Landscape

A Testament to Man

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While soaring along the coast of Peru, I could spot the plots of cultivated land squeezed into whatever area that the ingenuity of man permits. Meandering through the fields is the outline of what once was a river. Maybe it will return in a wetter season. However, on that day, it was nothing more than a thick line of dry sand etched into the landscape.

Flight Over Peru

Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: Nikkor AF-S 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
ISO: 320
Focal Length: 72mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Shutter: 1/2000s

The Last Day of the Year

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On the last day of the year, I headed up to the hills for a sunrise photography session above Silicon Valley. Shoreline Amphitheatre, which is surrounded by the Google campus, is easily identifiable in the bottom of the photograph. Along the rolling hills in the background, wind turbines transform the winds into clean energy.

Mountain View, CA

Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 200mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Shutter: 1/20s

Maras Salt Terraces

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In modern times, we head to the supermarket for salt. If we study the packaging, we can learn quite a bit about where this treasured commodity originated. Some salt is harvested from the oceans, hence the term “sea salt.” Others come from inland salt mines where ancient seas have long dried out. Just think of Himalayan salt, which sounds like it comes from Tibet, but is really harvested in Pakistan.

The Maras salt terraces in Peru comes from a mountain stream that flows with salt water. This water is collected in evaporation ponds in terraces along the mountain side. As it dries, a white crust of salt emerges. Families have been harvesting salt from this location since the days of the Incas.

Maras Salt Terraces

Canyon de Chelly

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Canyon de Chelly is a testament to the adaptability of human beings. Instead of walled cities, these people built their community into the crevices of the canyon walls. It is almost a cliché to be amazed by the ancient people who wandered the globe before us. But, each of them did whatever they had to do to survive, so that each of us can enjoy the bounties of today.

Canyon de Chelly

Camera: Nikon D7000
Lens: Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR IIs
ISO: 140
Focal Length: 200 mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Shutter: 1/30s

Sunset in Monument Valley

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Four years ago, I visited Monument Valley. Located a few hours east of the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley is the iconic homeland of the Navajo people. Between the two, I found Monument Valley to be far more interesting. I hired a guide from Monument Valley Safari, who took us to various points of interest in Monument Valley, both natural and man-made. The real highlight was connecting with people I would not have ordinarily met, and understanding how they and their ancestors have lived on this land for generations.

Looking back through my old photos, I cannot wait until I can return to Monument Valley. Four years feels like a long time. The hardware of photography has changed with the prominence of cameras bearing full-frame sensors. More importantly, I have gained four more years of experience and understanding in photography and post-processing. You cannot wish that you had taken better photos in the past. However, you can re-visit those places anew and apply all that you have learned in the interim.

Monument Valley Sunset

Camera: Nikon D7000
Lens: Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR IIs
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 22 mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Shutter: 1/125s

Old North Church

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This statue of Paul Revere commemorates his famous midnight ride to alert the patriot leaders that the British regulars were departing from Boston. Behind the statue is the equally famous Old North Church, from which the “one if by land and two if by sea” lanterns were hung.

Old North Church

Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 50 mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Shutter: 1/10s

Hyannis Port at Dawn

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At dawn, the morning sun bathed Hyannis Port in a gorgeous light. The harbor was quiet with only a dedicated few up and about. I saw some fishing boats heading out to sea, but for the most part, the waters were quite still.

Hyannis Port, Massachusetts

Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 58mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Shutter: 0.5s

Cape Cod Maritime Museum

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I love heading out before dawn and exploring a new place. A few weeks ago, I stayed at the Heritage House Hotel in Hyannis, MA. It is just a block from the Cape Cod Maritime Museum, which is perched at the entrance of Hyannis Harbor.

At first, I walked down Main Street. However, there were too many objects obstructing my view, so I turned around and headed to the harbor. When I arrived, I was greeted by a richly illuminated sky full of orange, red and pink brushstrokes. No better way to start the day than to be greeted by the warm sun.

Cape Cod Maritime Museum

Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 70 mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Shutter: 1/3s

Memorial Day

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I was looking through some old photos (circa 2012) that I had taken with my previous camera. This view of the Lincoln Memorial comes from the Old Post Office. Only after processing this photo in Lightroom did I notice the rows of headstones from Arlington National Cemetery in the background—a particularly poignant observation on Memorial Day.

Lincoln Memorial

Camera: Nikon D7000
Lens: Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR IIs
ISO: 100
Focal Length: 200mm
Aperture: f/5.6
Shutter: 1/320s

Cusco, Peru

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Lima may be the capital of Peru, but Cusco is definitely its soul. Here, you can witness the impact that colonial Spain had on the Incan Empire as you enter buildings in classic Spanish style erected on massive Incan foundations.

The CDC does caution visitors about acute mountain sickness because Cuzco is located 11,150 ft above sea level. I had brought some acetazolamide in preparation, but it was packed in the checked luggage, which the airline had misplaced. Fortunately, we immediately descended to the Sacred Valley, and I did not experience any severe symptoms.

From the Plaza de Armas, much is accessible by foot. We had no problem finding good restaurants in the area. Cusco is also a great place to get your laundry cleaned. Just outside of our hotel, several laundromats (lavanderias) were located nearby. I stopped in to inquire about the pricing, which was pretty uniform. The only difference is how early or late each place was open. I ended up dropping our laundry at a place that would deliver the cleaned and folded clothes the earliest the next morning. They even dropped it off back at our hotel. Quite a service!

Cusco, Peru

Camera: Nikon D800
Lens: Nikkor AF-S 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR
ISO: 110
Focal Length: 38 mm
Aperture: f/8.0
Shutter: 1/640s