My Sweet Valentine

She loves Valentine’s Day.  In fact, she loves celebrating all kind of occasions and holidays.  She simply loves life and enjoys celebrating it.  She had been a little busy bee last week making homemade gifts, cards and treats for all of us.  All she wanted was to see the joy in our faces and hear us say “wow”!  What an amazing kid.  Being able to watch my children grow up everyday is the greatest gift of my life.

hazel VD2015 7hazel VD2015 2hazel VD2015 1

hazel VD2015 8hazel VD2015 5hazel VD2015 4hazel VD2015 3

alishan forest-9

Into The Forest

It felt like an cold ice refreshment trickling down the throat in the middle of a hot summer afternoon was exactly how I’d describe my appreciation for being up at 2200m above sea level.  On my last post, I showed you pictures of Alishan sunrise.  Today, I’d like to take you into Alishan Forest.
alishan forest-9
alishan forest-8
alishan forest-5
Escaping into the cool misty green forest on a hot and humid summer days of Taiwan was such a delightful treat although the drive up to the destination was a little underwhelming. Weather can be pretty unpredictable at that altitude.  It didn’t take long for the weather to change from sunny to rainy.  Half way in the way forest, it started to drizzle.  Green became greener.  Where it was once a solid earth became muddy. There was no shelter anywhere in the forest, just had to keep moving.  As long as you stay on the well-paved walking path, things shouldn’t get too messy.
alishan forest-7
alishan forest-3
alishan forest-2
alishan forest-1
alishan forest-6
Alisha Forest is definitely one of those very few captivating places I have ever been.  I love everything about Alishan – from their famous sunrise, fresh air, green forest to aromatic Oolong tea.  And yes, I’d return again if given the chance.  I have heard the sunset is equally breathtaking.  And this time, I will have some hot Oolong time by my side.
alishan web-6

The Alishan Sunrise

Happy New Year!  2014 was a exciting year for me both personally and professionally.  Travelled to many places, made new friends, experienced many new adventures, tasted all kind of foods and captured a lot of exciting images during my journey to Asia.  On this post today I’d like take you back to one of my favorite journeys in 2014… Alishan in Taiwan.

Up in the mountain of Alishan, grass is green and air is crisp. Mountains of tea plants everywhere. But the most amazing thing of all in Alishan is the sunrise. Like any amazing thing in life, they don’t come by easy.  And due to the rapid changing of weather up in mountain, seeing the sunrise is no guarantee.  However, for a small piece of heaven on earth, I supposed one can say the journey up to the Alishan mountain is nothing.

From the foot to the top of the Alishan mountain by coach was about 3 hours.  We stayed in Alishan for a night.  Sun was estimated to rise around 5.20am the next morning. We woke up 3am to get ready to catch a train to Zhu San (another mountain) where it has the best spot for viewing the sunrise. Everyone on that train was tired and sleepy.  Train ride was about 30-40 min long.

alishan web-1

alishan web-2

At destination, I quickly looked for a spot where I can have a shot of the magical sunrise.  No idea where exactly the sun was going to be behind the giant mountain range was challenging.  Just had to follow the crowd.  The sky was clear, and clouds were a little scarce.  Good news was we will see the sunrise for sure.  Not so great news was the missing fluffy clouds.  You see… part of the magic was the sea of clouds sitting below the horizon as the sun rises behind the mountain range.  It’s not just about the sunrise alone, it’s about how all natures come together in harmony bringing you a short moment of heavenly perfection.

alishan web re-3

Finally a golden ray of light shot across the horizon.  The sun came up and started moving very quickly. It was breathtaking. As the sun fully emerged from the horizon, in a short minute, where it was once dark now covered with warm bright light.  Despite the missing sea of clouds, I thought the sunrise was truly amazing.  I could only imagine the grandeur of it with the clouds… which makes me want to go back even more.

alishan web-6

alishan web-5

alishan web-7

People started walking away as the sun became impossible to stare at anymore.  Feeling accomplished and amazed, we left for the train station and onto the next adventure for the day… into the famous Alishan forest.  Stay tuned for the next post.

Beach Crab

Sighting of little crab crawling along the shoreline definitely adds an interesting flavor to the Brunei beaches.  These little crab dug holes and left little balls of sand art all over the beach.  But trying to catch one in action requires a pair of good eyes and lots of patience.  These little sideways moving critters were super fast.  Guess it was my lucky day to find one scrambling its way out of its hole on the sand.

By the time we finally made it to the beach in Kuala Belait, Brunei, the sun was going down.  I was already being under attack by sand flies so I wasn’t planning to stay long.  However during the short period of time, not only I spotted a crab, I also caught a glimpse of the beautiful sunset against the ocean.  I left the beach feeling like a winner!

beach crab copy beach copy
sand hole copy
kids  sunset copy

Waiting For The Right Moment

 

 

Location, location and location is everything in business.  But comes to photography, timing is everything!  After Angie and Yan looked through their gallery, they said to me “can’t believe you got so many shots of my son smiling and laughing.  All I can remember was he constantly crying and throwing tantrums the whole time!”  To me, this is someone telling me they noticed and appreciate my work.

Session with  a toddler is always challenging, but it’s worth it when they love their pictures, print it, frame it and hang it up on their walls.  We all may remember how hard it is to get the toddler to just sit still for at least 80% of  the photo shoot, but I only need 20% of great moments, no matter how small each window is, to make great pictures.  Be patient and wait for the right moment to click.   But of course, there is no way you are going to get any toddlers to pay attention to you, let alone smile at you and your silly camera, without some form of bribing and lots of treats.

 

angie_maternity_2014-16

angie_maternity_2014-17

angie_maternity_2014-22

angie_maternity_2014-24

Nebraska Summer Sky

So finally I had chance to attend one of the most popular summer events – Nebraska Hot Air Balloon & Wine Festival.  I missed it almost every year in the last 5 years, I’m glad I made it this year.  I love watching hot air balloons sailing in the sky.  Have you ever wondered what’s it’s like to float in the air and touch the sky?  That mystery feeling.

Although I went, drank some Nebraska wine and enjoyed some great live music, I didn’t sail away into the summer sky and touch the cotton candy looking cloud.  I, however, came home with a lot of great pictures, which I love to do.  While I was editing away one of the pictures, my sweet little girl asked “why is the rainbow round?”  I looked her as she pointed at the picture in my screen and I replied “hmm… because that’s how I dream it.”  Then I remember, yes… that’s why I love photography, it allows me to capture what I see and create what I feel.  Just like what Vincent Van Gogh said “I dream my painting and then I paint my dream.”

hotairballoon

hotairballoon_bw

hotairballoon1

hotairballoon2

Larry & Stephen – Graduation Party 2014

Larry and Stephen are twin brothers who just graduated high school this May.  Class of 2014 – woot!  woot!  I simply love their fun, out-going, and well-mannered personalities!  Such terrific people.  Sherri, their mom, an aspiring event planner put together this awesome graduation party for the boys and had hired me to shoot the event for them.  I truly feel honored to be able to help capturing this great memory!

Instead of sharing individual pictures like I normally would for a regular session, I feel a slideshow  video would do a better job at showing all the laughters, fun, beautiful decorations, food and activities that were being captured.  Please sit back and enjoy!  For better video quality, select to watch 720HD on the player.  Wordpress set to the lowest resolution by default.