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I knew at some point I’ll be doing a collection post for my monthly (yes, monthly) photography blogpost. If you like, you can visit or revisit all my previous entries I listed here…

STILL – Taking action shots? Here are my suggestions.
Capture the Colour – My response for the Capture the Colour contest.
Shot Into Smithereens – One Set of One Title, One Image post.
Weekly Photo Challenge 2013 – One submission image for each month in 2013.
BLAQUE – My submissions for Paula’s B&W Challenge.
The Scientist – Though underrated, it’s one of my most personal favorite posts.

Next month I’m thinking of a Zilch redo. As for this month, I was thinking my hiking images, rock formations, the ocean, birds, sea creature, any nature-related, but I decided to go with flowers. Amy of The World is a Book really was very very very pushy before that I go with the flowers. :D I really don’t want to go along with it, but she was adamant and very persuasive. She was using all kinds of persuasion techniques – manipulation, intimidation, threat, bullying, voodoo :D, etc. I kid, I kid. :lol: Amy is one of the loveliest bloggers around. Flowers. Everyone is gung ho :D about it. I didn’t like to jump into the bandwagon. It’s easy photo subject to capture. It’s liked by everybody. Especially now that’s spring time, everyone is antsy for it. But what can you do!? It’s hard to just ignore and avoid it. It speaks beauty, hope, romance and good feeling all around. It deserves the attention.

Flowers for everybody :D

Rose Valley Waterfalls

- Rose Valley Falls in Ojai -

San Buenaventura Mission

- San Buenaventura Mission in Ventura -

Cherry Blossoms in Okinawa

- Cherry Blossoms in Nago, Okinawa -

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- Los Angeles Arboretum in Arcadia -

San Juan Capistrano

- San Juan Capistrano Mission -

Vigan

- Vigan, Philippines -

 Bios Botanical Garden

- Bios Botanical Garden in Okinawa -

Carmel Mission

- Carmel Mission -

Ventura County Fair 2011

- Ventura County Fair -

Venice Canal

-  Venice Canal in California -

Be sure to check my Photography tag. :)

Last Calls …

Venice Canal

- Venice Canal in California-

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- Baluarte Zoo in Vigan, Philippines -

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Photography?

FEATURED BLOGS

Mel Mann Photography – It’s okay for you to forget about my blog for a moment. Go check out this photography blog - Images of the Year 2013

Retiree Diary – Not a smidgeon of question why this blog is successful and popular – CATEGORY: Weekly Photo Challenge

Hiking Tadake Falls

First we walked on pavements. Then next thing we knew we were rivertrekking. It is ankle, knee to chest high. There was no escaping the water, and my shoes were wet, wet, wet.

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Even my awesome self :D slid through the rocks a couple of times. At one point, I wetted my camera bag. Fortunately, my long-time bestfriend, my mighty Canon, didn’t break.

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Then we had to climb up and down the rocks to avoid deeper water levels. Good thing there are ropes to help us, else I would have asked them to carry me on a litter. :D

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After much panting for breaths and sinking in the nature’s beauty, we heard a more roaring sound of dripping water.

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It’s the prize of the hike, Tadake Falls. It is way more awesome and cool-looking than the shower in my bathroom. :D

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There is a small hole somewhere down the water that you could swim in. The guy in the picture even found a crab in it.

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It was not easy to get here. Not just the hike, but actually finding it when we were on the road as there is no sign leading us to it. It is very secluded.

We continued on hiking up for some more adventure.

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There are natural swings for Tarzan wannabe’s.

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We also found a mini version.

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And some more areas to dip into.

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The waterfall is just gorgeous. Finding it from the road is half the battle. Getting there makes it even more rewarding. And really the challenge, the fun and the experience of the hike really add to the wow factor of taking this group trip.

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This really is my kind of hike. ;)

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FEATURED BLOG

Check out this paddling nature blogger, Vladimir Brezina of Wind Against Current. For my Featured Post, one which is almost a year ago from today. I remember that very first image vividly.

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Forgive me if I haven’t been receptive. I can only promise to get back to the swing of things.

