Posted on September 21, 2017
Flying is for me one of the most exciting aspects of travelling. I love the thrill of the takeoff from the powerful vibration of the aircraft to the ferocious rumble of its engine. I always sit by the window to watch everything speed by until the aircraft touches the sky and everything below looks like a miniature toy set. During my vacation last month, my flight’s takeoff schedule coincided with the sunrise so that got me excited hoping to capture a few interesting shots. As soon as I got a glimpse of the sun I started snapping with my iPhone 7 Plus and framed the wing as an additional focal point to my composition. I also included my home city of Fort Lauderdale below for a sense of height. The rich golden yellow light of the sun casting shadows all over also created a multidimensional effect on the clouds. One technique I do when using my phone on a plane is to press the phone flat on the window to prevent reflections. Here are four photos I took as my plane soared over the Atlantic Ocean on it’s way to my vacation destination.
Posted on September 8, 2017
My home state of Florida is under major threat from massive Hurricane Irma, which is probably one of the strongest storms in the Caribbean basin. I will be in my condo building by the beach hunkering the storm and should the winds get too strong, the stairwell will be my refuge for a few hours. Having grown up in the Philippines, I’ve had my fill of hurricanes or typhoons as we call it on that side of the planet. However, Hurricane Irma will be my first Category 5 so I’m bracing myself for some crazy and scary experience.
Since I am in the middle of a hurricane experience, I reckon the photo above is the most appropriate to post today. This photo was taken a month ago at the beach area of the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort and Spa where I was lounging at the poolside to take advantage of my club membership. I saw these ominous looking clouds rolling from the west and hurriedly pulled out my iPhone 7 Plus to capture as many photos as I can. I actually submitted this photo to The Weather Channel’s It’s Amazing Out There Photo Contest and I hope it gets recognized. Announcement of winners is on Monday, September 11, 2017 while I’m hunkering from the wrath of Irma. I sure do hope that by the time the storm passes, good news will be waiting for me from The Weather Channel.
Posted on July 19, 2017
My balcony faces west so I get a front seat panorama of spectacular sunsets almost every day. I’ve been taking photographs of the sunset from my balcony but the lack of an interesting subject in the foreground produced less interesting compositions. One day I noticed my little buddha on the balcony floor and decided to be creative with my photography. Instead of using the sunset as my subject, I focused my camera on the buddha and used the blazing sky as my background. The photo above was taken a few weeks ago and was my first attempt in capturing the buddha as a silhouette. Today the sunset had the sky blazing again so I dropped on my belly with my iPhone and captured the photos below.
Posted on July 5, 2017
Yesterday the United States of America celebrated its Independence Day commemorating the day the 13 American colonies declared independence from the British empire. The highlight of this holiday is a festive fireworks display celebrated all over the country. Luckily, I live 5 minutes walk to the beach where my home city’s firework showcase was to be held. It being a last minute decision I ended up not finding my tripod and taking the photos handheld. I enjoyed watching the fireworks display and captured a few decent shots. I am posting 16 shots that I personally like and hope you guys like them too. The settings I used were f/16, 4 seconds and ISO100. Happy 4th of July to all!
Posted on October 9, 2016
I was driving out of a shopping mall parking lot when I saw this magnificent display of colors in the darkening sky. I had to step on my brakes, pull out my phone and roll down my window in order to capture the beauty before me. Mother nature sure has her ways of making us shudder in fear as well as exclaim in wonder. Just a day before, she was unleashing all her fury on us then a day later here she was flaunting off her breathtaking beauty. This photo was taken a day after the hurricane Matthew threat to my home city thus the title of this post. By the way, thank you all for your kind messages on my previous post…it was comforting to read them while waiting for the arrival of the hurricane. I’m also happy to announce that we luckily dodged the storm with no significant damages. This won’t be the last so I will need to always be prepared. I guess it’s also the price we pay for living in this tropical paradise state of Florida.
