It has been forever since I've last written my last travel post. I have no excuses, I may or may nor suck at commitment. However, I have been super busy the past 6 months as I started working for a publishing company and I've been putting 100% of my attention to it. So, AUSTRALIA eh. Australia, Australia, Australia. Where do I even begin? Australia has always been one of the most special places in my life. If you know me, you know how much sentimental value and memories it holds to me.
On the very first day, of course we had to drive through the nothing but godly Great Ocean Drive. From long scenic road trips to dramatic sights. Their secret beaches and their rock formations. Many times during my trip to Australia, I felt so insignificant in front of these sights. In such moments, I would look out to these beautiful creations and remember how delicately created the world can be. They make life problems so much smaller in that very moment, It almost felt like a scene in a movie. I would close my eyes and suddenly the only things that mattered then were the calming rhythmic sounds of the waves crashing and the feeling of the wind sweeping against my hair and skin. It was one of those cliché scenes when the hectic world around the protagonist would slow down as he took a deep breath in and every problem in his life seemed to have found a remedy. Yeah, you will definitely get that feeling there.
And if you are a mountain kind of person, Sydney doesn't shy away from that love of yours. Blue mountains has been such an amazing and crazy experience. I hardly experienced mountains growing up. I stay in a very metropolitan country. That means nature doesn't come easy from where I live. So to reach Sublime Point and really just experience and take in the whole view from a heaven's point of view was simply breathtaking, Breathtaking. Majestic. We watched the sun set behind the mountains and the sky turning into a bluish tint. When blue hour fell upon us, it was when we wrapped up a few shots, got photos of the whole crew and just really experienced the air from over a thousand feet above sea level one last time.
The colors of Australia was one of my biggest motivation to create a whole mood board for my change in style. Which is one of the reasons why I feel so connected to Australia, It is literally the birth place of my creative style. The open range safari in Wallaby was such a beauty. I know the controversies for zoos and animals in enclosure etc. but I always believed safaris were a great stepping stone in finding middle ground. The very next day, we visited a few lesser known nature spots. We kinda had to bear the rain that day but honestly, it was amazing. I would not trade anything in life for the experience I shared with my friends here.
What an end to a journey. The near 2 weeks, 2 states, 5 cities, 878km and 4 friends. What more could I have asked for honestly, my heart was so full. My time there was so fulfilling. So blessed. To more memories in this journey with you guys, I will forever be thankful :)
It has been a few weeks since I returned from the home of Santa. The land where the jingles never ends. The land famous for being the actual winter wonderland. The land better known as Finland. Upon arriving, the cold clearly hit hard as the wind started biting our skin and soon we felt like wearing 4 layers might not do the job of keeping us warm. The journey began in Ivalo. It was there when temperatures dropped to -33°C and yet to the locals that number is just a part of their daily lives. In Ivalo, the trees started to lose its natural colors, Their greens replaced with the soft white icing of snow and the browns darkening to black. Yet, death was captured in the form of beauty in that very land.
We enjoyed a little husky ride during the trip. The huskies being super adorable. (I actually cried after seeing the first one, don't judge). The scenes were amazing. I felt like I was living a life only storybooks could portray. Setting foot into the ankle deep snow was undoubtedly one the most surreal feelings I had ever experienced in my life. Probably because I grew up in a country where there is only rain, sun and more sun. Seasonal changes were never a part of my life. So getting to experience something like this was almost mind blowing. When the snow started to fall ever so gently down the dark skies of Finland, I felt like a kid. Snowball fights were initiated and snowmen were built. It was difficult trying to photograph moments like these though. Simply because the winter skies of Finland were only merciful enough to provide us with 5 hours daylight from 9am to 2pm everyday. After which the night claimed its place over our heads and proclaimed victory.
However, when the night came, the scenes got dramatic. Green and purple lights found their way to pierce into the dark abyss and dance as if to celebrate their win. The Aurora appeared and you got to sneak a peek at the light performance through the glass roof of your very glass igloo. It then got so much better once you were to start a campfire outside the steps of your glass igloo and started making S'mores as you enjoy the Aurora. The reflection during sunsets casts a tint of purple across the beautiful horizons and landscapes. The trees being coated with a color at this point of time. As it became darker, the forests started to look denser. The trees in front of you suddenly look so well packed thanks to the shadows created by the minimal natural night lamp in the sky.
