Category Archives: Views

Still In the Garden

This is yet another scene from Korakuen gardens. It is meant to recreate the rice paddies (the green you see are iris leaves!).  I like the shot because of the flow of the wisteria over the bent lines of the “rice paddies”.  That and the pale lavendar colour over the bright vivid green. No photoshopping necessary when you take time with the shot!


Stream crossing


I like this photo….just because.  In some cases, photos are enjoyable or noteceable because of what their subject matter. Personally, I couldn’t get the best angle I wanted to, but I did get the sun dappling over these large, lovely smooth boulders which were the stepping stones over the shallow stream in the park. I thought the use of the stones gave the stream a wonderful fairy tale setting!

Japan: Bridges in a Park

So there was this park that wasn’t in any guidebook online I could find; you really have to be searching for it specificaly. It’s called Koraku park near Korakuen station or Koishikawa Korakuen Gardens. It is actually designated a historical asset and of special historical significance. Each scene in the park is meant to recreate a scene from somewhere in Japan. The red bridge immediately draws your eye. It is a recreation of the Tsutenkyo Bridge from the Kyoto temple Tofukuji. Many of the views of the bridge are partially obscured from other viewpoints and looking up at this bridge didn’t really highlight anything so this is my favourite view that shows the red popping amidst the green, but also gives some movement to the picture as it leads your eye off to the other side.


The full moon bridge is named because when the river below is high, you get a reflection of a full moon from the bridge’s arch. This is actually recreating Seiko Park from China. I tried photographing it from all angles, similar to the red bridge above, but in this case, simple was best. Head on to show the gracefulness of the lines of the bridge.


Was I ready for the Spirit Bear Lodge?

Those of you who know me personally…..which constitute the majority of my readers here….know that I obsessed about this trip I took ( in this post. So much so, I had writer’s block here just before it started. So, was I ready for it?  Yes and no. The practical details of it I was ready for. I’m pretty agile, little boats don’t bother me (much), uneven ground is ok, and I still bounce (a little) when I fall. So most of the physical part of it was a snap; except for my camera equipment. I know perfectly well what possessed me to buy a camera (plus lens) that weighs more than more laptops these days, but I never realised that I needed to train so that I could carry it – even short distances!  or that my arm would start to ache after 2 days of lifting that thing (I highly recommend a tripod).

But my biggest complaint (other than that the bears didn’t get my memo that I would be there between 1000 am and 2 pm for their photo shoot every day), was that the beauty and grandeur of the last and largest temperate rainforest on the planet would give me a sinking feeling when I came back to the city and my life and job. Not once were there disclaimers about “this vacation may cause all forms of TV/internet entertainment to look dull and flat” or “your vision may be impaired when viewing all other, formerly majestic scenery” or even “may cause productivity to go down as you spend your time daydreaming about your vacation”!

The main attraction of Spirit Bear Lodge is, of course the white spirit bear with other bears coming a close second (blacks and grizzlies). But I was delighted by Stellar sea lions (the largest of the eared seal family), astonished by the lion’s mane jellyfish (the largest jellyfish in the world), over the moon about seeing humpback whales (not the largest whale) and completely chuffed to snap photos of bald eagles and ravens.

Was I ready for this trip?  No.  Would I do it again? Yes, in a heartbeat.

More photos coming soon….

Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary

Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary

Korich Bay

Korich Bay

Carter Bay

Carter Bay

Frozen (Not just Still) Lifes

A random collection of frozen objects that I found interesting – because in my opinion, that’s all that matters 🙂

Bowed Down


Is this a Stop(ped) light?


This willow has survived a windstorm that almost totalled my car, several thunderstorms and now an ice storm….and yet it still stands despite losing several branches and basically threatening to fall on us any day




The flowers are artificial, but if that wasn’t enough to preserve them, we decided to put them on ice


You can see which way the wind was blowing



Want to take exciting photos in your own backyard?

Have an ice storm.  Be careful of slippage.

Different point of view

Different point of view

Add some interest to the photo with something other than trees!

Add some interest to the photo with something other than trees!

Frozen winding creek landscape

Frozen winding creek landscape

The fence makes a statement

The fence makes a statement


Not just the natural land

Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, SA

When I think of Africa, I think big animals, exotic birds, completely different cultures, tribes, etc.  I don’t think of botanical gardens to rival, dare I say it? Kew Gardens in England!!  So Kirstenbosch was a wonderful surprise. Our tour guide told us we would be going to a garden and I thought “ok, sure, it’s nice to see a variety of stuff”, but I don’t think we saw even a quarter of it.  It was great that our guide was a trained conservationist and could tell us about the flora and what the things in the garden represented when we weren’t taking photos.

The gardens sit near enough to the mountains that you can use them as a backdrop, but not so much that they are in the shadow of it. These flowers are a member of the protea family and they really do feel like plastic ones that have come from your local fake flower store, but they are real!

Pretty, plasticky flowers


There’s a tiny corner of the garden with a tiny pond that gave perfect reflections….marred only by the grass clippings because they had just finished cutting the grass!!!  Arrghh!!  This is the part I hate about being a tourist – you often don’t have a chance to come back -it’s a now or never type of thing.  So, we shot a corner of the garden with very little grass clippings.

