Posted on July 28, 2021
I visited the ruins of the ancient city of Ephesus near Kusadasi, Turkey during my Eastern Mediterranean cruise in October of 2014. Back then I was more excited about our stop in Athens that I didn’t even bother to research in advance about this historical site. I just booked the excursion through the cruise company then waited for the day of my tour. My absence of knowledge about Ephesus somehow made my visit more exciting and memorable. Seeing for the first time the impressive architecture and learning about its rich history while walking around the ruins was such a mind blowing experience. The tour guide was also very generous with her trivias pointing out the city’s port where Cleopatra and Mark Antony’s boat docked when they honeymooned in this ancient city and then took us to the theater, the largest in the ancient world with a seating capacity of 44,000. For me, the most impressive of the archeological remains is the Library of Celsus (main photo), which once housed more than 12,000 scrolls. The facade of the building is still almost intact and stands majestically right in the heart of the city ruins. After Rome, Ephesus was the second largest city in the Roman Empire. Below are some of the photos I took during my visit to this archeological wonder.
Posted on July 12, 2021
Jordan Pond is a lake inside the Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine. I visited it on my way to the peak of the Cadillac Mountain, which is the highest mountain in the Atlantic coast of the United States. I was there in the summer of 2019 and it was a sight to behold. Imagine this place in the fall, the colors are probably breathtaking. I was like on a trance that day having just stepped out of a hearty lobster bake for lunch. I actually don’t remember much this part of my trip including the time I stood by the lake to take these photographs. It was only yesterday as I was going through my iPad’s photo albums that I realized they’re actually a decent bunch of photos worthy of a feature in my page.
Posted on June 21, 2021
New York City has a new public park called The Little Island located in the west side of Manhattan right on the Hudson River. This architectural masterpiece rises from the remnants of Pier 54 and is made up of concrete piles and tulip-like pots, which makes up the surface of the park. This new attraction also provides the much-needed additional green space from all the concrete that blankets this mega metropolis. It is open to the public but requires reservations for visits after 12 noon. Unfortunately, this visitor failed to check some info and arrived at 12:40 pm so now you know why my photos are all taken from a distance…I didn’t make it inside the park. 😢 I am presenting these photographs in monochrome as it works well on this architectural subject. I did spare the last photo in color so you’ll have an idea of how it looks in real life. Next time I visit New York I’ll make sure to come earlier or make a reservation so I can get some inside-the-park photos. By the way, these photographs were taken using an iPhone 11 Pro Max.
Posted on June 19, 2021
I was walking down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan when I saw this vintage car awaiting for the green light right beside the Saint Thomas Church. From across the street it didn’t look interesting enough to deserve a shot but when I got closer at the crosswalk I realized it looked great with the church and the skyscrapers in the background. I immediately pulled out my iPhone and switched the camera to wide angle lens and took this single shot. I opted for a wide angle shot as it allowed me to get closer to the car closer while still capturing the crucial scenes in the background. The photo also makes you feel like you’re viewing the scene with your own eyes. I edited it to black and white for a more classic look and to evoke a sense of nostalgia…as if it was taken from a different time.
Posted on June 10, 2021
The Bethesda Terrace is one of many architectural features located inside New York City’s Central Park. It’s lower passageway is a spectacular work of art that has been featured in so many Hollywood movies as well as tv and print ads. It has also become a favorite backdrop for multiple social media selfie posts. I am currently in New York City for a weekend of leisure and decided to spend the afternoon in Central Park while waiting for my hotel room to be ready. I’ve been to this spot many times but surprisingly has never taken a photograph of it. I didn’t bring my DSLR on this trip so I pulled out my ever reliable iPhone 11 Plus for this photo session. I also decided to play with my phone’s wide angle lens feature and got very pleased with how these three photographs turned out. To this day I continue to be amazed by the quality of photos my iphone has been giving me. Hope you guys like them as well.
Posted on May 30, 2021
During my trip to Cambodia in November of 2019, I was tossing between the Raffles Grand Hotel d’Angkor and the Belmond La Residence d’Angkor for my accommodations. After reading multiple reviews and watching countless Youtube videos, I decided to go for Belmond. The hotel features Khmer architecture surrounded by a lush tropical garden creating a sense of being in the middle of the forest despite being situated right in the heart of the city. The resort is one of the first luxury hotels to open in Siem Reap and is renowned for its luxurious accommodations and excellent service. Here are some of the photos I took around the hotel as well as of my suite overlooking the magnificent pool, which I think is the centerpiece of the entire resort.
Posted on May 25, 2021
Four years ago, I met a Japanese photographer whose hobby was traveling all over the United States photographing wildlife in national parks. We met at a common friends wedding he was photographing and I mentioned to him my interest in wildlife photography. He suggested I check out the Wakodahatchee Wetlands Nature Park, a nature preserve in Delray Beach, Florida, which is a sanctuary to a large number of birds plus a few other animals. He said that I’ll get a lot of good shots of these birds in their natural habitat. I’ve been planning to visit the park since then but I always fail to find time. This morning I decided to be a little more spontaneous and drove 30 miles to the park.
