palm trees

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Most of my time in Taiwan was actually spent in a suburb of Taipei called Tamsui. It’s about a 45 minute MRT (metro) ride from the capital city but it still gives you the big city feelings. It’s bustling with people at all hours of the day which was good for me because I usually woke up every morning around 4 am. It was so nice because I really enjoyed photographing Tamsui as the city was waking up. I never really had a real plan during my morning walks, I would just wander the streets and see where each corner would take me. Some of the streets would be so small that I’d get so lost. Luckily, I had internet service on my phone or else, I’d probably still be wandering the streets not knowing where I was going right now.

This image was captured on the main road close to our hotel. I loved it because it was one of the only sunny mornings we had while we were there and I just love seeing those palm trees glow in the sun. Scooters and pedestrians were everywhere, on their way to work and school. Looking at this image, I can still hear all the scooters racing by. At some points, it seriously was like a game of chance because they would pop out of nowhere. LOL.

My camera settings for this image are F4.5 at 1/3200th sec and ISO 2500 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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So to help with my beach withdrawals, I’ve decided to go through some of my San Diego images from earlier this year. I love our annual tradition of going every year to celebrate the new year. I don’t think I could think of a better place for us to hang out for a couple of weeks. Plus Frankie loves running on the beach in the mornings.

This image was taken at sunset in Point Loma. It’s a great place to go to capture the San Diego skyline but what I liked most about this image is that single sailboat just floating by. I tried my best to capture it so it wasn’t hidden behind any palm trees or anything. I wanted it to be seen with so many other sailboats just parked in the harbor. Plus the sunset was just right to add a little bit of pink in the water.

Major shoutouts to Frankie Foto. I’ve never met Frankie in real life but anytime I have any questions about what and where to capture images in San Diego, Frankie’s blog has been an amazing resource. If you ever plan on visiting Southern California, I would definitely recommend reading his blog first.

I’ve also created a blog post about my favorite photo spots in San Diego in case you were interested in checking that out too 🙂 I plan on updating this post every time I visit as I get to know the area better and better.

My camera settings for this image is F6.3 at 1/400th sec and ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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On our way back from the beach and walking towards our room, I was completely distracted by the newly renovated swimming pool at Club Med. It is now above ground so it feels like an infinity pool and when no one is in it, the reflections are absolutely gorgeous. This image makes me want to jump in, but we actually didn’t spend any time at the pool. Andrew’s way more of a beach person but when I travel with my girlfriends, I feel like we’re at the pool 90% of the time. I’m ok with either. As long as there’s some sort of body of water, I’m all good.

Which one are you? A pool or ocean person?

But I’m glad we walked by it right around sunset because the colors are stunning. Andrew was returning our beach towels and getting us drinks when I captured this image. I just loved the way the palm trees and clouds were reflected in the water. I tried my best to get as close to the water to make the reflections look extra big. Proud to report that there was no water damage to ANY of my cameras during this whole trip 🙂

If you find yourself traveling to Grace Bay, I highly recommend spending your time chasing the sunset because of where you are located on the island. It sets right in front of you making it difficult to take a bad image. The sun rises on the other side and with all my experience there, your time is probably better spent in bed then waking up super early.

My camera settings for this image is F8 at 1/60th sec and ISO 200 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

 

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One of the awesome benefits of staying on the Strip while in Las Vegas is the freedom to just walk around and have so many cool things to see all around you. It’s also pretty awesome when you are still on east coast time on the west coast. So waking up for a sunrise walk on Las Vegas Blvd wasn’t a part of my plan but somehow just happened.

This was the very first image I took on the trip. I loved the way that the palm trees were framing each other but what really caught my attention was the sunlight hitting the side of the Mirage hotel and casino. Those yellow and orange lines are something I feel like you could only see in Vegas. I thought it made for a very cool backdrop and loved how all of this came together.

As I mentioned before, Las Vegas definitely has a very special place in my heart. I used to love visiting as a child so walking up and down the strip, pretty much alone brought back so many memories. Apparently not many people are around at 630 in the morning in Las Vegas so it was like I had the whole place to myself. LOL. And the Mirage used to be one of the coolest hotels to visit and I remember visiting pretty often. Mostly because I remember watching Siegfried and Roy and their white tigers. It used to be one of the best tickets around in the 90s so I was also glad to see how they are honored outside of the hotel with a statue. And I had no idea, but the Mirage actually has a pretty cool night show outside the hotel now. Similar to the Bellagio that you could just walk up and see it but this one is with a Volcano eruption.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/320th sec at ISO 400 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

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I love La Jolla. Out of all the places that we have visited in San Diego, La Jolla is my favorite place to be. I love the beaches, the views and how photogenic that little part of SoCal is. Correct me if I’m wrong, but it also seems a bit quieter than the neighboring Pacific Beach and just an overall cool place to hang out.

This image was taken after a night of rain. It actually rained a couple of times while we were out there which was so weird because I thought it never rained in southern California? Anyways, Vincent was taking another surf lesson at sunrise so Andrew and I decided to tag along. We figured we could bring Frankie and let him run around on the beach before a lot of people got there and I could also take some early morning shots too. It turned out to such a quiet and beautiful morning of just walking in the sand and flying the drone. But after awhile both Andrew and I got a little hungry. We found a cafe close by that we could walk to but along the way we had to walk across the parking lot. It was like hitting the puddle jacket pot. I also distinctly remember saying out loud “oh snap, reflections ahead”. LOL. Who does that? It must have been my way of warning Andrew that we were going to be in the parking lot for a little while.

But honestly, if I had to pick one place with the best palm trees in San Diego, La Jolla Shores has to be it. There’s nothing special or different about them. The only difference is that there’s a lot of them on area.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/5000th sec at ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide angle lens.

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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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