Thursday, February 05, 2015

Aerial Instagrams

Recently I took to the air in a bi-plane flight over San Diego. The plane was a 1927 bi-plane, and we sat in between the upper and lower wings, with the pilot cockpit behind us. I had 3 cameras - my Canon SLR for stills, a GoPro Hero3 for continuous video, and my iphone 6 for whatever I managed to capture without dropping it out of the plane!

It happened to be a gorgeous sunny clear day, one which would otherwise find me surfing in the water. I'd seen the planes many times from my surfboard, and now, it was my turn to be in that plane doing the flyovers along the San Diego coast. The first highlight was flying over Cardiff and spotting our house. The pilot did some circling and we must have annoyed the neighbors, but once I got the telephoto shot I wanted, I held tight to my iphone and captured this view, looking south, over the San Elijo Lagoon.

A photo posted by Kymri (@kymri) on

Continuing south along the coast, we flew over the lines of surfers waiting for waves (they weren't that big or plentiful, but it was still a great day to be in the water...or flying over it). From the air, it was easy to spot the rip currents, as seen here along Black's Beach.

A photo posted by Kymri (@kymri) on

Then looking almost straight out at the Torrey Pines cliffs was pretty incredible too.

A photo posted by Kymri (@kymri) on

So as I posted my instagram images of flying over my native coastline, I thought back to one of the most incredible flight-seeing experiences I've ever had, a flying safari over Namibia. The biggest highlight was flying over the incredible colonies of Cape Fur Seals on the Skeleton Coast, where the desert dunes meet the ocean waves. I posted a few of those early iphone shots in my earliest days of using instagram, when no one was paying attention to my posts except perhaps my daughter.

But honestly, even the best filtered instagrams (which the above were not), just can't capture the detail that an SLR does.

Namibia is fascinating by air, absolute eye-candy for cameras, with treats such as the red sand dunes of Sossusvlei, the salt pans of Etosha, and the mysterious "fairy circles" that dot the landscape.
A photo posted by Kymri (@kymri) on

I've been lucky to take to the air with camera and iphone over incredible waterfalls, from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe/Zambia...

A photo posted by Kymri (@kymri) on

to Niagara Falls in Canada/United States.

A photo posted by Kymri (@kymri) on

There are just too many beautiful aerials to feature, so I hashtagged my favorites on instagram #aerialsbykymri, so you can find them and have a closer look, maybe show some love if you love!

If you liked this post, you'll love:

5A Reasons Why I Love the Window Seat
Namibia by Dune, Full Moon, and Hot Air Balloon
And be sure to visit my
Gallery of Aerial Images

And if you like my instagram posts, this one is a personal favorite - the first destination from which I created and shared instagram photos with the world:

CUBA Cubed: Instagram Travel Thursday Feature

It's #IGTravelThursday, so check out these other instagram travel stories and photography features!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Photographing Winter Cold - my #Frifotos Five

Winter is a beautiful time for nature photography, when the snow falls and decorates the trees, and the ground is covered in a blanket of white. The quietness of falling snow, and the resulting visual impact it has, is nothing short of magical.

As a native of southern California, who doesn't have to shovel or drive or layer up or deal with all the hassles of winter weather, I am ever fascinated by snow. If I am somewhere and snow begins to fall, I am the first one out the door with the camera. I play like a child on the tubing hills, squealing and laughing all the way down. When I've had enough, I take peaceful walks in nature. I experience every snowfall as if it were my first. Cold? Of course, but I'm pleasantly distracted.

Since today's #FriFotos theme on twitter is "cold", I took that as a cue to begin editing and sharing images from my trip to Chicago last week. Rather than try to share everything at once, I've just picked five, which I'll call my Frifotos Five. Enjoy!

All of the above images were taken in Forest Preserves around Chicago. But wait, I have a bonus share. I'd longed dreamed of photographing bison in snow. American Bison are part of our national heritage, and thus are protected and cared for on the government land of Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab), near Batavia, also outside Chicago. So in keeping with the theme of "cold", I certainly was as I watched this beautiful animal in the snow...but it just warmed my heart.

Please enjoy and share your own "cold" photos on twitter today by using the #frifotos hashtag. And you'll find more of my snowy cold images from my recent trip on my Instagram feed. Thanks for checking out my take on "cold", and keep warm!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Road Trip for Cameras: Arizona National Parks & Monuments

When it came time to retire my beloved Canon 5DMII, I decided to take it out for one more spectacular road trip, so I could fill its sensor with colors and textures through one last journey. It deserved a proper farewell tour, and it was time for another "road trip for cameras."

Although it had traveled to over 50 countries with me, my 5DMII shutter had never opened upon one of the most photographed places right here in the US, the Grand Canyon.

In fact, I had not been there myself since digital cameras appeared on the scene....or iphones for that matter! With an annual National Park pass in hand, I was ready to update my digital stock, and my instagram feed, with the beautiful protected parks of the American southwest.

A photo posted by Kymri (@kymri) on

Arizona has so many parks, well beyond the Grand Canyon, so it made perfect sense to visit my next-door-neighbor state with camera and iphone (and family and dogs too) by car. Starting at the Grand Canyon's South Rim, we worked our way top to bottom through the state, all the way south to Arizona's border with Mexico.

Here's my instagram gallery of the trip highlights:

And here are the National Parks and Monuments that we visited, as seen through the lens of my 5DMII:

Grand Canyon

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument

Wupatki National Monument

Walnut Canyon National Monument

Painted Desert National Historic Landmark

Petrified Forest National Park

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Road Trips for Cameras. Check out these other Road Trips: California's Central Coast, Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore, and the Guysborough Galleries.

This post is shared as part of #InstagramTravelThursday - here are some other Instagram blog posts featured this week. Enjoy!