• Aloha and welcome to the blog

    This is supposed to be where you can keep up with some of my latest work and see images and projects I am working on. However, I need to improve on keeping this blog somewhat current. Sometimes it looks like my blog is withering off to Never Never Land. Posting images and writing blog content is NOT one of my strengths, so please forgive me for not keeping you all up to date. I am often in Honolulu and Los Angeles shooting for some amazing people, pets and organizations. Feel free to shoot me an email at 105,110,102,111,64,103,97,121,108,97,101,108,105,122,97,98,101,116,104,46,99,111,109,46.moc.htebazilealyag@ofni

    I love the artistry of photography and am ridiculously attracted to images that speak volumes with no text. I've photographed celebrities, entrepreneurs, artists, products, food, real estate, moms, dads, brides, grooms, babies, pets and more. If it exists, I will shoot it. Follow this blog for a mix of everything and feel free to visit my portfolio on the "official" photography site www.GaylaElizabeth.com.

Outdoor vintage wedding in Hau’ula Hawaii | Ash and Abe

A very wet and rainy week leading up to Ashley and Abe’s big day made a few people a little nervous since this cute vintage wedding was to take place outdoor in Hau’ula, Hawaii at The Wedding Cottage. However, on Sept. 29, 2012… there was lots of sun, heat, smiles and love…but, NO RAIN. :-).   Humidity…yes. But, rain…NO!  Luckily the AC kept everyone nice and cool until the wedding ceremony started.  Ash and Abe chose the perfect spot to start their journey together; a cute little Chateau off the North Shore Coast of Oahu in Hau’ula.  The one-acre yard was a perfect spot to host family and friends as they exchanged vows in front of the beautiful ko’olau mountains. Breathtaking view!

When I first saw Ash and Abe together, I knew they were a perfect match. During their engagement photo session, you could see the connection they have together. His eyes light up when he looks at her, she wears this adorable smile when she looks at him and together they just fit.  You can see their engagement pics by clicking here.  There is nothing fancy about them. They love the outdoors, they love food, love family and most importantly…love each other. To see them finally come together as one just makes sense. On the back of their wedding invitation wrote: Life is a journey and love is what makes the journey worthwhile. Congratulations Ash and Abe. I am so happy you two will be taking the journey together. Sending you much love and happiness. Love you guys!

Here are the pics, followed by a quick slideshow at the end.:-)


Ashley and Abe Wedding | Hau’ula, Hawaii from Gayla Elizabeth on Vimeo.

  • Camille Edwards - Beautiful, just beautiful! Great job Gayla!

  • Leisha Miyaji Cunningham - Amazing! We need to call you for an appt!

  • Ashley Kamana'o - words can’t express how lucky Abe and I are to have all your love and support through it all. couldn’t have done it without you… that’s for sure! thank you for capturing our special day… brings back so many beautiful memories. WE LOVE YOU!

  • Selene Valdez Horita - Beautiful pictures!

  • Kawailehua Kamana'o - aw is this it? do you have the family ones?

  • Gayla Elizabeth - love you guys!

  • Ashley Kamana'o - These are just the ones she posted on her blog. The video has a bunch more… one of you dancing :) She took about 700 pics so it’s gonna take a while to upload. I can’t wait to see them!

  • Selina Fernandez - SO BEAUTIFUL….

Medal of Honor Convention 2012 | Washington Place, Honolulu, Hawaii

I had the honor of photographing the 2012 Congressional Medal of Honor Convention in Hawaii this past week and what an experience it was! There was a full schedule planned for the 55 recipients who took part in the convention and I was there to document many of them. 10 events in all. Upon completion of each event, I would edit the session and upload to a site for CMOH and local news media to download. So, many of you may have seen a few of my images last week on the Hawaii News Now website, as they were hot off the press. I didn’t have time to blog them as my schedule was very tight so  I’d like to take the time to post each event I photographed on the blog and share some of the amazing images I captured. Stay tuned for the other events to follow over the next few weeks.

This first post is for the Governor’s Dinner held at Washington Place in Honolulu, Hawaii held last Tuesday. Punahou’s JROTC unit, under command of Lt. Col Robert “Bob” Takao was preparing for the arrival of the recipients by standing at attention with their swords at their side. When the large buses arrived, I felt a few hairs stand up on my arms as I witnessed these heroes walk under the swords towards Washington Place.  All men,  family, friends and special guests were escorted through the home and then out to the back reception area for a few cocktails on a warm Hawaiian evening.  Shortly after they were called for dinner, the Hawaii National Color Guard did the presentation of colors as the National Anthem of Hawaii (Hawaii Pono’i) was sung.  Hawaii Governor Neil Abercrombie welcomed the recipients to Hawaii and there were a few acknowledgements and presentations.  Manoa DNA performed music as the recipients ate dinner and socialized with friends, family and guests. It was a great way to welcome these men into the islands of Hawaii. The motto for the convention: Sharing the ‘Ohana Spirit. Aloha Medal of Honor Recipients.:-)The photos are below followed by a short slideshow at the end. Enjoy!



