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THE FINAL COUNTDOWN 

It’s the last day of 2018 and I thought it would be fun to look back on the past year and relive some of my favorite travel moments from the year. It’s interesting because I do something similar to this every year and every year my favorite images are almost always different from others. I try not to let emotions play into the selection but it can be difficult. You’ll see what I mean 🙂

I had a fantastic year of travel and so blessed to be able to experience everything that I did. I’m lucky enough to have visited the Europe, Caribbean and of course different parts of America. So let me know what you think. Click on each image to read the original blog post:

drone, mavic pro, california, san diego, fiesta island, birds, selfie, fly, dji, bird, seagulls, practice, socal, water, beach, island, dog island

One of my very first drone images from San Diego. Taken around this time last year, I loved being in Southern California in the winter time. I got my drone at the end of 2017 so I was just practicing flying when I took this image. I really didn’t think much of it until I saw that bird fly below close to the water. With the placement of where I’m sitting and that bird, I love how everything lines up. Definitely expect more drone images from me in 2019. I’m hooked!

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I still can’t believe this was almost a month ago. It was such a spur of the moment trip but everything was absolutely perfect. The timing, the weather, the company. I loved everything about our overnight trip to West Virginia.

Since it was so last minute, I had no idea what to expect. I just knew I was in for an adventure. I kept my camera in my hands for pretty much the entire hike up Seneca Rocks. This bridge was right at the beginning. I could see from a distance that the bridge went up a little bit in the middle so I knew I told Jennie and Audrey to go ahead of me and I was going to take pictures of them walking on the bridge. I really liked how the tree trunks were such distinct lines framing the bridge, especially those in the background. The white trunks really pop.

And yes, those are hiking poles that they’re walking with. HAHAHA Jennie is so prepared for adventure that she had a spare that Audrey and I shared. But I’m thankful for her and all her outdoor knowledge. I learned a lot from her about hiking, like how she finds the hikes, how she plans them and even the equipment she uses. Out of the many things that we talked about, for some reason it was the breakfast that stands out in my mind.

You know those squeeze pouches that you see little kids eating apple sauce out of? Did you know they haves for oatmeal too? I don’t know why, but this seriously blew my mind. Here’s the link in case you wanted to check them out. LOL Jennie was so generous that she packed one for Audrey and I and I was surprised how good they were. Who knew eating oatmeal could be so easy? I definietly want to get some for the next time I’m on a hike. They were just so convient. I had the apple cinnamon flavor and I was a fan.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/1600sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm lens.

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In a very unexpected turn of events, I ended up going to West Virginia last week! Around 1p, my cousin, Jennie asked if I wanted to go with her on a road trip to Seneca Rocks. We were going to leave that evening, spend the night in an airbnb and wake up in the morning to go on a hike. With nothing much else planned but to prepare for Thanksgiving eating, I was all in! *In a way, this help prepare me further for my Thanksgiving eating LOL* My sister in law, Audrey came too and the three of us had an amazing trip!

It’s been a while since I’ve been to West Virginia. To be honest, I didn’t even know where Seneca Rocks was or what it looked like. So when Jennie told me that we were going to be able to climb on the top of the rocks in less than 1.5 miles, I was very skeptical. The morning was a bit chilli, 30 degrees or so but I learned my lesson from Norway. I knew that as soon as I started hiking for a bit, my body heat was going to warm me up and I wasn’t going to need so many layers. I felt so prepared LOL.

The hike itself wasn’t bad at all. It was a slow ascend up the mountain with nice views along the way. From what I saw on Alltrails.com it looked like it was a busy hike but so I feel lucky that there was barely anyone on the trails! We probably saw 6 people max and for the most part, we were the only ones on top of the rocks. It was awesome and I’d definitely do it again.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/1600sec and ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm lens

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One of the first things we did when we arrived in Norway was head over to the Fløibanen funicular in Bergen. Luckily our hotel was really close by and it was only a 10 minute walk to the station. I was happy to see that we were able to purchase either one way tickets or round trip tickets. Andrew and I decided to do the one way because neither one of us wanted to hike up the mountain but we thought it would be cool to see the views walking down.

