Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Faces Part 2

Last Saturday, we visited the San Diego Zoo Safari Park ( formerly known as the San Diego Wild Animal Park) and had a great time photographing animals. In this post, I will not be sharing my pictures, but instead, I will be continuing my Faces post last January where all pictures were taken by my husband who loves to shoot faces of animals, and of people :) However, because of internet etiquette, I cannot post here the faces of people he took because we do not have permission to publish them for public viewing. Instead, I will share here some of the animal "faces" that my hubby took. I enjoy looking at these faces shots, hope you will too.
Orangutan ( sad? )- this picture was taken from SD Zoo not from Safari Park
mom with a newly born (less than a day old) gorilla
rhino (dreamy?)
white pelican
cheetahs
elephant (taking it slowly uphill :), very slowly actually )
playful baby elephant ( he purposely put the bigger elephant for comparison)
what are they doing?
Lizard
There will be new animal encounter at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, which is the Cheetah Run Safari, where park visitors will be able to witness the amazing speed of the fastest land mammal on Earth. It will open on July 2nd, so maybe, I will share my Safari Park pictures after July 2nd :) 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Lessons From Nature

 San Diego Spring 2011 Wildflowers

Spring is one of the most colorful season, it is the season where brown slowly changes to a rainbow of color.
Despite the allergies spring season brings, yet I adore spring! Spring is the time when all of nature sings, it is the awakening of nature from its most needed restful slumber. During spring, the scenery around becomes insanely breath-taking, my camera shouts for joy of taking  pictures of wildflowers here, there and everywhere.

When taking pictures of flowers, I usually do not purposely wait for bugs to suck the nectar out of flowers as I am scared of the bee stinging me. However, oftentimes, while I am attempting to take an up-close picture of a flower, a bee would suddenly appear right in time to take the photo.And as if I do not exist, the bee would always proceed nourishing himself to feed on the flowers.
I believe the bees keep on appearing in my sight whenever I snap pictures of flowers to teach me something. But what were these bees teaching me? Are they teaching me to remain focused while set on a goal?  Or do the bees remind me to follow their way of life, that is to slow down, smell the lupines and poppies, to taste the sweetest nectar of life? Are they teaching me that no matter how we avoid some circumstances such as my avoidance of the bees, yet we have no control over their coming? But we can  best prepare for it?

Thinking about what the bee tries to teach each time it appears in my sight remind me that in life there are several unthinkable circumstances we cannot avoid but we can best prepare for. To prepare for the unthinkable of us leaving our loved ones behind all so sudden, we get life insurance not for us, but for our loved one. With the recent economic woes, it is best to find the insurance that suits our needs best. There are different types of life insurance, you can visit AptusInsurance.com to learn more about these different types. Aside from life insurance, other insurances also provide us security to the question "what if". What if someone hits our car on the road despite we are too careful? There are so many car insurance companies Nationwide, and just like life insurance, it is a must we find the best for our bucks. 

In going out, nature reminds us of the many realities of life that we have to face and we have to prepare for. The singing of the birds and seeing them enjoying the sweet nectar around them is like celebration of life anew.
Life is precious and beautiful, it is worth celebrating, and preparing for the unthinkable circumstances. So that whatever happens, the strength within that we built through the years will continue to live beautifully just as nature continues to live beautifully in its many cycles and seasons of life. 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Archwalk at Alabama Hills

Mobius Arch @ Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, Eastern Sierra
The Eastern Sierra Nevada of California is full of mind boggling diversity. It is full of extremes and contrasts. The low elevation has a stunnning desert scenery.
Looking East from the Arch Rock above, @ Alabama Hills
Whereas the high elevation has the giant forests.The Sierra is home to the giant sequoias, home of the largest tree by volume in the world.
One of the interesting stops at Highway 395 in the Eastern Sierra is Alabama Hills. Those who hike to Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in contiguous US, from Whitney Portal must have passed this place.
Mt. Whitney As Seen From Alabama Hills
Those who have not been to Alabama Hills may still find this place very familiar, or may have seen this place through the many movies filmed here! The mind boggling scenery here at Alabama Hills was a popular location for sci-fi, adventure and Western movies. Our poses in Mobious Arch was our fun way of copying John Wayne :)

Alabama Hills is very short detour if you are traveling on Hwy 395 to Death Valley National Park, or to Mammoth Lakes, or to Lake Tahoe, or to Yosemite National Park from Southern California, or vice versa. Movie Portal Road is only 2.5 miles from Hwy 395, and to the parking lot for the Mobius Arch is 1.5 miles of unpaved road.
  • Coming from Hwy 395 South to Lone Pine, Turn west (at the stop light) onto Whitney Portal Road, drive 2.5 miles to Movie Road, turn right.
  • After 1.5 miles you will come to a "Y" in the road.
  • Go right and pull into the dirt parking area immediately on your left.
  • You will see the trail sign on the left side of this parking area; this is where you begin your arch walk, which takes approximately 15 minutes round trip.
- directions above were taken from Alabama Hills website.

