Sunday Stills: Favorite #Vacation Spot

Sunday Still banner vacation

To wrap up the month of May at Sunday Stills, let’s share our favorite vacation spots. As more of the world gets vaccinated against Covid-19, masks are coming off and the world is opening up! Hallelujah!

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul.”

John Muir

This week, I am sharing my favorite vacation images from my archives. Now, some of you world travelers, like Sarah, will have to choose your favorites, (aren’t they all though?).

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

Seneca

While you think of your favorite vacation spots, remember why we take vacations. In my retired world, every day seems like Saturday and I’ve been on a perpetual vacation for a few months. But think of a vacation in broader terms, like leisure and travel, and how they are all connected. My point (finally) is this: How do the concepts of leisure, vacation, and travel make you feel? Would you say that these words invoke healing when you experience their manifestation?

According to Marsha at Always Write, her newest WQWWW (Writer’s Quote Wednesday) is “healing” and I suggest this is what time off does for us in the form of a vacation, leisure time in a hobby or physical activity, or travel! This quote speaks volumes:

“In matters of healing the body or the mind, vacation is a true genius!”

Mehmet Murat Ildan

Join me as I share my galleries of trips down memory lane and hum along to the song titles. I apologize in advance for any earworms created. You will notice how many of my favorite vacation spots feature the colors blue and green, which ties in nicely to Tina’s Lens-Artists challenge this week!

I Left My Heart in … a US National Park

“Within National Parks is room–glorious room–room in which to find ourselves, in which to think and hope, to dream and plan, to rest and resolve.”

Enos Mills

My family spent a LOT of time visiting national parks, notably Yosemite and Sequoia, since they were in California. Last July, I spent a couple of hours in Sequoia with Marsha, when she lived 30 minutes away in Central California.

Down In Mexico

“Never underestimate the healing power of these three things – music, the ocean and the stars.”

Unknown

My windsurfing husband dragged me to Baja, Mexico three times to the La Paz area. In nearby La Ventana is incredible windsurfing and kite boarding. I took my turns windsurfing in the Sea of Cortez as well as some stand-up paddling. A great vacation spot!

California Dreamin’

“Nature itself is the best physician.”

Hippocrates

Because I lived in California most of my life, I spent the first 20 years in San Diego and the rest in Sacramento (Northern California). On two San Diego vacations, I met fellow blogger, Janis, for lunch twice, and one lunch there with Liesbet, who I met in Sacramento! Since 2009, my vacations consisted of summer weekends at the Sacramento River Delta, with occasional visits to Yosemite. It has been my goal to stand-up paddle on every significant body of water on vacations!

By the Time I Get to Phoenix

“Walk in nature and feel the healing power of the trees.“

Anthony William

Arizona was and still is a winter vacation choice. Not only did we meet fellow blogger, Ingrid and her husband in North Phoenix two years in a row, my brother and recently my stepdaughter now live in the Phoenix area. Winter roadtrip 2022 is in the works!

Blue Hawaii

“Leisure, some degree of it, is necessary to the health of every man’s spirit.”

Harriet Martineau

I’ve been lucky to travel to the Big Island of Hawaii in 2018 and 2019 with the goal to fix up and sell my husband’s house on the Hilo side. The house is dilapidated and needs work that we just cannot do at this time in our lives. This year we will make final arrangements for its sale. During these weeks, we did manage to do a bit of relaxing and exploring after taking care of the home. Hilo is not the tourist mecca like Kona is, but it serves as the county seat where most of the government infrastructure is housed. Hilo is also the wettest city in the US. In 2018 we visited Volcanoes National Park before the last eruption took place. In 2019, I got to visit the Hawaii Tropical Bioreserve and Gardens with fellow blogger, Graham. We had a blast taking tons of photos!

Viva Las Vegas

“Life’s short. Eat dessert first, work less and vacation MORE!!”

Lia Mishell

Las Vegas, Nevada is known for its casinos and nightlife. It’s also a great place for winter RV camping. In 2018, our winter roadtrip to the Southwest was cut short by unseasonable cold and snow, so we high-tailed it to Las Vegas as our last stop and enjoyed a pleasant week. Unable to visit Antelope Canyon that borders southern Utah and northern Arizona, we stumbled on the Valley of Fire State Park just an hour northeast of Las Vegas. I still got my slot canyon fix and plenty of hiking! In 2018, we met up with fellow blogger Maria, formerly of Sagittarius Viking, still on Instagram.

I sum up my vacation experience thus far with this meme I created when I was teaching leisure education and management at Sacramento State University. These surfboards were situated at a windsurf resort. I took the picture and added this thought to help make the point about taking time off of work or other obligations and enjoying leisure time!

Sorry, couldn’t make it…had a mandatory board meeting.

You Are My Home

“Come to the woods for here is rest.“

John Muir

One year ago almost to the day (May 2020), my husband and I stood together on our property for the first time.

Happy on our half acre

We’ve come a long way in one year, figuratively and literally! We are moved in and enjoying everything that goes along with building! All during a pandemic, no less.

