Honolulu Zoo… black and white or color?

The Honolulu, Hawaii zoo is a wonderful learning experience for my granddaughter and I love taking photos there, although taking both at the same time is extremely challenging. This little girl loves the  freedom to run from animal to animal with wild abandon.  Boy, this child just makes me feel young and adventurous and a bit wild, too. Yes, she does have some of my blood in her veins.
Lily likes watching the turtles… so slow and boring for such an active toddler, I thought.  Yet, today, she seems mesmerized by the loud, repetitious rock slamming against rock noise.  Drumming? Music connection?  I heard one mother explain to her inquisitive  five year-old… that’s how turtles exercise, sweetie.” 
But the zebras are the winners of her attention span today. She actually sits on a bench, eating her granola bar and sipping from a juice cup.  At first, I thought it was the snack break that had all her focus, but her eyes are glued to the zebras for a long time (relatively, speaking, of course) after the treat and juice is long gone.  (She spilled half of it and then some other toddler picked it up and finished it off.)   She seemed sad and lost in thought as she studied them.  What does a 21-month-old think?  
Black and white.  Color.  What was she seeing through her eyes?
I used my Canon 40D with a 70-200 lens, one of my favorites, as I tried for few shots.  My lens was fully extended, shutter speed 125, f9, iso 200.
It was a beautiful, sunny Hawaiian day, but I was standing under the shade of a tree as the sun created high contrast shadows in the pasture.  Black and white vs. color… both have their own qualities. 
Lily sat long enough for me to take a few shots, then a saw her smile and the twinkle reappear in her eyes.
The boys are already drooling to kiss her. 
Enjoy a few photos… Thanks for stopping by my blog. ~Donna

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Donna Welch Photography, Inc.

Capturing the Spirit… of the Moment.

808-699-4330  ~  www.donnawelchphotography.com

dwelch1432@aol.com


© Donna Welch Photography, 2011/2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Donna Welch Photography with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

This family is love.

Her dark brown hair is halfway down her back with a flower of a bow on the top of her head.  The white, transparent ribbons curled around and around with little white stars scattered about (must be super-glued on). She looks like the perfect, little gift for this family.  (A child obviously couldn’t have selected a better family. That is, if you believe there is a possibility that we might have a say in it).

People have many different beliefs and just as many explanations why life unfolds the way it does.

A gift was given to me on this family photo shoot.  A gift they shared with me, whether they knew it or not.

This couple’s first child is now a handsome, young man at the age of twelve.  Not only does he have good looks; he’s very intelligent, which goes without saying, he’s inquisitive (already taking college courses)!  He’s witty, definitely high-energy… he cracks me up.  His laugh is spontaneous and… extremely contagious.

We went to the botanical gardens to do the shoot.  It was overcast and I hoped the rain would hold off for an hour or so, the weather is prone to afternoon rain on the windward side of Oahu during the winter months.  This spot is a magical place for me, it is where I come whenever I have time to get lost in nature (with my camera, of course). I knew, without saying, this was the perfect location for this family.

She flew through the air (her father the wind beneath her wings). She decided to make me work for her smiles, as three-year-olds often do.  With her wings attached and her fairy dress in place we played peek-a-boo behind a tree, she blew bubbles and she held onto my granddaughter’s little red monkey.  Her smiles came naturally.

This couple’s love for each, for their family, are high intensity waves, a spiritual energy that embraces anyone within its radius (at least, that’s how I felt). So, if you were within that energy zone day and night, every day of the year, wouldn’t you feel wonderful about life? (at least most of the time)

The children were so ‘comfortable’ with their parents… (hmmm, I guess that isn’t the word I want to use). Comfortable. Secure. Understood. Needed. Appreciated. Respected. Supported. Wanted. Nurtured. Loved.  This family is love.

From the playfulness of their 92 year-old tutu expressing her love to her granddaughter and her great-grandchildren to the antics of mom and dad trying not to laugh as they held their lips mere fractions from each other, careful not to kiss, this shoot was special.  I wish we could have continued the shoot until the little one got overtired and cranky, tutu had enough and overdue homework needed to be done… maybe, maybe… no, I am sure love prevails in their home throughout the daily hiccups of life.

This was a gift to me.  Love is a wrapped in all sizes, ages and personalities… always regard it as a gift.

