The Garden of the Phoenix, Chicago, June 11, 2018

The Garden of the Phoenix is a new garden at Chicago’s Jackson Park in the southside of the city. It is located just behind the Museum of Science and Industry. The Japanese Garden is just a small part of it.

The Garden of the Phoenix is supposed to symbolize Japan and the USA’s 160-year story of friendship, turmoil and prosperity, according to its website. This garden is home to Yoko Ono’s Skylanding, a public space composed of a revitalized landscape and pavilion.

I joined three other photowalkers (Mark Marshall, Nenad Spasojevic and Lucy HS) for a sunset shoot at the Japanese Garden. However, the sun was nowhere to be found. Just as well because we were able to get beautiful photos (no one was there!) and resolved to come back either during sunrise or another sunset later.

31st St. Beach Sunrise Shoot – June 6, 2018

The harbor here is the newest harbor in the Chicago harbor system. The beach itself is not that wide or big compared to other beaches but the view of the skyline is incomparable. This is the first time we shot here and probably would not be the last.

Throwback – Timeless Osman, the Philippines 2006

Osman is one of the remote barrios (barangays) of my hometown of Malinao, Aklan in Central Panay in the Philippines. Back in 2006, it was difficult to reach this barrio – it was accessible only by motorcycles travelling through narrow and treacherous mountain roads. Apparently, there is now a road that can be traversed by a motor vehicle that goes to the barrio.

The view going there is breathtaking – old growth forests intermixed with coconut plantations, tall mountain peaks and … rice terraces! The flora is rich with unidentified ferns and ground orchids and various other plants. There is a river that runs through the valley below that has some swimming holes and low water falls. The village itself is situated in a valley along the river that is quite picturesque because of the huge boulders scattered all over. From what I know, this barrio was/is always a progressive one, winning the cleanest and greenest barangay in our town several times.

As for fauna, I saw a few interesting (but common) birds such as the blue-throated bee eater and wood swallow and a captive Brahminy Kite (banog). Up in the forested mountains to the west, the Visayan hornbill makes its home but according to the people I talked to, they are there, but are quite rare. Colasisi (Philippine hanging parrots) may also be found sometimes in the forest.

Master of its Domain
Wood swallow on a wire, on the way to Osman

Bee Eaters
Blue-throated bee eaters at the junction between San Dimas and Osman

Throwback Paris Early Digitals

I travelled more as a postdoc at Dr. Chung Lee’s lab at the Department of Urology, Northwestern University going to conferences everywhere. This one was a joint meeting of the Society for Basic Urological Research (US) and European Eurology, held in Paris back in 1999. The gala was held at (I think) the City Hall of Paris or one of those swanky government palaces in the heart of Paris.

It was an incredible experience and we had a day (or two) to tour around the city and even was able to have lunch with my Parisian cousins at their flat on l’Ourc road.

Throwback Toronto 2001

Christmas 2001, visiting Canada for the first time. It was so cheap to travel then because it was post-9/11, nobody was going anywhere. The 5-star hotel we stayed at was a bargain (something like 40 bucks a night). Spent Christmas eve with relatives and also toured Toronto with college friends.

Throwback: Barcelona, 2007

Bari Gotic, Barcelona (This image available for license at Getty Images.)

I haven’t travelled abroad lately, so I am scouring my files for new old pictures to post. Here are some photos from a trip to Barcelona back in 2007. Some of these photos are available for licensing at Getty Images.

Throwback: Luxembourg, 1999

Early digital photos of a short trip to Luxembourg on our way from London to Paris back in 1999.

Bike the Drive – May 27, 2018

Bike the Drive is when Chicago closes practically the whole length of Lake Shore Drive to motor traffic, and open it up to bicycles. It’s quite a spectacle … and a nice Sunday bike ride for participants.

It also is a good practice for me to work on panning. Not as successful as I want to be this time around but … I like the abstract feel of the results. I did have some focused panning but I kind of like these ones. Have a look:


Did about a 5-mile walk from Lincoln Park’s North Pond, through to the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Nature Boardwalk, then crossed over Lake Shore Drive to the beaches – Fullerton Beach and North Ave. Beach, then along the breakwater to the Near Northside at Chestnut. Lots of birds about including several green herons in the North Pond as well as in the Nature Boardwalk.

The skyline was not visible though because of the fog … which made photography of people on the breakwater very interesting.

Sun Worshippers, May 8, 2018

I was off on Tuesday, May 8 because of the primary elections that went on in Indiana. Because I am used to getting up early on week days, I was able to go out to Thorndale Beach to watch the sun rise.

There were already people there doing the same thing.

I can’t get enough of sunrise shots.