Tag Archives: lens-artists

Lens-Artists Challenge #125 – Save the Ocean

This week it’s all up to us – Tina asked us to choose our subject and to share whatever it is about it that we find interesting. 

I’m always interested in our planet earth. April 22 this year marked the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day in 1970. For this post, I would like to reflect on what oceans mean to us and the part we play to save the ocean.

Oceans are the lifeblood of our planet and all the creatures that live there. They cover nearly three-quarters of the earth and hold 97% of our planet’s water. We depend on the oceans for the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat and even the products that keep us warm, safe, informed, and entertained. Ocean water can give our brain and senses a rest from overstimulation, get into a mindful state, and trigger insights and ideas. It also inspires us to be more compassionate and connected.

“There’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.” – Sarah Kay

A morning walk with some lady friends on Huntington Beach, California.

“The heart of man is very much like the sea, it has its storms, it has its tides, and, in its depths, it has its pearls too.” – Vincent van Gogh

My husband dived in the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. His diving buddy took the photo.

“The sea knows no limits, makes no concessions. It has given us everything and it can take everything away from us.” – John Ajvide Lindqvist

Our last trip to Maui, Hawaii, on the way to Road to Hana.

“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.” – William James

We loved to visit Makena Beach, Maui, Hawaii.

“Dance with the waves, move with the sea, let the rhythm of the water set your soul free.” — Christy Ann Martine

This was one of the surfers paradise day with waves at 10 feet high at Newport Beach, California.

“The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.” – Robert Wyland

I was so excited to see the school of dolphins swam under our diving boat in North Carolina.

“Like the ocean that remains calm in its depths even when waves rage over its surface, and like the sun that continues shining on high even during storms, we can at each moment create value and develop our state of life, enjoying our existence to the fullest in times of both suffering and joy.” –Daisaku Ikeda

Our first day of the Ensenada cruise on the North Pacific Ocean.

Ocean Threats and Solutions

Human Activities are threatening the health of the world’s oceans. More than 80 percent of marine pollution comes from land-based activities. From coral bleaching to sea level rise, entire marine ecosystems are rapidly changing. Global warming is causing alterations in ocean chemistry and many oceanic processes, and it is threatening many species of marine animals that cannot cope with higher temperatures. Overfishing is a serious problem in many parts of the world.

Conservationists advocate creating expansive marine reserves to protect the biodiversity of the oceans. We can play our part to reduce carbon dioxide, use reusable instead of single-use plastic products, properly dispose of hazardous materials, use less fertilizer, pick up garbage and littler near beaches, and buy ocean-friendly products and eat sustainable seafood – Sustainable seafood guide.

The Economist Group’s World Ocean Initiative asked Sir David Attenborough and four other leading thinkers on ocean conservation how they would invest $1 billion to protect the ocean.

YouTube June 8, 2020 12:11 minutes

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Lens-Artists Challenge #125 – Save the Ocean

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Lens-Artists Challenge #124 – Now and Then

Happy Thanksgiving from Beach Ford! | Beach Ford

This week Amy invited us to reflect on our time staying at home mostly due to the pandemic, compared to what happened to our life prior to this situation. What happened then, and what happened now?

“Eventually all things fall into place. Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moments, and know everything happens for a reason.” — Albert Schweitzer

It has been over eight months since COVID-19 hit. Did time go by fast?

It did not; it was like forever. The second week of March was difficult to be confined at home. I wanted to run outside to do something. I wanted to shout or talk to someone. It was boring to do the same things day after day. There were no special events such as travel, movies, family and social gathering, birthdays, or holidays to punctuate the different seasons. As time went by, I accepted the new normal and set up my new routine. In fact, I appreciated the concentrated time to do certain tasks without interruption. Even when the social distancing was relaxed, I was not ready to take risk except going to see my granddaughters with great caution.

On the other hand, time went by fast. This one enormous bubble of a single day was in fact eight months long. Yet, it will not last forever. History told us that this will end. I will do my part to observe the safety regulation. I will stay safe and keep healthy, so when this is over, I can fully enjoy my family.

We had been doing major traveling since 2000, went to Australia, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Germany, Austria, Spain, and China, to name some countries. We didn’t go anywhere except Portland to see Mercy and her family. I spend a lot of time gardening.

