Uyen Dang Photography: Blog en-us (C) Uyen Dang Photography [email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:37:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 06:37:00 GMT Uyen Dang Photography: Blog 82 120 Spectacular Cherry Blossom Year  


This was the first year that I was successfully able to make it out to the Jefferson Memorial and Tidal Basin before sunrise to take pictures of the cherry blossoms. Other years, I had silly mishaps like forgetting my batteries or miss judging the sunrise time. With a fellow photographer we were able to make it out to the basin by 5:30 AM and as we found so did a few dozen of other avid photographers and camera crews. It was a nice sight to see the cherry blossom tree lit up by a panel of LED video lights. It illuminated the blossoms in a dreamy lavender pink hue. And it was funny to see how everyone was trying to position themselves to get an angle of the Jefferson Memorial and the lit blossoms. 


It is great to experience the stillness of the morning before too much bustle was going to descend on the basin.


The crowds started to build up as the sun rose making it difficult to find a spot that you can frame the blossom and/or the memorials in a fresh perspective. Luckily I packed my Lensbaby fisheye lens hoping to score a novel composition. 


As the sun quickly brightened the DC skyline edging over the horizon, the warm glow intensified the pinks in blossoms. It is breath taking to get to stand under the grove of trees as the sun rose.


As we walked around past the FDR Memorial and the Martin Luther King Memorials, my favorite spots around the basin are where the branches droops over the basin. By this time the full morning daylight bathed the sky and the snowy pink-white blossoms can be seen. Since this was the first day of the peak blossoms, the petals were fully intact and the basin perfectly mirrored the blossoms leaning into it from overhead. 


And sometimes I had to get into awkward positions (like laying flat on my back as people walked around me) to photograph these beautiful trees. 


And of course, I always have to have an image of the delightful tiny blossoms that bloom off of the main tree trunk. It just seem so determined to bloom even if it wasn't apart of a branch and the cluster of blossoms. 


On a morning like that Thursday, the back drop of the perfectly clear blue skies was more than we can ask for as image makers. The pale pinks harmoniously dancing to the morning breeze. 





[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) Jefferson Memorial cherry blossoms dc tidal basin Tue, 15 Apr 2014 22:05:44 GMT
Travel Image Series - Nature's Forces Japan - Nature's Forces

Nature is so dynamic, especially the wind and waves. Finding a way to convey the movement and power in a still photograph that we experience in real life is one of those challenges as a nature photographer. These two examples were how I attempted to capture a piece of the natures dynamics. 

In Ishinomaki, our friends took us to the bay. Most of the debris had been cleared, but the affect of the tsunamai's powerful sweeping devastation was present. Not having any context of what used to be there other than the street roads and concrete foundation outlines, I noticed how I peaceful the sea felt to me on the beautiful blue skied day. I can't imagine how the seas can turn so wrathfully decimating on the bay town. I had to make several attempts to time the crashing waves over the concrete breakers to show the sprays over the barriers. 


Another way I was able to capture the evidence of the tsunami's forces not only was seen in the devastation. But how it permanently pushed over the trees along the shore. All the trees in this image is leaning away from the sea due to the waves that day. I remember this happening to my state years ago when hurricane Hugo swept through South Carolina. They showed aerial views of the toppled trees that looked like a pile of match sticks.  NKN_2422NKN_2422


[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) japan nature travel series tsunami affects waves wind Thu, 12 Dec 2013 15:45:00 GMT
Travel Image Series - Symbols Japan - Symbols

Outside the Grace Hope house, which I had learned was temporarily loaned to the Grace Mission Tohuku missions as a housing, lay a cross propped on its side.  As a Christ follower, of course it would be an image I had to take. Many of the yards have been cleaned up but by no means completely groomed yet. So there are still materials for reconstruction on the grounds. I noticed it as a curious site while the kids played in the gravel yard as you can see the ball is stuck under the cross. 

Cross Propped in YardCross Propped in Yard

While inside the home, I had heard it was had been loaned to the Grace Mission Tohuku. A member of the community had allowed the mission to use it for housing their staff and run a free cafe during the day to encourage the community to come fellowship. I don't know if the cross in this image was constructed solely for support purposes, but the moment I saw my friend, one of the volunteers, stand framed perfectly under it I had to take it. Until I was writing this blog, each image to me just spoke out as a composition of symbol that had great personal significance to me - Jesus Christ. But when I put both of them together, there was sometime more meaningful that I guess even at the time of taking these images represent that I didn't realize. The first image taken on the outside, weathered and beaten, propped on the ground and disregarded outside of the Hope house - didn't seem very hopeful even it's surroundings. While the second image to me, a cross built into the structure, giving it support - inside a building meant to bring hope alive - with a another key component - the volunteer - is what symbolizes hope. The cross in action even if it doesn't look like a typical action shot. Ordinary yet together these images illustrates how symbols in an image alone or together can tell a different story. 

Satoshi under the entranceSatoshi under the entrance



[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) cross details japan symbols travel series Wed, 04 Dec 2013 22:30:00 GMT
Travel Image Series - Japan - Youth Japan - Youth

In one of my previous posts, I shared about the kids at play - Kids Program. Fun is the universal language of kids and I can almost recognize the game they were playing. However, the first image below is one that really stood out for me. It was one of the youth carrying a pot for the afternoon meal. He had came early so he was turned around to head back until it was the right time. Usually it's the adults in the neighborhood lining up early, so this is why it caught my attention. And it wasn't just one serving that he is going for himself, but that he brought a pot which meant to me he was fetching it for his family. It's that stage in a young kids life when you can tell they are responsible and thoughtful for others. And the gesture of putting on the back of his neck like this also has a very carefreeness about his attitude. 


The second image was taken when I got to just walk around the grounds of a shrine in Kyoto. As I was composing the shot of the shrine, I noticed these group of students turning the corner. Usually I would have waited until they passed me to take the shot. But this time I waited for that perfect moment that all of them to walk right in front of the shrine each youth absorbed in their own thing. Glad I patiently waited for the moment to happen. 

school kids at the shrine in Kyoto school kids at the shrine in Kyoto



[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) details japan kids people travel series youth Wed, 27 Nov 2013 05:08:33 GMT
Travel Image Series - Japan - Hands & Feet Japan - Hands & Feet

Sometimes it's not the face that is important to a moment but the connection of simple gestures which convey connection and emotion. I had already blogged about the image before in a previous post. Out of respect for the people in the image I choose not to photo graph their faces. And this is when a picture is worth a thousand words. The tenderness of the touch, the leaning in of the mother towards the girl whose hands are on the knee of the child. It was one of the most moving moments I have ever experienced.  Seeing the child light up with the simple touch deeply moving. And in respect of that moment I didn't want the faces to be shown but the act of love. 

Jessie praying for the daughter of the home ownerJessie praying for the daughter of the home owner

Another gesture that represented to me of why the volunteers do what they do in Japan, is this image here. In a society where displays of connection or physical touches are rare, this image was meant to represented the trust that was built between the volunteer and the community they served. This simple pat on the back illustrated how they had been able to gain the affection and trust of the locals. For me it spoke volumes of the tireless hours, work, and caring for a community in need of restoration.  NKN_2066NKN_2066 This image of the feet of one of the volunteers for me represent the work and the distances in which she and others came to cheerfully volunteer.  This young lady traveled about 5 hours by train from the suburbs of Tokyo to come to this fishing town to perform for the locals. It really conveys this verse in Romans, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!" Her cheerful songs filled the air with joy and lit up the hearts of the people who were in the tent.

Beautiful are the feet who bring good newsBeautiful are the feet who bring good news


[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) details gestures people travel series Fri, 25 Oct 2013 14:23:00 GMT
Travel Image Series - Onagawa - Context, Scale & Shadow The thing about showing my travel images early on was there were so many stories to tell with each image that the time required to tell them was time consuming. And while you're on travel from location to location you're just hoping to collect it all. And the significance of why an image is important to you tends to get overlooked. But these two images stand out for me of the city in Japan that I got to visit to see first hand what the devastation 

Onagawa - Toppled Concrete Building - Context & Scale

When we were driven through the streets of Onagawa, they had cleared most of the building and debris from the roads. But as we stood on the hill were the hospital stood which was already about 20 feet above the street below, we were shown this three story concrete building. At first it did not register to me that the toppled building I was looking at was on its side. The green side that I was seeing was actually it's ceiling and the escape ladder was what was on the side. The force of the tsunami had completely tipped that building like a kid tipping over a tall lego block. The water had risen over 10 feet above parking lot of the hospital I was standing to reach the first floors of the hospital. I was glad to have the image of the people in the car down next to the building and the orange stands really give you a cue the size of the building. The square concrete rubble squares are the outline of the footprint of where buildings once stood. If you imagined how many buildings were completely destroyed.

the green building is tipped over on its sidethe green building is tipped over on its side

Ongawa - Shadows of Visitors

I have a fascination and affinity with reflections and shadows. This image was taken because we were visitors and tourists - our time there is as temporal as the the shadows we cast. I like taking images of our likeness without directly taking a direct image. I love the various stances that is captured in the image, from the shadow in the upper left leaning on the rails. And all of us with our cameras taking a picture. And if I picked it out correctly I totally recognize on of my friend just by his height. I think I'm the one just right of the vertical divide in the center (process of elimination based on size ;). 

Reflection of our team mon the road below us from the hospital parking lotReflection of our team mon the road below us from the hospital parking lot


Ongawa - Iconic Symbols

As volunteers every morning we were bused to the home that we were mudding out and we would pass by this huge red water tank with a whale meat ad on it. It was crushed like a soda can tossed on the side of the road by the forces of the tsunami which had pushed this water tower blocks from where it once stood. To the locals it started to be a memorial of the children who had perished, yet at the same time it was a painful icon. So a day or two before I left, without any fanfare they had removed the huge red whale water tower. Even though I initially felt that it was so touristy and insensitive to gawk at the water tower from the car, for me it had turned into an iconic documentary image after hearing the news of its removal. 

Whale Meat Advertisement on Water TankWhale Meat Advertisement on Water Tank

[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) context iconic symbols japan onagawa shadow travel series Fri, 18 Oct 2013 14:10:00 GMT
Travel Image Series - Redding Sundial Bridge - Architecture I want to start blogging about my travel images. I was revisiting the images that I had taken last year and even though I have shown them before, this travel image series will weekly post an image or images that I had an artistic or photographic significance to me. They were usually very purposefully taken and with an intent. It is an attempt to analyze and evolve my artistic style. So I will be hopefully post weekly one or two images and explaining why and what I wanted to achieve by them. 

