Weekly Writing Challenge: Haiku Catchoo! – Travel Haikus

This post is part of WordPress’ Weekly Writing Challenge: Haiku Catchoo!

Pin Christmas Ornaments Zazzle Inner Bodhisattva by Seas Reflecting Starlight

Many holiday gifts are available at my Zazzle stores – see coupon codes here!

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Travel Haikus

(1)
Seek the horizon
Never knowing what’s beyond
Explore a new shore
(2)
Adventure awaits
When leaving the familiar
What wonders you’ll find
(3)
As your travels grow
You’ll grow as a person too
Expanding your mind
(4)
Tourists rush around
Well beaten path tourist spots
Not meeting locals
(5)
Travelers stick around
Get to know the real place
See the unique

Black Friday / Cyber Monday Canvas Print Sales:


Full Moon Over Kiyomizu-dera

Up the Great Wall

Colossal Le Shan Buddha

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1 Year Anniversary and Specials!

One year ago, I started posting on seasreflectingstarlight.com!

It’s hard to believe that it was really that long ago!  The time has gone fast!  I’ve had visits from people in 61 countries, and gained over 100 followers.  All of you are wonderful, and I appreciate your support and friendship!

To celebrate (and say thank you) I have two specials this weekend:

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Travel theme: Distance / Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea – Hong Kong Harbor Mists

I decided to combine two different photo contests this week:
This photo is part of a weekly travel themed photo contest Travel theme: Distance – my entries for other weeks can be found here.

~~AND~~.

This photo is part of WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge: Sea – my entries for other weeks can be found here.

Hong Kong Harbor Mists by Seas Reflecting Starlight

From high on Victoria Peak on Hong Kong Island, there is a spectacular view of the city below.  The nearby skyscrapers seem surprisingly striking for this cloudy April day.  On the other side of the harbor, shapes on the Kowloon peninsula fade in and out of the midday mists.  The faint outline of the mountains looms in the distance.

Hong Kong Harbor can feel bustling, yet peaceful, depending on where you are.  Generally I’m not a big fan of huge cities, but I like Hong Kong.  It really is a place that has something for everyone.  The city itself has everything you can imagine, and when you want to get away, town and rural areas are only a short metro, ferry, or bus ride away.  It is also ridiculously easy to navigate.  Hong Kong gets points for having one of the best airports and metro systems I’ve ever seen.  My first time ever traveling alone was in Hong Kong, and it didn’t take me long to get comfortable exploring the city.

Prints available on: Pixels, Fine Art America, and Zazzle.

gel mousepads and more

Available at my Bamboo Scroll Zazzle store.

Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour – Mountainous Laos Sunset

This photo is part of WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge: The Golden Hour – my entries for other weeks can be found here.

Mountainous Laos Sunset by Seas Reflecting Starlight

Upon arriving in Luang Prabang, Laos, I heard of a great hill from which to watch the sunset.  Customs took awhile, and I reached the bottom of the hill with only about 15 minutes left until sunset.  Still rather motion sick from the propeller plane I came in on, I hiked up the mountain as fast as I could, worried that I would miss the sunset.  The hill was deceptively tall and long, so each time I thought the end was in sight, I discovered more stairs just around the bend.  Although exhausted by the end, I somehow made it to the top of the “hill” in time to watch what turned out to be a very golden sunset.  The beautiful mountains in the distance and the winding Mekong River made for a very peaceful setting.  It was a rush climbing up there, but in the end it was worth it.

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Other photos taken during Golden Hours (sunrise or sunset):

Kinship Memorial Lantern by Seas Reflecting StarlightKinship Memorial Lantern

Hanauma Sunrise Panorama  by Seas Reflecting StarlightHanauma Sunrise Panorama n

Askew Beach Seaweed by Seas Reflecting StarlightAskew Beach Seaweed

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Travel theme / Wild Weekly Photo Challenge: Beach – Askew Beach Seaweed

Apparently beach is a popular theme this week, thus:
This photo is part of a weekly travel themed photo contest Travel theme: Beach! – my entries for other weeks can be found here.