New mfg home

Our vacation of choice in 2021 will be a “staycation” since we are new to our home and hoping people visit us as we continually move in. Will the unpacking and getting everything just right never end?

If camping in an RV counts as a vacation, then our 2-month stay in North Spokane RV Park was quite lovely despite winter/early spring-living while we waited for our home to be ready.

Like this Canada Goose family enjoying their home near a local lake, we expect to enjoy all the area has to offer. Submitted for Lisa’s Bird Weekly.

Canada Geese Family

We plan to take some local overnight and weekend trips to the German/Bavarian town of Leavenworth; the Columbia River Gorge near Mt Hood, Oregon—motivated by windsports; and Sandpoint, Idaho; and beyond.

I know several bloggers who live near these areas, so lets meet up when the time is right!

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be posted all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

June Themes are on my Sunday Stills Photography Page

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Each week I share the links from the previous post so you can continue to meet and support each other. And with that…

Good Gray Matter in these Blogger’s Links

I am looking forward to seeing your favorite places where you vacation and relax! Speaking of relaxing, Sunday Stills is taking a break next Sunday as my family celebrates a long Memorial Day weekend. See you in June and have a great week!

SUPSIG

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: #Rain, Rain…Another Day

abstract rainy day

March 1st was the first day of Meteorological spring in the northern hemisphere, and here in Spokane, the temps were in the balmy mid-50s (Fahrenheit) all week. Not much rain, but I do have some rainy-day pics from my archives to share for the theme today.

An abstract view of a downpour in our backyard in Sacramento.

abstract rainy day

Since mid-December when we made the move to Spokane, Washington from Northern California, we’ve experienced snow, clouds, and sun, but oddly no rain. As if to kick us out of California, the rain came in force as we packed the last of our belongings into the truck the morning we pulled out. We hadn’t seen rain in months.

“Rain, rain go away, come again another day.”

Old English nursery rhyme

In winter and spring, 2017, the California drought ended with three months of much-needed rainy weather. As the saying goes, “when it rains, it pours.”

spring downpour

Another abstract view of a rain/hail mix from my archives.

hail, rain mix abstract

I kick myself for not taking some pics of my grand-niece and nephew jumping in melted snow puddles two weeks ago when we took a walk. The colorful pink boots splashing in the bright reflective puddle is the visual I will leave you with and help from Pixabay free photos to make the point.

Photo by Jill Wellington on Pexels.com

A rain/snow mix in downtown Couer D’Alene, Idaho.

In January 2018, we traveled to the Big Island of Hawaii and stayed on the Hilo side, one of the rainiest cities in the US boasting 130 inches a year. It pretty much rains every day, but sometimes only during the night. We toured the rainforest (while it rained) as evidenced by hubby donning his rain slicker, as we walked through the Thurston lava tube.

Rainy day walk through lava tube

“Thurston lava tube also known as Nāhuku, is the most easily accessible of the lava tubes on the Big Island and is one of the main attractions of the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.

https://www.lovebigisland.com/activities-to-do/lava-tubes/

With all that rain, there is not only the after-effect of drenching the Earth but also the beauty of enjoying a walk in the rain or shortly after a rain shower. In Hilo, this Morning Glory close-up shows the simple beauty of droplets.

drops morning glory

In my former front yard in Sacramento, I enjoyed seeing the delicate, luminous raindrops on my rosebushes.

rain on rosebush

“Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.”

John Updike

I hope you enjoyed my depictions of rainy days. The floral images are shared for Cees Flower of the Day. Let’s switch gears and enjoy a coffee chat:

If we were having coffee today…

…I would tell you that significant progress was made on the house this week. You can see by our happy faces that we are thrilled with this progress.

Happy almost home

The skirting around the foundation was closed up and the contractor leveled all the excavated soil. The half-acre lot looks huge again in this view of the backyard below! Unlike most manufactured homes which tend to be built higher off the ground, our contractor chose to excavate deeper so we only have one or two steps into the doors of the home. We will appreciate fewer steps up and down in a few years!

Back view of house

Since rain is the theme and has to do with water, we started the application process and paid a substantial construction fee to our public utility company (water). I’m told they will install the water meter next week. Now the septic can get started and more interior work continues.

Please feel free to join Natalie the Explorer for her weekend coffee share.

Sunday Stills Photo Challenge Reminders

  • Please create a new post for the theme or link a recent one.
  • Title your blog post a little differently than mine.
  • Don’t forget to create a pingback to this post so that other participants can read your post. I also recommend adding your post’s URL into the comments.
  • Entries for this theme can be shared all week.
  • Use hashtag #SundayStills for sharing on social media.

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Each week I will share the links from the previous week’s post so you can continue to meet and support each other. And with that…please visit last week’s views of a white-washed world.

“Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling faces. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Live your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams.”

Ashley Smith

I look forward to your creative spin on your “rainy day” this week. You have the entire week to share for the theme. Each week I share your posts on my Facebook page Second Wind Leisure Perspectives or Twitter. Please follow me if you wish.

