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.


Family Photography | The Westin Nanea Ocean Villas, Ka'anapali, Maui by Sean Michel

Shooting on the outer islands always gives me a renewed sense of purpose as a photographer. No matter what my subject matter is, I really enjoy the different backgrounds and lighting conditions I'm dealing with. Although relatively subtle, the different islands present unique hues and lighting throughout the day. It's these small differences and subtleties that really get me excited to shoot on Maui and the Big Island.

This particular shoot was with a young family of four visiting from California. It was definitely early in the morning, right around sunrise -- which made for these very soft and pastel-like hues over the water. The kids were great sports throughout the early shoot and we wrapped up with a handful of shots of just Mom and Dad. Awesome start to my day, can't wait for my next family shoot!

Family Photography | Marriott Ka'anapali, Maui by Sean Michel

I always love visiting Maui -- I'll jump at the opportunity if it presents itself, even more so if it is work related. The fact I have family in Kihei makes this all easier to pull the trigger and hop on the 30-minute plane ride over to Kahului.

Seeing my two nephews for a bit is always an experience -- not to sound cliché, but they grow up so fast. Too fast! After seeing the family for a couple of days, I moved on to stay upcountry with a friend in Haiku. The polar opposite of Kihei, Haiku is characterized by its green, lush and wet landscape. While up in Haiku (North), I made my way over to the Ka'anapali area (West) for a shoot at sunset with a family of 15(?) all on vacation for a family reunion.

Beautiful people, energetic kids, smiling faces and a beautiful setting. What's not to love? Maui No Ka Oi.