Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Big Wave Surf - Cardiff by the Sea

Big enough for two, these waves were double overhead and then some!

...and the Happy Go Lucky surfer goes back for more!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Snorkelling in the Galapagos Islands

Snorkelling in the Galapagos is an unparalleled experience. Schools of colorful angelfish, gentle sea turtles, and playful sea lions abound. The water is full of wildlife, and one cannot help but come face to face with something somewhere!

First, some still images:

This little guy darted away and then turned to watch me from his safe little cave:

Schools of king angelfish:

Snorkeller (John Brabson) and flightless cormorant caught in a surprise face to face encounter!

And a playful sea lion keeping watch on me as he darted past (see videos below)

And now for some video clips!

Here I watched this gentle sea turtle gliding through the waters of Punta Vicente Roca on the northwestern tip of Isabela Island.

I was observing this lone sea lion under the water, enjoying the calm serenity of being where I was at Punta Vicente Roca on the northwestern tip of Isabela Island. Much to my surprise, I turned the camera to discover there was a playful sea lion pup darting around behind me trying to get my attention! The playful pup created quite a stir amongst the snorkellers - many of whom were watching it tease me and just waiting for me to figure out what the commmotion was about!

I was both audience and entertainer to this playful Sea Lion pup who darted amongst the snorkellers and performed underwater acrobatics. I turned the camera on myself to prove that you are not watching a clip from the Discovery Channel or National Geographic!

All at once a whole bunch of sea lions decided to perform playful acrobatics amongst the snorkellers at the northwestern tip of Isabela Island. There was such a flurry that you can see one sea lion hit the sea floor nose on! Ouch! Here again, I turn the camera on myself to prove I'm right there with them filming behind the camera and it's not another National Gepgraphic special!

What are those....penguins? Yes! Galapagos Penguins! I came upon them while snorkelling around the northwestern tip of Isabela Island in the Galapagos. These are the northernmost species of penguin, and they live at the equator! Who knew? And here I thought I'd have to travel to Antarctica with National Geographic to find penguins. Now all I have to do is follow them to their secret surf hut on the other side of the island. Surf's Up!

Just when I thought I'd seen it all, this Galapagos penguin zipped past me under the water near Isabela Island! And I didn't even have to freeze in Antarctic waters to swim with him!

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Morocco - A Journey in Pictures

Here it is, my first video slideshow! Take an 8-minute journey to Morocco with Mira Terra Images, sit back, passport required!

I created this slideshow with my own images as a trial run for a new digital photobook software. The pages will be printed and published and the book will be featured in a commercial with me endorsing the software. This is simply a web-res video, but with the software I can create interactive travel DVDs with hotlinks, narration, video clips and other exciting elements....this is just the begining! Let me know what you think.

As the video quality is poor, below are some stills of the text pages. Click on an image to enlarge and read text.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Nepal - "Tharu, Rice, Tigers, Grass"

First, a few images from Nepal -
Himalaya flightseeing with Buddha

Monks & Holy men

River scene

Now, excerpts from the journal of my first trip to Nepal in December 1999

Bardia, Nepal
Awoke before the sun, thanks to creatures of the night and of the imagination. Slept well, though still somewhat anxious and leary of home a jungle hut with no electricity or running water, my bed a cot draped in mosquito netting with lots of big holes. But a warm welcoming breakfast of milk tea and banana rice pancakes hit the spot and helped to jump start the day.
It began with a walk thru town, a small rural village inhabited by the Tharu people. The children laughed and played marbles on the dirt road while cows meandered everywhere, along with chickens and the occasional sheep. The houses are quite spacious compared to other third world living quarters. They are made of clay - the walls, the floor, the rice containers, all but the roof which is thatched grass. A fire pit in the center of the room is the kitchen. A few blankets in the corner of the room is the sleeping area.(family beds - a concept long lost on western society). Baskets hang everywhere holding things like potatoes, eggs, chicks, even chickens. The only furnishings are large clay pots to store the rice, surrounded by mortar/pestle type clay fixtures to grind it. Basically, these homes are all about the rice. This village is all about the rice. Tharu life is all about the rice.
And my lunch, too, was all about the rice. Accompanied by curried vegetables, potatoes, and kale, it made for a traditional Nepalese meal, complete with milk tea of course. A welcome dining experience for my vegetarian appetite. Yes, I could live a life all about the rice too, and I'd never know hunger.
In the afternoon we set out for our first tiger trek into the park. It was a very odd feeling being on foot, with only a small barefoot Nepalese dude carrying a stick as our guide. We followed him closely through the tall grasses and along the edge of a river to a large tree, where we climbed the branches and watched and waited for a tiger to appear. It didn’t.
But the excitement lingered in the air, as did the scent, the strong fresh unmistakable scent of Tiger. Anyone who has visited a zoo knows what I’m talking about, only there were no cages, no barriers, no signs to read. Just that familiar pungent smell of the big cats.
We crept through the tall grasses and along the river bank following fresh tiger tracks. Fresh, as in today, this morning, just hours, maybe even only minutes ago. Every once in a while our scrawny little guide would crouch down and wave us to do the same. The adrenaline raced through my blood as I held my breath and readied my camera. But the elusive tiger kept her cover, and the guide would slowly stand upright and creep onwards, scanning the surroundings and keeping one eye always on the tall grasses lining the river bank. Our ears were as fine tuned as our eyes, and every rustle in the grasses sent us to our knees. I cannot begin to describe the fight with my instinct this gesture proved to be. My instincts said run....screamed RUN....but again and again the guide would insist on us crouching down motionless. I felt utterly defenseless in this position, just waiting for the tiger to leap out and start swatting me around like a ball of yarn. Apparently though, tigers, being cats, prefer a good chase. So the LAST thing you want to do is run. The little barefoot Nepalese guide assured us again and again it’s safest to crouch down, it’s dangerous to run.
As we continued wandering the river’s edge, suddenly, or perhaps at last, we got a fright when the grasses rustled behind us and something came right out at us, just about 10 feet away. I crouched down, shut my eyes, and prepared to meet my fate. (I’ve always said that when I go, it’s gonna be at the jaws of nature, not man). When seconds passed, which felt like a lifetime, and I noticed I was still alive, I peeked up to see a very startled deer staring at a very startled human (me). I breathed again. I slowly rose and looked around. Much to my surprise, my guide was nowhere to be seen crouching along the river bank. Then I heard him call out - he had legged it to the other side of the river in what must have been one serious leap, cuz I never heard a splash. I still don't know how he got there. Needless to say, I returned to my jungle hut that evening not disappointed, but rather, much relieved that I didn't see a tiger today!

...but at Ranthambore in India....there she was!

Friday, March 30, 2007