Well, it was stunning to stay the least. It was raining on our way up which wasn’t too bad since we were covered by the tram but once we arrived to the top of Mt Fløyen I didn’t even notice the rain anymore. We spent some time walking around the 180 degree semi circle which provided amazing views of Bergen and the surrounding area.

While we were walking down the mountain, the rain was off and on but mostly on. We stood under some trees hoping that the rain would pass quickly but it didn’t. So we just kept it moving. But during the times when the rain was off, the sunlight would come through the clouds and it would create this gorgeous light on the buildings below us. It was like the whole world was glowing. So if you’re ever in Bergen, I’d highly recommend the Fløibanen funicular. It’s a great ride up and an easy walk down. I just hope it won’t be raining like it was when we went.

Quick tip: While walking down Mt Fløyen, I noticed that any scenic view had a bench right by it. It’s like a little sign saying sit down, relax and enjoy the scenery. But it wasn’t just in Bergen that they had that. It was all over Norway. So if you ever had a doubt you would see something nice, look for a bench!

My camera settings for this image is F5.0 at 1/2000 ISO 500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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One of our goals for the trip was to get in a little hiking in while we were in Norway. After our camping adventures in Lake Tahoe, Andrew and I were looking for beautiful scenery but not too strenuous of a hike. Well Ramestreken was half of that. It was one of the best views we saw the entire trip, but the hike was probably one of the hardest I had ever done.

For the most part, our trip was very rainy. It wasn’t consistent rain but it rained everyday. However  the weather gods were in our favor when we woke up on one of the last days of our trip to an amazingly beautiful, sunny morning (it rained in the afternoon). It was meant to be that we planned this hike on one of the best days that we were there because I don’t think it would have been possible to do it in the rain. The whole thing is 550 meters (.35 miles) which doesn’t seem like a long hike at all but it’s straight uphill the entire way! If it were raining it would have been way too muddy and slushy everywhere to even hike up. Some of it was paved, but for the most part you’re walking on tree trunks and dirt. In the image you can see a little piece of the decline. This was when we had already reached the top and we were headed down. This part of the hike had steps which made it a little easier but Andrew isn’t that far ahead of me when I took this image. Seriously, the most vertical hike I’ve ever experienced! We have definietly broken in our hiking shoes this summer.

But the strenuous hike was totally worth the views. I’ll post more about it later but it’s absolutely breathtaking. Highly recommended if you’re willing to test your endurance.

My camera settings for this image is F5.6 at 1/1000 ISO 250 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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Before leaving Geiranger, Andrew and I decided to go on a 30 minute hike. It wasn’t too far from the cabin where we were staying and an excellent way to get some physical activity in before we got back on the road to our next destination. What started off as just a normal hike along a mountain ended up being one of my favorite memories of the entire trip.

The beginning of the hike started off pretty flat, but that wasn’t going to last long. I could see about half a mile ahead of us, we were about to go up a little hill and turn the corner as soon as we got to the top. So we started our hike with that view just ahead of us. It hadn’t even been 10 minutes into when I saw two ears and a little head pop up from around the corner. OMG was that an alpaca? I turned around to Andrew to see if he saw what I was seeing and he was! Then all of the sudden 2 more heads popped up and I screamed “THERE’S EVEN MORE OF THEM!” I could not contain my excitement. I think in the end there was about 5 or 6 of them. I had my long lens on and captured a few images from a distance but immediately switched to my wide angle. There was no way I was not going to walk closer to them. Can you imagine see a group of alpacas with the Norwegian mountains and fjords as the backdrop? Holy crap my mind was blown.

The rest of the hike was great. More about that later but seriously these alpacas were so cool to see. I’m still smiling ear to ear just thinking about it.

My camera settings for this image is F4.0 at 1/3200th of a second at ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.