Enjoy a slideshow of some of the moments we shared.  Thank you for stopping by my blog.  ~ Donna

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Donna Welch Photography, Inc.

Capturing the Spirit… of the Moment.

808-699-4330  ~  www.donnawelchphotography.com

dwelch1432@aol.com


© Donna Welch Photography, 2011/2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Donna Welch Photography with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Free in Waikiki?

The Ala Moana Center draws the shoppers around the center stage every day at 12:30.  The people start lining up along the walls or sitting down on the floor with the children beside them.  They are waiting for the 1:00 o’clock show to begin… with The Ala Moana Center Hula Dancershttp://www.alamoana.com/Events/Centertainment.aspx.

If you would like to learn more about the history of hula dancing this link is great:  www.kaimi.org/history_hula.htm . I learned a few interesting facts… Did you know that James Cook…

The performers held the attention of the audience with the beautiful art of hula dancing. For twenty minutes, my 21-month old granddaughter sat mesmorized, observing every move… I am sure she’ll be taking hula lessons before too long!  Hmmm?  I wonder if there are grandmother/granddaughter classes?  Now, wouldn’t that be fun?  “Sway. Grandma, swa-a-ay!”  Second thought, it might not be so much fun for her or… it might be the time of her (and yours) life.

Enjoy a short slideshow of today’s free performance at The Ala Moana Center, Honolulu, HI

Of course, after the slide show take your time shopping at any one of the hundreds of stores:  http://www.alamoanacenter.com/Stores/Alphabetical-Listing.aspx

Thanks for stopping by my blog.  ~Donna

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Donna Welch Photography, Inc.

Capturing the Spirit… of the Moment.

808-699-4330  ~  www.donnawelchphotography.com

dwelch1432@aol.com

© Donna Welch Photography, 2011/2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Donna Welch Photography with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A Hawaiian Playground

I was blessed to have my 21-month old granddaughter with me today. All day.  This is heaven for me.

Being a grandmother makes aging all worthwhile.  It’s the icing on the cake of motherhood; it’s the ultimate satisfaction to know it was all-worthwhile.

This little girl and I are going to have a wonderful relationship.  We already do. She gives me a purpose in life (beyond my own survival).

She makes me feel so young and carefree. We can play for hours, but when she lays her head against my chest to fall asleep, it’s magic.  This child believes that I am a wonderful grandmother… and because of that…  I brought her the park today.

Oh, she loves me all right, but when I’m out-of-sight, I’m out-of-mind, the minute she spies other kids to play with, she leaves me in her dust.  Now, add a playground into the picture and she’s in her moment of glory. Playing, Running. Laughing, Climbing. Sliding.  All this, and other children, too!

Today, I was left in her dust. When her father arrived to pick her up, she began to run to him, stopped mid-way, debated a moment, then shrugged her shoulders before returning to the playground.  Can 21-month old babies have this much reasoning?

A neighborhood family was at the park when I arrived. They had two children and a dog with them.  The older boy was off playing in the sports field, but the three-year-old girl and my granddaughter became friends.  I asked the parents if they would mind if I took some photos of their children, which eventually, included them.  It was easy to see why this family is so strongly bonded, their love for each other and their children was apparent.

Children. I just love them. These little human beings are constantly learning from everything and everyone around them.

Other children came and left and she played ‘monkey see, monkey do’, all the while forgetting that she’s the baby on the set.

Some of the children asked me to take their photographs.  It makes them feel special.  Boy, we could all learn a lesson from that… if you aren’t feeling special, what should you do?

Have fun and leave the photography to me!

Enjoy a slideshow of the children at play.

Thanks for stopping by my page ~ Donna

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Donna Welch Photography, Inc.

Capturing the Spirit… of the Moment.

808-699-4330  ~  www.donnawelchphotography.com

dwelch1432@aol.com

© Donna Welch Photography, 2011/2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Donna Welch Photography with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The first day of the rest of my life…

Jan 3, 2012 marked a new beginning for me.  I was a couple of days later than the rest of world, nothing that usual for me.  I finally figured it all out… For as long as I can remember I have dreamt about becoming a travel photographer.  I can imagine how amazing I will feel to see the frames of the world through my camera lens.  I know I’ll be able to capture the elderly grandmother with twinkling eyes and the tears welling up in a downcast child.  I will show you the hardened lava rock of the mountains and the birds gliding through curvy, dense trails.  I will bring the colors of the clown fish to your eyes as though you were right there with them.  You will run wild through the endless fields and huddle in a back alley of Chinatown. My photography will show the world to you through my vision and creation.

