Baby | Travel Nursery

TravelNursery3

Since it is always fun to take a peek into other people’s homes, I thought it was time to share what little man’s nursery looks like these days. We did not find out the gender prior to the birth, so we had to stick to a neutral color palette and plus, it gave me a reason to put white in the nursery despite everyone’s recommendations. Sometimes, ya just have to do what the heart wants to do! I love walking in there and seeing his smiling face lit up by the morning sunlight. It warms my heart even on the chillest of mornings!TravelNursery1TravelNursery7

TravelNursery4 TravelNursery5TravelNursery2

TravelNursery8 TravelNursery6 If anyone wants to know where anything is from please put it in the comments and I will do me best to answer ūüôā

 

 

Advertisements

Film | France

Since, it doesn’t look like I will ever get around to doing a full trip re-cap, here are a few more film photographs to share.¬†

Detailed lamp-post in Monaco at¬†Prince Rainier’s Palace

**********

One of the many flower markets in Aix-En-Provence

**********

A quick cappuccino on a rainy day in Paris

**********

The beautiful gold Dome des Invalides after an afternoon rain on our walk from the Metro stop.

**********

Yummy bakery treats waiting to be eaten

**********

The charming Aux Terres Rouges bed and breakfast we stayed at while in Aix-en-Provence

**********

A flower shop on Rue Cler in Paris

**********

Just two guys stopping for some friendly chatter in Paris

**********

Everything is cuter in Paris including the Metro signs

**********

The market square in Nice

**********

Spring time peonies waiting to be purchased in the Aix-En-Provence flower market

Nice View

I finally picked up my proofs from the lab yesterday and was reminded of these two pictures with a view.

When roaming the streets of Nice, France, my sister and I turned a corner and wa-bam! There staring at us is a massive Mr. Muscular Statue Man. ¬†How about that for a welcome! Well, I couldn’t help but to snap a picture of the huge statue.¬†¬†After doing a little research, it turns out this statue (Apollo) was banned for 22 years because it was thought to be too well-endowed and just made its return to the plaza last June. Standing at 21 feet tall, this guy is hard to miss!¬†

As for this picture, we were walking along the¬†promenade and I found this single umbrella which I wanted to capture so I began adjusting my camera settings. The film camera takes a bit longer because everything has to be manually adjusted. Finally, my aperature is selected, shutter speed set, and focus set at¬†infinity. I hold my camera up and…..oh no! ¬†Two women on a stroll decide to stop right in my picture! ¬†I am working with a fixed lens length (85mm) and standing on a ledge with no ability to move forwards or backwards. So, we wait. My sister so patiently waited with me for about 5 minutes for these two women to move. After no luck, I gave these women a silent count down. ¬†As luck would have it, before I got to 10, the women had decided to continue their stroll which left me just enough time to snap this picture to which I am thankful we waited for.

I love both of these images and as they remind me of all beautiful views France has to offer. So, time for a serious question of the day, which view do you prefer?

Sleepy Beach Town | Bodega Bay

Having never been to Bodega Bay, I was excited to see this coastal town. Just about a hour north of San Francisco lies a very sleepy community filled with farms, fishing, and not much else. While the weekend was booked with wedding activities, we did manage to fit in a walk to the ocean, which was made all the more pleasant by the beautiful weather and empty beach.

xoxo

Paris on Film

Our stay in Paris was filled with bakeries, cappuccinos, strolling, and window shopping at all the finest stores. We spent each morning walking the streets looking for a place to enjoy a croissant before starting the day. Everything in France is created with thought, skill, and pride which makes the products, food, and architecture have that little extra something special that we are lacking here in America.

As you can see, there is no shortage of pastry selections at the bakery and the best (or worst) part is that everything is terrific just like you always hear so it makes deciding on a treat quite difficult for someone like me who loves treats and struggles making decisions. (Side note: We went to a gelato stand that had 99 flavors, so you can imagine my head exploding as it took me 7 minutes to pick a gelato flavor).

Cappuccinos are one of my Dad’s favorite morning drinks, so he was always up for a little coffee break. I love this hat and tweed coat and thought he fit the¬†Parisian¬†part quite well.

