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Among the whole world of beautiful flowers, Crocus is probably not one of the most-photographed. However, they usually pop up early in spring when I was anxious to see colors. Besides, purple is my favorite.

This is just a random snapshot, but I am pleased with the gentle and quiet outlook. I am ready to launch my reunion trip and meet the friends who I have not seen since college. A sea of memory and thought suddenly overwhelmed me. My mind is full of words, but I cannot burst out anything. This image illustrates my current state of mind.

 

 

Bird, Bloom and BBB

What’s on my mind this summer so far? Birds, Blooms and our B little kiddos, three grandchildren named after B.  Out running birding, I missed out the prime blooming time of the flowers. Not born with a green thumb, my garden flowers are usually late bloomers and actually, that suit me well.

It’s now the time to see Bambi’s following their moms along out in the open. Juvenile deer is curious. They try to taste almost everything even though the plant is supposed to be deer-resistant. To make my life simple, I downsized my rose plants to two. The red blossom is utterly gorgeous, but yellow stands out for me. I usually don’t like to ‘frame’ my picture, but it is fun to try it occasionally.

Scrub Jay is around, but they get away quickly before you can get too close. It is purely out of luck that I spotted this loving family on my way back from the park, and I happened to have my telephone lens in hand.

I am a lucky grandmother of three lovely grandchildren. They all have the distinctive personality of their own. Like all the grandmothers, I love to take lots of their pictures and I am reluctant to delete them. I also prefer not to post their pictures in public. However, after looking at this picture over and over, I decided to share it with you. She is the youngest and the most tender child of all.

 

 

Oregon Coast

“Don’t sit too long.” My chiropractor repeated when I walked out of his office.  I hug my computer daily and even more when I have photo book projects going on. Once I have my editing work started, I was usually too focused to pace myself for breaks. Now I finally sent the photo book out to print, but I cannot get out of my chair either. I publish my blogs every week and never skipped even once in the last 4+ years. Children from my parents’ family do not easily let go anything without giving in our strong will and perseverance.  So here I am except I will use the least time to write this blog so that I don’t worsen my physical condition.

To select a hiking location for my upcoming college reunion, I have recently tried a few hikes over the coast. St. Perpetua Trail at Cape Perpetua is probably one of my favorite.

The trail has only 2.2 miles round trip. You go through a real forest with old growth, giant fir trees, green-paved path, wildflowers, occasional ocean views, birds calls, and ocean sound. End of the trail is the highest point of the coast which provides the best view along the coast. We even saw whales.It was very foggy when we were, but the gorgeous scenery is hard to be hidden. I purposely over-processed the last image to show you what the coastline should look like on a fair day.

Yaquina Natural Area is another sweet spot full of natural rocks and shore birds. Camonrants are so common in Northwest that I don’t usually pay attention to them, but I enjoyed their silhouette along the rocks, particularly when there is courtship going on (see the pair on the left).

The pair of Peregrine Falcons is nesting on the cliff.  Birds are naturally very protective of their babies, and they definitely know where is the best place for them. Casual visitors would have a hard time finding the nest. This is the first time I saw Falcon. They look more attractive to me than eagles or hawks.

How often do you see Seal Mommy nurse her baby? I watched the baby follow the mommy one step at a time going up the rock and enjoying her lunch.

There are no beach umbrellas or bikinis on Oregon Coast, but you can find another 50 places like above to enjoy what true nature can bring you not mentioning it is a photographer’s haven.

 

Birding Adventure

When I left Taiwan three decades ago, Sparrows and Swallows are probably the only two common birds that I knew. I lived in the city and was stuffed in the tightly-wedged condominium type of tall buildings. Trees were a luxury, not mentioning birds. Now I have the pleasure looking at trees and greens all day long where the birds dwell.  Starting from backyard birds, I am now gaining more interest in finding birds in the more wild and natural habitat. For one thing, shooting birds from a feeder is not very rewarding.

I often heard birds chirp or calls, but I don’t always have the luck to find them. In the last couple years, I may have gone to some places to photograph birds, but there is no comparison with what I experienced in this birding adventure, my first official birding trip. I like birds because they have humanlike behavior and personality besides their characteristic appearance.

