Saturday, February 28, 2009

Scenic Sunday #1

I have found another interesting photo meme. It's called scenic Sunday. Here's my first entry.

Spotted while on board a NCL Alaskan cruise.

Scenic Sunday is here. Please visit.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Photo Hunt #30: Thankful

IMG_0729, originally uploaded by M'roy.

There is a lot to be thankful for (life, family, job, roof over one's head, food on the table, etc). But for today's theme and entry I chose to share this Grand Canyon photo I took on February 17, 2009.

I am extremely thankful to have another chance to see Grand Canyon and to marvel at the grandeur and magnificence of this great vista with snow on the ground. I am thankful I was seeing it again with my husband. I've seen it in Spring and Winter, next mission to see it in Summer and Fall.

Happy Photo Hunting everyone. Wanna join? Click here.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sky Watch #33

IMG_0019, originally uploaded by M'roy.

There are times when you find a sky watch entry while doing mundane tasks, like going to the store or something. My entry for today is what I saw as I was leaving a local Barnes and Noble. So hurried to my car and pulled out the camera from the glove compartment (it's a compact point and shoot) and snapped this before driving away.

SKYWATCH page is here go visit.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

2008 Sikh Parade, Part 2 (Sightings Along Parade Route)

It probably was on the news.

Free food here!!!!

I love the color of her dress!

In school uniform.

Beautiful fabrics!

I noticed blues in all hues were abundant.

More blue, wondeful fabric.

This ends this two-part series. I can't wait to go back to posting one photo a day. I'll probably stop running series for a while.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

2008 Sikh Parade, Part 1

On November 2, 2008, our Hindi friends dragged us to Yuba City for the annual Sikh Parade. Yuba City is about 1.5 hour drive from the Bay Area. They want to go for the eats and I say why not travel 1.5 hours for free eats, so off we went on that cloudy November day. I had no clue nor background at all what this festival/parade was all about. Until I read Dennis Villegas' post about it here.

Someone said aloud the parade was about to begin. I took my eyes away from the delicious pakora I was munching and focused my sight on the road. And this is what I saw, people cleaning the way for the holy to pass by sweeping and throwing water (they used bottled water--what a waste I thought) on the road.
The parade begins. Yuba City has a sizable Sikh community. It has two Sikh temples; we know we got lost and went to the wrong temple :(

According to Wikipedia, in 2008, the estimated number of attendees was 80,000. I can't count that large, but I thought there were a lot of people there.

See, there were lots of people there. And in colorful shalwar kameez, saris, and turbans. A sight to behold.

I was told by a Sikh co-worker that this float carries the holy scripture of Sikhism, the Guru Granth Sahibji.
And guess who else participated in the parade? Young Sikhs who had blaring hip hop sound.

At the end of the parade route, there was picture taking. I thought the route was long. I estimated it at about a mile. My husband doubled my estimation. But according to Wikipedia, the route was 4.5 miles. The sidewalks of the parade route was filled with makeshift tents where they served free food. There are people who walks around handing out juices, sodas and bottled water. It was a delicious time both for my stomach and my eyes.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Random Shot

IMG_0268, originally uploaded by M'roy.

while I get the next series ready.

I would like to share this little quote from John Muir, "God has cared for these trees, saved them from drought, disease, avalanches, and a thousand tempests and floods. But he cannot save them from fools. "

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Here's Where I Had Been....

Feb 15 to 19, 2009, originally uploaded by M'roy.

over the last week. Now i am so ready to go back into blogging, but first I have to sort all the photos I took.

I traveled with my husband and another couple. Our base was Vegas, but we drove to Red Rock Canyon (my first time, woo hoo) and Grand Canyon (my second time and first time with snow on the ground).

CORRECTION: I have mislabelled the red rocks as red rock canyon. I actually went to visit VALLEY OF FIRE STATE PARK, and not RED ROCK CANYON. Sorry for that.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Photo Hunt #29: Warm

Photo Hunt #29: Warm, originally uploaded by M'roy.

Warm summer days are in everyone's mind these days. Here's one that I took of my nephews frolicking in the warm summer days and warm waters of Stinson Beach..

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Road Beckons

IMG_0017, originally uploaded by M'roy.

....once again as I put a close to this very long MEMORIAL DAY ROADTRIP SERIES.

I'll take a short break from blogging; it's about time I go out and take more photos. While I will take the laptop with me, I am sure that I wont be doing any surfing or bloghopping.

So, I'll see you in a week or so. Hoped your Valentine's Day was nice.

BTW, I am currently running photographers in Yosemite over at my other blog.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Photo Hunt #28: Nautical

I took this shot of the deck used for jogging and walking. As you can see it's empty, no one is around. Let me take a stab at where people at? Eating??? Well, I ate after rounding this deck too.
This is not the ship we were in, but it was close enough to us for me to snap it.

I was on the deck when I snapped this of a Baja marina. We just finished a whole day of shopping and touring the little coastal town of Ensenada. I like the light cast by the setting sun.
Photo Hunt is a weekly meme. To join, please visit the main page.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Sky Watch #32

IMG_0106, originally uploaded by M'roy.

Continuing on, we stopped by Inspiration Point for this view that's been photographed milion of times before, always during the summertime. Rainclouds hung heavy as rain continued to fall while I took this shot from inside a parked car. That impressive monolith on the left is the world famous Half Dome and the falls to the right is Bridalveil Falls.

Sky Watch page is here, please visit.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More of Yosemite And A Tagged Award

Located in the beautiful Yosemite Valley, the Yosemite Chapel is the oldest structure in Yosemite. I wanted to get married there; but it was too far and we didn't plan well ahead of time. Oh by the way, this is a drive-by, can you believe it? This is why I can't get rid of my Canon Powershot A630, my trusted point and shoot, it never fails me.


Holy cow! I got an award. Rare is the occasion when a photoblogger like me gets cited for recognition. But I guess we are not immune to being tagged and awarded with such honor.

The misguided soul who thought this humble site is deserving of such award is the baker, aka Panaderos. Sometime last year, by stroke of luck and incessant bloghopping, a click of the mouse landed me on his site. I bookmarked his blog instantaneously, because whatever post I first read I was sold. Come to think of it, I vaguely remember on his old site he used to participate in a photo meme called PHOTO HUNT. I came for the meme; I stayed for the witty posts. On that first click I remembered being engrossed and entertained by what he had written. I read one post and then another and another. I knew right away I was hooked.

Not only was his style easy as a Sunday morning (sorry Lionel for lifting this line), but his topic run the gamut from 80s music (which was very popular) to work related anecdotes (where everyone wants to pipe in their 2c worth), from relationships to day-to-day observations. It is not easy for me to list down all the reasons for making his blog a daily read (because the list would go on and on), but take my word, go over there and read a post or two and you too will be an instant fan.

The Honest Scrap Awards are bestowed by bloggers to fellow bloggers whose blog contents or design in the giver's opinion, is brilliant.

Here are the rules:

When receiving this auspicious award, you must write a post bragging about it, including the name of the misguided soul who thinks you deserve such acclaim and link back to said person so every one knows he or she is real.

Choose a minimum of 7 blogs you find brilliant in content and design. Or improvise by including bloggers who have no idea who you are because you don't have 7 friends. Show the random 7 victims' names and links and leave a harrassing comment informing them that they were prized with Honest Weblog. Well there is no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon. List at least ten honest things about yourself then pass it on.

The second part of this award requires me to share/list at least ten honest things about me. Okay as honestly as I possibly can here are my ten things:

1. I don’t read operating manuals. It bores me. When I got my first car in 1994, a brand new Honda Civic Hatchback, my brother told me to read the manual and learn where everything is before I operate it. I didn’t read the manual. I drove it for the first time (avoided the freeway in lieu of city street, which took longer but thought was a safe bet given it was my first time to drive by myself) in winter and I did not know where the heater button was. I was freezing and shaking all the way to work.

2. I’ve always loved photography. In the pre-digital era, my focus was snapshots of my friends and family and co-workers. Now I loved drive by and landscape. I don’t see any progress in my efforts, which my husband’s friend contradicts. He was my only audience and first critic before I started a photo blog.

3. My favorite storyteller is Billy Crystal. He cracks me up big time. Close second is my niece Timmy who has the gift of gab; she should be a stand-up comic. (Sure one of you from Estates is reading this, pass this info to Timmy)

4. I like Tony Bourdain, David Letterman, Morgan Freeman and the Eagles, which resulted in my husband’s deduction that I am fascinated by old menJ.

5. My favorite memories with my brothers: biking in the early morning with brother #4 and listening to and learning from his stories, I wanted to be as intelligent as he is; and pushing the motorcycle away from the house so brother #3 and I could go riding in the fields without my mother hearing us leave. Brother #3 and I always put the slip on mom when we want some riding done. Those were fun times.

6. For someone shy, I often found myself in front of people. In high school I was picked to participate in both the declamation contest and spelling bee (written); but had scheduling conflicts. My teacher asked me to choose which one I’d rather join. I chose declamation. I didn’t win; but that was an interesting choice looking back because I was shy then. In college when the professor gave us a choice as to whether perform a monologue or write a book report, again I chose to do the monologue. The people in that class were all surprised because I was the only one who did not write a book report :)

7. I’ve always been attracted to guys with chinky eyes (Chinese features including skin color); I married a Bangladeshi (Indian-looking with big round eyes and dark skin :)

8. In college I loved to debate in class. I remember having this lengthy ping-ponging of ideas with one girl. She was for the government policy; I took the con side (are you even surprised?). Anyway, she just wouldn’t see the light. We went around and around and exasperated from out of nowhere this question came out of my mouth, “Are you by any chance related to a government official?” And guess what? She said, “My father is the governor.” With that, I looked at my professor and told her: “I rest my case.”

9. I’m fascinated with the English accent. I think I am anglophile. I’ve been encouraging my husband to find a job across the pond so I can join him. I want to acquire that accent :).

10. My matchmaking career was cut short when my friend’s wife (didn’t know he had one) dropped in for a visit one day inquiring if I have knowledge of her husband was coming home that weekend. He was working in another province and comes home to our province once a month, or so I was told. Apparently, she got hold of the letters I wrote him and the mention of another woman’s name, which the wife also knew. To her credit she came as pleasant as a real friend and that she knew I wasn’t really after her husband. Needless to say, that classmate and ex-friend copped out and did no explaining about this. That stopped my career as a match maker.

Here now are the 7 blogs I find brilliant in content and design (which I think is tantamount to tagging that person, right?)

1. DENNIS VILLEGAS---Very impressive content, nothing half baked. And oh the photos are fabulous.

2. DONG HO---If we are in the world of showbusiness, I think he's the man of the hour, did you see all those people visiting his blog and commenting on his posts? He goes on trips and takes us there with his comprehensive posts.

3. LAWSTUDE---Another class act. I armchair travel with his posts too. I feel like I've been all over the Philippines by visiting his blog.

4. RAYTS---Nice to have a woman's point of view with her travelogue and her incredible photos. Her portraits are just as breath taking as her landscapes.

5. FERDZ---I think he's the CLINT EASTWOOD of photo blogs. Need I say more?

6. GIZELLE---Just think about this, she has three kids (four if you include the husband), goes to school herself, maintains a household, and still manages to run four blogs that are all wonderfully different. I think she's a superwoman.

7. BW---The only non photo blog among the lot. He creates these well-thought of and well-crafted and timely posts that stir his readers to react. And that's the mark of a good post when people get affected by it, either in a positive or a negative way, people just want to be heard and so his comment section is always full.

Mr. Baker, sir, mission accomplished.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More Meadow Views

This is the view from the right side of the falls. The photo below is what's on its left side. These shots were taken in late May, we returned in late August and will show photos of that too in the coming months. I know I simply take too much photos. Hey, its Yosemite, can you blame me?

I'm pretty amazed at how my photos turned out from that day. It was mostly raining and I was soaking while I took this shot. I sharpened it a bit, but I'm sure you can still detect a hint of its misty atmosphere.
I have a few more photos to share with you before I finally put a close to this series, just in time for my winter break.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Yosemite Falls

This is Yosemite Falls, one of the most visited and most recognizable spots in Yosemite. In spring when the snow has melted in the Sierras, visitors are treated to a thunderous waterfall. It is amazing.

Anyone spotted the lone hiker in this waist high grassy meadow? It was raining when I snapped this.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Photo Hunt #27: Bridge(s)

This week's theme is a no brainer for me. I live in the Bay Area where we have about 6 major bridges that people take for commuting. The question is which bridge. I thought that too was a no brainer. So, here's a bridge that's been considered one of the best and most beautiful in the world

Golden Gate Bridge at sunset as viewed from Berkeley Marina.
Golden Gate bathing in sunset glow as viewed from Marine Headlands.

Sailboats about to cross under the bridge in twilight as viewed from Fort Baker pier.

The bridge looms large as husband snapped this from a boat on the way back from a fishing trip in the Farallon Islands.
More photo hunters are here.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Sky Watch #31

After a couple of hours in Mono Lake, we went back on the road. Highway 120 which runs through Tioga Pass is the Eastern entry to Yosemite NP, our final destination for this 3-day road trip. Luck was smiling at us when we found out as Tioga Pass had just opened the day before after being closed due to heavy snowfall. Yeah, heavy snow fall in this higher elevations in late May.
Tioga Pass is the highest highway pass in California and Sierra Nevada with elevations of 9943 ft (3031 m). I'm sure you could imagine my front seat view as we climb up Tioga Pass---snow covered peaks, blue skies, and white puffy clouds. It was a perfect day for a road trip and a perfect day to sky watch.
According to National Geographic magazine, the drive to Tioga Pass is one of the most scenic in the Sierras. Here's the article.

