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Photography has changed the way I see the world around me.

Through it I discover new things and rediscover old ones. Like my island, New Caledonia.

This blog is just me sharing my world through my photography.

Hope you enjoy.

Posts tagged garden
HITACHI SEASIDE PARK AND ODAIBA

Japan

day nine

Our second last full day in Japan. Today we head to Hitachinaka, just north of Tokyo, to visit the Hitachi Seaside Park. Then we head over to Odaiba island for the evening.

There’s about an hour train trip and a half hour bus ride from Tokyo to get to the Hitachi Seaside Park. This place is a lot bigger than I had ever imagined. We spent about two and a half hours and only saw a fraction of what there is to see and do. Most of our time was spent in the beautiful nemophila (baby blue-eyes) and poppy fields on Miharashi Hill. With different flowers blossoming every season, you can be amazed all year round. The park has so much more to offer though. Hitachi Seaside Park is also a huge amusement park for families with cafes, restaurants, boutiques, stores and that’s not all. BMX course, golf games, trampoline, water games, ferris wheel, a 400 metre obstacle course in a tube and lots more. You can even hire push-bikes to wander around this enormous 350 hectare park. We came for the baby blue-eyes fields and other flowers but if you decide to visit, give yourself a whole day. You won’t regret it. There’s so much to do and see here.

We headed back to the hotel a little early to relax a bit and freshen up before going to Odaiba. To get there, we took the Yurikamome, a computer operated train that runs on rubber wheels. There are no drivers nor guards onboard. Pretty cool, I must say. Another reason we took it is because it crosses the Shuto Expressway No.11 Daiba Route. Publicly named Rainbow Bridge because of it’s beautiful lights at night. We, unfortunately, didn’t get to see the multi-coloured lights. We got off at the iconic Statue Of Liberty replica for some blue hour photography. Lady Liberty is only 11.5 metres in height but looks much taller because of it’s strategic placement, overlooking Tokyo Bay and Rainbow Bridge. Beautiful views from there.

Once blue hour was over, we made our way to the Oodeo-Onsen Monogatari. This place is a complete onsen theme park. It’s literally a replica of a town from the Edo era. This place is open from 11 am to 9 am the next day. And you need all that time to experience the place. There’a so much to do and see here. There’s a food court with street foods, there are restaurants, shops, bars, saunas ,spas, onsens, relaxation rooms and tatamis, massages, the list goes on and on. Checkout my last post where I talk a little more about this amazing place. As I mentioned on the post, a must visit but give yourself a full day to appreciate and immerse yourself in the experience. Two days if you’d like to visit Odaiba.

That’s it for day nine my friends. Thank you for watching and hope to see you for the last video of Japan. Oyasuminasai.

A PATH IN PERFECTION

Kanazawa, Japan

Originally the outer garden of the Kanazawa Castle, Kenroku-en is one of three great gardens in Japan. For it to be so, it must have certain attributes and be beautiful throughout all four seasons. It was the end of Spring when we visited and it was magnificent. With luscious green foliage, ponds, waterways, waterfalls, paths, bridges, teahouses and the list goes and despite all that, the garden is harmonious and peaceful. You can easily find solitude and tranquility as you walk through it, even though the garden is spacious and there are many visitors. You may have seen another photo from a previous post of the largest pond of the garden. It’s one of my favourite photos of our Japan trip.

As you can see in this photo, Géraldine is alone. I asked her to walk up the path and had plenty of time to frame and take the shot. I didn’t have to wait for anyone to get out of my frame nor was anyone waiting behind me for me to finish. Yet there were a lot of people visiting. Having Géraldine there also helps give dimension to the scene without altering the mood. I really like this image.

41 mm, 1/400th second @ ƒ/2.8, ISO 100

TAUPO - NEW ZEALAND

TAUPO

We spend the majority of today, day 9, in Taupo visiting a couple of boutiques, falls and a extreme experience for one of us. We end the day thought, in Tongariro National Park.

