Category Archives: Travel

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #51: Unique Nara Deer Park

The theme from Amy this week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #51 is: Unique. I want to post our unique experience in Japan.

Our family went to Kyoto, Japan in January 2019. While in Kyoto, we visited Nara Park.  

 

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 Nara Park is a public deer park located at the foot of Mount Wakakusa. Established in 1880, it is one of the oldest parks in Japan. The park, including the adjunct temples and gardens, is as large as 1,600 acres.

 

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Nara Park

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Kasugataisha Shrine

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Evergreen Botanical Garden

 

The wild sika deer are designated as natural treasures. They are freely roaming around the park.

 

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Visitors can purchase “deer-crackers” to feed them.

 

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Well, this deer wanted to taste the ice cream

The number of deer grew to around 1,200 in 2008 and created concerns about environmental and crop damage.

 

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During fiscal 2016, 121 people were injured by deer. In 2016 the area around Nara was designated into four different zones, with the outer zones allowing deer to be captured and killed. The culling started in 2017, with a limit of 120 deer to be culled during 2017.

As of July 2017, there were around 1,500 deer living in the park, and at least 164 people had been injured by them in fiscal 2017-2018. Most of them were tourists feeding the deer.

In April 2018 Nara city set up new signs in English, Chinese and Japanese informing tourists that the deer are wild animals and to not tease them during feeding.

I took the following video when a deer bowed to ask for food from visitors.

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #51: Unique Nara Deer Park

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #48 – WILD

The challenge Tina gave us for Lens-Artists this week is: Wild

I love the quote Tina has for this post, “Wilderness is not a luxury but a necessity of the human spirit.” – Edward Abbey

When we went to Denali National Park, Alaska, we had a glimpse of the sheer beauty of wilderness.

There are two kinds of wilderness inside the National Park system. The original two million acres of Denali are designated wilderness. Designated wilderness has the highest level of protection offered by the Federal Government. Nearly all the other four million acres added by the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) are eligible wilderness. According to National Park Service Wilderness Management Policies, eligible wilderness is managed as designated until it is either officially designated, or removed from consideration, both of which require an Act of Congress. Thus almost 6 million acres of Denali National Park and Preserve are protected as wilderness. Source

“The Denali Wilderness is a land of paradox. It is inviting and it is terrifying; accessible and remote. It is an essentially undeveloped wilderness with a road corridor through the middle that brings millions of people to its edge. It is untrammeled, yet managed. Some of the land within its boundaries is well known and studied, but much of it is full of mystery. It is a natural and intact ecosystem celebrated by scientists, writers, hunters, adventurers and artists alike.

As our world is beginning to experience dra­matic and widespread change, all wilderness is at a crossroads. Encroaching development and climate change threaten to dramatically alter these environments but also present a unique opportunity to preserve their excep­tional wilderness character and linkages to other conservation units in Alaska and Canada.” Source

Features of Denali Wilderness:

Natural – A variety of plants and animals thrive in their natural habitats.

Untrammeled – Denali strives to keep this wilderness free from intentional human intervention.

Undeveloped – Most of Denali’s wilderness lacks the imprint of man’s development.

Unconditioned Recreation – Visitors can experience the primitive recreation.

Source

 

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We were fortunate to spot several wild animals on the way to Denali from Anchorage. I took the photos through the window of the coach.

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Reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) – is also known as the caribou in North America.

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Willow Ptarmigan – its color will turn completely white in winter

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Snowshoe Hare is known for the large size of its hind feet to prevent it from sinking into the snow.

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A young moose – Bull moose loses the antlers in the winter and grows back next spring.

Lens-Artists Challenge #48 – WILD

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #45 – Street Art

When I go places near my home or travel abroad, I’m attracted to the sculptures, wall paintings, and different art forms. I included samples of these art forms in this post.

 

The MGM Lion Statue is the largest bronze statue in the Western Hemisphere.  It is 45 feet tall and 50 feet long. It weighs 50 tons and is made up of 1660 pieces of bronze welded together. The sculptor was Snell Johnson, and the designer was M. Smeaton. The statue was installed on February 15, 1997. http://www.lionlamb.us/lion/lvlions.html

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The Walk of Fame was created by E.M. Stuart, its volunteer president of Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in 1953. By March 1956, the final design and coral-and-charcoal color scheme had been approved, and between the spring of 1956 and the fall of 1957, 1,558 honorees were selected by committees representing the four major branches of the entertainment industry at that time: motion pictures, television, audio recording, and radio. Official groundbreaking took place on February 8, 1960. As of 2018, the Walk of Fame comprises over 2,600 stars. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hollywood_Walk_of_Fame

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The Navy sailor kissing a nurse is 25 feet tall, weighs 6,000 pounds statue called “Unconditional Surrender,” by J. Seward Johnson, although the city of San Diego has officially labeled it the “Embracing Peace” statue. The original image of the moment was captured by photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt on August 14, 1945 at the end of WWII. https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/20274

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This Marilyn Monroe life-like statue is in front of the Tropic Cinema in Key West, Florida. The famous picture of Marilyn Monroe laughing as her skirt is blown up by the blast from a subway vent was shot on September 15th, 1954 filming The Seven Year Itch. https://shoestringweekends.wordpress.com/2019/03/22/marilyn

 

The Berlin Wall was a guarded concrete barrier that physically and ideologically divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989.  The Wall cut off West Berlin from virtually all of surrounding  East Germany and East Berlin until government officials opened it in November 1989. After several weeks of civil unrest, the East German government announced on November 9, 1989 that all GDR citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin. Crowds of East Germans crossed and climbed onto the Wall, joined by West Germans on the other side in a celebratory atmosphere. Over the next few weeks, euphoric people and souvenir hunters chipped away parts of the Wall.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berlin_Wall

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The following two are the sculptures we saw in Sydney next to a park we passed by.

