Gallery (49 images): Honeymoon – Hawaii 2023
Honeymoon? Who’s honeymoon, who got married!? Well mine of course, who else! Indeed, back in early August I got married here in Vancouver to my wonderful partner of just over three years, Emily Min… now Emily Min-Mander. We met just before COVID-19 hit thankfully; just a few weeks later and things might be different now… who knows? Originally, we were trying to plan a destination wedding in Hawaii, but the logistics and the added costs for her extended family to fly there meant we decided to get married in Vancouver instead, and then have our two week honeymoon on the island of Hawaii, the Big Island. For the first half of our honeymoon, we stayed just south of Kailua-Kona, and the headline photo above shows the amazing view we had from our balcony. For the second half, we stayed in a unique private jungle retreat south of Hilo on the opposite side of the island, so private that there were clear floor to ceiling windows in the bathroom, with no blinds, curtains or other coverings, giving us a view of the lush jungle right outside!
Before I get started, here’s one wedding shot for you, taken in Queen Elizabeth Park by my good friend Ted Marshall, who was our wedding photographer and who also used to work at Beau Photo back when I started…
Since this might be the last year my 92 year old father can travel (he needs a rolling walker to go any significant distance), he joined us for a few days at the very start of our trip, mainly to visit my mother’s coral-on-lava memorial just outside the fishing village of Miloli’i on the Kona coast. My parents had some very dear friends who lived there and they loved how warm and welcoming Hawaiians often are (which Emily and I also noticed during our honeymoon), so my mom had asked for her ashes to be scattered in the ocean off Miloli’i, which my father and I did back in 2008. Afterwards, we constructed the memorial just outside of town. Here is a shot of Emily photographing the memorial (I.M. for Ingrid Mander), where we had just placed a dozen fresh red roses…
Of course during the trip, despite it being my honeymoon, I also took a fair number of shots with my gear, a Fujifilm X-Pro2 and a bag full of prime lenses. Originally I was contemplating just taking my Fujifilm X100V, but since Emily is also an enthusiastic photographer, shooting with a Fujifilm X-E3, I decided to take my whole kit along after all. Whenever I come back from a trip, I always like to look at the number of shots taken with each lens in my kit, a task that Lightroom makes easy…
My two newest lenses are the Fujinon XF 18mm f/1.4 R LM WR and the Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR… and as you can see by looking at the number of shots taken with each, you can probably tell they are two of my favourite lenses! I have reviewed both the 18mm f/1.4 (link) and the new 56mm f/1.2 (link) and they are both truly superb lenses, super sharp wide open and I generally consider both to be amongst the very best lenses I have ever shot with at their respective focal lengths.
One thing of note is that despite being used on an APS-C camera system with a smaller sensor, a lens like the XF 56mm f/1.2 allows one to nicely isolate subjects, even when they are further away. This can be seen in the series of shots with Emily and my father at the Old Kona Airport Botanical Gardens, first a shot focused on Emily, then one focused on my father and both shot at f/1.2. Even the 18mm shot at f/1.4 can effectively isolate subjects that are closer, as a photo of these carved figures demonstrates. Sure, a full-frame or medium format camera can isolate subjects even better when used with a fast f/1.2 or f/1.4 prime, but I am personally very happy with what the XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR can do, and at the same time shooting with an APS-C system means that deep depth of field photos, like this one taken with my 18mm, are actually easier to achieve when needed than on larger formats.
The new XF 56mm f/1.2 R WR also focuses a great deal closer than the original 56mm f/1.2 R, as can be seen by this photo of one of the many friendly geckos that populate the island. In fact, I do not own a macro lens, but find a lens like the new 56mm to focus close enough for many tasks, as you can see from the many shots of flowers and plants in the gallery, like the photo of an orchid on a long stem, jutting out from the tree it is attached to.
For me, I always gravitate towards the best lenses in my kit and find a way to use them more than others. That’s not to say that my other lenses aren’t good… in fact I am extremely happy with all of them from an image quality standpoint, but there is just that little bit of extra magic that lenses like the 18mm f/1.4 and new 56mm f/1.2 have that draw me to using them a little more often. The trip gallery I linked to at the start of this posting primarily consists of images from my 18mm and 56mm lenses, except as noted in the description, and has many examples that show why I enjoy using those two lenses so much. Of course I did use some other lenses on the trip as well, like my Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8, 23mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4 and 55-200mm zoom, but didn’t include any shots from those in the gallery since I mainly wanted to feature shots from the 18mm and 56mm lenses.
So… Emily and I had a wonderful wedding, and a wonderful honeymoon with many great memories and lots of photos we can look back on fondly in the future. We both used our iPhones a fair bit and snapped lots of memories that way as well, but using a real camera system with great lenses will give us that much extra enjoyment when perusing these photos again in the years ahead. Mahalo for reading through to the end and Aloha!