World Whale Day

February 14 celebrates World Whale Day in Maui to raise awareness of these magnificent creatures. It has been a while since I have seen the majestic Humpback whales in Maui, but I was able to spot Humpbacks in the Southern Hemisphere last summer.

Humpback whales in Dallmann Bay, Antarctica

Being among these whales was magnificent- there were so many spouting and diving around our ship, it was hard to keep up with clicking the shutter.

This was the last day my group was in the Antarctic. I like to think that this was our grand send off - at least until next time!

Why Antarctica?

Last month, I booked the trip of a lifetime to the "White Continent". More often than not the question, "Why Antarctica?!" comes up.

Well, why not Antarctica?

Ever since I was a kid, I have wanted to visit all seven continents, and have wanted to reach the tips of South America, Africa and Antarctica. This trip will satiate two of those life goals, as I will be departing by boat out of the tip of South America.

I am envisioning the bluest of blues, the tealest of teals, and the whitest of whites. As a photographer, I cannot wait to interpret these things (Photographer David DuChemin set me straight that I would not be able to capture these things). To be among penguins is something that I have only dreamed of for years. To stand on ice that has been forming for millions of years is just beyond my comprehension.

The voyage is slated to travel into the Antarctic Circle, a dream that I hadn't quite realized would be a part of this expedition cruise. As a geographer, this will be really exciting to see the latitude change. Of course, the itinerary is subject to change depending on weather conditions. I know it will be amazing.

I'm so excited to experience these things, and I am so excited to bring back images of a part of the world that I have only dreamed I would ever visit. I hope that I will be able to post a few photos here and there, but of course that depends on internet availability.

Lavender days of summer

Ahh the hazy, lavender days of summer. Relaxing by the pool with a refreshing beverage, enjoying the summer sunshine. For me, it means extended hours of daylight to take photos (of course):  

Lavender macro

This lavender plant grows in my garden, and smells amazing. Beauty and relaxation in my backyard -- but most importantly, a photo subject.

Every time I look at this image, it reminds me of lavender vanilla ice cream, or a lavender mojito recipe I have been wanting to try.

What does this image make you think of? Let me know in the comments below.


Big picture vs. detail

I love chasing light while walking around my neighborhood with my camera and my iPhone. Yes I look like the crazy camera woman cruising around the neighborhood with multiple cameras, but sometimes just using the camera in my iPhone just doesn't match my vision.

 I was drawn this this purple Gladiola flower, and started off by taking an overall image of the flower. I used my iPhone for the image below (no filter, this is straight out of the camera):
Gladiola iPhone
And this is the image I posted on my Instagram (using the X-Pro II filter):
Gladiola Instagram
But as I love the details of flowers and petals, I had to get in closer to make a macro image. This is the result (edited in Lightroom 4):
Which do you like- the big, overall flower pictures straight out of the iPhone and on Instagram or the detailed macro? Why? Let me know In the comments below.

Byrce Canyon Photography

A few summers ago, I had the opportunity to visit Utah. This image is from the end of a day in Bryce Canyon National Park. It had rained in the afternoon, and this beautiful rainbow appeared just after sunset. Bryce Canyon Summer


My dad and I showed up at one of the overlooks just in time, and rushed to the edge of the canyon, running with our tripods and gear in tow. After the rainbow had disappeared and we were retreating back to the car, the storms started moving on and raining on us.



























Wildlife Learning Center Pictures- Week 2

Last Tuesday night's adult zoologyclass at the Wildlife Learning Center was my favorite so far. I know that I only have two to choose from, and the sugar glider from last week's class was pretty awesome, but this week held porcupines and Lola the two-toed sloth, among other awesome animals. I took lots of pictures and we saw lots of animals, but I am going to highlight four here.
We visited with the -- leashed -- Serval to start the class off. No petting this gal. Every breeze and rain drop were picked up by her large ears, and she was intently looking for the source of unfamiliar sounds. Our instructor, Marissa, gave her kitty food to get her to face in our direction.
Next were the porcupines. Every time I visit the Wildlife Learning Center, I have the best time watching these little guys waddle around, climb their tree stumps and cage, and bump into each other. We were also treated to the juvenile porcupine's special way of begging--- by throwing punches into the air.
I had been dying to meet Lola the two toed sloth for quite some time. She is usually in her little warm habitat to mimic her natural environment, and just the average visitor isn't able to get into the house. However, our class got to squeeze into her little -- and very warm-- house.
In order for us to be able to pet her, she had to be distracted with a special treat of sweet potatoes.
Exerting all of that energy was so very taxing for this little sloth, so after eating and getting her photos taken, she was very tired and gave us a huge yawn:
And then she curled up for some much needed sleep (hey, life is tough when you're a sloth):
Again, while we sat in our chairs during the lecture portion of the class, there was something a crate really itching to get out. It turned out to be this Arctic fox, which came to the WLC because it was in a fur house and did not have fur up to their standard.
Thankfully for us, and even more thankfully for the fox.
Again, I have to say thank you to the Wildlife Learning Center for offering such a great opportunity! I look forward to this evening's class!
And thank you for stopping by!

Macro Photography Images

It has been a long time since I have posted--I have had some personal health obstacles within the past 10 months, and am finally getting back to blogging! I have some exciting news to share with my wonderful readers, I have recently gained interest in having my images hanging in a few different locations. Currently, I have six images hanging at a spa in Santa Clarita, CA-- what is more calming than some beautiful macro nature images?