Redding CA - Sundial Bridge 

The first two images I wanted to show are the two images from Redding, CA Sundial Bridge.  This first image is taken from the ground near the base of the dial. I love the angle of the dial and really wanted to use the leading lines of the cables and the walkway grates. I chose to change it into black and white to allow the focus be drawn to the dial and not the people. And I did wait until the runners and walkers came into mid-view of the image rather than waiting for them to completely pass. This was a great tip from a landscape photographer to bring scale and life to an architectural image. Since this bridge is used by locals every day, this conveys how people use the bridge from day to day. 

NKN_1552NKN_1552 The second images of the bridge was more traditional architectural image.  I remember having to find a spot far away enough to get the bridge fully in the frame. This required me to stand in the shrubs on a mound of mulch with my tripod. What is also challenging for me as a shorter photographer, that an image like this the camera view finder may be higher than my eye level to gauge the level. As you can see the ground slightly not horizontal, but this is not as noticeable because the Sundial's stronger triangular lines. 



[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) architecture redding sundial bridge travel series Fri, 11 Oct 2013 14:15:00 GMT
Season's Rush Time Lapse I have named my latest time lapse video, Season's Rush, because it just seems how incredibly fast the seasons have come and gone. Through out the year I have been experimenting with capturing images to practice creating time lapse videos. This one is a compilation of a meteor shower which you aren't able to see due to the crop of the video. In the winter, I was able to capture in the longest segment which was taken over four hours. You can see a neighbor walking their dog around the pond, and my favorite part of the close up is of the ducks jetting around the surface at the 00:50 sec mark. The next segment was one I published before of the sun setting over Great Falls and the party next to the C&O canal.

This summer I had the chance to take images from southern MD, where I never realized how clearly you can see all the stars! And of course with the climax of the song, was the images of the Super Moon earlier in June, again straight from my balcony. The thing about the moon, unless you do a time photography, you don't get the appreciation of how fast it moves across the sky. And in my attempts to get just about 5 seconds worth of footage, I had to readjust the camera so we can see it climb to the top of the frame. Lastly, the ending segment was captured on pre-dawm morning from the beach house in Hilton Head. I had noticed it earlier in the evening over the ocean, but due to my 10 hour drive was too exhausted to setup the camera to watch it rise over the water. So luck would have it, when I woke up in the middle of the night, I noticed it over the houses across from us. And I set up my tripod and camera until the early sun light. The thing I had to adjust for with a morning shot is the exposure as the sun started to light up the horizon. I actually was thrilled to have the cloud come through, which on its own was really moving quickly. The moon backlit the clouds and when the sun was rising it created the nice red glow. 

As for the music, I wish I had more footage to let you hear the rest of the song. I know my editing isn't the best at this point, because I'm still getting accustomed to iMovie's finicky features. 

I will surely work on more time lapse videos in the future. I know that I want to perfect the resolution and the smoothness of the time lapse. And one day it would super awesome to get one of the motorized dolly to get motion with the time lapse. So much to learn, and hopefully by the time I master the process it would be at my next exotic adventures some place. Hope you enjoy this short video!


[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) great falls hilton head meteor shower snow stars super moon timelapse Sat, 17 Aug 2013 01:11:13 GMT
New Look & New Website In the spirit of July 4th Independence weekend, I have some great news worth celebrating to share with you. As some of you may have noticed, I have updated my website with a new look. And this look was driven by my latest announcement. 


At the beginning of the year I had decided to formalize my photography business.  So, for the past few months I have been working on developing my photography business with a lot of researching and soul searching, I am proud to present to you ... Portrait Story Images, LLC


This business is centered on portrait photography and the stories that people. It was inspired by how I always am amazed by their lives and the incredible stories they share as I get acquainted with them. As the business grows I hope to incorporate more video to the Portrait Story, I aspire create an offering which will incorporate video to tell their stories beautiful cinematic way.  

The other two key aspects of this business which was important to me, is being able to bless people with a positive, portrait experience. It's not every day that people get to put on their best dresses, get made up and have a professional portrait. When people feel like it is an authentic special experience this really shines through in their portraits. 

The next key element of my business is offering photographic collections. As young girl I loved flipping through pages of our family albums which are my only glimpses into my family's life back in Vietnam.  Although today's digital images are convenient, and everyone can Instagram every moment of their life.  Holding a framed picture or thumbing through pages an album allows you to reflect and cherish on those moments in a deeper way than sweeping through them on an iPhone. 


So what will I do with This site will be for the website for my personal photography and blog musings. I have so many diverse interests that it seemed better to keep my Portrait Story Images work separate from my love of landscape photography, time lapse photography, travel & personal outings, or any random posts I may have. This also allows me to showcase the stories of the portraits of the people I hope to serve on my other site and blog. I hope that you keep both sites book marked to see what's developing on either site. Also keep your eyes peeled for a Facebook page, that should be coming shortly. 

I would love to hear your feedback about my new Portrait Story Images. And of course, feel free to share my site to your family and friends!

Have a Happy July 4th weekend!











[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) Portrait Story Images new website launch Wed, 03 Jul 2013 23:47:34 GMT
Painterly Peonies Back in the days when I sketched with pencil and pastels, I loved working with still life. I love the relaxation of being connected to the movement of your hands as you draw the curves or smear the pencil dust to create the shadows. Blending was my favorite aspect of layering and drawing images. I love feeling the ridges of the textured or the smooth glide of the pencil. I remember being taught to rotate the pencil in your hands as you draw so that you have a evenly curved point instead of the sharp slanted edges. This image taken today of some peonies I bought at the farmers market had such a painterly sketch look to it, it's mesmerizing to me. The reflection of the stems in the water with the graininess of the photo, and the textured background reminds me of my younger days sketching. 

What I love about digital photography is the instant gratification of taking thousands and thousands of gigabytes of images. Today's sketch pad is replaced with photoshop which can do amazing composites and morphications. But the human hands to paper, there's nothing like it. This image makes me want to pick up a sketch pad and dig out my pastels to draw out each lovely fold of the peony. The subtle blending of creamy ivory petals so delicately created by the Lord's hands. And what is nearly impossible to recreate is the lovely spring fragrance of the flower. Even with the love of sketching, drawing, or photography it reminds is so much of every day little things that we can take pleasure in this very moment. So I hope these little painterly peonies brighten your day as they have mine!



[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) farmers market flowers peony sketching Sun, 02 Jun 2013 01:43:19 GMT
Herndon Bike to Work Last night one of my friends informed me about the Bike to Work day with various cities sponsoring pit stops along the W&OD trail. The weather was perfect for a ride along the trail. I enjoyed seeing a few dozen of the approximately 200 registered riders through the Herndon stop. There were a number of supporting merchants and organizations who were out there to encourage this healthy and environmentally friendly activity. 

herndon bike to workHerndon_BiketoWork-12

What I enjoyed were a few families who ride in together, one mother told me this was their first time bringing her one year old on a bike ride.


Even the four-legged friends got to be a part of the scene. This dog, Hannah, howled in tone to the wailing of the fire trucks what whizzed by on Elden Street this morning. 


With summer festivals and activities ramping up in Reston and Herndon, I can't wait to be enjoying more events like this. Here are a few of the images taken this morning in my slide show. 



[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) bike to work herdon Fri, 17 May 2013 19:18:03 GMT
Mother and Daughter Portraits I love sharing portrait stories especially since I recently had the chance to give two amazing women a mother and daughter portrait session. I recalled one of the first times I had witnessed them perform a duet at my church for Mother's Day when Emily was probably about 11 or 12 years old. The bond between them were so endearing, the brightness in Emily's eyes and smiles was beaming with pride that she got to sing with her mom on stage. As Emily's youth leader, sometimes Mai would ask me advice about how to relate to Emily while other times I would have to share insights to Emily about her mom's concerns. So as enviable as their beauty, is their friendship. Most of the time, when I ask one about the other there was always joy in their words for either of them.  

NKN_2258 Mai humbly nurtured Emily as best as she could as a first generation parent, taking her to activities such karate and ice skating. Even Emily assisted in helping her mom with learning to be an expert aesthetician. Through the years, I got to witness how they truly love, admire, and adore each other. 

NKN_2225 So I was truly honored when Emily posted on my Facebook wall about her experience and the portraits taken for them. They both are incredible women and someday I would hope to have this type of bond if I ever have a daughter of my own. 

"Thank you Co Uyen for capturing the light in my eyes. :) For years, I've admired moms hazel/green eyes and it is the first time I've seen it captured in someone else's photography. You gave us an amazing photo shoot session as mother and daughter that allowed us to bond and reconnect. You didn't just capture 'glamour', but you captured 'grace' ♥"



[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) Daughter mother Mon, 29 Apr 2013 22:11:29 GMT
Frodo's Raised Brow Although I am not a pet owner, many of my friends are pet lovers. Pets who have been with them for more than a decade. For them, their pet is more than their friend they are dear beloved members of their families.  For my friend, her dog Frodo has been by her side for over 16 years! Going through a bout with cancer now, she didn't have a decent portrait of the both of them. This past week I had the chance to snap a few portraits of the fella. My favorite was this raised brow photo which seems to say, "okay my dear, enough of that snapping." He really was easy and a great sport about getting him outside even in his weakened state. Praying and hoping for his speedy recovery through this time. 


[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) pet portrait Fri, 22 Mar 2013 17:21:31 GMT
Centennial of Suffrage March It never ceases to amaze me where I am led and what I am encountering these days. From a brief chat at a DC Tech Meetup session in Chinatown last week, one of the women entrepreneurs I encountered invited me to the National Press Club celebration of the Suffrage march in DC. Completely surprised by her gracious offer, I took her up on it. 

This weekend marks the 100th anniversary of the march in Washington on Pennsylvania Avenue for women's right to vote. As a modern day woman, I must say I take it for granted that I have this right, much less as an immigrant citizen. Sad to admit, for many early years of my adulthood I did not give it any thought this right to vote. As years and experience has taught me, our ability to influence others is greater than we often give ourselves the credit. And as the amazing women of their time people like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth and countless many other women, our collective voices have power. Demonstrated on that March day in 1913, these women had the chance to turn the tide.

At the end of the panel discussion, I had the chance to get a snapshot of the great-great-great-grand-daughter of Elizabeth Cady Stanton - pretty cool I must say. 

great-great-great-grand-daughter_of_Elizabeth_Cady_StantonNKN_9534 To learn more about the events that are coming up this weekend, the Suffrage Celebration can be found at Those historical women became vocal so that our voices would break those barriers. This challenges me to learn more about our history, to consider what I should do with my voice, and how I can influence this and future generations. 