We have countless pictures as there is never a shortage of beautiful things to photograph. The colorful doors, old windows, aged shutters, and cute flower boxes line every street, but yet the view just never gets old.

xoxo

All photos taken with Fuji Pro 400h; Nikon FM3a; 50mm f/1.8 or 85mm f/1.4

France First Glimpse

All taken with Fuji Pro 400h; Nikon FM3a

I was blessed and lucky enough to spend two weeks in France with my Mom, Dad, and oldest sister and had an amazing trip that we will never forget. I just got the film back today from Richards Photo Lab and have since been reliving¬†all of the yummy treats,¬†architecture, and landscape from our trip. Somehow, this office cube is appearing much more¬†bleak¬†and dull by the minute and I am hoping if I close my eyes real tight and¬†click¬†my heels, the magic Ladur√©e¬†fairy will appear and transport me back! ¬†You can probably imagine the amount of pictures collected over my 12-day trip, and I haven’t yet made it through all of them, here are a few of my favorites on film!

And if those waffles or “gaufres”¬†could please find a way to my bedroom tomorrow morning I will be forever grateful!

Friday | Picture of the Week | Week 42

I L-O-V-E this picture and I am so happy to finally share with you and hope that you fall in love just as much as I have. I took this in Grand Teton National Park and still can’t get over the beautiful colors and serene setting. It makes me want to buckle up my cutest pair of boots, put on a long flowy dress, hop on one of those horses and ride around while yelling “Yeeehaw” and singing “For¬†purple mountain majesties: Above the fruited plain! America! America! God shed His grace on thee”! ¬†

Happy Friday!

Florida Sunshine

Ah, at last we had arrived in the Sunshine State and our first stop {ok technically the second stop — the first stop was at the Destin Outlets obviously} was off to AJ’s to catch the sunset while enjoying some yummy vacation style cocktails while watching the Destin Fishing Rodeo! With a city tag line “World’s Luckiest Fishing Village” you bet those fisherman brought in some good competition catches!

The next day, we decided to catch the ferry to Shell Island near Panama City and soak in the isolated, sandy island and our first touch at the sugary sand!

Look at that water Рlooks refreshing huh? Makes you just want to bury your feet in the sand and tread further into the waves. That is until you see one of theeeeese guys!   

JELLYFISH! The Gulf Coast is covered in jellyfish. Um, yeah you bet we were staying out of that water! 

And instead we will get back to admiring this yummy sand. You ready for a little Wikipedia fact?  Turns out the sand comes from the Appalachian Mountains, and is made of finely ground quartz crystal giving the appearance of sugar. Basically, it is truly remarkable and I wish I could curl my toes up and walk in that sand just about everyday. 

We couldn’t leave Destin without a quick stop to Donut Hole, a local bakery and cafe. While everything looked so delicious we settled on a few omelets, eggs, and left with a couple of donuts for the road!

We had a great trip visiting my sister and it was a great way to extend our summer all the way into October! We can’t wait to go back!

xoxo

Octoberfest | Big Bear

We were fortunate enough to spend the weekend in Big Bear enjoying lots of time with best friends. We sat around the fire drinking wine, telling stories, and playing board games. Gone are the days of heading out to the bars in search of Mr. Right because we all had our Mr. Rights sitting right beside us. Boring as it seems, it was absolutely perfect.

This picture was taken through the wine glass. I placed my focus point on Anthony instead of the actual glass РI love how it looks like he was placed into a snow globe. 

We spent the day at Big Bear’s Octoberfest and got to enjoy endless rounds of the chicken dance, the polka, and beer. These alphorns were pretty darn cool to see, but we couldn’t help but wonder how they transport those things! {we decided they must break apart and fold up somehow–although I still like the explanation that they tie it to the roof rack}

This guy had a legit waxed mustache and us girls couldn’t help but to get a picture with him! Several competitions occurred throughout the day and when Katie came back with the news that she had signed our men up for the saw cutting competition Ryan and Tony immediately begin discussing strategy and sizing up their potential competition.

For a good giggle here a video of two city boys destroying the log in a mere 17 seconds! The winning team, who were featured on American Logger, won with a blazing time of 10 seconds!

Happy October!

Catalina Glimpse

We ¬†are still here just super busy, and can’t seem to spend a single weekend at home, so just a quick post with two pictures from a trip to Catalina to start your Wednesday off….

