Yellowknife (Night) Adventures

You know it: northern lights. The highlight of Yellowknife is the lights. In a warmly lit cabin, I sipped on my steaming, 2-to-1-part mocha. I would suit up in my burrito-wrap-like coat and head outside to check up on the transient auroras. After I close the cabin doors behind me, I was instantly engulfed by the mystical and mesmerizing night. Diamond stars and swift northern lights blazed the dark indigo sky. I easily spent hours outside, negative 30 degrees, as I hurriedly scrambled to adjust my camera in this angle and that angle.

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I got to give myself a pat on the back for not getting frostbite, especially for a person like me with extremely dry hands.

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Every photo is unique. The auroras shift so fast you can’t get two photos that are alike.

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Can we please take a moment to appreciate the Orion constellation (above) ? You probably think that I have some very sentimental memory of Orion but nope! I just talk about it a lot because that’s the only constellation I remember from Science 9. Also, because Orion’s belt is very visible, I like to point it out to everybody. Hahaha.

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The lights are probably not what you would expect. The truth is that these auroras are actually significantly weaker in real life than photographs. Most cameras are more sensitive to light than human eyes; thus, the lense will do a better job of picking up the subtle northern wonders.

I have to mention this: taking photos of northern lights is very difficult! My AP calculus derivative test was easier than this!

Look out for my next post where I will offer some insightful and slightly experienced tips and tricks for photographing and editing northern lights. Hope you enjoy these photos as much as I enjoyed sharing these beauties.

Talk to you later. Bye for now!

Yellowknife (Day) Adventures

Wow. A trip to Yellowknife for a city girl like me was very different, but still very fun. For my whole life I’ve lived in urban cities and suddenly going to a place where the weather is below freezing and no bustling shopping malls are in sight, I felt quite displaced. Nonetheless, I had a great, unforgettable holiday in Yellowknife with friends and family. (Yes, just wait for my “Yellowknife (Night) Adventures”. You’ll see why. Heehee.)

Let me tell you, you definitely do not go to Yellowknife for masterchef food, luxury hotel, or shopping (because you probably wouldn’t get any of those). You go there for the experience! The cold that was in Yellowknife was none like I have ever experienced. It was dry and chilling. My eyelashes froze up often. The air I breathed out froze in my nostrils. But if you cover up properly, the cold should not be a problem. The greatest advice I received prior to my trip was to wear two pairs of gloves: fingered gloves beneath fleecy mittens. Trust me, you do not want to expose bare skin to the sweeping, slicing winds, not even for a second.

The vastness of land was also very different for me. Standing on the frozen Great Slave Lake, I felt miniscule. The sun is rising from the horizon that is invisible to the eye. The farthest I could see from all around me was endless snow and trailing winds picking up snow particles. You really understand that the world does not revolve around you. I mean how can it when you are so tiny and the world is so gigantic?

One of the things I learned from the locals was the evident presence of global warming. The weather in Yellowknife has already changed over the decades, as it got warmer and warmer. Climate change is real, and we need to address this pressing issue with more seriousness and formality. I want to contribute more to our battle against global warming. If you aren’t convinced to join, go watch the video of a poor polar bear trying to climb atop a thin, global warming-ridden, floating piece of ice. It is heartbreaking.

The local (or as local as I could get as a tourist) attitude in Yellowknife was incredible. Everyone treated me with kindness, showered me with smiles. Their positivity, motivation, and courage are monumental and truly inspiring. Shoutout to everyone in Yellowknife who made this trip great!

Stay tuned for night adventures! They are the highlights of this trip. Hence, I saved the best for last (winkwink).

Talk to you soon!

Lucid Lake Trail

Hope this inspires some people to take a camera to an ordinary place and gain a whole new perspective on something you take for granted or got sick of. Burnaby Lake Trail is an extremely standard trail for Vancouverites, but my camera definitely lent me an alternative perspective on a place I pass by every week.

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Stream with camouflaged ducks. 
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Crackling White Barks.
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Tiny Bird Houses.
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Not Monet’s Water Lilies.

Aghhhh, I love Lightroom! Hahaha. Stay lucid peeps.

Ttyl.

Venturing Vancouver Island

This past weekend, I got the opportunity to visit the Eastern coast of Vancouver Island. What a wonderful place with hidden gems inland and by the sea shores. The island is cozy and speckled with populated, busy towns- all of which have their own unique features. I went to all of these places:

NanaimoParksvilleCoombsDuncanVictoria, and Chemainus.

The BC ferry, from Vancouver Horseshoe Bay to Nanaimo, marked the beginning of my weekend adventure. I can totally see why Derek from Grey’s Anatomy has a thing for ferry boats. If you stand near the bow of the ferry, watching the ocean waves rush past you, you get surge of motivation and inspiration (starts the day a good way, am I right?). Plus, the view was spectacular and the lighting was on point.

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BC Ferry

 

Next stop from Nanaimo, where I stayed overnights, was Parksville, which was a homey, welcoming town. The lunch stop at Bread & Honey Food Company was delicious (praise the spicy tuna sandwich!). I had to visit Parksville beach because it looked so pretty on google images! The precise location of photo below is not 100% because we simply typed in “beach” into a GPS, and the robotic woman did all the navigating work. I am sure the various seashores near Parksville Community Beach all have spectacular, serene sceneries such as this one:

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Parksville Community Beach

 

Little Qualicum Falls, near Parksville, was a tourist attraction that entailed a small hike. Basically, it was a loop, going up and down, along the waterfalls that ran down the streams from each other. Near the lowest portion of the waterfalls, you see this view below. And near the upper most portion of the waterfalls is a steady, tranquil stream that small children were playing in.

