Tom Anderson

Former 1st friend, enjoying being retired. Phototaking has been my hobby for 4 years. New mission 2 help others & engage! 😀

805 posts 618,252 followers 889 following

Sometimes there’s mystery in what draws us to things, people or places… With Oahu, I can’t quite put my finger on it. I tried to explain it in an earlier post. I won’t try again 😀 A few weeks ago I took a helicopter ride over this island I love so much. I’d done that several times before, but not right over the Ko’olau Range, and not during sunset. Wowzers! I was feeling so happy and grateful, thanks @magnum_helicopters for showing me something I’d never seen before and giving me one more reason to love this place! I’m glad the island didn’t get hit by a missile.🚀(!) I’m curious to hear people’s reflections on how it felt to sit in that mental space for 30 minutes until it became clear it was a false alarm? I was not on the Island, and only heard about it after I knew it was not true. Today I saw death threats were being made against the worker who made the mistake. 😒I guess we know that a crisis always brings out the worst in people, but I bet it also brings out the best. Hoping to read some positivity here. 🙂


Koko Crater is quite a site from the sky—last time I hiked up this volcanic cone, I swore I would never do it again! Haha But was probably 2012 and I’m much stronger now Hmmmm. In other news we just got Star Wars tickets for Thursday night 🌴 Hawaiian Star Wars Braddah!! So pumped. Is Rey a Skywalker? Make your predictions here!!


For the longest time I’ve been satisfied and chill - not really wanting more from life. 🤙 Just at peace with how I am and how the world is. 🌏 But lately I’ve felt like I want to learn and grow… I’m feeling like my teenage self again, when I was excited about picking up a new book or a new idea. I think this mostly came from friends who inspired me… They know who they are. Feeling very grateful for this change, and for the people who got my creative mojo firing. Onwards and upwards! 🚀

This shot was from yesterday’s hike on Kauai! ⛰️Was moving so fast with my time-limited hiking partners that I never got a chance to take out my camera! This was shot on the iPhone 7+ and edited with built-in Apple tools and some Snapseed. After all that, I brought it into Photoshop to remove some purple noise in the shadows. Finally I made a few changes to clarity and color in IGs editor. Haha. Imagine the day when your phone camera could do everything a DSLR can do… It’s really not that far away. In many ways, the phone is better — certainly for portability and also in the way it handles different layers of depth and light. I know if I shot this on my DSLR it would have been even harder for me to process to my satisfaction. Went for a more painterly feel since it was pretty noisy and easier to edit that way?? I like it a lot !! Do you like?? :-) 😀



People have been asking me about the next Hawaiian trip giveaway—its coming soon! Here’s the winners @willynillyknowsbest @teilabee of my first Hawaiian giveaway enjoying a free trip to Oahu! Thanks to the @thesurfjack for hosting the winners! That’s the SurfJack’s sweet retro pool in the video and thanks to @_andrewtran for making this amazing video! But before the Hawaiian giveaway, I have something special to give away tomorrow—stay tuned!!! Any guesses what I’m giving away tomorrow?


One of my favorite New Year’s Eve displays ever was in Singapore—as amazing as the country itself! 🇸🇬 This shot was just a regular old night before the fireworks, but I am trying to decide where to go for a fireworks this year... any suggestions? What’s the coolest place you’ve seen for NYE? 🔥


