Australia, Photography, Weekly Photo Challenge

Weekly Photo Challenge: Delta

This week’s photo challenge made me look back at some of my pictures of deltas and these pictures we took in an area near the Gold Coast caught my attention. They show the change that can take place within a short distance. In one area you have waves crashing along the shore and propelling surfers through their wake and just a few feet away you can have almost mirror calm water that makes paddle boarding seem effortless.

Milky wavesSurfersCalmPaddleboard

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Favorite Photo Friday, Florida, Photography

Favorite Photo Friday: Drying Off

Stretch

Brown Pelican stretching to dry its feathers

Pelicans have always fascinated me, from their odd shaped head to the way they majestically glide inches above the water. This boat dock in Sarasota held a large congregation of birds as it seems that some boaters will feed them. We snapped a few shots around the area, but this one picture caught my eye because of the unique pattern on the pelican’s back and the way the feathers leading to its wings are puffed out.

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Photography, Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday: Holding the Sun Up

Sun mast

The sun shining through the smog in Beijing

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Australia, Photography, Travel

Journey into the Northern Territory Pt. 8 Final Day in the Red Center

Today we finally reach the epic conclusion to our Northern Territory series. On our final day in Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park we spent our time hiking around Kata Tjuta. The first hike was a fairly short walk into the Walpa Gorge. During this hike we saw an abundance of rare plants growing along the path.

Water hole

Water collecting in the Walpa Gorge

Wildflowers

Interesting plant life in the gorge

Flowers

Beautiful flowering tree

Completing that walk we ventured on the much more challenging Valley of the Winds Walk. The walk takes you through a labyrinth of towering stone structures and the entire circuit takes 4-5 hours. We however cut it short due the heat of the day and our exhaustion from the previous day’s hike. On our walk, though we got to the two main lookouts at Karu and Karingana, the latter easily being my favorite view in this area.

Kata Tijuta

Views on the Valley of Winds Walk

Hiking to the lookout

Hiking up to Karingana Lookout

Kata Tjuta Lookout

Stunning view from Karingana Lookout

Uluru was the obvious choice for our last sunset, but this time we wanted to get up close and personal to the monolith. We drove past the crowds of people at the sunset lookout and headed for the Mala carpark, which is located right at the base of Uluru. We couldn’t believe how deserted the area was. We cozied up on a bench and “oohed and aahed” as the stone changed colors. I honestly can’t think of a more perfect ending to our time in the Red Center.

Shadows

Brilliant colors and shadows

Changing colors

Stunning colors at sunset

Sunset

We had Uluru all to ourselves

The next day’s drive would take us into South Australia and a reunion with one of our teaching friends in Adelaide. I’ll probably be delayed in getting started on my next series because there’s some big changes coming that I’m excited to share with you soon. So stay tuned!

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China, Favorite Photo Friday, Photography, Travel

Favorite Photo Friday: Golden Temple

Golden Temple

The Golden Temple, rising up from the middle of the old town in Shangri-La

 

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China, Photography, Travel, Weekly Photo Challenge, Xi'an

Climbing Hua Shan (华山)

Huashan

Hua Shan

When you follow the Soldier’s Path to the North Peak of Mt. Hua you can’t help but focus on the stairs! They climb on forever and at impossibly steep angles. I did my best to try and capture some of the ridiculous angles you climb on your way up.

Steep climb

Some stairs you almost crawl up

Climbing Huashan

More a carved ladder than stairs

Closed path

These vertical stairs were actually replaced by a more reasonable path

Stairs

Up, up, up

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Australia, Photography, Travel

Journey into the Northern Territory Pt. 7 Uluru-Kata Tjuta Sunup to Sundown

Well I thought I would finish this series today, but after going through our pictures I decided that there is just too much there to sum up our time at Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park in just one post. So today, I’ll focus on our first full day at the park and boy howdy was it a full day! We started the day before the sun came up, groggily climbing out of our warm tent to face the cold predawn morning. Our plan was to make it to the Talinguru Nyakunytjaku viewing area, which has a great vantage point for sunrise, as it puts you between the sun and Uluru. However, as I’ve noted before in my posts, we’re not the most ardent of morning people, so we got off to a slower start than we planned. Therefore, we ditched the original plan and parked at the sunset car park that we had visited the previous evening. There were only a few other souls braving the morning chill to witness the rising sun. The view from this spot allowed us to see the sun rising up next to Uluru, so while not maybe ideal, it was a beautiful sight in its own right.

Sunrise at Uluru

The sun rising at Uluru

After the sun had risen in all its glory, we made our way to our original destination, Talinguru Nyakunytjaku. We were the only people there now, as the early risers had already headed back to camp. The viewing point provided a new angle of Uluru, and one that apparently isn’t as popular for publication because I don’t think I’d ever seen it before. While we were enjoying the views, we got a glimpse of another famous Australian resident, as a dingo ran stealthily through the shrubs in front of us. As we were enjoying the serene silence in the park our stomachs angrily reminded us that we had been neglecting them, so we headed back to camp.

Dingo

Dingo running near Talinguru Nyakunytjaku

Sun up at Uluru

Uluru at a new angle

While eating, we hashed out our plan for the day. We would start with the Uluru Base Walk, which would take us completely around the monolith on a 10.6km loop. If we survived that we would then head out to the lesser known rock structure in the Red Center, Kata Tjuta for sunset.Uluru Map

We started the base walk from Kuniya Piti walking around Uluru clockwise. Being up close to the stone and seeing the fine details was an incredible experience. You can see shapes in the stone, one such place appears to be the head of a whale. Along the base there are also waterholes and Aboriginal Rock Art that you can examine. One unique thing we found when walking around the base was that there were places where the Aboriginals ask that you don’t take pictures or videos as they are deemed culturally sensitive. The places are marked on the map and there are signs that delineate the places while you walk.

Trail to the Whale

Can you spot the whale shape in the rock?

Mutitjulu Waterhole

Mutitjulu Waterhole

Hot path

Long hot path around Uluru

We had foolishly set out on our walk in almost the heat of the day, so while we had the place to ourselves, we were absolutely bushed by the time we finished our walk.When we finally made it back to our car, we put the air conditioning on full blast and greedily guzzled the water we had stored in the cooler. After a few minutes we began to feel human again and laughed at our foolhardiness of being out in the desert with no shade in the heat of the day.

Following a late lunch we ventured out to the Kata Tjuta sunset viewing area. Before our trip to Uluru, I had never heard of Kata Tjuta, so I was amazed to learn that this rock formation existed in the same area. While the changes in color on Kata Tjuta aren’t as mystical as Uluru, they are still captivating. When the stones finally turned to their dark brown color it put an end to easily one of the fullest days of our travel history.

Kata Tjuta

Kata Tjuta

Kata Tijuta sunset

Changing colors at sunset

Kata Tijuta sunset2

Changing colors at sunset

Kata Tijuta sunset3

Changing colors at sunset

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