photography

Dana Point Waterfall

#TBT to that one time it rained so much in California! Do you remember when there was a huge waterfall happening in Dana Point? Don’t remember? Read this Orange County Register article here to learn more about it!

BeeJay, Peter and I hung out again to practice taking pictures on this one night. We wanted to check out the waterfall and see what it was all about.

We drove by the waterfall a few times because of course, we couldn’t find it in the dark. We pulled into a lot to park our car and walked across the street hoping that we could find the waterfall.

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Well, it wasn’t raining so there was actually no waterfall at that moment but we at least knew where the fall would be. We hung around the area for a bit and then it started drizzling. Then within minutes, it started raining cats and dogs.

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We left the site and got to a hut that had picnic tables, and stayed there for about 10 or 15 minutes until the rain calmed down.

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While it was raining heavily, we suddenly heard a rushing sound of water. We were like, “Listen! Do you hear that?” We all stood still and were in much surprise because of how loud the water was.

By the time we wanted to check out the waterfall, the rain had stopped luckily. We followed the thunderous clashing sounds of water and were in awe of how monstrous this waterfall was.

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We took some long exposures in front of the waterfall and the street behind us.

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It was definitely an experience to be hanging outside in heavy downpour and to take pictures of this waterfall at night. Friends, it’s not a great idea to take pictures of a waterfall at night. No one really does that anyway.

Hopefully, we’ll get to see this waterfall when it rains in the morning or afternoon. Not when it’s dark.

Thanks Peter for teaching me again how to take long exposures and thanks BeeJay for driving! Hope you all had fun in the rain!

Sunset in Newport Beach

Aaron and I grabbed our Canons to Newport Beach for a sunset photography session. We missed the sunset because we were circling around the parking lot for a good 30 minutes. It was such a beautiful day that all one million Orange County residents decided to go to the beach and enjoy the weather at the same time. I can’t blame them for that because we were basically there for the same reason.

Miraculously, we found parking and decided to challenge ourselves to take pictures with little lighting except from the rays beaming on the water.

Going to the beach always reminds me to be thankful for where I live. Sometimes we easily take the perfect weather in sunny SoCal for granted. We actually met a couple at the beach who were visiting from Chicago. Aaron and I were both thinking to ourselves, “Why would you visit Newport Beach? Why Orange County?” We realized it’s because the weather here can’t beat anything or anywhere else! We’re so blessed.

Thanks Aaron for challenging me to take pictures in a new setting instead of taking pictures of food! And thanks for listening to Taylor Swift in the car ride. Note to us: Go to beach a lot earlier because of parking.

The Hills Are Alive!

What meant to be a hike turned into a show. Charlotte and I ran through a field of grass and started singing, “The hills are alive!” from the top of our lungs. We threw our arms into the air and started dancing across the fields. I think we did pretty well acting out the scene. It probably should’ve been us in that musical.

If only we were performing that scene in Germany! If only. Instead, we were at Quail Hill Trailhead in Orange County. You can see the hills and trails right off the 405 freeway going down San Diego. You can’t miss it especially when the grass is bright green.

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Did I ever tell you that I’m a triplet? I probably never did because I’m not.

Aside from singing our hearts out, we had some good conversations during our actual hike. By the way, the hike wasn’t a strenuous one. It was flat for 2 miles and easy to get around. Take it as a walk in the park kind of thing. It’s a great place to get a quick and simple work out, but also for some breath of fresh air.

On Yelp, this trail has 4 out 5 stars with 42 reviews. Though there may not be a lot of reviews, it definitely doesn’t hurt to check this beauty out when it’s sunny and the grass is green.

Thanks Charlotte for taking me to Germany! I mean, to Quail Hill Trailhead. You should bring your guitar and I’ll bring a picnic blanket and basket to make it more like the Sound Of Music.

Chinatown in LA

The morning I got back from Sacramento, I went to my niece’s and nephew’s birthday party without coffee. For some odd reason, I was pretty much feeling strong and awake even though I only got four or five hours of sleep. After the party, I tried to rest at home but was eager to just go out. I realized the travel bug was in me and it was real. It was so real that I had to go somewhere to explore.

