Spreading the Love… ~ Africa

Scott Randall was one of the first bloggers I met when I set up my travel blog at the end of 2011. In this day and age, that makes us friends from way back, right?

Anyway, Scott takes amazing photos of wildlife, and today his photo captured my heart. Whether it was the look on the lion’s face, or the painterly effect… or maybe it’s because I am a Leo. Whatever it was, I had the immediate desire to spread the beauty of this image. Luckily, Scott gave me permission. And how apropos that it is Valentine’s Day.

It was hard for me to believe that Scott only started dabbling in photography a few years ago; he’d retired from a 32-year stint working in the Department of the Navy when he started learning the skill. To me, he’s a pro and meeting people like him makes me grateful for having joined the blogosphere.

Here’s Scott’s blog that was posted today on scottseyephotos.wordpress.com. Enjoy!

One of the things I love about photography is that you never know where or if you will find a treasured image – one that recalls the experience you had, the magic of the moment or the splendor of the subject.  Even in a place like Africa where the opportunities are endless, you never know if you will get that one “keeper”.  Even after you go through your photos a couple of times that treasure may still elude you.  

That kind of happened to me as I went through my Africa portfolio – there are MANY that I think are good photos and capture the moment well but I was hoping to get at least one that I could have printed professionally to put in our own living room.  It wasn’t until I started doing a first cut of post- processing on some of the photos that I stumbled upon this one that I really liked.

I had taken a photo of a male lion sitting in the grass of the Serengeti – the light wasn’t great and he wasn’t doing much but he had this very wispy mane that I liked.  I decided to see what it would be like as a simulated oil painting using some of the photoshop tools and came up with the image below.  I love the expression in the lion’s face and the way his mane translates into brush strokes…….  I  have sent this away to be printed and am anxiously awaiting its return – hopefully to become a treasured part of our living room decor.


Abloom in Brooklyn, NY

Strolling under the warm rays of an early afternoon sun.

Starting the day in Park Slope, a brownstone lined neighbourhood in Brooklyn…

… enjoying a cup of artisinal ‘pour over’ brew from Cafe Grumpy. NB: Nothing grumpy about the coffee, freshly roasted from beans hand-picked in Las Flores. Layers of flavour notes: peach nectar and apricot, dried currant and vanilla – its a nice feeling, being transported to this Honduras coffee plantation with every sip.

A coffee-to-go in one hand, and a camera – in the other…

…  a balancing act of sipping and snapping. Pots of colourful plants line the exteriors of corner bodegas; their flowers make for photogenic subjects.

Magnolias against million-dollar brownstones; a photo worthy of a million words.

More pink hues. Splashes of colour on the pathways of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

Encountering some fuzzy red bloomstry saying Calliandra Emarginata three times over. These beauties hail from Honduras too, and they are part of the Bean family. Go figure.

Hardly noticing the lack of lilies in the Lily Pool Terrace; so easily distracted by the background vista – a panorama of blooms graces the Magnolia Plaza. A sheer abundance of flora.

Awash in snow whites and pastel pinks – a Plaza awoken after a winter’s slumber. New Year; New You; the space takes on a new version of itself in the lead up to spring.

Beauty – unfurled, uncrumpled, up close.

Daffodil Hill ~ so apropos.

An homage to Tim Burton, firmly planted.

Further along.

A cherry blossom tree. The first in bloom along the Cherry Esplanade, it enjoys the certain appeal of celebrity.

A glorious tree, worthy of the attention.

In the Shakespeare Garden.

Another cherry blossom garners its fair share …

…  more subdued however, than that of some neighbouring turtles – lazing about, uninhibited, along the shoreline of the Japanese Pond.

A leisurely stroll later.

Visions of delicate peach-tinged blossoms.

Stumbling upon a puff – as bright as an orange – in the Warm Temperate Pavilion. True story: called Powder-Puffs, these tender flowers are native to Africa and deceive with their bristle-like appearance.

The bright yellow face of a daisy; bringing to mind a quote by Henry David Thoreau:

Earth laughs in flowers.