Here are the six images that were chosen to hang:

Night Blooming Cerus

Night Blooming Cerus

Backlit Leaf

Backlit Leaf

Orchid Waterfall

Orchid Waterfall

Backlit Orchid

Backlit Orchid

Cana Lily

Cana Lily with Water Drops

Aloe Leaves

Aloe Leaves

Of course you can contact me about ordering any of these images for the walls of your home of to give to someone you love!

Thank you as always for stopping by!




Digital Garden

Aloe Black and White  

A couple of months ago I had a small surgery, and haven't exactly been mobile since. I knew that I had to have this particular ailment fixed, and that it would take a bit to heal, and it would be a while before I would be able to get out and take photos.

One of the things on my list of many preparations in the weeks before, was to take a morning trip with my camera to Descanso Gardens in La Canada Flintridge. I am so glad I did, because months later, as I scroll through my library of photos (very few from June, none from July) I get to see a digital garden. The above image was taken on that day with my Tamron 90mm macro lens at ISO 400, f/4, 1/1000.

I converted this image from color to black and white because I really like the composition and the lines, and wanted to focus on those things about the image.

Thanks for stopping by!

A glimpse of Spring

I know, while the rest of the country freezes, Southern California has nothing to complain about. This past week has bee beyond gorgeous, and has me looking forward to spring and taking bee-yoo-tee-ful photos like this one: Tulip

Not to toot my own horn, but when I look at this image it just shouts "Spring is here!!" and gives me a warm tingly feeling all over.

This was taken in March of 2009, with a Canon rebel XTi and Tamron 90mm lens at Descanso Gardens, which is my favorite place here in Southern California.

Thank you for stopping by.

Aerials (not the Disney Princess)

As I mentioned previously, I just love flying across the country. Unfortunately, my crappy wonderful little iPhone camera wasn’t able to capture exactly what I love about being airborne (and remember to take your Airborne before you get on a flight, seriously someone hacked up a lung on one of my flights). Oh yes I love seeing the way the landscape below changes. I also love the whole different perspective you get climbing 10,000 feet in the air. Climbing is the key, as well as descending, because this is when the plane gets a fantastic angle of the world below.

On my recent trip to Washington, D.C. I landed in the evening and was on the wrong side of the plane. Leaving D.C. I had great afternoon lighting and a great seat to get photos from:

Washington, D.C. aerial 2

Washington, D.C. aerial 1

Since I knew the lighting would be awesome, I made sure to have the Canon 5D Mark II with me instead of in the overhead bin. I had my trust 24-105 mm lens on for versatility.

The angle during descent is pretty awesome:

Washington DC-1

In between I love seeing the desert below me:

Washington DC Aerial-1

And I love to see the land begin to change:

Washington DC Aerial-3

Until it looks like nothing I’m used to seeing

Washington DC Aerial-4

I really need to fly across the middle of the country more to grab some more cool shots. I would love to be right at the point where the land changes from desert to lush vegetation (I think I may have been napping at that point).

Thanks as always for stopping by!

Princess Cereus

Ah, the Night-Blooming Cereus, a magical flower. She blooms for just one night in July or August, starting to open her petals to the world just after the sun sets. Getting larger and spreading her petals further, she gives off a beautiful fragrance to lure pollinators for the duration of her short life. She reaches her apex of beauty, and then daylight breaks. Princess Cereus closes her petals to the world as the sun rises, and then dies.

Not even the most handsome, strong prince can save her. But luckily my eye caught her.

Of the macro flower photos that I have taken, this is one of my favorite flower photo shoots, and here is one of my favorite images from the evening:


Since the Cereus only opens for one night (key word here), I got to try my hand with the strobes. It was now or never, as Elvis sings.

Using two Canon Speedlite 580 EX II's, one slave was bounced off of a white diffuser, while the master strobe was held above the flower through a diffuser by an innocent bystander (whatever family member I could dupe). of course I used the Canon 5D mark 2 in case there were any low light issues.

My dad also partook in the photographing of the flower, so we switched off as flash holder. In other words, I got a taste of my own medicine.

This was a fun and challenging macro shoot, since I usually do my macro photography during the golden hour, or inside where I can control the flower of choice.

I hope you enjoy this beautiful flower, and I hope she blooms again next year!

Thanks for stopping by.

Project 365 Photo #61, Or 62....

Oh yes, I have fallen off of the Project 365 wagon. I admit it. I embrace it. It started last week when I was sick and all around feeling crappy. Even though the weather was gorgeous, I just needed sleep. That was one day. Then, you know what happens when you get out of the habit. It spirals out of control. Of course I have taken photos since last week (I really don't stop). I just haven't been truly designating a photo of the day.

But today I was inspired by this recent Photofocus post by Scott Bourne.

I took a walk at lunch today with my trusty point and shoot, and I passed by this image:


That's right, I kept walkin'. Then I thought about Mr. Bourne's post. I passed this tree up because I have seen photos similar to this, but have never actually thought about making an image of a defaced tree (personally, I think it's kind of mean to the tree), and I probably would have just kept walking if not for the post--I already had a photo for today.

Has this photo changed my life to the effect Mr. Bourne's bird photo changed his? Doubtful.

But it reminded me that as photographers, we tell a story (at least try to). This image holds the mystery of J + J. Who were they...Young lovers walking along suburban path? Or were they an older couple celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary? Perhaps a young girl J with a huge crush on J, carving her wishes in bark?

I composed this shot like so because I liked the green foliage (desaturated just a bit in Lightroom 2) in contrast to the white trunk of the tree, as well as the contrast in textures. The area was shaded by said tree, so the light is ambient. When taking this photo, I thought of it as B&W, but it didn't work out when actually post processing it.

Thanks for stopping by!