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Your Favorite #Landscape

Water fall on the Feather River

We all love landscape photography. When you first began snapping photos, perhaps you naturally gravitated toward landscapes (or waterscapes—same thing), due to their ease of accessibility. Who doesn’t stand in awe of a wonderful vista and wish they had their phone or camera handy?

This is an easy challenge this week as you share your favorite land- or water-scapes, but the twist is to tell us why the image or images are your favorite, and something about the place. Since most of us are travel-restricted, let’s brag about our best or favorite landscapes as we all travel virtually along with each other!

Winter Wonders

For several years, my hubby and I traveled in December and January when we both could take extended time off from work. We enjoyed two winter road trips in our RV, both times visiting San Diego, Arizona, and Nevada.

We got snowed on in Sedona in 2019,

Snow on Red Rock of Sedona
Snow on Red Rock of Sedona

and visited the Grand Canyon in 2020. It took two attempts to get here!

South Rim of the Grand Canyon in snow
South Rim of the Grand Canyon

On our way home to drop off the RV, we enjoyed a misty morning along the Sacramento River. This is one of my favorites.

FLoating Dock Reflections
“Floating” dock on Sacramento River

How-waia?*

Moving now into warmer winter climates, our first visit to the Big Island of Hawaii was on the Hilo side where we watched surfers skirting around the volcanic reefs on Hilo Bay. This particular image was created as a 40-30 canvas print I hang in my house.

Hilo Surfers
Hilo Surfers

I had to throw in a Painnted (filter) version of this image as we drove UP the Hamakua coastline on the northern end of the Big Island.

Hawaii Big Island Hamakua Coastline
View of Hamakua Coastline

*My grandmother pronounced Hawaii “how-ah-ya,” for which I endlessly teased her, good-naturedly, of course. Though she was an English teacher, her Midwest roots shown through in her dialect.

Baja Bound

Staying with our warmer winter climates, I was fortunate to visit Baja California, Mexico three times in the last 10 years. On the Sea of Cortez side in La Ventana just south of La Paz, mornings saw calm waters and fabulous sunrises, perfect for a morning stand-up paddle session or enjoying a cuppa jo.

Baja Sunrise
Early Baja Sunrise

During afternoons, the wind came up and windsurfing was the only way to enjoy the water. Photo credit to my husband.

Windsurfing in Baja
My turn to sail

Spring Greens

Because I love the color green, I’ll stop for a landscape of cool greens like this one taken in the Sierra Nevada foothills in March, 2016. This area is near the town of Sutter Creek, originally populated during the California gold-rush era of the 1850s.

Mountain Greenery; Green Sierra foothills
Green Sierra foothills

In late March, 2017, we stayed a few days in Yosemite Valley and captured this iconic view of Half Dome with Bridalveil falls in the foreground.

Yosemite Valley with Bridalveil Falls
Yosemite Valley

Fall Foliage

This image got a lot of hits on Facebook and Instagram. This is the Dishman Hills area of Spokane and this particular area looks spectacular in any season.

Winter Scene Spokane

The above version was taken in mid November, while the one below shows early Fall splendor. I am sure to collect images of each season now that I live in the area!

Spokane's Urban Forest
Spokane suburban street

I had to include a favorite autumn landscape titled Quincy in Fall, an image of a waterfall in the Feather River in Northern California. This is another image I had made into a large Canvas print.

Water fall on the Feather River
Waterfall at Feather River

Taken in 2010 with my first digital camera, I’m told by many this was prize-worthy. 11 years ago those compliments gave me much needed confidence to enjoy and explore photography.

And so it goes….

Honestly, this week’s theme couldn’t have come at a better time since we had to move again and I found myself super busy. No, not exactly what you are thinking. Our home is not ready yet, but the good news is that the interior will be worked on this week. Sadly, staying with my BIL in his toxic home environment was too much after 6 full weeks and we were fed UP. We spent all last week looking for another temporary home and I hurriedly put this post together. We looked for a house to rent for 1-2 more months, but nothing was available.

Plan C? Our 27-foot travel trailer has been parked on our nephew’s property, so we braved snowy roads and moved it to an RV campground on Thursday. This was the last thing my hubby wanted to deal with after the drama at his brother’s. At this writing, we are happily sitting in our warm RV in North Spokane enjoying our own space! He looks pretty happy in this pic and we are relieved.

A warm welcome to blogger Frank at Beach Walk Reflections to Sunday Stills last week. He shared a lovely post in response to “clouds and fog” at the suggestion of good friend and fellow blogger Marsha of Always Write. I’m so pleased more people are contributing to the Sunday Stills photo challenge. During January, eight bloggers joined the Sunday Stills challenge for the first time!

This is my last post linking with Becky B’s Squared Up Challenge as hers comes to an end. Some landscape photos do not square-up since they are from my archives. Thanks, Becky, for hosting your delightful quarterly challenge!

I am also pleased to share this post as a “photography journey” of sorts with this week’s Lens-Artists Challenge hosted by Amy.