~~AND~~.

I’m participating in the online adventure travel and photography magazine LetsBeWild.com’s Wild Weekly Photo Challenge for bloggers. This week’s challenge is: Beach! – my entries for other weeks can be found here.

Askew Beach Seaweed by Seas Reflecting Starlight
To be fair, who doesn’t want to go to the beach in the summer?  (Even friends in the Southern Hemisphere are probably missing summer right about now.)

As people from all over the world get ready to visit Hawai’i’s beaches this summer, I remind myself how grateful I am to live so close to the beach.  Which beach I choose to visit depends on what I plan to do when I arrive, the tide/currents, and if I plan to stay on the sand or get in the water.  Some places are peaceful and good for curling up with a book beneath a swaying palm tree.  Others have interesting shells, broken off pieces of coral, and seaweed strewed across the beach.  O’ahu doesn’t have any black sand beaches, but the beautiful sand that we do have varies in color and texture on different beaches.  The kinds of waves range from the famous gigantic waves surfers love to ride on North Shore, to softly lapping water ideal for snorkeling.

What do you like to do at the beach?

Hanauma Sunrise Panorama by Seas Reflecting Starlight
Previous photo – click to read more

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Movement – Trekking Through the Thai Jungle

I’m participating in the online adventure travel and photography magazine LetsBeWild.com’s Wild Weekly Photo Challenge for bloggers. This week’s challenge is: Movement! – my entries for other weeks can be found here.

Trekking Through the Thai Jungle by Seas Reflecting Starlight

Taking photos while riding an elephant through the jungles of Thailand can be an interesting challenge – and just the type of situation that can create unique photographs with good timing.  Motion blur can be a beautiful element in photography.  Since the elephant trainers keep the pace of the elephants, they are relatively in-focus compared to the foliage in the background.  The key comes down to getting a feel for the rhythm of the elephant’s stride.  Each part of the stride will have varying speeds, moving quite fast at some points, and slowing to nearly a stop at others.  By experimenting with different timings and/or shutter speeds, can create unique effects .  For more variation, or if your subject is moving at a different pace than you are, try leaning your body while snapping the picture.  Similar techniques can create motion blur in other situations with rhythmic motion, such as while on a boat, or while riding horses and other animals.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Up – Up the Great Wall

This photo is part of WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge: Up – my entries for other weeks can be found here.

Up The Great Wall by Seas Reflecting Starlight

Climbing the Great Wall is high on the wish list for many visitors to China, but not everyone realizes just how much of a climb it really is.  China loves its stairs, and the Great Wall is no exception.  However, these stairs are notoriously uneven, with small steps dispersed amongst giant steps, and plenty of steps that are sagging in places from the wear of millions of feet.

The surface of the wall isn’t the same rock that was there over two thousand years ago – it has been rebuilt multiple times, most famously during the Ming Dynasty in the 14th century, right on top of the crumbling ruins of the older sections of the wall.  While scaling the wall today, it is hard to imagine how difficult it would have been for ancient Chinese troops to patrol up and down the mountain.

The climb, although not for the faint of heart, is very rewarding (and for more than the “I Climbed the Great Wall” t-shirts sold halfway up the mountain).  The views are spectacular, as is the sense of accomplishment. Visitors aiming to reach “the top” are often surprised to discover that upon reaching what they thought was the highest point, that the wall really continues up and up beyond what they had previously been able to see.  But all the little old ladies zooming past the young “in shape” tourists probably aren’t laughing at them (too much).

