Haley on the North Shore

Meet Haley, we have a lot in common. I take pictures, she likes having her picture taken. I own Fujifilm X Series cameras, she really wants a X Series camera. She's 5'9", I'm 5'2"; she struggles reaching soup on the bottom shelf and I can't reach the Kool-Aid on the top ones. We both have grocery store issues.

Recently the North Shore of Oahu got a little treat to an unexpected swell that brought double overhead waves. For those of you those that had a loving childhood and know who Johnny Tsunami is, Johnny wouldn't have survived these waves. They're basically twice the height of you while you're standing on a surfboard, or larger. So of course I told Haley to meet me at Chun's Reef with a shortboard.

When the waves are that massive and powerful, it's impossible to ignore the situation. You have to respect that which can kill you, and in order for me to capture that in these photos of Haley I grabbed the XF 56mm f/1.2 R from the bag. This focal length appeals to me when I want to isolate people and almost let it feel like they've reached a place of solitude and peace. 

Because my insurance doesn't cover accidental death by giant ocean wave, I had Haley skip the ocean and we just hung out near the highway. The early morning light made for some amazing backlight and the sand did a great job filling in some light on her face.


But of course when she got into the shaded area we came into a bit of a problem. The backlight was still amazing and lit her hair and shoulder nicely, but her face became extremely dark. A Profoto B1 + a OCF Beauty Dish White did well in throwing just enough light onto her face. Luckily it didn't need any gels to balance out the color and we could just keep trooping on.

At a certain point we had to ditch the XF 56mm lens and swap it out for a XF 23mm f/1.4 R. Although a little tricky to avoid distortion, it does an amazing job when trying to incorporate the environment and make it feel like you were with Haley on the beach.

Here's a pretty good example of the distortion you get with the XF 23mm when you're a bit too close, but it was a trade off I was willing to make to get the right perspective on her face. It's just those 5'9" enabling legs that didn't play nice.

Quick clothing change = quick lens change. Back to the XF 56mm f/1.4 R. That long flowy dress just begged to be used with a lens that would minimize distortion and isolate her once again.

Similar to the earlier shots, this one was lit again with the Profoto B1. Just adding a touch of light to give her a little bit more contrast and light makes all the difference in a flat shaded shot versus something like this. If you can't tell I've used any artificial light, I know I've done my job well.

Chun's Reef was getting a little old at that point and used up so it was time to recharge in Haleiwa at Haleiwa Bowls for acai and smoothies.

Now what do you do when you're waiting around for Haleiwa Bowls to open? Hang out in front of Aoki's with your neighborhood chickens. Unfortunately when it came to getting their 5 minutes of fame they were, well, chicken.

For the above photo of Haley, there was a little mishap on my end and it was shot in JPEG. I shoot religiously in RAW, anything that's not RAW is editing and post production suicide for me. In fact, I haven't edited a JPEG in over 10 years. But the Fujifilm color profiles are just so damn amazing, I didn't break a sweat. This image went through minimal editing in Lightroom and out came that. To be honest, it didn't really need the few touches in Lightroom but old habits die hard.

Haley got her acai bowl, I got a smoothie, break time commenced.

Until the smoothie drinking contest commenced and Haley brought her game face. Coincidentally, her game face and poker face are the same.

One sip into the challenge and she's got a brain freeze. Easy win for Allan.


Break time over and it's time to head out over to a little gem of a beach.

This last set was shot with the XF 35mm f/1.4 R, by far my favorite lens of all the Fujifilm lineup. I just love the 50mm field of view. It feels natural, it's easy to work with, there's very little distortion, and all of this means I can just focus on working with Haley and building that chemistry up. Meanwhile my assistant Ryan is holding the Profoto a bit off camera, giving her that nice contrast, light, and shadows on her face.

I can't end this post without ending with a ACROS post. The black and white reproduction has amazing tonality and punch. While the green filter gives it a nice dark skin tone that contrasts nicely against the sand without being too harsh.

Thanks to Haley P of Bliss Models and Talent (@blissmodelsandtalent), Ryan Moore (@oneshaka) for assisting.