Reeds in the water twice

There were also beds and beds of flowers to help practice your landscape photography…

The colours popped and the lines made it interesting

The colours popped and the lines made it interesting


…or your close up depth of field photography.

Just a nice composition

Or your macro photography

In Kirstenboch gardens 2 In Kirstenboch gardens

Hope you enjoyed this splash of colour!

Hawaii: Volcanoes

OMG! I totally forgot to finish this post! And seeing Kilauea is really worth a blog! Ok, the science stuff first: Kilauea is one of 5 and half volcanoes on the Big Island of Hawaii. There is a great explanation of them here. In fact, the USGS is the best source of info on Kilauea and gives updates on eruptions and seismic activities here. Kilauea is by far the most active volcano and gives the best showing. In case you are wondering, the “half” volcano is the new baby one just offshore to the south of the Big Island – stick around a few hundred years for its birth!

Now the tourist stuff: check before you go to see what’s open and what isn’t. They sometimes close down driving and hiking paths depending on what the volcano gods are doing. Or, on a plus side, they will also tell you when lava is flowing and you may get lucky and see the night lava flowing into the ocean. Driving up to the visitor’s centre is a lay-by where you can pull over and stick your face in some steam vents (travel tip #76: some facials are free). And in this harsh environment, don’t forget to stop and appreciate the flowers that have fought to survive here.

Steam Vents at Layby

Wild Ochids

However, the visitor’s centre viewing platform is almost always open, but is not always manned. However, if the lava is flowing, not to worry, the busloads of tourists will keep you company. The visitor’s centre itself is great. Really good displays and explanations although the gift shop closes early and was  a little heavy on the books. The really neat part of the centre were the seismographs. If you watched closely, you could see when there was seismic activity and then run out and see the lava lake glow. When I was there, there was loads of seismic activity, but no spewing lava – just a fiery red glow that was mesmerizing to watch. Last tip: it gets cold – bring long trousers or track pants and a sweater.

The cauldren at Kilauea   Lava at Kilauea

Getting close to the hot stuff!

Travel: Bali in one day

Yup! I went all the way to Bali (not close to anything in the developing world) and only spent one day. Actually I was there for a conference 🙂 I was talking to my friend the other day who is about to move (yet again) to south-east Asia for work as I sit at home in -20 deg C weather (with windchill) and thought these photos of my trip would bring some sunshine into my world.Bali is known for many things, but top of the list are temples and rice paddies. The photo below was taken at the famous water or lake temple (tons of people around). I deliberately did not try to get the whole temple in the shot and thought it was more interesting with the water features.

The Water Temple

This was a large temple complex…which in close to 40 deg C temperatures is a daunting walk

The Long Walk in

However, this complex did give lots of lovely detailed features that make great photos. I find when taking detailed shots, getting a crisp, clear shot is best to show the detail. Also avoid harsh shadows. There were occasionally clouds which I waited for and saved both the shot and me. Also, I love just taking photos of colour. The moss green stairs had it all – colour, texture and detail

The complex temple shots were….well, complex. This temple complex has so many structures that it was hard to get a line of sight that was clear.

Temple Complex

And here are the ubiquitous rice paddies! Bali or Indonesia actually has several types of rice including red and black. Again, it was a complex, detailed shot and I didn’t quite get it right when you think of the lovely photos in travel catalogues, but you can get the idea with these.

Balinese Rice Fields with Water Bali Rice Fields


Lastly, Bali isn’t just about the temples and rice paddies. There are lush forests and waterfalls too!

Misty Waterfalls    Ancient ferns

Kukio where have you been all my life beach?

Picture your perfect beach. Does it include fine white sand (but not so powdery that it gets everywhere)? Is the water clear and calm so you’re not fighting the surf? Are there trees for shade? Is there only a handful of people on it? Are there showers and toilets? Welcome to Kukio.


This beach is actually in the resort attached to the Four Seasons hotel, but it is technically, a public beach. You have to ask for a parking pass at the guard house and there are only a few parking spaces (looked like less than 30). There is then a loooonggg walk through piles of volcanic rock with tantalizing glimpses of water to the actual beach.


Oh, but it’s worth it. I’m not a beach person. This was the first time I went on a vacation specifically to sit on a beach (and my idea of sitting is 30 minutes, an hour tops). But this beach had your postcard palm trees, slender and curving up to the sky. A gentle slope to the water that was dead calm due to a large breaker just offshore. And to make things interesting, there was also a patch of grass (!) and volcanic rocks for contrast.

The 3 terrain beach

The swimming was literally like a swimming pool, it was so calm, but with little fishies. For those looking for something more strenuous, you could swim/snorkel out to an outcropping of rock and swim around it and get a bit of surge. In the morning, it was clearer and the snorkelling wasn’t bad (got really cloudy later though). Off to the side was an even shallower, calmer pool where we found loads of baby fish!

Fish nursery

Conditions were perfect and photography here was easy. And as a terrific bonus, around a bend, closer to the resort, there were turtles!!!  We saw a big one (about a metre, but still a juvenile) and the only way I could take a photo was when the wave came in and it was like a looking glass into the water (otherwise it was too cloudy from the surf). Smaller ones came up onto the beach to sun themselves (unfortunately, their angle to the sun was all wrong! how could they!)

I swear to you that's a turtle

He chose this angle deliberately!