Churaumi’s Kuroshio Sea Tank

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It is massive! GIGANTIC! I’ve never seen quite like it.

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.

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Kuroshio is the second largest aquarium tank from the third largest aquarium in the world, Churaumi.

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There are 3 giant whale sharks and a lot of manta rays. To date, there sre 4 manta rays that were born in this tank.

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I really felt like a wide-eyed kid who’s in extreme awe, giggling inside and just fascinated looking at this tank. It’s really huge. Looking at this tank is way better than watching any blu-ray movies from plasma TV.

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.

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Then when they fed the whale sharks, we were ooh-ing and aah-ing by the sight of it.

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The smaller fishes were swarming around the whale shark.

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It was really captivating to watch that I think puffs of magical snow dusts were coming out of our mouths.

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Really a sight to behold.

And oooh look! it smiled at the camera…

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More of Churaumi Aquarium in the not so near future…

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FEATURED BLOG

Here is sweetpurity and her nature-filled blog, Nature Walk Photography. The featured post is a culmination of her best photos for each month of last year. Talk a look…

Canoeing at Bios Botanical Garden

Boy, did we have fun?

As expected coming to a botanical garden, we started with a stroll around forests of greens.

We appreciated the abundance of beautiful orchids, and other lovelies scattered on the trails.

We continued on riding a boat. The tranquility and peace was upon us alongside the comedic commentaries by the tour guide. We didn’t understand it but we knew it was funny because all the Japanese were giggling at the jokes. We laughed with them anyway. :D

Surprises awaited as we navigate through the lake.

We combed the garden for some more nature walks.
Then for some reason, the group decided to crank it up a notch by going canoeing.

It was a good thing that my partner got the skills… being it my first canoeing experience. Else, I’d be going around in circles. :D

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So, did we really had fun?

Last Call …

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Even without the canoeing, it’s always nice connecting with nature.

Solitary Walk: Venice Canals

Visiting the Katimbang family (see post before this), I went to San Diego this weekend. It was a four-day staycation for me. I was also touring around California our old-time friend we’ve known way back when we were all in Missisippi. While I thoroughly enjoyed the company that I don’t normally get, my travel opportunities, however, became limited. Frankly speaking, it was quite frustrating. I dare not to elaborate further not to sound such a very mean tattletale. Let’s just say that I didn’t get anywhere on my destination plans in San Diego. Anyhow, the disappointment were replaced with great conversations of new and old times. I guess, it still worth the long drive. Traveling with group sure has the “inner” benefits, but in all physicality, going solo gives you umpteen possibilities and freedom. See my post here about traveling in groups vs. solo – Lost in Paris.

With the aching, rising price of gas and the long hours on the road, I just couldn’t bare the thought of getting nowhere after three days of staycation. Going back home, in Los Angeles, I tried to cover LACMA but got there too late with too little to see. Knowing me, I just don’t give up that easily. I continued on. I punched in another address on the GPS and I was ready to roll again. When we got there, I told my good old friend to wait in the car handing him my iPad so he has something to do. I already took him to Santa Monica, Chinatown, Griffith Park, Fairoaks Pharmacy, Mission Beach and La Jolla. I’m sure he understood.

I went for a solitary walk in Venice Canals. The good riddance, perhaps selfishness or rudeness for some, was all worth it. It can easily be one of the top best solitary walks I had in my entire travel days of all-time.

Yes, the Venice Canals in California is set-up to resemble the one in Italy. Only this is a high-end part of Los Angeles. Not of historical signifance scenes than its predecessor, and no gondolas in sight, the scenery here is then beautified with glamour, stylish houses, gardens, trees, cemented and wooden bridges, and varieties of paddle boats.


These are the only passengers I saw on these boats.

I ran so quickly I tripped three times, bumped into two people blocking my way where one of which, I pushed to the water, dropped one of my lenses, just so then I could get on top of the bridge to catch this shot.

I was, of course, just joshing. I stood on the bridge and waited eagerly and patiently for that shot above. This one below, however, was a serendipitous sighting.