If you have short time and needed to be in another place at a given time, you may skip driving the whole Movie Flats Road and just do the short Arch Walk (all pictures in this post were just from the Arch Walk). Why? The whole Movie Portal Flats is huge and may take you very long to complete it. You can have a movie tour by following this map which is also availabe at the inter-agency visitor center, or at Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce. Doing this however would no longer be a short detour. For a short 30 minute- 1 hr detour ( with photography), the Arch Walk would be enough.
Me, Trying to Copy John Wayne :) @ Mobius Arch (found at Arch Walk)
Lathe Arch close to Mobius Arch ( at Arch Walk )
For more information about Alabama Hills, please click the following below:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Enjoying The Finer Details

How do you view the physical world around you? For me, I mostly view our physical world with my naked eyes. Sometimes, I also use camera and cell phone to help me see what my naked eyes cannot see. For example, I was afraid to inspect the details of a bee because it meant getting close to the bee and I feared getting bee sting. These days, because of technological advances in our gadgets, I can get the details of the bee even if I am several feet away!
Bumblebee
Busy Bee
The technological advances in camera also allow me to shoot hummingbirds and other wildlife from afar without disturbing them. What a wonderful world it is.
while this hummingbird was busy enjoying the nectar, I was also busy taking her a picture without disturbing her
When I go home and upload the pictures to my computer, I enjoy looking at the finer details which my naked eyes will not be able to see.
The evolution of technology is not limited to photography only. Cell phones right now can take higher resolution pictures and offer higher resolution videos. But for those who are not satisfied with small screen, they can view their very high resolution photos in their wide screen TV! It is very relaxing sometimes to just sit and watch my chosen pictures from travel or simply from wildlife with full high definition content at 1080p! To optimize high definition viewing, it is not only necessary to have a 1080p monitor and disc player, but a high definition multimedia interface (hdmi) cable is also a must. Optimized Cable Company brings optimized hdmi cables that boast picture-perfect 1080p digital pictures and brilliant eight-channel sound.  Even with just sounds, listening to music becomes ultra different with high definition sounds. One disadvantage though of enjoying optimized high definition viewing and high definition audio is that you may forget about the time and just simply sit for long hours enjoying the finer details. Thankfully, for me, my favorite high definition video discs are the picture slide shows with my chosen favorite music that I created! It means I have to get out more, explore our world out of the doors so I can create more relaxing high definition wildlife and places discs. Maybe, I should start selling them? But for now, let me just enjoy our beautiful world in the most relaxing way that I know minus business stress :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Canadian Adventure Vacation

One of my dream vacations is to see beluga whales,
beluga whale @ Sea World San Diego
polar bears,
Polar Bears @ Sea World, San Diego
and other arctic wildlife in their native habitat. Presently, I only get to see these creatures in Sea World, San Diego. How exciting and educational it would be to be able to experience how they interact in their natural setting. At first, I thought taking an alaska cruise will bring me closer to these wonderful but rare creatures, but then, later I found it I would have greater chances of seeing them through an adventure vacation both on land and water. Alaska is definitely one of my dream vacation destinations, but I also learned that there is a greater chance to see beluga whales and polar bears in Manitoba, Canada. As I looked into the different wildlife, adventure tours and cruises from Canadian Sky, I can't help but get excited. Though I am not thinking of spending some holidays to Canada this summer or this year, but I have learned from our many travels that planning ahead is very helpful in securing better accommodations at a cheaper price. I am thinking that if we take the birds, bears and whales tour at Manitoba, Canada, we might as well explore other places in Canada such as exploring Niagara Falls in Ontario. The vibrant city of Toronto, which is the cultural, entertainment and financial capital of Canada, is close to Niagara Falls and not so far either from Manitoba. I think it would be ideal to spend some nights both in Toronto and Manitoba. The Hotels in Toronto will most probably give us a more luxurious sleep yet a lot cheaper compared to the wilderness lodging in Manitoba. But of course, experiencing the joy of seeing these wondrous wildlife in their native habitat is priceless. Manitoba, Canada, here we come, but when?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Butterflies

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I am having one of those wordless days :( Hope you enjoy these butterfly shots, greetings from San Diego.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Yosemite Waterfalls



Rainbow at Bridalveil Falls, Yosemite National Park CA
This was supposed to be my post before we leave for the trip on June 28th, however, I did not get a chance to post this at all. Anyway, since we were heading at that time to another waterfall country, I thought of leaving you then with our waterfall memories from  Yosemite National Park, CA.

