For as long as I can remember, my family has had a connection to Hawaii. As a newlywed couple, my parents had friends in Hawaii that allowed them to travel for relatively cheap out there, and they went as often as they could. (That was before outrageous airfare and TSA-travelling nightmares…). After my brother and I were old enough, we travelled out to Oahu as often as we could. I am so blessed to be familiar with Oahu and have the opportunity to go. Maybe I was a dolphin living out there in a past life 🙂

This year was a little more somber for our family with my brother not being there with us this trip. It’s hard to think that just a year and a half ago, he was with us on our last trip. I couldn’t help but feel the gap of his prescence strongly. The purpose of the trip was to celebrate what would have been his 18th birthday (Feb 2) as well as put our funeral leis into the ocean. Our family friends who live on Oahu sent us traditional Hawaiian funeral leis that are placed into the ocean after a loved one’s passing. We did this with our friends, Hawaiian style, by paddling out offshore on surfboards and paddleboards.

Oahu Hawaii Pokai Bay Hawaiian funeral leis in the ocean

I couldn’t help but smile when not even a half hour after placing the leis in the ocean, some dolphins showed up and hung around for a while. I only had my point and shoot in housing, but considering I didn’t have a mask I don’t think I did too bad for clicking and praying I got something!

underwater dolphins pod Oahu Hawaii

Hawaii sailboat Pokai Bay sunrise

Oahu Hawaii blowhole lava tubes rocky shore waves crashing

Oahu Hawaii blowhole lava tube waves crashing south shore

South Shore Oahu Hawaii mountains

From Here to Eternity Beach Oahu Hawaii South Shore

Where’s Waldo? In a dangerous place that I wouldn’t want to be…

Photographer on dangerous cliffs Oahu Hawaii

Makapu'u Lighthouse Oahu Hawaii hiking trail south shore

Makapu'u Lighthouse look out over the Pacific Ocean

Makapu'u Lighthouse look out over Pacific Ocean

Rabbit Island Oahu Hawaii view from Makapu'u Ligthhouse trail

Lanikai Beach Mokulua Islands

Kailua Beach Panorama Oahu Hawaii

Kailua Beach people on the beach kite surfing dog running with owner on beach

As a child, We always came to Kailua Beach to boogieboard and play around. The beach isn’t quite what I remember it to be, but it still beats the desert.

I had never been to the Big Island, so we took a few days going over there. We didn’t get as much as we wanted to done because my dad decided it would be a great idea to stick his hand where it didn’t belong and got bitten by a moray eel. 24 stitches later, he is fine, but we weren’t able to SCUBA dive this trip. Next time!

Cruise ship anchored off Kona Hawaii sunrise

While fishing (not catching much), we had a nice surprise make up for us not gettting to dive. I’ve posted more about it but this was a beautfiul gift to me and something I have always wanted to photograph and witness.

Humpback whales surfacing Kona Hawaii

Humpback calf playing tail fluke slapping Kona Hawaii

Humpback Whale calf close looking at you tail fluke

And my favorite underwater photo I have ever taken…

humpback whale mother and calf Kona Hawaii underwater

We went on a hike the next day and saw whales all along the coast jumping and playing as we explored Hawaii’s western and north coast. Next time we go, we will spend more time on the big island and hike down this valley.

Big Island of Hawaii north shore cliffs Pololu Valley Makapala, Hawaii

Hawaii plant life

Hawaii flowers

Wiliwili Tree rare Hawaiian tree endemic Hawaiian tree

We found the elusive and rare Wiliwili Tree, endemic to Hawaii. Though this is not exactly naturally growing, nevertheless we were proud to have found one, “wild” or not. The trees are endangered because of a virus and increasingly dry conditions throughout the climates where they live.

Big Island of Hawaii sunset palm trees

We came back to Oahu to spend some more time with our friends before we left.

Pokai Bay sunset

Pokai Bay Oahu Hawaii night

We popped up to our friend’s house on North Shore to watch the 15-20ft waves.

Oahu north shore big waves crashing

north shore Oahu Hawaii big waves boogieboarder

Pipeline North Shore Oahu Hawaii surfing big waves

Kathy is very crafty and a talented builder of anything, so she planned a beautiful Hawaiian memorial service for Brandon and her daughter’s friend Tati who also commited suicide in September and their friend’s mother who died a week earlier on our last day on the islands.The ceremony was beyond beautiful and we are so very grateful for them and everyone who helped with the ceremony. Her daughter read a beautiful poem and we released floating rafts into the water with petals and leis into the sunset of a friend of theirs’ dive boat.

memorial floating bamboo raft ocean memorial

memorial bamboo raft in the ocean

memorial at sea floating bamboo rafts at sunset Oahu Hawaii

releasing a lei into the ocean

throwing a lei into the ocean memorial at sea

boobie bird ocean bird sunset Oahu Hawaii

A seabird (a blue beaked boobie bird we believe), followed us into the harbor. I could say a thousand goodbyes, but it will never be enough Brandon. I love you, and thank you for the whales and dolphins. May you rest in peace.

If you are interested in purchasing any prints, please visit my online gallery. I am still adding photos, so if you see something you want that’s not there or want a product not listed in the gallery, please send me an email! Thank you

Keep up with me on Facebook!

Send me an email- I love to chat!

Comment below if you love a photo in particular!



Alyssa Campbell Arizona wedding photographer

Welcome! I’m an Arizona-based wedding & portrait photographer specializing in natural and documentary photos. My blog is where you can see my latest work as well as check out tips & the latest news. Following me on social media is another way to check out my recent work!