nevada. they live in an awesome house in carson city, amongst the beauty of the sierra nevadas. we're always hopeful for a white christmas. this year was anything but. when we arrived, it was freezing, hitting the single digits at night. by the time we left, they were having record-breaking temperatures in the 60's. and i think they also made a new no-snow record. but, we had such an awesome time there as we always do. so here's a bit more of what our 10 days, with family in nevada, looks like...

seeing lots of deer.

tons of tree climbing.

sometimes sky climbed too high and needed her uncle's help getting down.

i can't get enough of sky's dirty rolled up pants.

the older cousins, having some time away together.

meeting and playing with new friends. ryder's the only boy cousin, so it's nice that he got to meet a couple boys, from the neighborhood.

the hill, where they spend hours playing.

quite the duo.

the life of the party.

going on a hike.

it took linus a few days to recover from the hike, but i think he had fun.

someone turned seevn and  had a bowling birthday party. we had a blast and definitely plan on bowling as a family more often.

we celebrated his birthday (on his birthday) at home too.

siblings (minus wendy and thomas, who couldn't make it this year).

all of us. i promise oma a group photo every year.

i love that my kids have this time at oma and opa's every year -- time to run, play, explore, climb, hike, camp. and i love it that they're now old enough to spend a few weeks there in the summer too. so many joyful memories being made.

lensbaby | interview and info

so fun to see my lensbaby interview reposted on the lensbaby blog yesterday.  not sure if i ever shared the interview here...

i get asked a lot of questions regarding shooting with a lensbaby (i've actually received five emails over the past couple days).  most often, it's inquiring about my favorite lensbaby products or which products i'd recommend. so i thought i'd share a bit about that here (lensbaby makes for a great christmas gift).

first, you need a lens.  i have both the composer and composer pro lenses. the composer pro is definitely more solid / sturdy feeling.  and for a $50 difference, i'd go with the pro.

then you need an optic (or two or three...). i started using a lensbaby years ago, with the double glass optic. some are discouraged by the fact that with the double glass optic, you have to internally swap aperture rings.  however, honestly...i rarely swap the ring. most of the time i'm shooting with with the f/4 ring in.

not long ago, lensbaby released the sweet 35 optic, which is awesome because you can adjust the aperture on the outside [versus having to insert a new aperture ring in the optic].  the sweet 35 is an awesome optic; however, for me personally, i've become so used to my double glass optic (some habits are hard to break) and i seem to be more of a 50mm shooter than a 35mm shooter.  so i still seem to default much of the time to using the double glass optic.

i have almost all the optics and wish i could share more thoughts on the other optics but i haven't shot with any others -- YET!! it's definitely one of my 2012 goals; experimenting and playing with the other lensbaby optics.  anyone want to model for me?

here's a few of my favorite lensbaby photos shot in 2011...

and i'm so honored to have this shot grace lensbaby's sweet 35 optic box.

i'm off

...headed to the other coast, for the next week. i will miss my family a ton! but excited to see my san diego friends again. and so very blessed to be shooting incredible clients there -- some of them since my first year in photography. ETA:  long story...but a day later [never making it further than houston's airport], i'm back home again.


so grateful for the magical gifts i received last week from one of my clients. francesca emailed me this so kind, heartfelt note, after seeing her photos...

deb, we all can learn to take pictures by reading manuals, going to workshops, using photoshop. but what you do... you CAN'T learn. it's in you. it's the power to understand the little glimpses of bliss that can show up on a daily basis. it's SEEING what, as mothers and fathers, we feel in our hearts. as I told you before, you gave me the pictures that I carry in my soul but now I can print them :) hope you get back two-fold what you give to people like me. and its not just the pictures.

and then i got this hand drawn beautiful portrait in the mail of...ME.  :-) notice the awesome beads at the bottom of my dreads.  and i so love the heart on my dress and my colorful camera...along with being surrounded by hearts and flowers.  who could wish for anything more?!

