Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A church and a lamp

This is the church next to the mission in the city of San Juan Capistrano in Southern California. The mission itself was founded in 1776, which, coincidentally, is also the year when the United States declared its independence from the British Empire. It is very much a touristy little town, with a Starbucks bang opposite the mission across the street.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Now showing: Harry Potter at the church

What's Harry Potter got to do with the church? Take a gander at this snap I took outside a church in Belmont, California.

An innovative way to get the kids streaming into the church?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mosque in Fortezza

A mosque inside the Fortezza complex on Crete in Greece.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lunar eclipse (this time, the real deal)

Yesterday night, rather today very early in the morning, we got to see a total lunar eclipse in California, which was a pleasant change unlike last time.

To boot, it was a full moon. Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of that. However, this is what it looked like at approximately 3 a.m. when the sun started its shadowy encroachment.

After about 15 minutes later, at 3:15 a.m., notice how the bronze color gets deeper.

At 3:30 a.m., it got even darker.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Sunset in Chania

Chania is the second largest city on the Greek island of Crete. This port city is a bustling place especially in the spring and summer, with lots of people sitting and enjoying sunsets like these in dozens of little open air restaurants by the water.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

What do you call a baby lizard?

I don't really know. But, I can tell you that they look reddish like in the picture below. This was taken in early summer in Yosemite National Park. Saw a few dozen of these babies while hiking. They moved very slowly and I was able to get very close to take pictures without scaring them off.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Lupines in Yosemite

Taken in the Hetch Hetchy area of Yosemite National Park in California. Early summer. Depending on the rains/snowfall of the preceding winter and the elevation, wildflowers can be in bloom as late as August.

Hetch Hetchy is a great place for backpacking. It's away from the main Yosemite valley, which means far less crowds. In addition, the ranger station is open till 9 p.m. during the summer and apart from the Hetch Hetchy reservoir (which supplies a good amount of San Francisco's municipal water) there aren't too many places for short day hikes. What this means is that if you are a backpacker, you don't have to encounter the hordes of people like in the Valley, and can afford to get here late and still get a backpacking permit.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

By the ocean in Santorini

Taken on Santorini in Greece on a beautiful spring day.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Is 4 IV or IIII?

Looking at this image of a clock that I chanced upon in St.Goar in Germany, I was surprised to see why the number 4 was written as "IIII" and not "IV." Reading up a little bit, I found there is no single explanation for this. Rather, there are multiple explanations and several of them might be true. The one that I found interesting was this on Wikipedia:

With IIII, the number of symbols on the clock totals twenty 'I's, four 'V's, and four 'X's, so clock makers need only a single mold with a V, five 'I's, and an X in order to make the correct number of numerals for their clocks: VIIIIIX. This is cast four times for each clock and the twelve required numerals are separated:
The IIX and one of the IX’s are rotated 180° to form XI and XII. The alternative with IV uses seventeen 'I's, five 'V's, and four 'X's, possibly requiring the clock maker to have several different molds.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Church in Santorini

A church in Santorini in Greece. Santorini is a group of volcanic islands. There seem to be as many churches there as people. Well, not quite, but you get the idea.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Icy reflection

A reflection of the ice floating in the waters in Prince William Sound in Alaska. The sound was the site of one of the largest man-made disasters back in 1989 when the Exxon-Valdez spilled 11 million gallons of oil into the ocean.

The reflection is on the glass windows of the cruise boat we were in. You can take half-day and full-day cruises in the Prince William Sound by going to Whittier which is about a 1.5 hour drive from Anchorage. There's a one-way tunnel (Anton Anderson tunnel) that you will need to pass through to get to Whittier. It's open in one direction for 15 minutes in every one hour. So, if you miss one time slot, you might have to wait up to an hour. The cruise boat company should be able to give you a schedule for this.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The stone ceiling

This was taken inside a mosque in the 40+ year old Fortezza complex in Rethymnon on Crete in Greece. That's the ceiling of the dome.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Under the bridge

This was taken on the island of Crete in Greece while hiking through the Aradena gorge.