As we were taking photos at the end of day 8, I saw a lookout from the bridge just in front of the Aratiatia Dam and a sign indicating a trail that may lead to it.

So this morning I though I’d checking that out. And I’m glad I did. It’s a beautiful, easy going walk that lead to two lookouts. Great views of Waikato River and the valley towards the Aratiatia Power Station, and beyond. Unfortunately the light was flat due the thin layer of clouds. The sun had a hard time piercing through. It did come out eventually but we were already on our way by then.

Our fist visit for the morning was Lava Glass. A glassblowing gallery and cafe. I wish I had filmed the inside of the boutique to show you the stunning glassware on display. When you see all the beautiful, vivid colours and designs, and the owner of the place tells you there’s nothing painted, it’s all coloured glass... that’s very impressive, even amazing. For a small fee you have access to the workshop where they do all the glassblowing and to the glass garden where you can wander around hundreds of glass sculptures. It’s not a long visit so if you have a little time to spare, stop by the Lava Lass for a visit. You won’t regret it. 

Our next stop was the Huka Honey Hive. I’ve never seen so many products with or made from honey. You’ll have to visit to check out their website for their line of products. I was equally surprised at the array of honey they had at the tasting stand. A must, is all I can’t say. An interesting place just to walk around. You’ll discover the materials used in the old days to extract honey and see the little bees at work. Fifteen minutes is all you need but I’m sure you’ll stay longer.

I have to apologies for not having any photos of the Lava Glass Gallery nor of the Huka Honey Hive. I filmed those two place which you can check out the video here or the links above. Sorry.

Huka Falls was our main objective today even though we were a little sidetracked. Now the falls are impressive in themselves but the surroundings are just gorgeous. If you get the chance to visit, don’t just stop at the bridge nor the lookouts, wander upstream a little and duck down little tracks to see the peaceful shores of the Waikato River just before it turns into a torrent of water. 

Paloma, my friend’s daughter, wanted to have an extreme experience. So Taupo Bungy was our next stop. She didn’t know which to choose from the Cliff Hanger or the Bungy. In the end she wasn’t too enthusiastic with her choice, the Cliff Hanger, even though we could hear her emotions as she swung (giggle). This part of the Waikato River is just as beautiful as upstream. The cliffs, the river, the vivid colours... just stunning. Even if extreme experiences isn’t your thing, just the beauty of the area is worth a quick stop.

NZ-DAY 09-TAUPO

Once the adrenaline settled (giggle), we headed into town for lunch. Then the boys and girls split up for some last minute shopping. Alain and I looked around for hiking shoes as his weren’t adapted for the hike we’re going to do tomorrow. We had pretty much given up when we decided to browse the Hunting & Fishing New Zealand store and found a pair there. Nice, helpful and, most important, knowledgeable staff. He took their advice and didn’t regret it. Also had a great conversation with another staff member about a variety of things. A very nice experience in all. 

NZ-DAY 09-TAUPO

So now that we had the necessary equipment  it was time to head farther south to Tongariro National Park. We stopped at a lookout just south of Taupo Lake that had a view north. A sunrise or sunset shot here would be nice. Kept going till we saw the gorgeous Mount Ruapehu. Just stunning! That’s when Alain told me about a chateau at the base of the mountain. Chateau Tongariro, we had to check it out. A beautiful, 200 year old building. A scene I had never seen before, mesmerising. We were going to stay just up the road then check out the chateau but the campsite was full. We ended up finding a spot at the Discovery Lodge Tongariro. Actually, there wasn’t a spot for our camper-van but the they were very accommodating. And very helpful with details about the hike we were going on tomorrow.

And talking about tomorrow, early morning means an early night. So that’s it for day 9 my friends. Hope to see for the next video where we seem to hike Mars. Goodnight.

p.s. I always have to thank Alain for the use of some of his material. Without it, some of these videos wouldn’t make sense.