I certainly look forward to seeing your favorite landscapes (and water-scapes)!

Remember you have all week to create a post for each week’s theme. February themes can be found HERE!

Until next week, stay safe!

SUPSIG

© 2021 Copyright—All rights reserved—secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Life in a #Waterworld

Color Planet

Memorial Day in the US is the traditional start to summer, which brings throngs of people to lakes, rivers and oceans.

Perhaps, but not in 2020…

…as the threats of exposure and illness from the coronavirus keep people home and away from their favorite leisure spaces.

Even as most US states have opened up for some recreational activities, social distancing and closed parking lots to beaches, trails and parks may still keep people away.

This week’s Sunday Stills photo challenge theme is waterworld. If you are one of the lucky ones who can enjoy being in or around the water, tell us about your favorite water world. Show us in recent photos. Can’t enjoy the water where you live? Share your favorite water photos from your archives.

Did you know…? “About 71 percent of the Earth’s surface is water-covered, and the oceans hold about 96.5 percent of all Earth’s water.”

Water Science School

Our seasonal windsurf campground in the Sacramento River Delta opened this weekend with rules for social distancing in place. Not hard to keep your distance while sailing or paddling…in light wind conditions…

Beginner windsurfers enjoy a light wind day for practice
Social Distancing

Or in 40 mph winds!

Trio of Sailors Windsurfing

After a busy day on the water, we can enjoy the sunset,

Molten Delta Sunset

…then wake to a new day.

Quiet Delta Morning

Some more of my favorite places to play in and around the water.

From Northern California’s Lake Tahoe, Lake Natoma and Yosemite National Park…

Boats in Tahoe Marina
Tahoe Keys Marina
Dock
The dock at Lake Natoma
Lake Tenaya, Yosemite National Park
Lake Tenaya, Yosemite National Park

…heading South to San Diego Harbor,

Shelter Island Marina San Diego
Shelter Island Marina San Diego

to Baja, Mexico in the Sea of Cortez…

Symbol-of-Fun
In the Sea of Cortez
Weightless water
La Ventana, Baja Mexico

…and Westward to the Hawaiian Islands…

SUPing the waves
Wave Paddling, Hilo Bay
Hilo Surfers
Hilo Surfers

We enjoy life and live in a Water World!

Please wear a life jacket. Or borrow one.

Kids Don't Float

For Sunday Stills this week, show us your own water world and what you love about it!

May is National Water Safety Month

May is National Water Safety Month. Please stay safe in and around the water.

Flag

Thank you to the servicemen and women who have sacrificed for our country.

The sunset photo is submitted for Jude’s Photo Challenge.

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: Your #Favorite Photo

Lonely Fisherman

With the holidays upon us, I thought I would make it easy for all of us at Sunday Stills this week to share a few of our favorite photos or some oldie-but-goodies. If you have a new favorite to share, well, go right ahead!

I went to Instagram and looked at past posts from 2019 to see which ones seemed to generate more likes than others.

Lonely Fisherman

I loved capturing this shot our first day back on the Big Island of Hawaii. The waves were big and the light was amazing. My cousin remarked that it reminded her of an old pic of our grandfather fishing off the rocks on the Northern California coast years ago. No wonder it caught my attention!

Lonely Fisherman
Lonely fisherman casts his net on Hilo Bay

Dog and Butterfly

This is one of the first captures of my dog Brodie using my camera, Panasonic Lumix FZ300. The picture was taken from afar but I was able to crop it enough for a quality close-up. I was very pleased with the crispness of the water droplets suspended in time.

Brodie's First Water Experience

This pink lady’s image was captured on the side of the road in the Sierra Nevada foothills. I hadn’t yet played a lot with the macro setting on my camera and it didn’t disappoint. All this while still hopping around in my cast last July!

Pink Lady Butterfly

The heading “Dog and Butterfly” is in reference to one of my favorite songs by Heart’s Ann and Nancy Wilson.

Wild Road Trip

A rare sight to see snow covering the red rocks of Sedona. This amount of snow had not fallen in several years, (impeccable timing?) and the experience changed the trajectory of my entire trip earlier this year.

Snow on Red Rock of Sedona
Snow on Red Rock of Sedona

Because of the necessary detour, I was able to visit Valley of Fire State Park near Las Vegas, and still get my slot canyon experience as we walked through the “Narrows.”

Entrance to the Valley of Fire slot canyon, the Narrows

I am happy to share a couple of my favorites, from my “Bucket-List Photos” in 2018. Whenever a photographer captures “the one” (or more) iconic image, it is worth crowing about!

Moon captured with the camera in the manual setting.

Moon shot

My best live-action sports picture taken at full zoom in 40mph winds.

Windsurfer
Local windsurfer gets a lot of air in Sherman Island

After our winter road trip last January, driving home from dropping off the trailer, we stopped for a few minutes in Walnut Grove, a small, quaint Sacramento River Delta town. With the fog and still water, the dock appears to float in space!

