A trip to the aquarium

This week’s photo challenge is so much fun. I have not processed photos in such a long time. I love how the black and white effect transformed my photos from my trip at the Long Beach Aquarium. I have to confess the original photos were not that great and I blame the barrier picking up the reflection of my phone and well…other phones. Thank you for hosting such a fun challenge, Anne!

jellyfish
seahorse

Update: for reference, here are the original photos:

Here are some black and white photos around the blogosphere:

  • Bends Branches – a beautiful landscape of the hills dotted with buffalo.
  • A New Day – The black and white effect on this house in the middle of nowhere looks incredibly clean!
  • A Meditative Journey with Saldage – A wonderful collection of black and white photos. They transformed seemingly ordinary objects into something more abstract.
  • Tish Farrell – The B&W effect on harvest machines almost looks like like a silhouettes.
  • One Woman’s Quest II – Birds in B & W. Wonderful close-up shots.

Water play

Playing with water, wet. Playing with fire, burned.

Indonesian Proverb
Oregon Zoo otter
Otter playing in the Portland Zoo.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #155 – On the Water. Host: Journeys with Johnbo.

A few “On the Water” posts around the blogosphere:

Two ducks, two views (PPAC #2)

I’ll be doing two prompt in one post. One is the Lens-Artist Photo Challenge and the theme is One Duck Photo, Two Views hosted by Tina. The second prompt is the Photographing Public Art Challenge hosted by Cee Neuner.

The Rubber Duck photos return! In the first photo the focus is on mama Rubber Duck and baby Rubber Duck. Step back, the focus is on the fans stopping by to meet the 40-foot world explorer.

Update: 7/3/21

A few public art posts around the blogosphere:

A few posts around the theme: One Photo, Two Views

  • John’s Space – Though it seemed like he was joking, flipping the photo did make it look like an alternate universe.
  • Slow Shutter Speed – The field of sunflowers is instant happiness.
  • Oh the Places We See – Shares some photo tips on how a few things as simple as weather or changing the filter can transform a subject.

Shade and shadow


“I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

This week is appropriately named since it’s been so hot the last few days in Los Angeles. At some point during the week, we’ve been experiencing temperature high s 106 degrees and it’s not officially summer time! Whenever it gets this hot time I daydream about hanging out somewhere coastal…or anywhere near water really…

amalfi Coast
Amalfi Coast, Italy
lake tahoe
Lake Tahoe, CA
ventura county
Somewhere in Ventura County

Lens-Artists Challenge #152 – Shades and Shadows

Some shades and shadows around the blogosphere:

Large to small

This is an interesting challenge. It reminds me of those cardboard children’s books where each page there is a small cutout of a color and it leads you another object to the next page and on to the next page. If this was a children’s book, it would a color feature and the first page would start off as a large object going down to a small object with that color.

I decided for this challenge to play with the color yellow because it’s warm, inviting, and fun. Plus, I wanted some excuse to share a photo of the gigantic Rubber Duck sculpture. I remembered when the duck arrived to San Pedro many years ago, I dragged my boyfriend (now husband) to go check it out after work. I think if it were to make a children’s board book around the color yellow, these photos could pull it off…

Here are some colors from large and small across the blogosphere!

…plus other fellow yellows!

Lens-Artist Challenge: Large to Small

CMMC – June Color – Yellow

Go Wild in Los Angeles

Yup, another hiking post. When I first started this blog, it was focused on hiking trails around Los Angeles. But knowing myself, this blog eventually became a place where I wanted to write about things I like aside from hiking. I just could not stick with a niche for too long Anyways, this is one of my favorite trails and it’s located in Encino which is less than 15 minutes from my home. For those not from the area, it’s right off the infamous 101 and 405 freeway.

Upper Canyonback Ridge Santa Monica Mountains Encinvo

I am standing on a trail enjoying the wild rolling green hills on one side.

Upper Canyonback Ridge Santa Monica Mountains Encinvo

Look the other way and you get a view of this polished golf course and some large homes. Plus there’s the 405 freeway, Brentwood, the Getty Center, and Bel Air.

Upper Canyonback Ridge Santa Monica Mountains Encinvo

Lens-Artists Photography Challenge #150: Let’s Get Wild (host: Dianne)

Here are some wild photos I came across the blogosphere:

  • jazziBeeblog – A lovely collection of Scottish wildlife!
  • Space Stories by Gift – A 110,000 year old lake in Hokkaido, Japan. It’s like their Lake Tahoe there.
  • Slow Shutter Speed – Experience the Totality Solar Eclipse without those special sunglasses.
  • scillagrace – A wonderful collection of American wilderness. It takes me back to my teen years when my family and I would roadtrip every summer.
  • Travels and Trifles – Features a lovely photo of Patagonia which is on my travel bucket list.
  • Travel with Me – Torres del Paine National Park — more of Patagonia.
  • TBL – A lovely floor of swamp marigolds found on the trail. They’re such lovely ground cover I’d consider getting some of my front yard.

