Hi, I'm Danette He'itukutonga. I am a photographer, business owner and the mother of a big Caucasian/Polynesian family. We have homes in Maui, Idaho and Tonga. We run several businesses that keep us very busy, have several hapa kids and have now added grandkids to that mix. We have found a love for Australian Shepherds, have 12 of them that live with us, as well as two Tom Cats who tolerate the dogs. We love life and try to make the most of every day and every opportunity that comes our way.
Halloween photography is big in our house. It has been for years. It started a long time ago when I used the halloween costumes as an opportunity to practice my portrait skills on the kids. Then I began to get a collection of good, quality portraits that way, so I decided to keep going with it every year. A few years ago, we added our yearly excursion to Kula Farms, and I began an inpromptu little photo shoot with the kids using the props that were around me, thanks to the Farm. This year, I got sick the Saturday before Halloween. It started out as a small thing that I thought would be nothing. Weeks went by and I still was not feeling better at all. I edited our annual Halloween costume shoot while I was completely under the weather, and I hated it. I thought I would just do what some photographers suggest and stage a fake costume shoot. You wait until a better, more opportune time, dress your kids up again and retake the portrait shoot. Well weeks had went by since Halloween, Thanksgiving had come and gone, and I still hadn't managed to schedule in that retake session. I thought, "Bummer! I'll just have to go back to those awful pics and see if I can't find something salvageable in them." So I went back and edited again, this time using a different preset in Lightroom and different filters. It made a world of difference, and I realized that I didn't have to schedule a retake shoot. I had some photos in the can that I could be pretty proud of and not cringe at years from now. So now I'm finally posting my Halloween portraits. This is what Halloween looked like at the He Household in 2011.
My princesses, my beautiful ladies!!
So much attitude!!!
Off all my kids, this one is the only one who hates to have his picture taken, but he'll do it for me because he loves me. It's a shame that he won't warm up to it because he is so cute!
Come join us today for a tour of the pumpkin patches at Kula Farms, Maui locals' favorite spot for entertainment in October.
Every October, Kula Farms grows and sells pumpkins to us locals. It is so much fun for the kids to be able to go and pick their own pumpkin, instead of picking them up in the store. The grounds of the farm are decorated with all kinds of fun haunts for the kids to hang out and explore.
The pumpkin patch lies at the bottom of a long hill. You climb down into the pumpkin patch and search among the pumpkins to find the pumpkin that speaks to you, looks as if it should be the one you should take home, or simply falls into your wagon by some pure chance. Just ask Danae. That's how her pumpkin came to belong to her this year.
This green one is mine! I loved him immediately! He was so unique.
One of my favorite things to do at Kula Farms in the fall is to see what kind of portraits I can get with all the great backdrops. The challenge is that these portraits will often include a lot of our fellow Kula Farm attendees, because there are a whole lot of them there every day in October. The other challenge is that the lighting won't be optimal. Kula Farms closes long before the lighting gets great. One day I'd like to call them and see if I could set up a portrait shoot in the hours after they are closed. But in the past including this year, I've made do with what I had. I'm happy with the shots I got to save for my posterity, and I think that is all that matters in the end. Of course I have to admit that I love nothing more than a good formal portrait shoot with optimal light, all the right equipment on hand, a few assistants that know what they are doing...well I could go on listing all the elements of a great portrait shoot, but I won't. I'll just commence showing what I did get on this afternoon.
There is still plenty to do, even after your pumpkins have been selected. We make our way up the steep hill to pay for the pumpkins we've selected for Halloween 2011.
Time now to head to the corn maze.
Upcountry Maui is known for it's flowers and plants, some plants that grow only on the hillside of Haleakala as well as some familiar to Mainlanders. Views, scenery, foliage all these things are a photographer's dream. Every where you look, there is something to aim your camera at, to test your skills on and to see if you can capture an image that is unique and different.