I was surprised how many people responded to what I wrote yesterday and glad to know people found comfort in my thoughts. 🙏 Often this feeling of being “lost” comes from a larger cultural context. I just got back from Bhutan, a place where life feels integrated, whole, directed. About 7 years ago, I chose to live in multiple places around the world; I consider myself a member of various communities. The differences are striking. One of my favorite homes is Hawaii. 🏝️Tomorrow I’m going there.🤙Part of why I love Hawaii and why it feels like home to me is similar to the feeling I get in Bhutan. There’s an attitude of calm in Hawaii. You see it in everything, from the speed of traffic, to the gait with which people walk. 👣In part, it’s island life, but it runs deeper than geography. It’s cultural and philosophical. When your community is strong, your purpose in life feels more secure. 💕The state of Hawaii is ranked lowest in the US for depression. 😀It’s fifth lowest for separation and divorce. 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦Is this all because of sunny weather and beautiful beaches? I don’t think so. It helps, but that’s not the whole story. There’s a saying or hashtag you may have seen on Instagram #luckywelivehawaii To me, that simple idea reflects pride, gratitude, and wisdom, all in one concept: pride in heritage and traditions, gratitude for that heritage to exist and continue, and wisdom of those living in Hawaii to recognize the uniqueness that their heritage does exist and continue. 🌏😎When you exist in a community like that, you’re less likely to suffer as an individual. If you’re struggling on a personal level, sometimes the answer may lie outside yourself—in a community that’s waiting for you. Aloha :) 🏄‍♂️



Lately I’ve been meeting a lot of “lost” people that seem to suffer from a crisis of confidence. I’m trying to help where I can. You don’t always have to understand the path forward. It’s OK to be lost at times. Crisis begets growth. In fact, some research shows that crisis is one of the few things that can really change us after age 25. If you’re feeling this way, just know that things can change in a moment — a chance occurrence can change your life forever. In the meantime, fill your brain with good ideas, follow the signs that life is sending to you, be open to what’s possible. If you’re doing OK in life right now, give your smile and empathy to strangers and friends. We never know what someone is going through. What does all this have to do with this photo? Haha well, I suppose this photo gives me a feeling of hope and a reminder that life, despite its conflicts, is always a beautiful thing. 😀🌎📷🤙


Hey everyone, so you saw my photos from the Maldives? I finally finished this video, and more important, now I’m ready to give you your chance to go here! Win 4 Free nights at the incredible Conrad Maldives Hotel, on Rangali Island! 🌴 🏖️ I shot every frame of this video at the resort—its an incredible place! Now’s your chance to win a 4 night stay for two, with meals included—a $10,000 value!

The prize is open to anyone from any country on Earth!

To win, follow these steps:

1️⃣Follow @conrad_maldives @ericdamier @myspacetom
2️⃣Like This Video
3️⃣Comment on this Video and Tag 3 friends to spread the word!

The winner will be announced on @earthpix on Friday, December 1st. Who will you bring with you on this amazing trip? 🌴 It’s up to you, but it’s pretty romantic 💑 — Eric even proposed to his girlfriend on the trip (she said yes!) 😍 Note: this giveaway is not connected with Instagram in any way.


This place felt like a dream; the more I visit a place, usually I want to move on, and see some place new. With this river, not far from Cebu, I want to go back! Visiting the Philippines, it feels like you discover more and more every time. I guess that’s how things work when a country has 7,000 islands! This spot is fairly well known…. Just imagine what’s out there the more you explore. I’ve been asking my friends lately… Why do you travel? 🌎For me, it started through photography. Before photography, I mostly wanted to live in foreign places—I wasn’t big into visiting or sightseeing; I was never much of a traveller until I picked up a camera. 📷 I’m curious to hear your thoughts. 🤔 BTS:FYI: another shot from my Google Pixel phone (not the new one).