[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) centennial march suffrage Fri, 01 Mar 2013 06:18:33 GMT
Bride's Striking Gaze There seems to be a rash of impromptu weddings as of late, and a few weeks ago I was invited to my friend's Pete's wedding via text! My friend Pete is a no-non-sense kind of guy, and that was so him. This at-home ceremony and reception would be filled with a handful but packed house full of family and friends. This would be intimate and relaxed event. Although I only met Pete's bride only once, she is lovely and sweet. However, not realizing that her English was limited, there were moments when I had use the universal body gestures to get my poses with her. Even with the slight challenge, there was one absolute favorite portrait of hers that was to me the most striking. It was the one where she gazed directly into my camera. Her eyes said it all. Her complete happiness, the confidence of a graceful God-fearing woman, just illuminated from within her. These are the types of portraits I adore. Pete, my friend, you've done well!


The entire cozy evening in their home was filled with conversation, children, parents, and extended family. And there were some snow-throwing silliness going on the deck. Here is a peak at some of the top picks from their blessed day.  


[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) annadale at home wedding va wedding Wed, 27 Feb 2013 19:18:20 GMT
Classic Portrait Modern day portraits run the spectrum of settings and styles. But one of my first influences to portraiture was through the few and precious photos our family was able to bring out of Vietnam as refugees. I would spend countless hours looking over each of the photos of my family and my parents as a young couple. I love the little 2x3 inch images of them strolling through gardens and zoos. However one of favorites was this image of my mom, where less is more. The technique they use silouetted the features of her face. And they hand painted her lips and some of her lashes. It probably took them hours in the dark room to expose only her facial features while over exposing everything else. I even love the light blue wisps of her hair. Sometimes in modern photography we over do things. This just shows us how simple and refined portrait is timeless. What a classic, tasteful and lovely portrait. 

moms portraitscan_mom



[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) classic portrait Sun, 10 Feb 2013 03:21:32 GMT
Stephanie Hall Portraits - Raw Food & Wellness Coaching I had the pleasure to shot portraits for my wonderful & lovely friend, Stephanie Hall for her updated web site, Stephanie over the years has built a raw foods coaching business by giving classes at our local Whole Foods grocery store and one-on-one consultation. I love collaborating with people on marketing their business.


At the time of this session, it was early spring and the local farmers markets were just beginning to get buzzing. So I suggested that we shoot around the quaint character of shops around Vienna, VA.  With the help of another budding photographer and friend, Queen Vo, we began our on location portraits at Whole Foods in Vienna which had a lovely mural. Stephanie's outfit complimented the colors of the mural perfectly. If you ever get to meet her, you will love her adorable laugh and gorgeous smile!

uyen-stephanie-027 uyen-stephanie-016 uyen-stephanie-044

I love the challenge of scoping out a location for photo spots and this location had plenty to work with, even along the W&O trail.


Nestled next to the store was a little garden spot with a bench and these huge elephant ear plant which are one of my favorite leaves to shoot. I love the lines and texture of them, and Stephanie mysteriously peeping over them!


The next spot was the actual farmer's market.  Hoping to get a few images for her newsletters and blogs we took a few candids of her selecting veggies or fruits that she would typically recommend her students or for her recipes. It's amazing you can even hire as a personal chef and try out her own homegrown cooking! The colors and varieties of produce almost distracted me from the purpose of shoot. 


NKN_0963 Many best wishes to Stephanie on her growing endeavors of helping others in a new year of health and wellness!


[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) coaching raw foods small business wellness Mon, 14 Jan 2013 18:00:44 GMT
Kristie & Chris Ceremony The feature photos from my landing page are from a session days before my trip this summer. And when I returned, I was so tickled to see them use the photos for their save-the-dates card in my mailbox. So this weekend I was even more thrilled to see them tie the knot. Although its a departure from my photography I was so glad to see how the video turned out especially since the footage is from my little point-and-shoot camera. So for the friends and family who were not able to attend the wedding it, the bride didn't mind having it shown in its entirety. I hope you enjoy and are moved by their beautiful ceremony. 



[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) kristie wedding Thu, 06 Dec 2012 04:06:25 GMT
Two Great Cities The past two months I had the privilege to visit two great cities - New York City and Chicago.  I had a wonderful time just strolling through both cities.  One of my most sees in NY was the World Trade Memorial, I must say it moved me more than I thought it would. Perhaps because like everyone in the US who lived through that day, we all remember where we were. There were a few flowers and flags placed either in the names or in the water fountain in a quiet tribute to their loved ones. Seeing the list of the first responder teams just reminded me of the brave people who chose to go forward for the sake of others. 

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Central Park was the other destination I wanted to hit during my short visit. I wasn't sure if I was going to make there due to the rain and my shoes rubbing my heels ordeal (long story). Luckily I did make it to the Alice-in-Wonderland sculpture and pond I wanted to see. The kids playing with the remote controlled sail boats were to fun to see. 

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Last weekend, I was in Chicago for a cousin's wedding, it was a perfect autumn weekend to be visiting the windy city. The wedding was held in Lincoln Park, I and tried not to go into wedding photography mode. But they had picked great venues for the ceremony and reception. I even bumped into a photographer who was taking pictures for a time lapse. I was certainly jealous that I did not have the right equipment to do my own :)

NKN_7613 But on the days I went sight seeing with my family it was gorgeous, I was especially delighted when we got to see the iconic "bean" or officially known as "The Cloud." I agree with everyone how impressive the architecture that is throughout the city. 


I love the distortion the sculpture makes as you walk under and around it. This one was taken directly under the bean and my self portrait snapshot.


NKN_7786 Even though I did not get to do the Sears Tower Skydeck, the John Hancock views the day we visited were epic. The sky and lake painted in my favorite turquoise aqua blues. Makes me wish I can soar from the rooftops and swoop into the waters like an eagle catching its prey. 

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However one of my favorite images from the trip was not on a clear day, but from the last day when the fog was looming over the tops of the skyscrapers. I wanted to walk along the river and across the bridges. And the stunning row of yellow trees lining the river was the type of drama that really showcased the contrast between the natural and the man-made city. Love the pop of gold!


And since I have been trying out more night skyline pictures, this one was from the evening of the wedding without a tripod. 

NKN_7724 And this one was in NYC hand-held as I stepped off the bus heading to lower Manhattan, of course a little blurry. But I needed to catch the full moon between the buildings. 

NKN_6139 My next night photo was from Washington Square Park, as I was trying to walk around to get the best angle. I think this angle from across the street is one I like the best. 



[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) central park chicago new york the bean Fri, 02 Nov 2012 01:05:02 GMT
Best of Round the World Trip Having returned for over a month my experiences are so much sweeter as I get to tell people my stories reflecting on them. However, there is so much to share with people about my trip, there is so much tell that I never get past the first few highlights. So I have distilled them to the following highlights. So here are the best of experiences on my trip.

1) Best Overall Experience - Volunteering in Japan

To be able to serve both the people of Ishinomaki and my favorite Grace Mission Tohoku servant warriors (Virginia, Satoshi, Satoko, Rimpei & Amiko) was an honor. To feel the unity of meeting all the groups of believers from around the globe - South Africa, Canada, and the Missouri SBU teams, we shared one Lord and one mission to demonstrate God's love to the survivors. The stories of growing hope in the rebuilding.

Group Silliness Blog entries: Onagawa, Mudout, Tadashi & Bingo, Kids Program, and Sing-Along Cafe

2) Greatest Personal Accomplishment  - Climbing Mount Fuji

The more and more I reflect on this accomplishment there are so many life applications that I had learned from that experience. Things like heading to a mountain that I didn't see, to learning that I needed help along the way, that the Lord provided, to it is easier to push through the dark than getting discouraged seeing how far I needed to go, and how it was so satisfying to descend having made it to the top.

P1010190 Blog entry: Mt Fuji on July 4th

3) Where I Would Want to Return  - Iceland

Hands down every photographer who I encountered and who has been to Iceland -- goes back to Iceland. I hope to do the same in future trips and be challenged to capture the images that would do it justice. Epic views!

NKN_5580 Blog entry: Picture Perfect Iceland

4) Best Bucket List Experience - Olympics & Exploring London

My little girl dreams of watching a live Olympic game came true was awesome. It was inspiring to watch the athletes putting their best and their all with each competition. And then being able to be blessed with all the delightful experiences in the city with so much history and character. What a delight to see many of the sites in London. More over I had a chance to volunteer with a kids camp. Lots of unexpected blessings!


Blog entries: Tourist Checklist, Olympics, Volunteering at Kids Camp

5) Most Scenic City - Sydney and Manly Beach

As a gorgeous harbor town Sydney has the nice balance of nature and city. The city skyline of the city is iconic from the Opera House, to the ferry ride to Manly Beach, and the beautiful Bondi beaches. Had the best chill days there.

Red dusk and bridge shadow casting on the Opera House Blog entries: Sydney, Manly Beach, Bondi Beach

6) Unexpected New Experiences - Onsen in Japan & Helicopter Ride in Wellington 

The Japanese know how to unwind and the ritual of the onsen was well earned after long days mudding out and after my trek down from Mt. Fuji. How can we start a movement to get these onsens in America? If you ever had experienced it you know what I'm talking about! There's no pictures of that experience, but I certainly had a number of shots from the helicopter over the bay in Wellington.

NKN_3795 Blog entry: Wellington

7) Meeting fascinating people - The best moments are the ones that are not captured in a photograph or video.  Small exchanges, encounters in all the lines/queues are the best to strike up a conversation. It is the random encounter with a mom and daughter on the Skyrail, lengthy conversations in line at the border patrol, climbing up and back from a daunting summit, glacier hiking or cheering in the stands. When I am lucky there are extended time to get acquainted like with the father and son playing at the ukelele festival, the beautiful family from San Diego, hosts & flatmates, know people at hours in a jeep photo touring. 

P1010206 NKN_3045 NKN_3625 Blog entry: Great Barrier Reef, Ukulele Festival

8) Generosity of Hosts - One of the biggest risk I had taken was using the website to book half of my accommodations. Their hospitality truly made my travels feel less daunting and solo. All welcomed me graciously and warmly from being picked up from the airport, sharing meals together or a cup of tea, and most amazingly having a packed to-go breakfasts. You don't get the same treatment from a hotel or perhaps at hostel. For anyone who wants to travel on a budget and who loves to roam like a local this is the way to get that experience. So much thanks to my hosts Rachel, Mary, and Arianna & Tommi.



[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) australia iceland japan london new zealand olympics Mon, 24 Sep 2012 22:23:11 GMT
New Zealand - Wellington My original plans for visiting New Zealand was shorten so that I can return back to South Carolina for a family reunion for a cousins bridal shower. So my brief time in Wellington gave me a nice breather from my travels in Australia. Since it was winter there, my first few days were a bit chilly and wet with rain and my only option for my first day there was to visit Te Papa. 


If you ever visit Wellington, the Te Papa museum is worth the visit which features the cultural history of New Zealand but especially the Maori people. It was enjoyable to see how they incorporated interactive exhibits and love they way they woven the stories of the people through history and its cultural impacts and influences. 