The lanterns that are hanging from a tree lit up, telling me I should go back now and get back to my friend I left so horribly inside the car. He did like the Hollywood sign and Santa Monica for those are popular, but I don’t think he had the same interest in seeing these views.

 

This post is part of Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary.
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Italy and California?

Featured Blog

Here is an excellent all-around blog. I don’t mean it in the slightest. This blogger is an artist, a poet, a traveler, a photograph expert, and a well-versed writer. She is currently enjoying Verona, and sharing wonderful street photography and stories of her stay there. Mind you, stateside, she’s been to San Jose, San Diego, Honolulu, Chicago, Anchorage, to name a few. My most favorite from this newly Freshly Pressed blog, One Street Shy, is this Verona-slash-intrapersonal post.

Last Calls…. Brace yourselves, as I did.


Though I didn’t anywhere in San Diego while traveling in group, this bookending solitary moment completely made up for it. With this scenery, I was certainly relieved.

SUNDAY POST: Reflection and Peace in Nature, or Caramoan, Philippines

RELATED POSTS:

It’s more fun in the Philippines (part deux)
OF Carabao and Caramoan
Flashback Friday: Sabang Port
Weekly Photo Challenge: SUN

Reflection. It’s always good to reflect, to contemplate, or to mull things over. When your world is revolving so fast and you’re overwhelmed, when it drops a bomb on you and you have to react, or when it presents all its magnificent nature in front of you and you found yourself so blessed. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to pause and not jump immediately to the situation, and take a moment of reflection, compose yourself and sigh to what life hands to you, good or bad.

It’s a universal feeling- returning back from a vacation of a lifetime and couldn’t return back to reality. It’s hard to wake up, especially with the annoying alarm clock. It’s hard to stand up, drag your feet, and face your responsibilities. To sit and ponder, to find your peace, when nature is staring back at you, is a beautiful thing to do. The world is vast and wonderful, but it is also cruel and unforgiving. It is unstable, and that you need to locate your balance to everything. That, in every greatness, every grandeur, every splendour and all things glory and holy, it can be deathly. While its best to have moments of reflections, you also need to snap out of it for it can eat you alive and then swallow you whole. Too much reflection can bring you down, and pondering too deep can lead to procrastination. I know it’s a difficult thing to do but you need to stand up and shake that feeling.

Survivor Caramoan premieres this Wednesday, on September 19. I do wish and plead for you to see it even just the very first few scenes where they usually show the beauty of the location they are in. I’m just proud of my motherland. I’m glad that I’ve been to Caramoan. And that, I would want you to see what Philippines has to offer despite many setbacks.

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Philippines?

Featured Blog

Capture the Colours and let Lance Romel be your guide to some of the most beautiful locations in the Philippines. Take a tour to Zamboanga, Bohol, Tagaytay and more. Clicking on his blog, it doesn’t take a second for you to realize how captivating, arresting and impressive his photos are.

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Last Call:

I didn’t have much more to say about our trip to Caramoan than what I already narrate to my related posts. But I knew, even way back then, that I still old some pictures that I’ve been dying to share. To stop me from thinking too much, and to just let it out, I decided to segue it to Jake Printer’s Sunday Post. Thank you Jake for the save. Here’s the link to participate to his photo challenge.

This post is also a part of Flashback Friday. *sticks tongue out*

Potrero John Trail in Ojai

Sometimes I take a break from driving long distance. I just don’t always have the patience to sit in a car admiring the long lines of marching cars in major cities. Sometimes, I just don’t have the same neutral concern to hustle and bustle with the crowd, or to that one guy getting robbed. Of course, I’m just joshing. I simply do not always get the urge of traveling volitionally. And when I do take a break from the “work part” of traveling, I lounge around. I do not mean that in its literal sense.

One weekend, I tried to stay at home, and boy! how it depressed me. That’s when I know that I am a travel addict, or perhaps, if you fancy being technical with terminologies, a hodomaniac. I just can’t stand not to do anything. I just have to, have to go somewhere.