Congressional Medal of Honor Convention 2012 Governor’s Dinner Hawaii from Gayla Elizabeth on Vimeo.

  • Camille Edwards - Beautiful!

My attempt at running a marathon in 77 days

A few months ago, I decided I was going to challenge myself and do something I was horrible at. Running. While I have always been a pretty active person, running was never my thing. In fact, I considered myself to be in decent physical shape. I would be at 24 hour fitness religiously. Once, twice, sometimes 3 times a day if time allowed it. I was never good at running, so I avoided it like the plague. My cardio used to consist of interval sprints, stair steppers, spin bikes and elliptical machines. If I hoped on a treadmill, it would be for intervals of sprints, uphill walks and short jogs. I always thought those marathon runners were from a different planet. How on earth could one person run 26.2 miles? How? I can barely mustard up the energy to run 1 mile without stopping, so a whopping 26.2 just seemed impossible.

This is a year of personal transformation. Lots of changes. This is the year I open up new chapters in my life and step beyond my boundaries I’ve been accustomed to.  Pushing myself to be a better person, giving more to those that I can, tackling my fears and obstacles AND most importantly; living a life filled with gratitude & doing things that I was afraid of doing. No fears and living in the NOW. So, my first big challenge this year. Learn how to run. And, to make sure I had something to shoot for, I decided I was going to run the Honolulu Marathon in December 2012. Ha. Just the thought of running 26.2 miles sounded insanely crazy, I never mentioned it out loud to a soul. I would just have these mental conversations with myself. Should I? Could I? Would I? The answer to all three. YES.

Now that I told myself I would do it, I just didn’t know how I would go about training.  Which book should I buy? When should I start training? So many questions. Remember, I could barely run 1 mile without a short break. Then, my baby cousin and I were chatting one day and she mentioned that we should start running with a group that helps train marathon runners. Say what??? It was so ironic since I was toying with those thoughts for a while.  I never had the time to train for a marathon. Never. Working 16+ hours a day made it tough to get to the gym at 1:00am. So, this was a message from the universe.  I took the message and said “let’s do it”.  We agreed to join the group that upcoming weekend at 7:30am since they were just starting to meet for training. Really? That just seems too weird. But, I had to go with it.   I was afraid, but I committed and that was it. I was in. I got up that Sunday anxiously awaiting my little cousin to join me, only to find out she had to cancel. Work called her in late the night before. What? How could she? I mean, it was her suggestion and where the heck is she? She texted me in the morning saying she would meet me the following week. Oh well, I had to forge ahead solo.

I psyched myself out all week about it, so I was gonna do it and I wasn’t gonna let my cousin’s absence stop me.  I joined the group for beginners. This goal was to run for 3 miles. Oh boy. I was anxious. How am I gonna do this? I think I joined the 15:00 min / mile group. We started running and it was a very, very, very, slow jog. I thought, wow, this isn’t as bad as I thought, actually it’s pretty easy. I guess I was running too fast before!  It was actually too easy and just felt like I could walk faster than that.  I continued to run with them for about 1.5 miles. I wanted to go faster, so I hopped out of that group and jumped in the next group 13:00 min/mile at the next water stop. Ha. About 5 minutes in, I thought I was going to die. Literally. OMG, how did I get here?  How do I get out? I felt like a brick wall was on top of my chest and I couldn’t breathe. I fell to the back of the group and was barely hanging on. This is for beginners? What the heck. I almost stopped and started walking, but I couldn’t quit. I just couldn’t. I kept on going and forged ahead. I thought about all the things that I need to do. Things that will make this seem like nothing. We turned the corner for the last mile and it seemed like an eternity. Eventually I finished. What a relief. I wasn’t sure if I was sold on this marathon thing, but I couldn’t quit. I just couldn’t.