Rinpung Monastery, Paro, Bhutan. A “dzong” is the word they use in Bhutan for a fortress/monastery. These beautiful structures with giant walls reveal a lot about Bhutan’s unique culture. First, it is a defensible fortress--a holdover from days when wars were still happening. You can’t see from the picture I took here, but the walls descend further, so there’s no way for attackers to climb up or get inside. There’s tiny slits around the Dzong where people inside can shoot arrows at attackers on the outside! 🏹I’ve seen 10 fortresses like this in throughout Bhutan, and they’re usually built on a hillside with a strategic view of the valley, and, if the view isn’t so great, there’s a secondary watchtower in a better position. But what are they defending? I am just learning, but there’s a unique confluence of activity inside each Dzong: besides a military fortress, today, Dzong’s are homes for monks, and a spiritual center, but they also house all kinds of offices—think of it like the combination church, DMV, a civil court, an architecture planning office, and anything else related to the city’s administration. It shows how there is a lack of separation between “church and state”… In Bhutan, their philosophical and “religious” beliefs (some say Buddhism is not a religion, but a philosophical perspective), are integrated with the government, not separated. 🎊More Bhutanese are beginning to dress like Westerners, but when you visit the Dzong, you are required to where the traditional dress of the Bhutanese people. To foreign eyes, it makes for a colorful and exciting experience—you feel like you’re in the 16th century watching the activity inside, even though people might be there to get architectural plans approved, or to get a divorce, or something else that seems very “modern” to us. Ah yes, and the chilis… I had to include the chilis drying in the sun. Bhutanese add chilis to almost every dish (even in their rice); certainly there will be chilis in every meal! The chilis are dried outside, typically on the roof of homes. 🏠 Drying can take a month! ☀️I think I’ll be adding chilis to dishes when i get back home! 😀


Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan. 🇧🇹 When I first told people I was planning a trip to Bhutan, very few knew what I was talking about. 🤔Where? What? For those that did know Bhutan, it was always for one of two things: 1) the pleasant idea that the government and King make policy decisions based on the principles of “Gross National Happiness” and 2) the Himalayan Buddhist temple, Tiger’s Nest which I’ve posted here. I’d seen photos of Tiger’s Nest for many years, but photos do not give you a sense of just how high up it is! 🌄📷 I’d had the impression that Tiger’s Nest was perched just above a city, and that you could look up and see it from a town below, sort of like the Potala Palace in Lhasa. That’s not the case - not even close! You’ll probably never see a photo of Tiger’s Nest from the valley floor on Instagram because it would be so boring—in a photo taken from the bottom, Tiger’s Nest would be just a tiny speck on the mountain side. 🗻For Americans or anyone who has been to Yosemite, imagine you’re standing on the valley floor and looking at the very tops of the highest rock surfaces and you see a small speck that *might* be manmade. That’s the best way I could relate to you how high up this special Bhutanese monastery is. To visit the viewpoint from where I took this photo, you start at a forested valley floor, and hike up several hours. 🚶🏻🏃🏻‍♀️There’s no rock climbing involved, and its only steep in a few places, but the sheer length of the trek makes the existence of this place that much more remarkable. It’s not just its beauty and the seemingly impossible engineering that gives you a sense of awe, it’s also the idea that every piece of wood, stone, every relic and jewel housed inside, was carried up one by one. 💪 Pro Tip: If you decided to visit yourself, start your journey before dawn, or in the afternoon, and you’re likely to have the viewpoint all to yourself. We did :) !! We were there so late, we came down in total darkness. Remember your flashlights.


One of my favorite drone perspectives of my stay at the the @conrad_maldives ; can you see that little rectangle sticking out from the bottom bungalow? Thats an underwater restaurant! 🏝️I was dreaming of the Maldives warm shores the last few nights! 🌌I just spent some of the coldest nights of my life in a mountain village in Bhutan! Its been an eye opening trip here in the land of the Thunder Dragon—I have learned to not take life’s luxuries for granted: a warm, soft place to sleep; a heater or fire on a chilly night, or even a bathroom inside your house. All things I’ve taken for granted since birth. No longer! I can say I’m glad to have toughed it out sleeping with the same bedding as the locals, but when I come back to Bhutan I will definitely bring a sleeping bag! I’ve had very little Internet here, so I can’t yet upload the video for the Maldives trip giveaway, but its coming soon 😀



Scenes from the Maldives … We got a chance to spend a few days on our own private island. 🌴🌏🌴This spot, literally is a tiny beach with water coming up on both sides, right in front of our villa at the @conrad_maldives. Stunning. Feeling super alive this morning — so excited about life. 🔥For so long I’ve been on one single path: photos, photos, photos, but now so much more is opening up for me. Part of this will be reflected in the podcast I’m working on. I’m recording another episode this morning. In two days, I’ll be on a flight to Bhutan for a 20 day trip. Do you know about Bhutan? Many people I’ve talked to have never heard of it. This country is unique, to say the least. It’s most famous in the West for it’s concept of “Gross National Happiness” as opposed to “Gross Domestic Product.” If you ran your own country, what would your goals be? Economic development? Happiness? I just read an interesting book on the flight home from the Maldives—“My Vision” written by the ruler of Dubai. In it, he argues that the economic prosperity is the clearest path to a healthy, happy country. 😀 It’ll be interesting to compare his ideals with what I discover in Bhutan. If you had your own country to run, what would your mission be? Oh, and still working on the details of the Maldives trip giveaway. Stay tuned :) !