Foggy impressions in the Tropical Pavilion.

Half-expecting a toucan to be hovering in the vicinity of this gigantic banana tree leaf.

Walking in on a prickly affair in the Desert Pavilion.

Orchids, thriving in the Aquatic House. Here, temps and humidity levels aren’t far off of those experienced in a Bikram Yoga room. Very nearly sweating.

Ahhh, finally – sighting a lily upon exit.

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other. ~Chinese Proverb

Breathing in the fresh air again.

Admiring Early Stachyurus, elegantly draped.

Passing by wall flowers. Late afternoon; a setting sun.

Departing; strolling into a cast of shadows.

Bolt of Inspiration Series, Part Four (Time)

I received a wonderful gift recently – a DSLR camera. For the past few days I have been out and about – snapping images; experimenting with different camera settings; trying to figure out what constitutes the right ‘light’; maneuvering for angle and composition – all the while noticing details around me that I may not have paid attention to otherwise. Photographs have always inspired me and now more so, as I am slowly understanding the amount of effort, concentration and skill required to take a ‘wow’ photograph. More importantly though, I have gained a new appreciation for the quality of patience. As I have found out, not much can be achieved whilst rushing around with Learner Plates.

Enjoy Part Four of the series.

 “Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection.” Lawrence Durrell

Autumn Leaves in Brooklyn ~ Photograph by Marina Chetner

“The further one goes the less one knows.” Lao-Tzu

Chinatown, New York ~ Photograph by Matthew Goddard-Jones

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 “Experience, travel – these are as education in themselves.” Euripides

Al Kazimiyah Shrine, Baghdad ~ Photograph by Lynsey Addario

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“There is a third dimension to traveling, the longing for what is beyond.” Jan Myrdal

Hot Air Balloons, Tanzania ~ Photograph by James Wheeler

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“There is no moment of delight in any pilgrimage like the beginning of it.” Charles Dudley Warner

Sky Flock, Canada ~ Photograph by Karen McRae

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“Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.” Stephen Wright

Street Scene, Kolkata ~ Photograph by Randy Olson

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“It doesn’t matter how slow you go, so long as you don’t stop.” Confucius

Balloon Vendor, Vietnam ~ Photograph by Michael Maher

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“People don’t take trips – trips take people.” John Steinbeck

Lychees, Vietnam ~ Photograph by Blake Bergen

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“The universe is full of magical things patiently waiting for our wits to grow sharper.” Eden Phillpotts

Cleopatra Relief, Egypt ~ Photograph by George Steinmetz

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“Vision is not enough, it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs.” Vaclav Havel

Terraced Rice Field, China ~ Photograph by Thierry Bornier

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“Everything you do can be done better from a place of relaxation.” Stephen C. Paul

Wallow: Baby Elephant in Mud ~ Louis © rights reserved

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“Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way.” Dr. Seuss

Poya Festival, Sri Lanka ~ Photograph by Greg Elms

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Bolt of Inspiration Series, Part Two

It’s been raining, it’s been overcast, it’s been that type of day, and a good dose of inspiration was required. There is nothing like a good quote or a fantastic image to get those wheels turning and the creative juices flowing. As a continuation of my previous post, Part One, I share with you Part Two.

Prepare to be inspired and enjoy.

“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” Susan Sontag

Blue Pond – Hokkaido, Japan ~ Kent Shiraishi

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“Don’t listen to what they say. Go see.” Chinese Proverb

Cheetah in Africa ~ Louis  © rights reserved

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3. “One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” Henry Miller

At Western Qing Tombs in Yi County, China ~ Photograph by Danny Xu

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4. “The more side roads you stop to explore, the less likely that life will pass you by.” Robert Brault

Middle Atlas Mountains, Morocco ~ Vlad Min

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5. “It is better to travel well than to arrive.” The Buddha

Street Scene, Rio de Janeiro ~ Photograph by Rasko Ristic

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“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.” Pablo Picasso