And the best part it was free, but it is well worth providing donations. The nice surprise of the day was being able to overhear a group of Maori singers practicing in one of the exhibit halls and being able to sand down a green stone with little river peebles. Even though my walk to Te Papa was drenching wet, my walk home was painted with a fiery orange glow over the edges of the hills and clouds. 


However, it never fails that God just blessed me with phenomenal weather on the last day I was there. One of the value deals of my trip there was the Hop-on-Hop-Off tour van which led you around the city in multiple stops where you can choose to spend anytime at any given location. This is nice since I had not rented a car and there were some locations that were a little out of my walking radius. The first stop was a scenic overlook of Mount Victoria Peak, where there's even a memorial to Admiral Byrd who flew over the South Pole. 


New Zealand is increasingly synonymous with Peter Jackson's filming of the Lord of the Rings. Of course I was curious to take a little look see at their production company WETA. So glad to see that it is not a huge glammed up tourist theme park like what you may see in Hollywood. Love that it has its humble beginnings feel to it. It is just a small storefront type of place where you can find collectibles of movies they had produced. And you are able to view a short video about the production company's origins. 


The next stop on my tour was a quick ride on the Wellington Cable Car and a stroll through its botanical gardens. There was only another senior couple on the tour with me so this was where I got to chat with them more.


The wife was receiving an award for her quilting work that she and other ladies did for women's prisons. I love hearing peoples stories and what their life and journeys are. They were interested in the Old Saint Paul's chapel in the city too, which wasn't on my list of stop-offs but it was quaint and had such beautiful stain glass. I like smaller churches like these that aren't as intimidating or overwhelmingly dark. 


My last stop was at the Museum of Wellington City & Sea which was nice to get a sense of the city's development. But what caught my eye right outside of this museum was a gleaming red helicopter. And I had always wanted to ride in a helicopter, so I curiously searched for the rental window to ask if they had any open flights the rest of the day. To my luck, there was one in 30 minutes, and they had room for me -- score!


I didn't care that the flight would only be about 15 minutes of airtime, but it was the best experience of my time in New Zealand. I thought that the 360 degree view from Mount Victoria's Peak was great - this was simply thrilling. So be able to fly over the city and see the ridge and fault lines. As well as see the windmills on top of the mountains. I was giddy as a little girl in a candy store. 

Sunsets are simply beautiful in this part of the country for some reason. And that evening as I walked back to the place I was staying. Though not as dramatic as the day before I had the chance to get beautiful shots of the boats in the harbor in the still waters. 


But my most memorable moment of New Zealand actually came as I left it. My flight back to was super early right before sunrise, and normally I have been assigned aisle seats. This morning I got a window view, and as I was settling in to take a quick nap I look over my shoulder to see the most stunningly surreal sunrise ever. At the edge of darkness pierced this intense orange and blue glow. And you can barely make out the mountain top over the clouds while the stars twinkling deep in the heavenly sky. Certainly my most memorable sunrise. 






[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) new zealand sunrise te papa wellington Thu, 23 Aug 2012 16:13:43 GMT
Picture Perfect Iceland In May of 2010, the volcano in Iceland, Eyjafjallajokull erupted halting air travel for weeks, bringing Europe to a virtual stand still. Months afterwards, I stumbled across this wonderful video of the volcano that simply mesmerized me.  


Having had a fascination with Iceland before, I never knew how stunning the landscape could be.  So when I had started to plan my trip to the Olympics I noticed that one of the consistently affordable plane tickets was via Iceland Air. And taking advantage of their stop-over policy, I extended my layover in Iceland for nearly a week. Unlike London, and my other cities, with this last leg of my travel I had every day planned out and activities booked in advance. 

Day 1 - Blue Lagoon & Reykjavik for some relaxation at the world renowned spa. And since the sun doesn't set until well after 10:30 PM, I was able to tour the city. Even though the Blue Lagoon is teeming with tourists, it lives up to the hype, especially the 120 minute body treatment/massage - highly recommended if you are going to splurge.  


Later that evening, I ventured out to the city taking advantage the daylight hours (nearly 20+ hours of it daily). I toured Reykjavik this picture of the famous Hallgrimskirkja church was taken at 10 PM! 


A glimpse of the my first day pictures are on this slideshow of the Blue Lagoon and Reykjavik.

Day 2 - Glacier Walk and Jökulsárlón Glacier lagoon to live out one of my dreams which is to walk and touch a glacier. It was so fun to strap on those crampons and don an ice pick! We didn't go very far (likely because me another photographer was slowing the group down). The guide did mention how the glacier was rapidly receding. He avoided the topic of the causes, but no matter where you may stand on the issue, the fact is the ice is melting and landscape changing daily for them. 


But where I was hoping to be able to get up close & personal to the glaciers was at the lagoon. I was hoping to see something spectacular. We were told that most glaciers in the lagoon will completely melt within a month. It was uncommon that the lagoon was as full as we had seen it that day we visited.  Usually there are smaller pieces floating, due to the winds it had blown the big pieces towards the middle of the lagoon.  We were even lucky to witness a piece of one the glaciers breaking off (image 49 & 50 in the slideshow)! 

Day 3 - Snaefellsness Photo Tour - ever since my trip to Mt. Rainier in Washington state, I have had a greater respect for landscape and nature photographers. And knowing that I wanted to do the images of Iceland justice, I figured the best way to do it is to take a photography tour. These were especially appealing because I would have a guide and instructor for virtually a full day to take me around the photo spots for a region.  My first tour was to Snaefellsnes, which apparently is famous for being the mountain in Jules Verne's "Journey to the Center of the Earth."  Even though most of the day was overcast, the last shots of the day are usually the best ones, we were able to get a great reflection of Kirkjufell. 

NKN_5431 Snaefellsnes was shrouded with clouds that day, thus slideshow echoes a more somber side of Iceland's western coast through its little boating town, abandoned house and lonely lighthouse. Due to the volcanic origins of the island, one of my impressions of the landscape is that it resembled crinkled peanut brittle on a cookie sheet. The slideshow below are a few of the shots from that tour. 

Day 4 - South Coast Photo Tour - I love it when God saves the best for last. And I wasn't disappointed this day, my guide Kiddi along with another photographer toured the South Coast. The best thing about a tour is the flexibility of the guide to take us where he thought was best for the day. And we were treated to locations with spectacular views.


What was especially stunning is overlook of the town of Vik and sea stacks of Reynisdrangar. 


I hope that Iceland will remain as raw and natural without commericalization overtaking its pure beauty. And one of my top highlights was a surprise from Kiddi to take me to the location of the downed airplane that you saw in the video above. I had thought the plane was somewhere in the middle of the country. He took us off-roading through wheat fields, and even through a creek to emerge on the black volcanic sands where this abandoned US Navy plane lies. 

P1010742 To a photographer, lighting is everything. One of the last spots he took us was Seljalandsfoss.  You can see the difference the time of day matters in these pics. This first one is from the morning. 


The golden hour is the term photographers use to describe the light at the hour before sunset. And it makes everything gorgeous - even waterfalls. And here is the photo taken at that time where the setting sun just accentuated the dramatic reds and oranges of the rocks, whereas they were muted in the photo taken earlier in the day.
My most breath taking moments was from the lighthouse at Dyrholaey which is about 120 meters high (390 ft) and next to it the arches of Lundadrangur. From the view of the lighthouse Lundadrangur it looked so fragile with its puzzle pieced arches and from the distance the narrowest part looked paper thin. If you look closely at the picture below you can see the people walking on it.
Again I was a little chicken to venture over there, but the other photographer wanted to get a better view. And as we approached it was wide enough that it didn't scare me too much. And again I was rewarded for venturing further I was astonished how high the lighthouse was above the water.
NKN_5742 And as I had mentioned to the other photographer, this is a photo we can't miss of getting a photo of ourselves at.  So here is me on top of the Lundadrangur arch.
NKN_5746 The photos in this slideshow are from that day, the views of that day were simply stunning and as I had said to the guide, just as I had imagined how Iceland would be.  
Getting to experience Iceland makes me yearn for heaven like the chorus from this Phil Wickham's "Heaven Song" expresses, 
I want to run on greener pastures
I want to dance on higher hills
I want to drink from sweeter waters
In the misty morning chill
And my soul is getting restless
For the place where I belong
I can't wait to join the angels and sing my heaven song


[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) iceland Tue, 14 Aug 2012 14:00:00 GMT
Tourist Checklist There is so much to see and do in London, that I did not even attempt to make a list before arriving to the city. What I loved about my time in London was that I didn't have any must see sights but a wish list of interesting spots. Usually one of my top concerns when I arrive in any city is the ability to travel safely around, and with the London tube and rail system it is daunting and overwhelming.  The London tube map is a spider web of underground, overground, rail and river boat system.  So after I had volunteered with the Kids Camp, or my games, I would head back towards Central London and simply pick a stop & figure out what I could see or do there. And the following are all the things I was able to see and do in my wonderings in London.


After picking up my Olympic tickets, my first tourist stop ended up being a ride on the London Eye.  Yes I had always thought of it as an oversized ferris wheel. But you must admit it has become an icon of the city skyline. And starting there gave me a spatial orientation of the city which helped me navigate my travels following days of touring. The ride was smooth and it is long enough to give you a chance to learn about where things are around the city. London Eye - check!

P1010500 From there I was able to walk over to hear Big Ben ring on the hour, which was cool to hear it resound. And of course the iconic red telephone boot, ringing Dr. Who! Big Ben, Telephone Booth - check, check!


My first dinner outing was at West India Quay (pronounced Key as I learned in Australia). It has a great upbeat young professional vibe about it, and it had one of my favorite tapas restaurant, La Tasca. Usually I would prefer trying new things, but I had gotten pretty hungry by the time I reached that side of the city. Lovely paella, octopus, and potatoes.


The second day I got a little more confident armed with my handy dandy little maps of the tube. My goal was to walk across the Millenium Bridge to the Tate Modern and check out the Globe Theater. I am always a little nervous when I exit a tube station especially if there are multiple exits. And this day I was able to find my way the bridge without a problem. And the engineer in me and photographer in me loved the design of the suspension bridge. I didn't get to experience the wobble but I think I got a decent photo of the bridge regardless of the crowds. Millenium Bridge - check!


The Tate Modern is a converted power station, housing contemporary works of art. However, my favorite experience at the museum was the view from the top floor cafe that overlooked the Thames and bridge. Noticing a table full of ladies and guys having afternoon tea I was hoping for the same, but was disappointed when they had sold out. Nonetheless the view and relaxing table was just what I needed to refresh on the rest of my sightseeing. Tate Modern - check!


My next destination was the Shakespeare Globe Theater, which I had found out the museum was also closed when I arrived. However, noticing the posters for the performances, I had inquired if there were any tickets left for that night's performance. It was sold out but if I returned at 6 PM I can check if there were any returned tickets. So I was hopeful and this give me the extra bust of energy to go check out the Tower Bridge further down the river.  The image above was later that evening but it was pretty cool to see the Olympic rings on the Tower Bridge. Tower Bridge - check!