With a few friends, we grabbed dinner at In-N-Out and then we were off to a spontaneous trip to LA! I’ve been wanting to check out Chinatown in LA to see the Chinese lanterns lit up and simply to explore the area since I always drive by it whenever I’m in the area.

When my friends and I got there, it was pretty dead. It was nice to have the whole town to ourselves!

Chinatown can easily be explored in less than 30 minutes but we took our time taking pictures and enjoying the bright neon lights. Next time, I’m going to have come here in the afternoon when it’s busy and have some dim sum!

Thanks Chinatown for temporarily curing my travel bug!

Since we were near Little Tokyo, we decided to grab some milk tea from one of my favorite boba shops! I got my usual Brown Sugar Milk Tea which was perfect as always!

We hung out at Ozero for a little bit before heading out to our last adventure!

Art is Everywhere

I truly believe that wherever you look, there is something worth taking a picture of. You might think your everyday life looks mundane but if you try to look at life with an artistic perspective, you might see something different. When Alex and I were waiting to meet up with his friend, Justin, we decided to take a stroll around the neighborhood for a few minutes and take some fun pictures!

I wish I could have taken more pictures while we were waiting! One thing I’ve learned from traveling is that you should try to have the mentality of, “There won’t be next time.” So if you see something that is picture worthy, just go for it! Don’t tell yourself, “I’ll do it next time!” Trust me, you will forget and you will most likely not have that opportunity again to take a picture of it. It’s happened to me way too many times. Don’t let it happen to you.

Nike.

Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Eat Pray Love Journey – Day 4 – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

I went to Canada! Canada, I tell you! Canada!

Well, before I went to Canada, I explored Bellingham for a little bit on my own. I went on an adventure to look for stamps! I walked half a mile to one UPS store but found out that they weren’t opened until an hour after I got there. Unwilling to wait, I walked back towards my hotel and started Yelping places that had office supplies. Luckily, there was Office Depot which was a lot closer to my hotel than UPS. I’m not sure how I didn’t think about Office Depot earlier but I initially had a hard time thinking about where stamps can be purchased other than the post office.

My walk to Office Depot was an interesting one. For example, there was a guy selling marijuana. Let me elaborate, he was one of those guys holding a sign that pointed to the pot shop. I didn’t realize that Washington legalized medical marijuana. When I got to the plaza with Office Depot, there was also Costco and Starbucks. I noticed that in the parking lot there were a lot of cars with the license plate from Canada. According to Christian, a lot of Canadians come down to Bellingham to stock up on food from Costco! Interesting, right? Anyways, I got my stamps and sent my postcards away for my lovely friends and family to receive back at home!

On my way back to the hotel, it started to drizzle but I didn’t mind it at all. I really wanted to embrace mother nature while traveling and I sure did. The air was so cold but it felt so nice with the fresh air. Also, it was nice to see some colored leaves!

By afternoon-ish, Christian picked me up and we were off to Canada! Whee! The drive from Bellingham to Vancouver, BC was only an hour long! It’s like going from Orange County to Los Angeles.  Going through the border wasn’t bad at all. We just had to show them our passport, tell them where we’re going and why.

I noticed all the residential streets that we were driving by had so many beautiful houses and trees lined up so perfectly. We randomly stopped by a wealthy neighborhood to check it out.

There was this huge park in the middle of the neighborhood that had these tall trees and it was just breathtaking!

I never thought you could have such a mesmerizing park in your neighborhood like this one!

I was seriously so excited to see so many leaves on the ground!

As we were driving, I realized how uncomfortable or odd it was to drive with the lights and road structured this way. Makes me feel a little claustrophobic on the road! Naw mean?

Our first official stop in Vancouver was to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. There’s a small cost for parking and admission was $32.95. If you have AAA, you can get a discount! The Suspension Bridge was built in 1889. It stretches 450 feet across and 230 feet above Capilano River.

Here are some pictures to show you what this park was all about:

We were at the park for a good two hours or so. There was a lot of walking and sight seeing to do! Pictures don’t do justice of how amazing this park is with the bridges and them trees! One random thing about this park was that everyone was able to take a pumpkin home! It was part of the admission fee! There were pumpkins laying around the front area of the park so you could just pick one up and go! I really wanted to take a pumpkin and tell everyone it was from Canada but I obviously didn’t. I didn’t want to get in trouble by border patrol. Maybe next time…?