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Little Qualicum Falls

 

Definitely stop at Coombs if you are passing by. The Old Country Market not only has a fruitful collection of everything you need in a kitchen and in your stomach, it has fricking GOATS ON THE ROOF. Now that’s something you don’t see everyday.

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Coombs Old Country Market

 

Next day, I hit Duncan. It was a friendly, cultural town. The historical museum was cool. And the totem poles that were scattered around the busiest streets of the town were extremely beautiful. The craftsmanship of these storytelling art pieces were top quality. The Sea to Sky totem pole (featured image), by Harold Alfred, is a representation of BC’s best elements, water and air.

 

Next was Victoria, BC’s capital. I have previously visited Victoria, so this time I went for 2 things: Red Fish Blue Fish and Parliament Building Tour. The fish and chips at Red Fish Blue Fish was AMAZING-no wonder I had to wait one hour to order. The Parliament Building is an architectural wonder. If you think the exterior is awe-ing, wait till you visit the inside of the building. Gold molding, mosaic flooring, and velvet draping make the parliament building truly formidable.

 

On the return trip from Victoria to Nanaimo, I made a pit stop at Chemainus, where I found the cutest ice cream shop- Baby Bear’s Ice Cream Shoppe. You are given a coin upon your payment and order, and they make the waffle cones right in front of you! Then, you can lounge in the three bears/fairytale themed garden. So cute! Just curious, anyone else a super big bubblegum ice cream fan? Ahahaha.

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Baby Bear’s Ice Cream Shoppe

 

Nanaimo, my homebase for the weekend, was an excellent place to take long walks on the beach or go kayaking. I had a lovely stay in Nanaimo! Some good food places would be Gabriel’s Gourmet Cafe for brunch and Power House Living Food for creative, raw, vegan food.

Venturing Vancouver Island was very fun! And I know I will be back one day to explore the islands more! Highly recommend to everyone. Thanks for reading! Ttyl.

PS. I got Lightroom, and I am obsessed with the way my photos are turning out! The application is very pricy but the results are so worth it.

 

NYC Highlights

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Brooklyn Bridge

 

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Grand Central Station
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9/11 Memorial Site
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View from Empire State Building
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High Line
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One World Trade Center

My favourite photo from New York is of the One World Trade Center. I was incredibly lucky to be able to capture this photograph on that beautiful day. I love the reflections of the cloudy sky on the building. Often times, great photography is all about luck.

Enjoy! And talk to you soon!

GREEDY

This is NYC’s famous cake shop, Lady M . They are famous for their crepe cakes, which were extremely delicious. Just don’t let your greed get the better of yourself, and you will be able to enjoy these cakes like most people have. 😛 I was (just a little bit) greedy and ate too much. HA HA.

LOOK, LOOK:

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Okay, so this photo turned out great. 🙂

This cake, their Signature Mille Crêpes, was divine…at first. The first bite was amazing. My friends and I just looked at each other, astonished by the quality of the cake. It was nice and light in texture and creamy (ew, my least favourite adjective) and sweet. The second bite was good too. And then the third, and the fourth. By the time I was done 3/4 of this slice, I was secretly wishing for Chipotle.

Then I ate my second slice of cake, which was like a vanilla sponge cake. Yes, I ate 2 slices of cake in one sitting but to be fair that was my lunch ($16!!!! I don’t eat meat but that’s like 8 hot dogs!) and I needed the energy to continue touristy activities. After eating, I was over crepe cakes…for the rest of my life!

Overall, super good cake! Go there and have a slice with a friend or something. Don’t be greedy like me and ruin something amazing for yourself.

BYE! As of today 🙂

 

The Mesmerizing MET

Situated in the heart of Manhattan, in Central Park, is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is a place for all ages and all interests. My experience there mainly consisted of excitement, fascination, and fangirling reactions (all from me). Prior to my visit, I made a long list of things I wanted to see like Ugolino and His Sons, Madame X, and Monet’s Water Lilies, but when I got there, reality dawned upon me, there was just too much too see. I had to be selective about what I wanted to see.

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I spent most of my visit in the Greek and Roman Art section because it was a fascinating collection of art, mythology, and history.

Ugolino and His Sons is a beautiful sculpture, by Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux, that holds an captivating and eerie story. Ugolino and his sons were imprisoned and starving. His sons eventually died around 1288, and rumour had it that Ugolino was so crazy with hunger that he ate the corpses of his dead children. So was Carpeaux choosing to depict hunger or grief in Ugolino’s eternal gnawing of his fingers?

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The museum was absolutely beautiful!

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I hope these photos can inspire artists out there. I know that when I saw rooms of marble sculptures, I was compelled to sit down, observe, and to draw in my sketchbook. Something about the white marbled faces is mesmerizing.

A lovely installation piece below.

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My number 1 to see was Madame X by John Singer Sargent (left painting below) mainly because I was practicing oil painting and my art teacher suggested Singer-Sargent as an inspiration. His paintings are captivating because they showed phenomenal skill but the lightly washed background makes them look effortless. All of his paintings were huge; Madame X was bigger than Madame X herself. This painting was initially criticized and considered rather scandalous! I think some people today would even consider Madame X’s attire to be modest. Anyways, I loved Sargent’s paintings, no matter how modest or scandalous they are.

The MET can easily be one of the best museums in America; it is a marriage of art, cultures, history, and wisdom, from the Egyptians to the Chinese. As a student, I was inspired greatly. Thanks New York!

Oh, and don’t forget to take a lunch break and eat on the steps outside the MET. And look out for a shady food truck  that has MUSTURD on their menu instead of MUSTARD; don’t want turd on your hot dog, am I right? 😛

Thanks for reading! Bye for now. 🙂