When I returned I scored a seat on the lower level with an excellent view of the stage to see the Taming of the Shrew! It was a beautiful evening for a play and especially a Shakespeare comedy in the Globe Theater.


How fantastic, it was so great to see the actors interacting through the crowds or even the occasion loud planes flying overhead. Loved loved it.  Globe Theater & Performance at the Globe Theater - Mega-check!

After my first day at the games, I decided to take a river boat ride up to the Thames to the Embankment and ride it back. It was a gorgeous sunset for the evening and people were buzzing around the Jubilee park. I got to cross the Jubilee bridge to the Embankment before returning to Canary Wharf. The speedy clipper down the Thames was so much more relaxing than taking the tube and a hundred times less crowded. Riverboat ride along the Thames - check!


Sunday I had the honor to meet up with my good old friend Fiona and hang out with Steve, another one of the volunteers at Kids Camp from Mclean Bible. As independent as I am, I do love to have company of others and friends to share experiences. And I was so fortunate to have to the chance to meet up with Fiona and Steve for the day stopping at St. Paul's Cathedral and Trafalgar Square. My favorite part of the day was having afternoon tea at Charing Cross Hotel. So the disappointment of not having tea at the Tate was completely made up for by having a special time with friends. Because Fiona had to return early, Steve and I toured the city some more and ventured to Buckingham Palace to see the guards. Afternoon Tea - check, Buckingham Palace - check, Trafalgar Square - check, Westminster Abbey - check!


My host had mentioned on one of the evenings we chatted about the market at Greenwich, how she would love to one day open an Italian pastry shop there because local artisans sells their wares there. So on my free unplanned day, I went to Greenwich hoping to go see the Prime Meridian that delineates East from West. However due to the Equestrian events at Greenwich Park the Observatory was closed, but a kind guide pointed out a spot for me outside the gates of the park. Btw, I read later that day that Kate and William were watching the Cross Country event that - so I was within a mile or two radius of the royals!


So I went on my little adventure to find the plaque, which I had passed and was puzzled that I could not find it. I was determined, but almost too prideful to ask for help. I finally was able to locate it once I had stopped into a pub, where an a kind gentlemen amusingly steered me to the modest plaque on the wall, next to the three Olympics stewards sitting under an umbrella wishing they could watch the games instead of shuing off passersby. I get my shot of one feet in the East and one in the West. Prime Meridian - check!


I love local artisan markets like the one in Greenwich it was a type of place that I can spend lots of money and time there. One booth that caught my eye was for an artist who took flowers from the wild and press them into fabric where she then painted and made prints from. Organic leaves and flowers always seem to attract my attention and I had to break down and purchase an original work. I love supporting struggling artists and their work, this one was manned by the husband of the artist. Shopping at a Local Market - check!

Being able to do any of these things were not by my plan or design.  I found whenever I decided had to surrender my steps to the Lord I was surprised where I ended up. He had unfolded each of those days to bless me with the amazing experiences.   

Proverbs 3:5-6 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart

And do not lean on your own understanding.

In all your ways acknowledge Him,

And He will make your paths straight.

Psalm 37:4
Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. 


[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) london Fri, 10 Aug 2012 14:30:00 GMT
Olympic Games NKN_4366

When I was young girl growing up in South Carolina, in the early years to America when there was only three channels to choose from, the winter and summer Olympics were such a sensation those sports filled years. I remember being glued to the tv to watch the endless dramatic stories about the athletes and fascination with the sports they were competing. The earliest athletes like Bruce Jenner, Dorthy Hamill, Peggy Flemming, or Nadia Comăneci exemplified determination, perserverence, poise and excellence. While who can't forget the 1980 Winter Olympics - USA Men's Hockey team's win over Russia - epic! And for my years as a youth, the 1984 Summer Olympics in LA, memories of Mohamed Ali as the torch barer.  The amazing team work of the women's and men's gymnastics teams. And every young girl wanted to be like the bubbly Mary Lou Retton. Who could forget the 1984 US Basketball Dream Team - Michael Jordan, Patrick Ewing, and Chris Mullin, the US will not ever see an assembly brilliant as the first pro-athlete basketball domination. All those early images and sounds of triumph and defeat left an early impression on me about the Olympics, what it symbolizes - the hard work, training, rising to the top, failing, winning, competing with and among the best, the cheers and support of nations, the pride of moms, loved ones, the honor of representing your country, the unity of the world in common ground setting aside political differences as athletes (not necessary countries), sheer elation of victory and crushing spirit of defeat. The pomp of opening ceremonies and closing ceremonies, the history of the games. Two weeks of intense drama and lasting inspiration!

I started to put the Olympics on my bucket list back after hearing it would be in Beijing. I even shared with one my friends whose parents lives in Beijing, they were more than excited to plan out my stay for me there. But as life would have it, that year was the busiest for me. I worked almost every holiday that calendar year. And at the end of the year, I saw how life passed me by and regreted how much I poured my life into the idol of work.

So when I had heard that the Olympics of 2012 would be in London, I started to pray and research in early 2011. I would talk about it to friends hoping to get others to come along, but no takers. As the beginning of 2012 came around I started to do my research in earnest. And around April when I started to consider going on a mission to Japan, I thought my hopes to see the Olympics was dashed.

But through creative planning and grace of God's provision earlier in my life, I was able to do both. I get to come to the Olympics to be a spectator and though the little girl in me wishes I could be one of those star athletes, it is exciting to just be part of the entire event. To be able to cheer the athletes even when they weren't the USA. Being a fan is a symbotic relationship, you get to momentarily spur those athletes on to victory but we get to walk away with as much hope and inspiration for your own life.

For the opening ceremony, you can feel the energy of excitement as I got to watch the Opening Ceremony from Hyde Park. I barely missed seeing Duran Duran perform, only hearing them from over the fences as I walked to the gates. Just as the televised ceremonies began I was able to secure a great view in front of one of the screens in the park. For some reason I got choked up as the performance began. I can't imagine how athletes or parents of athletes feel if I were in their place at the Olympic Park. I honestly can't believe that I get to be in the country as the Olympics! It was a bonus to be around the British because I got insight to the inside references.  

As for the games, I was able to purchase tickets for only two games - Men's Gymnastics and Women's Field Hockey.  The first games I got to see the men's gymnastics qualification round and luckily the USA was in the rotation. My seats had a good view of all the apparatus. What was inspiring out of these matches were to see the Mixed Groups, which are a compilation of individual competitors who did not have a full team such as Belgium, Israel or Mexico. The USA team placed well for the qualification round, I was so thrilled to have had at least one chance to cheer for our country. 


Sports photography is no simple task, so these by no means are spectacular but an assortment of the action from that day.

My second and last game was at the Olympic Park at the Riverside Arena to watch two matches - Belgium vs China and Great Britain vs South Korea. Since I had chosen field hockey because I was hoping to see a little more action. Prior to going to see these games, the crowds weren't so bad as I had expected nor did I feel overwhelmed when I roamed in the city that everyone was there for the Olympics. I surely felt it when I came to the Olympic Park. They had a number of big venues all located in the Olympic Park so I finally got excited when I got there. 


The women's hockey games were much more the type of game I would like to see with cheering, noise and action. At both events they had short videos that explain how the game is played for people like me who had no clue about the rules. And during breaks they had commentators to fill up the time and build enthusiasm. The second match was much more animated because it was the home team and the entire crowd in the stadium was cheering the women's team to victory. I loved that of the two games I watched it was the women's hockey games which had me more revved up, and as my last game it was nice to end on an upbeat one. 

NKN_4689 I was more challenged on this day to anticipate the action and movement of the ball. Here are both matches from the day. 


[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) london olympics Thu, 09 Aug 2012 16:16:42 GMT
London - Volunteering at New Life Masih Ghar Kids Camp When I was planning my trip to London, I wanted to connect with someone in the area. Through mutual friends, I was made aware of a Kids Camp that was being held during the week I was going to be in London. So I decided to volunteer with them for a few days before the Olympic events started. Like my time in Japan, I did not have any prior connection with the organization or expectations of what I would be doing there while I volunteered. Initially, I only thought I would be able to volunteer for two days, but decided to help out until the last day of the Kids Camp. For a week from 10 AM to 1 PM, dozens of kids from 5 to 12 came to play sports, sing songs and do arts & crafts.  About a dozen or more volunteers both from the local New Life Masih Ghar church and others from the US.


What I learned from serving with them, is how much they were a blessing to their community. They were meeting a need in the neighborhood of Southall for youth activities. It was evident as the week passed and the word spread that the kids were having such a wonderful time at the camp, other families wanted to register their kids. Due to limited capacity and volunteers to man the camp they had to cap off the registration. At the last day of the Kids Camp, the parents were invited to come see the slideshow that they had made of the weeks activities. And the kids got to sing a few songs that they learned during the week.


They were so excited and you can see the appreciation in the parents eyes as they saw how joyful and excited the kids had. It was evident that the camp was a blessing to the children and family.


My time there was also a blessing to me, for I feel so at home in community of a serving body. And also love to see the practical work that servants of Christ do on a daily basis. And no matter what corner of the world we go, it is the people who smile, greet others, sweep the floors, hug a child, or take a moment to listen to a teen are all part of exhibiting the love of the Lord. 


I know they are making a difference to the community there in Southall.

[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) kids camp london new life masih ghar southall Mon, 30 Jul 2012 11:46:51 GMT
Bonding Walk on the Bondi to Cogee Cliff Walk I had the fortunate blessing to be hosted by the most hospitible people on my trip and my stay in Sydney was another example of the warmth that was extended to me. On my Saturday before my departure, the weather was gorgeous to my surprise.  My host's flatmate, gave us the great idea to  walk the Bondi to Coogee Cliff Walk together. It's amazing how quickly you can get to know each other in such a short amount of time especially through humor.  So the three of us enjoyed great bit of laughter, people gawking and cool Bondi breeze of the morning. I think one of the best things of traveling is meeting and befriending interesting individuals.


I am glad to get the chance to have more than just a passing cordial conversation. Thoroughly enjoyed the morning breakfast walk, and still so envious that they both get to enjoy this view within blocks. But more blessed that I have to new buddies out there. Muchos gracias my friends - Mark & Alexis!


My Bondi Beach album combined the photos of the first day I accidentally ventured onto the winter beach and contrasts it with the bright sunny Saturday we went walking.