Also, another thing came to mind, ding ding ding! – Photography is NOT a passion of mine. My love to travel is the primary desire, and that I only want, and *ehem* need, to take pictures of the things I see when I go out. I barely take pictures of random little things like real photographers do. They can make a gum attached underneath a toilet creatively and artistically captured. They take the time to play piano on their camera settings and perform some surgeries to their pictures. Pardon the pun, I admire and envy photographers for their diligence, creativity and expertise. They snap shots from just about anywhere. I don’t. That’s the big difference. I take travel pictures.

You see, I get all sorts of epiphany when I indulge boredom when I stay at home during weekends.

Enough of digressing (I can’t promise). I lounge by enjoying the quietude of a nearby beach, catching a local event or going to a local restaurant. I love driving, even if I’m a terrible one. Near or far, it just clears my mind.

However, my newfangled favorite made-up form of taking a travel break is hiking. You can trip from a rock or fall into a ditch when hiking. It’s enjoyable, exciting, and challenging. At least you do not have to gracefully gain composure immediately like you do when around a crowd. You can see rocks, mountains, alive or dead trees, flowers, stones, maybe ponds, rivers, waterfalls, all kinds and natures of nature. When you turn around or go further, you can see rocks, mountains, dead trees, flowers, stones, maybe ponds, rivers, waterfalls, etc. Great stuff! right? Not until you get lost because everything looks the same.

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Funny, huh? I wasn’t kidding, I did get lost in the wilderness. The even worst part is that I didn’t get to the payoff of the hike. It was supposed to be a waterfall. As I kept walking and walking, I was making a constant decision whether to quit or not. At the end, it hurt to disappoint. I was as disappointed as a soldier without a gun. I have to go back before it gets dark. I was worried. I couldn’t find my way back. Big Foot might pop up. At that time, I didn’t know how to spell H-E-L-F. And, my underwear is not enough for a blanket. All these things ran into my heads trying to trace my way back.

This is the water I see. It’s cute, with sad puppy eyes and a smile from ear to ear, it’s so lovely to look at. The picture even came out good enough … good enough for Facebook upload.

Oh forget being naive! I can’t sugarcoat it nor you can’t riddle this to me, it was a disappointment not finding the waterfall. It’s the goal I set for that hike. Obviously, I did find my way back the next morning. Calm down, erase that, it was that same day. Now here’s to balance out the dissatisfaction. Heading back, I saw all these boulders and boulders of these incredibly huge, spectacular, magnificent looking rock formations. Misery loves company, I’m not going to show you pictures. You can settle for these small ones.

Fortunately, not even a week AFTER my excursion, Jack Elliott, an outstanding source for hiking needs came out with a post about Sespe Creek/Potrero John Creek that entails directions on how to get to the waterfall. Thank you, Jack Elliott. Now I can bask myself with cakes, candles, confetti and something else kid party-related that starts with a letter “c”. I was being sarcastic, I don’t have any pictures of big, magnificent looking rocks. And seriously, do look around and check out Jack Elliott’s page, and pay attention to his tips and tricks and something else related that starts with a “t”.

Last Call…

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Wondering where all the sarcasms coming from?

FEATURED BLOG

Latimer broke her laptop, and Ridley made a crack about it. Together they make fun, artful, lively and highly entertaining blog posts. On their posts, they do talk back and forth. We know how explosive that can be. However, these two best friends have both intelligent, eloquent and creative minds. They are writers, and at the same time, they make their own artwork. Do check the posts about the processes of their masterpieces. With M. Latimer and Ridley, you won’t get bored. I assure you, it’s a real blog page-turner.

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Related: Highway 33, MRE And Hiking Previews

Panda in San Diego Zoo

First and foremost, I would like to take a moment to express my gratitude to all the visitors of this blog. Rest assured that all the likes, comments, follows and views are all appreciated. Thank you so very much, my blog is progressing rapidly. Secondly, I would like to reiterate my strong distaste and defiance to those who are planning on stealing other bloggers’ works, images and creations. Please adhere to proper requirements and authority in acquiring the images and words of others. Re-blog and ping back away as much as you pleased. Ask first or link back if you do intend to use the materials I have in my blog. Last and the least, if you do follow my blog, I do wish for some interaction. And before I completely forget, thanks for linking my posts to other channels such as Twitter, Google+ and Facebook. Thank You!

