THE ROMANCHE UP CLOSE

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).

A NEW BEGINNING

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!

LUNA GIBBOSA CRESCENTE DAL COLOSSEO

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.

SA-FAUX-RI

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

BLUE RIDGE IN THE DUSK

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.

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