here's a few photos from our session together, in chicago.

their middle child is their wonderfully spirited one [with the best dimples ever] and i so love the face she gave me in the photo on the right.

and you can read some of francesca's thoughts about our time together here.

francesca, thank you for entrusting me with your family's photographs. thank you for your hospitality. thank you for your kindness. can't wait until the next time!! ;-) xo.

lensbaby love

most of the time when i photograph other photographers and their families, i try to focus on family shots and photos of the photographer with his or her kids (because we're just not in the family's photos very much).  needless to say, my heart was so very happy when karen requested some lensbaby photos of her kids.  here are a few of my favorites, from our time together in chicago (which reminded me so much of growing up and made me miss the midwest).

having a 14-year-old, who most of the time doesn't want to have anything to do with me, this photo melts my heart...

maui | part three

visits with old friends.meeting new friends. lunch and shopping at the super cool town of paia. gin and tonics with cucumber and mint. photo session on fleming beach. steve... kite boarding lessons. times two. early morning snorkeling at molokini crater. clear water. lots of fish, an eel and seven sea turtles. an incredible last-night's dinner at nick's fish house. and through it all, i feel so blessed to have experienced the most amazing reconnection with my husband. i never want to forget our time spent together in maui.

steve, thank you for loving me!!

and now... on to vail, for the awesome NAPCP retreat.  so excited to be speaking on the 27th.

maui | part II

yesterday was spent in west maui.  lots of hiking and driving, which in an open-top jeep is awesome at first but by hour seven, you can barely feel your face and even with SPF 45 (applied multiple times), you are sunburnt.  but really, who's complaining. our first stop was julia's shack, where we bought banana bread, taro chips and coconut candy.  all of which are so darn good (i can't stop eating the coconut candy).  then we came across this sign, which i yelled, "wait. stop.  back up.  i need a picture of that sign.".  driving through a certain part of west maui, there are a lot of one lane roads, which again totally scared the crap out of me.  you'll be driving, turn a corner and there, directly in front of you is a car, going in the opposite direction.  no way to go for one of the cars, except backwards, because if you pull over to the side, you'll be rolling down the mountain cliff.

anyways... i just had to get a picture of this sign.  steve and i never had a honeymoon.  we were instant family.  then separated for six months because of the AF-navy thing.  once together, we had a baby (skyler) a month later.  nine months after that, i was pregnant again and steve deployed, returning a couple weeks before ryder was born.  so, we talk about how this trip to hawaii is our 8-year honeymoon.  and yes...falling in love (all over again) rocks.  i'll definitely be printing and framing this photo for our house.

we also came across this cross along the way, in this open field along the ocean's edge.  the area wasn't really accessible.  such an incredible sight.  sadly, i don't think photos do this area justice.

hike 1 | iao needle (hawaiian god of the ocean):  a beautiful area but pretty touristy.  amazing history though.  we went hiking (off the paved path) for quite a ways, but not knowing where the trail went or how long it was, we eventually decided to turn around, making the hike beautiful but pretty anti-climactic.  i think the coolest part of the hike was seeing some of the local kids having a blast, swimming in the stream.

hike 2 | the ovilene pools:  so cool!!  we hiked down a small-ish, rocky mountain to get there.  there's these pools of water there.  one of them being deep enough to swim in, which we did.  there was a dad and his son there.  the boy was snorkeling and his dad fishing.  the dad had interesting stories to share about the pools (one of them being a story about a man, who was severely injured when a massive wave barreled him over, resulting in a mangled body and multiple broken bones).  but the place was absolutely amazing.  i wish i had my underwater camera there but it's just too big to hike with (especially down a mountain of lava boulders).  you can see the boy and his dad in the photo below.  the swimming pool is the one directly to the right of them.

hike 3 | nakalele blowhole:  another pretty spectacular site.  and another pretty good hike down a small-ish mountain.  there's a few signs along the way about the dangers of the blowhole and how dave potts got sucked in and lost his life. and OMG...little did i know (until i just googled it right now) that the incident just happened...about a week ago.  how sad and how terrible!!