Toledo, Spain

Thanksgiving is our major family gathering time. Two sister-in-laws and I took turns to host the Thanksgiving dinner. Mercy and her family came to California to join us. Two weeks ago, California, Oregon, and Washington jointly announced a new restriction. Upon arriving in Oregon, we would have to be self-quarantine for 14 days. The new spikes of cases spread throughout the country, it is worse than March when the pandemic started. Hubby and I will spend the holiday just the two of us, and cook a 15-pound turkey, eat some and freeze some for later.

Autumn had a big birthday party with many friends her age in 2019. We are not big cake eaters. Autumn had a birthday pie. This year, she had a smaller birthday party in the front yard serving a cake to her friends and aunties and uncles. They came in masks keeping the social distancing.

Nora is growing fast. The first two years of a kid’s life is the fast growing period in proportion to the remaining of one’s life. When I visited her in August, she was not sitting up yet. She turned eight months two days ago. She is now sitting up and enjoys eating many mashed veggies.

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Lens Artists Challenge # 124: Now and Then

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Lens-Artists Challenge #123 – Found in the Neighborhood

This week for Lens-Artists Challenge #123, Ann-Christine invited us to look at our neighborhood and see what we can find regardless of being trapped in our Covid19 bubbles.

It has been a while since we last walked around Laguna Lake which is within walking distance from our home. The weather in the last several months has been crazy with record breaking heat, stubborn fires, and a sharp drop of temperature with pouring rain. We had no other options exception staying home especially under the restriction of Covid-19.

After the cold spell, the temperature warmed up to 89oF this afternoon.  The trail around the lake is only ¾ mile. We walked around it twice. The waterfowls normally migrate in the winter but it’s not cold enough yet. They are still around in the afternoon sun. When the Egyptian geese first came to Laguna Lake, they only showed up occasionally. A year ago, they decided to make the lake their home.

The lake was built in the early 1900s as a watering hole for livestock. The lake originally was up to 11 feet deep, by the mid-1990s, had decreased to 5 feet as years of sludge piled up. In September 2004, the renovation started with the funding of $2 million grant from the California Coastal Conservancy, because the muck from the lake drained to the ocean after storms.

In the process of draining the lake, the workers discovered a monster, known to locals as Old Bob, who turned out to be a 100-pound alligator snapping turtle.

When the restoration completed in 2006, the lake was restocked with 1,000 trout, bass, catfish, and bluegill. Anybody with a fishing license can cast a line into the lake, but only the trout are large enough to keep.

Today, Laguna Lake Park is a pleasant park for joggers, hikers, bikers, horse riders, fishing, picnic, parents walking with their kids or baby in the strollers, or owners walking with their pets.

Home owners by the lake built staircases to have easy access to the lake.

524-Laguna Lake – Fullerton,CA – Where In The World Is Scott
Old Bob, Google Image
Fullerton asks: Why is Laguna Lake leaking, and how can it be stopped? –  Orange County Register
Old Bob, Google Image

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Lens-Artists Challenge #123 – Found in the Neighborhood

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #122: The Sun will come out Tomorrow

This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #122, we are excited to have Ann as the guest host. Ann invited us to look at the theme, “The Sun Will Come out Tomorrow.”

I follow the theme to meditate on the sun will come out tomorrow. This thought also led me to contemplate the idea that on a cloudy day, the sun is shining bright in the sky even when we don’t see it.

“What I know for sure is that every sunrise is like a new page, a chance to right ourselves and receive each day in all its glory. Each day is a wonder.” – Opera Winfrey

When something went wrong, instead of spending too much time asking why it happened, I found myself asking, “What should we do next?” It’s valuable to assess what went wrong so we could avoid making the same mistake. Staying in the pity pit for too long and we could be drowned.

Sunrise at a beach

“Hope abides; therefore, I abide. Hope abides; therefore, I bide. Countless frustrations have not cowed me. I am still alive, vibrant with life. The black cloud will disappear, the morning sun will appear once again in all its supernal glory.” – Sri Chinmoy

On one Maui trip, we drove up to the Haleakalā or the East Maui Volcano. The tallest peak of Haleakalā (“house of the sun”), at 10,023 feet (3,055 m), is Puʻu ʻUlaʻula (Red Hill). Halfway up the mountain, the black clouds gathered, and it started to rain. We droved past the low clouds. I saw the bright sun in the clear sky. It was an experience I never forget. How often do I stay below to see the black cloud and forget the sun is still there even though I don’t see it at the moment? The similar experience applied to traveling on the plane. I could see the sun above the fluffy black clouds.

