A few weeks ago my family and I headed to the Big Island of Hawaii to get a little break from the miserable Seattle weather and take in the lovely wedding of the lovelier Julie Harmsen and handsome Andy Fitts. She’s an incredible Seattle wedding photographer, he’s a professional musician performing with David Bazan.
We stayed up in the paniolo country of Waimea/Kamuela, not far from Anna Ranch – The site of Julie and Andy’s wedding and the location of a lovely little cottage we found on VRBO belonging to renown local artist Mary Spears.
We rented a convertible red mustang per my daughters request and set out to have a great week, explore as much of the island as we could, knock out some serious frames on film and celebrate Julie + Andy’s wedding. Mission accomplished!
Waimea, or Kamuela as the locals refer to it, was full of misty mountain views and a lovely farmers market that we hit immediately upon arrival.
The next day we hit Hapuna Beach for some fun in the sun.
After the beach we headed up the Akoni Pule Highway to check out the town of Hawi and hit the famed Bamboo Restaurant. Our first stop was to hit the Da Fish Wagon for some seared Ahi tuna cooked to order. We headed to the end of the road past Kapa’au to take in the majesty of the Pololu Valley as well.
We were lucky enough to score access to the Mauna Lani Beach Club and had amazing times snorkeling in the calm waters of Mauna Lani Bay. Mai tai’s? Check. Crab on dad’s belly? Check. Sea turtle sighting? Check!
Andy and Julie invited everyone down to Kona for a dinner at the Kona Brewing Company. We arrived a little early to check out the scene and get some shave ice. Yee-um.
The day before the wedding we headed back up the Akoni Pule Highway so Ella could work with Kapa’au artist Peter Antrim Kowalke on recommendation from Mary Spears. He toured us around his property while showing us all of the unique plants and fruits that grow there before Sash and I headed back to Hawi to hit up Sushi Rock for some yums. In Seattle tempura is often used to provide crunch and texture in a roll… In Hawi it’s done with macadamia nuts. Yes, please and thank you.
Ella produced an elaborate mixed media painting that couldn’t be rolled and had to be shipped flat. They also worked Peter’s pottery wheel and made a 3 foot tall pot featuring glass and beads that to glaze, fire and ship is going to be nearly $500. The cost of sending Ella to a private, 3 hour art class – Priceless. The cost of getting her work home? Wallet crushing.
The Kohala Mountain Road from Hawi back down to Kamuela is gorgeous: Mountain vistas, more grazing cattle than I’ve ever seen in my life, and cool climate mountain cactus. Take your time… This thing is winds dangerously with some pretty gnarly hairpin turns.
Back to “our” beach… Mauna Lani Beach Club, where all is right in the world and a mai tai is only a few feet away.
Wedding day! I just took a few snaps of some of the details and my family. Who’s the cute brunette with the long hair? That would be my friend and amazing Seattle wedding photographer Kristen Tourtillotte. To see the splendor that was Julie + Andy’s wedding, check out the Hawaii Destination Wedding by Sarah Rhoads Photographers feature on Style Me Pretty or head to Chris and Sarah’s blog to check out their Julie and Andy Hawaiian Wedding post for even more visual greatness.
Splurge alert: We treated Ella to Dolphin Quest at the Waikoloa Village Hilton Hotel. Swimming with dolphins, yo.
Our last night on the island was capped off with some L&L Barbecue back in Kamuela. We tried a little bit of everything and this is about as down home as it gets, but first… Some poshness at the Fairmont Orchid for sunset cocktails and appetizers.
Film and my exploration of it… I’ve mentioned it several times before on previous posts such as: Jenny + Juan Engagement Photography on Film, Kelsey + Mackenzie’s Pacific Northwest Engagement Photography on Film, Our Family Camping trip at Lakedale Resort on San Juan Island and Seattle Family Portrait Session on Film.
I’m loving it while facing the challenges of manually focusing, learning different film stock characteristics and the exposure techniques that produce the best results on each. There’s still a long road ahead, but I’m game.
Are you interested in learning more about film? There is a guy named Jonathan Canlas that should be your first stop – Whether admiring his work via his blog, attending one of his FIND (Film is Not Dead) workshops, reading his tireless answers on Formspring, or reading is comprehensive FIND Guide, you will quickly realize getting a film camera and hitting the ground running is pretty dang easy.