Waimanalo Erica Shoot

cropped Erica study

What better way to start off the day than waking up to see the sunrise out on the east side of Oahu.  One of the most beautiful sunrises can be seen from Waimanalo, Sherwoods beach park.  Growing up on the south shore has given me the perspective that most town kids experience, the sun always rises in the east, but this morning this sun rose straight out ahead of us. 

Erica and I felt this would be a good opportunity to take an early morning adventure and see how the lighting would affect our photographs.  One shot in particular is my favorite, the Golden Pineapple tee literally shines as the sunlight hits the shirt perfectly.  Erica is still rubbing the sleep out of her eyes when we finish shooting pictures, its only 7:30am and I feel that I could take a nap then wake up and start the day all over again.


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Driving out to the location was like a dream, no traffic and beautiful weather.  There’s something about waking up before the sun rises that makes me feel calm and excited at the same time.  Calm, because I like that there’s less hustle and bustle that can be seen and heard in town, but excited because I feel like there’s so much more time in my day that can be spent productively. 

            At 10 years old Erica Donlon was first influenced by her uncle, who was an oceanographer, to pursue a career in marine biology. Since then her mom would cut out news article clippings that had anything to do with the ocean and its sea inhabitants, she would put these news articles on her wall until they faded away. One of the first articles that her mom gave her was the giant squid discovered by Japanese researchers in 2004. This interest has led her all the way to the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s undergraduate marine biology program. She will be graduating this Spring 2016 semester in May. After graduation she plans to live in Sao Paulo, Brazil with her boyfriend for 6 months where she will be able to continue her job-study. Her research will include baited camera videos to identify and observe behavior of deep sea fish and new fish species. Upon her return from Brazil her plan is to attend graduate school in Australia to receive a Ph.D. to become a marine bio researcher. Australia’s oceans hold 4,000 fish types of 30,000 known worldwide. They are home to the largest area of coral reefs and 30 of the world’s 58 seagrass species. Needless to say, this is the perfect location for her to earn a Ph.D. She currently works part-time at the Pineapple Room by Alan Wong, and as a teachers assistant at UH Manoa’s Marine Biology department. In her free time she enjoys hiking, surfing, scuba diving, and playing with her pet dog named Rocky.

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