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McG In Hawaii

Mack and I treated our non-working time in Hawaii as one giant photo safari. We made sure to get plenty of playtime in without the cameras as well, but taking photos is one of the ways we have fun together! Because we placed this high priority on taking awesome pictures during our trip, we came back with a TON of images to share. It was torturous trying to get it down to a reasonable number to share on the blog today, but I think I managed to get the collection as concise as possible… without leaving out any of my favorites.

Because it’s such a big blog today, I’m going to try to keep the talking to a minimum. (Operative word = TRY. I’m a talker.) But I have to say, once again, THANK YOU to Whitney & Shane for taking us with them on their destination wedding adventure. This was such an honor and a privilege for us, and we were blown away by this couple’s generosity. Our lives are truly blessed to get to spend such an important time with people like Whitney & Shane!

Now… on to the pictures! Some are straight out of camera, and some have been photoshopped. I just did whatever I felt like doing, since they’re our personal pictures. Believe it or not, a few of them have actually had the color DE-saturated, because straight out of camera, it was so brilliant it looked unreal. Suffice it to say, I’ll take pictures in Hawaii any chance I get, for the rest of my life.

We stayed in a studio condo at the Kauai Coast Resort at the Beachboy. Lovely, quiet, pretty… nothing but good things to say!

Of course, as soon as we got off the plane, we found the nearest beach and ran straight in.

Here’s the first shot we took with our big orange Jeep Wrangler 4×4… but not the last. Upgrading our rental to this was seriously the best decision we made all week. Not only was this car completely killer to look at, but it allowed us to off-road up in the mountains and carry Whitney & Shane around for their day after session AND enjoy top-down gorgeousness nearly every day. The Jeep was pretty much like the 3rd McG on this trip, and you’ll see lots more pictures of her. 🙂

Immediately after our first dip in the ocean, we took off sight-seeing. We stayed in Kapa’a, so our first stop was Opekaa Falls. The view from the road is pretty far, but still… wow. Just gorgeous!

From there, we drove up into the forest preserve area. Eventually, we ran out of road… but we just kept going. We only turned around when it looked like the road was too muddy even for the Jeep to handle, and by that point, I’d long-since abandoned taking pictures because it was so bumpy!

Day Two kicked off with a bang! We ate breakfast at Tutu’s Soup Hale. We were pretty late waking up, so we were the only ones there. Mack ordered the house special, which was French Toast that day. Kind of expensive, but he figured, what the heck, right? Turns out, it would have fed 3 people. Look at the size of that toast!!! Mack’s not a small guy, and he only managed to put down one chunk, and a few bites of the 2nd piece. It was way yummy, though!

My husband’s handsome.

The drive up to Wailua Falls is longer, but totally worth it. It’s taller than Niagera Falls, but obviously, not the same volume. We saw the trail where you could hike down and play in the pool at the bottom, but just weren’t feeling up to possible death that particular morning. 🙂

See… I told you we took lots of pictures of the Jeep!

This next set was taken at what looked like a dirt bike course, way up in the mountains on the way to Waimea Canyon. Mack was TERRIFIED up there on that bridge… the wind was blowing like crazy, and there was nothing behind him but a seriously steep drop. Still, of course, he posed like a stud. Totally worth it.

Here’s a panorama composite from several different shots we took at the Waimea Canyon. Isn’t it gorgeous?

Self-timer shot before dinner at the Smith Tropical Paradise Luau!

Ok… so this next picture is ridiculous. But that coconut was HUGE, and I wanted a picture with it.

We had about 45 minutes to walk around the Smith’s Tropical Paradise gardens before the luau started, and man, that place is absolutely gorgeous!

These next three shots are of the Imu Ceremony, where they dig up the pig and say the blessing.

Dinner was fabulous, and you’ll just have to trust me, because I was too busy eating it to take pictures. 🙂 Next came the show! They don’t allow flash photography, so I was really glad I brought the 85 mm 1.2 L with me. It was still pretty dark and fast, and therefore difficult to shoot, but I got some fun images nonetheless!

Day Three was wedding day! But we weren’t meeting Whitney & Shane until noon, so we did a little more driving around in the morning. We decided to try and use the tripod to get some beachy portraits of ourselves, and let me tell you, this was HILARIOUS. Setting the camera up on the tripod, hauling butt to where we wanted to be in the frame, and trying to pose… all in 10 seconds! We have lots of outtakes, but we also got pictures that I’m so happy to have.

