san diego

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HAPPY 2020! We made it!

I hope you all had a happy and safe night last night. 2019 was a great year for me and my travel bucket list. I am so lucky to have been able to travel to new places, destinations to see family I hadn’t seen in years and revisit some places I’ve been to in the past and relive some beautiful memories. I’m already thinking about all the places I want to go to in the new year. HAHA

Similar to yesterday’s post about my favorite images from Washington DC, these are my personal favorite images I’ve taken on my travels. They are in no special order but chronological. And I added a few more comments about each of the images now. Feel free to click on each of the images to see my original blog post.

san diego, socal, la jolla, la jolla shores, early morning, drone, flying, surfing, surf, pacific ocean

For the past two years, Andrew and I had celebrated the New Year in San Diego, California. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen this year but I really hope to visit Southern California sometime later this year. One of my favorite parts about visiting is being able to fly my drone whenever I want. By the end of this trip, I was flying my drone so much more than taking pictures with my actual camera. One of the best parts is being able to fly over places that would be difficult to see. For example, this image is of my cousin getting ready to get some morning surf in.

Bellagio Las Vegas, hotel and casino, travel, visit, reflection, las vegas, red lanterns, architecture, water show, fountains of bellagio

When I was young, my mom would take me to visit Las Vegas every summer. I always loved visiting because I always thought that her sister, my aunt, lived in the coolest city in the world. At that time, Las Vegas was a lot more family-friendly, but it’s just as fun visiting now as an adult. So when we visited in February it was around the time of Chinese New Year. It was pretty cool to see how each of the casinos celebrated the holiday. This was taken outside the Bellagio hotel. I don’t remember if this was a water fixture, fountain or what, but it was just an open area of water that had a perfect reflection of the red lanterns. Another highlight of that trip? Visiting the Neon Museum for the first time.

cloud gate, the bean, chicago, illinois, sunrise, photographer, glow, the loop, millennium park, park, michigan avenue,

I mentioned this before, but I thought our trip to Chicago was very successful from a photography standpoint (and pizza standpoint too). I came back from that trip with so many images I loved. So many more than what I’ve included in this travel photography post because I wanted to limit myself and only put my absolute favorites. But this image of Cloud Gate is definitely on the top. I absolutely love that glow that’s coming from the sun rising and hitting the bottom of the sculpture. Plus that lady standing in the middle is perfect.

clark street, loop, chicago, windy city, downtown chicago, self parking, garage, street photography, lights, travel,

As far as Chicago city photography, I went on the trip knowing that parking garages are a great place to go to get some nice vantage points. For this particular spot, people are usually facing to the right to photograph some L trains from above. But I thought the view on the left was really interesting as well. I really liked how all the light posts lined up. So I made it a point to look in both directions while I was taking pictures from this garage. Luckily, I turned my head at the right moment to see these pedestrians walking almost in the same pattern as the light posts, all wearing dark colors. This moment could have not been planned more perfectly.

dji mavic pro, from above, turks and caicos, caribbean, island, beach, blue water, weekend getaway, white sand beach, beach umbrellas, pink umbrellas, shadows, beach, flying

3 days in Turks and Caicos was not enough. I spent most of the days relaxing under a beach umbrella and it was amazing. I love the calming sounds of the water and ocean breeze. UGH thinking about it now makes me really miss it since it’s so cold here on the east coast right now. At least I have these images to remind me just how beautiful the world is. I captured this image in the morning time. I try to be considerate of other people’s feelings towards drones so I knew if I had it out later in the day, there would be more chances of people not liking it on the beach. So in crowded places, I try to fly as early in the day as possible. But I just love the contrast of the blue water and pink umbrellas in this image. The shadows of the palm trees and people walking past were not expected but I think really adds to the image.

turks and caicos, grace bay, providenciales, clear water, blue water, white sand, carribean island, gopro, hero5, polarpro, fiftyfifty

I still can’t believe how many cameras I had with me on this trip. For such a short trip, I had 5 cameras, if you include my iPhone. At any given moment, I had at least two cameras with me. So this image was taken with my GoPro. I love that little camera, especially for underwater photography. You can get so creative with all the different mounts. So I bought this FiftyFifty Dome specifically for this trip but the secret for me for capturing this image was putting the camera on timelapse mode and selecting the best one from the entire series. I’d love to do more images like this next time I’m at a beach.

someguy, presidents heads, andy feliciotti, presidents park, williamsburg, virginia, va, croaker, night photography, flashlight, light pollution

The Presidents Heads in Croaker, Virginia has been on my list to visit forever. I actually have been wanting to go to this abandoned field for some time that this was actually my second attempt ongoing. The first time didn’t work out. But it’s ok because this second trip made it all worth it. I loved going there with my photography friends and capturing the Presidents Heads at sunset and night time. It made the whole experience so much more memorable. PS. I also heard they’re filming an episode of Walking Dead here soon. I’ve stopped watching the series but I will definitely be on the lookout for that episode. That’s going to be so cool.