Two babies (my speculation) are waiting outside the nest for their parents to bring food home. Golden Eagle built the nest up high on the cliff. The male bird flew towards the nest the moment when he saw us approaching. They are so protective of their youngs. And, check out this pair of love birds, Lazuli Buntings. Just like House Finches and Bald Eagle couples, they are together wherever they go.

Swallows are always dashing in the air. Every once a while, if you are lucky, you might spot one resting on the tree branch, otherwise high on the electrical wire… Not only that I first saw the lovely Violet Green Swallows. I was also able to catch him in flight with full wingspan after numerous attempts, of course. How would I ever dream that the whole Tree Swallow family were out sunbathing early in the morning?

Whenever I see a bird that I have not seen before, I thank God. The Almighty seems to always detect the desire in my heart and graciously granted my wish. Owls are my most desired birds in this trip. I saw Great Horn Owl in the past, but they were usually standing high on the trees and half-hidden in the branches. This time he flew right outside of my window! I wanted to see a different kind of Owl since long and here is this Burrowing Owl, so blended in with the sagebrush and mixed vegetation here. If I did not go with the group, I would not be able to find it. This bird weighs only 5 oz, can you believe it?

Warbler size birds are my favorites. They are active, cute and constantly moving. Just like Swallows, they barely give you a chance to snap a shot. I’d pointed my camera following their traffic trails for a long time before I finally got few clear pictures. The pictures are harder to get and therefore precious to me.

I have chased pheasants for four years and have not been able to come up a good picture. Still not a great image, but I am recording it for further improvement. I know I will get a perfect one some day if I don’t give up. Flycatchers and Western Tanagers are on my desire list and here they are. It seems to me, all I need to do is to desire, and the desire will be granted in due time.

On this 3-day trip to Malheur Wildlife Refuge, I saw total 56 different kinds of birds and half of them are new to me. Above are just a few examples. Can you believe it?

The Soft Side

It’s now the beginning of flower blooming season in Northwest. While flowers are displaying their beautiful colors, I was out chasing birds… This week I figured it’s time for me to photograph some flowers. Flower photography has helped me to slow down and ‘take the time to smell the roses.’ I don’t feel the peace when I leave the flowers behind too long.

In the last few years, I have been playing with my macro lens. It is very satisfying to be able to see beyond the normal eyesight. However, the moment when I discovered Lensbaby, I fell in love with the soft and blurry ambiance.  Still in the experiment phase. I hope my blog posting will push me to work harder and can better utilize the tool for another level of creativity.

It is nice to take sharp images, but I seem to love this soft look more.  Strawberries are not quite in season right now, but strawberry flowers are. Bright pink is extremely showy, but the glassy layer seems to add a bit of poetry.

It is just the curve of a large leave and some morning drew. But when the sun rises and shines on it, that small drop of light grabs my attention. All I want is that small patch of light. Only a fool would take an interest in it, you can say that.

Color is one significant element for a beautiful garden. However, no matter how I have changed the varieties of flowers I added each year, I seemed to always end up with some pastel or moderate color tones.

In an attempt to brighten my selections, I purchased this flower. But when I took this picture, I could not help wanting it to have a softer look. I am me, what can I do?

 

 

 

 

Travel Journal (5) – City of Mopeds

Taipei is the capital of Taiwan, a heavily-populated city in northern part of the island. It is the city packed with great food and heavy traffic.  Car parking in big cities is a luxury. Mopeds are much smaller than regular vehicles and can easily go around the buses and cabs. They have long become the most popular and practical transportation tools.

Hundreds and thousands of mopeds are constantly dashing through major traffic junctions and even winding small alleys. They don’t need large parking structure or street parking space. However, almost all the side streets (the alleys) are stuffed with rows of mopeds.

I intended to shoot a few panning shots, but the constant and heavy flow of the traffic makes it almost impossible to have a cleaner and presentable background.

Travel Journal (4) – Glass Temple

Left hometown for three decades, I was thrilled to see an array of life-like artwork created by my fellow country artists. Glass Temple is one of the amazing architecture built by the skilled artisans from Taiwan Glass Gallery factory.

Architecture is one of my favorite photography subjects, but I have not found myself so engaged with this one.  I was there before dusk. It rained a little, and there was no dramatic sunset glow. I had fun just taking pictures of the glass structure. When the light was turned on, I noticed that the internal gradient color changes took the place of a glamorous sunset.

