Capturing your experience in Hawaii with photographer Harold Alvea
The Seek Spot team recently sat down with a new member of the Seek Spot partner family- Harold Alvea from Alvea Studios.
A family from San Diego flew to Hawaii a couple of weeks ago to have a little break from their busy lives and have their little one enjoy the beach for a while. Taking their photos reminded me how amazing photos can be – it captures the little things long after you have forgotten those details.
It preserves the memories and the moments that are passing. Then, when you look at them later, you are taken back to the time when it was photographed. Sort of like a time machine.
A vacation in Hawaii will always be in anyone’s bucket list. Beautiful beach, fine sand, peaceful ocean and a good Mai Tai – it is the perfect escape! And if you are blessed enough to be in this paradise, there is no better way to preserve it than to have amazing photos.
My portrait sessions usually take place in the famous Waikiki Beach with the majestic Diamond Head as the backdrop. Sessions can be done anywhere on the island that a client desires. Waikiki beach is my favorite spot for this kind of portrait session. Aside from the ease of being near where the guests are staying, Waikiki has a gorgeous sunset!
I realize that when I take a photograph, I sort of become part of someone’s life. I remember tearing up while editing photos of a family portrait session. One day, that family will look back at those old photos and relive that moment. They might forget my name and who I am but it was my vision that preserved that moment – and I was able to capture that through my lens and vision.
There is no question that this beautiful beach qualifies for “off the beaten path.” Tourists typically do not spend much time on the west side of O’ahu, where Yokohama Bay is located (not to mention it is ALL the way at the end of the road).
There are lots of amazing beaches in the world, what makes the beaches in Hawaii so spectacular is that not only do they have nice sand and blue waters, but also stunning mountains creating a wonderful backdrop, the case at Yokohama.
This area of the island is HOT, so make sure you apply sunscreen and drink lots of water. The shorebreaks here can be pretty powerful so make sure to ask the lifeguards if it is safe to swim. I would suggest coming here in the afternoon and sticking around for sunset, you will be glad you did. As you watch the sunset you will say to yourself, “wow, the west side really is the best side.”
If you are up for it, from here you can take a 2.5-mile hike to Kaena point (the northwestern most tip of the island) where you can check out the albatross and often spot Hawaiian monk seals.
Waiahole Poi Factory
I always tell my clients that there really is no better way to experience culture than to try the food. Much of the food in Hawaii is considered “local food” which consists of plate lunches (meat, rice and mac salad), Loco Moco, Poke (raw fish), Spam musubi and on and on. Local food is a result of the early plantation days when the Hawaiians, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and Filipinos came together to work the fields and share cooking techniques.
Another type of food is known as “Hawaiian” or “traditional food” which dates back to ancient times. Waiahole Poi Factory is along the windward side of O’ahu out in the country with amazing views of Kualoa and Chinaman’s hat across the road. They serve Kalua Pig, Lau Lau, Squid Luau, Lomi Salmon, Haupia and of course Poi. If you don’t know what these foods already it’s time you paid Waiahole Poi Factory a visit, oh and, eat the Poi okay?
We knew just the person to ask – Dan Scroggins of The Real Hawaii.His company creates custom packages for travelers to O’ahu, all ages and activity levels.
Here are two of his top choices, with two more to follow in our next blog post.
This is one of my favorite places on the island of O’ahu. The beauty and danger along these cliffs add to the allure of the place; Google search “spitting cave” and you’re likely to find reports of deaths occurring at this site, but don’t let that deter you if you know to be careful. When the surf is right, the waves crash against the back of an ocean cave and water spews out as though the cave is spitting.
The area offers expansive ocean views; to the northwest you can see the iconic Diamondhead, and on a clear day to the southeast you can spot west Maui, Moloka’i and Lana’i. It is also not uncommon to see turtles or monk seals swimming in the waters below. Added bonus: visit this place early in the morning and it’s very likely that you will have it all to yourself.
If the 65-ft. jump entices you, just keep the following quote in mind “[Jump] if you will, but remember that courage and strength are naught without prudence, and that a momentary negligence may destroy the happiness of a lifetime. Do nothing in haste; look well to each step; and from the beginning think what may be the end” -Edward Whymper. There are numerous plaques in the area dedicated to those who made their final leap into the waters of spitting cave.
One thing you should know about O`ahu is that it is not well known for its waterfalls. Actually there are none that you can just pull off the side of the road and say “look, it’s a waterfall.” You must hike to every single one of them; O’ahu wants you to work for it.
With that being said, this hidden gem does not really qualify as a hike. It is tucked below the Pali Highway–and behind a cemetery–but there is so much to love about this place. As you start on the path and round the first corner it is like you have stepped into another world; an amazing jungle world.
On the left are massive boulders (some of which have ancient Hawaiian petroglyphs carved into them) and on your right is a beautiful stream with many little waterfalls and pools. After a few minutes you arrive at Kapena Falls. Many scenes from “LOST” and a scene from the movie “The Rundown”, starring none other than Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, were filmed in the area. I really love this place and never tire of taking people here.
The CLIMB Works tour takes about 3 hours and includes an ATV ride on the way to some breathtaking views of the North Shore.