Haleakalā National Park
Key West sky

“Write it on your heart that every day is the best day in the year.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Some people say they don’t have any pleasant memories in their lives. I wonder if we could create a good memory today. When tomorrow come, we would have one day of good memory. It’s like making a deposit of one positive day at a time to the “Good Memory” bank.

Anchorage, Alaska

“Grace comes into the soul as the morning sun into the world: there is first a dawning, then a mean light, and at last the sun in his excellent brightness.” – Thomas Adams

My husband Lynton said to me, “I kiss you and tell you ‘I love you’ before we go to bed every night because I don’t know if we would die asleep. I hold you tight in the morning because I’m happy that we are alive to welcome a new day.”

Laguna Lake, California

“Keep your face to the sun and you will never see the shadows.” – Helen Keller

There’s no doubt we have shadows in our life, the matter is our choice. We choose to face the sun and focus on the energy that carry us through the darkness.

A local park in Portland, Oregon

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #122: The Sun will come out Tomorrow

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #121: Focus on the Subject

This week for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #121, Patti shared “some helpful techniques from the experts that can help us create images that lead our viewers to our subject.”

Using Lines and repeated patterns to bring focus to the subject

At Valencia, Spain, we visited Hemisferic which is a splendid Laserium, Planetarium, and IMAX cinema (over 900 square meters of the screen). It is in the City of Arts and Sciences complex. The building was designed by Santiago Calatrava. The lines and repeated patterns draw the viewers’ attention to the shape of the eyes (one eye opened, one eye shut).

The tour bus arrived at a large parking lot. We entered a 124 m (407 ft) tunnel which leads to an ornate elevator that ascends the final 124 m (407 ft) to the building of Eagle’s Nest in Germany. The lines on the wall and the lights point to the elevator at the end of the tunnel.

Using colors and contrast to draw attention to the subject

The contrast light color of the flower and dark green background bring the attention to the single yellow Daffodil.

Using arches and doorways to frame the image

This is the St. Johns Bridge in Portland, Oregon. The bridge has a 1,207-foot (368 m) center span and a total length of 2,067 feet (630 m). The arches of the bridge towers framed the Gothic cathedral-like image. The adjacent park and neighborhood of Cathedral Park are named after this appearance.

Using freezing the moment to capture the subject

Hummingbirds flap the wings more than 60 times a second. I had fun freezing the moment of the hummingbird flapping the wings. My baby Ruby Throated hummingbird was in a “standing” still position.

Using the eyes to draw attention to the subject

I had fun finding the eyes of the animals for you to fall in love with them. The cat in the neighborhood, the deer, and the monkeys in Nara and Kyoto, Japan.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #121: Focus on the Subject

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Lens-Artists Challenge #120 – What A Treat!

This week, at the Lens-Artists Challenge community, Tina shared with us her thinking behind the theme: “There are many terrible aspects of the COVID 19 pandemic, too numerous to count really. On the other hand, there are a few positives as well. This week I experienced the latter – which in the spirit of Halloween week here in the U.S., I am calling ‘quite a treat.'” 

Visiting my family is always an enjoyment, but our last trip was surely a treat to me and my husband.

When Autumn was born, I flew to Portland, Oregon once a month to spend time with her and my daughter Mercy. After her first birthday, I went every six weeks. Being an educator, watching her growth and learning unique skills was an amazement. In March this year, because of the Covid, I cancelled my trip when Mercy gave birth to Nora. Eventually, I took a trip to meet Nora five months after she was born. As to my husband, Lynton, his last time being with Autumn was January 2019 when we took a family trip to Hong Kong and Japan.

Early this month, it was a real treat to me and Lynton to visit Mercy’s family and spend time with Autumn and Nora.