And to sweeten the deal of my dream life: bonus number 2:  To Write.  Photography and Writing.  My two greatest passions!  (Passion means that you’re ‘in the moment’, baby!)  At the end of an incredible day on my job, I will sit down and write everything I can remember about it, in my own words. You will the see the little clouds of dust from the children’s bare feet as they play double dutch in the schoolyard.  As you read my blogs you’ll see the contrast between Auntie Mae’s brittle, white hair (it’s actually almost yellow) against the thick, dark green backdrop of the mountains. Someday.  Someday I will, before I get too old, as soon as I have enough…  Money?

Well, better not go there right now.  That little phrase, “someday I’ll be… rich…” you whisper so humbly beneath your breath (well, maybe a little humble).   You tilt your head with a confident nod and feel justified that finally, finally someone thinks you’re special enough to pay you to do what you love; take amazing pictures and write funny, but informational blogs as I travel the world 🙂    I image just enough money to have a comfortable little home next to the ocean, but close enough to a mountain too.  Tsunamis scare me.    No, scratch that plan… unless my daughter wants to live in the little 7 room cottage while her mama is traveling around the globe living her dream.  Finally.  hehehe.

So, for the time being, my dream is on ‘temporary hold’ waiting for sufficient funding, which if I work, work, work I will get there.  I can hear my dead mother’s sarcastic tone, “why are you whining? nothing is ever served on a silver platter!”  I know.  I know. So, I have to put in the time for that dream.

It’s not that I have a lousy job, anymore, no, no, no. I’m doing exactly what I love; photography. Granted, I don’t make very much money, but I’m optimistic that will change very soon.  You see, I work hard.  I work s-oo faithfully at it my career, I struggle with it and study it and squirm through some trials and a lot of errors with it.  And still, I’m not completely satisfied.  But~ release me from the computer and business management and money issues… N-o-w I can fly free with my camera in hand. Now, we’re talking. My Canon D7 has become my trusted friend. (Honestly, I’ve learned to trust my spirit to ‘guide my hand’ as I twirl the camera’s dials:)   Capturing the Spirit… of the Moment?  Hmf?  that could totally screw up my slogan.  I don’t need to delay my dream forever with little (and big) mistakes.

I will make a living doing what I love.  Bonus number #1 in my life is photography and my portrait photography is fulfilling that dream. I feel so blessed to have had so many beautiful people in front of my camera.  Oh, I could go on and on about the friends I have made through a simply photo session.  These people are amazing. Take Lila for instance. She’s has the most knockout red hair and green eyes within this face that can be photographed from any angle!  Now, that’s amazing!  And she never knew it.  It seems unbelievably to me that some of these people  don’t realize how special they are; in both beauty and soul. The laugh of a toddler, why  that twinkle in their eye is a sparkle from that child’s soul.  Lily, my little 19 month-old granddaughter, every time I see her smile, I smile too, and when she laughs, my god, talk about love!

The last few weeks have been busy for me.  Two weeks before Christmas, I got photo jobs one after another, although there were more freebies than paying clients.  I should be able to tell you exactly how much money I made from the accounting books, but I can’t, at this exact moment.  I wish I had a running tally of all the people I have photographed, damn, if I had a proficient office manager I could tell give that information right now, too.  Life can be such a fantasy to reality let-down for me.   Work. Work. Work.

If not editing photographs or determining the best way to spend my last dollar or creating marketing ideas and reading an occasional travel blog just to keep my dream alive, (plus a thousand and one other things) I am usually stuck among the chaos my in office. Last week I didn’t have one shoot scheduled.  I was discouraged, but continued to work day and night in the office.  I joined Twitter. I joined LinkedIn and other social networking sites.  Wow, now those take time.  I wrote more profiles, wondering why I couldn’t just cut and paste. I was asked to describe my first human memory for another social site.  What? What’s that about?  (So I wrote about my brother stealing my baby bottle when I was about 2 years old. No wonder I was a sick, skinny kid. Somehow I lost the post before I got to post it!)   It was all too damn time-consuming, as well as struggling through other office tasks, life hasn’t been very favorable lately. The daylight dwindles by slowly every day..except when I babysit Lily…

