Family Photos

When I was back in Dallas I found a Groupon for a 4 hour photography class by Beaux Arts Photography for only $50. I decided to give it a try.

The class was broken up into 4- 1 hour segments.

  1. The Art of Photography – covered basics of photography as an art form and photo composition
  2. Camera & Lighting Essentials – Aperture/Shutter Speed/ISO, JPG vs. RAW
  3. Practice – We were given assignments and were sent out to take photos
  4. Adobe Lightroom 101 – How to backup, store, organize and edit your photos

The class is designed for true beginners. The instructor, Sam, explaned things in very simple ways and made things that are a bit complex a lot easier to understand. He was very patient and was willing to answer every question. I thought he was a great teacher.

The most valuable part of the class, for me, was the last hour on Lightroom 4. This is a program that I was already using, but not well. Sam taught me several new tricks that I wasn’t aware of that have really improved my photo editing skills.

I decided to take what I learned and put it into practice by taking some family photos for my brother and his family. This was my very first portrait photo shoot and I am really happy with the results!

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The Happiest Place in Hong Kong

After spending most of the afternoon hanging out with Big Buddha, we decided to go to Disneyland. We took the subway to the end of the line and waited for the Disney train to come. It was covered in Mickey heads!

I was really excited about going to Disneyland because I have never been to a Disney park back in the States.

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Who’s the most popular man in Hong Kong?

Big Buddha, of course!

One of the most famous sites in Hong Kong is a Big Buddha statue that is nestled so far up in the mountains that it takes a 25 minute cable car ride to get there! I was really apprehensive about going because I am scared of heights and cable cars really freak me out. I decided to suck it up because I don’t know if I’ll ever be back in Hong Kong.

If I could give one piece of advice for someone that wants to take the cable car to Big Buddha, it would definitely be to buy your tickets online in advance! When we went, the site was down so we couldn’t, but I really wish we could have. Because it was during the week of Chinese New Year, the line was many HOURS long (I’d guess at least 3-4)!

When we were in line, a woman asked us if we would like to buy a year pass and skip the line. Don’t even ask me how much that cost, but Dave said he’d rather do that than wait in line, so we did.

We could feel people staring us down as we were escorted straight up to the ticket counter. We just had to fill out a bit of paperwork, buy our passes and then wait in a much shorter line. I think the whole process took us about an hour.

The views from the cable car were truly amazing! And it was very sturdy so I handled the trip pretty well.

Once at the top, we had to walk past loads of shops and restaurants. We saw this cute little kitty.

BigBuddha

And we also got to see another Lion Dance. This one was really impressive when you think about the fact that each lion only contains 2 guys and they have to be perfectly synched!

Then we headed through the massive gate…

BigBuddha-5And followed the signs to Big Buddha.

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Almost there!

And then we hiked the 260 steps to the top!

BigBuddha-15It was pretty remarkable and I’m so glad I overcame my fear to see this!

Hong Kong – Where Lions Dance in the Street!

We decided to walk around Central, Hong Kong on the day of Chinese New Year.

Hong Kong

It was pretty quiet, but we did happen across a lion dance, which was really fascinating.

We were really happy to find this cute little pottery shop. We bought a full tea set for just $20 (US)!

pottery shop

Next, we headed to Mong Kok to check out the sites.

 

It was really great day!

Chinese New Year in Hong Kong

I got to cross something off of my bucket list in February 2013. We went to Hong Kong for Chinese New Year!

As you can imagine, Hong Kong was packed and so were all of the tourist attractions. We had been to Hong Kong previously for a weekend getaway, but the weather was bad so we didn’t bother with The Peak or the Big Buddha because we knew the views would have been terrible. Fortunately, we had fantastic weather most days this time around!

Our first big outing was The Peak. There is a tram that takes you up the to the top, but we knew the line would be hours long and the tram would be cramped so we decided to take a taxi. It was the right decision!

There’s a mall at the top so we did a bit of browsing and then headed out to enjoy the views.

The top of The Peak

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We headed back to the hotel in the early evening to try to reserve the best place in the house to watch the fireworks.

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I think it was worth the wait!

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My Favorite Place

Yesterday I went to Busan with Dave and some new friends. It was fun to play tour guide for the day. I also got to take them to my favorite place in Busan, the burial mounds! These mounds are the graves of ancient kings. Probably.

burial mound

Street Food

This picture is of a street food vendor near my apartment. She is making hoddeok, which is my absolute favorite street food in Korea. It’s kind of like a pancake stuffed with cinnamon, sugar and seeds and then fried. So fattening, but so delicious!

Her cart also sold fish cakes on a stick and silkworm larvae, which you can see in the photo below.

hoddeok