FLoating Dock Reflections
“Floating” dock on Sacramento River

All images in this post were taken with the Lumix camera instead of my trusty Samsung cell phone. It is probably why these are among my favorites, because of the high quality only a “real” camera can provide.

Show us your favorite photos from 2019 or before. Share your other creative ideas in the form of your favorite poem, song, or story, too.

I’m traveling in the Pacific Northwest as you read this post, so please be patient as I may be a little slow to read, share and comment on your posts.

Happy Thanksgiving to those who are celebrating this week!

© 2019 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Blue July #Squares: Surf’s Up in Hilo

Boogie Boarder

I caught these young surfers shredding waves on Hilo Bay last January. Three boys and one girl surf and boogie board on a warm winter’s day. It was a school holiday; the temps were warm and who wouldn’t surf if they could?

four surfers ride the waves

Even more amazing was how they managed to dodge the large lava rock formations found all around the Big Island of Hawaii.

Boogie Boarder

Inspired by Sue’s Journaling in July challenge, I’ve managed to journal some thoughts on this week’s prompts.

July 9 My Favorite Place

I have been blessed to travel to destination places like the Hawaiian Islands and to various areas of Yosemite National Park. Within the last 10 years, thanks to my adventurous, globe-trotting husband, I have also traveled to Mexico and countless places in the West. Plans for more road trips and abroad also include Europe and South America.

Although Yosemite’s high country, Tuolumne Meadows, feels like my own backyard after over 25 visits in my life, my emotional attachment to Hawaii developed in my teenage years, spurred future plans for travel to the islands.

I was obsessed with Hawaii for years.

It wasn’t until my mid-forties that I visited Honolulu and Waikiki on the island of Oahu, and this first visit was everything I thought it would be. The soft tradewinds, the colors of the sunsets, and the astounding varieties of blues of the ocean were sensations and sights I could only previously imagine.

Two trips to Hilo on the Big Island of Hawaii in 2018 and 2019 found me in love with the laid-back lifestyle, riots of tropical flowers, and the impossible greens and stunning blues, all within the shadow of the looming, active volcanoes Mauna Loa and Kilauea.

SUPing the waves

Surprisingly, I have not yet found the right spot to stand-up paddle on the Hilo side, due to the shore being made up of volcanic rock formations. But like the man SUP-ing in the photo, it’s just a matter of time.

I shared a post about this in 2018 after I spent my first week in Hilo. My New Favorite Place.

Join Becky B’s quarterly photography challenges with your own square photographs!

© 2019 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: A #Tropical Garden Vacation

Hawaii Big Island Hamakua Coastline

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you might have seen several of my images taken in and around the Hilo area while on the Big Island of Hawaii.

I also shared a post with some tropical images for my recent post Thursday’s #Hilo Doors with a View.

It makes sense (at least to me) that this week’s Sunday Stills theme is “tropical.”

I celebrated my spring break in Hawaii at my husband’s urging. He wanted one more week off before the summer rush begins at his work. We own a small house in up-country Hilo that needs some major repair and construction, right up hubby’s alley. Apparently working on his house is therapeutic for him.

With hubby working on the house 20 miles away, I was left to my own devices back at the B&B where we stayed. I spent two days alone working on a variety of projects, took walks, and of course, took hundreds of pictures! Did I mention the 75 degree temperatures? Hilo can be very rainy but the weather cooperated most days, with overcast skies only part of the time.

Hawaii Big Island Hamakua Coastline
View of Hamakua Coastline north of Hilo (photo was edited using Paintt filter)

While enjoying the tropical surroundings, I also had the chance to meet up with fellow blogger, Graham, from Graham’s Island. If you enjoy reading about the Big Island of Hawaii, Graham takes amazing photos while explaining something interesting about his subject.

Graham kindly offered to make the two-hour drive from the North end of the island to meet me at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Gardens.

With cameras in tow, we walked the trails and shot oodles of flowers and plant life. One of the first flowers we spotted was this purple hibiscus hybrid called “Blue Bayou.” Stunning!

Purple hibiscus flower
“Blue Bayou” Hibiscus hybrid

A tropical garden path overgrown with flowers and plants paved the way for more sites than I could possibly see!

Pathway in the Botanical Gardens
Pathway in the Botanical Gardens

We came across this Crimson Medinilla from the Phillipines hanging like Christmas ornaments.

crimson medinilla red flower
Crimson Medinilla flowers hang like Christmas ornaments

Of course, we stopped every few feet to capture these amazing plants with our lenses. A great photographer like Graham here leans in for that special shot!

Man shooting flowers with camera
Graham getting that macro shot!

We came upon the Malaysian Bat Plant, which really is this color black!

Malaysian Bat Black Flowering Plant
Malaysian Bat Plant

Another hibiscus flower, this one a peachy-orange. Yellow hibiscus is the Hawaii state flower.

Orange hibiscus
Orange hibiscus

The iconic Hawaiian flower, the plumeria, was not in bloom quite yet, but here is one just for fun! Graham has a yearly pass to the gardens and says he sees different flowers each time he visits. There is a chance we may go back to the Big Island to work on the house this Fall, so I hope to see these gorgeous, fragrant flowers!