[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) australia bondi beach cliff walk Mon, 23 Jul 2012 15:30:00 GMT
Ferries, Sea, Sand, Rocks and Cliffs By this time in my trip I had already been away from home for about a month. And though I have been actively engaged in serving such as in Japan, sight seeing on my own, or even going to church services at GMT or in Cairns. Feeling a little off, I needed my quality time with the Lord, to just be still with him. And the best way for me to do that is find a quiet spot in nature to sit and read my Bible under a shade of trees with a sunny breeze around me. This was just what I received on my trip to Manly Beach. 

As I set out to head to the Circular Quay, the cloudy winter skies began to lift. Once on the ferry, I found a spot on the upper aft deck to view Sydney Cove so that I could get a good picture of the Sydney Opera House from that vantage point. I ended up chatting it up with two gals who were also visiting from the states. One gal just visiting from NY with her friend who was living in Melbourne for a year.  They understood that sometimes people need to take advantage of opportunites like to travel when you are in a transition stage. 

Leaving the harbour

We parted ways as we docked onto Manly Wharf. Conveniently located as you exit the ferry on the street entrance to the wharf, a friendly visitor center guide made some suggestions to what I could see and do. 

Manly Wharf and shell sculptures

With the mindset of just exploring, I was open to what she had to say. Recommending that I take a walk along the beach promanade towards Shelley Beach to the rocks where I can view the other northern beaches along the shore. I was not disappointed as I made my way there especially people watching - all the families with little kids on their foot scooters. Or seeing old couples taking a mid-morning walk, recognizing other tourists who were on the ferry, or ladies pushing their baby strollers.

Under the flags of Manly Beach

And the view kept getting better and better as the skies got bluer and bluer when the clouds cleared. The tides were still low for me to walk onto the rocks and crashing waves in the bay. I was envious of those homes with their daily view of such a beautiful beach.

Long arm shot

And as I progressed on my walk towards Shelley I passed the Fairy Bower sea pool. Free and open to anyone to take a swim.

Sea water pool

But when I finally reached the calmer Shelley beach, I felt like I found my little piece of paradise. The water was calmer than at Manly surf, and the best part was the rocks beneath the grove of trees at Cabbage Tree reserve. It was enticing me to climb up them to sit and chill. It was my perfect spot for my quiet time.

Rocks overlooking the beach

And apparently other people was attracted to it as well, as teenagers where passing through on it either coming back from surfing or like me exploring the rest of the rocks at the headpoint.  One of the surfer directed me to a path that was easier to get to the top path to get to views from the top of the cliff. After wrapping up my quiet time, I headed back to the beach and up the path. The view from the head point was very accessible and I did not know how I lucky I was to not have it crowded to enjoy such scenic views in peace and quiet.  And there was even a plaque with a verse from Psalms 93:4 on it, "Mightier than the thunder of the great waters, mightier than the breakers of the sea--the LORD on high is mighty."

Quiet benches to admire the vista

And the view of the cliff over the rocks was amazing to watch the crashing waves. The pictures doesn't do it justice to hear the force of the waves or how really high I was standing. Or the beauty of the terrain.

Winds and waves

The photo gallery shows more views of the cliff and rocks and what I did on my trip out to Manly. It was beautiful and displayed the majestic creation of the Lord, and how fortunate we are to be able to experience his beauty and creation.

But as the verse says nothing is mighter than the Lord and more majestic than him. This is merely a glimpse of his wonder and power. And I can't imagine how in awe we will really be one day to see and meet him.





[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) manly beach shelley beach Sun, 22 Jul 2012 22:15:00 GMT
Sampling of Sydney Culture - Bondi Beach, Cafes, Museums and Sydney Opera Houses Bondi Beach, Barracks Museum

On my first day to tour the city, I was a little overwhelmed by all the bus and rail routes that serviced the city. When I finally departed to tour the city, I was able to make it Bondi Junction, and thinking that it would be best to take the 333 straight into the city. However, I did not take notice that the bus I hoped onto was the 333 heading to Bondi Beach. So I ended up going the opposite direction, which was a blessing in disguise as I soon realized when I got off the bus at Bondi Beach.

As I got off the bus and saw the view of Bondi Beach, I could see why people love Bondi Beach. Even in a cloudy chilly winter morning the beach was the aquamarine blue, with surfers in the breaks. As I walked closer to the pavillion that was setup on the beach, I amused to see that they had set up an ice skating rink for their "Winter Festival." It was ironic to see ice skater in my foreground while in the distance surfers were eyeing their next wave. As I go to take a photo, I had a "DOH" moment - no memory card in my camera.  Luckily I had my photo-and-shoot with me but the battery power was running on one bar and was able to take a few pictures before it completely died on me.


Fortunately, I was only a few blocks away from where I was staying before I realized this, I would have been super bummed if I had made it into the city to realize I had no memory in my camera. After retrieving the memory card from the flat I was staying, I decided to take the railway instead of the bus into the city.  Figuring out that Martin Place was centerally located, I decided to step off at that station, which was close to the Circular Quay and the Sydney Opera House.

Hyde Park Barracks Cafe and Museum

Due to the gloomy day, I thought it would be best to goto the Hyde Park Barracks Museum. I meandered around until I located the museum. Getting a bit hungry, I noticed a cafe next the museum, Thinking it was just coffee and pastries, I was pleasantly surprised it served upscale dishes. Treating myself to compensate for my misstep this morning, I chose to have a sit-down lunch. One thing I learned about my experience with that meal is that an "entree" in Australia is equivalent to an appetitizer in the US. So what I thought would be a well portioned scallop dish was a lot smaller than I had imagined it would be. But that gave me room for dessert - a warm date pudding served with vanilla ice cream. YUMMY!

All fueled up, I strolled over to the barracks museum to learn about Australia's origins as a penal colony where over 165,000 convicts were sent to the country in exile. At the Hyde Park Barracks Museum you learnd that it wasn't just male convicts, but children and even female orphans. They had to build their country from the resources found in Australia.


 Also I will never look at a treadmill the same way ever again. Watermills were powered by men who were being punished to walk on these treadmills. The building itself still has parts of it structure as it was originally built such as the roof timbers and white washed walls. The barracks of course showed how close people were quartered, and of course they emphasized the rat infestation throughout the building.  Much was what was learned about the history were uncovered through collections buried by rats under the building.


The tour was fascinating to me because it reflects how a culture and society can overcome their circumstances, plights and origins. 

Sydney Opera House

My iconic image of Australia besides the kangaroo is Sydney Opera House. I am drawn to the billowed sail design. If I had to chose to do one thing I had to do in Sydney, seeing it in person would be my pick. After making my way through the Botanic Garden grounds, I approach it from the Government House emerging from the Farm Cove. Evening was setting and it looked so lovely to be up close and personal. Walking around the steps and taking my close-up pictures, I contimplated about seeing a performance. I eventually decided to go ahead and watch the performance even though I was not familiar play, the Duchess of Malfi.

And of course enjoying my chill time at the opera house before the performance, I found there was a lovely restaurant on the ground floor with a view of the Sydney Harbor Bridge and the skyline. There I enjoyed a pre-theater meal of smoked salmon and white wine. It was a lovely evening indeed! 


Since the play was a modern adaptation of the 16th century tragedy, the story was about complex entanglements and eventually no happy ending. Although it was interesting how they modernized it, this type of play would not likely be one I would check out given a choice. But I enjoyed my day after all, even though it did not start off on the right wave.

The next day when I took the ferry over to Manly beach, I had the chance to see the Sydney Opera House in the daylight and at sunset when I returned. It was even more stunning to view it from the water. My most spectular shot of the SOH was at sunset when the shadow of the Harbor bridge was casted in a red glow of the sunset from the cove opposite of it.

Red dusk and bridge shadow casting on the Opera House

Enjoy my selection of photos from the first day in Sydney and shots of the opera house!



[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) australia barracks bondi beach museum opera house sydney Sun, 22 Jul 2012 04:41:24 GMT
Great Barrier Reef Plagued with cloudy weather on the morning of my departure my hopes of having a good time at the reef was questionable as Rachael dropped me off of the pier in the morning. My tour boat's itinerary was scheduled to take us out to the outter barrier Hastings reef and Michaelmas Cay. The skipper decided that the water was high at Hastings so we should go there first to have more time at Michaelmas Cay which will be calmer. We were also warned that the ride may be rough and at motion sickness tablets were strongly advised.

Michalmas Cay reserve

On our ship's way back to the reef, the skies began to clear, and I had a chance to chat with another American. Jessica was an architecture student from Georgia who was also on her way to New Zealand on scholarship. She too was checking out the Great Barrier Reef before she started school. When we got to Hastings reef the water was rough and it was so difficult to see anything and swimming around with snorkel gear. Leeping up with the guide was difficult, and hard to understand what I was seeing. But I enjoyed seeing all the fishes and corral all beneath me. The skipper decided to take us to the Cay early and I hoped that it would be calmer.

Our boat from the beach

After a nap and lunch we arrived at the Cay, and by that time the skies had cleared. And there's something to be said how the sight of land even if it was a small cay seemed so much more safer in the middle of the great barrier reef. While most people decided to take the snorkeling guided tour around the cay, I just wanted to sit on the beach. The skipper boated me over to the cay, and I just got to sit on the beach. It was such soft sands. After enjoying the beach, I snorkeled around the reef of the cay and swam to the boat. Even though we had more time at the cay, I just leisurely enjoyed the perfect weather as the clouds had cleared for us.

Snorkeling using my camera to video underwater

During our trip back to Cairns I had the chance to chat with the family with the three daughters. They were vacationing from Melbourne and were curious about my use of Airbnb that I was telling them about. They were also familiar with Samaritan's purse and other Christian organizations. Their eldest daughter also had just visited Vietnam on holiday recently. As we started back the rain came back, and the Vietnamese couple who were at the back of the boat kept getting splashed by the boat spray. And we had heard that a number of the guests at the bottom deck did not do well with the motion sickness. Other snorkelers returning

So getting to the pier was very welcomed and the skies were calm and clear. As I got off the pier this gave me the chance to stroll the Cairns Esplanade in the evening dusk.

Esplanade public pool

I love that even though my day started as a rainy cloudy day it ended up in a beautiful sunset over Cairns.


[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) cairns great barrier reef snorkeling Sun, 22 Jul 2012 02:00:51 GMT
Tijapukai didjeridoo, Kuranda Koalas and Great Barrier Reef So the weather during most of my time in Cairns was quite rainy and cloudy. My first full day of sight-seeing was a tour of the aboriginal Tjapukai center, a ride up the Skyrail to Kuranda and train ride back down.


So it was a busy day starting at the Freshwater Rail station where my tour company was picking me up. It had that tour of the century feel to it. The driver who picked me up mentioned that I have to keep a move on the day to be able to hit all the high points of my tour (he wasn't wrong about it either).