My running coach told us to run 3x a week. Every week I waited for my baby cousin to show up. Every week, something came up. Eventually she told me she would not be able to train this year because of her new job and late hours.  I reached out to my other cousins. They wouldn’t really officially commit but entertained the idea. Within a month, they were both out.  So, that meant it was just gonna be me.  The first couple weeks were the hardest. But, after a few weeks of running, it actually started to become easy.  Three miles turned into four, then five, then six, then eight and before I knew it, I was running 10 miles. Whoa! I couldn’t believe I ran 10 miles. I started feeling pretty darn good. One morning I was on a nice long run and at mile 4, a pothole met my left foot and rolled my ankle pretty darn good. I could barely stand on it. But, I couldn’t stop. I needed to finish this run with my group. I gingerly ran putting very little weight on my left leg and eventually ate the pain and continued running full speed for another 5 miles. I felt great to finish that run. I was pleasantly surprised that the ankle pain went away. Temporarily. A few hours later, the left ankle ballooned up, turned purple and I couldn’t even stand on it. It was pretty painful. I iced it, elevated it and stayed off of it and it actually felt okay the next afternoon. I let it rest for 4 days and ran 8 miles on it. HUGE MISTAKE! That put my ankle out of commission.

I had to tell my running coach what I did and he told me to keep icing it and let it rest for a couple weeks and I should be fine. A couple weeks out wouldn’t hurt me. Well, it took about 8 weeks for it to start feeling better. That’s 2 months of no running! Then I got hit with asthmatic bronchitis. Physically out of commission for another few weeks. Now, here we are towards the end of September with 77 days left until marathon day. A little over 2 months left to train and I have to start from square one because I haven’t been running for the last few months. I did my first run last week of 3 miles and it felt like a marathon. Ugh. My family and friends tell me it’s too late to train for this year. They suggest to skip 2012 and do it next year. I can’t. I committed to running this marathon and I’m going to do it. It’s going to be hard, but I have to. A few months ago, I told myself that I am going to run for those that can not walk. And that is a commitment I can NOT break. I know my niece Maile would do anything to walk if she could use her legs, so I think about that when I want to give up. This one is for you Mai and for everyone that is wheelchair bound.

I just got a new pair of new mizuno running shoes and I’m gonna hit it as hard as I can. I got 2  months to do this and I’m doing it! My original goal was to finish under 5hr 30min. But, given the circumstances, the time goal is out the window and I just want to finish. No matter how long it takes. If I’m the last girl crossing the finish line, at least I can say I ran, walked or crawled for my baby niece. Love you Mai.




  • Gabriel Happy Young - Wow… Very inspirational! I cheer you on with all heart. Go Sis GO!

  • Gayla Elizabeth - thank you… gonna make it happen no matter what. I wish Mai could be here so I could push her across the finish line with me! :-)

Ashley’s bridal shower at Mermaid Bar

A cute quaint little bridal shower for Ashley at The Mermaid Bar in Neiman Marcus, Ala Moana. Food, games, family and fun. Family gathered to celebrate Ashley and Abe’s wedding that is coming right around the corner. The restaurant is actually closed on Sundays, so this little shower was a perfect private affair. Cheese and fruit platters surrounded a table full of gifts and cornered by some uber moist guava cupcakes, lilikoi cupcakes and snickerdoodle cupcakes. Yummers!  The warm chowder was amazingly delicious and sherbet was delightfully refreshing. Where there is games, there is winners. There was a friendly game of bridal scattergories that went on throughout the afternoon (before, during and after the meal service). 1st place winner got first dibs on the center pieces of kitchen utensils, accessories, and goodies. And… yes, yours truly was the winner!:-)FIRST PLACE rules. LOL.  I’m excited for Ashley and Abe’s big day. Be sure to catch their wedding pics here. [if the blogging angels are in place]


  • Ashley Doi - Did you post this just so you could announce your winning?! Lol! That soup was so delish! So grateful for a wonderful fam… especially Leish and Keao who planned it! Lubs.

  • Gayla Elizabeth - just sayin’ :-)

  • Alayna Hangai - you were so proud of your win! even made your own winners poster =oD

  • CariLynn Ishimaru - Beautiful pics!

  • Gayla Elizabeth - had to represent the winner’s circle. LOL

  • Gayla Elizabeth - just sayin’

  • Robin Celeste Caldwell - Can’t wait for the wedding photogs!!!

  • Gayla Elizabeth - I hope you mean wedding photos.. NOT photogs. Don’t need the paparazzi hitting up this joint. LOL

Taking the boys out to the park…

Meet Isaiah and Kali’i, two adorable sons of Brandon and Keao. This was just a quick little mini session so to speak since the family had plans of visiting the annual Okinawan Festival at Kapiolani Park. I thought it would be a good time to see how the boys react and interact with each other.  As soon as we got to the park, Isaiah was so excited; he ran in the open field, only to step in a pile of mud and……. slip.  And, it wasn’t a little fall to the ground, it was more he was a MLB player stealing second base. Just like that, there was mud on his back, shorts, legs and slippers. It was everywhere. I got ONE photo off before the gravity stricken event happened.  Mommy had to walk Isaiah back to the car to change into his spare clothes, so I decided to get a few shots of Kali’i and daddy. We’ll be doing a full family session soon but for now, enjoy these.:-)