CLIMB Works is a class act. Everything about their facility was top notch. I’m not a couch potato, but I’m not “Mr. Outdoors” either and I had no problem whatsoever*.
The construction of the zipline towers was first rate. I never felt nervous about my safety. In addition, the staff was amazing. They were the right blend of funny and serious. They were also great to share about the history of the surrounding “working farm”, as well as great care that was taken to engineer and construct the zipline runs without impacting the grounds.
My daughter and I were part of a group of 8 and varied in age and experience. It was unanimous, everyone had an amazing time!
I did a quick survey of the group and several had previously done zipline at other locations and to a person all agreed that CLIMB Works is an A+ activity.
Personally, I went on a zipline tour in Cancun, Mexico and I would rate CLIMB Works as significantly better. So if you’ve always wanted to try ziplining, this is the place!
*Note: prior to participating in this activity, you should review the safety information, fitness level recommendations, and participation requirements on the Climbworks website.
Recently I came across Anahulu’s Shaved Ice by the old bridge over the Anahulu River at Tropical Rush. I’ve been several times and have rarely waited in line despite the low prices.
Jessica from Virginia (see photo) delivered a home run and I left happy! Yes, I literally ate that whole thing and only got a little bit on my swimming trunks!
Tropical Rush has a great clothing selection, gifts galore and rentals of snorkel, sup, kayak, surf board, and body/boogie boards.
Anahulu’s Shaved Ice is a definite cool stop to add to your itinerary
This experience flat out rocked. It was a picture perfect day heading out from the Haleiwa Small Boat Harbor on the North Shore of Oahu. During the 25 minute ride to the diving site, while soaking up the view of the shoreline, I said to one of my fellow tour members that “this sure beats working” and she replied, “You are working!”
Did I say this was awesome?
We arrived at the shark cage location and the sharks began to gather upon hearing the boat. This took me back to the first time I understood that there was such a thing as a shark cage in 1975 while watching the movie Jaws. If you are curious, check out this clip from the movie.
Our guides from Hawaii Shark Encounters, Richard and Kaleo were great at telling us all about the history of the tour and important safety information while interspersing some fun.
The screen capture above is from the optional Go Pro camera I rented during the tour. Can you believe it?
I was able to go down into the water in the cage and with snorkel gear and see sharks in the ocean. Amazing doesn’t begin to explain the experience.
Check out the website link on Seek Spot and go to the Hawaii Shark Encounters website. There is a lot of great information and photos.
As Suzanne from Denton, Texas came out of the water she exclaimed that this tour was “the best money I’ve spent” during her week on Oahu.
Hawaii Shark Encounters tour gets high marks for the tour itself but also for fun, safety and ease of reservations.
We arrived just before 10 am which seemed to be a perfect time and ahead of large crowds. We anticipated it would take an hour to an hour and a half, but once we got there we started going on well-maintained side trails.
It was totally worth it to see the ancient Hawaiian culture displays. There are many information signs with well written descriptions that brought these displays to life.
No wonder people love to come here for special events such as weddings, romantic strolls, or other family gatherings.
In all my fitness tracker indicated about 4500 steps on the round trip. There are also plenty of benches and other places to stop and rest and just absorb the beauty of nature.
The big payoff of course is at the end of the path which is the Waimea waterfall. Free life vests are required. See me to the right. How refreshing!
Once you return there is a great gift shop, a snack bar and for those wanting more of a sit down meal, The Proud Peacock restaurant offers an excellent menu at reasonable prices.
Admission prices are around $16 for adults and $12 for children. It was absolutely worth it. Note, they also offer those with walking difficulties a golf cart like trolley for an additional fee. If nature and activity is a priority for you, Waimea Valley is definitely a must do!
In January 2016, the Hawaiian Tourism Authority has organized the Ahamele as part of the Monthly Hawaiian Music Series. This is a FREE concert event held on the main lawn of historic Waimea Valley. The Ahamele will feature live entertainment from the Waimea Valley ‘Ohana Band, Ryan Tang, Mokuleia, The Peter Apo Band and Jerry Santos & friends. This is just one of the many events that will be held at Waimea Valley for all to enjoy.
Event: ‘Ahamele: Monthly Hawaiian Music Series
Date: January 30, 2016 12n – 5pm
Location: Waimea Valley
59-864 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712
Waimea Valley ‘Ohana Band
Ryan Tang & Ku‘uipo Kumukahi
The Peter Apo Band
Jerry Santos and Friends
Wahi Pana (storied place)
Waimea Valley is a rich and culturally significant wahi pana (storied place) with more than 700 years of Hawaiian history.
Hi`ipaka LLC manages Waimea Valley with a mission to preserve and perpetuate the human cultural and natural resources through stewardship for future generations. Hi`ipaka’s work includes educating all who visit the Valley about the history of this special place as well as Hawaiian culture.
Music and dance is an important part of Hawaiian culture and over the past three years the Waimea Valley Summer Concert Series has provided enjoyment and pleasure for many people. The series includes concerts in the months of June, July and August and was established to help our local community members and visitors to reconnect with the Valley to enjoy its many treasures as well as supporting the up and coming musicians in the community. Check out www.waimeavalley.net for additional information.
Location: Waimea Valley
59-864 Kamehameha Hwy, Haleiwa, HI 96712