When I arrived at Tjapukai, it seemed like there was no one there except me and the workers. I had some time at the gift shop to browse before one of the native Tjapukai workers approached me to tell me about the art work. After listening for a few moments I gave in and purchased a two returning boomarangs. When I headed over the bridge to the theater, I was the first to arrive and was wondering where are all the guests? Will the show go on as scheduled with just me? Chilling for a few moments on the bleachers, the next time I turned around a crowd of tourists was fast approaching over the bridge into the theater.

Thank goodness, I would have felt bad for the performers if they only had me to watch their dances. Something about native tribal dances that are so fascinating to me. Perhaps I just love the interesting rhythms of their native songs. Or maybe because when native people dance they don't seem to be held back. After the performances, they had another instructional demonstration of the aboriginal didjeridoo. I have a greater appreciation for their skills after hearing about how the sounds are made to perform it.


Having to keep up with my set schedule, I headed quickly over to the Skyrail which is supposed to take me up to Kuranda. On the first leg, I was able to sit an a gondola on my own. Normally I am not afraid of heights, but this time being in a gondola on my own I think my imagination got the best of me. As I ascended into the beautiful fog covered mountains, my engineering mind starts to ask questions like, where is the support cables for lateral wind shears? How long will it take to drop to the rainforest floor? Needless to say, at the next transfer while I was in line I politely asked the mom and daugther infront of me if they mind letting me ride with them.


One thing I love about traveling solo, is that people are open to be helpful to a single traveler.  The mom was German, married to an American who I believe are now living in New Zealand. They were visiting Cairns and the husband will be joining them soon. Also the daughter will be going on an adventure program next year to Southeast Asia which will include a time in Vietnam. Having the conversation with the two women helped to keep me distracted from the trip and how high we were.


In Kuranda it was on top of a rainforest. Rain it did indeed, so much everyone was buying ponchos to step out of the gift shop. Now armed with my new umbrella, I had to wade through there were plenty of hippie shops and pastry cafes. My goal was to cuddle a koala bear and get near a kangaroo of course it was over priced but it will be my only chance. Finally I got to the Kuranda Koala garden to stand in queue behind a family of six who ALL wanted their pictures individually taken with the koala. They were adorable I must say, and I think they smelled like eucalyptus. I got my touristy photo-op with the fuzzy bear named Harry :)


I also got my shot with the kangaroo, poor thing were so unanimated in the wet rain.


So it was time to make my way to the train which would be a 2 hour ride back down the mountain. The gals had recommended that I try out the Devonshire tea and scones, that was my next objective. But for some reason that hour of the day, the pastry shops that I had noticed the tea advertisements earlier were closing shop. And I was worried that I would not make it to the train station on time. So my made my way back there to see if perhaps I can get something to snack on before getting on the train. By that time I was hungry. And those of you who know me knows that is not good news. ;) Standing in line I finally was able to order my tea and scones. The scones in Australia are similar to a big sweet southern biscuit. It has the same texture and thickness, but not as salty or buttery. They spread a heap of strawberry jam and piped a huge hill of whipped cream on top. That combo so hit the spot. The tea warmed me up and the scone's whipped cream topping was heavenly.NKN_3189

I hopped on the train to get back to town. Now one thing I started to notice about myself on this trip - freaky sounds tend to shake me up. I blame it on the movie industry where those omnious sounds trigger a forshadowing of impending doom. Since the railroad tracks were really wet from the rain, I think it enhanced the screeching noises it made going down the tracks. Also I think the sounds of roller coasters tracks going up a hill then suddenly stopping, riders usually anticipate the upcoming drop on the ride. So it was with my train ride - my imagination getting me unsettled. The fog, attitude, and age of the train did not make me comforted either.


Midway through the ride the pre-recorded guide brought our attention to Stony Creek falls and bridge we would be approaching as great photo opportunities. And sure enough it was worth the ride down the mountain to experience it. The train stopped on the bridge long enough for you to take a full picture of the train over the tracks and hillside.


On the opposite side the view of the falls were upclose and personal which really made the trip by train worth the ride back.


Here are some of the other pictures from that excursion.





[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) kuranda rainforest skyrail tjapukai Mon, 16 Jul 2012 08:18:08 GMT
Cairns Ukulele Festival It seems to me that I don't take to well to red-eye flights. My first day in Cairns was completely about getting rest. My exhaustion was the product of a long five hour journey from Kawaguchi to Narita and soreness setting in from my climb. I was hoping to get into a bed as quickly as possible for my entire time I was standing in line at customs I had one eye open and the other shut trying to get adjusted to the 5:00 AM arrival.  Without too much ordeal, it was nice to know I was being welcomed by my Airbnb host, Rachael at the Cairns airport.

She had mentioned to me on the ride to her home that other people were staying at her home during the same time I was renting a room at her place. There was a mom with two daughters, one of which had just finished her YWAM program and missions. Also staying at her home was her friend's dad and brother who were in town for a Ukulele festival. Both of these people greeted me when I arrived at her house, but all I could muster up was a hello and thanks for the offer for breakfast.  Needless to say, I slept until dinner time.

That first evening which felt like it was an entirely different day, was when I met the other guests. I met the Schmidt women that evening when Rachael picked them up from the train station. They were very bubbly and had lots to share about their trip that day to Kuranda. When we all were back at the house, all of us shared dinner together. This was a nice surprise to me because I was under the assumption that my meals were on my own rather than homestyle.


Later that evening the other two men came back from their visit out to the Ukulele Festival out in Cairns to see what the schedule and events at the festival will be like on Saturday. The festival was attempting to beat the world record of the largest ensambled ukulele players to play a full 5 minute song. Ian, the dad, gave us a home concert of a number of diddies he created over the years. What a treat that was to hear his little songs. And I even got him to sign one of the songs he wrote for the his church kids. Without any specific plans for my weekend in Cairns, the little home concert peaked my interest in checking out the Ukulele Festival and the world record attempt.


So after a morning of clearing out Rachael's garden, we made our way to the festival. How cool would it be to witness a world record.


 We met up with Ian and Anthony under the big tents they had reserved for the ukulele festival.


Everyone was either carrying a uk or buying one to participate old and young alike. People came from all over the world for the festival, it was so colorful and lively.


While they were waiting to be corralled, there were entertainers on the stage teaching the crowd how to play the two chords that made up the song for the record attempt.


It was so funny how one of the ladies with the chord sign was out of synch with the ukulele lead player. It took a bit of time for the facilitator to group all the people color-coordinated bands into their assigned locations. But once they got started practicing and the next thing you know they were playing the designated record song.


After the five minute song was over and the crowded cheered, it took them no time to get the rough count. Unfortunately, they were just about 200 shy of the world record as I later found out in the news  

But I love being apart of the local festival and flare of a city, and this was a nice happen-stance thing that I would have never been able to plan for, so this was my favorite part of my visit in Cairns. Here are some of the other pictures from my first few days there.



[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) cairns ukulele world record Mon, 16 Jul 2012 00:07:53 GMT
Mt Fuji on July 4th One of my resolutions for 2011 was that I would like to climb Mt. Fuji sometime that year or the next. Throughout the beginning of 2011 I was praying about it and even got some people interested in joining me. However, March 11 happened, and that door closed for me.  Because of the interest in climbing Mt. Fuji, this was the doorway to open my heart to the people in Japan.

So when I was initially planning for this trip, I did not initially think I would climb the mountain feeling physically untrained for the endeavor. But deep inside I wanted to still climb it. So a few days before finalizing my trip, I arranged it to make the climb on a fullmoon lit night and summit on July 4th (God willing). My hope and prayer was that I also had people to join me on the ascent.

While I was at Grace Mission Tohoku chatting with the gang about my trip plans. Lisa was just as thrilled about my climb as I was so I invited her to join me. I initially didn't think she was serious but sure enough by the next day when she mentioned the idea to her mom they were supportive of the climb too. I didn't know how much of an answered prayer her accompaniment was until the climb.

So we had arranged to meet at the hotel at Kawaguchiko on the day of the ascent. Upon my arrival it was pouring down rain and I had no idea what direction to look to even find Mt. Fuji. As I asked the receptionist about the bus ride to 5th station she said I had just missed the last one about 30 minutes ago. My hopes to climb Mt. Fuji that day was fading and I started to think about what plan B would be.

Just moments after they allowed me to finally check into my room, Lisa arrived all gunho to climb the mountain. Even though I had broken the news about missing the last bus, thankfully Lisa had a different bus schedule than the one the reception gave me. Her schedule indicated there were a few more bus runs that evening. So we decided to get some food before going to the station to check out if there was another bus run to the 5th station.


When we arrived at Kawaguchiko station and found out that we would be able to catch the next run to the station, there were only a half a dozen people on the bus going to 5th station. At 5th station virtually all but one shop was closed and no guides or information desks around to ask where we were to start.


At this point we were just walking around to determine what direction to head. This is when Sid, who was on the bus asked us when were we thinking about heading up the mountain. We told him that our plan was to climb for a few hours and then stay in a hut for another few before ascending to the summit for sunrise. Figuring out there's no turning back, the three of us embarked on our journey up the mountain.


The side trail was easy downhill walk to the trail head a mist the enchanting misty forest. We were greeted by weary descending travelers who seemed to not be thrilled at our cheery konnichiwas. One of the people we chatted with was a woman who just celebrated her 59th birthday making it to the top of Mt. Fuji. Her encouragement spurred us forward.

As evening fell and we were making it up higher past the cloud blanket, the misting had stopped, and the full moon broke through the veil of the clouds. It was breathtaking and lighting our path as we were reaching closer to our first hut. Lisa was leading the way and of course my small steps starting to get more noticebly paced last. And Sid was kind enough to wait for me at the back.

It reminded me of the proverb about friendship if one were to fall that they would have someone to pick them up. Usually this is the beginning of the hiking season for Mt Fuji and I was expecting to have seen more people going up the trail. However, we had only seen a handful of people in the first two hours. And I was beginning to realize how it would have been foolish to go up there alone as I had planned and truly appreciated the answered prayers.

The good thing about night climbing was we could not gauge how far we had to go, just that we had to get to the closest lit hut or station. So we were making good progress. Except as the climb became steeper and more rocky, my souveniour walking stick became cumbersome to use as it was easier for me to propel and climb up with both hands rather than one had free. I was starting to feel the exhaustion set in. By this time in the climb, I had been up since 5 AM, traveled 6 hours to get to Kawaguchiko, and had hiked about 2-2.5 hours up the mountain and the winds were picking up. 


I was ready to find a hut that would take us in. Somewhere after the 7th station at 10 PM, we found Toyokan hut. Thank goodness for Lisa's Japanese skills she was able to communicate with the hut caretaker to let us stay the night.  Our goal was to sleep until 1 AM and climb the 3 hours to see the sunrise at the summit at 4 AM. The Toyokan hut was very clean and deceivingly large with room they lodged us in probably holding about 20 hikers in it. I was so relieved to be out of the elements and so ready to climb into the super thick comforters.