Oh yeah, and just in case you need something to entertain you while at work, here is¬†Boo the Dog’s¬†Facebook page with over 2 million followers and more pictures of him on People.com.

xoxo

a traveling heart

One of my all time photography idols is Jose Villa. At one point, I was showing Ryan so many of his images that Ryan’s standard reply before he even knew what I was about to show him was: “I know babe, Jose is a great photographer.” To which I would tell him, “But you have to come see this one. It’s so good!” After listening to several interviews and reading articles about him, I came to realize that he does not use filters, Photoshop actions, or even much of any post processing – because he shoots film. Initially, my juvenile experience did not allow me to believe that he could achieve his incredible colors without hours and hours of post processing or using some special Photoshop action. However, I have finally come to terms with the fact that Jose is just a truly great film photographer who relies not on his editing technique, but on his knowledge, schooling, and skill as a photographer. Jose is the reason I was inspired to want to try shooting with film and I have my dad to thank for gifting us his Fm3A film camera to use to go out and shoot away!
{Thanks Dad and I still owe you for it}!

And with that, I am so excited to share these film photographs shot with the Fm3A.

¬† The beautiful Monica was kind enough to let me snap a few pictures of her while prancing around the pool! It takes a while to get used to traveling with me as I am never far from the camera and will do just about anything to “get the picture” – however, I have realized not everyone shares in this excitement {not even the Hubs}, so thank you Monica!

Yep, and I am just as happy to get my picture taken as I am to take one. Rachel Zoe, I am not, but for those inquiring minds, here ya are with a little outfit insight.

I am a nut for symmetry, so you bet I went crazy for this entrance to the La Quinta Resort. I loved it so much and wanted to capture it perfectly centered, so I walked all the way back down the driveway in 110 degree heat just to get this picture and I am so happy I did!   

I think I might have to blow this picture up and frame it on the wall some where in the house – the colors are just how I like it, all white with a touch of pink and vintage brown!!!!

xoxo

Word of the Day: Geothermal Features

Want to know the quickest way to sound smart and like a total Yellowstone local? Use the term geothermal in a sentence when referring to natural occurrences such as Old Faithful, hot springs, or other various unearthly things such as mud pots and other geysers.  Little fact, because we are full of knowledge about these smelly, weird, and slightly creepy features, Yellowstone has over 10,000 thermal features! These pictures are from the Mammoth Hot Springs which are located at the north end of the park. 

The National park service states, “Geyserland, fairyland, wonderland–through the years, all have been used to describe the natural wonder and magic of this unique park that contains more geothermal features than any other place on earth.” Fairyland? Wonderland? Not sure those are accurate descriptions of these guys, as I spent the day with my nose covered and laughing because I couldn’t believe how BAD it smelled. I continued to tell Ryan this is one big fart being released by the Earth. Everywhere you look, Earth farts were occurring – and more than one at time, so you can imagine something as big as the Earth releasing this “excess air” and how bad it would smell. Sulfur mixed with rottenness equals smel-ly!¬†

We weren’t sure what to think of these things. They were cool, but, not that pretty, yet we kept taking pictures of them. They were mysterious and intriguing because it’s as if we were seeing the crust of the Earth. I guess we were just fascinated by them as neither of had every seen anything like it before. This was copied from the National Park Services website regarding the Mammoth Hot Springs:

“Water rises through the limestone, carrying high amounts of dissolved calcium carbonate. At the surface, carbon dioxide is released and calcium carbonate is deposited, forming travertine, the chalky white rock of the terraces. Due to the rapid rate of deposition, these features constantly and quickly change.”

The park makes these cool boardwalks so that the millions of visitors every year do not disrupt the natural occurring events, such as the hot springs. 

So there you have it – the weird, creepy, kind of pretty in a un-earthly way Mammoth Hot Springs geothermal feature!

{I’m sure after my description you are all dying to go now – sorry if these are one of your favorite Yellowstone features they just weren’t for us!}

Dear Mr. Grizzly,

Dear Mr. Grizzly,
YOU ARE SCAREY! Next time we stop to admire this view,

please do not sneak up on us, it is not very nice! I know you own the park and all, and millions of people hope to get a glimpse of you every year, but I would appreciate if you would respect my space and not get so close to me because, again, YOU ARE SCAREY! Turning around and finding that you are walking 15ft from us with no car door to protect me and the bear spray safely INSIDE the car is not a comforting feeling.

