San Diego Visit

View of San Diego downtown 

 

My wife Irene wanted to visit San Diego for the longest time. On August 9, we finally decided to take 3 days off and drove for a long way for a visit. In between of gas stops, restroom break, and lots of traffic in L.A., we drove over 10 hours. Arrived at Omni Hotel and checked in around 6:30pm. 

We both were so hungry, and Irene was craving for Japanese sushi. She also a super fan of Yelp, with the search. We found a 4+ stars Japanese cuisine, Taka Sushi. I had to say, it's been a while since the last trip from Japan that I had such a good Japanese tasting. I would recommend this place, and you won't regret this. I promise. Trust me, I don't get pay for saying this. :-)

After dinner, we decided to drive around the city and check out the view from Centennial Park. On the way to the park, we drove by homeless issues, with many unsheltered people living on the streets. We both were a little worry when we came to this part of the world, but shortly. We crossed San Diego-Coronado bridge. With the help of GPS, we got to 1101 1st St, Coronado, easily. The image above was the first class view of downtown San Diego from the park. 

By 10:30pm, Irene was really tired, so we went back to the hotel. Luckily, this time we didn't have to pass the homeless part of the town. 

After shower, I immediately went to out to the patio. The view was beautiful, with Hilton Bayfront, convention center, trolleys, and the bridges with all those streets lights sparkling like stars. I love this view even better than the view from Contennial Park, I honestly do. Thanks to Irene for chosen this hotel, very pricey, but well worth it. This was our first time visited San Diego, and it will not be the last.

Harbor Drive Pedestrian Bridge

The Wave

The Wave

Lights From Above

Slot Canyon Art

Wikipedia ~ Antelope Canyon was formed by erosion of Navajo Sandstone, primarily due to flash flooding and secondarily due to other sub-aerial processes. Rainwater, especially during monsoon season, runs into the extensive basin above the slot canyon sections, picking up speed and sand as it rushes into the narrow passageways. Over time the passageways eroded away, making the corridors deeper and smoothing hard edges in such a way as to form characteristic 'flowing' shapes in the rock.

Antelope Canyons are truly God's creation at work. Every where you turn, the views are different. As lights strike into the canyon and bounce off from wall to wall, created brilliant colors and hues.  I love exploring different shapes, lines, textures, and colors. It was too much fun and never enough time of being. Love to go back again, again, and again...

 

Yosemite Naional Park With Justin Ly

Yosemite trip with Justin Ly for spring break.

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A Walk In Mill Valley

 

Finally after the rain stopped around 11am, I drove to Mill Valley to check out the water flow on this Cascade Falls. I knew it's gonna be good after so much rain for the last few days. As soon as I took the exit, it started to shower and rain off and on. So I went for a coffee and had breakfast.

After an hour of waiting for the rain to stopped which still was showering, I just went and took a look at the falls anyway. The water flow was strong, looking beautifully. I couldn't wait for the rain to stop anymore. The only problem was I forgot my towel that was supposedly in my backpack all the time. My camera and lens are getting pretty wet. I had no choice but to took off my top and used it to wiped dry my camera and lens.

Cascade Falls

Anselmo Creek

I thought I was the only one around with this kind of the weather, but I was wrong. I felt so embarrass when all the sudden two ladies came behind me. They properly thinking I must be crazy to take my top off in a wet day like this. Only took me less than seconds, my top was back on. My camera and lens are back into my backpack also.

I got back into my Suv and waited again. After 15 mins or so, there'sno more rain or shower. Still very dangerous because it's very muddy and slippery. I took a look around the opposite side of the trailhead. I just love those green mossy rocks and the strong streams of the water was really fun to photograph.

Ferns

I have always love ferns, and now is the perfect time to see. Beautiful healthy greens.