Autumn was attached to Lynton right away. She came into my room to wake me up gently every morning and said, “Where is grandpa?” “I think he went to the store to get a newspaper,” I said. She wanted Lynton to read to her, doing puzzles and other projects with her.

Nora grew so fast. She loved to smile and make distinct sounds. Lynton enjoyed interacting with her.

I took tons of photos, of course!

We did many activities, even though it was limited by the Covid. We went to a pumpkin farm. Autumn visited the cows, goats, and pigs. She and Daddy went on a hayride, train ride, and jumped on a giant bouncing bed.

We went to the school playground across the street from my daughter’s house. We went on a walk in the neighborhood. Three nights in a row, we played board games after the kids went to bed.

What a Treat!

Taking family photo is a challenge to get the kids look at the camera.

The rain stopped when we arrived at the pumpkin farm and the rainbow appeared.

Reading and cuddling

Interacting

“I want grandma to get in.”

We played Yahtzee, Scrabble, and a detective game. I’m as competitive as Mercy and Will.

Autumn’s new favorite is the geometric block patterns. She knows the names such as hectogon and trapezoid.

Autumn is a loving big sister. When Nora fusses, she would pat her, hug her, and bring her a toy. She can hardly wait to run around with Nora.

Reading and learning through playing are important for the kid’s growth and development. Mercy and Will read to the kids from the beginning of their lives.

Our next visit to them is Thanksgiving. We look very much forward to it.

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Lens-Artists Challenge #120 – What A Treat!

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Lens Artists Photo Challenge #119 – My Hideaway

Ann-Christine invited us to explore the theme of Hideaway and would like to see our interpretation.


There is no time like this when we all need a hideaway. A place in which we could find safety, calmness, beauty, feel the contentment of being, and sustain the patience of riding out the storms.

My garden is my hideaway. Nature and the little creatures speak to me and I find comfort in their messages. The branches bend when the wind blow. The roots reach deep to draw water and nutrients. The flowers dance in the breeze. Some plants go dormant in the winter. Some creatures migrate south in the cold season. They don’t fight against nature but make the best of what nature offers and maintain their balance at their present state.

Music is my great hideout.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #119 – My Hideaway

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Lens Artists Challenge#117: A Photo Walk

 

This week for Lens Artists Challenge, Amy invited us to share our photo walk.

We went to Maui on multiple trips. Last year, something out of ordinary during our trip was hiking the Pipiwai Trail to Waimoku Falls. On the previous trips when driving on the Road to Hana, I could see some of the Seven Sacred Pools. Seeing people having fun playing in the pools delighted me but didn’t think of stopping by until this trip.

The Seven Sacred Pools is a beautiful but remote location featuring waterfalls, freshwater pools. And incredible green foliage. The actual name is the Ohe’o Gulch. The name “Ohe’o” means “something special” and it’s part of the Haleakala National Park. We paid the $15 admission to the park.

We took the Kuloa Point Trail, a 0.5-mile loop, and continued toward the Pipiwai. It’s a 2-mile hike (4 miles roundtrip) leading to the 400-foot-tall Waimoku Falls.

There are several key points of interest on this photo walk.

The Kuloa Point Trail was marked by jagged roots. For the most part, the Pipiwai Trail was a stone upward trail.

This was an enormous Banyan tree along the Pipiwai Trail. There was not enough space far enough to capture the entire tree.

There are more than seven pools. During the flooding, there are as many as 20 pools. This was a small one and we stopped by for a photo.

Several layers of falls and pools.

The last bridge before entering the Bamboo Forest.

The trail through the Bamboo Forest is a popular one, so it’s frequently maintained. The pathway is large, and looks like this photo throughout the way. it’s very easy to navigate. Many fallen bamboo good enough to use as walking sticks or canes. Someone gave me one on his return hike.

We reached the 400-foot Waimoku Falls. It was a rocky area with a barrier where we could go to take a closer look at the fall.

Lens Artists Challenge#117: A Photo Walk

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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #116: Symmetry

This week, Patti invites us to explore Symmetry as a way to create dramatic and impactful images.  I made a quick review of symmetry in photography and learned something new. Thank you, Patti.

There are four most common types of symmetry in photography

Vertical Symmetry

Vertical symmetry is the most common type of symmetry. Draw an imaginary vertical line at the center of the photo, if both sides are symmetrical, your photo will look visually appealing. Vertical symmetry is often used in architectural photography.  It emphasizes the size, shape, and design of buildings.

