Why having a sense of place is so important

Why having a sense of place is so important

By |2015-01-31T18:35:34+00:00Jan 31st, 2015|

This trip to the Big Island of Hawaii was split in two main parts: the first four days were spent on the northern part of the island and the remaining four days are being spent on the southern part. As the first few days went by, I started experiencing a major creative bloc. I’d get back to the B&B that we were staying at (which has since permanently shut its doors) and would have a huge wave of apathy crash over me as I reviewed the photos from the day. Even while on location, I’d have this feeling that I wasn’t firing on all cylinders. This was all despite Nicole affirming that I did actually walk away with keepers after seeing my results at the end of each day. Still, I couldn’t put my finger on why I was holding myself back.

It wasn’t until we got to the second half of the trip, returning to the absolutely wonderful Kalaekilohana Inn & Retreat, that it all started to make sense. This is our second time staying at Kalaekilohana. We made it a point to return here after spending 8 wonderful days last year here. This place served as the backdrop to our first experience of the Big Island and had a profound impact on us. When we pulled up the long path to the brilliant yellow home, everything felt familiar and good. It simply crystalized the importance of your surroundings and its impact on the creative process. I’m not saying that the first location we stayed at was bad. Quite the opposite, actually. The staff were lovely, the bed was comfy, and the breakfasts were delicious. But there is something different about this place.

Within an hour of checking in, I felt better. It was like a fog was lifted from my head and it couldn’t have happened sooner because we were just about to head off to our next sunset shoot. When we arrived at a remote, rocky and secluded swatch of the Kawa’a shore, everything started falling into place. I felt much more comfortable in my skin and my creative process seemed to flow again. More importantly, I’m genuinely happy with the photos that I captured yesterday and am even more excited about the photos that I’ll be capturing during our final three days here.

Camera: Sony a7R with the Sony FE 24-70mm f/4
Filter: Formatt Hitech Firecrest 3-stop Soft Grad ND filter + Firecrest 105mm Circular Polarizer
Tripod: Really Right Stuff TVC-34L/BH-55
Stylization: Adobe Lightroom 5.7


  1. David Hannon January 31, 2015 at 6:40 pm - Reply

    Fantastic image. I love this part of the island, well all of the island.

  2. Christina Ann January 31, 2015 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    Beautiful. Live Aloha

  3. […] Brian Matiash This trip to the Big Island of Hawaii was split in two main parts: the first four days were spent […]

  4. Susie Davis Newcomer February 1, 2015 at 5:21 am - Reply


  5. J.R. Milne February 1, 2015 at 9:11 am - Reply

    I have a pretty good idea of how you felt. I had brought all of my camera to work with me, fully intending to leave a bit early to capture some incredible sunset shots. But I had a terrible time the last couple of hours at work, and it spoiled the whole mood creatively. I didn’t get out of that funk until the next evening. Here’s what I got! As always, thanks for sharing!

  6. Leah Ann F-Mathis February 2, 2015 at 7:35 am - Reply

    WOW. Fantastic, Magnifent, love the whole image! :-) :-) :-)

  7. Cal Mukumoto February 3, 2015 at 8:27 am - Reply

    You know Brian, I felt the same way about my photo trip to the Big Island. I look through my Lightroom catalog and it is pretty much meh! I am glad you got inspired, the turtle shot was excellent. Good luck in your new endeavors.

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