Without further ado …

The majority of the votes of the Animal Poll I had weeks ago goes to …



These two pandas, they made me laugh. All they do is lounge there, eat pounds and pounds of bamboo, and be all cuddly. I’m just saying, it must be nice.


There are only four zoos in the US that currently have pandas: Atlanta, Memphis, San Diego and Washington.

San Diego Zoo, together with The Safari, is one of the main reason why Balboa Park is a must visit.

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Animals?

FEATURED BLOG

Here is Fergiemoto and a zoo collection of amazing animal photos. The favorite subject of this blog is nature, most esp. birds and other winged animals. Taking thorough processes in creating the pictures, images of “album of creativity” are uniquely and impressively presented. See this nature and photography yourself and be Creativity Aroused.

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Last Call…

This just in … Panda in San Diego Zoo gave birth last Sunday.

Highway 33, MRE and Hiking Previews

1. I was in Ojai with a plan to do some volunteer work. Sadly, that didn’t happened. I just couldn’t find anybody. I contacted the people, including the organization that arranged it, but nobody hit me back.
2. So instead, I decided to hike Ojai once again. See amy Freshly Pressed entry on Rose Valley Falls in Ojai.  I hiked Rose Valley Falls so smoothly. This time, however, the Potrero John trail that I was aiming for is so hard to find.
3. Highway 33 is so scenic that I couldn’t resist but to drive slowly, pull over the vistas and turnouts, and rubberneck on the stunning views from my car. It completely extends my time staying there.

 - If you still wondering why I bumped up California roads to be the best,
Highway 33 can easily justify for it. -

4. The drive back to the town center is 30 miles or more. I can’t turn back just yet.

5. I had some awful and disappointing misadventures with exploring Sespe Creek and Potrero John Trail. Future posts to follow … previews for now.

- Sespe Creek, but not really -

- Potrero John Trail, I disappointingly didn’t get to the waterfall -

6. I was tired. It’s so hot this time of the year. I got exhausted. This wilderness, I was not prepared for. Most of all, my stomach was growling.

Thank goodness, I have something in my car! …

MRE (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) is an instant meal package that military use in the field. I found me a shaded area with a big rock;

I followed the heating instructions, and viola! …

I got me a quick Spicy Penne Pasta to gorge on after all the driving and hiking.

Last Call…

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Botanical Garden in Balboa Park

This park is huge! It’s like an open to public, open area theme park. There’s only carousel and railroad for kids, but there’s plenty of attractions for all ages. Get there, and it guarantees something that will fit to your liking. Surrounded by all the attractions are several gardens along the way to wherever you choose to go to. You can even see different international houses. There’s a whooping 15 informational, entertaining, diverse and cultural museums. Check out San Diego happenings, events and theater plays, and you might end up seeing it in The Old Globe or Balboa Stadium. If not, the Spreckels Organ Pavilion has musical spectacle for everyone to hear. If all of these is not good enough, Balboa Park houses the ever-popular San Diego Zoo. There’s also bike and hiking trails for the outdoorsy types.

I bring you Balboa Park’s Botanical Garden …

Actually, there are plenty of free admission days in California museums and gardens. I googled this site to help you score free entrances - www.californiafreebies.com.
You can just walk in the botanical garden in Balboa Park whenever it’s open.

Check more flowers here – LA Arboretum.

Variety, diversity, all kinds of interests and fun for family, and the best part of it all … actually, there’s no best in particular. It’s the fact that there’s this one general area in San Diego that centralizes all these awesome attractions. The entire Balboa Park is the newest addition to my absolute MUST list.

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Featured Blog

Check out this date’s newly Freshly Pressed blog entry. I got so excited having to see a ‘Blog I Follow’ to be in that list, esp. with the recent award I received from them. B&W Bears’ clear, sharp and close-up images deserve all the recognition it gets.

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Last Call…

I know, I know. I need to work on taking pictures of birds in flight. If you’re ever in any garden building, don’t just keep your eyes peeled on plants and flowers, keep your ears open as well.

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