Half Dome, Liberty Cap and Nevada Falls

Rainbow Below Vernal Falls

Rainbow and Vernal Falls from the Top

Yosemite Falls

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Photoshoot Dream

I Heard Your Loud Chime that Soared and Floated Into The Air
As I Gazed Up, I Asked, "Was it really you calling me?"
Then I Saw You looked down with your Piercing Stare
I just had to ask again, "were you calling me?"
Was I Dreaming When You Quickly Jumped Down from the tree?
Was I walking with you, 
Or Were you walking With Me?
When you finally stopped I did not know what to do
Finally, I woke up from my dream......and left you be
As I marched away, I heard your chiming voice again,
I looked back to see you spread your beautiful wings 
Was I dreaming when I heard you say,
"come......take a picture of me....
with my wings open wide and my hundred eyes"
You then swayed your wide open wings beautifully
My eyes locked in your regal beauty....
I followed you in your every turn....
In your every walk....
Were you really modeling for me?
Or Was I in a Photoshoot Dream?
all photos taken at:
May 21, 2011

Friday, June 10, 2011

Followed By Hummingbird

Baby Hummingbird on its Nest
I have never seen a hummingbird on its nest, until today! First, we saw this hummingbird kissing the blossom of a naked coral tree
Hummingbird Kissing the Naked Coral Tree Blossom
It is not a surprise for me to see hummingbirds kissing red flowers. First, I have seen it and captured in picture many times. Second, it is not a myth that hummingbirds love red flowers.Third, the hummingbirds are really known to be flower kissers. Like the butterflies, they are responsible for pollinating the flowers around. However, unlike fellow bloggers Diane of Desert Colors and Karen of Avcr8teur's Photoblog, we have not been lucky enough to have guest hummingbirds nest in our backyard despite I see a lot of them fluttering their mighty little wings in the air as they move from flower to flower. But today is one of those days with pleasant surprises, we saw a baby hummingbird who kept flying back and forth to its nest. 
The mom hummingbird was not around, maybe she already decided her baby is strong enough to be on its own. The baby hummingbird would fly away from its nest, maybe to look for food or maybe to test the strength of its wings, but after a while, it would go back and sit on its nest to rest. It was a joy! Notice that all the pictures above were not taken by me, because I was not carrying a zoom lens but a macro lens. I cannot shoot close to the bird or else the bird will fly away. So, I was simply a happy spectator watching my husband happily shoot away with his zoom lens. When I finally walked away from both to do some macro flowers photography, suddenly, another hummingbird appeared right in front of me showing me how it can flap its wings up to 90 times in one second producing a humming sound.
Hummingbird Appeared So Close To Me 
What a joy it was! All the while I thought I will not be able to shoot a hummingbird yesterday because I only had macro lens and I cannot come close enough to the birds without scaring them away. But what a very pleasant surprise, one humingbird followed me ( let me dream away) and came so close to me, and for a long while, our stares locked as he kept dancing in front of me. I say "he" since from what I learned, female hummingbirds don't have blue or red colors on their neck.

Truly, a day spent out of the doors, without cell phone and without internet connections are some of life's most pleasant moments.

Have a happy weekend everyone.

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Getting Out is Getting In

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Walgreens for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.
Do my arms look shiny here from using sunscreen lotion? I am glad for Walgreens Brand Sunscreen Lotion. I can wear it for extreme sun protection yet without  feeling the grease!
Most of life's beautiful experiences for me are not spent watching TV, nor checking YIM, email and FB updates in cell phone, nor in front of computer shouting in Facebook and Twitter. It is spent out of the doors when there is no world wide web distractions and my mind is not distracted at all to see clearly the boundless opportunities and simple joys in simple life. For us, weekends always mean going out of the doors, whether it be enjoying the hiking trails, or enjoying the ocean, or enjoying our cultural and nature parks. Weekend is our time to de-stress and also get a lot longer physical activity to continue to strengthen our physical body,  to rejuvenate our mind and to inspire our hearts.
some of our weekend simple but very pleasant surprises, shot by ktl
Because our weekends mean always to spend time outdoors, from morning until late afternoon, or sometimes, from sunrise to sunset, we needed some sun protection. Sun protection that will protect us from the harsh rays of the sun while we are exploring our wonderful world and strengthening our physique and mind. About a month ago, I receive Walgreens giveaways which is Walgreens Brand Sunscreen Lotion.
What I like about Walgreens Brand Sunscreen Lotion is that it is not greasy at all. There are times I hesitate to put some sunscreen lotion because I do not want to have that greasy feeling. Also, I do not want the grease to go to my camera and lens. When I put the lotion, after a while I could not feel the presence of lotion yet the protection it gives me last a long time because it is water resistant. Our physical activity often makes us sweat a lot, and the sweat can wash off any sunscreen protection that is not water resistant. Because sunscreen lotion is my best friend, the give away bottle is almost gone now, and I am on my way to using the new bottles I bought which really is very affordable. With the way we are using sunscreen lotion, and with the cheaper price of Walgreens Brand Sunscreen Lotion compared to other leading brands, the savings we get goes a long way because we finish a bottle of lotion quick! Multiplying our savings in every bottle to the number of bottles we consume a year gives me a happy smile, for indeed, beautiful packages do not come always with a big price tag!
Truly, Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness Products are a great value.
Their products allow families and individuals to save money without sacrificing quality or trust.  In addition to being an exceptional value, Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness Products:
1. Are Walgreens pharmacist recommended.
2. Most contain the same active ingredients as other national brands.
3. Have a 100% satisfaction guarantee.
4. Purchase of every Walgreens Brand Health & Wellness Product supports bringing preventive wellness services to local communities through the Walgreens Way to Well Fund™.
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