Streams Crossed

Yosemite Firefall, The Horsetail Fall

First Image Shot @ 5:03pm

On Feb 23, 2016, I visited Yosemite National Park for this natural Firefall. Each year in late February, hundreds of visitors including many professional photographers gather around for this amazing event. There are several spots for viewpoints in Yosemite Valley, which I don't want to jump into. You can easily Google it. Of course several factors must converge to trigger the Firefall. The most important factor is that Horsetail must be flowing, there it is, very strong. Secondly, clear sky must be in order for the sun lights to pass through to glow with this fall. Especially at the west where the sun is set. Looks like all the conditions were perfect, for now........

 
 

After 20 minutes later, I took another shot. Every conditions still look good with only exception that the wind had calmed a lot down. Without the wind blowing, water will not lift up to create mist, but that's not a problem as long as the sky is clear on the west where the sunset, then we are ok. I got a little excited, thinking that the Firefall should be very nice with all the conditions now. But with the weather condition at Yosemite, this firefall can be very finicky. I and the folks around me at the park were holding our breath and fingers cross, hoping to see this phenomenon event again. 

Second Image Shot @ 5:23pm

Third Image Shot @ 5:35pm

 

After the second shot, than the lights suddenly faded. The folks around me including myself were so disappointed. Some even thinking about to leaving. I had to insisted them to stay and told them about my mistakes in the past for giving up too soon. While we were talking, slowly the lights came back little bit and faded again. This third image was shot @ 5:35pm. I think this Firefall supposed to glow by now. But unfortunately, the sun was being block again and I really thought that this is it. However I still didn't want to leave yet, not at least after sunset in another 7 minutes or so.  I really didn't want to drive all the way here and go home with nothing. So I waited and pray to buddha, please glow the Firefall....

Fourth Image Shot @ 5:41pm

I was so disappointed for a few minutes that buddha didn't glow the Firefall. Ok, I was kidding about the buddha part, but my eyes never turn away from the fall. Then something happened, the granite colors changed slowly, very slowy into red and magenta. The crowd started to scream,cheer, and every one was happy. The natural Firefall came back like MAGIC! Trust me on this, there was nothing sounds better and louder than all the camera started to CLICKS. Even though this natural Firefall didn't glow from top to bottom, but this day, every one was happy to see this rare glimpse of this amazing natural phenomenon. As for me, I still haven't get this perfect amazing Firefall. Which means I have good excuse and reason for years to come back to witness and try to capture this perfect Firefall again....

My fall trip of 2015 to Lee Vining, California

I had been trying to get out here for so many weeks ago, but unexpected things happened week after weeks to kept me from going. Finally on the morning of October 27, 2015, I left home around 7am and started driving. After a long 8 hours drive because of road work, gas stop, rest to relieve my driving stress. Finally arrrived at June Lake Loop around 3:30pm. But all the tent campground 

 

on this loop were closed for the season. I tried the hotels on the loop, but all booked. Only cabins are avaible for $260 which I will not spend for a night of sleep. So I went back out on why 395 for a near by motels, but all had a sign of NO VACANCY. I kept on driving until I finally got a room at Bridgeport Inn at Bridgeport which is about an hour drive away. Checked-in around 7pm, ate dinner here which was pretty good. Then went for a hot shower, rested on bed. Took 2 ambient pills to help me fall to sleep easier which I did.

The next morning, I couldn't wake up at 5am when my alarm turned on. I was too tired  and went back to sleep.  I woke up around 7am which the sun already raised. The image above was shot around 9am on the way

back to Mono Lake on hwy 395. I was trying to find a sweet spot with all these aspen trees next to hwy 395. Made many stops and finally I think I found one. 

I went to South Tufa at about noon and it was raining on and off. Normally I do not shoot in the mid-day, with some exceptional like this. I was chasing these rainy storms across these mountains behind South Tufa. I stopped on why 120 on the way back to hwy395 for this second image below. I thought those stormy clouds were very interesting.

Finally I went back to South Tufa at around 3pm, and waited for sunset at 6:05pm. The third image below was shot 20 minutes after sunset. I was pretty happy with the result in long exposure of 8 secs to smoothing the water and the clouds. 

It was a very tired photo safari for the day, so I decided to call sick for the next day of work. Instead of driving home when I was so exhausted, I stay for another night in a near by motel.

