MaiFebruary… what a fantastic month. Birthdays, Phung and Andrew’s wedding, a trip to Cabo, and lots of sunny days. I was given a challenge for 30 days to bring my camera around with me and film every day. At the end, I compiled the video clips together in a show reel that I’m very happy to share.
If Labor Day means the end of summer, then Memorial Day must mean the start of summer and I am very behind on the blog! For Memorial Day Weekend, Xavier and I went to Eastern California for some snow hikes. The first day, we started with a warm up hike around some frozen lakes and I tried out snowshoes for the first time. I was a little disappointed with the lack of grippy-ness on inclines in soft snow (many near wipe outs). Otherwise, snowshoeing turned out to be not very different from hiking in boots.
Camping near Twin Lakes. (Post about the wildlife tomorrow.)
We woke up to a little winter wonderland.
The next day we attempted to summit San Joaquin Mountain. The hike normally has amazing views, but the weather that day was pretty rough and there was no visibility. Many factors resulted in us turning around, which could be summed up to: lack of time, lack of equipment, and poor weather conditions. The road to the trailhead was unplowed which lengthened our approach by two miles, cutting into our time. For some reason, we opted not to bring crampons resulting in some dicey moments. From where we turned around we could see where crampons would be needed. Lastly, the weather was terrible. Winds were blowing at 40mph causing me to have visions of me being blown off cornices like a little rag dog (how… fun.) and the last half of the hike visibility was terrible with the wind bringing snow and clouds onto the mountainside.
Xavier tried to get some shots of me looking bada$$, which wasn’t possible since I felt so pathetic.
We turned around at the last dry spot, at dead man’s pass.
For the last day, we headed to Tahoe for a snow hike up Rubicon Peak. This was a great hike without any need for snowshoes or crampons. There were amazing views of Lake Tahoe and, besides the occasional cross country skier, mostly empty. We followed the cross country ski tracks and paw prints most of the way up. I really enjoyed seeing when the canine bounded off only to quickly return to its companion. 🙂 I love dogs.
I went up to Seattle to visit some friends, along with an overseas friend who happened to be in the Northwest visiting her sister. Since I’d only been up to Seattle for dragon boat races or various scheduled events, I had never taken the time to see the city. This time, however, I was taken everywhere in Seattle. With the aid of several friends (passing me off to one another) I did the full blown tourist tour of Seattle.
A bit of a geek alert: I used my “travel camera” for this trip. My Nikon D80, which I had brought all around Europe, hadn’t seen much use ever since my D700 took over. But, for the sake of “letting go” I opted to bring my prosumer camera instead of my professional camera. I wanted my trip to be more about visiting friends and seeing the city while taking “some” pics (aka a lot since my friends like taking pictures just as much as me) and having a LIGHT load. It was good, and I don’t regret bringing it instead of the D700.
Originally, I was going to have a top ten personal favorites, when I realized about 90% of them were animals, so I switched to wildlife. Really, my top ten wildlife photos are my top ten wildlife photos of Alaska, with a few randoms thrown in, and it’s because of those randoms that this post is happening.
1. Caribou. Walking. This ranks pretty high in my favorites. I like the backlighting, and I like how the caribou are walking towards me.
2. Moose in the Morning. Ah, this photo is from our last minute decision to drive through Denali National Park for my last morning in Alaska. This girl was walking along side the car for a while, just 20 yards off. Again, like the back lighting from the morning sun.
3. Moose and the Mountain. I like this photo because of the mountain backdrop, even if it takes a lot of attention away from the moose.
4. Sea Otter Therapy. Okay, I love this photo. It looks like a therapy session going on in the water.
5. Bear and Cantaloupe. This fella made it to the favorites because as adorable as she was, and as much as I wanted to give her a bear hug (yes I’m a dork), she was actually quite large, with very large claws, and those cantaloupes are very shredded.
6. Lynx in the Bushes. This fella made it to the top ten just because of its backstory. We were driving through Denali National Park when we noticed a bird standing on the side of the road. When the bird was spooked by our car and flew off, Alenka, in the backseat, happened to catch some movement in the bushes. It’s a total fluke we found him.
7. Marine Loving Bird. I’m a fan of birds, perhaps it’s jealousy of the fact they can fly, or maybe I’ve been living in Portland too long (put a bird on it!). I enjoy taking photos of them, if only it weren’t so difficult. This bird is in the top ten because 1) he’s crisp, 2) the backdrop works for him, and 3) he’s a bird.
8. Duckling with an Attitude. You looking at me? Definitely a top ten personal favorite.
9. Eagle Perched. I like the negative space in this photo, and I also like the fact that it’s a real bald eagle that I managed to see in Anchorage, not Homer, Alaska.
10. Bald Eagle. There’s another shot of this eagle I got where the trees create a nice framing and composition, but I prefer how spread out his wings are. The story behind this shot amuses me too. We were watching the eagle (see above photo), waiting for it to make a move, when we heard the sounds of a train approaching. The tree that the eagle was perched on was right by the tracks, and our first reaction was disappointment that the eagle would be scared off. This was quickly replaced by our easily distracted minds when we began focusing on the approaching train. The train blew it’s horn, the eagle took off, and I barely managed to regain focus (both in mind and in camera) to capture this shot.
They aren’t so much wildlife animals, but I like these photos, so I wanted to include them.
Howling Sled Dogs. The story behind this is one of the reasons I like this photo, the other being that I love dogs. We were paying a visit to the sled dogs in Denali National Park, when I walked into the center space of the kennel. It was at this point one rowdy pooch decided to start on a huge howlfest at me, and managed to convince many others to participate. Instantly, I was surrounded by howls.
