This is not your parents Hawaii. This is an incredible journey to the old authentic and indigenous Hawaii and not the pre-packaged tourist version. Even if you’ve been to Honolulu and Waikiki on the Island of Oahu please join us on the Big Island because you have not seen or experienced anything close to this Hawaii. Some of the highlights will be a trip to the lava flow on the island’s active volcano, photo shoots on black sand beaches, spectacular waterfalls, Akiko’s sense of humor and infectious laugh, wandering through old plantation villages, Buddhist temples, ancient stone spiritual grounds and meeting and hanging out with with some of the islands many artists and photographers. But the best of all are the people of Big Island, who still embrace and live the “Aloha Spirit” of old Hawaii. This is a trip you will not forget and will exceed all expectations of what Hawaii is really like.
Akiko’s Buddhist Bed and Breakfast located along the beautiful lush Hamakua Coast 15 minutes North of Hilo will be our home. Everyday we will embark on a new adventure to explore and photograph the Sacred landscape of waterfalls, ocean, volcano and old rusty tin-roofed plantation villages with an eye for how things in nature, worn by time and wind and rain and crashing ocean and volcanic eruptions reveal their “postures” of gratitude. We will also have the opportunity to visit with the town elders who are mostly Japanese, in their 70’s & 80’s who have lived during the sugar plantation era.
Mornings can begin with a short optional sitting meditation in the zendo and a walk to the ocean to experience the early morning light and to hear the tropical rain forest wake up. Upon returning, you will all be treated to Akiko’s great breakfasts — platters of fresh papayas, banana pancakes. mango smoothies, her famous Buddha Buzz coffee and whatever else is blooming or buzzing.
After a short photo/art discussion we will usually head out on a photographic adventure. Doug will spend time helping each individual clarify their vision and reach toward their photographic potential. We will leave room for spontaneity and serendipity. Nightly discussions about the meeting of art and spirit, and how we can better interpret and incorporate it into our own art and selves, will be held hanging out in the comfort of the retreat studio or along the ocean just listening to the waves and observing the night sky.
This will be an unforgettable experience and a very unique way to experience Hawaii. Everyone is welcome. You need not be a Buddhist, just bring an open heart and a willingness to be transformed by the amazing beauty and power of Hawaii. And extra memory cards or film…
Student Testimonials About This Workshop:
“It was a life-transforming trip. Thank you so much for your inspiration, humor, kindness and introduction to so many wonderful people. I take away a great enthusiasm for photography and I definitely intend to pursue that mode of expression. I will be thinking of your words, your ideas and images.”
– Annika Khalsa, Park City, UT
“My heart has so much that it wants to say, but it is difficult to get the feelings translated into words. Cliched as it may sound, the workshop was life changing. Our group was totally great, with you at the core, and our ninja Akiko. You teach how to make pictures that are connected, that speak to the photographer as well as to the viewer. I have been gifted a spiritual practice that integrates with artistic vision, what could be better? I feel deep gratitude to have found this path. And you Doug, have a big, open heart that invited me right in. Thank you so much.”
– Rio Elkheart ,Albion, CA
“I must tell you how grateful and appreciative I am for the experience on the Big Island and the opportunity that you gave me in taking your workshop. I learned a great deal from you about photography and connecting with one’s inner spirit. Having the opportunity to create that connection with the place, Hawaii, that is most dear to me was truly inspirational and very meaningful. I carry what I learned at that workshop wherever I go and whenever I take photos. I am grateful to you in giving me a new tool (photography) to connect with my spiritual self and the environment.”
– Keri Yamamoto, Honolulu, HI
“Thanks for a great workshop. I appreciated your comments on getting to ‘feel’ the picture rather than just seeing it. Thanks for a rewarding and fun workshop.”
– Herb Hong, Honolulu, HI
“Doug, I can’t even begin to find the words to thank you for the beautiful experience we all created. I’ve been thinking about you and the group pretty much non-stop and know that the past two weeks have been life changing in so many ways….many of which I don’t even know yet. You are such a beautiful soul. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 🙂 I know our paths will cross again and I so look forward to it.”
– Lisa Hartmann, Longmont, CO
“What a wonderful adventure. In addition to spending our time in a tropical botanical garden, we went to amazing places, met such interesting local people and there wasn’t a person in our group that wasn’t a delight to be with. I will never forget the night we were surrounded by an erupting volcano, August full moon, night time double rainbow and in the last corner, a sky full of stars. It was incredible.”
– Pat Painter, Tennessee
“My time in Hawaii was completely different from what I expected it to be; I couldn’t even have imagined the way it actually turned out. I loved the atmosphere of quiet and personal exploration and expression. I’d never thought about how photography can help you stay in the moment and lead you to look at the world differently. I am truly grateful to you and the group and the artists you introduced us to for providing that experience for me.”
– Olwen Palm, Seattle, WA (wife of photographer who joined our group)
I learned as much about myself during the Hawaii trip (“Wherever you go, there you are”) as I did about photography. Akiko’s place was the perfect setting for the workshop with her part wise woman, part trickster personality. Meeting Akiko and experiencing the workshop helped inspire me to pursue what I love and determined to live a simpler life. Thank you for that.
– Marilyn Lamoreux, Plymouth, MN
“Thank you so much for your passion. My time on the Big Island was an experience of a lifetime and being part of the local culture was amazing and truly the best way to experience Hawaii. Your passion and dedication to creating the best experience for all of us is truly appreciated.“
– Renae Hesselink , Muskegon MI
Just wanted to say a big thank to all of you for the sparkles you brings in my life:)))
Mahalo Doug for making this a super joyful experience,
Mahalo Akiko for the hospitality, the gratitude and and all the Aloha,
And Mahalo to all of you for sharing those amazing moments and make this trip unforgettable.
– Angela Palazzolo, Brussels, Belgium
View student photography from Big Island, Hawaii
View Doug’s photos from Big Island, Hawaii
Download the full itinerary
Thursday, February 15 – Saturday, February 24, 2017
– Thursday, February 15: Arrival Day in Hilo, Hawaii, arrive when flight is convenient
– Saturday, February 24: Departure Day, depart anytime flight is convenient
– We will pick you up and drop you off at Hilo Airport (20 minutes from Akiko’s B&B)
CLASS LIMIT: Only 10 students!
$1,875 Airfare not included
Includes healthy breakfast, lodging and all transportation on the Big Island
($500 deposit paid to Vision Quest)
$500 discount for full time Hawaiian residents, additional $500 discount if not staying at Akiko’s B&B
PayPal also accepted. Account is under ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’