Our second stop was to see the Olympic Torch! Go to Yelp for more info.

Can you imagine this whole place being packed with people full of pride and excitement for the Olympics? There must have been so much adrenaline going on here back in Winter 2010! It was quite eye opening to see those skyscrapers surround that monumental torch. Though it wasn’t lit up, it was still inspiring to see this and know that dreams came true for many athletes.

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The Olympic Cauldron is located near a harbor which has a great view of the water and of Vancouver! Well, I think that’s still Vancouver in front of us.

There’s also this view in the picture below! The colors on the trees and on the ground! It looked like I was a little photoshopped in but this was all real! I may be annoying you about the fall colors but it’s just that, you don’t see them much in sunny SoCal so I get really excited to see them elsewhere!

Our last stop before the sunset was at Queen Elizabeth Park. This park was definitely not just an ordinary park. There was a conservatory, Japanese like garden, streams, dancing fountains, and the list goes on! There was so much to see at this park!

As we were on our way out, we noticed that a proposal was about to happen! So we sat on a bench and watched it like a movie! Weird thing was that we didn’t see the guy pop the ring out. Either we missed that part somehow or it’s a Canadian tradition to not have the ring. We went with the latter.

After a happy ending, we were finally off to dinner! We went over to an authentic Chinese restaurant. According to Wikipedia, there’s a large community of Chinese Canadians in Vancouver. This all came about in the 19th century when British Columbia hired Chinese people to build the railway. Read Wikipedia for more information! Great history to learn!

We went to this restaurant on the wrong day and time. There was a Chinese organization having a Halloween party so it was packed! Luckily, they made an exception to seat us all the way in the back. It was fun to people watch.

I’m sure the guy and his wife in the picture above felt out of place. By the way, I ‘m not sure why people carry their iPads around and use it as an actual camera. I see that a lot with older people.

We wanted dim sum but obviously that was not possible especially with this banquet going on. Instead, we just ordered pan fried noodles with seafood.

We also shared the beef with vegetables.

Everything looked and tasted good but I probably wouldn’t come back here again. Not that I would anytime soon because it’s in Canada…The food wasn’t anything too spectacular because it was the same as any other authentic Chinese food I’ve tried. I can easily get these two dishes from Orange County.

After dinner, we were finally on our way back to ‘Murica! It took a little more than hour to get back because the line was long at the border check area. Once we got back to Bellingham, we treated ourselves to some ice cream at Mallard!

It’s a cute little mom and pop ice cream parlor where everything is handmade from local and organic ingredients! This popular ice cream shop in downtown Bellingham has 4.5 stars with almost 200 reviews on Yelp.

They’re unique flavors like Olive Oil or Chocolate Rum sets them apart from your usual ice cream chains.

I got the Apple Pie in a waffle cone for about $4 and oh my goodness, it changed my life. I didn’t know it was possible for an apple pie flavor to be in ice cream form! It was so good that I was tempted to get another one!

It was so late that I had to stop myself from getting another scoop. I will never forget that Apple Pie ice cream. That ice cream was a perfect way to end my Canadian excursion!

Thank you so much Christian for driving me around in Canada! That was definitely one Canadian adventure! I’m really glad that we got ice cream afterwards. At the same time, I’m kind of not glad because I really miss that Apple Pie.

Future Dr. Wu

I am so thankful for my friendship with Kat! She is so loving, giving, great listener, adventurous, artistic, intelligent, understanding, and the list goes on! I’m so glad that we were able to go on a Spontaneous Road Trip. We didn’t go just for one day. Nope, not two days but for three days! It was so much fun traveling with her before she had to start medical school. I’m really proud to see where she’s at and can’t wait to see where the future takes her!

Here are some photos of my dear friend Kat, I mean future Dr. Wu, in her fancy white coat!

Kat! I’m ready to eat some good food, explore, and take artsy pictures with you whenever you have free time from studying! I miss you a lot and can’t wait to see you again soon!