The nature scenes in Ivalo were truly spectacular. Probably the best I have ever seen in my life. However due their extreme weathers, plantations do not go well for the people. Vitamin sources thus come from these little berries (refer to above picture). These berries were in such great supply you will find them making their way into main courses of your Scandinavian meals! They tasted a little sour and sweet. Perfect for sauces and drinks! It was also thanks to such extreme weathers were we able to try out such extreme sports like snowmobiling. The adrenaline as the engine began and the feeling of chilling cold wind against your body as you ride through the frozen woods and past frozen lakes was simply unforgettable.
Soon, we find ourselves on a domestic flight to Helsinki. The capital. It was in Helsinki did the sky fully cleared up for the first time and we experienced our first distinct golden hour. The sun rays escaping through the little gaps in these short yet vintage looking buildings. The tint of orange spreading across the serene town and casting a wonderful lighting upon the many national monuments around. The harbor leading you to a view of a horizon with the sun shining on a row of beautifully made houses. People walking their dogs in the tiny alleys in this town and the birds flying and chirping clearly praising the good wonders of seeing the golden hour.
Since we were in Finland and were already exploring a different continent we felt that we might as well visit an old country by the name of Estonia. Lying in the gulf of Finland. A 2 hour boat ride to this land and upon arrival you will find that this small country had managed to find its style of aesthetics through their architecture. Every where you look, I swear to God the buildings do not disappoint. The people here were also super friendly. Such a small country with so much culture to offer as well.
The whole entire trip to these wonderful countries had opened my eyes to so much wonderment. Despite the chilling cold and short hours of daylight for me to shoot, what I experienced there would probably be the most memorable experience for me. Every feeling I felt from walking through the city to find dinner to lying in the thick snow to forming a snow angel. Every minute and penny well spent. Thank you Finland!!
I recently got back from a rough 9 to 10 days trip to Shanghai, China. Probably the most urbanized cities in China and the world. The weather was pretty comfortable since I went there during the start of their winter season. It was a cool 6°-12°C. This was a family trip thus the itinerary was pretty much worked out and we simply had to follow it. However, unlike everyone in my family, I do not like Chinese food. I mean, I can eat it, After all, I am Chinese but the cuisine just isn't for my taste buds. Hence, I really stuffed myself with the one Asian food you can never do wrong. Dumplings. (And baos, I mean, obviously) And let me tell you, the dumplings here are SO SO GOOD.
Here the colors have yet to change. Stuck in its fall foliage with the colors' incompetence to catch up with the seasonal drops in temperature, they stayed like these. An array of trees filled with nothing but orange leaves and waiting for their turn to let gravity take them out of their branches. It was rare, to come by scenes like these. Since the only time I ever get to travel were during the Summer and Winter periods, I had to indulge in every Fall moment in the midst of Winter. The sky was usually a uniform color of white.
The sunsets are usually purple and on days where the sun won in hide-and-seek. The moon that lost and would then show itself, still in the midst of a bright sky. The purple tint spreading across the city almost every 4.30 pm. The mountains slowly losing its shades of greens, oranges, yellows and reds. They slowly turned to silhouettes. The forests that rest below these mountains silently switched on their fog machines. Everything became darker and the night arrived 2 to 3 hours earlier than usual in this season.
Of course in China, the cultures are rich. The history in every tiny nook and crook was nothing but informative and humbling. Folk tales for every different caves and mountains and pagodas. Museums that brought foreigners back from one dynasty to another. Temples that represent their predominant religion among the people. A richness in history so infused with everyday surroundings it almost felt as if its tangible. Like you could feel and hold the past souls that once lived in this very country.
Obviously in Shanghai, majority of its views were not nature-scenic since it had been so urbanized. The city never sleeps in China. The buildings and roads shining throughout the darkest hours of the night. The lights giving color to a painting of black in the sky. Streets still busy and little tiny food stalls that still opened after midnight. The night life here was definitely alive and exciting.
Well, that is Shanghai in a nutshell. You had been great despite the fact that you kinda banned Google, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp. And even though it was a horrible experience to be disconnected with your friends for 9 days, with these views, I'll let you slide.