Last week I had her two full days!  It was heaven, even though I felt guilty that I wasn’t getting my new marketing projects completed.  So, I worked in my little cluttered office all weekend to make up for it.  Work. Work. Work.  No silver platter for me. My plan today was the usual, with a bit of twist.  I would get up, check my phone and email messages for any new jobs or leads, respond if needed, then go make a cup of coffee.   Soon after, get back to work on my projects for about four hours in the morning, then I planned on cleaning my bedroom.  I mean deep cleaning, ladies, vacuuming up the cobwebs in corners of the closets and pulling everything out from under the bed!  My moto of the day: creating a designated home for every item… and if there isn’t room or I don’t like it anymore… out it goes… donation or trash.  I like doing jobs that say, “Donna’s been here”  haha, I know a couple of men… another area where I shouldn’t linger.  Moving on…

My beautiful, 8-month along pregnant daughter left me a voice message that I listened to before I started anyting; “Mom, have you looked outside?”  It’s a fantastic day.  What are you doing?”  Pause as I explain my plan. “You need to get out of the house. Do you mind coming over for a few hours to stay with Lily so I can go out?”  Of course, I knew what she was up to.  But, I figured why not, just a few hours and I will have all evening to do ‘office work’.

I left the house and got inside my little, white Honda Civic.  My daughter was right, today was beautiful.  Picture perfect. Blue sky with little puffs of clouds floating by.  The air felt warm on my face.  The breeze was soft.   The heat was stifling as I unrolled the windows, trying not to inhale all those poisonous, cancerous gases expelled from the hot dashboard (or that’s what I’ve heard anyway).  I put it in reverse and backed down the driveway, carefully, so as not to scratch the landlord’s shiny, blue pick-up as I manuevered around it.

I love the drive to Angie’s home.  You have to drive up Kamehameha Hwy to get to her home on the windward side of the island in Ka’a’awa, Hawaii. The Ko’olau Mountain range is on your left side, standing tall with deep, vertical ridges covered in lush greenery. That mountain range is the reason it rains so much on this side of the island, holding the moisture over the mountains.  (There is a meteorologist explanation for this, but I don’t remember it.) The richness of the windward’s tropical environment is seen throughout the landscape, green lush golf course (Ko’olau,Golf Course, a public golf club in Kaneohe)  There are  bright-colored flowers everywhere. The trees have always been my favorite; palm trees and the African-looking trees and the rain-forest looking trees.  I guess if I am really going to blog I need to learn what these trees are named.

If you take a side trip down Ko’olouRd in Kaneohe, you’ll enter a beautiful b Ho’omaluhia Botanical Gardens.   There are 400 acres of geographically laid out botanic garden with endangered and rare plants, network of trails to facilitate visitor enjoyment and a 32-acre lake (no swimming)  You should plan on spending some time, especially with your family and camera.  Again, take note, dear self, it would be good to have a few interesting facts about this place.  God, is this your first time blogging, girl?  I know, easy, peasy… let’s me link information to you, the reader:  http://www1.honolulu.gov/parks/hbg/hmbg.htm

The ocean today is relaxing, soft, low waves gently rolling in as I pass Kualoa Ranch.  Now, this place is great. I’ve been there a few times, but from this day forth I will have available, personal information… today a link: http://www.kualoa.com/ My daughter got married at this ranch, on the second terrace overlooking the ocean, two and half years ago.  I am so blessed to have her living only 20 minutes away with my little granddaughter… and of course, her sweet husband, too.  I count my blessing. Another five minutes up the road, the mountains on my left and the Pacific on my right I pass a local surf spot, the cars are lining the road, the surfers are either running into or out of the ocean with their boards or struggling to get them back onto the roofs of the cars… (girls bikini bottoms don’t cover much now-a- days, do they?  Damn, I sound like my mother.)  It’s obviously a good surfing day, is there some sort of an internal line to tell the troops where to rally for the good surf spots?  Must be.