At the park, I encountered hundreds of birds but what really caught my attention was this lonesome tricolored heron that was trying to catch its breakfast in one of the many ponds around the park. I was standing on the boardwalk right above it but my presence didn’t seem to bother it all. I was able to take photos of it quietly standing behind the reeds preparing for its attack as well as of it flying over the pond to catch its next meal. My only regret is failing to capture it with a fish between its beaks.
Today I was finally able to try on fast shutter speeds (used 1/2000) to photograph this heron on flight but unfortunately missed to program my camera to multiple shots, which would have allowed me to take more shots of the entire flight. Still, I’m very happy with the results including the lighting and colors resulting to very minimal need for post-processing. I used a Canon Rebel T6s camera with a Canon EF-S 18-200mm lens for these photographs.
Posted on May 18, 2021
The pink lotus is a sacred symbol in the Hindu and Buddhist faiths and in Asian culture it symbolizes purity and enlightenment. This majestic flower thrives in muddy swamps and its existence is oftentimes used as a metaphor to our daily lives with the muddy waters symbolizing the craziness around us while the pink lotus blooming above it symbolizing our ability to bloom into the best version of ourselves despite the circumstances.
These photographs of a pink lotus were taken near the ruins of Beng Mealea outside the city of Siem Reap in Cambodia. This solitary bloom was situated right in the middle of a swamp and I wanted to move closer for a close-up but my guide warned me of snakes so I opted to stay within the snake-free zone. I realized I’ll never be a National Geographic photographer as I don’t have the balls to risk it for the perfect shot. 😬
Posted on May 11, 2021
Venice is probably one of the most fascinating places I’ve ever visited. It’s like being in a dream, like you’re in a fantasy world. And it gets better at twilight when most of the tourists have returned to the mainland for the evening. Suddenly it seems like you have the city all to yourself with the sounds of life becoming softer and a stronger connection with everything around you is felt. You also start noticing the many things you failed to notice earlier in the day: the Renaissance-inspired architecture, the rich earthy tones of the city, the cobblestone streets leading to neighborhood squares, the narrow canals and the stone bridges that crosses them and the multiple arches and columns that line the many narrow alleyways turning the city into one giant maze. Venice is such a magical place and it surely is every photographers paradise. I was like a child in a candy store the first time I visited the city. Here are a few of the many photographs I took the day I fell in love with the City of Love.
Posted on May 1, 2021
I took these night and day photos of the island of San Giorgio Maggiore from my hotel suite window at the Baglioni Hotel Luna in Venice, Italy. The belltower of the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore has been an iconic landmark of the Venetian lagoon and a focal point of view from the Piazetta. The first photo below was taken right before sunset while the second one was taken at night. Torn on which photo to use as my primary feature for this post, I decided to play with both by merging them together. I thought it amusing to see different times of the day on the same photo. By the way, I took these with my camera handheld so it’s just pure luck that I captured the same spot at almost the same angle. I used a Canon Rebel T6s for these photographs and the app Pixelmator to combine both photos.
Posted on April 22, 2021
My friends Gary and Melanie have always been my ever reliable fans when it comes to my photography. I have taken their engagement photos back in 2015 and when they were expecting their first baby in 2019 I also took their maternity photos. So when they found out they were expecting baby number two, it didn’t come as a surprise when they asked me to take their maternity photos again. They wanted the photoshoot at the beach so I suggested the Lauderdale-by-the-Sea Pier just north of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I thought having the pier in the background would be a nice addition to the sun, surf and sand. We timed the photoshoot early in the morning so as the light from the sun was not at its harshest. These photos were taken end of January and on the first week of April they welcomed a healthy baby boy into their family. Perhaps our next project will be a family portrait…we’ll see.
Posted on March 23, 2021
Whenever I see a bee, I always run the opposite direction. I grew up fearing them after seeing the swollen faces of neighborhood kids after getting stung by one. Today I decided to overcome my fear, after all, should I get stung on the cheeks or lips then I get instant fillers for free. LOL. I was walking my dog this morning when I noticed these bees happily hovering over a bed of flowers. Thanks to my ever reliable iPhone 11 Pro Max I was able to capture these pollinators at work. I took these photos with the subject about 6-10 inches away from my phone. I guess today is my lucky day as none of them got pissed at me for crossing into their personal space. No puffy cheeks and lips though but these close-up photographs are more than good enough for me today.