Posted on October 6, 2016
Living in sunny Florida is like a dream come true, however, not all dreams can be pleasant experiences. Sometimes, nightmares happen and sad to say, I am experiencing one right now. In a few hours, the eastern coastline of Florida will be hit by one of the strongest hurricane in about a decade. Hurricane Matthew is on its way to unleash his fury on the sunshine state and we are expecting for the worst and hoping for the best. Matthew is now a category 4 hurricane and will be closest to my home city of Fort Lauderdale around 7-8 pm today (about 4 hours from now). I just hope we don’t get hit that bad later tonight…wish me luck, guys!
Posted on September 23, 2016
I have always wanted to experience a safari adventure but when friends told me about camping out in the wild I immediately crossed it out of my bucket list. Camping for me includes hot showers, plush towels, soft beds and 24-hour wifi access. Thankfully, Disney had me in their thoughts when they built an African safari at their Animal Kingdom park in Orlando, Florida. The 15-minute tour takes you through forests and grasslands filled with “free roaming” animals for an Out of Africa experience. The photo above was taken at the grasslands sections with these rhinos crossing behind our tram. Luckily, I was sitting on the last row thus providing me an unobstructed view of a great photo opportunity behind me.
Posted on September 17, 2016
This replica of the majestic Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China is found in the heart of Walt Disney World’s EPCOT Center in Orlando, Florida. The park has a world showcase complex featuring pavilions representing individual countries. The China pavilion features a paifang at the entrance as well as shops and restaurants showcasing Chinese art, cuisine and culture. The Temple of Heaven is the entrance to a 360-degree cinematic tour of China, which is the entertainment highlight of the pavilion. The tour takes you around China visiting natural and man-made landmarks as well as provide a basic understanding of the Chinese people and their rich culture. This pavilion is my favorite part of the park and I took this photo using my iPhone 6.
Posted on August 10, 2016
My Friday nights are usually spent at a favorite restaurant to celebrate the end of another work week for some munching and sipping. About four Fridays ago, I had dinner with neighbors at this Fort Lauderdale landmark restaurant called Seawatch. This restaurant has balcony tables offering a spectacular view of the ocean and the beach. Initially, I was annoyed about the palm leaves partially blocking my view but decided to include them to add an interesting touch to my composition. I always sit at this section of the restaurant as the view de-stresses me from the crazy week that just passed. The salty ocean breeze and the amazing view transports me to a lalaland until my favorite plate of crunchy calamari gets served…then I float back down to reality.
Posted on August 4, 2016
I took this photo 5 years ago the day I bought a tripod camera stand and just a few weeks after I bought my first DSLR camera. A friend joined me for a photo walk of our neighborhood to play with our new cameras when we found ourselves on the Venetian Causeway, a bridgeway which connects mainland Miami through the Venetian Isles composed of 6 artificial islands all the way to Miami Beach. During this shoot, I was still ignorant on how to set the manual mode of my camera so I used instead the night mode feature out of convenience (horror!). I also made sure the bridge was empty of vehicles and pedestrians when I took the shot in order to create the deserted atmosphere of the photo. This shot never really caught my eye until a few days ago while reviewing my photo bank that I realized it has an interesting look to it. I attempted to convert it to black and white, which turned out really nice, but decided last minute to post this colored version instead.
Posted on June 24, 2016
Morada Bay Beach Cafe in Islamorada, Florida was a pitstop during my drive home from a weekend of fun and sun in the island of Key West. This restaurant, which was highly recommended by a coworker, does not only serve delicious meals…it also offers a breathtaking view of the bay from your table. The tables, chairs and umbrellas are painted with bright colors providing a festive atmosphere and complementing the spectacular scenery. I was truly lucky to arrive before the lunch crowd and got to photograph the place empty. This place will now be my official stop next time I drive down to Key West in the future.