I am forever grateful that you choose to continue your morning stroll without needing a snack and disappeared into the woods. So I ask, next time I see you, please make sure we are in the car first {yes, that is a picture Ryan took of me after fearfully run/walking to get inside the car}!!

Love,
Shannon & Ryan

Whoa – Yellowstone!

After an 8-hour drive from Glacier National Park, we had finally arrived and were greeted by this unexpected, inspiring rock archway with an inscription that reads: “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People” – by far the best National Park entrance we’ve seen yet. Here is an excerpt from the travel journal, as accounted by Ryan:

“Neither Shan nor I printed our our plan so we didn’t really remember if we were supposed to stay in Glacier on 9/5 or drive to Yellowstone. Excited to see what was next, we drove to Yellowstone. Throughout the trip Shan and I developed a driving system: (1) I pack the car, organize, and clean all the compartments; (2) Shan & Ry alternate 2-hour driving shifts; (3) While I drive Shan pulls out ALL the camera gear, video camera and snacks and then fills the passenger footwell and all compartments; (4) While Shan drives Ryan puts away everything Shan pulls out. The system works well for us.

The GPS charted our path from Glacier to Yellowstone, a VERY LONG path. The first couple hundred miles were the most beautiful. Shan and I talked about how it was sort of a shame that we had to spend the whole day driving…but in reality it was not a shame at all. I love doing long drives with Shan, we always have fun and we got to spend¬†a lot of time together.”

We were greeted by several of Yellowstone’s most well known residents – the elk, buffalo, wolves, and grizzlies.


Um, seriously these guys are huge and not to be messed with! While they get incredibly close to the car and don’t appear to be afraid, all it would take is one head butt and the car door would be crushed. Despite what people said, this scene just never got old!

At times, these bison, buffalo, tatonka, went on like this for miles and miles Рit was the most peaceful sight. Looking out over the valley and seeing these natural creatures gave a calming sense that this is how the world is supposed to work. 

And then, THIS – this is what NOT to do – get out of car to film the bison with your iPad! Real winner there!

All was good and well, until Mr. Grizzly came along to say hi…..to be continued.

Travel | Glacier National Park

Photobucket

Thanks for following along on our trip and hopefully we will not bore you too much with our “vacation photos” but rather inspiration for what incredible beauty lies beyond the computer screen. I cannot say it enough, but seriously this place was beautiful.¬† I will share a few excerpts from our travel journal authored by Ryan:

“After sleeping well in our new camp spot at Spague Creek, we awoke, grabbed a quick yogurt and started the drive from West Glacier to East Glacier along a road called “Going-to-the-Sun”. A single two-lane road snakes through Glacier NP and the scenery is breathtaking….There are no developments, no houses, only the one road.”¬†

PhotobucketPhotobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Ryan continues, “Rather quickly you come to understand the name ¬†‘Going-to-the-Sun’. The road contains a 180-degree hairpin turn which is carved out of the mountain rock and lifts you above the tall trees and exposes the valley’s vast beauty and tall peaks. There are ‘turn-outs’ every 1/2 mile or so and we used basically ALL of them to take pictures of the views – they were remarkable! We had a tough time getting to proper exposure because the peaks would cast large shadows across the valley, a stark contrast to the bright morning sky – we hope we got some good pictures.”
Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

The road had it all, many waterfalls, very tall peaks and even snow that hung on from the last winter. Our destination was Many Glacier lake which required that you leave the park and go north about 30 minutes to re-enter the national park. The road follows yet another lake and stream, along which we were fortunate enough to spot the first BEARS of the trip!

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

A mother black bear and her two cubs were feeding on huckleberries on the opposite side of quickly moving 20ft wide river. The river gave a false sense of security, as we continued to snap away taking pictures. Ryan was soooo excited after seeing these guys and was continually on the look out for more of them, unlike me who was perfectly content admiring these creatures from a more protected position such as inside the car! I struggle because I love seeing all of the animals, such as bears, and could watch them for hours but I am SUCH a chicken and try to pretend to be brave despite my pounding heart and clenched hands. When all is said and done and I have returned back to the comfort of my bed, I am so happy about the adventures we did and animals we saw, but gosh it still doesn’t help calm my nerves!