Just back from the Maldives…. All I can say is wow! Such a beautiful place. 🌴🌏🔥We flew over many beautiful islands to get to our own spot at the @conrad_maldives. The entire region is gorgeous. In You can get a stunning perspective from the sky. Here’s a drone shot I took on the first day we were there. Why did I leave this paradise so soon? I was rushing back to LA because I was scheduled to record some of the first episodes of a new podcast I’m working on. I went straight from 15 hours of flying (and 25 hours of traveling) to the @podcastone studio 🎤🎥 to interview @rsdtyler This man is a dynamo, and hearing him riff on an idea or question brought to mind a quote I jotted down during my flight: “Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.“ I’m working out a trip giveaway to the very resort I stayed at… I’lll post details on how to win soon! 😀


Just boarded a 15 hour flight back to the US after a trip to the Maldives! You’re dying to see the Maldives photos I took right? 😜 Will work on them on the flight. Here’s something completely different — one of my favorite shots from China on a past trip. Was just thinking of this place in comparison to the ultra modern Dubai where I am right now... our world 🌎 is an amazing place 😀!



Maldives life, say good morning! Wow, this place is gorgeous at @conrad_maldives Beautiful sand, clear water, amazing animals everywhere… I’m supposed to be back in Los Angeles by Thursday, what was I thinking? This is my first time in this country — population 400,000. I knew very little about it. The Maldives is made up of over 1,000 islands. Today we’re going to boat out for a snorkel and see some more!


TBT to that time in when a ghost 👻 slid into my frame 😱 while exploring a Cambodian temple! Halloween approaches :-) This Halloween I’ll be flying to Bhutan, so I won’t be able to post unless the plane has crazy good WiFi. So think of this as my Halloween post as well. 🤓 A lot of strange things have been happening to me this year, awakening my interest in a world larger than the one we know with logic, reason and the simple senses. What forms can consciousness take, what don’t we understand about the universe and our place in it? 🤔 Whatever is happening, it just makes me that much more glad to be experiencing this beautiful thing we call “life” ✨☮️


If you’ve been following me for awhile, then you’ve probably noticed I travel a lot! With all that I’ve visited and seen, a helicopter flight over Kauai’s Na Pali Coast still ranks as the best helicopter flight I’ve ever done… ⛰️🚁 This is the 4th time I’ve done the same flight! To me, it’s the most beautiful, dynamic mountain range on earth. I’ve boated into its caves, swam at its foot, hiked on its ridges and flown over it… It never disappoints! Any time of the year, any time of the day it’s wonderful, and a different experience. This is the first time I’d flown around mid day… normally, not a great time for landscape photos. But just look at the result! I had the time of my life, with one of my besties @andrew.studer and new friend @ryanbraden - his first helicopter ride! Way to begin your Heli Life!
Kauai is the oldest Hawaiian island and the OG Hawaiians lived in these valleys for centuries. The last Hawaiians moved out in the 1930s. Now you can hike and even camp near the beach with a permit, but very few get to do this. That’s one of the reasons this place has remained so beautiful. The unique look of the valley spire is the result of the weather system created by island itself—tons of rain, and wind and the ocean’s wave have carved out these valleys and kept them green. I’ve never seen anything like it on Earth 🌏 😀



📷: Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2012. What to say about what happened in Vegas? If there’s any good that can come from such a shocking tragedy, maybe it’s that it forces us to appreciate our loved ones more fervently? At any moment, through accident or through evil, you could lose those who gave you life, or those who you live for. That’s something I normally don’t even think about. 😕