Walking through the gardens yielded views like this if you stopped and looked up!

Pointy, spiky tropical rain forest
Banyans and Palm Trees reach for the sky

This image of the tropical forest with its spikes, spires and jagged edges is submitted for Becky B’s last day of March Spiky Squares.

I am also sharing these banyan and palm trees with Becca’s Sunday Trees!

Here is one more beautiful little flower, an orchid perhaps?

botanical garden flower
Cute little flower…no clue as to what it is!

I’ve lost count of the many bloggers I have met in person over the last few years and was so pleased to be able to meet up with Graham in Hawaii! We had an enjoyable time and ate lunch in Hilo before he drove me back to the B&B! Visiting the botanical gardens was one of the highlights of this trip to the Big Island.

Today, I am also sharing these tropical blooms for Cee’s Flower of the Day!

April themes are available for view on my Sunday Stills page so you can plan ahead. Remember you can post any time during the week for each theme.

I can’t wait to see your tropical-themed images, poems, stories, even music this week!

Aloha!

my signature w/ hibiscus

Sunday Stills: A Spiky #Spring Has Sprung

Catfaced Orchid welcomes Spring

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, spring officially sprung on March 20…also known as the vernal equinox! While perhaps it does not feel like spring yet where you are, just know that the days are getting longer than the nights by 2 minutes a day.

“In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours.”
— Mark Twain

If you have not guessed, “spring” is this week’s theme for Sunday Stills.

I am also linking some images in this post to Becky B’s Spiky March Squares.

I may have a slight advantage since I enjoyed spring on the Hilo side of the Big Island of Hawaii this past week. I spent the first day of spring at the Hawaii Tropical Botanical Garden just north of Hilo with none other than Graham, from Graham’s Island! He graciously drove 2 hours from the north side of the island to hang out with me! More about this next week!

For your spring viewing pleasure today, I have several photos taken around the Hilo, Hawaii area this week.

Here is a little preview of one of the orchids I photographed while visiting the botanical gardens. Do you see the little orchid’s perky face as she welcomes spring?

Catfaced Orchid welcomes Spring
Cat-faced Orchid welcomes Spring

The plumeria is my favorite Hawaiian flower. My last visits to Hawaii were in January and plumeria do not bloom until spring. Last week I looked everywhere for plumeria then accidentally found the naked tree with a few blossoms that had just flowered on the first day of spring. I usually recognize the plant by its dark green, leathery, spiky leaves, so it took a moment to realize what I was looking at. This plumeria bloom was captured with the long lens of my camera at the top of the tree from across the street!

Plumeria welcomes spring
First plumeria getting ready for spring!
pink plumeria
What plumeria should look like!

I need to time my Hawaii visits to when the plant is in full flower!

On one of my walks around the neighborhood on Hilo Bay, I spied an elementary school with the beautiful pink ginger plants that grow wild, as well as the hibiscus plants. Nothing like an education among all that floral beauty.

Wild ginger and hibiscus at local school
Pink, spiky ginger plants grow wild along the school fence.

Closer to home, spring means we get ready to head back to the Sacramento River Delta to our windsurf club’s campground. As I drove along the river last April (2018), I couldn’t get over the calm water and its brown reflection. Reminds me of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s chocolate river!

Chocolate River
Chocolate river ready for…?

If you are not yet feeling springy or if you just fell into Fall in your part of the world, you can spring into action, spring into Fall or use some other spring idiom to get your creativity flowing!

Meanwhile I will leave you with two more inspirational quotes:

“Spring work is going on with joyful enthusiasm.”
— John Muir

The promise of spring's arrival

I can’t wait to see the virtual “spring in your step” as you share something springy for Sunday Stills!

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Sunday Stills: Show Us Something #Green

Island Gecko

Tis the season for showing us something green, if you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Even if you don’t, the color green is all around us. If you want to get creative, you can use and interpret green idioms as in “green with envy,” “going green” (environmental), “sure as God made little green apples,” “giving something/someone the green light,” or “green thumb.” You get the idea!

Since I am all about my favorite color green, my images for this week’s Sunday Stills theme focus on things that are green.

As you read this week, you may have guessed that I am visiting on the Big Island of Hawaii. We are on the Hilo side, enjoying some R & R and working on some construction details of our little house. Hubby bought the house years ago but only recently has had the time to do the work needed to make it habitable. Meanwhile we are enjoying the amenities of the B&B on Hilo Bay.

These photos were taken last year in January 2018, when we were there last.

This green gecko is very small, only about two inches long, but he let me get a nice close-up with my phone! They are all over the place and eat pesky bugs.

Island Gecko

Akaka Falls State Park is found 11 miles north of Hilo and boasts the 442-foot tall Akaka Falls. A short hike gets you surrounded by green!

Akaka Falls near Hilo

Within a short walking distance from our B&B, is a path that takes you out onto the bay as you walk gingerly through the stilt root palms.

