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Oahu: A Photo Essay by Karen Glenn

Taking a Leap. Photo Karen Glenn.

By Karen Glenn

Most people know Oahu as a place for tourists—Waikiki shines as a beacon for visitors from around the world, both during summer vacation months and, for obvious reasons, in the winter.

But there is another Oahu, the spaces enjoyed by kama’aina, the people who live there. This alternate reality is at its best in the spring and fall, when the tourist tides have ebbed. That’s when locals come out and play, savoring the relatively quiet and uncrowded beaches and living the life of water that is the essential reason that many of them are there in the first place. Families come to spend the whole day, not only for surfing or swimming, but for walking and fishing, enjoying cookouts and music, relaxing in a way that is not possible when tourist tides rise once again.

Here is a sampling of that life.


Morning Surfboard. Photo Karen Glenn.


Early Morning Paddleboard. Photo Karen Glenn.


Dawn Patrol. Photo Karen Glenn.


Blinded By The Light. Photo Karen Glenn.


Paddling The Waves. Photo Karen Glenn.


Afternoon Delight. Photo Karen Glenn.


Heart Rate Up. Photo Karen Glenn.


Red Umbrella. Photo Karen Glenn.


Fishing Day. Photo Karen Glenn.


Up a Tree. Photo Karen Glenn.


Playing Cup & Ball. Photo Karen Glenn.


Sunset Farewell. Photo Karen Glenn.


Night Falls. Photo Karen Glenn.




Karen Glenn is a Honolulu-based photographer and writer. You can check out her website at karenglenn.photoshelter.com or visit her on Instagram @karenjglenn. Her editorial photography has appeared in print in Diversion MagazineAspen Magazine, and Edible Aspen, and on websites such as this one. Her fine art photography has been included in online magazines, including MuseeF-StopDon’t Take Pictures, and Lenscratch. Her work also has appeared in shows in Aspen, Boulder, Glenwood Springs, San Francisco, and Honolulu.

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  1. Bill Spencer
    December 12, 2021 at 2:27 pm — Reply

    Wonderful captures around Oahu. You show paradise at its best. Well done.

    • December 12, 2021 at 3:23 pm — Reply

      Thank you, Bill! I appreciate it.

  2. Joy
    December 12, 2021 at 4:09 pm — Reply

    Chasing the light indeed! Lovely photographs, Karen. Great to see such beautiful locations framed by your vision.

    • December 12, 2021 at 4:58 pm — Reply

      Thanks so much, Joy! Chasing the light here is a delight!

  3. Marjorie DeLuca
    December 13, 2021 at 12:00 am — Reply

    Love this series of photos, Karen. ?

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