Street Photography in Hawai‘i Nei


Bon big top


Despite it being Manoa, there was only one passing shower at the Konganji Temple. Sorry to the event planners everywhere, but I’m always hoping for rain. The atmosphere and human condition in the rain is always more interesting than without.

Lance Agena
Time to be Judgmental

PhotoCON is back this year and if its first year in 2017 is anything to go by, this is a must go show. Accompanying the con is the statewide contest. The call for entries is open now until July 25, 2018. New to the panel of judges this year, yours truly. I'm honored and looking forward to seeing the entries. Enter now.


Lance Agena
PhotoCon Hawaii

That's pro photographer and founder of PhotoCon Hawaii Ric Noyle on the right. Besides being a passionate photographer interested in highlighting local Hawaii talent, Ric is a gentleman who worked his ass off to put together this incredible event. To my surprise, I won first place in PhotoCon Hawaii's inaugural contest. It's a huge honor considering the talent involved both as entrants and as judges, including his son (and amazing photographer) Zak Noyle. It also made me feel so bad for not being able to attend the event because I was off in Los Angeles. (Sorry, Ric.) But Ric did say that PhotoCon Hawaii succeeded beyond his expectations. 

Take a look at the contest results to check out some of the other local talent. There's a lot of impressive work there. I was fortunate to also get an honorable mention. 


First Place, PhotoCon Hawaii 2017

First Place, PhotoCon Hawaii 2017

Honorable Mention, PhotoCon Hawaii 2017   

Honorable Mention, PhotoCon Hawaii 2017


5 Ways to Keep Your Photographer's Eye Fresh

It's amazing how quickly we adapt. The ability to get used to things serves us well in the everyday. We build habits that we get better at and grow comfortable with. Habitual actions and places allow our minds to wander in other directions to imagine, think, and reminisce. We've evolved to the top of the food chain because of this ability. In fact, should anything different disrupt our everyday, we have to spend energy to quickly determine if it poses a danger to us. Anything new — no matter how small — can cause the tiny bean in our brain so ask "Do I run or do I fight?" 

As a photographer, we should be so lucky to experience that every day. "Do I run? Do I fight? Or do I shoot?" In fact, the problem photographers face is adapting and getting used to our environment so well that we do not see something amazing right before our eyes. Walking the streets of our same neighborhood, we may grow bored, thinking there's nothing to shoot. 

A couple of weeks ago, as I was walking into downtown Honolulu, I came upon the Hawaii State Art Museum in the process of being tented for termites. I thought it was pretty neat and so began taking photos. A worker on the site approached me and asked me what I was doing. I'm sure he was worried I was some inspector collecting evidence of safety violations or something, but after I explained that I was taking photos for myself, he couldn't understand why. I thought it was a little ironic that I was having this discussion about an art museum, but I think that because it was just another everyday job to him, he didn't really see how cool it was. I'm sure if this was his first day on the job, he'd be more understanding of the spectacle.

Hawaii State Art Museum, Aug. 18, 2017.

Hawaii State Art Museum, Aug. 18, 2017.

And so, that's our challenge — your challenge — as a photographer. Don't be the magician who can't see the magic of his own show. As a photographer we need to

  • see the spectacle, 
  • see the story, and
  • shoot.

But how do we see with fresh eyes when we visit the same places on a regular basis?

Rotate your haunts. Divide your personal photography territory up and focus within a couple of blocks every so often. Focus on an area for a week then switch it up to another few blocks the next. That's for your Monday through Fridays. If you can, on the weekends, go farther out to explore. Keep your eyes fresh by keeping your surroundings fresh.

Flip the day. Visit your spots at different times of the day. Go at night or go during the day — whichever you're not used to. You'd be surprised at the differences in lighting and character that comes out. 

Hobble yourself. Restrictions will bring out your creativity. Head out with one lens you don't favor. Turn off burst mode. Give yourself a disposable camera. Force yourself to use a flash. Play with long exposures. Screw on a filter. Shoot only video. Find ways to make it work. Challenge yourself and you'll also learn more about technique and your camera.

Flatter somebody. Find a photographer you admire and try to shoot just like that person. Alter your eye to see as they do. You might think that they're in a better environment than you for these opportunities. That's no excuse. See the elements that make their photos great, and put those elements in your viewfinder. You can also have fun processing them to look similar too.

Feed your soul with life and regret. Sometimes the best work for your photography is putting the camera down. Eat delicious food, spend time with loved ones, visit the theater, go to concerts, live life! If you're stressing over photography, it's time to take a break. Find other ways to be creative. Then, when you're out in that boring old neighborhood, you'll see the most amazing shot appearing before you, you'll reach for your camera, and you'll realize that you left the damn thing at home. The moment will pass and the shot will be gone forever. That missed shot will be the most memorable photo you never took, and you'll smile like an idiot when thinking about it. Your friends and loved ones will roll their eyes internally as they pretend to understand your excitement and regret over the missed shot, but only you will be able to see it burned in your mind's eye. It's a shame, yes. But that missed photo will forever keep you chasing after similar shots in your viewfinder.

Those are my humble suggestions. Let me know in the comments what you do to keep your eyes fresh.

New YouTube Channel: Agena Street Photography

So there you go. I have a YouTube channel. It's something I've thought about for some time. As an introvert, speaking on camera doesn't come natural. It is however, a skill I wouldn't mind getting better at. Usually, I'm on the back end of the camera coaching others to speak naturally on the business end of the lens, so this is my turn. 

I'm still considering what the videos will look like, but I've posted the first one. Take a look, let me know what you'd like to see, and please subscribe. Thanks.

Model Citizens at the Canon U.S.A. Photo Gallery

I'm honored to have the Canon U.S.A. Photo Gallery feature my photos in a show throughout May. The exhibit, Model Citizens, features many of the photos I've published online before, but a couple I haven't. It should be fun.

As my first solo show, I'm offering prints for sale for the first time. I'm releasing a few each week during May. If you're interested in purchasing one, use the discount code "CanonShow17" for 15% off your order. Be sure to catch me at the opening reception. Thanks for your support!

Canon Photo Gallery invite