This weekend, Vegas is hosting a lantern festival… I’ve wanted to attend as soon as I heard about it last year. It’s an awesome feeling to come together in a public space and enjoy a sense of community… It’s one of the ways we feel “one” with everyone and everything around us.
And now this… Some of my Vegas friends (I have a home in Vegas) are afraid to even go into a public space anymore. I understand… but for me, I don’t want to let negative forces in the world rob me of what’s beautiful. I’ll be attending. I know the ceremony will take on added significance and may even act as a memorial or vigil for those who were hurt by this tragedy.
I'm Hoping for a beautiful experience like I had the last time I went to a lantern festival—taking this photo was so meaningful for me back then. This weekend will probably be even more so. Peace.🌎


Just concluded an amazing trip to the Philippines! I'll definitely be back to explore more. I saw many places like this, I was somewhat stunned! It almost doesn't seem real, but this is shot with my cel phone and just a slight edit! And to think I'd been to the Philippines twice before and never seen the amazing beaches and waterfalls... now I realize I'll be going back again and again! For the those interested this was shot with a google Pixel phone. 😀


Unbelievably beautiful reef, water and limestone in Palawan, Philippines! 🇵🇭That's our boat there, can you see me standing on the bow taking this shot?! ⛵️I was having a blast using my drone in the Philippines until today it went straight into the ocean 😎. I wouldn't mind so much but now I'm way out here with nowhere to get a replacement! Looks like I'll be heading back to Manila a little early ! 😀


Took a lot of photos but no time to process them yet -- Philippine waters are magical!


The Chocolate Hills in Bohol 🇵🇭 Philippines ! Tonight I'm flying back to PI--a country I haven't been to since 2012 when I took this photo. I heard there's been earthquake damage at this spot... sad 😭 When I was there last we narrowly escaped a major storm. This time in starting in Palawan and going straight to El Nido but I've done Zero planning. Anyone got any tips? Help your old friend out!! 😀 Hope to post some new shots while I'm out there 😀🌈📷. Need Palawan suggestions!!! 😀😀😀


Ah Iceland! 🇮🇸 I've been several times now; this video shows a glimpse of the last trip this summer! I love Iceland so much I'm going to buy a vacation home there; 🏠I found the perfect spot when flying with @volcanopilot ✈️and adventuring with @thunderhug @retrophone @reybay @ashleybovey @reneeunderthesea @donalboyd @muenchmax @storyofsage @tomjauncey and @jacob! 🚐 Fun times with @celinelisee and videographer first mate @andrew.studer !! Was just planning a trip today and realized I'd forgotten to posts this ! If you want your time chilling with friend to look like an IMAX movie give @andrew.studer a camera!! 🎥 Song: @illeniummusic


This is a historically significant spot on Oahu. ⛰️The Pali Lookout is the site of the Battle of Nuuanu, where in 1795 King Kamehameha won the fight that united Oahu under his rule. 🏆Many of his enemies were pushed over the cliff here. When I’m standing in this spot, I don’t think back to the battles or the lives lost. It’s just a place where I love to go and feel the wind and gaze out over the beautiful island that I love so much. You can’t normally go up here at night. It’s closed to visitors… But at the right time of year, you can be up here as darkness falls and just as they’re asking everyone to leave. That’s my boy @vincelimphoto standing there… I had him remove his shirt because it was so windy, it was flapping in the wind and since it’s dark, I had to shoot a longer exposure… Yah yah, just excuses for the beefcake right? I told him I’d never be allowed to share the photo because his girlfriend wouldn’t want all the attention he might receive, but now that he’s engaged, I think he’s safe… Go VINCE + JESSICA haha!!


