Tuesday, December 29, 2009

ABC Wednesday: X for Hugs and Kisses

Some of our blogging friends may notice that we have been absent from the blogosphere for a while. I (Bradley) was trying to travel from Taipei to Washington, DC to be with our daughter's family, for Christmas and for her oncoming new baby. My trip was delayed for three days due to the snow storm in the northeast of the United Sates on December 19.

When I was pondering on the perfect "X" for my ABC entry, my daughter said why not Kisses and Hugs. I thought that was a great idea, but where is the "X". She said "XOXO", have I seen Aunt Sue always end her Christmas card with a XOXO!!

Oh, I am too old for internet. XO for me is the Extra Old Cognac, or the XO sauce in Chinese cooking, a very fine sauce of a blend of dried scallop, mushroom, hot pepper and black bean.

According to most sources, in XOXO, the X stands for Kisses and O stands for Hugs. However, some believe that O stands for Kisses and X stands for Hugs, which also makes sense.

Here is our two years and four months old granddaughter at Christmas. She is so cute and how can I not XOXO her!!

The photos were shot with Nikon 135mm DC lens on my D700.

To see more entries of ABC Wednesday click here.

Monday, December 14, 2009

ABC Wednesday: V for Visual Arts

I (Grace) was in Paris after our Yosemite and Eastern Sierra trips. I have been in Paris many times, but never had much time for the beautiful museums there. I only had a few hours to spare in the rainy and chilly early evening. So I decided to visit Musee du Petit Palais (Petit Palais) or Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais (Grand Palais). The picture above is the Petit Palais just after dusk with the dark blue cloudy sky. Across the street, there was an exhibition of "Art en Capital" in the Grand Palais (picture below).

The Grand Palais was built for the Paris Exhibition of 1900. I was attracted by the contrast of classical stone facade, intricate ironwork and the colorful glasswork. There I went!

The interior of the huge hall is made of steel and glass. An imposing horse made of metal was roaring high.

The exhibit composed of 5 historical grand salons with painting, sculptures, and modern art objects.

Here you see the bronze sculptures of two lovers in front of an oil painting.

Here are two watercolor paintings. The clown is so colorful, one can not help seeing it from afar.

Close by was a clay sculpture with 11 figures, but I only chose four for the close up. They have such dramatic expressions on their faces.

To see more entries of ABC Wednesday click here.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Skywatch Friday, Camera Critters, Bird photography Weekly & Weekend Reflections

Now in Taiwan, it is the season that we can see the migratory birds passing through. Some of them will go further south, but some will stay for the winter. The Egret we see in the field usually very alert and will not let us come close. This Little Egret, Egretta garzetta in a lily pond of Taipei Botanical Park was not bothered by human spectators.

I have photographed Egret many times before and was not too excited seeing them fishing in the pond. However, I soon realized, it was not about the Egret, it was the reflection in the background.

It was a very nice day and the pond is nearby a traditional Northern Chinese Palace styled building. The reflection of the sky, the building and trees made a very colorful background of this Great Egret, Ardea Alba.

Here it is so intensely immobile and stared at its potential pray. The reflections are from the colorful exhibition banners in the nearby buildings.

To see more sky from around the world click here.

To see more Camera-Critters from around the world click here.

Want to see more bird photography every week? Go to Bird Photography Weekly.

This is the first time we join Weekend Reflection, I think we will enjoy it.

ABC Wednesday: U for Un.....

The last day of our trip to Eastern Sierra, our group leader Dave Wyman woke us up at 6 in the morning to go to the Twin Lake. It is one of the many lakes formed by damming the tributaries feeding into the Mono Lake. It was very cold, very dark and very early. For us, the Unforeseeable and Unexpected was when the sun finally came up, we were greeted with an Unbelievable and Unforgettable scenery.

As you can see from the photograph, the sun bathed the mountains closer to the lake in a golden light, further away, the snow-capped mountain also lighted up, both of them reflected in the calm lake surface. The water was so clear that you could see the pebbles underneath, and in the distance, a multicolor shimmering just appeared.

Here Dave Wyman was talking to two other group members. It is a reflection from the lake and I inverted it a 180-degree.

Now the sun came up more and we can see the opposite side of the lake, and the shimmering turned to golden color. Unquestionably, it is one of the most amazing scenery we have seen during the trip.

This is the way how to use a vintage Leica. Our other leader Ken Rockwell was shown here photographing the snow-capped mountain on the other side of the lake. He hung his backpack on the tripod in order to further stabilized it and pointed his hand-held light meter toward the scene. For me, it is Unbelievably difficult but I bet he would have Unsurpassed quality of the image on film.

To see more entries of ABC Wednesday click here.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Today's Flowers #69: Ixora duffii cv. "Super King"

Even in the sub-tropical paradise of Taiwan, this time of the year, we find very few blooming flowers. I was at the Taipei Botanical Park this morning, the only flower worth photographing was the Ixora duffii cv. "Super King". It is common known as Jungle Flame, and its Chinese name is 大王仙丹花. I used a 20mm lens and aperture set at f14 to give me enough depth-of-field to bring both clusters of flower in-focus. This Nikon prime lens has very little distortion and the image looks more natural than other wide-angle zooms.

Here is new flower buds photographed with a 105mm micro lens again I used a very small aperture, f20 to have the whole flower in focus.

Here I got really close.

To see more flowers from around the world click here.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Camera-Critters #87: Scarlet Ibis (Eudocimus ruber)

I visited the Aviary at Taipei Zoo last Wednesday. I was at the hospital for a regular check-up, the Zoo is only two metro-stop down the road. I thus packed my camera and went for a visit after my doctor's appointment.

I have been to the zoo several times but never been to its Aviary. The species in the aviary are very different from that of the Aviary at Hong Kong Park, which I visited several weeks ago. The Scarlet Ibis, Eudocimus ruber has very beautiful bright red color. I was able to catch several pictures of them in flight.

To see more Camera-Critters from around the world click here.


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