San Lorenzo Bikinis had the amazing opportunity to work with Maui based photographer, Karim Iliya. Karim travels to breath-taking Tonga for 3 months out of each year to capture the humpback whales who migrate there as the weather gets colder.
He was joined by Models Charyse & Brianna who wore bikinis from our newest collection – Island GLOW – click here to shop the collection!
Tonga’s calm shallow waters look like something out of a dream!
But it’s the underwater scenes that really blew us away! Can you imagine being this close to one of these majestic animals?
Since Karim has gone out to see the whales so often, (and we’ve only ever seen them from the shore) we understandably had a few questions to ask!
Q: You grew up in the Middle East and Asia, but what brought you to the islands? Why did you begin spending 1/4 of your year shooting whales? Was it a particular experience that drew you to them?
A: My primary work is underwater photography and video with a focus on whales and documenting their lives. To me they are the most interesting subjects to photograph underwater, very rewarding to photograph, and are highly intelligent with dynamic behavior.
Q: What was the overall mood and weather like in Tonga the day you shot San Lorenzo in the water?
A: The weather can vary quite a lot throughout the day when you are on an island in the middle of the ocean! Sunny, cloudy, then stormy – you get the full spectrum.
Q: How did you find the models, and what were they most excited about that day? Did they have any feedback on the bikinis they wore? Were they a little anxious or scared to be around the whales?
A: One of them is my girlfriend, and the other is a friend of ours. Charyse, my girlfriend, has spent over 100 days, and hundreds of hours in the water with the humpbacks so there was no anxiety there. They thought the bikinis were very comfortable!
Q: How many whales did you see that day or was it over 2-3 days?
A: We saw two whales, a mother and her calf. Some days we see more, some days less.
Q: Lastly, what was your favorite shot and part of the day?
A: It’s a shot of Charyse relaxing just beneath the surface (below) the colors were beautiful and the place I enjoy most is being underwater.
& here is the video that Karim and the models got that day! Doesn’t Tonga just look like a dream??
Find out more about Karim in his ‘about’ section of his website
& make sure to check out our collection Island GLOW 🌈