Buddhist temple itself has already been a complex architecture with intricate carvings, hangings, and bold color paintings. The transparent glass provides the perfect outlet for all colors and lights to shine through.  Inside the temple, I felt like standing inside a cinema or on a Mary-Go-Around.

The structure itself is a gem. It glows in the dark with ever-changing colors. I was like a little child chasing after candies. I raised my camera from all angles, and I could not seem to let go any color scheme which creates different ambiance. It is like a regular temple full of believers, incenses, and prayers. It is more like a moving artwork.

The bright coloration can be overwhelming at first glance, but the centered large pool (“Heavenly Pool”) with crystal clear water has neutralized the boldness and generated beautiful reflections.

A Beautiful Wedding

A  wedding does not need a luxury resort, multitude of guests, and generous array of exotic bouquets. I  had the honor to photograph a wedding, and to me, it is a beautiful one.

The Decoration designed by the bride herself is tastefully done. What the Ceremony proceeded in an amicable rhyme is formal and yet spontaneous. The ambiance at the Reception with all family and friends greeting and hugging is cheery and cozy. And, the Dance with everyone simultaneously led on by the music is a highlight. Among everything else, the bride and the groom,  are absolutely a gorgeous couple.

The weather was cloudy and occasionally rainy. I was able to snap a few shots in between the misty rain. Considering the ambiance, Indoor ceremony and evening reception without fully equipped were a small task. Besides, I had only one hour to take all the portraits and group pictures. Nevertheless, I enjoyed this experience very much, and I may have found myself a new loved subject – wedding. The varieties of topics in a wedding are what draw me to it.

When the opportunity comes, I would love to do it again.

Travel Journal (3) – Bird of Paradise in paradise of birds

If not for the small accident I had that injured my right hand, I had absolutely one of the best trips ever. The injury slowed me down, and I could not post my weekly blog until today.

You can probably find Bird of Paradise Flower at Trader Joe’s, but Bird of Paradise is not easily seen. I thought the bird resembles the flower, but it’s certainly not.

God is the ultimate creator. Only look at the creatures He made. The color scheme in His paint tray is full of surprises, and the intricacy of the details amazes me.

Whenever I see this guy, I smile. This is one whimsical look I did not expect from a bird. 

I have been chasing pheasants for pictures until this day. This one does not have long and attractive tails, but I can at least have pheasant down on my list.

I just learned that this is the largest pigeon in the world.  I would never guess this strange looking thing turns out to be a pigeon. Would you?

American Canaries have a beautiful voice. This tropical bird looks bold and striking.

Purple is my favorite color. When I saw a purple something flew out of my sight, I began my hunt and here he is.


There are other birds, but it’s late, and I am running out of steam after 12 hours flight. More to post Later.

 

 

Simple Food – travel journals (2)

Many pictures are taken on my trips, but I have not had much time to review them.

It is not the exotic seafood in an upscale restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean Sea that I enjoyed the most. It is that simple hole-in-the-wall places where I re-discovered my childhood favorite

s, something that I have not tried again for years since I was away from my birthplace.

Though I have been similar places like this small mountain town, this is my first visit to this one. It was cloudy and drizzling, but the place is packed with many visitors and most definitely, arrays of products, food, and local crafts.

Speaking of food, have I ever seen such varieties of food that I would taste everything if I have starved myself for a week?

Just stepped out of a hole where I stuffed myself up to the throat, I came across this red bean and custard cake that I simply could not resist…  This is one thing that I must have on my way to my grade school every day. My Caucasian husband tasted one, and he said, “this is simply too good.”

I made tea eggs at home from time to time, but it’s not quite the same seeing a big pot of them and smelling that classic herbal spice aroma. I believe the spice I purchased at home has been on the shelf for a long time and it tastes nothing like this one.

In U.S., we eat nuts as they are, roasted, honey roasted and salted. It isn’t the same to enjoy nuts combined with other ingredients and flavors. Once you get started, you cannot quit. It is extremely addicting.

The cook is right in front of you, the food is being cooked while you are waiting, and you enjoy it while it is fresh and hot. The waiting line is usually long, but once you get in, you have food on the table in 5-10 minutes.

Oh, my, I would not want to eat like this, but it is sinful if you don’t give it a try.