Photobucket

The east side of the park was more arid than the west and much more windy. We parked at the Many Glacier lodge and decided to begin the Swiftcurrent Lake Loop hike as the popular Iceburg Lake trail was closed due to bear activity.   Though it was a well traveled path with several other hikers, we were happy to have our bear spray and bear bell.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Along the hike we saw this pristine lake and refreshing waterfall. I was thankful I had my polarizer filter for the camera and was able to slow my shutter speed just enough, despite the midday sun, to get the water to blur. I am no nature photographer, but I was pretty proud of this one!

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Um, seriously this place was filled with so many colors and textures. I imagine this is how the settlers saw it over 100 years ago and it awed them just as much as it has awed us.

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Can you see the road???? Yes, that horizontal line (on a slight upward diagonal) is the “Going-to-the-Sun” road. The road exists like this for about 25 minutes as you snake your way through the other side. This road makes the “scary” part of Highway 50 Tahoe seem like peanuts!

After a day out exploring the park, we returned back to camp and enjoyed one last sunset over the lake – this time opting out of the night time photo session. Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

Photobucket

This is how we ended our day, snuggled together admiring this beautiful site together excited for the new adventures that tomorrow would bring!

xoxo

Lake MacDonald | Glacier National Park

After endless gas station stops, 22 hours in the car, stopping to help a rolled over Subaru, countless lane changes, and two McD’s meals, we had arrived Glacier National Park in Montana. We were so excited to see everything the park had to offer, the lakes, the mountains, the trees, the smell of fresh air, and the wildlife.¬†

We secured our campsite for the evening at Avalanche campground set up the tent and precede to smoke Ryan out with the fire! {j/k – but that picture does crack me up…i guess he learned a thing or two from ANTM and has been trained to hold his pose despite the heavy dose of smoke pluming his way}

We decided to explore Lake MacDonald via boat. Originally we planned to rent a canoe and enjoy a lunch picnic on the lake. Knowing that I would poop out after 15 minutes of rowing and exclaim that rowing is the dumbest thing ever thus subsequently relying on Ryan to row the remainder of the lake, I was secretly wishing for a canoe with a trolling motor. ¬†I thought, gosh, they really need to invent such a thing as it would be the best of both worlds, we could enjoy the lake and I would not have to kill my arms for the next 120 minutes. Turns out they sort of make it in the form of a “Huck-Fin boat” as I call it. ¬†My Dad has instructed me that it is called an outboard motor boat, or something like that, but I prefer “Huck-Fin boat”. Our Huck Fin boat had three things: a metal frame, a place to sit, and a motor. Hearing it had a motor was music to my ears and I was about to be one happy girl!

Yep, told you I was one happy girl! Now this is how you enjoy the lake!! Forget that sweaty rowing business! We left the dock and headed straight for the middle of the lake and set up our picnic while enjoying the completely glassy water.

One thing Ry and I like to do when on trips is keep a journal. This way we can document the little things such as grub & grog, campsite names, but also include the way we felt when first seeing such beautiful things such as Lake MacDonald or how it feels to listen to my version of Alabama’s “Roll On 18 Wheeler” fifteen times or my favorite new-to-me-song, DJ Khaled “All I Do Is Win”.

While Ryan spends the hours before dinner skipping rocks,

 I prefer to see the world upside down in the form of a handstand. After all, this is how my body was most comfortable for over half of my childhood!

Airport Travel

Although travel is usually thought of as a stressful time, the first few minutes on an airplane seem to be when I am most relaxed.  No cell phones to answer, no dinners to make, no blind spots to check for. I am filled with excitement for where I am headed and who I will see. Often, we are so rushed in the hustle of life to sit and enjoy the sights of what is really around us. So, I do just as any good passenger does, I sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

Can you guess which airports these pictures are from?

Answer:
#1: LAX at take off
#2, #3: Sacramento
#4:  Facing south towards Palos Verdes (left) and facing north over Malibu (right)
#5: Sacramento Baggage Claim stack of suitcases

Friday | Picture of the Week | Week 1

With the start of the new year, many photo enthusiasts like to start a 365 Project, which requires them to take a picture everyday! At this point, I do not have the time to create an interesting photograph everyday of the year (especially because I spend the best part of the day in a florescent lit office). So, instead I am going to try a 52 week project and will post 1 picture every Friday. So…….Ta-Da- here is my first picture!