and if you walked just a bit from the blowhole and turned the corner, there was this heart formation in the rocks.  we initially thought someone had to carve the hole, but looking at it, it didn't look that way.

after our visit to the blowhole, wind and sun burnt, we decided to head home.  tonight, i am so looking forward to a family session on west maui.

note to self:  next trip to hawaii, bring and wear hiking / water shoes.  the converse / barefoot thing is doable, but not always easy.

maui | part I

we arrived in maui TUESDAY afternoon.  photo session that evening.  and dinner with awesome (new) friends, who were visiting maui, from denver.  lucky for me, i get to see them again next week, while in CO for the NAPCP retreat that leah and i are speaking at.

WEDNESDAY was an admin type of day, for most of the day.  that afternoon, once everything was done, we drove out to this interesting area on the SW edge of the island, where in 1790 the lava exploded, after hitting the ocean. the phenomenon created this area looks like freshly tilled dirt except it is actually rock hard lava.  the trail we had been hoping to walk was closed; however, we did find another awesome trail that walked along the ocean's edge. there, we saw two wild goats that were standing on a lava rock cliff that jutted out into the ocean. from this land of broken-up lava rock to the random goats, it was all a bit surreal.

THURSDAY: we got up at 3 AM and drove to the top of haleakala (a 10,000 foot mountain) to view the most amazing (yet painfully windy and cold) sunrise ever. the entire horizon was clouds and as the sun rose, the clouds lit up like the filament of a lightbulb.  there was also a few locals, who sang a beautiful ceremonial chant.  truly a breathtaking moment to witness, but i have to say...i don't think i have ever been so cold.  we went home, took a nap and chilled most of the afternoon.

after dinner, we went snorkeling at a nearby area, where i almost drowned and was attacked by a shark (i mean a rock).  it really was quite comical.  but we did see a couple sea turtles, which was awesome.  steve got this photo (i could barely handle myself, let alone a huge camera).

YESTERDAY: we followed the road to hana (north side of the island).  along the way, we stopped to do various hikes.  each...absolutely majestic!!

hike 1 | puohokamoa falls:  this hike was pretty tough because we took it further than most do.  the falls were far away, but so beautiful.

hike 2 | punalau falls:  this was probably our favorite spot of the day.  we hiked through this dry stream of boulders, which ended in this pool of water.  the falls weren't much yet still amazing.  it was our own private waterfall and pool.

hike 3 | three bears falls:  pretty easy, short hike (all except the first few steps), leading to three incredible side-by-side falls.  there were quite a few people at these falls because they're easily seen from the road.

hike 4 | pua'a ka'a state park:  a super muddy hike.  towards the end, you have to walk along and across this viaduct on a platform that is about 1-1/2 feet wide.  as long as i didn't look down, i was just fine.

on our way out of hana, we stopped at red sands beach (wish i took a picture, but i was drained by this time).  the hike there scared the shit out of me because it was on the edge of the cliff and i had no traction on the dirt / sand (thanks to the chucks i was wearing).  we also stopped at hamoa beach, where steve did some bodysurfing.  by this time, i was really exhausted and simply enjoyed relaxing on the beach, while steve bodysurfed.

after hamoa beach, we continued driving south, which also scared the shit out of me -- super windy, narrow roads (most could not fit two cards side-by-side, without going up on the edge of the mountain side a bit).  also, most of the road was dirt and super bumpy.  i don't get car sick and towards the end, i did think about it.

all in all, the day was beyond spectacular, starting out at 7:30 AM and arriving in paia at 7:30 PM, for an incredible dinner of flatbread and salad (everything local, fresh and organic).  oh yea -- the cucumber, mint gin and tonic was pretty darn awesome too.  will definitely make that when back home.

today, we head to the west side, for more hiking and exploring.