I believe this is the Kiluea Lighthouse! It all starts to run together after a while. Gorgeous, even if I can’t remember the exact spelling. 🙂

Then, it was wedding time! I’ll be sharing our favorites from Whitney & Shane’s wedding tomorrow, but I had to share a few “behind the scenes” pictures today. I wanted to hang Whitney’s dress on this gnarled old tree out by the water, but it was too windy, and I was afraid it’d blow off! So Mack hid behind the dress and held it in place. The finished product is gorgeous (as you’ll see tomorrow), but I love these, too! 🙂

I chose to shoot this wedding barefoot, so I’d have a good grip in the sand. Mack chose to shoot it in his dress shoes. I think that from the two-up below, you can see who had the better idea this time…

One of my favorite shots! I saw this lizard hanging out on a hibiscus, and took this image on the fly, It’s handheld, so I’m THRILLED it came out as sharp as it did. Below is the full frame image, and under that is a 100% zoom on the lizard (cropped from the original).

Speaking of creepy crawly things… Mack and Whitney found this HUGE snail the next morning while we were shooting the Day After session. Of course, my husband the goofball pretends to eat it.

The last set we shot during the Day After session was near Secret Beach… in the surf… and also, eventually, in the pouring rain. Here’s Mack helping Whitney get into position so that the waves couldn’t carry her out to sea!

We busted out our waterproof casing just in time to shoot in this storm, and you’ll see the results from this shoot on the blog on Friday. But at the end, drenched to the bone and covered in sand, I wanted pictures with our fearless clients! You can see here how hard it was raining… and Whitney & Shane were rock stars about it!

In the picture below, I’m holding a baby chick. Might seem random, but there are chickens EVERYWHERE on Kauai, so it only seemed fitting that we should have one in the group picture!

After a shower and a long-hard nap, Mack and I got up to explore again. We spent Day Four (Friday) mostly in Hanalei. Truly, the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen.

We specifically watched out for this little green church in Hanalei, at the urging of a past bride. We caught a break in the rain, so Mack got the tripod out and did an HDR composite here, and I LOVE the way it turned out!!

Here’s the only place I’m going out of chronological order. See, the pictures we took at the beach on Friday night are my very favorite of the whole trip, and you guys know me… I like to save my favorite pictures for the end whenever possible. So we’re skipping ahead to Saturday morning!

Day Five was our last day, so we got up early to try and pack as much in as we could before we flew out. We tried to snorkel, but the storms from the previous day had everything stirred up and it wasn’t very clear. I was glad we’d snorkeled earlier in the week, but sad that we chose not to take our camera on that trip. Oh well… an excuse to go again, right? 🙂

Below is a picture of my souvenir from the trip… a black pearl ring. Simple. I love it. You’ll see pictures of Mack’s souvenir on the blog in a week or two… he bought a gorgeous Mahogany ukelele that’s being shipped to us!

We ate our last lunch at Scotty’s BBQ on the water in Kapa’a. I know it seems strange to come from Texas to eat BBQ in Hawaii, but those boys aren’t messing around… it was seriously yummy!

This tree tunnel on the road to Poi’pu was damaged by the hurricane and nonexistent when I went to Kauai ten years ago. I was so glad to see it nearly grown back…

We spent some time shopping in Koloa, and lots of time in an art gallery there, talking to a local artist. It was PAINFUL to have to walk away from a set of original paintings we both fell in love with. Ultimately, it’s our goal to be able to bring home original art from wherever we travel, and fill our house with a collection of local art that tells the story of our lives together. The trick, though, is going to be to start falling in love with art that isn’t quite so expensive. 🙂

Right off the road in Koloa is this monument to the sugar industry in Kauai. I thought the different features in this statue were really interesting!

Our last little adventure was a completely unplanned one. We were dressed and packed and ready to get on the plane, but had some time before we needed to check in at the airport in Lihue. So we drove down to the south shore and saw the Cook Island pines. On the way back, we passed a section of road with about a half-dozen cars parked, but no people in them. We figured that meant there was a trail around somewhere, so we got out and looked for it. Sure enough, we found it. Even though I was in a sundress and flip flops, we decided to go ahead and see where everyone was headed! The picture below is one of the wider sections of the trail… sometimes it narrowed to thinner than the width of Mack’s foot, and it was a bit of a fight to get through.

We hiked for a half-mile, maybe a little longer. Sometimes we passed people coming back. Lots of people made jokes about Smoke Monsters and polar bears, which made me happy because “LOST fans, unite!” and also mad, because screw you, JJ Abrams, that ending sucked.

Finally, we arrived at Kipu Falls, and WOW. Holy gorgeousness. The waterfall is about 25-feet high, with a very deep pool at the bottom. There were people of all ages hanging out here in the light drizzling rain… locals and in-the-know tourists alike. I’m sad we didn’t find this spot sooner, because we seriously could have spent all day there.

Mack decided that, travel clothes or not, he just couldn’t live with himself if he didn’t jump off that waterfall and then try the rope swing. I have no such compunction for dare-devil feats, so I held all his stuff and watched him take off! I wish I had pictures of his jump, but I have video instead. Mack’s working on putting together a little photo-video-compilation reel for me, and whenever he gets that done, I’ll post it so you can see the jump!

