Underwater Healer About Face Underwater Healer About Face
_M5A9529

UW Fashion Photography with Zena Holloway in Bahama

Travel, uw portrait
/by
UW Fashion Photography with Zena Holloway in Bahama and an extra stop in Florida I've been scuba diving for over 12 years and I became a scuba dive master in Venezuela. I started taking photographs of fishes and marine life. And one day, I saw Zena Holloway's work, Swansong, I instantly thought I want to be like her. Over 10 years later, I found out she was leading a workshop organized by Aquaspirit in Bimini, Bahama! If I miss this opportunity, I might not see her again. I finally decided to sign up to meet her in person! A dream came true! I did a mini interview with Zena at the end of the workshop. She gave us a great advice! SO... my adventure began from this huge canvas... #oceanhug Arrived in Bimini, Bahama! I cried looking at this crystal clear water!!!! It looks like a painting... SO GORGEOUSSSsssss!! The sky is not covered by any buildings. I felt like I was in the planetarium. If you have guts to walk up stairs on these. I'll give you $5. Don't worry, it's super safe. Rainbow before the sunset... aaand this is the place I stayed. At welcome dinner to meet Zena, other photographers and models! People are coming from 11 different countries!!?? So awesome to connect through our passions. AND I ran into Tammy from San Diego!! When I photographed 3 cancer survivors in San Diego last year, I got to rent her pool! Thank you so much for supporting my my project! It was a great night! The food...
_N4A3061v2

Florida Trip Report 2017

Travel, Uncategorized, Underwater Healer About Face
/by
I've never been to Florida before so I was super excited! I got all the good luck stickers on my bags and I was ready for the new adventure! I arrived in Orlando and drove 2 hrs north to meet my friend in Geinsville.  Jamaican jerk chicken was delicioius!! This town reminded me of CA.  I met a lot of cool people through my friend all night!  And it was actually COLD there!! The live band was awesome too! The next day, we went to Ichetucknee state park. And first thing I saw was this warning... I think I still have 2 arms and 2 legs... The spring was beautiful!! 72F all year long! The next early morning, I had a trip to see Manatees!! It was one of my bucket lists! It was a beautiful misty morning I saw them!!! They were so cute!! A post shared by Underwater_Beauty_SanFrancisco (@erenashimoda) on Feb 21, 2017 at 8:53am PST Then I went to Weechi Wachee to see mermaids!! This spring theatre is around for 65years! Beautiful show! I wanted to be a mermaid when I was little. This place is giving hopes and dreams for everyone. The next morning was the big day! I met a cancer survivor, Les at Devil's Den! This place is a magical spot! If you are interested in scuba diving, you should get an open water certificate from this place. The instructor, Don was so friendly and supportive to my project. I highly recommend this place! Les is 52 years old and was born and raised in Maryland. He lives in Florida...
2017_survivorsMAP

Underwater Healer About Face in Florida!

Travel, Underwater Healer About Face
/by
I'll be in Florida from 2/10-2/15! Arriving at night on the 10th and leaving early in the morning of the 15th. Super short trip but I want to make the best out of this trip! I'm excited! Originally, I was not going to work BUT that never happened for me :) I just LOVE working with cancer survivors, sharing stories and making beautiful memories together. Les is 52 years old and was born and raised in Maryland. He lives in Florida for the last 30 years. He is a 2 time cancer survivor (skin and lung cancer) He used to go scalloping every season. He says, "One reason I want to do this, if I can be truthful, is because I'm kind of worried about getting back underwater since I have only 1 1/2 lungs and no idea how long I can hold my breath anymore. The second reason is because I haven't done anything just for me since cancer took my life and I don't have any pictures of myself! I also want to make my daughters proud :)" Amber grew up in Hot Springs Arkansas and spent time in Ketchikan Alaska as a teenager. Then she lived in Alabama for 14 years until she moved to Florida. She was diagnosed with PTSD and Colorectal Cancer. She has also been left with a colostomy bag and that is a constant pull at her feelings of beauty and causes much doubt and sadness. She says, "I hope to have the opportunity to...
img_7140