Within minutes I arrive at my daughter’s place.  Lily runs towards me with a big smile.  She’s was helping her mommy in the backyard with nothing but a diaper on.  Oh, and she’s all lubed up… and so is my daughter.  Her tight, round belly carrying my soon-to-be born grandson is leaning downwards as she helps Lily rub in the sunscreen on her chubby little cheeks. Angie decided that since the waves are breaking so great, just minutes away, she could probably handle one more surf.  (She surfed Christmas day, too, and said that would the last until the baby is settled in.)  Obviously her passionate spirit equals mine, but I trust her level-headed decisions, as well.  Although I expressed my motherly concerns about the risks, about her baby, the what ifs and the you better be carefuls, I knew she wouldn’t take any unnecessary chances.  And she didn’t.  She laid low, paddled slowly on her knees, stayed away from the other surfers and caught only the gently, easy waves.  At least that’s what she told me!  Only kidding, I know her, she has wise decision-making skills.  (Why… I remember a few years back, she insisted I wear a helmet when I went down the white water rapids in California with her and her boyfriend as guides… and when I went over Devil’s Hole I understood why.)

Lily and I went to the beach.  We drove a little further up the highway, there was more traffic than usual because it was a Monday holiday (a holiday for employees just because New Year’s Day fell on a Sunday this year).  There wasn’t any parking at the Ka’a’awa Beach Park, (there’s only room for a few cars anyway near the restrooms) but there was no street parking across from the Ka’a’awa Elementary School.  I love it when I see a classroom of kids walk across the street with the teachers guiding them and then run into the ocean, screaming and splashing.  How much fun is that during or after school?  I drove another 2 minutes and found a parking spot within a few steps to the beach. It’s takes a bit of work to get the bag of beach toys, towels, mat, baby and camera bag loaded up with a precise strategy so nothing falls, especially Lily (she must weigh 30 lbs.)  Lily loves the ocean as much as I do.  Whenever I do sit here I wonder why don’t I do this every day?  This is so beautiful.  This is paradise.

Lily is filling her pail and I snap a few pictures before I pack away the camera so we can build a sandcastle. (Sand and cameras are not a good mix.) The time we spend together is precious to me.  I am so blessed to have this darling, little girl to love.  We played in the turquoise water.  She says so many words now and cold is one of them, which she concluded was the temperature of the ocean, but I thought it was refreshing as we splashed and kicked our feet.

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There was another family a short distance away. A local family with about five kids, ranging from pre-school to young adolescents, they were all playing together enjoying the last day of their Christmas school vacation. Another young family was on the other side of me.  A woman with three young children, two little boys about 4 and 5 and a sweet, little blond girl about 2 years-old.  Children are so uplifting to watch as they run and play and laugh.  Not a care in the world.  They are living in the moment.  There is nothing more that they would rather do than run and play and laugh. Their father had been out spear fishing near-by and brought in an octopus.  I walked over with Lily to look at his catch closer.  The father was showing his son where to place his fingers in the octopus’ head so he could hold it for me to take a picture.   The boys posed, standing proud as though they caught the octopus themselves.  They both gave me the shaka (which is a common hand motion in Hawaii; thumb and baby finger extended, all others tucked inside – it’s an aloha greeting and thank-you, too).

Wow, what’s that? I said to Lily.  The answer was: lunch, which their mother said is very good with a little flour batter and then fried. The kids seemed pretty excited about the catch, as well as lunch. I watched them put the fishing gear in the wagon, along with the bucket carrying the octopus, and the three kids skipping along heading down the beach to their home; their lunchtime.  All in the moment.  Passionate about life. Out in the ocean was a small, heavy-duty, blue plastic kayak just drifting before the  breaking waves, a person was stretched out enjoying the sunshine, the water, the moment. Passionate about life. I am living in paradise.

This is Bonus #2 right before my eyes.  I don’t have to dream about being a travel photographer ~ I am one.  All I had to do was stop dreaming, start living and my dream became my reality. My first day of the rest of life was today.  No more long office hours promoting and marketing and struggling.  Oh, I know I have to put in some hours, but now I have to focus on my real dream, which is my living life in the moment.  I am passionate about life. Today I took the next step and wrote this blog.  I can blog about every nook and cranny, and a lot of other things, too.  Hawaii has so much to tell you through my eyes and words.  I will capture Hawaii’s spirit in photographs and on my blogs.

This is my first assignment.  I’ll stay in paradise until my next destination arises.  Well, I could go on and on …  But, if I don’t get to bed, I won’t have any energy for tomorrow’s adventure, whatever it may be… I will share with you.  Aloha.