November 16, 2015

Star Fail

A few weeks ago, I went camping with my parents out in Joshua Tree. We hadn't been in a few months, and I desperately needed to take a quick break from filling out school applications and the like. Knowing that we'd be out there overnight, I took my camera and packed up my tripod for the trip.

Looking back on these photos now, I have a lot to learn about night time photography! Some of them came out unfocused and the stars look blurry because I held the shutter down too long to get crisp stars, but not long enough to get the cool streaked effect.

The boulders also came up a little red because we had a fire going, though it was mostly completely dark when I took these.

This one was taken just as the moon was starting to rise above the rocks we had camped out against!

The next morning, my dad went for a bike ride with his friends while my mom and I cleaned up camp. Once they returned, they did a quick round of rock climbing that they had set up the day before.

Once they were all set, my dad and I set off on our tandem bike to ride to the entrance of the park. My mom took the car and snapped photos of us along the way (I'm pretty sure you can see the look of complete exhaustion on my face -- those slow inclines are killer!).

It was a fun little trip out, and I was happy to be back in one of my favorite places.

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November 12, 2015

Foliage in Bishop, CA

Having moved from New York back to Los Angeles last year, one thing I immediately missed was autumn. Yes, it's as basic as you can get. I love the way the trees changed colors in New York, a golden blanket sweeping across the city like a crisp hug. You get to bundle up, wear darker colors, and run around without sweating after five steps.

I miss it so!

This year, determined to get a glimpse of some fall foliage local to California, my parents and I set off for Bishop, nestled on the Eastern Sierras.

The views were breathtaking.

I had never seen golden forests like this before. It made my experiences in New York pale in comparison. It felt a little bit like Lord of the Rings, what I imagined Lothlorien would look like. I imagine it didn't get the name the golden woods for nothing!

We saw photographers streaming in with their intense DSLRs and tripods across their backs. Everyone was in town to snap a few photos. I felt a little intimidated by their intense equipment, but I figure these photos are just for me and my blog.

A little low quality never hurt anyone, right?

My dinky DSLR and I have come along just fine!

After I got a few snaps (and some family photos!), we climbed back into the car and drove up to Lake Sabrina. My parents told me about how they had come a few years ago with my brother and sister, and the water had come up all the way to the dam we were standing on. People were fishing over the edge and now there's such little water you can see the bottom of the lake.

We couldn't believe people were able to drive all the way down to the edge of the lake! The drought here in California is no joke, and I'm always reminded to be mindful of my water usage when I see in person how rapidly the water has disappeared.

A little disappointed, we head back down for a spot of lunch before exploring the other side of the mountain.

This strawberry eclair was from Erick Schat's Bakker├┐ in Bishop. We love stopping by whenever we're in the area. Along with dessert, we got an assortment of filled croissants (which I almost died for), a jalapeno cheese bread, and a focaccia topped with mushrooms and cheese.

Heaven! I believe it's also known as bread heaven.

After we lunch, we swung by the other side of the mountain for more glorious golden sights.

We even saw a waterfall! There were at least five photographers perched up on a rocky mound with their tripods, probably zoomed way in. This was the best my zoom could handle, so..know that I tried, at least.

A little ways in from here, we got out of the car and explored a proper forest of changing colors.

My favorite thing about these trees is how the leaves would patter against each other as the wind blew around them. They quivered and looked like fat medallions hanging from the branches.

Once we were out, we headed back towards the entrance to go home. With such a long drive ahead of us and dinner on the horizon, I blasted Adele's "Hello" as we rejoined civilization.

But not before stopping for another photo and taking in the sights one last time. The change of colors happens quickly, so by the next week everything was already falling off of the branches and turning brown.

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November 9, 2015

Pumpkin patches and Oregon beaches

It has been quite some time, hasn't it! To be fair, I haven't done much of anything since I last blogged. My days have been filled with work and writing. I'm applying to grad school for next fall and it's possibly one of the most difficult things I've ever had to do..which may speak more to my privilege than it does to anything else.

But it's been hard and I haven't wanted to do anything these days. However! At the beginning of October, I did manage to fly to Oregon for a couple of days to visit my sister and get cracking on my personal statement with a eagle-eye proofreader on hand.

While we were, for the most part, productive, we did sneak in a day where we just had some fun. My sister took me a pumpkin patch (complete with a corn maze!) on the way to the coast.

I was properly excited, because I had never been to a pumpkin patch like this. Or a corn maze. I saw people do it every year and so I was stoked to be able to experience it for myself at last.

Until I quickly realized, that I am not a fan of corn mazes.

There were huge bugs everywhere, the ground was made up of wet hay, and it was so humid in there.

While the corn maze was kind of a bust, the pumpkin path was somehow even more so. Most of the pumpkins looked old, a couple of them having burst under the baking sun.  It dawned on me that I was not meant for rural life. I am sticking to my city corn mazes and city folk pumpkin patches from now on, where everything is already selected and cleaned off for me.

Does that make me a little bit snooty? Maybe.

If I'm honest, I'm okay with being a little bit city.

Afterwards, my sister and I were off for the coast! The leaves in Oregon hadn't started to fully change colors yet, so we were met with spotty patches of red and gold among forests of green.

When we made it to the beach, it was beautiful. We caught it right at sunset, the waves soft and slow. It's a part of the coast we hadn't been to yet, sand stretching for as far as the eye can see. We ran into interesting wood assembled next to the water, which we had to have a run around.

Once again, we found weird jellies scattered across the sand. They looked different from last time, but still was a peculiar sight. We don't really get things like this in Southern California!

These birds would follow the edge of the waves, scampering across the beach as they pecked at the ground.

At last, it was time to go. We didn't want to get caught on the windy roads too late, and we had an engagement with Netflix we were eager to get back to (I binge watched How to Get Away with Murder that weekend -- I'm not proud, but that show killed me! I haven't caught up on the new season yet, but I'm considering waiting so I can do another marathon when it's all out).

I snapped a few photos on our way out and we were headed back to the warmth of my sister's apartment.

As always, I can't wait to go back.

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