The only Constant is Change | Drone across Oahu by Sean Michel

"Everything Flows in a state of Flux"

- Simplicius

Without sounding entirely too cliché, I am a firm believer in the statement that the only constant is indeed change. The moment we feel comfortable, or like we have a firm grasp on the way things are going and will continue to go -- life has a way of throwing us a curveball, for better or worse.

As a business owner and artist, these curveballs can manifest themselves in about a million different ways. Most of the curveballs at face value are exceedingly frustrating and require tedious work and attention to deal with. But the beauty lies squarely in the process. No matter what comes up, we more or less have to adjust and overcome. The process of accepting the changes, addressing them and shifting to accomodate leads to a more profound understanding of our business, our abilities and most importantly, ourselves.

Without divulging too much and getting boring, lately I've dealt with a lot of change. Some personal and a lot of business. Maintaining a straight course throughout has definitely been a struggle, but like I mentioned above -- it really has made me better all around. I have my things (as everyone probably should) that keep me grounded, one of those things is my drone. Another one of those things is getting outside and exploring the natural beauty that surrounds me. The two combined lead to some pretty awesome footage and a nice, clear headspace.

The two hikes that make up the bulk of this footage are on Oahu, closing two shots taken on Maui. One of the trails is down in the Honolulu area and I've had the good fortune of rounding out that trail multiple times. Once with my good mate Shane Sochocki, owner of Adventure Tours Hawaii and once with good friend and associate creative Taylor Johnson. Check out her work on her website, Taylor Creates.

The second trail is way up north, I never knew it existed until we went on Shane's recommendation. An awesome little trail run with beautiful panoramic-style views from Kaena Point down to Chinamans Hat from up top. I was blown away by the amazing payoff that such a small amount of work had gotten us.


Backpacking through Haleakala | Upcountry Maui by Sean Michel

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine called to invite me over to Maui for a backpacking trip through Haleakala. Having never even been up to Haleakala on my numerous trips to the valley isle, it definitely seemed like a good idea to go and check it out -- albeit this was a far more in-depth look at the national park than most people tend to get. To note, this friend of mine happens to own and operate a local tour company, Adventure Tours Hawaii, so he has a distinct taste for hiking, camping and generally getting amongst the elements on a trip -- IF he commits. I was all in - ready for a change of scenery for a short while and some time to reflect.

There really is no way to write a short version of what I experienced that will be even remotely palatable. People just need to experience this sort of raw nature on their own to truly appreciate it. The thing that struck me day after day was the silence. The sound of absolutely nothing. Not one bit weird, just overwhelmingly therapeutic and soothing. Maybe the rustle of a light wind, an odd Nene in the distance, but more often than not a deafening silence that was surprisingly welcome. It was easy for me to lean into that silence and appreciate the vastness of the crater and its surrounding landscapes.

Nature Therapy at its very finest.

I'll leave the rest to the photos below, words somewhat fail me on this one. What an amazing experience, my advice is to get out there and experience this or something like it, as often as possible. I can't wait to get back.


Maternity for a Friend by Sean Michel

Favorites from a recent maternity shoot I did with a good friend of mine and his wife. It really is cliché, but I have to say this -- watching my close friends evolving into their careers, relationships and roles (in this case as parents) really hits a note for me perspective-wise. It's grounding, motivating and awe-inspiring all at the same time.

We had amazing soft light throughout the shoot and then were lucky enough to catch some serious fire in the sky for sunset. A best of both worlds type of scenario as a photographer to be honest! A great shoot with some awesome people.

swirling through morocco by Sean Michel

A couple of years back I was fortunate enough to pull the trigger on a trip that I had been dreaming of for years. It all stemmed from lusting over the opening portion of my favorite surf movie. The location seemed so different from what surf films were usually all about, nobody was in the water and the waves were pumping. From the first time I watched Taylor Steele's "Sipping Jetstreams" I knew where I needed to go and surf -- Morocco.

What i found when I went was a very deep and rich culture. Heavy French influence (in the best way possible) found within the cuisine and organization of shops, town centers, etc...While maintaining a distinct identity all of its own. My time there was really varied, from the blue city of Chefchaouen nestled in the Rif mountains of the North, to the noisy and dusty souks of Marrakech. I found everything I was looking for and more. I can't wait to get back.

Hike Snaps by Sean Michel

Hiking is one of those activities that has faded in and out of my life since I was a little boy. I can distinctly remember being very young (no more than 5 yrs. old) and looking forward to running through the woods at the South Mountain Reservation (Millburn, NJ in case you're wondering) with my sisters when we went on family walks. Those experiences were probably the peak of my excitement in life when it came to hiking -- until somewhat recently.

For me, the motivation to get outside and explore is borne of a hunger for stunning and otherwise unavailable visuals. Whatever peoples motivations are -- I applaud them. From a photographers' perspective -- it's always worth it. Below is a very small selection of the visual payoffs I've experienced in the last year.

On a Boat deep in Indonesia by Sean Michel

I've spent a lot of time traveling, specifically throughout Indonesia. I love what travel brings to my life -- a deep sense of perspective is what I'm most grateful for. The chance to disconnect and be present with what's going on directly in front of me and nothing else. That is a heavy dose of what life was like before the cell phones, social media and constant connectivity. It's a scary and liberating experience at the same time.

My second favorite part about traveling? Definitely the opportunity to photograph exotic locales and a simpler way of life. Indonesia and the many travels I've taken throughout the archipelago always represent (to me) the wanderlust felt by all surfers. Finding the perfect wave, the perfect setup, with nobody around. The people, places and experiences that are a byproduct of that search are pure candy for the eyes. Grateful to be able to capture it!