Palm trees on Hilo Bay
Stilt Root Palms

Closer to home (in my backyard) is my favorite hummer family. The little female contemplates her next sip perched on this new green feeder, surrounded by my California Redwoods.

Hummingbird on Feeder

Both images, the palms and hummer are submitted for Becky B’s Spiky March Squares this week and the Stilt Palms are for Becca’s Sunday Trees. I adore photo challenges!

Be patient with me for comment and pingback approvals when you submit for the Sunday Stills photo challenge this week, as I expect to be out and about enjoying the warm temps and green surroundings. No daylight saving time here, so it gets dark around 6:30pm. I still take the time to share your posts to Facebook and Twitter when possible.

I am looking forward to your interpretations of green! Mahalo for playing along!

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Sunday Stills: #Bucket-List Images

Windsurfer

What is a bucket-list image you ask?

We all know a “bucket list” is the list of things you want to do, see, experience before you die.

A bucket-list image is that person, place or thing you want to photograph before you kick that bucket!

It has always been my dream to take my photography to the next level. Nothing wrong with my Samsung Galaxy cell phones, but a “real” camera does so much more!

For example, a phone or point-and-shoot digital cannot take a satisfactory image of the full moon or an action sports shot.

When it is too windy for me to sail, I happily shoot other windsurfers in the high winds. This zoomed-in shot below taken with my Lumix FZ300 has a “travel lens” that shoots from 25-600 feet with amazing clarity! This was taken in auto mode…now that I have learned more about my camera from taking a class, I can play with aperture and other setting to perhaps get a better shot.

I am quite happy with this shot. Not only can you see his expression, but the water droplets are relatively sharp. Not the best image in terms of composition, but I’m happy with it!

Windsurfer

I love photos of the full moon. In my class, the pro photographer showed me the settings to get this shot of the almost full-moon in October. (manual mode, F2.8 1000 ISO 100).

Moon shot

Here is what I was getting before.

Summer full moon lights the night sky

The phone can’t do it all, nor should we expect it to. I have been lucky and diligent to get some fab photos with the phone though.

I follow so many talented blogger/photographers who take incredible images, many of which I simply drool over wanting to have one of my own in my “portfolio.”

Some of the bucket-list images I’m hoping for include:

  • Bald Eagle
  • Olympic athletes
  • Extreme macros of flowers, plants, bugs.
  • Canadian Snow geese in flight
  • More national parks and monuments
  • ??

To help inspire you, here are some of the images that have satisfied my bucket list so far.

Dragonfly nymph sheds into adulthood
Molting Dragonfly

Yosemite Valley with Bridalveil Falls
Yosemite Valley

Share your new and old bucket-list images and tell us about them!

Yes, there will be a part-two to this bucket-list image challenge early next year, so you can save some for that post or go create more.

I have added the December themes to my page. Please visit as I have made some small changes.

I am adding this post to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Splash!

You can link up here and/or link to this post! Please title your post differently from mine and use #SundayStills for sharing!

Camera graphic

 

Squares in September: Pink #Plumeria

pink plumeria

I am excited to contribute to Becky’s photo challenge Squares in September, In the Pink!

While in San Diego for my 40th high school reunion last week, we stayed at my daughter’s house. All around her neighborhood are yards and gardens lush with plumeria, my other favorite flower!

I love how this cluster peeked at me from its leaves! I was “tickled pink” to discover these, and then take multiple photos!

Plumeria are native to Hawaii, but each time I have visited there was during January, a month they do not bloom! 

My daughter has been busy with her garden and I hope to have convinced her to plant a couple plumeria!

What is your favorite flower?

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Twisted Twitter

Yellow birds perch on twisted wire

Curved and straight lines appear in nature and in items made by humans. In the WordPress weekly photo challenge, those curved or Twisted lines are the theme for this week.

Yellow birds perch on twisted wire

In Hawaii last January, we encountered so many colorful birds! These two Saffron Finches were happily enjoying the sunshine. The one on the right really contorted to get those feathers preened just so!

Other twists are going on in the photo, too. Can you see them?

Drop by my Sunday Stills Photo Challenge page any time to add your photos and links to the fun! The June calendar is up, so start planning today!

Enjoy the start to your Memorial Day holiday weekend to those who celebrate.

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The Nature of #Liquid

Fish appear to be floating in air

The weekly photo challenge offers a seemingly common theme Liquid. What we as photographers do with it remains to be seen.

My favorite leisure spaces are all about water, but today I wanted to give you a new way of looking at this most important element of life.

While on a blogging break I posted this photo on Instagram of a tiny droplet of water hanging from a rosebush.

House in a droplet

What do you see inside the droplet?

In this next image, taken from an open window in the Ponds Hilo restaurant (famous for their koi ponds), I saw the koi swimming just below us. I’m sure they were waiting for random food crumbs to fall, as they slowly circled around.

Fish appear to be floating in air

Illuminated from above and below, they appear to be floating in an ethereal liquid rather than ordinary pond water. Hard to tell where the air ends and the water begins.