 

Light Beam Through The Hole

Light Beam Through The Hole

Hi everyone. This is Lower Antelope Canyon, located at Page, Arizona. The slot canyons are always magnificent to witness and photograph. Those amazing wave lines walls were carved by fast-flowing flash flood waters over a long period of times.

 

During different time of the day, under just the right conditions. Lights travel, bounced, and  reflected sunlight can causes the walls of these canyons to glow with intense shades of red, pink, purple, orange and yellow. A light beam like this doesn't appear just any where. At the right time, the right place, with the help of the tour guide for throwing sands into the lights in order for human eyes to see the light rays. I do recommend every one to at least visit this canyons once in your life time.

 

On The Edge Of Glacier

 

Glacier Point Of Yosemite National Park

 

Hi everyone, this image was taken on May 12, 2015 when my friend Minh Du asked me to go with him. We both worked the night before, and after work, we drove straight to Yosemite at around 2:30am. Wanted to do early sunrise at Glacier, but we couldn't made it. By the time we arrived at the gate, sun was about to rise. So the closest spot we could drove to was Gate Of The Valley. By the time we got there, it was kind of late, sun already up, and we missed the morning glow.

It was a long tired day for me, because I didn't get any sleep at all. Off and on I let my friend get some rest and sleep in the car, while I hike around the valley here and there with 400mm attached to my camera. Thinking I might get to take some wildlife shots, but nothing. Then we went up to Washburns for a few shots, and went to Glacier Point afterward. The parking lot was full, but luckily I found a spot. We went out scout around and back to the car to get some more rest. Didn't want to go any where, thinking that it might be very hard to find parking by sunset. It was very windy and chill. We planned to stay for sunset at Glacier Point which was at 8pm.

We both started to go out there about 6:30pm, take shots here and there. For me I love this spot, so I got there and locked the spot down with my tripod at about 7pm. People went up and down to this edge of this stone cliff. I told my friend Minh that I want to get a shot of myself on the edge. Minh said, "Joseph, don't gamble with your life. It's too dangerous." I agreed, and stay off.

By sunset, sky started to change colors, yellow and pinkish. People still going up and down those cliffs. Then there's a young couple, maybe at there early twenties. Stood next to me, and the guy just ran up to the edge of this stone. Her girlfriend took shots for him. So I offered her that I can take pictures for them if she likes to go up there too. She happily handed over her camera, and went up to her boyfriend. After taking pictures for them, I thought to myself, if a little girl can do this, I could do. And this might be a good shot for my website cover page. So I set my camera to how I liked, and said to Minh, " Hey, I am gonna go up to the edge. Please click my camera for me." Minh said, " Joseph, I am not gonna let you do that. And I don't want to click for you." I ignore what he said, carefully and slowly walked to the edge. Minh had no choice, but to help me click.

Want to know what I said when I was up there? I said, " YEAH!!!" While Minh was clicking. But my legs was shaking up when I was looking down! After I came back down, my heart was still PUMPING fast and hard! Honestly, this is really a stupid move. I DO NOT recommended any one to try.

Thank you all for stopping by.

 

My recent trip to Arizona, Utah, And Nevada

White Pockets, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument of Arizona. This image was the most favorite of all from this 8 days trip. This land of sandstone, siltstone, limestone,  and shale which rise as much as 3,000 feet (910 m) above their bases. These sedimentary rocks have been deeply eroded for millions of years, exposing hundreds of layers of richly colored rock strata.

Sunset Dragon's Tail

 

This was my first time visited and also to camped out was really a fun night. Even though I couldn't get any sleep at all because I was too excited. I ended up going out there to play around with night photography.

 

This was captured 1 hours before sunrise.

 

There's wasn't many water ponds, most were dried, one or two that were very shallow, except this one. I would love this more if the Milky Way is right above, but I take whatever I can. Still a very nice image I love.


The Gate To Heaven

 

Taken on Dec 16, 2014

 

Oh yeah, another Tunnel View image, and it's not the last of it. Many of you might think that this is getting boring, but not for me. Maybe because I live and work in the city, I just love to see clouds over the mountains and fog bank cover the valley like this. 
I go Yosemite National Park quite often, and Tunnel View always on the list. When visit at the right time, with the right weather condition, Tunnel View can become a magical place like heaven. 
 