NEW ZEALAND: NORTH ISLAND

TAUPO

day 09

We ended day 8 in Taupo and stay in Taupo today but end the day in the Tongariro National Park.

An early morning start, as I wanted to checkout a track I saw last evening. It lead me to a couple of lookouts that I could see from the Aratiatia Dam bridge, which is what I was hoping for. And what gorgeous views, from beyond the dam, down the valley past the Aratiatia Power Station. Magnificent! Pity I didn’t get nice light for my photos.

Our first unplanned visit of the day was at the Lava Glass gallery and cafe. For a small fee you can visit the workshop and watch the glassblowers do their magic and visit their private glass garden. Well worth the fee. Just stopping by for a coffee and browsing the gallery is worthwhile.

A second unplanned stop was the Huka Honey Hive. If for nothing else but the honey tasting, this place is worth checking out. There is so much more though. From well-being and beauty products to lollies and ice-cream. And much more. You’ll end up leaving with something, for sure.

Our first planned visit, Huka Falls. Impressive! Not just visually but the noise and velocity of the volume of water travelling beneath you... you can feel it’s power vibrating through your body. Quite an experience. But don’t stop at the bridge and the lookouts. Wander upstream a little and the atmosphere is quite the opposite. Calm, tranquil, peaceful. Beautiful. Worth the stroll.

Next stop was Taupo Bungy, for Paloma wanted an extreme experience. She went with the Cliff Hanger instead of the Bungy but later regretted her choice just a little. The Cliff Hanger wasn’t as extreme as she had thought, even though her cries say otherwise haha she did enjoy it.

After all that adrenaline, it was time for lunch and last minute shopping in town. Then it was direction Tongariro National Park, where we were staying the night. Oh what a scenic drive. Stunning views of Mount Ruapehu and just magnificent as the backdrop to the Chateau Tongariro.

We stayed the night at the Discovery Lodge Tongariro. We’re staying in the area because tomorrow we’ve planned an all day hike. So I hope to see you for day 10 where we walk 19.4 kms. Just to be precise. Goodnight.

p.s. once again a big thanks to Alain for his contribution to these videos.

CHINESE GARDEN OF FRIENDSHIP

My friend’s eight year old daughter is captivated by everything asian. Especially the Chinese and Japanese people, cultures and languages. She was thrilled when she saw they were staying in Chinatown (Sydney, Australia) for their holiday. A must to visit, of course, is the beautiful Chinese Garden Of Friendship in Darling Harbour. We got there just after midday and, I think, because it was lunch time, there weren’t many people in the garden. And talking about lunch, they have a restaurant in there as well. You quickly forget your in a big city and I felt relaxed… zen?! the first few minutes I was there. I think we spent almost two hours wandering around and the kids had a lot of fun searching for the hidden Chinese Zodiac animals. I highly recommend visiting the Chinese Garden Of Friendship if you’re ever in Sydney.

PURPLE HEARTS

I visited my best mate's parents (my second family) up in the Blue Mountains (New South Wales, Austalia) over the holidays. I was hoping to get some sunset and sunrise shots but the weather was horrible. Constant drizzle and fog. I couldn't see farther than hundred metres in front of me. But, there was beauty to be found in their backyard. With a long stem and a small bud, this early bloomer stood out amongst the others. I framed it with the pink flowers in the background, not only, to bring more colours into the photo but to contrast with the colours of the bud. To make it stand out a little more. I think it worked, what do you think? And does anyone know the name of this little beauty?

THE VELLA BOUQUET

It was the end of the day and sunlight was coming through the forest trees to illuminate parts of my friends' shaded garden. I just couldn't resist trying to capture some of these beautiful backlit flowers. This is the best of the different compositions I had taken. I was so concentrated on getting the flowers in the backgroung in the shot that I didn't realise the bright light, in the top right corner, would be so distracting. And the lens flare as well. But I still like this photo quite a lot. Which is why I'm sharing it with you.