This Tea Garden at a restaurant in Hong Kong in which my nephew and his wife had the tea ceremony before the wedding banquet.

Kasuga Grand Shrine in Nara, Japan, is famous for its many bronze lanterns, as well as the many stone lanterns that lead up the shrine.  

The Champ de Mars is one of the most beautiful, large public green spaces in Paris, France. This is one of the 360o views on the viewing level of the Eiffel Tower.

Horizontal Symmetry

Horizontal symmetry is often used in landscape photography. Especially when a body of water is present. This can be confused with reflective symmetry. The difference is that horizontal symmetry does not necessarily have to feature a reflection. Reflective symmetry always does.

The following beach photo shows the horizon reaching the sky, and the horizontal lines of the waves, and the line between the sand and water.

Seville was one of our stops during the Spain tour. This photo shows both vertical and horizontal symmetry. This is the Plaza de España in Seville built in 1928. It is a landmark example of Regionalism Architecture, mixing elements of the Baroque Revival, Renaissance Revival and Moorish Revival styles of Spanish architecture.

Radial Symmetry

Radial symmetry usually involves shapes that go round and round with the same patterns. This is often associated with ripples, succulents, domes, wheels, etc.

There are many circular layers in the Central Garden at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles.

Reflective Symmetry

As its name suggests, reflective symmetry is all about reflections. We can find reflections in water, surfaces like glass, and buildings to create a mirror image.

This is the Patio de los Arrayanes in Alhambra, Spain. The image of the building is reflected in the pond.

Our favorite get away is the Huntington Library, Art Museum, and Botanical Gardens in Los Angeles. This part of the Chinese Garden is reflected in the pond.

LENS-ARTISTS PHOTO CHALLENGE #116: SYMMETRY

Lens-Artists Challenge #115 – Inspiration

This week for Lens-Artists Challenge, Tina invited us to explore the theme of Inspiration. I could name many aspects around are my inspiration. I finally decided on three for this post.

Gardening is my hobby and my joy. My life is enriched by the inspiration from gardening. There are several basic things for a healthy garden. 1) Good soil. I started a butterfly garden and vegetable garden this year. Several sections have heavy clay soil. I dug at least one foot, soaked the soil and drained, mixed in several inches of organic soil. Use the correct amount of fertilizer periodically. 2) Watering. Test the daily watering to ensure the soil is moist, not just wet on the surface. 3) Proper planting space. The full-grown milkweed will be several feet in diameter in the butterfly garden, whereas the Zinnias are several feet tall but several inches wide. 4) Trimming the withered limbs according to different plants by season or regularly.

Learning from gardening, I need to continuously cleanse, nourish, and make changes to my mind, my heart, and my action to be a healthy person.

Traveling gave me the opportunity to see the wonderful nature near and far. We were at awe with the vast Denali wildness in Alaska, over 10,000 hydrothermal features such as geysers, hot springs, mud pots, travertine terraces, and fumaroles in Yellowstone, and four active volcanos in Hawaii, to name just a few.

Nature comes in all shapes and forms, all kinds of temperature, and different colors as reflected in our human life.

The maternal instinct in the animal kingdom was my inspiration and touches my heart at the deep spot. Humpback whales migrate farther than any other mammal on earth. They can travel around 3,000 miles between their breeding and feeding grounds regularly. During the migration with the newborn, the female Humpback would lift the calf above the water for it to breathe. The female and the calf are caressing each other constantly for affection.

A nest in my front porch was a cradle for four births of baby Mourning doves. The dove eggs are smaller than chicken eggs. I observed the female doves lay two eggs at a time. It takes about 35 days after hatching for the baby doves to fly. Last year, one baby was ready to fly and left the nest. The female dove left for a while but came back in the evening to stay with the second baby, kept him warm until he was ready to fly. The bigger baby also came to keep the little brother company. Then they flew away together.

Even though I was not able to be a stay-home mom when my daughter was a baby, I’m now a big fan of stay-home moms for them to treasure and enjoy those precious moments.

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LENS-ARTISTS CHALLENGE #115 – INSPIRATION

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