Finding blues and greens in the city

The most underrated feature of LA would have to be the nature and finding it is a lot closer than you think. I enjoy going to any green space to clear my mind after a long hard week at work. I know my husband fantasizes about living in the countryside, but to be honest I think he’d be tired of it very fast. If we lived in the countryside, would we seek solace (or fun) in the city if country life got monotonous? For me, I like to think finding a piece of nature in the city is a treat.

Some hiking trail in Chatsworth
Encino Resevoir
Somewhere in Griffith Park. This is one of my favorite photo where you get the downtown LA Skyline and the Griffith Observatory.

Lens-Artist Photo Challenge: Cool Colors – Blue and Green (host: Tina)

Some green and blues I came across the blogosphere:

John’s Space – featuring the most gorgeous lilacs!

Slow Shutter Speed – A beautiful ocean drive from San Jose to Pacific Grove.

Leya – A beautiful collection of greens and blues.

My Camera and I – Another beautiful collection featuring this lake.

Bulldog travels – shares photos from the Golden Gate Park Botanical Gardens. I haven’t been to that place in years. I loved how that city is so bikeable and walkable — although incredibly expensive!

P.A. Moed – Check out that mural! It’s stunning! Very Narnia like!

The Showers of Blessings – A very interesting history of peacocks in the San Gabriel area. Since I live in LA it explains some of the street names.

Bend Branches – beautiful sky shots!

Spots and dots

“A line is a dot that went for a walk.”

Paul Klee

Ann-Christine brought up a fun theme this week and it’s Spots and Dots! Well I certainly have fun with this theme — there’s just something pleasing about looking at a circle. Here are some of mine:

Chinese lanterns 🏮 in Chinatown Milan
Lamps in Descanso Gardens
The largest macaron I’ve ever had. Plus a smaller one in the background. This is from Bouchon Bakery in Beverly Hills (no longer there).
A flight of beers at some Portland bar
Don’t forget–scoops of ice cream!

Here are some Spots and Dots that caught my eye in the blogosphere:

  • Ramya Tantry – that umbrella garden looks dreamy :-).
  • Brenda – a very unique photo. The double exposure effect makes the leaves look like little dots.
  • Amy – stunning macro shots of the rain drops resting on the leaves and the window.
  • Suzy – another beautiful macroshot raindrops on leaves.
  • GERIATRI’X’ FOTOGALLERY – featuring dots in artwork, rooftops, and ceilings.
  • John – captured shots of water in motion.
  • Chris Mosseau – more water shots. I love how the drops rest on the blades of the leaf.
  • Aletta – a great collection of dots on a guineafowl, a mosaic, and a wooden horse.

Find me in a garden…

My favorite place to go are gardens and parks. I like to go there to find calm from a busy week. Also, I like to learn about different plants and grab some inspiration for my own yard someday. Every year during the holiday season I remind my husband we have to go to the garden to enjoy the holiday lights. Forget going to the mall! I’m going to the garden. Plus don’t forget to reserve tickets as early as possible!

Anyways, here are a few gardens I’ve visited in the past. For this week I went through my WordPress media archives to find plenty of garden photos.

Getty Villa in Malibu

getty villa malibu entry tree

A Mediterranean style garden in Malibu.

The Arboretum in Arcadia – Moonlight Forest

I have not gone to the Arcadia Arboretum in the daytime. I only went there a couple years ago for the holiday season where they transformed the place into a garden of lights. These are just a few of the photos I took that day. The original post was from a previous Lens-Artist challenge.

Descanso Gardens — Enchanted Forest

Another garden I visited during the holiday season. I love how the different colored lights are shining on the branches; the blue looks little magical but the gray branch with the green in the background looks little creepy. Here’s the original post with a few more photos from Descanso Garden. I’d like to return for the cherry blossom festival in fall.

