I’m not a big people photographer. It makes me uncomfortable when people see me taking pictures of them, and I never really capture them the way I want to. Also, people move. A lot. And they blink. It sucks. I much prefer to photograph food and objects, which stay still so obligingly.

The ceremony was presided over by event chair and Ritz-Carlton cultural adviser Clifford Nae‘ole. The ceremony was very beautiful, but we arrived too late to get a good viewing angle, so no more photos after this one. © 2012 Sugar + Shake

Nonetheless, for my work and when I “work” for Shake, I end up having to photograph people. I just grit my teeth, take a whole lot of shots and hope some of them come out decently. On Maui, I took a lot more people photos than I normally would have, had we been traveling just for fun. I thought I’d share some of them with you, a different side of me, as it were.

So, with all that going on, so many artists and performers…lots of people photography was in order. Sigh. The events were well attended, and I’m short, plus with our multi-event scheduling (the Ag Fest overlapped the Celebration), we weren’t always on time for the starts of things. So I got a lot of weird angles, like this photo of Ritz-Carlton Cultural Advisor Clifford Nae‘ole.

I already mentioned that the second part of our trip was to check out the Maui Agricultural Festival. Lots of food, lots of produce. And except for the baby goat I scared, most of the animals stood still too. Yay. But the other event we were on Maui to experience was the Ritz-Carlton’s Celebration of the Arts Festival. This year marked the 20th anniversary of the event, a weekend-long festival honoring Hawaiian culture and arts. The hotel hosts hula and musical performances, an artisans’ gallery and all sorts of demonstrations and workshops to help visitors and locals learn more about and perpetuate native arts. With the exception of the crazy awesome closing Celebration Lū‘au and insane Easter Brunch, the festival events are free.

Inside the hotel, craftsmen offered works of art for sale. We were entranced watching this guy carve a tribal shark design (freehand, no less) onto a miniature surfboard. © 2012 Sugar + Shake

Outside and in the hallways of the hotel, an artisans’ gallery was set up. Lots of artists and crafts(wo)men brought jewelry, paintings and woodwork to sell. Most of them were working on new pieces at their tables too, so you could see all the work that goes into each item.

I like this guy’s smile and I couldn’t believe that he could carry on a conversation while using the chisel. (Especially since, as I told Shake, I dropped a chisel on my toe as a kid. It makes me kind of nervous to watch people use them now.) We asked if he knew what he would carve before he started and he said, no. It just comes to him as he works. He also leaves space so that a customer can request some customization, like a family name or special design.

He was carving this shark design freehand—it was pretty amazing to watch. I like how the detail in the shark matches his own tattoo. They almost look like reflections in this photo.

We asked if he knew what he would carve before he started and he said, no. It just comes to him as he works. He also leaves space so that a customer can ask to have some customization, like a family name or special design, added. © 2012 Sugar + Shake

The local canoe club organization came to talk about the tradition of Hawaiian outrigger canoes and had two of their canoes displayed outside at the front of the hotel, including this beautiful handmade wooden one. If you want to participate in certain races, your team MUST compete in a wooden canoe.

Their canoes are just beautiful. Handmade, and if you want to participate in certain races, your team MUST compete in a wooden canoe, like this one. © 2012 Sugar + Shake

‘Iokepa Nae‘ole, one of the directors of the Hawaiian Canoe Club, spoke enthusiastically of the club’s heritage and the races they participate in. These guys are hard core! They do races that last for days; paddlers have to coordinate when they get to take their turn to drink water or eat a Power Bar! While he talked to Shake, I tried to angle the shot so I could get the canoe reflected in his sunglasses.

Back to Kapalua for more Celebration of the Arts. The festival runs over two days, and all sorts of cultural practitioners and artists come to the Ritz-Carlton to show off their work and offer workshops. The local canoe club organization came to talk about the tradition of the outrigger canoes. © 2012 Sugar + Shake ‘Iokepa Nae‘ole, one of the directors of the Hawaiian Canoe Club, spoke enthusiastically of the club’s heritage and the races they participate in. These guys are hard core! They do races that last for days; paddlers have to coordinate when they get to take their turn to drink water or eat a Power Bar! © 2012 Sugar + Shake

 

Keiki hula. These kids were really talented, and so cute, too. It was a challenge to shoot the hula halau because (again) we arrived late, so we had to find space where we could. Unfortunately, it was opposite the big archway leading out of the lobby, so these were all shot straight into the light. Sepia and black and white treatments seemed the way to go. I do like how the light outlines them, though, like the little hula girl on the left.

These kids were really talented, and so cute, too. © 2012 Sugar + Shake The super little kids’ halau had a few boys. He looks very determined, don’t you think? © 2012 Sugar + Shake

 

These two shots were accidental. I love the color and movement in the one on the left, though I’m actually not sure where the color comes from, since the girls were all wearing ivory dresses. I was fiddling with different exposures and shutter speeds. This isn’t a technically great photo, but I really like the feeling of motion. In the other photo, I meant to just get the girls giggling together on the couch, but the one girl turned and looked straight into the lens just when I hit the shutter. She might be the same girl as in the other shot.

Not the shot intended, but love the color and movement. Actually not sure where the color comes from, since the girls were all wearing ivory dresses. © 2012 Sugar + Shake Another accidental shot. This might be the same girl in the moving photo earlier. Love the look of mischief on her face. © 2012 Sugar + Shake

 

I like photos of quiet, personal moments, but when they’re strangers, I also feel like I’m intruding. This girl was sitting on her tūtū’s (grandmother’s) lap after her hula performance. I didn’t take any photos of the big closing Celebration Lū‘au other than this one of singer Kamakakehau Fernandez. He sings in the Hawaiian falsetto style, and he’s quite talented. Don’t let the lack of photos from the lū‘au fool you—it was beyond fantastic, probably the best one I’ve ever been to.

Another shot that turned out better than expected. This girl was sitting on her tutu’s (grandmother’s) lap after her performance. © 2012 Sugar + Shake Singer Kamakakehau Fernandez. He sings in the Hawaiian falsetto style, and he’s quite talented. © 2012 Sugar + Shake

 

So, there you have my favorite people photos from the trip. It’s back to food and cocktails for me again now that we’re home!

For the full gallery of the weekend’s photos, click here.

Disclosure: Sugar + Shake were hosted by the Maui Visitors Bureau and the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua hotel. Travel and accommodations were provided by the hosts, but no compensation was received for this post, and the opinions expressed are strictly my own.

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