Italy Trip 2016

Travel
/by
We were in Italy for my dear friends' wedding in September! First, loong flight to Stockholm, Sweden first. But I know how to entertain myself....wait...SERIOUSLY!!!??? Finally arrived in Stockholm! SUGARRRR! People were so nice. Kids were playing Pokémon Go here too. We went to a jazz bar and the band was pretty awesome!! We were dancing all night! https://www.facebook.com/erena.shimoda/videos/pcb.10154497243683050/10154497222658050/?type=3&theater They were Rockin'!! Special guest, harmonica player was also a pro! Swedish people are so beautiful. In fact, they all had nice skin!! Why is that? Wine everyday? I really liked this bar and people's energy. Yes, talk to each other like it's 1995!! I still went to boy's bathroom by mistake! It was a beautiful night at Stockholm. Next morning, before we left for Italy, we had to get breakfast at this bakery! Moomin! Good bye, Stockholm~ Hello Tuscany, Italy! Arrived during the night and it was a crazy car ride!! Isabell was my roommate in SF back in.... long time ago! She rented this gorgeous house! Wedding make up is so much work!! Da daaaaa- So beautiful! I've never seen a Jewish wedding ceremony live!! Yes, he didn't land on anyone! 1000 cranes here too! Then drove to Florence... That night we left for Sardina by ferry... And we entertained ourselves with... and aaaand We arrived in Palau!   It was stormy the next day, the dive shop had to cancel our scuba trips... Arrived in Arrugelo! Octopus salad was delicious! Morning before the dives! I worked at the dive shop in the past. I...

San Diego Trip Recap!

Travel
/by
I’m back in San Francisco after an amazing, whirlwind trip to San Diego to shoot three beautiful and strong cancer survivors.  As you may remember, this trip included working with two tattooed mastectomy survivors in collaboration with Shane Wallin, founder of Mastectomy Tattoo! It was incredible to meet him and see his work in person. In addition, I also was blessed to document a happy couple, one of which is a two time testicular cancer survivor, expecting their first child in May! It truly was an incredible weekend. Photos are coming soon, but in the meantime please read and watch their testimonials! JUANITA SAYS: It was my father’s birthday yesterday and this is dedicated to him and all cancer survivors. My underwater photo shoot was a great experience! I felt so free, happy and relaxed - to be underwater my soul was at peace. Underwater I was able to find joy. Having this experience alongside two other survivors was incredible; I am happy I was able to share that moment with them. Erena made me feel so comfortable and at ease, she is a great photographer. I would recommend anybody who survives anything traumatic to go for it - there’s peace in the water! Also, thank you Tony and Shane, my great tattoo artists, for helping me find my “sexy” back. There is beauty after breast cancer! I am a survivor hear me roar! 

TINA SAYS: I felt it was harder than it sounds! In turn, it was more fun than...

San Diego Update: Cancer Survivor + Maternity Shoot!

Travel, Underwater Healer About Face
/by
As you read last week, I am headed to San Diego March 12 - 14 for two transformational underwater shoots. I’m excited to announce a third portrait session has been scheduled, a first for me - a lovely couple who is expecting their first child and the father-to-be is a two-time Testicular Cancer survivor! Scott and Mandy are thrilled for their upcoming photo session.  Scott, who beat Stage 4 Testicular Cancer in 1999 and Stage 2 in 2004, and Mandy, who is expecting May 15th, have many reasons to celebrate and participate in my Underwater Healer project.  They were told they had less than 1% chance to conceive.  But thanks to hope, good energy, doctors and the modern practice of IVF, Mandy is now pregnant!  A very expensive undertaking, a GoFundMe page was created and successful helped fund the expensive procedure. Mandy and Scott have expressed how excited they are for their upcoming photo shoot and what they are looking forward to the most.  Scott says: “One way I can explain the feeling of cancer was the feeling of being trapped, secluded, and confined.  I was in the hospital for weeks at a time and sometimes so confined that I couldn't get out of bed.  Only immediate family members could come in the room after they were gowned up and cleaned; much like quarantine.  The freedom, calm, and limitless possibility of movement being underwater brings me happiness and takes me so far away from the confines of cancer and those dark memories.” They both...

Headed to San Diego!

Travel
/by
I’m thrilled to announce I’m headed to San Diego!  From March 12th - 14th I’ll be in sunny SoCal to shoot two tattooed mastectomy survivors in collaboration with Shane Wallin, founder of Mastectomy Tattoo!  Shane leads a tattoo studio built for breast cancer survivors to reclaim what cancer has taken from them. He does an amazing job and I am so excited to work with him and two of his tattoo recipients. The first mastectomy tattoo survivor is Juanita, a San Diego native. A two-time breast cancer survivor, she was diagnosed with Stage 2 in 1987 when she discovered a lump on her left breast while pregnant with her third child.  In 2010, Stage 2 breast cancer struck again, this time on her right breast.  She first saw mastectomy tattoos on Pink Ink Fund.  She was so happy to see pictures of tattoos covering the scars of surgery she cried.  She was joyful to know there is beauty after breast cancer. Juanita wants to participate in an underwater portrait shoot to help her mentally and physically cleanse her soul. She now knows there is beauty after breast cancer and wants to let women, men and children of all nationalities know there is hope and peace within. She dedicates her shoot to all woman who have battled breast cancer, especially those who died fighting.  She says, “Cancer breaks you down in all kinds of ways, but if you are strong we can conquer anything” and I agree!  I can’t wait to meet...

