He begins by deciding what he wants to capture, looking for just the right angle. He waits for the light to soften and opens his tripod and mounts his camera, looking through the viewfinder to decide if he likes what he sees. The shutter goes off, and the first of dozens or sometimes hundreds of pictures is captured.
Friends describe him as a professional photographer, but he said it’s just something he loves doing. Spencer Lum, 22, spends most of his free time capturing the world around him through the lenses of his Nikon D800 and D7100 DSLR cameras.
“If I’m not at school, I’m usually at the beach or hiking or trying to do something active,” he said. “Getting some new pics while doing it.”
A Kailua boy and 2015 graduate of WCC, Lum has captured thousands of images of some of America’s most breathtaking landscapes.
He was inspired by Hawaiʻi’s own award-winning shorebreak photographer Clark Little in 2013.
“I started taking pictures, and I started liking it,” Lum said. “I got more serious, and now I’m super serious.”
Since 2013, he’s traveled to nearly all of Utah’s national parks, flown in helicopters above Alaska’s icy glaciers, trekked through miles of hardened lava fields and river canyons, and cruised by boat alongside Kaua‘iʻs Nā Pali coast.
His passion for photography is fueled by the appreciation for his work by people who see it. He is able to share the beauty of places he said most people would otherwise never see.
Photography is not for everyone though, he said.
“It’s probably one of the most expensive hobbies out there. It takes time to learning, and some people just don’t have the patience to learn.”
Lum has over $10,000 worth of camera equipment. He said it’s the only thing he spends his money on.
“His pictures are pretty amazing,” said his friend Ashley Ng. “He’s always down to go on adventures, and he always brings a camera.”
Some people claim to see double, but Lum shares his passion for photography with his near identical twin brother, Chase Lum. Both consider themselves adventure and landscape photographers.
“It’s cool to see them both in their element,” Ng said. “They have incredible skills. It’s funny because they always compare who took the better picture.”
He has donated dozens of pictures to WCC for use in silent auctions and fundraisers. As an alumnus, he wants to be able to give back to the school he said he enjoyed so much.
“Windward was a lot of fun,” he said. “The teachers were all helpful, and I love the campus.”
Lum is currently a student at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa studying graphic design, a career he hopes will allow him to continue his passion for photography.
“I hope this is something I do for the rest of my life,” he said.
by Ka‘ainoa Fernandez, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter