Kauai storm clouds over Hanalei valley

Dramatic Skies in Hanalei Valley, Kauai

Kauai storm clouds over Hanalei valley

Our beloved "Garden Isle" would not be the lush and tropical island we know, were it not for it's heavy rainfall. The north shore of Kauai sees an average of 250 inches of rain per year which is over half of the recorded annual rainfall in the wettest place on earth (Mawsynram, India which sees 467 inches of rainfall per year). On a recent visit to Kauai I joined a small group with Kauai Photo Tours that began in the east Read More

Rutherford Hill Winery Picnic

Best Picnic in Napa

Rutherford Hill Winery Picnic

One of the best ways to soak up the scenery in Napa Valley is to have a picnic, and the best advice I can give you is to stock up at Oakville Grocery and head to one of the wineries mentioned below for some fantastic wine. Oops, did I say wine?  Lunch, I meant lunch. Oakville Grocery originally opened in 1881 and is the oldest continually operating grocery store in California. I always find fantastic new things to try, and Read More

Bighorn Sheep by Lake Mead

Vegas Detour: Up Close with Wild Bighorn Sheep

Bighorn Sheep by Lake Mead

Next time you visit Las Vegas, take a short detour and enjoy a front row seat to watch grazing desert bighorn sheep in the wild, with a beautiful setting of Lake Mead in the background. At Hemenway Park in Nevada, just 30 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, these wild animals come down from the hills each day to feed on the lawns they have been frequenting for over 30 years. The size of the herd varies, but 40 to 50 sheep are a Read More

Zebra Herd

The Giraffe Whisperer – Safari West

Zebra Herd

As the hot sun beat down, I sat on the top deck of an old diesel safari truck when a giraffe approached and stopped about two feet from my face. I lowered my camera to get a better look at him and, curious about my face, I felt his breath as he tried to get a good sniff of me. Surely he smelled the wine I had just tasted an hour earlier in Napa Valley. I’m at Safari West, an authentic African wildlife preserve in Santa Read More

Arched bridge at the Japanese Garden

Descanso Gardens

Arched bridge at the Japanese Garden

Tucked away in Los Angeles is the dreamy 150-acre public botanical garden known as Descanso Gardens. Their famed Camellia collection is the largest in North America and the gardens are also home to the remainder of a magical oak tree forest that once consumed the entire region. This spring their Japanese Garden offered cherry trees in full bloom and a sprawling lilac garden with amazingly fragrant blooms. I thought you'd enjoy Read More

Spring on the Blossom Trail 03_sq

Spring on California’s Blossom Trail

Spring on the Blossom Trail 03_sq

I recently visited the San Joaquin Valley in Central California (near Fresno) to photograph the hundreds of acres dedicated to fruit orchards known as "The Blossom Trail". Other than a small pack of adorable little 'watch dogs', the only company I had was the chirping birds and industrious bees. It was one of the prettiest mornings I can remember... the fragrance of honey in the air and flower petals covering the floor. Not to Read More

group of trekkers in Chiang Mai

Why Trek in Chiang Mai, Thailand

group of trekkers in Chiang Mai

If you've spent any time in Chiang Mai, your visit was undoubtedly memorable. Though the city has an incredible amount of things to see and do, trekking is the number one thing that draws visitors. You'll find tour companies on almost every corner who offer multi-day trekking tours into the mountains of northern Thailand for a chance to experience authentic hill tribe cultures. There are some things I wish I had done Read More

fresh berry farm on the California coast

Fresh Berry Farm on a West Coast Road Trip

fresh berry farm on the California coast

One of the great treats of a west coast road trip is the fantastic fruit stands. This one is my favorite and I can't wait to go back—that probably sounds crazy, but so be it. Their berries have such intense flavor and their shop is a welcoming break from the long drive. Located twenty miles south of Santa Cruz on the California coastal Highway 1 is the fully organic Swanton Berry Farm. They also have a second location just ten Read More

Pink lotus flower macro

Sea of Sacred Lotus Flowers in Los Angeles

Pink lotus flower macro

I recently visited the lotus flowers at Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles, a place I have happy memories of as a kid. For those of us who love flowers, this is a bit of a dream come true, especially in such an accessible and non-exotic location. The flowers are so beautiful, it's a bit surreal. Hundreds of blooms in white, pink and yellow frame your view of the lake in every direction, with ducks and paddle boats providing that Read More

King Street Train Station Seattle Ticket Doors

Celebrating Seattle: Historic King Street Train Station

King Street Train Station Seattle Ticket Doors

  I was in for a surprise when I boarded the Amtrak Cascades train in Vancouver, heading to Seattle. The restoration of the historic King Street Station in Seattle is a truly beautiful sight and I recommend it to anyone visiting the city. Originally built in 1906, the railway station is actually on the National Register of Historic Places. Over the years, unfortunately remodeling concealed the original ornate Read More

1929 Duesenberg Model J LeBaron DC Phaeton

Vintage Cars at Greystone Mansion, Beverly Hills

1929 Duesenberg Model J LeBaron DC Phaeton

Always on the lookout for unique things to do in Los Angeles, I jumped at the chance to attend an afternoon at the Greystone Mansion's Concours d'Elegance. I'm not specifically a car person, but the stunning colors and curves of the collection showcased this year got me very excited. Weird, I know. Located at the Greystone Estate in Beverly Hills, the annual Concours d'Elegance continues to be one of the most exclusive Read More

crystal_cove_binocuars

Crystal Cove, Newport Coast California

crystal_cove_binocuars

The coastal California getaway known as Crystal Cove is about as hidden as it gets; driving along the Pacific Coast Highway you would never know what awaits below unless you've been there. Each year, over 25,000 visitors stay here in California's last surviving historic beach community which flourished from 1935 to 1955. It is an excellent spot for families exploring the tide pools, cocktails with friends, passing through on a Read More

Paris Grand Mosque mosaic fountain

Off the Beaten Path in Paris: The Grand Mosque

Paris Grand Mosque mosaic fountain

With Paris being today's most popular tourist destination in the world, you wouldn't think there are any 'hidden' gems to speak of. I however, may have found one courtesy of my culture-loving Parisian friends whom I visited recently. Do you know of Le Jardin des Plantes, the 69-acre botanical garden in the 5th arrondissement? Across the street from that garden is a little oasis where we spent an afternoon sipping mint tea and Read More

View of the Eiffel Tower from the Deli-Cieux café at Printemps Haussmann, Paris.

Magical Glass Domes of Paris, France

View of the Eiffel Tower from the Deli-Cieux café at Printemps Haussmann, Paris.

Paris will surprise you, even while letting you play out your fantasy of strolling through The City of Light or people-watching at Parisian cafés. For example, have you ever come across a place so beautiful that you wondered how on earth the locals pass by like it's just normal? These historic department stores in Paris are amazing hidden gems, and that's exactly how they made me feel. Few visitors know that beyond their Read More

Chicago bean at night smurfit-stone building

Chicago’s Stunning Night Skyline

Chicago bean at night smurfit-stone building

Hi Friends! I've recently returned from Chicago where my nephew graduated from college (!). Together we went on a photography excursion to capture the beauty of the city at night. It's really the most stunning skyline I've ever seen. We had a lot of fun running around getting shots from the beach, bouncing bridges, rooftop bars, and the 100-story Hancock Building. Did you know that at night little bunny rabbits run Read More

Skagit-best-tulip-festival-red-yellow-residence-tulip-fields

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

Skagit-best-tulip-festival-red-yellow-residence-tulip-fields

This spring I made it to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Washington state, a must-see experience for anyone who loves nature. If you are doing a road trip in April, make sure this is on your list! Important note to Vancouver residents: it's only a 2 hour drive from Vancouver and is well worth the trip. Keep reading, because this isn't just a springtime getaway. I arrived there on a Friday afternoon in mid April (zero Read More

fashion show red silk kimono

Kimono Fashion Show in Kyoto, Japan

fashion show red silk kimono

Travelers interested in Japanese art and culture will appreciate the Nishijin Textile Center in Kyoto, a large facility showcasing the techniques of Nishijin textile making, developed over 1,000 years of Kyoto's history. They also perform a fashion show featuring stunning silk woven kimonos with designs representing the current season. My visit was in January, so the kimonos above depict the winter season and transition into Read More

monkey nestled in tree

Afternoon with Japanese Monkeys

monkey nestled in tree

  Have you ever had a moment when you are traveling, one which made you stop and really be so thankful for that exact moment? You feel a special connection with whatever surrounds you and it fills you with emotion. Just outside Kyoto, Japan is a place where I had one of those beautiful moments: Arashiyama Monkey Park. If and when I go back to Japan, this will likely be the first thing on my list. Snow monkeys, you Read More

yoshiwara red light district toei film studio

Kyoto Film Studio Park

yoshiwara red light district toei film studio

One of the most fun things I did in Kyoto was visit the Toei Studio Park, a currently operating film studio and theme park. If you are a kid at heart or if you have any interest in film making, I suggest a visit. If you are silly like me you will be laughing all day long. What is This Studio Park? The studio depicts a small town from the Edo Period which is used to film historical movies and television dramas.  We walked Read More