Posted on March 12, 2021
The Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire) province in the southern tip of Argentina is every nature lover’s paradise. I can’t imagine how Charles Darwin felt when he first explored this region almost two hundred years ago. This was first discovered by Ferdinand Magellan on his way to the Pacific and was named after the bonfires dotting the shoreline, which were produced by the natives most likely for heating. I visited this southernmost part of the world back in December of 2018 and captured this photograph at the area where the world’s southernmost post office stands. I did not have my DSLR ready and the rainbow was slowly fading so I used my iPhone 7 Plus to capture the moment. I later took more pictures with my DSLR (sans rainbow) and will feature them in another post.
Posted on March 5, 2021
Posted on February 25, 2021
I saw these beautiful mushrooms during my walk with my dog this morning. As she was doing her business, I noticed this cluster of umbrella looking mushrooms growing gracefully amongst grasses and shrubs. The sunlight, filtered by the trees above it, created the perfect mood lighting for a photograph. Thanks to my iPhone 11 Pro Max, I was able to instantly capture the scene and this one is my favorite. Upon further research, I discovered that they are called Pleated Inkcap, and sometimes as the Little Japanese Umbrella. Luckily I photographed them at the perfect time as they decay within 24 hours that by tomorrow I will never see any evidence that these beauties ever existed.
Posted on January 30, 2021
About two miles north of my apartment building is a pier that I’ve always wanted to photograph during sunrise but it remained a goal for so long now as I unfortunately have never been able to get out of bed that early. Today was a special case as my friends (husband and wife) asked me to take their maternity photos at the beach and wanted the shoot early in the morning to capture the sunrise. I agreed to the early morning shoot in order to finally cross out the pier on my to photograph list. It was a beautiful morning with a generous amount of puffy clouds for a much needed drama to my composition. I had my Canon DSLR with me but didn’t have my wide angle lens so I decided to use my iPhone 11 Pro Max for these wide angle shots, which surprisingly turned out very good. I love taking photographs of sunrises and sunsets and the sun in itself is magnificent enough for a subject, however, an additional subject in the foreground, such as a pier in this case, can make a sunrise or sunset photo more dramatic.
Posted on January 15, 2021
A trip to Granada isn’t complete without visiting the majestic palace of Alhambra, which is one of the last Islamic palaces built in Spain by the Moors. The palace is one architectural masterpiece and its interiors remind me much of the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey mostly due to the colorful mosaics and geometric designs. I also enjoyed exploring the palace gardens, which was bursting in a kaleidoscope of colors from the multiple flowering plants. Here are some of the photos I took of the garden blooms using my iPhone 7 Plus.
Posted on January 11, 2021
Two years ago, I sailed through the Beagle Channel, which is a strait between Argentina and Chile in the southern tip of South America, passing through the breathtaking Glacier Alley. Charles Darwin himself sailed through this very channel and saw glaciers for the first time back in 1833. This was also my first time to sail in this part of the world but not my first to see glaciers. Of the many glaciers we sailed past, the Romanche intrigued me the most because of the waterfall flowing out of the edge of the glacier cascading down into the channel. I took these photographs of the Romanche from the balcony of my stateroom as we slowly sailed through this magical land named Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire).
Posted on January 1, 2021
It’s just the first day of 2021 and everyone is already fervently praying for a much better year….way better than the previous one. I’m sure you all know what I’m talking about as none of us have been spared from the wrath of this pandemic, in one way or another. I personally have lost a friend, an aunt, family friends, colleagues and a sad number of my patients to the virus. This pandemic has made me change significantly the way I live my life. When I decided to compose this post, I struggled finding the right photographs to welcome this new year. I had to go back as far as 2016 to find the perfect photos, which were taken in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean during a trans-Atlantic cruise. I woke up early that morning to catch the sunrise and noticed the cloudy skies reflecting the sun’s rich morning light. I’ve never seen a sunrise that fiery almost looked like a sunset. I chose these photos as mornings symbolizes new beginnings. With this new year ahead of us, there is so much to be hopeful for although nothing is gonna change overnight but we have the power to change its course. Stay safe everyone…wash your hands before touching your face, wear a mask and social distance. Happy New Year to All!
Posted on December 20, 2020
The title of this post is a literal translation of the phrase “Waxing gibbous moon by the Colosseum” to Italian. I thought the translation sounded sexier than the original English text. LOL! When I took these photographs my intention was to capture the Roman Colosseum in multiple angles until I noticed the moon in one of the arches so I started including it in my compositions. It would have been nicer had it been a full moon but a waxing gibbous moon was just as good, it being the phase prior to a full moon. Thankfully, the sky was still bright enough for me to capture the details on the moon’s surface. Had I taken these an hour later the moon would have been just a pale yellow ball in the sky.