La Sagrada Familia, Spain ~ Photograph by Olivia-Rae

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7. “When you are everywhere, you are nowhere / When you are somewhere, you are everywhere.” Rumi

Masai Mara, Africa ~ Photograph by Daniel James Moore

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8. “If you’re not living on the edge, you’re taking up too much space.” Unknown

Bird on Tap in León, Spain ~ Eduardo Serrano © rights reserved

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9. “Those who follow the crowd are quickly lost in it.” Anonymous

Maples Leaves in Williamsburg, Brooklyn ~ Photograph by Marina Chetner

10. “Own only what you can carry with you; know language, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.” Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Adventure Challenge in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain ~ Photograph by Monica Dalmasso

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11. “I am convinced that to live is to travel towards the world’s end.” Ella Maillart

Water Ladder Binn Éadair in Howth County, Dublin ~ All rights reserved by Brendan Comey

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12. “Enjoy yourself. It’s later than you think.” Chinese Proverb

Summer Festival in Banyoles, Spain ~ Photograph by Tina Soriano

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When a Bolt of Inspiration is Required

Some days, I find it difficult to write; a dark and chilly start can quash my concentration and dampen my spirit. Yes, the extreme seasonal temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere get to me, and on days like today, I long to be teleported to Sydney for some summer sun. Or to a Caribbean beach. Or to Fiji for a swim in the crystal clear waters. Since teleportation is hardly possible at this point in time, what do I do?

I look to travel quotes and photographs.

I have been collecting quotes for some time and love how they can set the tone of my day by imparting wisdom in as little as a sentence.

The same goes for a photograph. A great image can hit me like a ray of sunshine and transport me to a different place . I learn a little bit more about a part of the world that I may never have seen, heard of, or paid attention to before.

I’m hoping that a bunch of quotes and photos will get me through New York’s temperamental fall and winter. Otherwise, I’ll just have to book a trip somewhere warm and exotic. Or relocate to warmer pastures.

Until then, here are some of my favourite travel quotes and photographs, shared by a number of talented artists in the blogoshere. If you have any favourites to share, please send them along.

*You can also see more imagery and quotes in the second part:

Bolt of Inspiration Series, Part Two.


“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” St Augustine

Australia – Sydney: home is where the heart is ~ All rights reserved by shaza85

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“Half the fun of travel is the aesthetic of lostness.” Ray Bradbury

Africa – Etosha National Park, Okondeka Fountain ~ Louis © rights reserved

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“Travel and change of place impart new vigor to the mind.” Seneca

Iceland – Aurora Borealis ~ Photograph by James Appleton

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“Legends say that the hummingbirds float free of time, carrying our hopes for love, joy and celebration… Like a hummingbird we aspire to hover and to savor each moment as it passes, embrace all that life has to offer and to celebrate the joy in everyday…” Papyrus

California, Escondid0 – A hummingbird’s delicate beauty ~ Photograph by Scott Randall

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“The journey is my home.” Muriel Rukeyser

Egypt – The Great Sphinx ~ Photograph by Kaushik Sarkar

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“A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.” Moslih Eddin Saadi

Ethiopia – Bale Mountains ~ Mikael Lypinski Photography

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“Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.” Babs Hoffman

Manhattan – The view from the Brooklyn Bridge ~ Photograph by Marina Chetner

“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

South America ~ A llama watching over Maccu Picchu in Peru ~ © lwephoto.com

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“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” Marcel Proust

Alaska – Polar Bears in Kaktovik ~ Photograph by Mario Davalos

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“Life is short and the world is wide.” Simon Raven

Hawaii – Waikiki Dreaming ~ Photograph by Ana Fass

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“I should like to spend the whole of my life traveling abroad, if I could anywhere borrow another life to spend afterwards at home.” William Hazlitt

India – Markets, Goa ~ Photograph by Anubhav Tiwari

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“The rewards of the journey far outweigh the risk of leaving the harbor.” Unknown

Malta – The Azure Window in Gozo ~ Photograph by Ted Attard

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“They change their climate, not their soul, who rush across the sea.” Horace

Photograph by Boza Ivanovic

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