For sure, this is my favorite photo I’ve ever taken in China. 😍📷The hike up was not so bad, the hike down, in the dark was a little more treacherous. 😱I never said exactly where this place is, but since my photograph was published several years ago, I’ve heard and seen that this has become a regular “photographers” spot. In this case, I don’t think its hurting much. It just a view from a hill, and the community around it won’t be bothered much by a few photographers on their mountain. But I often think about how tourism is affecting the places I love… and the role my photos are having in that ignition of tourism. 🤔 Why am I posting it now? Well, I have a plan… it’s coming together. It looks like I’ll be visiting a place quite near to China. One I’ve wanted to see for a long time, and for many intriguing reasons… I won’t say where it is yet. But I imagine there's landscapes that look like this mystery country I'm talking about. And I think this unnamed, mysterious country (aren't you dying to know now!?) is doing special things to make sure tourism doesn’t negatively impact the culture and land. Stay tuned :) 😀😀😀


Have you been paying attention? TONIGHT, here and now, I announce the next trip winner… The person going to the Big Island of Hawaii, the person who will get to see the lava flowing into the ocean, the person who will see the milky way from the top of Mauna Kea is… DRUM ROLL, please…. TA DA: @carlpernicus Congratulate him! I can’t tell where he lives. Just messaged him! 😀😀😀🏆🏆🏆🏆And here’s a caption for the photo: The Lavafall from the Big Island of Hawaii. I first shot lava pouring into the ocean when I started photography in 2012. I didn't realize how lucky I was to have witnessed this amazing phenomenon -- shortly after seeing it, the lava stopped flowing into the ocean and did not come back until 2016. This was taken in August. I came back to this location 4 or 5 times over several days and each time it would change dramatically. On the bottom of this photo, you can see the glowing ledge I'm standing on. When I  returned to this spot 24 hours later, the lava was flowing directly under me and the ledge was just too hot to stand on. I couldn't even last for 2 or 3 seconds to get a shot off! Truly one of those most awesome inspiring things you could see on this Earth!


Got the Drone out for Kara’s Bday 🌴🌊🌈🎉🌺 - Fun day on the North Shore of Oahu! Swipe right for video of dancing inflatables! 🎥Starring @reybay 🦄@reneeunderthesea 🍕@retrophone 🐚@ashleybovey 🍩 Co-Pilot @thunderhug 🚁 which photo do you like best? 🤔


Continuing with the “SAY WHAT?” Posts!! Haha.. This is the Halemaʻumaʻu Crater in the Big Island’s Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. 🌈🌺🏝️What you’re seeing here is the glow from a lava lake inside the crater. The level of the lava changes over time and in 2015 it actually rose above the rim you see there and spilled out for a bit! So crazy! 😱According to Hawaiian legendthe crater is home to Pele, the goddess of fire and volcanoes! Normally I'd check star maps ✨and go to a place just at the right time to catch the Milky Way in the right position. This night was just luck--I went to shoot and there it was. 🌌🌋 If you want to go see this for yourself, go back a few posts to my video and enter to win the free trip to the Big Island! 🤙😀


Crazy!! 😍 One thing I like about a shot like this - besides the lava - is that it clearly a singular moment in time. 🕰️The water, wave, lava, rocks, fumes will never look like this again; it didn’t even look like this just a few seconds after this photo. Each shot is unique, and it’s amazing to see the literal formation of our Earth. 🌎 Makes ya think, now doesn’t it! 🤔Anyway, Love me some lava! 🔥I went into zen mode at 4am this morning and processed this lava shot from the Big Island, Hawaii. It was quite difficult, but fun to manage the light in this shot—adjusting, dodging and burning so its not too hot in any one area. Lava does not want to be photographed, I’ll tell ya! 📷The dynamic range on a shot like this — from the very bright spots areas to the darkest shadows — is very extreme, and not something the camera can handle easily. It took a bit of wrangling to get it to look like this, but I’m really satisfied with the results. 🤗 Half the fun of photography for me is turning on some music and sitting down with the computer to polish an image like this. Recently I’ve been talking with a friend who’s convinced me to put some of my photos in an art gallery, book and store… It’s just the beginning phases, and I haven’t done the work needed to prepare the photos, but I spent the time and attention on this image with that thought in mind. I’d like to see this one in print :) 📷🌅