If you visited Rome between 2011 and early 2016, you would have seen the ongoing restoration work on the Colosseum, which was mostly covered in scaffolding. The shoe-and-luxury goods maker Tod’s donated millions for the restoration of this architectural wonder so lucky me to have visited it just as the project culminated. Anyway, it’s good to see the Colosseum in a cleaner state and am glad to know that more restoration work are being done to this day. Maybe the next time I’m in Rome I’ll get to see the additional renovations and when I take new photographs a full moon will be high up in the sky to photobomb this magnificent piece of architecture.
Posted on December 11, 2020
Another one of my morning walk photos taken using my iphone. I was on the boardwalk and noticed two egrets walking on the grassy side of the beach obviously in search of breakfast. While photographing these beautiful creatures, I noticed the curtains of light streaming out of the clouds in the distance. The whole scene reminded me of drawings of the Garden of Eden…that if Eden was by the sea and had only two egrets for residents.
Posted on December 1, 2020
I have always dreamed of going on a safari tour in Africa and photograph as many animals as I can possibly see. Unfortunately, that opportunity hasn’t come yet although that didn’t stop me from trying something close, or maybe not, to an African safari experience. A few years ago while visiting my sister and her family in Dallas, Texas, they took me to a wildlife center called Fossil Rim near Glen Rose, Texas. The facility is a conservation and research center focused on species in peril in an environment almost similar to an African safari. Visitors drive around in their own vehicles and some animals are even friendly enough to come up to your car. They sell feeds at the ticket center and visitors can feed the animals…something you probably will never be able to do in an actual safari experience. These are some of the photographs I took during our visit. Below is a link to the park’s website in case you’re interested in visiting it in the future: https://fossilrim.org
Posted on November 29, 2020
Two days ago, I was walking along the beach for my morning walk when I noticed a flock of seagulls swirling around a specific section of the beach. They would fly to the water then soar back to the beach then over the street before swarming back to the beach again as if anticipating for something big to happen. Suddenly I noticed this man walking towards the beach with a plastic bag and realized he was there to feed the gulls. It also seemed like this wasn’t his first time feeding them as the gulls seem to recognize him and were very excited to see him again. It was fascinating to watch the interaction between the man and the seagulls, which expressed their utmost appreciation for the free meal by making loud squawks. Thankfully, I had my phone with me and was able to capture the moment, except for the feeding part as I was too mesmerized and forgot to take more photos. It is truly amazing how humans and the rest of the animal kingdom can actually bond together…via food.
Posted on November 24, 2020
I first came to know about the Blue Ridge Mountains from the lyrics of the John Denver song “Take Me Home, Country Roads”. Growing up in the Philippines, this was totally an entire world away from me, an insignificant part to the lyrics of a famous song. But life is indeed full of surprises and I found myself immigrating to the United States and suddenly all these places I once heard in songs are now just a drive away.
Two years ago, my better half and I went on a road trip to Pittsburgh, a drive which actually took us through the very heart of this legendary mountain range. Since it was my first time in the area, we decided to stay for a few days in Asheville, North Carolina to explore the city and the surrounding mountains. We booked a stay at the luxurious OMNI Grove Park Inn, which sits on the western slopes of Sunset Mountain within the Blue Ridge Mountain range. One of best things about this resort is the breathtaking and unobstructed views of the Blue Ridge Mountains across the valley where the city of Asheville sits. We then splurged a little bit and got a room with endless views of the mountains.
On our last day at the resort, we decided to watch the sunset from one of the many viewing decks while enjoying a few cocktails to celebrate this leg of our trip. Unfortunately, it was a bit cloudy so we failed to see the sun go down behind the mountains. Although, the clouds filtering the last of the sunlight created this pinkish sky which perfectly complemented the hazy blues of the mountains. I also love how the shadows came in varying shades of blue further emphasizing the multiple peaks that make up the mountain range. The photographer in me immediately saw the need to capture the beauty before me so I rushed back to our hotel room to grab my camera.
I took dozens of shots of the mountain range before me zooming my lens in and out to capture multiple perspectives. I do love how dreamy the photographs turned out to be. Finally, the Blue Ridge mountains are no longer just a line from a song. They now evoke beautiful memories of our brief stay in Asheville as well as of our lovely drive through it on our way to our next adventure.
Posted on November 19, 2020
We were on our way to Peninsula Valdes, a nature reserve in Argentina listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage site, to see a colony of Magellanic penguins, sea lions and seals when our tour guide started pointing at these llama looking animals with the face of a camel. We were driving through the grasslands of the Patagonia so there was barely any obstruction to our view of these beautiful creatures. They’re called guanacos and they are close relatives to the camels, vicunas, llamas and alpacas. Unfortunately, we were on a scheduled tour so the bus didn’t stop to allow us to take photographs. All these photos were taken from inside a moving tour bus. I had to adjust the settings on my DSLR for sharper images. Thankfully, I had my zoom lens on my camera which allowed me to photograph them from a distance.
Posted on November 9, 2020
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Below are photos of our one-bedroom suite (Diplomat Suite)
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