ecola state park, early morning, cannon beach, oregon, haystack rock, tree, branches, seaside, ecola state park photos, ecola state park crescent trail, oregon, travel, visit

My very first time visiting Oregon was amazing. I loved, loved, loved the coast and I can’t wait to go back again. And I was super happy when I found this framing. It was taken at Ecola State Park around sunrise time. I had to step back a little bit to find it and I believe this was one of the last images I captured from this viewpoint. I also think that the memory of showing this image to my mom and her saying that she liked this image because it reminded her of a Chinese watercolor painting also makes me like this image even more.

cape kiwanda, pacific city, oregon, oregon coast, drone, view from above, sand, beach, shadows, lines, travel, dji, drone, mavic pro,

On our third morning along the coast, Andrew, Frankie and I woke up and went for a walk on the beach. This was actually taken on my birthday, so it makes it even more special. But I decided to take my drone out and fly it for a bit. I had every intention of capturing the haystack and ocean but wasn’t really happy with what I was getting. When I was about to land the drone, I flew it above us and saw all the long shadows the sun was creating. I loved the way it turned out, especially with the lines on the beach and how simple everything is. Its one of those images that is probably more sentimental than anything else. And if you’re wondering about the 4th shadow, that’s my camera bag. LOL.

fog, mill run, southwest, ohioplye state park, cucumber falls, waterfall, hills, trese, fall, autumn,

On a last-minute road trip, my friend Sue and I decided to visit Falling Water in Pennsylvania. We booked an Airbnb in a town that was close by and had a great time visiting the surrounding areas. If you know me, I’m an early bird. My internal alarm clock woke me up super early. Like 30 minutes before my alarm went off, so I decided to take advantage of the early morning and tried to find somewhere to take pictures. I had planned to go to a waterfall, but I didn’t make it because this morning fog was distracting me. I found myself pulling over every 10-15 minutes taking pictures. Unfortunately, I left my drone in the Airbnb or else that would have made for some EPIC foggy shots.

rainy day, cinematic, moody, images, photography, travel, new york city, nyc, umbrellas, punch buggy, volkswagen, red car, umbrellas, street photography

Since we’re about a 4-hour drive to New York, I try to make it a point to visit at least once a year. This time we visited, I went to my very first photo expo, PhotoPlus. The expo was very impressive and a little overwhelming. Regardless, being in the city is always a good time. On our last day in New York, it rained a lot. But that didn’t stop us from getting our last meal in the city, soup dumplings. Luckily, Chinatown was amazing for these rainy day vibes. I loved how everyone was carrying around an umbrella and didn’t seem to mind the bad weather.

central park, new york, nyc, fall, autumn, fall foliage, canadian geese, gapstow bridge, orange leaf, travel, weekend in new york

Is it me or is Central Park hard to photograph? Whenever I think of the park, I always think of how big and crowded it is. It’s a little overwhelming and intimidating if you ask me. So I was really happy with the way this image turned out. A little moment of peace with some Candian Geese. That rhymed. But my favorite part about the image is the framing and the yellow leaves around the bottom of the image. It just creates so much more depth that I think is needed in this image. I also think of Home Alone 2 when I think of Central Park, but that’s a different story. LOL.

taipei, taiwan, rain, forecast, weather, typhoon, scooters, street photography, umbrella, zhongxiao dunhua, taxi

The streets of Taipei are crowded! Even waking up before sunrise, you’ll always find people on the streets. It’s pretty crazy how noisy it can get, not necessarily from cars honking but just all the different types of cars engines on the road. From trucks to cars to scooters, you really gotta watch out while walking the streets. But I took full advantage of a busy street in Taipei and waited for this moment to happen. I saw this lady standing on the corner of a crosswalk, right by the taxis. I knew if I waited long enough, some taxis would cross in front of me and create this intersection of yellow. What I didn’t notice while I was capturing the moment was all the yellow in the signs too. I love it when things like this just work out!

tamsui, zhuwei, taipei, new taipei, taiwan, mrt, scooter, street photography, midday light,

Right before my trip to Taiwan, I got my first prime lens! I almost immediately fell in love and probably had that lens on my camera about 70% of the time I was traveling. I can’t even describe how it simplifies street photography and finding moments like this is so much easier to capture. There were a lot of images that I captured with that lens, but this one is probably one that sticks out the most because I just love that slice of light coming from the corner of the image.

taipei, taiwan, restaurant, kitchen, mirror, reflection, travel, self portrait, tamshui

I grew up visiting Taiwan. As I’ve gotten older, the visits have become less frequent but each time I go, I am reminded of so many memories while visiting in the past that I think I grow a greater appreciation for it. This time was even more special because it was going to be the last time I saw my grandfather on my mom’s side. He was 103 years old! I’m so grateful for the time we went because I got to see him while he was still healthy. I hadn’t mentioned it in the past, but he had a stroke during our visit and passed away soon after I came home. I’m grateful to have the last memories of him while he was healthy and to have been able to help him in the hospital. I was considering sharing some images I captured of him during the beginning of our trip, but not sure if I really will on my blog…

But with all that said, I created so many amazing memories this past year. A lot of them came from my travels and I could not be more grateful for the opportunities. There were moments that made me laugh hysterically and moments that made me cry. 2019 will be hard to forget. But it makes me so excited to see what’s in store for 2020 and all the images that still need to be created. Thank you all so much for following along on my journey.