Huntington Library

Huntington Library is one of my favorite places to go. I’ve had a couple of posts featuring a picture or two — but that’s nothing, it deserves a solo post. Many years ago, I entertained the idea of having our wedding at the Huntington, but we did not have $100,000 for the venue fee. If you are wondering, the fee does NOT include food and beverage, photography, music and entertainment, flowers, rentals, tents, supplemental security, and cost of event planner or producer. I understand they are an estate first, not an event center.

https://japanesegarden.org/Portland Japanese Garden

When we were in Portland, we rented a bike to explore the city. We went far enough and ended up at this Japanese Garden. It was not in our itinerary, but it we thought “let’s check it out.” It’s a small garden but there’s lots to see!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #147: Gardens (Host: Amy)

Looking up

The Getty Villa Museum is a smaller museum from the Getty Museum a few miles away. The Getty Villa is inspired by an ancient Roman Villa. It reminds me a smaller version of Hearst Castle in San Simeon.

I’ve heard great things about the Getty Villa when I was in university. From university you take one bus line and admission to the Villa was free — things university students enjoy. Regretfully I never went until two years ago. Maybe I was too occupied as a student to go.

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This tree is one of the first things I noticed when entering the Getty Villa. I love the branches embrace the sky.
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Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #146: Focusing on the Details

Five things Friday: Getting to know you

I thought for this week’s Five Things Friday to play around with the Lens-Artist Photo Challenge theme, Getting to Know You. Here are five thing about me around what I enjoy and things I aspire to.

1. I enjoy cooking

If I had more time to blog, I would share more cooking photos. I am in the process of replacing of my old crusty cookware. I got rid of two my T-Fal pans — the nonstick properties are no good. I replaced them with a Staub cast iron skillet and Cuisineart stainless steel pan. This week I’ve been playing around with my Staub cast iron skillet and I love it. Here’s to many uses in the kitchen!

Cooking Brussel Sprouts inspired from this the About to Eat video.

2. I am resilient

“Whenever you should doubt your self-worth, remember the lotus flower. Even though it plunges to life from beneath the mud, it does not allow the dirt that surrounds it to affect its growth or beauty.”
― Suzy Kassem, Rise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

My former supervisor would describe me as buoyant and ebullient. It’s probably the best description I’ve received. I am not about toxic positivity — that is ignoring the problem and pretending things are fine and invalidating your feelings. Instead, I see the problem and I am determined to get everyone out of the situation.

Admittedly, I know some (err…many) people who are not a fan of my approach. It’s tempting (and easy) to dwell in the negativity — I’ve gone there too. There is one group that likes to weigh me down and another group that likes to throw whatever in its path to “improve” the situation. There’s a Joseph Campbell quote I tell myself and that is “the only way out is through.” Sometimes you just can’t fight and resist the inevitable. It reminds that positivity is important, the ability to uplift a group can encourage people to do their best work.

3. I was a career changer

I graduated with a biology degree thinking I was going to pursue pharmacy or medicine. Then I decided to take a gap year working in biotechnology. I took a gap year because I wanted to save enough money to take the exams, applications, and ultimately enough living expenses to wherever I was going for school. It did not work that way. I compromised thinking I was going to remain in a career in biotech, but I did not like it. I went from a small biotech company to a large biotech company to eventually get let go. From there I pivoted towards a public health career. I enjoy it a lot. I considered pursuing public health after university, but I was always told to turn away because there was not a lot of money. Maybe I should have not listened — especially to people who had no knowledge of the field or have thought about it. Working in public health in the last eight years has been a complete joy even through this pandemic.

4. I am trying to enjoy the art of slowing down

I noticed when I travel to other countries, the locals there seem to enjoy the art of slowing down. I’ve putting it into practice since our Italy honeymoon in 2015. When things get too overwhelming or if I am going, going, going it’s okay to put on the brakes and slow down. Or maybe just completely stop to enjoy the view for a while.

5. I am a long-time blogger

I’ve been blogging for a long time and I have no intention to make it a business even though I am a new mom. I’ve attempted to monetize my blog in the past, but the truth is I enjoy writing as I am — not as an advertisement. If I am frustrated and want to vent, I’ll do that. If I don’t enjoy a product, why should I write pretending that I do. Also, blogging is a way to keep in touch with my friends from university. After graduation, a lot of them have returned and settled in their hometowns and wrote about whatever — I wrote about life in a new town, restaurants I reviewed, and meals I’ve made. After some time that blog went dormant. I’ve gone through many phases where I would write a lot and take a break and write again and repeat. I have plenty of posts in my draft box that will eventually make it to the “Publish” button.

Pick a pastry

Sugar brings happiness. Eating it once or twice a week in a dessert, that’s what life is about. There is nothing wrong with it.

Adriano Zumbo

One of my favorite things about travelling is eating pastries and desserts — it’s always on my travel itinerary. This is from a pastry shop in Rome. Feel free to pick one — or pick them all!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #142 – You Pick It!