Posted on June 21, 2016
Summer has finally arrived and what better way to present it than a beautiful sunset on a tropical island in South Florida. This photograph was taken during the last few minutes of sunset just as the sun was about to take a bow before diving deep into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. It was also great to capture the golden lights of the sun in the horizon at the same time capturing the deep blue expanse of the upper sky behind a bravura display of wispy clouds. Lastly, the silhouette of boats sailing across the ocean provided a sense of adventure as well as a romantic perspective to this composition. What a beautiful world we live in and I find myself very lucky to witness breathtaking views like this as it also continues to fuel my passion for photography.
Posted on June 18, 2016
If you are looking for white sandy beaches, colorful coral reefs, breathtaking sunsets, rich culture, top rate dining and laid-back island vibe…then Key West, Florida is a must visit for you. The adventure begins when you drive down from Miami through the Overseas Highway passing through hundreds of islands home to amazing nature reserves. The long and slow drive ends in the island of Key West also known as the Southernmost Point of Continental USA and just 90 miles away from Cuba. A trip to Key West has become part of my annual tradition and each trip is just as wonderful as the previous ones with new places to explore and more photographs to capture. The photo above was taken at the pier of The Reach Resort by Waldorf Astoria where I captured the emerald waters, sapphire skies and lime-colored buildings of a nearby resort. I was also lucky to capture this seabird soaring in front of me adding a touch of nature in this photo of a tropical dream. So if you are planning to visit South Florida, don’t miss a chance to drive down to Key West and let this spectacular view greet you everyday during your stay.
Posted on June 14, 2016
A wedding is a beautiful celebration of life and love and is probably one of the most unforgettable moments in every couple’s life. I witnessed one this weekend as the ceremony was right below my room’s balcony, which had a great view of the resort’s beachfront. The wedding was celebrated just as the sun was setting in the horizon providing a spectacular backdrop and a romantic touch to the occasion. The whole scene inspired me so much that I immediately grabbed my iphone and captured the moment on panoramic mode sweeping from the wedding party, the beach and water to the setting sun in the distance. May this lovely couple be blessed with all the love and happiness in the world throughout their marriage.
Posted on June 11, 2016
I am currently in Key West, Florida for the weekend for some sun, surf and munch. I was a little worried that the weather would be horrible as we just had a tropical storm a few days ago. Thankfully, the Sunshine State lived up to it’s name and blasted this island with lots of sunshine and some nasty humidity. Key West is the southernmost point of continental USA and is one of the most visited places in Florida. It is a very picturesque island town with an old world feel to it inspiring the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Tennessee Williams who onced called this place home. Today, I decided to enjoy some island sun and beautiful blue waters by taking photographs of the pier at the beachfront of The Reach Resort – Waldorf Astoria. I am not a beach person so I happily stood by the shore and took a few panoramic photos of the pier using my iPhone 6. After a few sweaty attempts to capture this photo, I immediately headed back to my hotel room for some much needed airconditioning and lots of pillow time…this is how I spend my vacations. LOL!
Posted on May 29, 2016
The Cinderella Castle is the very heart of Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom in reference to its location and it being the access point to every themed land in the park. I took this photo of the castle from Main Street USA, a street lined with shops depicting early-20th century small-town America and inspired by Walt Disney’s childhood. I was about to head out of the park when I decided to take one last look and saw the magical magnificence of the illuminated castle in the distance. I thought its light blue illumination made it pop out in the darkness while the golden lights of the Main Street buildings framed it beautifully from both sides. Truly a beacon for every child’s dream (and adults too).
Posted on May 21, 2016
Every time I visit Orlando, I always allocate one night of my trip for an evening of strolling and dining in Downtown Disney. This huge collection of shops, restaurants, bars, cinemas and arcades wrapping around a lake (named Village Lake) is the pitstop for visitors after a day in the park. The place has been recently renamed to Disney Springs but I prefer the old name because just like every city downtown, it is the very heart of the entire Disney complex. I took this photo on my way to dinner after noticing the beautiful colors in the sky just as the sun was about to set. The rich and bright colors reflecting on the water transformed the whole lake into a spectacular canvas of red, purple and gold. The amusing part of this photo, which I took in 2012, is that this was taken using an iPhone 4s.
