Maarit + Dan || Naalehu, Hawaii

Earlier this year I got to go to Hawaii for the first time in my life. Max and I went in April for a vacation with my parents, leaving Colorado and arriving in Hawaii on the same day, which happened to be my birthday. No joke, it was the longest day I've ever lived - we left the house at 3am to catch a flight to Seattle, where we had an 8-hour layover, and then landed in Hawaii around 9pm that same night.  It was an incredible trip, and I haven't blogged anything from it yet, but Max did, and you can see it here if you want; all I can say is TURTLES!

This session, however, is not from that trip. These photos are from my second trip to Hawaii, and yes I think I could make this a tradition, going to Hawaii twice in one year. I basically treated my entire vacation as training for shooting this session in the beautiful Hawaiian light, and I couldn't have asked for more perfect weather while I was there- both times!  

This trip was sandwiched between two weddings in June, which was a little tight, but I couldn't miss photographing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for some of my favorite people. I first photographed Maarit + Dan at their wedding in Arizona back in 2009, and actually consider their wedding as the official start of my wedding photography business.  Now, I am so honored to have photographed their 7-year anniversary and family session. 

Maarit is a giant firecracker of a human packaged in the tiniest of frames.  She is sharp-witted, emotional about all the good things, a ferocious mother, and a passionate wife.  She is an incredible writer, a talented artist, and has a penchant for dark humor.

Dan, as his instagram handle will tell you, is a true desert dandelion.  His smile will warm, and then melt, even the iciest of hearts, his positivity and optimism are squashed by nothing, and he is a deeply caring and humble father. He will take you climbing anywhere in the world, on any surface imaginable, laughing and encouraging you the whole way. He literally stops to smell the flowers.

Their girls are hilarious, independent, smart, bold, silly, and they taught me everything I know about Snapchat. They introduced me to Pitch Perfect (yes, that movie about singing from 100 years ago which has a sequel out, and yet I still hadn't seen it) and let me crash their teenager parties, making me feel cool while hanging out with them, and reminded me what it felt like to have a world of possibilities ahead.

We hiked across volcanoes, we ate delicious Thai food, we followed the coast to find lava arches, and I've never photographed a more fun or adventurous crew.  Thank you for trusting me with your memories, and thank you for sharing your smiles and your love. This is what I live for.

 Dan and Maarit on a beautiful beach in Naalehu, Hawaii. Anniversary portrait photography by Sonja Salzburg of Sonja K Photography. 
 Beautiful young girls near Naalehu, Big Island of Hawaii. Portrait photography by Sonja Salzburg of Sonja K Photography. 
 The family climbs on the rocks on the Pacific Ocean near Naalehu, Big Island of Hawaii. Anniversary portrait photography by Sonja Salzburg of Sonja K Photography. 
 A sign to enjoy coffee in the gardens and a tiki carving rests near the ocean in Naalehu, Hawaii. Photography by Sonja Salzburg of Sonja K Photography. 
 Dan and Maarit hike though the long grass to the lava beach near Naalehu, Big Island of Hawaii. Anniversary portrait photography by Sonja Salzburg of Sonja K Photography. 
 Dan and Maarit kiss on a beautiful lava beach. Dan and Maarits' wedding rings on a tropical flower near Naalehu, Hawaii. Anniversary portraits by Sonja Salzburg of Sonja K Photography. 
 Head shots of Dan, Maarit, Gwen, and Luna in Naalehu, Hawaii. Portrait photography by Sonja Salzburg of Sonja K Photography. 
 Dan prepares to climb up the lava to a high point above the beach near Naalehu, Hawaii. Anniversary portrait photography by Sonja Salzburg of Sonja K Photography. 
 Dan and Maarit embrace on the lava beach near Naalehu, Hawaii. Anniversary portrait photography by Sonja Salzburg of Sonja K Photography. 
 Dan and Maarit on a lava rock overlooking the ocean near Naalehu, Hawaii. Anniversary photography by Sonja Salzburg of Sonja K Photography. 
 Luna, Maarit, and Gwen share a laugh near Naalehu, Hawaii. Anniversary portrait photography by Sonja Salzburg of Sonja K Photography. 
 The family on top of a sea arch near Naalehu, Hawaii. Anniversary portrait photography by Sonja Salzburg of Sonja K Photography. 
 Luna and Gwen near Naalehu, Hawaii. Portraits by Sonja Salzburg of Sonja K Photography. 
 Luna, Gwen, Maarit, and Dan head out to snorkel near Naalehu, Hawaii. Anniversary portrait photography by Sonja Salzburg of Sonja K Photography. 
 A flower grows from lava rock on the Kilauea Iki trail and family portraits done near Naalehu, Hawaii. Anniversary portraits by Sonja Salzburg of Sonja K Photography. 
 Dan and Maarit on a lava rock beach near Naalehu, Hawaii. Anniversary portraits by Sonja Salzburg of Sonja K Photography.