Monday, October 03, 2016

Fall Foliage in Bishop Creek

 
Time flew fast. It has been 5 years since the last time we've been to Bishop creek area for leaf peeping. We travel to Eastern Sierra for fall foliage every year, just not this area. This time, it is more like spur of the moment. We've heard the report that is really good. So we just pack up and leave. No planning, we just go and come back the same day. And we glad that it turns out to be so amazing.

This time is the best year ever yet. We normally see aspens turn yellow or light orange. But this year color is so intense. Deep orange and red leaves are every where. Some groves have many colors ranging from green, lime, to yellow, orange, deep orange and red.

It is much better than we hope for. Some people say that we're crazy for driving 5 hours to Bishop and 5 hours back within a day just to see some foliage. But to us, the trip is worth it. After this trip, we plan to do this every year. When the time comes, just go without any hesitate.




Thursday, September 08, 2016

Fiery Sky on Lake Tahoe Emerald Bay

Lake Tahoe is always beautiful regardless of the seasons. We've been to Emerald bay many times but it never fails to amaze us. Over the labor day weekend, we took a trip here again. I planed to stop here for sunset but we didn't expect much because there was not any cloud in the forecast. But to our surprise, we had a few high clouds in the sky. The weather was nice and the sunset was amazing. We got lucky again.

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Spring & Summer In Yosemite National Park

Sunset on Tuolumne Meadow

We're back after a long hiatus due to personal reasons. It's already summer in California and most places are either too hot or too crowded. So we decided to go to East Yosemite following the Tioga Pass. East side of the park is relatively less crowded compare to the valley. It was supposed to be sunny sky but we got lucky and there was a small storm coming in. We had a lot of cloud in the sky which mostly cleared out by sunset. Tuolumne meadows are the most famous location in this side of the park. Due to its high elevation, it's still Spring with wildflowers and green grass cover the whole area.


The next day, we went to the valley to go to Glacier point. The traffic was horrible. It took 3 hours to get out of the valley (only 10 miles road). But we made the most out of the situation and hiked around waiting for traffic to thin out. It was bad to go on July 4th weekend, the busiest day of the year in Yosemite. But we made it. We got to Glacier point about 30 minutes before sunset; yet, there was no parking. We parked in Washburn point and walked down instead. Despite all the traffics, we had a wonderful time at the park. We plan to go back there this fall. Hopefully, we can enjoy it even more with less people.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Spring Wildflowers in Southern California - A Rare Sight Nowadays

San Diego Wildflowers
California has entered its 4th year of drought. We don't get much rain anymore even though we are currently having an El Nino. But luckily, we still had some rain late in the winter; thus wildflowers start to bloom vibrantly on desert floors. We went to Anza-Borrego Desert State Park on Saturday and witnessed one of the most beautiful sight that I haven't seen for years. Every year, I always watch closely the wildflowers status around southern California. Within these few years, because of the drought, they were mostly turned out to be a disappointment. In the spring of 2008, I went here but it was not as good as this year.

Sand verbena, desert sunflowers, dune primrose are abundant and contrast each other really well creating a canvas of colors. This was taken just off the Henderson Canyon Road without any hiking. We just parked off the road and walked a short distance in. We have a hug heat-wave coming and there are caterpillars every where chewing on these fragile flowers; so I don't think it will last long. Go now! don't wait.
Anza Borrego State Park wildflowers spring

Monday, January 26, 2015

Winter in Bryce Canyon National Park, Southern Utah

Bryce Canyon National Park - Queens Garden Trail viewpoint
We finally visited Bryce Canyon National Park in Southern Utah last weekend; thus, we have completed the Grand-Staircase tour. The Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce are often called The Grand Staircase of the Colorado plateau. We arrived at Bryce shortly before noon but it was not crowded at all (still there were a lot more visitors than we anticipated). In winter, we could drive into the park which is why it is the best time to visit Bryce Canyon. Snow also changed the landscapes significantly but it also made it hard to hike down the canyon without proper equipments.
Bryce Canyon Magical Hoodoos
We drove all the way to Rainbow point and started our visit there. But to be honest, there is nothing in Bryce can compete with the viewpoints along the Rim Trail such as Bryce Point, Inspiration Point, Sunset and Sunrise point. So if you are short on time, I recommend you to skip other viewpoints and just focus on the Amphitheater viewpoints.
The Bryce Canyon Rim Trail Amphitheater
The snow was not as much as I hoped because it's relatively warm winter this year. There was no snow at all in Zion Canyon. There was some snow at Bryce but I was hoping for more. Still, we had a great time and a great trip to Southern Utah.
Red Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon

Friday, November 14, 2014

Classic Zion National Park in Autumn


We have traveled many places in but we had never been to Zion National park in Utah until this Fall. For some reason, we always thought it was so far way in Utah. But when I sit down and researched, it was only about 6 hours drive from Orange County. It was not that far. We arrived at on late Saturday afternoon and had a few hours to explore outside of the park. It was so beautiful. We took a stroll along the Pa'rus Trail which next the Virgin River. Then I stumbled upon this viewpoint of the Watchman. I quickly set up my tripod and captured some photos as the sun setting. To be honest, I looked at so many photo of the Watchman bridge view that I didn't even want to go directly there.
The Virgin River at Zion National Park and the Watchman

But as you can see in the following photo, we did come to the Bridge the next day and took the post card shot. Even though the weather was not as good as the day before, we had a blast. There were so many photographers on the Bridge that we didn't have a place to stay.
Sunset at the Watchman - Zion National Park - Virgin River

It was dry and warm this year so foliage was not at its peak condition. However, it was still the most gorgeous place that we have been to recently.


The park was so beautiful. I wish we had time to stay for a few days instead just a weekend. But work and life had to come first.


Monday, September 08, 2014

The Grand Canyon - South Rim

The Grand Canyon is one of the most visited National Parks in the US. Yet, we didn't have a chance to visit it until last week. This was the first place we traveled outside of California. We tried to explore California as much as we could before venture out to a different state.

For some reason, we used to think that Grand Canyon is a dried up kind of place like other desert areas (namely Death Valley). But it turned out to be a lot greener than we expected. We arrived in the South Rim on the Labor day weekend and it was crowded; however the weather was really nice comfortable. It had been on and off for months and it just stopped a day or two before our visit (ugh, we wanted a lot of cloud). It was a sunny and hazy day. It was not a really great day weather-wise for photographing but we had a blast anyway.


We just visited a tiny part of this national park and it took a whole day. There are so many places that we planned to visit but didn't have a chance. We'd love to come back one day and explore different part of this wonderful place which has been reserved in time for billions of years.


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lotus - The flower of Enlightenment


"While growing from mud, it is unstained." - Zhou Dunyi

 Lotus is a beautiful aquatic plant that has a deep cultural meaning in Asian cultures.It is also a key symbol of Buddhism. Raising above the murky water, its flowers give a wonderful scent which people use to infuse into tea for thousand of years. Lotus is my favorite flower to capture maybe because I am Vietnamese. The flower always has some deep meaning to me whenever I set out to photograph it. It is beautiful yet it is hard to capture right. Every early summer or late spring, lotus blooms vigorously in the northern hemisphere. And as always, we drive to our local park and capture its beauty. Year after year, but I'm still intrigue. Enjoy.

 



Friday, April 18, 2014

Total Lunar Eclipse - First of the Tetrad

Total Lunar Eclipse in North American April 15th, 2014, First tetrad
Living in the United States, we are in for some treat. For the next 18 months, we will witness 4 consecutive total lunar eclipse also known as the Tetrad. The first one occurred on April 15, 2014. Luckily, we didn't have to go anywhere to witness this spectacular event. We just sat in out front yard with the camera pointed at the sky. We were drinking hot tea, eating snacks while waiting for the event to unfold. We still have 3 more to go; so if you missed this one, there is still chance.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lake Siskiyou & Mt. Shasta - Shasta Cascade, Northern California

Sunrise on Mt. Shasta and Lake Siskiyou - Shasta Cascade, Northern California
Mt. Shasta has to be one of the most iconic landscape features in Northern California. Rising more than 14,000 feet above the sea level and with impressive snow cap, Mt. Shasta has been dubbed "the Fuji of North America." It is an active volcano which erupt every 600 years and the last eruption happened about 200 years ago. So it will not happen again (not anytime soon). It is part of the Cascade mountain range stretching all the way into Canada. Mt. Shasta is also the second highest peak in the range after Mt. Rainier in Washington.
There are many places where you can take photo of Mt. Shasta. You can see it while driving on the freeway or by hiking for miles into the wilderness. My favorite viewing location is Lake Siskiyou. On a clear and calm day, you can clearly see the reflection of the mountain onto the crystal clear lake.  This location is easily accessible. You can drive to the parking lot just about a mile from the Interstate freeway 5, then hike a few hundreds feet to reach the lake. It's a great quick getaway during a long drive.

 Sunset on Mt. Shasta and Lake Siskiyou - Shasta Cascade, Northern California

Sadly, California has a driest year on record. Thus, lakes and streams have been dried up even early in Spring. You can clearly the drought on lake Siskiyou. Water has receded and exposed a lot of trash and debris from the lake bottom. Hopefully, we'll get more rain this year. But regardless, lake Siskiyou is still strikingly beautiful place to view Mt. Shasta. I come back to this place every time I come to visit the Shasta Cascade region. So if you ever drive by this area, just go visit the lake. It only takes a few minutes but it will leave an impression of a lifetime.