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The next two sculptures are among the sculptures, murals and other street art we see at Laguna Beach, California where we often go for a half day walk.

 

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #45 – Street Art

 

 

Lens-Artists Challenge #44 – Harmony in Nature

This week, Tina has for us as the theme of Lens-Artists Challenge is: Harmony

I focused on nature in this post. Whenever I’m in nature, I have a sense of being part of it, being blended into it. I think that’s a sense of harmony with nature. When we travel, I feel at awe of what I see and wish the images stay with me forever, or I could stay with nature forever. That’s one of the reason I came home from a trip with thousands of photos. Every single one was precious except the ones I moved the camera and took  photos of my feet or something else instead of the scene.

I searched for some quotes and was happy to find the ones regarding different aspects of harmony in nature.

“Conservation is a state of harmony between men and land.” – Aldo Leopold

My husband and I have been watching nature documentary every night before bedtime for more than two years. Conservation is a relatively new concept for only decades. We lost a big part of rain forest for new city development or agriculture.  Yet Rainforests are often called the lungs of the planet for their role in absorbing carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, and producing oxygen, upon which all animals depend for survival. Rainforests also stabilize climate, house incredible amounts of plants and wildlife, and produce nourishing rainfall all around the planet. When we traveled to Alaska, we heard so much about the climate change and global warming felt drastically in this region.

 

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Denali National Park, Alaska

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Denali National Park, Alaska

“He who is in harmony with nature hits the mark without effort and apprehends the truth without thinking.” – Confucius

This is such a great wisdom that when we are in harmony with nature, we just feel right and natural. When human being forces on nature to do what conceived as beneficial to us, we created discord against nature.

 

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Port Douglas, Australia

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Moulton Falls Regional Park, Washington

“The earth has music for those who listen.” – William Shakespeare

We can hear the wind, the running water of streams, the rain drops, the thunder, the sound of the ocean, the rustling of leaves, chirping of birds, howling of animals… to name just several. Together, they make great music.

 

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Moulton Falls Regional Park, Washington

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Rhododendron Garden, Oregon

“Art is a harmony parallel with nature.” – Paul Cezanne

Botanical gardens are just one form of art parallel with nature. I’m sure you can think of many art forms in perfect harmony with nature.

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The Huntington Library, Art Collection and Botanical Garden

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Rhododendron Garden, Oregon

Lens-Artists Challenge #44 – Harmony in Nature

 

 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #35: Architecture

The theme for Lens-Artist Photo Challenge from Amy this week is: Architecture. During our travel, we have seen amazing architecture. 

The Neuschwanstein Castle is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival Palace on a rugged hill top above the village of Hohenschwangau with an elevation of 800 m (2,620 ft) in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The fairytale castle was commissioned by King Ludwig II as a retreat and a homage to the king’s favorite composer Richard Wagner.

Walt Disney was so inspired by the fairytale architecture of Neuschwanstein that he used it to create Cinderella’s castle in the 1950 animated film, and the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland. Wikipedia My travel post is here.

IMG_1065 Neuchanstein Castle, Bavaria (2) Read more

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #33: Nature

Patti gave us a great theme for this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #33 – Nature. I love nature and our frequent travel allows me to take many photos of nature.

In this post, I feature photos taken from two trips representing two ends of temperature in nature.

My brother John and his wife Peggy visited us from Hong Kong. We went on a bus tour to Yellowstone. Yellowstone National Park preserves the most extraordinary collection of hot springs, geysers, mud pots, fumaroles, and travertine terraces on Earth. More than 10,000 hydrothermal features are found here, of which more than 500 are geysers.

Types of Hydrothermal Features

There are five types of hydrothermal features readily visible in Yellowstone:

  1. Geysers: Hot springs with constrictions in their plumbing, which causes them to periodically erupt to release the pressure that builds up.
  2. Hot Springs: Pools of geothermally heated water.
  3. Mudpots: Hot springs that are acidic enough to dissolve the surrounding rock. Typically, also lack water in their systems.
  4. Travertine Terraces: Hot springs that rise up through limestone, dissolve the calcium carbonate, and deposit the calcite that makes the travertine terraces.
  5. Fumaroles: also known as steam vents. These hot features lack water in their system, and instead constantly release steam.

Resource: https://www.nps.gov/yell/learn/nature/hydrothermal-features.htm

 

Old Faithful Geyser, Yellowstone,U.S.1

Old Faithful Geyser named for its frequent and somewhat predictable eruptions which number more than a million since Yellowstone became the world’s first national park in 1872.

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