Welcome to Summering
"Summer is always a guaranteed moment of peace somewhere".
– Nani Welch Keliihoomalu
Nani Welch Keliihoomalu is a native Hawaiian photographer and surfer who finds her playground in the Paradise of the Pacific, the islands of Hawaii. We pulled up a beach towel alongside Nani to learn what her home and summering means to her. Check out her field guide on how to truly capture the vibe of the planet's greatest season.
Photos by Nani Welch Keliihoomalu
Discover Your Inspiration
"Some of the first inspiration for anything creative I've ever done is home and Hawaii. And so that's automatically going to be the outdoors. Most of my photography is of people, but always in nature, in their locations that they call home—in the ocean itself or whenever we go hiking or in the forests. Nature is always just a constant inspiration".
Need Less, Feel More
"Sun cream, because we want to keep that melanoma away. I always bring a camera wherever I go—whether it's film or my underwater housing to go shoot wherever. And then a pareu. That's a sarong. They're just big pieces of thinner material that you can tie around yourself to dry off, instead of a towel. What else do I bring? And just water, and that's it".
"I think this is just a Hawaii thing, but we would go bring nets, these big nets called 'throw nets'. And you would go creep on the reef and on the coastline and throw net. And that's how you catch different types of reef fish or even crab, or even lobster. That's a big thing. You bring your headlamp and go night fishing when you go camping on the beach".
Learn the Ukulele
"We would just go home and sit outside, and you would always hear at least one of my uncles or aunties playing the ukulele and singing. And that was before we had more access to the Internet and TV, it would always be everybody just singing and playing instruments together at night".
"If you're having a rough time, the beach is the best place to kind of let free and let loose with your friends. In high school, when things felt like the end of the world all of the time, my friends and I would go to the beach to just have the longest vent sessions ever. I think a big motivation for me is the social aspect of it and seeing loved ones, even if it's just my Mum or one of my friends".
Get Lost, But Not Really
"My friends always joke that I have such a Hawaiian sense of direction because you could drop me in the middle of any forest and I would be able to get out just without knowing it—just because there are certain markers in the forest. You just follow a river upwards, and you know that you're going to get to a waterfall. No matter where you are, you can always kind of find which way the ocean is".
"Mango's a big one. The summer fruits, they're so good. Lychee and mango season. Lychees are these tiny fruits that grow in bushels. You peel them off, and the inside tastes like a sweet melon. Lychee season is the best, because if you have a neighbour who owns an orchard somewhere, and they just bring you this giant bag of lychees. And you invite your friends over and just have them. You just sit at your table peeling lychees all day".
"My favourite time of day during the summer is sunset, because the Sun sets a little bit later in the day, and the ocean is so mellow that you can just sit. It's perfect—and that's the best time to go in the ocean. Because the water's just so warm. It feels like a bathtub. You just get to float around and watch the super-amazing sky. I see why people come to Hawaii for that".
Become a Beach Bum
"During summer, you would get to go to the beach every single day. No matter if it was with your parents or maybe your friend's parents or even your aunties and uncles, you were always going into the ocean. You were always going on some sort of adventure to a waterfall once you got older and could do things on your own. So summer is always going to be filled with water".
Wait for Your Wave
"Whenever I go surfing, I forget about all of my worries. That sounds so cliché, but I get so excited when I pull up to a surf spot and there are waves that maybe haven't been breaking for a while—and there's a north swell or something. It's also just been a way for me to connect socially with all of my family".