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Design: Watercolor Kyoto Autumn Temple Light Up

Watercolor Kyoto-Autumn-Temple-Light-Up by Seas Reflecting Starlight

This watercolor painting illustrates the glow of a temple light up in Kyoto, Japan. Arrays of lights shine up onto the multi-colored leaves of the trees and upon the various buildings on the temple grounds. This view is from Kiyomizu-dera, looking up at the surrounding mountains towards a small part of the temple near the mountain peaks.  The landscape feels otherworldly, and although logic knows that there are hidden lights shining on the trees, it seems as if the light is radiating out of the trees themselves – perhaps as if an inner light was illuminating the landscape and bringing it to life.  Although the technique of the light show is modern, the scene before me felt quite ancient and as timeless and the changing seasons.

Japan celebrates the richness of each season in a way that is unique amongst the countries I’ve visited thus far.  Even in this age of jet-imported fresh foods from half-way around the world, the Japanese still retain an emphasis on what is local, seasonal, and fresh – the uniqueness and beauty of what is right in front of them at the moment.  The same is true for the arts – it is often apparent which season is depicted in each Japanese painting, as that momentary fleeting beauty is represented.  It’s a celebration of impermanence, and of being present and living in the moment.  Where else do people, as an entire society, go out together just to see the autumn leaves?  Seeing Kyoto that November gave me the most appreciation for the potential benefits of having four seasons that I’ve ever had, being a woman of the tropics at heart.

Are there other parts of the world that have such autumn light ups?  Let me know in the comments!

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Prints available on: Pixels, Fine Art America, and Zazzle.

speakers and more

Available at my Inner Bodhisattva Zazzle store.

Wild Weekly Photo Challenge: Look Up – Full Moon Over Kiyomizu-dera

I’m participating in the online adventure travel and photography magazine LetsBeWild.com’s Wild Weekly Photo Challenge for bloggers.  This week’s challenge is: Look Up! – my entries for other weeks can be found here.

Full Moon Over Kiyomizu-Dera  by Seas Reflecting Starlight.

On a crisp autumn night in Kyoto, Japan, the full moon shines down on Kiyomizu Temple (清水寺). The name of the temple “pure water” comes from a nearby waterfall. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was founded in 798 during the early Heian Period, and reconstructed in 1633 without a single nail. The sense of history and majesty of the place come alive during the special night temple light-ups that occur during certain times of the year.

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Wild Weekly Photo Challenge: Sunrise – Hanauma Sunrise Panorama

I’m participating in the online adventure travel and photography magazine LetsBeWild.com’s Wild Weekly Photo Challenge for bloggers.  This week’s Challenge is: Sunrise! – my entries for other weeks can be found here.

Hanauma Sunrise Panorama by Seas Reflecting Starlight

Click on the image to see a larger view!

This is yesterday’s sunrise coming up between Koko Head and Hanauma (the two mountains) with reflections in the beautiful ocean.  This photo could not have been taken during high tide, so timing really is everything sometimes!  It’s mornings like this that remind me how much I really love living in Hawai’i!  The panorama is too large to easily fit in this window, so click on it to see a larger view.

Prints available on: Pixels and Fine Art America.

A few shout outs to some other gorgeous sunrises from around the world:

  • abstractlucidity shares multiple photos with a mirror reflection of the sunrise on water, and a nice silhouette of some water birds.
  • janeluriephotography has some images from Kiawah Island, South Carolina with beautiful clouds and grasses on the beach.
  • playamart shows sunrise on the rocky shoreline amongst the crashing waves at Playa San Miguel, and a small moment of a slew hermit crabs eating a coconut.
  • lagottocattleya‘s photo has silhouettes of trees rising out of the mist, and some pretty light refractions.
  • humantriumphant shares the bright and extremely vivid colors of a sunrise over the Appalachian Foothills.
  • uthamz shows a sunburst through the leaves of a tree overlooking a misty valley.
  • travelsandtrifles shares a mountainside aglow in “Let the Sun Shine”
  • the-serenity-space shows the soft pastel glow of a Pacific Ocean sunrise in Australia.
  • dewetswild has a nice silhouette of a bird on a lone branch of a dead tree.
  • photosandpursuits shares the Florida sun peeking through a tree and reflecting on a lake.
  • maireadkahn brings life to a frozen landscape with some bright golden hues.