Posted on May 5, 2016
Early this year, I found myself in Leesburg, Florida to become the godfather of my friend’s daughter during her baptism into the Catholic faith. My goddaughter’s nickname is Nishka and I consider it an honor to be asked as her godfather. The baptism party gathered friends from different parts of the state and it also served as our mini-reunion. After the baptismal party at a hotel ballroom, we moved to my friends home for more food, drinks and karaoke (it’s a Filipino thing. LOL!). While everybody was busy singing and partying, I stepped out into the backyard and was greeted by this bright and beautiful full moon. I took a few shots and all I got of the moon was a solid ball of light. I decided to take a separate photo of the moon to capture more details and superimposed it on the foreground photo for a better effect. I was never a fan of manipulating photos so I was quiet hesitant to post this. However, I saw a photo of my goddaughter earlier today and decided to go ahead and dedicate this photo to her…thus the title of this post. May she grow up to be as lovely as the moon on the night of her baptism.
Posted on April 23, 2016
A few hours ago I made a last minute decision to drive to Lauderdale-by-the-Sea, a small town north of Fort Lauderdale, Florida and 10 minutes away from my house, to try to photograph the moon rising from the horizon. The town’s beach area features a pier, which I decided to use as subject for my photography. While waiting for the moonrise, I practiced photographing the waves trying to capture them in a foam-like effect. This one is my favorite as the spread of the waves were consistently the same from where I was standing all the way to the pier. As for the moon, I found out that moonrise was at 9:12PM and I already made dinner plans so I decided to pack up and head back home. I’ll just do my moon photography on the next full moon.
Posted on April 7, 2016
During my interview with the company who hired me for work in the United States, the interviewer asked me where in the USA I would want to relocate and I replied “anywhere near Disneyland”. It may have sounded funny for the interviewer but I was dead on serious about living close to a Disney park. When I was 10 years old, a neighbor gave me a pictorial souvenir of Walt Disney World and I grew up staring at the photos dreaming of visiting it someday. Disney World was a childhood dream that always lingered deep inside my heart and mind so imagine my joy when the interview ended with a job offer to sunny Florida where Walt Disney World is located. My work assignment was in Miami but it was good enough for me as Orlando was just a few hours drive. Since my move to Florida, a visit to Walt Disney World has become part of my annual tradition and each time I step into the park and come face to face with Cinderella’s Castle, I pinch my arm to remind myself that everything is for real. I know I have come a long way from being that kid who once dreamed of coming to Disney and I am very proud to say that through perseverance and hard work I eventually made that childhood dream come.
Posted on March 4, 2016
Lazy Days is actually the name of a seaside restaurant on the island of Islamorada, in the Florida Keys, where I took this photo after stopping by for lunch on my way to Key West. The restaurant’s balcony offers panoramic views of the beach and the ocean just like a scene from South Pacific. The Florida Keys is a chain of islands in the southern tip of Florida sandwiched by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. These islands are literally pieces of paradise on earth where South Floridians like me oftentimes go on retreat during the weekends to enjoy the island vibe and scenery. If this was the view in front of you, you will probably wish every day was a lazy day.
Posted on February 22, 2016
The photo above was taken from the top deck of the Celebrity Reflection cruise ship before we sailed out of Miami for the Caribbean. This multicultural and dynamic city is known to the world for its sun, sea and surf lifestyle…although, there is more to Miami than that. This megacity is also recognized as the cruising capital of the world and as the gateway to the US for South America and the Caribbean islands. It wouldn’t come as a surprise that the city has so much Latin and Caribbean vibe.
Miami also happens to be my first home in the United States and my old neighborhood is in that cluster of buildings on the middle left of the photo. It’s pretty awesome waking up in the morning and stepping out into the balcony then seeing the beautiful waters and the sun rising from the horizon. It was like a dream…but I’m truly glad to have lived that dream.