After Kipu, we changed our clothes, checked in at the airport, and began our long overnight flight home. But remember how I said my favorite pictures were taken on Friday night? I’m going to show you those now… sunset on Tunnels Beach :

I definitely have a new desktop wallpaper here in the office!

One more time… thank you, Whitney & Shane, for this amazing opportunity. You’re the greatest. I can’t wait for you to see your wedding… TOMORROW!

  1. annie

    August 10th, 2011 at 7:45 am

    WOW. Stunning. What a blessing to be able to take this trip together. My favorite is probably the one of him holding you on the beach! It’s perfect!

  2. emily

    August 10th, 2011 at 8:07 am

    These are beautiful pictures McG! So glad you guys had a wonderful time! Can’t wait to see the wedding pictures!

  3. Carman

    August 10th, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Wow — in the words of Liz Lemon, “I want to go to there!” Beautiful job and glad you had a great time!

  4. Danielle

    August 10th, 2011 at 8:32 am

    This has officially sealed my next vacation destination!!

  5. Amanda D

    August 10th, 2011 at 8:40 am

    Wow, gorgeous, stunning, amazing… I could go on! I officially want to go back to Hawaii now! Thx for sharing your beautiful family pics!

  6. Katrina

    August 10th, 2011 at 8:48 am

    Love, love, love! I cannot wait to go back to Hawaii! 🙂

  7. MeaganB

    August 10th, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Astounded by your photographic genius. One day, the Bechtels are going to have a McG coffee table book, filled with all your non-people pictures. Seriously. SO. MANY. FAVORITES!

  8. Melody

    August 10th, 2011 at 9:30 am

    Oh my gosh, those are amazing! I love the dirt road pics, and the green church. And man that french toast looked awesome!

  9. Ambo

    August 10th, 2011 at 9:31 am

    wow, wow, wow!!!! I can’t even begin to pick a favorite. Love these!!!!

  10. Erin

    August 10th, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Oh my goodness, SO jealous. The pictures are stunning. I loved the last one, and the one just before where you can see the light coming through the waves. So gorgeous. And the one of Mack pouring out sand from his dress shoes made me laugh out loud. You guys look like you had so much fun! We may come to you for ideas on where to go for our honeymoon 😉

  11. Kari

    August 10th, 2011 at 9:57 am

    Holy. Cow. Those last three pictures are AMAZING

  12. Misty

    August 10th, 2011 at 10:16 am

    These are freakin’ FAAAAAAAAAANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!
    You two are so beautiful together!!! Hawaii is so beautiful, especially through the McGs’ eyes!!! I can’t stop using exclamation points!!! LOL Holy crap, that picture of the church?! WHOA! And the lizard/hibiscus shot, ohhhh I want to frame that and hang it up in my house!!!
    And I love that though you are both first-class professional photographers, Mack is using his cell phone to take a pic…priceless 😉
    Gimme more!!!!!!!!!!!!!! <3

  13. Lauren

    August 10th, 2011 at 11:31 am

    Beautiful pictures! Makes me want to take a trip pronto!

  14. Liesa

    August 10th, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    There are so many of these that I’m in loooooooooove with! You guys absolutely outdid yourselves! I know the wedding pictures will be just as amazing. Seriously, stunning work you two!

  15. Kevin

    August 10th, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Love every picture…espcially the self timer pics…that one under the tree looks like an ad for sunglasses! So jealous of this trip…love that you rocked the jeep, and love that Mack will soon have an awesome, beautiful, and fun to play uke in hand! (May I recommend “ukulele lady” as a super fun song to play!)

  16. Amber B.

    August 10th, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    Wow, wow, and wow!! These pictures are amazing, beautiful, stunning and fun! Ya’ll look great and it looks like ya’ll had lots of fun ;o) One day I’d love to travel there so I may hit ya’ll up for some of the places ya’ll went!

  17. ElleP

    August 10th, 2011 at 3:29 pm

    Chelsea and Mack, so much to say I just dont know where to begin. Hanalei holds our hearts in a way I cant explain, Patrick and I love that little town so much and to see Kauai through your eyes and your lens makes my heart skip a beat. Your pictures brought tears to my eyes and memories back of our trip last year. I LOVE your picture of the little green church (I am so glad you went back and did your magic with it). Tunnels, Kipu Falls, Kilauea Light House and so many more are great too!! Oh and the tree tunnel!! I know you had to stand in the middle of a pretty busy road to get that one!! The things you 2 do for the perfect shot. You guys are amazing people. Thanks so much for sharing!

  18. Nicole

    August 10th, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Hawaii has always been low on my list of places to visit, but, after seeing your pics, it has moved significantly up the list!

  19. Sarah Burns

    August 10th, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    These photos literally took my breath away! I loved the HDR photo! Absolutely stunning work, as usual! So so stunning, thanks for sharing your wonderful trip!

  20. Brittany

    August 12th, 2011 at 6:22 pm

    I love it!! Makes me want to go to Hawaii soooooo bad!! Sighh…

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