While in Cambria, Ry and I decided to take  little drive around the town and Mark Epstein recommended this boat launching area near Moonstone Beach. It was raining so we both scrambled under the bridge to get some cover and I snapped this picture. I love the lighting and the  emotion of the black and white capture.

Costa Rica | Vol. 3 | Santa Teresa

The ride from Manuel Antonio to Santa Teresa is a long one but very pretty and hugs the coastline the whole way.  We passed some very pretty towns including Jaco which stands out a bit in Costa Rica due to its few high rise buildings.  One ugly town we had to pass through was Puntareraus, the town where the ferry departed from.  We made our way through Puntareraus as quickly as we could and without incident that is until our last turn before boarding the ferry.  Standing in the middle of the road with his hand up was a weird looking dude and we had nowhere to go so we had to stop.  With the guy now standing on the running board right next to me, I gassed it a bit and he jumped off.  It was kind of a crazy experience and none of us were sure what he was after, we think he wanted to help us find the ferry and get a tip.  We knew the direction so he was just a hindrance.

With that passed us, we boarded the ferry for the first time.  The whole process stumped us initially, the tickets are sold out of store across the street. We boarded the ferry and were on our way. The boat had a full snack bar and even karaoke!! One Costa Rican sang the whole time and nobody had a problem with it because he pretty much killed it.  The four of us ate a churro, a taquito, and a beer.  About an hour later, we arrived in Paquera.

Once on the other side of the peninsula, we started our drive towards Playa Santa Teresa.  We heard the roads were bad, but we had NO idea.  The procession of cars that left ferry left me in the middle of the pack so I had to tackle the road at the same speed as the locals who had memorized the pattern of potholes.  This left me at a serious disadvantage.  Their line swerved on the left side of the road and included the shoulders on both the right and left side of the road. Flying down a road that was 40% pothole at 40-60kms per hours was definitely an experience.  It was nuts!

Finally, we arrived in Santa Teresa to find a big group of our friends having lunner at Burger Rancho.¬† Everybody literally jumped on our Mitsu’s running boards and bumpers as we drove a short distance down the road to where we’d spend the next week, Punta Coco.

“Punta Coco” was a gathering of jungle casitas (jung-alows) in the midst of dense trees, right on the beach.¬† The property came with a native family of caretakers who protected us and cooked us “Gallo Pinto” breakfast.

Here is the sign that marked our entrance, it was doubly important.¬† The sign was a marker for tourists as well as for “Rocko” one of the property’s dogs who would hang at the local bars into the early morning hours.

Looking north-west-ish from under the Punta Coco sign. “Super Ronny” is pictured, this is where we picked up water, beer and other snacks on a daily basis. This dirt road is the only road through town, so you can imagine how dusty it can get during peak hours!

Katrin, Kim and Alexandra hanging in our second story room during our first night in the jungalows.

Chris and Shannon enjoying a drink before we went out for a family dinner at “El Pulpo”.¬† El Pulpo served some of the best pizza we’ve had anywhere.¬† Shan has even vowed to learn to make pizza as good as El Pulpo’s because she liked it so much!¬† The chef/owner was European (and he had a really sweet sheep dog too).

Poosman and Toneman

From right to left, me, AC, Sten, Chris and Jaime (led the Costa Rican Pacific league with 17 goals in the summer of ’09, and great guy, we gave him a Laker’s shirt and even though he didn’t speak a word of English he fit right in).

Aside from surfing and lounging on the deserted beaches, Santa Teresa offers many opportunities for adventure.  On one of the days, about a dozen of us rented quads and headed south east-ish towards Montezuma to see one of the many waterfalls.  Quads are the way to do this as it provides a chance to ride on the back-country roads through beautiful farmland with several fun water crossings.

We sped along on this dirt road until we hit our first hold up.

Costa Rican road block!

These bulls were not happy!¬† The black one was scrubbing his front feet just like the cartoons so we held off and let them pass.¬† Fortunately no one got horned. Thanks to Fitz the photog for getting this picture of me and Shan participating in a stare down with “el torro negro”.

Soon after this bull encounter, I saw something move and before I had a chance to stop I ran over about a 4-5 ft snake.¬† It was red and after we hit it, it scurried very quickly into the green. I’m glad we didn’t kill it. The road paid off with this great waterfall.¬† We swam in the pool and did some jumps.¬† Fitz grabbed these shots with our Canon (underwater camera), kudos for the timing the second one.