How We Can Heal Maui Yoga Retreat 2016 Recap

Travel
/by
I can’t believe the How We Can Heal Maui Yoga Retreat has come and gone!  I had an amazing time of relaxation and meditation with a wonderful group of people.  We laughed so much this past week - we all have amazing memories that we have taken home.  In fact, we had so much fun we forgot to take yoga pictures!  But have no fear, we did take underwater portraits!  You saw a few sneak peeks earlier this week on Facebook (see below!), stay tuned for more! I wanted to share feedback I received from two of the retreat participants.  It warms my heart to hear I have made a difference in someone’s life and also confirms I am on the right path with my work.  Feedback is critical and I am so thankful for their kind words! First is Participant A, who had a strong fear of water. Notice, I said had! :) “I was very apprehensive about the underwater photography session because I've always had a very strong fear of having my head under water. Erena has a wonderful gentle, beautiful spirit that touched me and helped me want to try to face and overcome my fear. I've come back to the yoga retreat for 3 years--and getting to work with Erena to face my fear was a major part of why I wanted to keep coming to Lumeria.  I Just finished my third year and I had so much fun in the water-- and more importantly, I feel so...
survivor_katie1

Last Call for How We Can Heal Yoga Retreat in Maui!

Travel
/by
It’s hard to believe December is here!  As this year comes to a close, it’s time to start thinking of what next year will bring.  I encourage you to enter 2016 with a healing start and sign up to join me in Maui for the How We Can Heal Yoga Retreat before it sells out! Held January 18-22, this year marks the fifth anniversary of the annual yoga retreat with Lisa Danylchuk, a Psychotherapist, yogini and educator who works as a trauma therapist in The San Francisco Bay Area.  Hosted at the Lumeria Retreat Center, you will spend 5 days focusing on finding rest and relaxation to form a greater connection with yourself.  Registration covers all classes, 3 daily meals and double accommodations. Everyday begins with energizing vinyasa yoga practice and in the evening we end with yin, a restorative practice and meditation lead by Lisa.  Each day focuses on a different series of poses, natural element, psycho-spiritual theme and includes a sprinkle of Hawaiian dance and language.  Her wonderful classes help mitigate the impact of extreme stress we face in our daily lives.  The time in between classes is yours to enjoy as you wish.  Lumeria offers beautiful contemplative spaces, salt water pools, hot tubs and farm to table dining.  Hiking, swimming, surfing and more are all just steps away.  The retreat focuses on filling your soul with healing and joyful experiences.  Everyone brings some of the island peace home. There is a special added bonus for attending - I will...
survivor_brian0

Announcing The How We Can Heal Yoga Retreat 2016 in Maui!

Travel
/by
Announcing The How We Can Heal Yoga Retreat 2016 in Maui! I’m excited to announce the How We Can Heal Yoga Retreat January 18 - 22, 2016 in beautiful, serene Maui.  Join us for healing yoga sessions that can help ease trauma and PSD, group underwater portrait photography by me, nutritious and delicious food and lovely people.  Yogini and psychotherapist Lisa Danylchuk has spent over 15 years helping others overcome their traumas, coping with stress and finding your inner joy.  The retreat aims to enable building skills and a resilient sense of self navigating through the difficult emotions related to stressful events.  Last year was very successful, you can read about it and see photos here. If this is something that interests you, I urge you not to wait!  Early bird pricing of $1695 ends on Oct. 30th.  It includes all activities, double lodging and 3 meals a day.  You can reserve your spot with a deposit of $500.  Now is also an excellent time to book January flights, so what are you waiting for?!  Also, if you are interested in a private underwater shoot while at the retreat they are available and at a discounted price! Spots will sell out and last year was such a wonderful time that I encourage you to attend.  You can sign up here.  Feel free to shoot Lisa or me any questions you may have.  We look forward to seeing you in Maui in January!  And stay tuned for details on an upcoming Apple Store...