Highlights of 2015

2015 was a good year, photography and otherwise. But since this is a photo blog, I’m just going to recap on the 12 photographic highlights of the year, by month.

Overall, it was a year of exploration, of the new place we now call home, Sydney, and its surrounds. It was a year of learning ever more closely of working with my camera, of understanding and appreciating light and clouds in their different forms and colors. I have chased more sunrises this year than I have in all my other years combined. I have realized how much of an ocean girl I am at heart, for nothing makes me smile more than the sight of the sea and all its varied moods – wild, frothy, raging or glassy, smooth, gently reflecting the color of the sky overhead.

January: We kicked off the year in Singapore, in my parents’ house that they rebuilt. Then moved to Sydney, and spent one weekend in Hunter Valley, and another in Melbourne watching the Australian Open. It was an action-packed month to say the least

Februrary: Jeff flew us up in a seaplane to Palm Beach as a surprise. We spent the afternoon kayaking and then hiked up to the Barrenjoey Lighthouse before flying back to Rose Bay

watson bay

March: Caught a beautiful sunset by the Sydney Harbor Bridge at Milsons Point. Haha, one of the most popular locations for shooting the bridge, but I had to see – and capture – it for myself
Mar 2015 Milsons Point Sunset-46

April: Our first visit to the Blue Mountains. Well actually, to Mount Wilson
Blue Mountains Mt Wilson (1 of 1)

May: We brought both our parents to Maui Hawaii, for a week

June: Jeff’s family came back to Sydney with us from Hawaii, and Joe and I went down to Bondi early one stormy morning to catch the incredible sunrise
June 2015 Bondi to Covelly Sunrise (30 of 67)-1

July: We spent a weekend in Forster, where we went whale watching

August: Enjoyed a cool winter dawn up by Curl Curl Beach, watching fishermen and surfers. We also did go to Tasmania and Wellington to taste wines, but tasting took precedence over photography. Hehe.

September: My high school friend V came to visit, and the two of us and TPR went up to Blue Mountains for a weekend. We also returned Stateside for a visit, but catching up with friends and family and battling jet lag took precedence over photography
River Walk Blue Mountains (1 of 1)-2

October: Big month for us, with loads of activities. Well first my family came to town, and we went skydiving for my grandpa’s 90th birthday. And then we went to Fiji with Wendy and Chris

November: Sunrise paddle before work to Sydney Harbor Bridge where we saw two cruise ships come into the harbor

December: After a wonderful Christmas in Melbourne, we explored the coast along Southern New South Wales, then rang in the new year with some friends first kayaking to watch the 9pm fireworks, then mooring alongside a friend’s sailboat to catch the midnight one


Looking forward to another adventurous 2016!

More sunsets in Maui

When looking forward to our Maui trip, one of the activities I was most excited about was catching sunsets. Sunrises too, for that matter, but because we’d mostly scheduled water activities in the early morning when the wind and waves were the calmest, we didn’t get many chances to sit and bask in the golden glow.

We were lucky: we had the most delightful sunsets to savor. Even on the cloudier days, the sun still broke through the clouds to cast ethereal shafts of light onto the water below.










West Maui and Molokai Helicopter Ride

On our own, we never even contemplated riding a helicopter. Our eyes were firmly to what lay beneath the surface of the waters surrounding Maui. But when we picked my parents up from the airport, they couldn’t stop raving about the incredible views they’d just seen on their helicopter ride over at Oahu (their copter had no doors, how awesome is that!).

So we booked one for the four of us, a 60 minute ride to explore the hidden valleys of West Maui and Molokai. If heli rides are a little cheaper, I’m a convert. Especially when it comes to Hawaii, where the most remote valleys are still inaccessible by road. The views of the lush green rainforests and the tall silvery ribbons of waterfalls were stupendous.







Sunrise atop the Haleakala Crater, Maui

To go or not to go, that was the question. If we wanted to catch the sunrise atop the Haleakala Crater, that meant a wake up call at the ungodly hour of 2am. It was painful to contemplate. But we figured, if everyone else could do it, so could we.

So we joined the line of cars and crawled up to the summit. We arrive around 430am, with just enough cover of darkness for me to shoot off a quick shot of the milky way. I don’t think I’ve seen stars so clearly before, especially when I looked at my camera playback. They just leapt right out!


It was a sizable crowd that patiently lined the ridge, shivering in the chilly dawn air, some wrapped in blankets snitched from the hotel. It was one of the most beautiful sunrises I’ve seen: we were above the clouds, as as the sun rays slowly rose above the horizon, they lighted the thick clouds with brilliant hues of orange, pink and purple.





Diving in Maui, Hawaii

After a year on land, we finally made it back underwater, this time in Maui, Hawaii. Over 3 days, we dove 7 dives, all in the Southern part of Maui: St Anthony Wreck, Reef End at Molokini, Molokini Back Wall, Grand Wailea, and Makena Beach Landing. Fun dives, with many turtles (especially the night dive at Makena Beach Landing, where we literally bumped into 17 turtles in the caves!), some sharks, eels and octopuses.

My underwater photography is still very much a work in progress. It was at times a frustrating struggle with the flash. When it got too much, I just turned the camera off so I could properly focus on the moment – diving the incredible underwater topography with all the amazing creatures to behold.

Dove the St Anthony Wreck site. Not a big area, but it was a good check out dive, with a couple of turtles just chilling on the wreck itself.



We dove Reef End at the front side of Molokini Crater twice. Both times, I peered under this ledge and was treated to the sight of a half dozen juvenile white tips milling about








Crab feasting on uni




Gloomy nudibranch, endemic to Hawaii



Hawaii’s state fish, the humuhumunukunukuāpuaʻaDSC07003-455-1