Monday, September 13, 2010

The Many Faces of Izu at Lion Camp, Wild Animal Park

All the 9 pictures below were taken from last weekend, in just a matter of few minutes. I may have featured the lions at Lion Camp in Wild Animal Park several times in this blog, however, let me share again these new set of pictures. This time, I won't put caption to the pictures. I arranged the pictures in order they were taken.
At Lion Camp, you can be nose to nose with a lion, literally, and still feel very safe. The lions can stare right at you with such intensity, even growl at you, yet, you will not run for your life. :) To come nose to nose with lions, there is a viewing area with very thick glass that separates man and lion, and both are in open space. However, for photography, I prefer to shoot the lions without glass. There is a second area to view the lions without glass, but this time, you can not be nose to nose with the lions, which is okay with me. What separates man and lion this time is the cliff between them. The lions can not jump off the cliff to the other side without falling off the cliff and they are smart enough not to do that either. However, in any case, so that the lions can't jump off the cliff, there is a hidden wire that prevents them from jumping off the cliff accidentally. The pictures above were from this open, grassy plain. To see how the lions roam around in their roomy camp, you check my previous post here

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Do You Think You Can Fly?- Part 2

So you think you can fly? How are you going to do it? There are many several ways we can fly. 
1. Riding an airplane, not very exciting? 
2. Riding a hot air balloon, where you feel safe inside a basket as the burner heats up gas to raise the balloon higher and you get buoyed farther. Del Mar is the popular place for hot air balloon rides in San Diego where you will see the beauty of the Pacific Coastline in San Diego County. If however, you wanted the valleys, with the winery and vineyards below you, the nearest place from San Diego would be Temecula, in Riverside County. 
3. Parasailing, where you are attached to a parachute and then tied to a motorboat. Parasailing is considered by many as a hobby, not a sport since the person on the parachute has no control over movement and speed and therefore becomes simply a passenger like in an airplane, or hot air balloon. Parasailing in San Diego is more commonly seen at Mission Bay and Beach. 
4. Skydiving, is an aerial sport, where divers jump or fall from aircraft at an altitude. Skydivers can perform an assortment of aerial maneuvers before deploying a parachute to slow their descent. Skydiving in San Diego at Otay Lakes is set up to takeoff and land right in the same place thus allowing friends to watch the action. Their jumpships can hold up to 23 jumpers allowing group of friends to jump together.  
5. Ziplining, which a rider wears a harness which is securely connected to a cable suspended high above the ground, then rider glides along the cable. Nearest ziplining experience in San Diego is at San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park, where one glides over the African Safari exhibit. 
6. Then, there is hang gliding and paragliding, which was the aerial sport I introduced in my previous post. In this post, I will continue on sharing how paragliders and hang gliders fly. I will try to share the other different flying experiences in this blog some other time. Though I have photographed some friends who tried some flying experiences here in San Diego, however, for me, though I believe I can fly :) but as of this moment, I am enjoying photographing the activity, while I am hiking, walking around or touring some friends. My favorite outdoor activities would still be hiking, snorkeling and boogie boarding. I am very much a water and land person, though the sky is tempting me too :)
Now back to paragliding and hang do they fly?
A. Hang gliding
Ready.....get set....
B. Paragliding
Ready.....get set....
fly like a bird....without any rope tied to tow you behind a speeding motorboat. Fly without being contained in a basket and without a burner to produce hot air. Fly with an option fly up and down, fly North, South, West or East. Just fly......
Paragliding and hang gliding are unmotorized flying-sports. The two are similar in that you rely on the wind and thermal updrafts to help you glide in the air. Living in San Diego, it is not so much of a surprise to see a lot of surfers early in the morning and then, a lot of gliders later of the day. Early in the morning, there is less shore wind which is perfect for surfing, the conditions of the waves are much easier to ride. However, later of the day, the onshore wind picks up and ruin the surface conditions of the waves. The on shore wind creates a heavenly updraft off the cliffs that makes the paragliders float in all day long.

The glider exercises control by shifting body weight in opposition to a control flame. Hang gliders can soar for hours, gain thousands of feet of altitude in thermal updrafts, perform aerobatics in the air, and can glide cross-country for hundreds of miles. To become airborne, a hang glider's airspeed must equal about 20 mph. Airspeed is a combination of the pilot's running speed and the speed of the wind coming toward the pilot. The goal is to make the pressure above the wings less than the pressure below the wings to lift the glider up. As a wing lifts a glider up, gravity pulls it down. The two forces combine to create the gliding action. Pilots need to find constant upward forces to stay in the air for longer periods. While suspended in the harness system, the pilot steers a hang glider by shifting his or her center of balance. Leaning forward and backward causes the glider to dive or climb.

 In paragliding, the glider is strapped into a harness which is shaped like a chair. The harness is strung up to a parachute-like canopy called a "wing". The strings that connect the harness to the wing are collected into two bundles called "risers". The wind keeps you afloat while manipulation of the risers will direct your flight path. Hang gliding is similar to paragliding, though hang gliders are heavier than paragliders thus they require stronger winds. Hang gliders can glide higher and faster than paragliders.
Though paragliding and hang gliding are similar, but hang gliding is heavier and can glide much higher and faster
Paragliding and hang gliding are considered specialized sports which require much skill. However, you can get a taste of flight by going tandem:
this is to say, an experienced instructor goes with you and s/he helps you maneuver the aircraft. Student gliders start with tandem gliding first, then, as they learn about maneuvering and get their license to fly freely, they are able to fly on their own. Torrey Pines Gliderport is not only known as a free flight site, but also as a free flight school. 

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Do You Think You Can Fly?

Flying Above Torrey Pines Gliderport, San Diego
Do you think you can fly? If you do, how do you want to fly? Like him?
Hang Gliding
Or like her?
Hang gliding and paragliding are two forms of free flight in purest form. There is no motor, there is no tugging, both can soar the winds like a bird.  
Flipping in the Air
Unlike skydiving where there is only one direction which is down, paragliders and hang gliders soar just like birds, they fly up and down, they tease the wind tumbling in the air, they go really high,
or low,
or even lower teasing the grounds and then fly high again. They soar over the ocean,
or above the cliff, soaring like a bird.....
and birds soar with them, flying with them, just like in the above picture. Can you see the bird soaring with the gliders in the picture above? Is that a seagull? a crow? a pelican? the very common birds along the coast? Let's take a closer look.....
This hawk and a sea gull kept on playing with each other, teasing the gliders, and soaring with them high, low, flipping in the air, flying westward, eastward, northbound or south bound.

Do you think you can fly? If you live near San Diego, or have plans of visiting San Diego, you may want to try how it feels to soar like a bird at Torrey Pines Gliderport. 

How do these gliders fly? Well, they run and then jump off the cliff! In my next post, I will show you how these gliders run and jump off the cliff to fly....