This was shot from down below in the gorge while looking up at the bridge crossing it. The little square jutting out in the middle of the bridge is a bungee jumping platform. The hike itself starts near the bridge where you go down into the gorge and follow the trail and finally arrive at a black pebble beach - a great way to stop and recharge your tired feet. On a normal day, you should be able to see dozens of goats embedded in seemingly impossible places all along the walls of the gorge. Most of these are owned by people and have little bells around their necks, which form the source of a beautiful symphony when the goats run around. Goat-powered music at its best.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Life imitating television

Recently, 7-11 converted some of their stores to "Kwik-E-Marts" - the fictional store in the television series The Simpsons. Twelve of the 7-11 stores in the country underwent this transformation as part of a promotion for "The Simpsons Movie." Below is a pic of the one in Mountain View, California.

I saw a line of people queued up outside the store waiting to get in. Once you got in, you could buy cookies in the form of Homer Simpson and "Squishees" and pink donuts, among other things that until now part of the virtual world. We've seen product placement in movies, e.g., the BMW automobile in the James Bond movies. The 7-11 idea seems to be a neat twist on the idea - life imitating television. Reverse product placement?

Monday, July 02, 2007


Parthenon in the sprawling complex of Acropolis in Athens, Greece - a 5th century B.C. temple of goddess Athena after whom Athens is named.

These shots was taken in spring when it's not much crowded. Once the summer vacations start, going to this place is just slightly better than going to a free Rolling Stones concert in Copacabana beach. Nonetheless, that shouldn't deter one from going there - it's an awe-inspiring place. Pictures can't really capture the true grandeur.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A clover leaf

This is a clover somewhere in a forest near Eugene, Oregon, the morning after a night of rain. A four-leaved clover is supposed to be lucky, this, however, is only a three-leaved one.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The price of fame

Below is a picture of Maria Mutola of Mozambique, arguably the greatest female 800m runner of all time, seconds after winning the 800m race at the 2007 Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon.

After a few minutes of catching her breath, she tries to get up with a bouquet in her hand, to run a lap of honor. Count the number of photographers surrounding her.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Just another sunny day in Crete, Greece

This was taken on the island of Crete, in Greece. It's an old fortress near the coastline. To get to Crete, you can fly into Athens and then take a ferry to Crete. You can get ferry tickets online at www.greekferries.gr. Alternatively, you could fly, which isn't always cheap. However, there are some cheap airlines such as German Wings which have some pretty good deals from Germany into Crete. The two main airports on Crete are in Chania and Heraklion (also spelled Iraklio.).

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Burg Rheinfels

This was taken inside the Burg Rheinfels castle in St. Goar in Germany. It was started in 1245 and was one of the largest in Germany. St. Goar is a quaint little town along the Rhine river. It's located in the Rhine Valley which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The best way to get there would be to take a train to the St. Goar station. More information about the train system at www.bahn.de or (in English) here.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Swimming pool - bare naked

This is what a swimming pool looks like when it's being resurfaced. The deep end is 8 feet and the shallow end is about 3 feet.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Lunar eclipse (almost)

This past weekend was a full moon and there was supposed to be a lunar eclipse to boot. We biked to the top of a nearby hill where I set up my camera to catch the moon rising up from behind the mountains. This was my first time seeing a full moon rise and using my tripod outdoors.

Unfortunately, in this part of the world, we weren't lucky to see the lunar eclipse. After waiting patiently for about a couple of hours, and enjoying the moonlit symphony of the little bugs on the hillside, we decided to go home. However, the full moon over the nightscape of the city was a beautiful sight in itself, well worth the time spent.

Ray burst

This was taken on a hike through some mountains. It was getting cloudy towards the end, but the rays of the evening sun were still straining to get through.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Happy contrails

Driving along a pastoral freeway on the New Year's weekend, it seemed to be contrails everywhere. At some point in time, I saw four different ones simultaneously. The ones above are two of those, while facing up the slope of the newly green earth to the fences of the pastures a few feet above the level of the freeway.