Shan grabbed these great shots as the sun set on Punta Coco while I was out surfing.¬† Her first attempts with our ND filter and I’d say she did an ok job!¬† The fog is actually waves moving water while the shutter remains open. Nice job Shan!

Kim and Chris enjoying the view from Andy and Katie’s rehearsal dinner at Brisas Del Mar.¬† Incredible food and an even better view! Everybody was happy that the taxi driver didn’t kill us on the way up.¬† It was a close call as the driveway feels like 45 degree hill and at the very top he pitched his ten passenger van sideways and way off camber.

Early morning from Punta Coco, a few hundred yards down the way was where we surfed each day.

Alex and AC were newly engaged just before the trip so it added to the fun of traveling with them.

Really fun waves the whole week, Stenner.

Chris

Katrin was getting great waves the whole week, here is one.

Me

Kim at our pool, where we hung out each day.

Here is one of my favorite shots of the week, Shan grabbed this after one of our afternoon sessions.

Andy and Katie’s wedding day came on a gorgeous day.¬† Everybody was ready to go and the cab was waiting but Sten wasn’t ready yet so it gave Shan and I some time to mess around and take some shots of each other.¬† I’m a lucky guy!

Shannon getting in touch with her inner-self.

The last sunset before the wedding from our pool at Punta Coco.

Stay tuned for wedding shots and more!

SPACE

SPACE

Costa Rica | Vol. 1 | Arenal

SPACE

We arrived at San Jose Airport on Friday and picked up our rental car from Dollar and headed towards Arenal.  We missed our first two exits even though we had GPS and three co-drivers.  One reason why it took three hours to to only go ~100kms.  We drove through a lot of countrysides and a few cities including San Ramon which had a pretty impressive church. Once we gained some elevation the roads became more and more twisty, we went from sun to clouds.  I was shocked by the size of the trucks that drove these narrow roads including the one way bridges.  On the road towards La Fortuna  we saw a bunch of waterfalls and fast moving rivers.

We grabbed lunch in La Fortuna at Las Brisitas and were pumped to try the local cuisine.¬† The ‚Äėmexican‚Äô food here was good, nothing out of the ordinary other than nacho cheese was substituted.¬† The highlight of lunch was finally reaching our destination and of course a cold Imperial beer.

We paid for lunch and headed about fifteen minutes up the road to our hotel where we’d spend the next couple of nights.  At Tabacon resort we were greeted with a glass of delicious fruit juice and were pumped to see our room had a great view of the volcano. This place was NICE!  Alex and AC came over for a cocktail and we caught a shuttle across the road to the hot springs.

My expectations for the hot springs were not too high, I was expecting jacuzzi size pools and lots of crowds with a sulfur stench.  Well I was wrong, Tabacon has hot springs of a whole other kind. It is an adult paradise.  Rivers of jacuzzi water flow through the jungle and land in lava sand bottomed pools where steam rises into the romantic light. Above the steam and exotic trees we enjoyed a star filled sky.  Sitting in the jungle, while hot water rushed around me with a cold beer was a new experience.  It was only night one, we were HAPPY campers!

The next morning was early and we headed up the hill towards our next adventure, zip-lining with SkyTrek tours.  A couple of kilometers past Tabacon, we left the paved road and headed into the tropical forest.  The plan worked out and we were the first up and got to do the tour with only us four.  This afforded us time to take in each view and mess around with our video cameras, Gustavo and Andres (our tour guides) had lots to share about the wildlife and the parasitic jungle where vines, trees and all other plants fight for sunlight.

Finally, it was time to zip!

We all howled with excitement on each line and for good reason, some of them were hundreds of feet above the jungle over half a mile long and you travel over 50mph!  Such a blast!

To refuel for the hot springs, we had dinner at Que Rico in La Fortuna and shared great pizza and a couple of beers.  Then it was on the main course, another night in the hot springs!  To top it off, we ran into Brent and Suzi and relaxed till they finally kicked us out.  Hours melt away in the hot springs at Tabacon.

We weren’t ready to leave, but next up was Manual Antonio.  Please stay tuned.

SPACE

SPACE

SOACE