This photo was taken using my iPhone 6 in panoramic mode.
Posted on February 4, 2016
The EPCOT Center (Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow) is one of the four theme parts making up the Walt Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida. I was told that this was originally built by Disney with the intention of having people live here and serve as a model of a planned community with approximately twenty thousand residents. Today, the park celebrates human achievement in technological innovation and international culture. The sphere at the middle right of the photo is the centerpiece of the park and is called Spaceship Earth. It is my favorite attraction as it transports you through the history of man from the Stone Age to the computer era. My second favorite part of the park is the World Showcase featuring 11 pavilions themed to represent a specific country. My special favorites are the Mexico, China and Japan pavilions.
Posted on January 26, 2016
I was in Leesburg, Central Florida this weekend to attend the baptism of my friends daughter. They live close to this retirement community called The Villages where this lake, named Cherry Lake, is also located. The town is a 55-and-up community with their own shopping centers, bars, restaurants, cinemas, medical/dental clinics, groceries, sports and other recreation facilities. It was also weird seeing a lighhouse beside this tiny lake until I realized the whole town is staged including those boats floating in the middle of the lake.
Posted on January 6, 2016
I have always known about the Morikami Japanese Garden and Museum in Delray Beach, Florida but have never bothered to drive up and see the place. About a few weeks ago, a friend from Montreal came down to visit and him being into gardening it was inevitable not to include this garden as part of the must-see itinerary. The garden features a central lake surrounded by Japanese themed gardens, a museum and restaurant all connected by about a mile long pathway. This photo features the Kodai-mon, a traditional Japanese gateway, which frames the view of the bamboo-lined pathway as well as of the koi-filled lake ahead. Next time I need a place to sit down and clear my thoughts, I will surely be driving up to this garden of zen.
Posted on January 3, 2016
As the sun rises from the horizon each morning, it brings us the new hope of a better day filled with new opportunities and new adventures. With the new year just a few days old, we ponder on what’s in store for us and at the same time make resolutions to make better decisions this year. I am therefore posting this photo I took in South Beach of the sun rising from the Atlantic Ocean to represent the new year and the great things that awaits us. This man happened to be fishing and I thought it would be interesting to include him in my photo composition. They say that in life it’s the early bird who catches the worm…hope he was able to catch a lot of fishes. LOL! Every morning, life blesses us with a brand new set of opportunities…I hope this year will be generous to each one of us!
Posted on December 16, 2015
This was my first attempt on night sky photography with the intention to capture as many stars as possible. I was staying at this resort in Key West and about close to midnight, I quietly positioned my camera along the beach hoping to capture something good. After reading a few night sky photography tips online, I pointed my camera into the darkness and kept the shutter open for 20 seconds…and this was the outcome! Not the best night sky photograph captured…but hey, there’s always a first time.
Posted on December 5, 2015
Here is a view of Miami from across the bay at the Rusty Pelican Restaurant in the island of Key Biscayne. I took this photo just as the sun was setting and twilight slowly creeping in. People flock to this restaurant to dine and admire Miami’s beautiful skyline. The most coveted tables are the ones closest to the water where one can enjoy a panoramic view of this dynamic and multicultural city.
Posted on November 27, 2015
I discovered this old church/monastery in North Miami, Florida while waiting for my Filipino friends for lunch. The restaurant was just across the street from the church and with Filipinos being fashionably late, I decided to use my waiting time to explore the compound. I learned that this church was originally built in 1133 in Sacramenia, Northern Spain and was dedicated to the Virgin Mary. In 1925, William Randolph Hearst bought it and had it dismantled stone by stone then shipped to the United States in 11,000 crates. It was again bought by two entrepreneurs who wanted to turn it into a tourist attraction taking them 19 months to rebuild the entire church. In 1953 Time Magazine called it “the biggest jigsaw puzzle in history”.