This is my entry to this week's Sky Watch meme. If you want to view other players' entries or you want to join, please click here.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Destination: Mono Lake

Our first destination for our third and last day of the road trip was Mono Lake.

Mono Lake is a majestic body of water covering about 65 square miles. It is an ancient lake, over 1 million years old -- one of the oldest lakes in North America. It has no outlet.

Throughout its long existence, salts and minerals have washed into the lake from Eastern Sierra streams. Freshwater evaporating from the lake each year has left the salts and minerals behind so that the lake is now about 2 1/2 times as salty and 80 times as alkaline as the ocean. (source)
Tufa is essentially common limestone. What is uncommon about this limestone is the way it forms. Typically, underwater springs rich in calcium (the stuff in your bones) mix with lakewater rich in carbonates (the stuff in baking soda). As the calcium comes in contact with carbonates in the lake, a chemical reaction occurs resulting in calcium carbonate--limestone. The calcium carbonate precipitates (settles out of solution as a solid) around the spring, and over the course of decades to centuries, a tufa tower will grow. Tufa towers grow exclusively underwater, and some grow to heights of over 30 feet. The reason visitors see so much tufa around Mono Lake today is because the lake level fell dramatically after water diversions began in 1941. (source)

Bird walks are offered at the Mono Lake County Park/State Natural Reserve boardwalk at 8:00 a.m. Fridays and Sundays mid-May through Labor Day.

The Mono Basin Scenic Area Visitor Center is a great place to start your visit to this area. The center is located just off Highway 395, north of Lee Vining and includes a variety of exhibits about the natural and human history of the Mono Basin. Visitor center staff stand ready to help you plan your explorations of Mono Lake and the Eastern Sierra. (source)

Tufa towers are not the only form of tufa at Mono Lake. Calcium carbonate crystals will also precipitate out of lakewater far from springs and coat lakebottom surfaces like pumice boulders, beer cans, dead vegetation, dead birds, and anything else that might end up in the lake (instant fossils!). Another way tufa is formed is through biogenesis, the biological activity of organisms like the alkali fly. When an adult alkali fly emerges from an underwater pupae case it leaves behind a minute deposit of calcium carbonate, a waste product from its earlier life stage beneath the salty, alkaline lake. Alkali flies, on a small scale, actually contribute to the growth of underwater tufa towers!
Where else does tufa exist? The answer lies around the world and back in time, and possibly even on Mars. Tufa grows in many places where the right chemical environment exists. Some tufa even grows in the ocean off the coast of Greenland! Tufa is common at other Great Basin desert lakes, but Mono Lake has the most active formations around. Some Great Basin dry lakes in California and Nevada reveal old tufa formations that once were active when these lakes were full during the last ice age. Mono Lake has its own ice age tufa hundreds of feet above the historical level of the lake. If you think Mono Lake looks impressive now, you should have seen at the end of the last ice age when it was five times bigger than it is today!

To protect these fragile formations, at the urging of the Mono Lake Committee the California legislature established the Mono Lake Tufa State Reserve in 1981.

If you would like to make tufa at home, see the chemistry page for how to make Mono Lake water. Then, just add calcium chloride dissolved in fresh water to make tufa (although the reaction won't be as vigorous as it is in real Mono Lake water).

This is a place to go when you have no other place to see that day. Make sure you allot a whole day to explore this wonderful lake. Because we were pressed for time (we still had to drive around Yosemite and drive home ---3 to 3.5 hrs from Yosemite to home), we didn't go beyond a few yards from Highway 395. If you google images of tufa or Mono Lake you will see really coold pics of the tufa (of course tweaked). Someday, I would want to return, take the tours, bird watch, and camp.
The website also indicated that swimming and boating are allowed. This is what it further stated:
"A swim in Mono Lake is a memorable experience. The lake's salty water is denser than ocean water, and provides a delightfully buoyant swim. Old timers claim that a soak in the lake will cure almost anything. Keep the water out of your eyes or any cuts, as it will sting."
Now wouldn't you want to go and dip your toes in the lake? I surely enjoyed my few moments here.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Leaving Mammoth Lakes

While hubby drove, I photographed the landscape/scenery that we passed by. Can you see the horizontal lines? That's from the car back glass. This was when we got back to Hwy 395.
Leaving Mammoth Lakes was a little heavy on the heart. The little skiing resort town is very charming and can easily steal your heart.

The first thing I noted when we were driving off was the glorious clouds. No snow on the third day, but sunshine and oh fabulous cloudscape.

We couldn't drive off without driving by the village one more time. I thought I'd be a little artistic and play with the other buttons on my software :)