Oso Basking in the Sun. I love this photo of Little Dog. She parked herself in the middle of the sidewalk, and sunbathed.
Smiley Giraffe. Heh. So… not quite wildlife at all, but I love the giraffe, thus I love the photo.
Finally! I’m caught up with year 2010 blogposts!! As a treat (and part of my new years resolution), for the next few posts I’ll be featuring my favorite photos! We’re going to start with my 2010 favorite Travel photos.
1. Mt. Adams from the top of Mt. St. Helens. I lugged my D700 up this mountain, with the sand and dust blowing harshly at me. That camera isn’t making it to the top of anymore mountains, unless it carries itself up in it’s own sand and dust proof bag.
2. Resurrection Bay from the shores of Seward, Alaska.
3. Shadows waving from the top of Mt. Tumalo. This was the trip where I experimented with Eric’s super fattie: the 14-24mm lens.
4. Walking along the shoulder of the Spit in Homer, Alaska, I found the urge to go with negative space.
5. Tern Lake, Alaska. I really liked how the sun was lighting up these blades, so I went with artistic.
6. Skilak Lake, Alaska. Driving and driving around looking for an access point to Skilak Lake for a sunset pic, we finally gave up until we came across a campground with a boat ramp access. The sun was pretty much all but gone, but I loved the blue tint everything was taking.
7. Crater Lake, Oregon. A girl dressed as a hotdog is jumping into the lake. No joke.
8. Sunset at Crater Lake, Oregon. The wind had picked up, so there was no reflection in the water, leaving the color to the sky.
9. Red Sky in a Crater Lake sunset. Thanks to Ben, I now know that this effect is called Virga.
10. My new favorite flower. Why is this travel? Well, this was from my trip to the Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC. I don’t normally take pictures of flowers, but I think this flower is the prettiest thing ever.
Or really, it should be carpe noctem. As I mentioned in my previous post, due to spending 17 of my waking hours on WPPI and eating, there wasn’t many hours left in the day for exploring Las Vegas. We often chose to spend the last 3 waking hours with geeky photo talk late into the night. However, on the last night in Vegas, we dragged ourselves outside (whoa, outside???) the hotel for a 4am visit to the Bellagio Hotel (to see fountains that don’t turn on in the middle of the night). I can finally say I’ve visited the Las Vegas Boulevard and won $5.50 in slots! I’m such a Big Spender.
That’s right. It’s a lamppost.
Paris and New York City with palm trees. Interesting.
My experiences with Las Vegas:
– the people trying to get your business or tips are abnormally cheerful and friendly
– a shuttle ride from the airport to MGM Grand takes 75 minutes (40 mins waiting, 35 mins driving)
– Las Vegas air is dry and casino air is dry, so lotion, chapstick, and lots of water are a must.
– Starbucks at the MGM Grand does not do a discount for bringing a personal cup
– Fancy phones lose power quickly inside casinos, whereas my simple phone does not
– walking in the middle of the night on the Vegas strip is a way to avoid crowds and random flyers
– a shuttle ride from MGM Grand to the airport does NOT take “7 minutes since we [MGM Grand]” are NOT the “last stop before the airport”
Next stop on the February Awesomeness Train: WPPI in Las Vegas!
Thanks to Leather Craftsmen, I got to go to the WPPI Convention in Las Vegas. Some classes were disappointing, while others were awesome. I tried to go to as many classes as possible, attending classes from 8am to 8pm, and only straying to visit the exhibitor booths at the Trade Show and eat. I was on a mission at the Trade Show to do as much research on album companies (of which there were 50-60 companies) . Mornings started at 7am (waiting in long coffee lines) and dinners weren’t finished until 11pm. Everyone was excited to be around fellow photo geeks, so we stayed up late talking for hours about photography, photo gear, courses we’d been to, and courses we wanted to go to. I’m pretty sure I averaged less than four hours of sleep a night and about 10 miles of walking a day. I was exhausted by the end of the convention, but the amount of knowledge I gained (more on that in another post) and the friends I made was worth it.
Kayso came along to classes in my bag, but I told him that he had to stay behind for the Awards show. He tried to convince me otherwise by dressing up for the event.
This week I’ve been in Las Vegas for the WPPI convention. Today’s my last day here, and I’m sitting in the airport waiting for my flight. It was my first time in Vegas, and, while I spent mostly all my time at the convention, I did manage to make it to the strip on my last night. Kayso says Hello from Las Vegas!
My rock climbing trip to Leavenworth, WA marks the transition between the Fall Schedule of Chaos to the Winter Season of Maladies. Following this trip, I would proceed to get very ill for a week’s length (multiple times despite pumping myself with Vitamin C), but for now, let’s enjoy the climbing!
High ball alert!
Some awesome problems at the Cracked Egg:
You’ve probably figured out by now that I’m a huge fan of lakes, so you can’t be surprised that I went crazy over Crater Lake. I’ve been there once before, when I first moved to Portland, and haven’t been back since. For those of you looking for a quick tutorial about Crater Lake, it’s a caldera formed from a volcano that erupted long ago. Over time, snow, ice melt, and rain water filled the caldera, leaving it today at it’s balanced level. It’s fascinating, and a must visit.
One of the earliest debates Xavier and I ever had (day 2 of meeting each other) was whether “Crater Lake” was in California or Oregon. He had seen a sign for a “Crater Lake” while driving on the highway in California, so he was pretty certain it wasn’t in Oregon. I, having actually been to Crater Lake in Oregon, was pretty positive I was right. Initially, I won, but we eventually found a Crater Lake in California. We talked about visiting Crater Lake for years, so we finally gave it a visit during our Portland->SF drive.