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My New Favorite Place

Chair at Hilo Bay

Chair at Hilo Bay

Surprise! No, your eyes do not deceive you, and yes, I am publishing a post a few weeks early!

It is spring break for me and while I am still busy creating lectures and grading papers for this new class, I actually have some down time.

Plus, I couldn’t resist posting for this week’s photo challenge Favorite Place.

For those who know me, I have filled my blog pages with images of Yosemite (my all time favorite place)…

Green helmeted cyclist (my hubby) admires stunning view of Yosemite Falls Spring 2016
Green helmeted cyclist (my hubby) admires stunning view of Yosemite Falls Spring 2016

…or the Sacramento Delta.

Sunset Sailing Session

Although I have several favorite places, my heart now lies in Hilo, Hawaii.

Since that magical trip in January, the warm, tropical climate, laid back atmosphere, and shockingly green vistas have been calling me back. The above featured image shows the serene park setting overlooking Hilo Bay, while the image below captures the lush green plant life near the black sands.

Black sand and lush palms

 

For more Big Island photography, visit Graham’s Island. Graham posts beautiful photos of life on the Big Island!

Sunday Stills Revisited…Preliminary Plans for My New Feature

Apparently, I must miss blogging because I tend to dream about it. Last night I suddenly got inspired by the now defunct feature, Sunday Stills, a photo challenge hosted by Ed for several years. Notice there are no links because he hung up his blog and deleted his site.

My addled and sleepy brain managed to churn out an idea that I am playing around with, to bring back the Sunday Stills photo challenge with the help of a couple of photobloggers! If you are intrigued by this notion, shoot me an e-mail through my contact page. More about this in early April, with the plan to launch the feature in May.

For now, think about your favorite place and I look forward to reconnecting with all of you soon! I miss you all and I appreciate you stopping in to say hello!

Mahalo!Tiki signature

False Alarms and the Silence of Leisure Spaces

The silence of nature is very real...

The silence of nature is very real...

In early January, my husband and I spent a glorious week in Hilo, on the Big Island of Hawaii.

The Silence of Leisure Spaces

We spent several days exploring the nearby beaches and waterfalls just enjoying the sounds of nature.

Hilo Surfers

We sat and ate our lunch in silence and simply enjoyed the show the surfers and boogie-boarders put on.

To sit in silence at the shore, watch the waves and hear the surf, is to appreciate the very breath and heartbeat of the earth. – Doe Zantamata

A look at a spot near Rainbow Falls. We did a lot of walking to various locations, taking in the “noises” of leisure.

leisure is a form of silence contemplated in the form of a waterfall

“Leisure is a form of silence, not noiselessness. It is the silence of contemplation such as occurs when we let our minds rest on a rosebud, a child at play, a divine mystery, or a waterfall.” – Fulton J Sheen

Our first night we were greeted by the sublime and not-so-silent sounds of Coqui tree frogs whistling through the night. Here is a short YouTube clip of their sound. The Coqui frogs are an invasive species on the Big Island and many folks are irritated at their nocturnal noise. Strangely, we could sleep to their sweet serenade.


Though we had a TV in our room, we chose to play Hawaiian music on our Spotify app. Imagine no news, politics or ridiculousness for 6 days!

A Not-So-Silent Alarm

Many readers have asked me if we were in Hawaii when the false missile alarm sounded. Yes, we were. We were heading to breakfast in Hilo before we drove to Kona to catch our flight back to San Diego.

The alarm burst through on millions of mobile phones ending in deadly silence as shocked people read “BALLISTIC MISSILE THREAT INBOUND TO HAWAII. SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER. THIS IS NOT A DRILL.”

Umm, we’re on an island, how do we take shelter?

I had left my purse and phone in the car to run back to our room at the B&B and didn’t hear the first alarm. My hubby looked at me oddly and said “Something’s happening. I’m afraid to tell you…it’s on your phone.” I looked at the alert, feeling strangely detached and simply said, “it’s bullsh*t!” I immediately googled “missile threat Hawaii” and nothing came up, convincing me that this was fake.

All I could think about was, we’re flying off this island in 6 hours, and what’s for breakfast? We went to one restaurant which abruptly closed due to the missile. That was aggravating. You might as well go into eternity on a full stomach.

Not to be deterred, we drove further down the street to Ken’s House of Pancakes for their specialty macadamia nut pancakes. My hubby asked the waitress for the “Missile Special” and she howled with laughter! Looking around the place, most of the diners didn’t seem upset or worried that their lives were about to end.

As we waited for our orders, the silence was broken again as the klaxon alarm blared once more on everyone’s phones. This time telling us it was a false alarm. Almost in unison, diners looked at their phones, put them down and continued eating.

Talk about “no worries” mentality!

My bucket list item of visiting the Big Island for the first time with my husband was not going to end with us kicking the actual bucket that day. We enjoyed our breakfast and drove over to the Kona side and went on with the rest of our day.

Do you enjoy the silence that nature or leisure can offer to you?

Silence is the theme for the WordPress Weekly photo challenge.

Mahalo for reading!

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