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.


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.

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Travel theme: Motion – Obon Dancers

This photo is (a slightly belated) part of a weekly travel themed photo contest Travel theme: Motion! – my entries for other weeks can be found here.

Obon Dancers by Seas Reflecting Starlight

When the Japanese holiday of Obon came to Hawai’i, it expanded into a whole season.  There is a different Obon Dance every weekend all summer here, hosted by temples all over the islands.  This photo was taken at the 2013 Bon Dance at the Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin temple in Honolulu.  While the many dancers encircled around wearing kimonos, happi coats, and street clothes, I tried to capture a sense of their movement by experimenting with different exposure times and camera angles.  The variety of different kinds of traditional bon dances (and even a few modern ones) amidst a live musical performance is one of the many highlights of Obon season.

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.


I’m participating in the online adventure travel and photography magazine’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
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Travel theme: Mountains – Colossal Le Shan Buddha

This photo is part of a weekly travel themed photo contest Travel theme: Mountains – my entries for other weeks can be found here.

Colossal Le Shan Buddha by Seas Reflecting Starlight

The Giant Buddha at Le Shan (乐山大佛) is carved directly out of the mountainside overlooking the river.  It is located in the southern part of the Chinese province of Sichuan, and together with Mount Emei is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  It was built during the Tang Dynasty (618–907).  The seated Buddha is so large that humans are dwarfed by a single toe of the Buddha.  This photo was taken about halfway down the perilous walkway carved into the cliff-face next to the Buddha.

Although Le Shan is rather short compared to many mountains, and the Chinese character “shān 山” can refer to hills as well as mountains, Le Shan is typically translated into English as a “mountain” and therefore will be considered one for the Mountain theme of the travel photo challenge.  Indeed it is a mountain of great historical, religious, and artistic importance, and still attracts thousands of tourists and pilgrims every day.  I had to wait in line for two hours before I could walk down the steep, uneven, and narrow stairway that lead from the Buddha’s head to his feet, and I was told that I wasn’t even there during a “busy” time.

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