Hawaii surf photographer

I got a call a week ago from a few friends that were on a work / surf trip to Fiji.  A trip that I wish I was on but I had a wedding that week. I thought they were joking when they said they saw a photo I had taken of my son surfing when he was 3 years old.  Until they showed me these shots they had taken in a random resort clothing store in Nadi, Fiji.  As I was typing this post I took a break to google something surf related and came across a surf camp in Costa Rica that used the same photo of Atticus.  crazy.

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Every once in awhile I come across something that inspires me.  I think you’ll enjoy this video- Mickey Smith in “Dark Side of the Lens.”  I think most everyone has someone who does a line of work or lives life in a way that they  admire or aspire to.  This guy is that for me.   I don’t think many people live the kind of life where they constantly push the envelope, filling their days with what truly inspires them to make their living, not driven by money or fame.  Or maybe I just like it becasue wearing a wet suit and diving into waves makes you feel a little like a super hero.  I like a lot of things he says in the video but one of my favorite thoughts is “If I am going to scrape a living, at least it’s a living worth scraping.”


North-Shore-water-Photography paddle board-1The last few weeks I haven’t had a lot of time to blog,  I’ve been shooting almost every day, but I wanted to put up a quick shot of this couple from their 7 year wedding anniversary water shoot.  This is one of the owner’s of Surfin Tacos in Hau’ula.  Have you tried their chocolate cheesecake?  It’s definitely worth topping off your meal with, we are big fans.



One of Halau Nalu’s  talented Hawaiian surfers Kahia Walker surfs on a traditional Hawaiian surfboard called a Kiko’o.  It’s kinda like the Alaia just a little thicker and heavier. He is also wearing traditional malo and haku, and on top of that he is fluent in Hawaiian.   Congratulations and good luck at Kamehameha this year.




I have shaped about 20 surfboards over the years but this is my first alaia.  As I was working on it I tried to involve my two kids as much as possible.  They both did a lot of sanding and we even went to the Bishop Museum to research the design. I took the board to surf club today, this clip is of two of the boys from Halau Nalu riding it, I think they did an amazing job for their first time.

Alia Surf Board Hawaii from Mark Lee on Vimeo.


So most of you that check my blog regularly know that I am much better at photography than writing.  So I decided to ask Katie Speed one of the girls below to be a guest blogger and talk about our shoot at Melaekahana Beach Park.  Make sure to check out her etsy site, she is an amazing artist and full of style.  Enjoy.

First a bit about myself, my name is Katie Speed, I was born and raised in Las Vegas but now live in Hawaii.  I have my own little family consisting a husband and a baby girl.  I graduated from BYU with a BFA in fine arts where i did lots of oil painting.
I’m the one in the pictures with the brown top with flowers by the neck.  I’ve been spending a lot of time working on my Etsy shop lately.  It’s called Pretty Swell (http://www.etsy.com/shop/PrettySwell) where i sell fabric flower garlands and other fabric flower items.

A few years ago  the 5 girls in these pictures all met in Hawaii and became friends quickly.  True friendships are a rare thing… how about 5 TRUE  friendships at once!    We do lots of things together and one of them is surfing.  Life got going and before we new it we were all pregnant and one of our dear friends was moving away.  We all regreted not taking the time to get some pictures of us all surfing together.  Earlier this week, as a birthday present, our dear friend Shira returned to Hawaii to visit us!  Having always wanted pictures of us surfing together we decided to book a water session with Mark to try and capture what it’s like to surf with 5 of your closest friends (a really good time!)  The shoot was a good time we set up some of the shots but mostly we were just goofing off and having a great surf session.  It was a great way to sort of document this time of our lives and our strong friendships.

Malaekahana Beach Park Hawaii Surf Photography from Mark Lee on Vimeo.

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This last weekend I took the family to the Rell Sunn Menehune contest at Makaha on the west side of Oahu.  We had an incredible time and saw some amazing surfers.  The contest was for kids from 4 to 12, it was crazy to see these kids charge waves that were at lest twice their height.  I really love being a surf/ water photographer,  during the contest  I was able to be in the water with the kids and shoot them up close, I also got a few shots from the beach with my telephoto lens.  A big congratulations to Jordan, she got 5th place in her age division, that is a huge accomplishment for how big the waves were that she  had to surf.  She is in the seventh picture down.

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