What’s on your travel list for 2020? and HAPPIEST NEW YEAR!!!

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I hope you all had a very Happy Holiday. I had a great time with family and will probably be spending the rest of the week with some out of town family visiting. But I felt like the day after the holidays, people need some relaxation. For me, that place is always at the beach.

I love the sound of the waves crashing and the wind blowing through my hair. Unfortunately, Andrew and I will not be going to San Diego around this time of year as we have done in the previous two years, but hopefully, sometime in 2020, we’ll be able to make our way over there.

This image was captured with my drone. I love capturing beach scenes from above because it just gives you a totally different perspective. In particular, I think it’s pretty cool how the whitewater form triangles in this image. It creates shapes that I never knew was there and sort of leads you to the surfer on the red board.

My camera settings for this image are F2.2 at 1/140th sec and ISO 100 with my DJI Mavic Pro.

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Another one from my California sunset photo editing spree. I love the way this one turned out and I remember like yesterday how it happened too.

Andrew had made plans to meet up with one of our friends for dinner and asked if I wanted to join them. I distinctly remember saying, “only if we can go shoot sunset first and then meet up with Sean.” He agreed and we ended up bringing our cousin, Vincent, and the cuddle pup, Frankie along. Since they were going to meet up in the Ocean Beach area, we ended up waiting for sunset around the pier.

All of a sudden the sky exploded! I don’t think any of us were expecting all this color and it was amazing. I remember trying to get more water in the foreground by getting close to the sand but since I wasn’t expecting this awesome sunset, I, unfortunately, did not bring my tripod. Some of those shots turned out well but it was this one that really caught my attention. Sometimes the best shots are when you take a step back.

Seriously, everyone on the beach and pier just stopped. It was like someone hit the pause button cuz everyone was just staring at the sky. This guy on the pier was no exception. I do remember there being a lot more people on the pier, but I tried to zoom in and crop the image so there was just that single silhouette.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/100th sec and ISO 1600 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

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I was in a photo editing mood so I went back to earlier this year and found some images from San Diego, California that I’ve never looked at. Somehow I ended up editing all sunset images. I suppose sunsets are a bit better on the west coast than sunrises. LOL

This image was taken during a visit to the Salk Institute for Biological Studies. It’s definitely on my must-photograph list when visiting America’s Finest City. Trust me, the place is mind-blowing and on this trip to Salk, I planned to be there to watch the sunset. I did not expect to see some gliders riding by. It was so cool because I did not realize just how close Torrey Pines Gliderport is. I kinda saw them out of the corner of my eye (cuz there was more than one glider out at this time) and then when I finally turned around to see what was really going on, I was mesmerized.

How cool would it be to be on one of those at sunset? I bet the view must be amazing. Perfect for a little GoPro video.

I love how simple this image turned out. I think my favorite part is that you can see a little peek of the sun as it’s going down behind the clouds but I purposely left a little bit of the ground showing in the image just to give it some context. Also, that may or may not be a ship in the background.

My camera settings for this image is F5 at 1/2000th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom.

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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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Just an early morning view of some surfers at La Jolla Shores in San Diego, California. Is it me or if you glance at it real quick, it just looks like some little bits of rice that has fallen down? LOL. This was my only successful attempt of actually getting footage of my cousin, Vincent surfing. All other times he was already in the water and I tried using my drone to find him but with everyone in all black wet suits with white surfboards, it can be really difficult to find the person you’re looking for. It finally worked out that I had my drone ready to go when he was getting into the water and followed him while flying. I told Andrew to also keep a lookout just in case. But I’m so glad I was actually able to find him this time.

While trying to capture him, I had it on video for a majority of the time. But this image was taken in the part of the ocean where it is a bit calmer. You can sit on the board and relax a little bit before swimming out deeper to get the big waves. So while they were taking a break, I took a few pics. I loved the really calm water with the gradient of blues. I purposely waited for a little wave to come up so that it looked more like ocean water and I could highlight Vincent a little more. He’s the guy on the green surfboard kicking up towards the top of the image. The whole time I was editing this image I was channeling my inner Mark Rothko and imagining what he would do. Either way, I love the way it turned out. It just oozes with calmness.

My camera settings for this image is F2.2 at 1/100th sec and ISO 196 with my DJI Mavic Pro.