Happy 2015

 
 

Hello everyone, I would like to WISH every one a brand new start with success in 2015. This year was my first time to come here for the fireworks show at Embarcadero in San Francisco. I never came so close to see beautiful fireworks like tonight. Thanks to my wife, Irene, she asked me to take her out to see fireworks. I refused, but I couldn't win the battle. We left the house about 10pm and drove to Treasure Island. It was jammed, bumper to bumper, but once I got a chance, I made a U-Turn. Went back on the bridge and headed to Embarcadero. Traffic was horrible, as I mention to Irene about how this will play out every year. Until we got lucky, we found a parking lot and there was still space for parking. The cost was $25, Irene wanted to see fireworks and so do I. Unfortunately, we didn't bring enough cash and we had to dug every little changes from the car, wallets, purse, and still shorted of $5. The guy looked at us with a smile and said Happy New Year, and let us parked for $20. 

Every year's countdown here at Embarcadero were packed with people and cars, and it's always a headache trying to get here. For the past years, I rather stay home and countdown with the Tv. After tonight's experience, I might want to come back here every year. 

In The Morning At Cook Meadow

 
 

Hi everyone, today I am posting this Elm tree with Half Dome taken on my recent trip, Dec 17, 2014 at Cook Meadow. On this morning, I woke up early and went to my regular spots, but the sky was overcast. So I ended up driving around and was about to go for breakfast at Yosemite Lodge Food Court. When I passed by Cook Meadow, I saw clouds were breaking up, then I stopped here for a little while. 
Since I haven't got any photos from this spot before, I thought I should at least try one. I always love this old elm tree, but for this spot, it was backlighted in the morning. So it was almost impossible to capture one image that will have all the data and details. This image were taking with 5 images bracketing, and hand-blended them with Photoshop CC. 

Please click on the image to play in LightBox mode for better details and  resolution. Thank you for stopping by.

Dancing Clouds

 

 

 

 

After a great morning started with the coyotes at Cook Meadow, I went to get a campsite for Upper Pine. I Set up my tent, relaxed and rested a little bit. Then I saw lights started to came through, clouds started to moved by. I knew Tunnel View might be a good spot for morning fogs and since the clouds was breaking up, I might get some good photos. So I drove up to Tunnel View, and oh boy, it was like heaven. I shot a sequence moving clouds, fogs, El Capitan, Half Dome, Bridalveil Falls, and just couldn't stopped my fingers from clicking. 
I did not included El Capitan in this photo simply because I wanted to zoomed more into Half Dome, Bridalveil Falls, clouds, and lower bank of the fogs. There was the feeling of the ephemeral, a moment that changed almost as quickly as it was formed. The side light lit some of the clouds and fogs to make this image so much more better, at least that's how I liked the image. I will post more of this day shooting from Tunnel View when I get a chance to process them later and hope you will enjoy this as much as I do. 

 

Please click on the image to play in LightBox mode for better details and  resolution. Thank you for stopping by.

 

Coyotes At Cook Meadow

 
 

On Dec 16, 2014, I arrived to Yosemite about 5:30am, and was hoping for some morning snow. There wasn't any, and the sky was overcast with little rain showered off and on. I drove around the valley, and saw some places were covering up with thin blanket of snow, including Cook Meadow. 
I parked the car, rested a little bit, then took a walk in the snow, strecthed out from a long drive and enjoyed the fresh morning air. Than I saw two Coyotes was walking around, digging from snow and dry weeds, seems like they were looking for foods. I hurried back to my car and put on a 400mm lens. They were still hanging around, and didn't really care about me. With this shot, I think he was within 75 fts. 
I had seen coyotes at Yosemite many times, but every time either they were too far away, or I didn't bring my telephoto. This time, I finally got little luck with good close shots. I was pretty happy with the results, the coyotes was not being disturb, and I was not being eaten.