Posted on November 25, 2015
This photo was taken during one of my weekend vacations in the enchanting island of Key West, Florida where you can witness one of the worlds most beautiful sunsets. At the end of each day, tourists flock at Mallory Square or aboard boat cruises out at sea in order to witness the famous sunset. This photo does not give justice to the breathtaking experience of watching the sunset in Key West.
Posted on November 4, 2015
The Everglades is home to Floridas countless variety of wildlife species with the strongest and fiercest ones staying on top of the food chain. I was lucky enough to capture this photo of two birds fighting for territorial dominance with the bigger bird winning the duel. In such a wild environment, everyday is a fight for survival for these animals. Surprisingly, this scenario is not quite far in comparison to us humans where life in itself is also about the survival of the fittest.
Posted on October 31, 2015
I was actually trying to photograph the sunset when suddenly a jetski zoomed by causing pandemonium to the birds who were quietly enjoying the view. I guess I snapped my camera on time to capture all these birds flying out adding a nice perspective to my photograph. This photo was taken at the Mallory Square in Key West, Florida.
Posted on October 29, 2015
Posted on October 22, 2015
Miami is one of the most diverse and exciting cities in the United States. Imagine my jubilation when my employer informed me that my job assignment was in this vibrant and colorful city. Before I moved to my new home in Fort Lauderdale, a city few minutes north of Miami, I used to live in this amazing bayside neighborhood called Midtown Miami right by the Design District. In fact, my old apartment building is the fourth one from the right (refer to photo) close to restaurants, art galleries, design shops and high end designer stores. I felt very lucky to wake up every morning with a spectacular view of the bay, the causeway and Miami Beach across the water. I also get to eat breakfast at my balcony while watching the sun climb up the horizon. However, life, love and work happily moved me to another part of South Florida. Miami was my first home in the United States….and I will always consider myself a “Miamian” by heart!
Posted on October 18, 2015
The Cypress Slough (pronounced “slew”) in Fort Myers, Florida is home to a diverse population of plants and animals. A portion of the 11-mile-long preserve has an elevated boardwalk allowing visitors a glimpse of nature’s beauty without stepping into the swampy terrain. When I passed through this section of the preserve, I noticed the trees were all bare like remnants to an apocalyptic tragedy. Apparently, there is more to Florida than just palm trees and sandy beaches.
Posted on October 11, 2015
Living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is like being on vacation year round with the beach just a short drive away…in my case, 10 minutes. I am not a beach person so the ocean being so close didn’t really matter much to me when I first moved here from Miami (home of the world famous South Beach). However, every now and then I take the time to drive down to the beach to enjoy the salty breeze and the spectacular view. This morning was one of those days (happens about two to three times a year) when I felt the need to see the ocean. Thankfully, the beach wasn’t crowded so I got to take a few decent shots minus the crazy crowds. Fort Lauderdale Beach was once popular amongst university students coming here for Spring Break. Today the city host visitors from all over the world who wants to enjoy some Florida sunshine minus the chaotic vibe of South Beach in Miami.
Posted on August 18, 2015
Posted on August 3, 2015
Posted on August 2, 2015
I initially did not appreciate this photo until I converted it to black and white. I took dozens of photos on the pier but this was the only one I took underneath the pier. Turned out surprisingly nice and is now one of my few personal favorites. This photo was taken at the Naples Pier in Naples, FL during a day trip to explore the city.
Posted on August 1, 2015
A trip to Key West, FL will never be complete without witnessing it’s world famous sunset. People gather at Mallory Square to witness the sun go down but the place can get too crowded so you have to come early to find the perfect spot. I was lucky to be staying at The Pier House Resort, which has its own private beach and a direct view of the sunset, so I was able to take all these photos minus a crowd of tourists pushing to get the best shot.
Posted on August 1, 2015
This photo hooked me into photography big time. I took this photo the day I bought my first tripod stand. This was a huge hit among my Facebook friends that I decided to submit it to the 2011 Electric Avenue Downtown Miami Photo Contest. I won first place and got myself a new camera lens.