Very much aware of my surroundings I could only half sleep there, and when I heard the rustling of the other hikers it passed my mind that they would have been likely waking up at 1 AM like we were. Knowing that Lisa set the alarm for 1 AM, I was in no rush to keep us on schedule. At this point I really just wanted to get some rest in. When we finally awaken, we realized it was 4 AM and the entire room had emptied out.

When I thought it was glorious to be on the mountain in the evening, it was magnificant to be up there in the morning even though we were only past the 7th station it was well above the blanket of clouds. But unlike our sense of perception was limited in the night climbing, this time we could fully see how much higher we had to climb. And as we turned the corner from our Toyokan hut, it was like wow! We have 3 more hours to climb and the rocks were steepier than the ones we had climbed the night before.


This is when I started to think, "what did I get myself into?" thinking about how I will also have descend back on these steep rocks. Also as we climbed higher the altitude and oxygen depletion was affecting my ability to keep pace with her pace. Lisa all the while was a trooper. She just had to keep me encouraged to get to the next station.

We bumped into Sid on our way up as he descended down from the summit. He had proceeded with two other chaps to the top over night while we had slept through the night. He warned us that the last 200 meters will be tough but worth it. And I was thinking if we just got past the steep rocks, what else will we encounter? My doubts on my physical ability to make it to the top was growing louder. This was when I had to keep praying for the Lord to help me to get to the top, or singing United Pursuit's "I will climb this mountain with my hands wide open," or consider how Moses climbed the mountain to meet up with the Lord. My spirit was willing but my flesh is weak. This may come easy to others, but ask Lisa. I was huffing it. And the scary parts were the switchbacks where we would experience this strong gusts of wind, which I was terrified of literally being blown away.

And somewhere along this route Lisa asked me about my hurt knees from the fall back at the mission. Amazingly my knees were not a bother at allI finally developed a pace once we got to the stretch were it wasn't as many big rocks. Take ten steps then 5 second stop. Repeat. It helped me to just move forward, even though at times we would fall behind this group of guys or others move ahead of them. I got comfort as we started to reach close to the 9th station and there was a long line of school kids who were lead by Mt. Fuji guides. We were slower than the marker estimates because we had hit the bottle neck and I was definitely feeling the affects of the attitude.


At this point, the "how much further" syndrome set in. Luckily another American we chatted with eariler was coming down from the summit told us we were close. And that it was just a little beyond the last shrine we can see. Mustering up our last wind to make it to the top. At 10:00 AM we arrived at the top we made it! Completely spent, I had to lay my head down on the benches at the top. I got the shot of Lisa with her walking stick and Japan flag. Then I took out my little American flag in honor of Independence Day. Lisa had the brilliant idea to display both flags and lent me her flag.


We ventured over to the summit marker and crater. It was remarkable to be at the highest point in Japan - 3776 m/12,388 feet.


Now for the trek back to 5th station. Due to the snow that was still on the return trail the only way back was through the trail we used to climb up the summit. Lisa's aunt had warned us that going back was harder than going up because of the gravelly rocks were so unstable. Not only did we have to contend with that, but the steep rocks too. Instead of the typical 3 hour descent, it turned out to be 6 hours to get back to 5th station where the buses were.

Loose rocks made our feet slide, and going down the walking sticks were helpful to steady myself. But with my feet sliding under me, I tried to break the slide and each time feel like I was stubbing my big toe in my boots. Over hours of this it got bruised and sensitive to each slide. But it was so much more rewarding to go back knowing that I had made it to the top rather than having gone 2/3 ways up and turning back (which I had considered).

Truly it was a test of perservance and demonstrated how much we need people around us to cheer one-another onwards especially in the moments of discouragement (both on the trip up and down). It also tested me on whether I will reach out to Him for his strength or by my own strength. But through it all, I see his hands all over this journey and I hope to see more of it for the rest of the trip.









[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) japan mt fuji summit Mon, 09 Jul 2012 13:07:24 GMT

Ever since I had left Grace Mission Tohoku it has been a whirlwind of traveling. I spent a quick two days in Kyoto, summited Mt Fuji and have flown down to Cairns, Australia! All the transit from place to place as well as being sore from the climb I was completely wiped out I had slept a full day when I reached my destination in Cairns. So today I hope to be able to post my highlights of the past weeks travels in Japan and elaborate more on my hike up Fuji-san.


In my planning for my trip I had to narrow down my sightseeing selection to my top three choices of most see places. And in Kyoto, I was interested in seeing the Inari shrines. My day commenced with a bike ride to the shrine which was only a ten minutes ride from my hotel. I must say that it is even ackward for me to bike on the left side of the street.


As a photographer I was most fascinated by the thousand of repeating torii's stacked against one another to build the pathes that lead up the mountain.


This ancient shrine existed before the capital was moved to Kyoto, and the shrines were dedicated to  Inari, the Shinto god of rice. And around the grounds there are fox satutes which are thought to be Inari's messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds. At one of the temples, there were a number of big bells attatched to the ceiling where people will clap once, ring the bell, and pray while there were these women who were singing some chants in the side temple.


My visit in Kyoto was to the Gion district, where I wanted to see more of the traditional style Japanese buildings. Since this was a bit further from my hotel I choice to take the bus there. When I got off the bus stop for Gion, I caught my only glimpse of a geisha in a taxi at the light. Here I got to explore the back streets of the traditional style buildings with the wooden facades.


Later I strolled towards the Teramachi Street with all its shopping. It was fascinating to see the juxatoposition of the traditional and modern in one city.


The other pics of my day in Kyoto are found here.


[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) japan kyoto Sun, 08 Jul 2012 09:58:58 GMT
Hope House Cafe and Sing-Along Ministry Having gotten injured my knees the second time at mudout, I had to stay back to help Satoko, Satoshi and Virginia with their afternoon weekly activities.  It was a blessing in disguise that I got to see what the staff does during the day while the teams our out mudding out with Samaritan's Purse. One of the best moments is when we were walking down the street to deliver a gift to a couple that recognized her when she goes for her daily morning run. As we were approaching the home, a lady who comes to the Takidashi stopped Virginia to give her a pair of pants in appreciation.

She wanted to give Virginia some pants

At the Hope House, which is on loan by one of the ladies from the community hold regular activities.  In addition to the kids program, the two activities that I got to witness were the weekly cafe on Wednesdays and the once-a-month Sing-Along cafe.

The welcome sign to the cafe

Apparently baking in Japan isn't as what we experience in the states. It's a combination that the ingredients are slightly different and the appliances are smaller too as Amy from the SBU team can attest with her attempt to make cookies. By request, the Canadian team had brought cake mixes that Satoko and I made some cakes for the cafe. Our adventures in baking turned out pretty well except that both cakes had risen so high and erupted like volcanoes. Satoshi endearingly called one cake Mt. Fuij and we called the square cake Ishinomaki cake.


Although we only had the professor and one lady visiting that day to enjoy the cake, the next day we had a full house at the Sing-Along cafe. This is led by women who come up from Chiba to lead the group in singing to all sorts of traditional songs. When I arrived there were 17 ladies and one man who came to sing. Although I did not understand the words the music and joy in their voices was so uplifting.

Neighborhood turnout for the Sing-Along Cafe

These lovely ladies from Chiba spend five hours each way to come up to Ishinomaki to lead this ministry.

Satoko with the women who lead the Cafe Sing-Along

[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) grace mission ishnomaki japan Sat, 30 Jun 2012 05:48:08 GMT
Kids Program at Grace Mission Hope House I'm catching up on the photos from this past weekend. And one of my favorite times was watching the kids at the cookout and during the kids program. One of the memorable moments is seeing this young boy coming to the cookout with his pot ready for the curry, but he seemed to have come early only later to return with his sister with a second pot.


And here he is with his sister in line for the curry beef.


Every so often volunteers from Tokyo will come up and have a kids program to play with the neighborhood kids. This weekend, they had 3-4 of the volunteers at the Hope house who had brought treats and played games with the children. It was cool to see how excited the kids were when they were hunting for easter eggs and crowded around the treats table to see what they had won from the number or writing inside the eggs.



I love how universal the game of tag is anywhere in the world. In their variation, the kids will start at one end while the caller yells a gesture from the other end. Between calls the kids will try to run to the person who is it. However when the caller yells out the gesture they have to freeze and strike a pose. They had fun ones like singing karoke, eating ice cream or playing dead.


Fun and laughter are the same anywhere in the world and it's always a joy to see it in the children. It is so great to know that a few young adults will travel 4-5 hours to give this neighborhood a simple treat as this.

[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) hope house kids program Thu, 28 Jun 2012 03:42:43 GMT
Takidashi Community Cookout & Bingo It's Saturday at Grace Mission Tohoku and that usually means it is Community Cookout (Takidashi) day, where the mission cooks for the community and play bingo. You would think that it's been so long after the tsunami and lives are back to normal what is the need for having a cheap meal like this? Well today was a perfect example of the blossoming fruit of community building.

Takidashi Community Cookout DayGrace Mission Tohoku

Not to long after us volunteers had our devotion and breakfast at 8 AM, the neighborhood people started to trickle into the community tent. Satoko and Satoshi were bringing over the big outdoor burners, tents, the meat, potatoes, and other veggies. While half of the team were assigned to go mud out, another gardening, I was priviledged to be able to hang around to photograph the event.


Indeed it was a beautiful morning, as another volunteer group came by, and people from Tokyo who regularly helped started to flow in and out of the tent. So Lisa and I started to set up each of the tables decorating them with little snacks, cream & sugar sticks. Amy who has not been out to mudout since her first day, finally got a chance to do something more productive and helped with the curry. That is when we met, Cory and her adorable 8 yr old daughter Katrina. She took a liking to Amy and Lisa instantly.

Preparing the curry

People began swirling around to setup the coffee and tea area, the massage tent setup, the bingo prize area, and the outdoor stove. Every piece of the event had someone from the community participating. There was a pride and joy in their eyes and smiles on their faces as people buzzed into the tent. All I can do with my big camera was smile at them even though I was introduced to them already.

Andy and the coffee master

Andy Gilbert (aka Bingo Boy to the Japanese women) pictured here with and T-san the coffee helper. And manning the pot of beef curry is A-san, who made sure that the ladies and the food didn't get burned.


And there was the sweetest lady, S-san, who helped with the chopping and mashing up the curry cubes with Kazue who came in from Tokyo that morning.

Making the curry with the local volunteers

Lisa told me a great story about how the community initially would come so early knowing that they would get a good meal would stand in line waiting for the cookout to begin. One of those days, someone in the line had the bright idea to write a number on the hands of each person in the order that they arrived. Initially that Lorna, Andy's wife, did not like the idea, feeling that would be disrespectful. However the people in the community wanted to be orderly and did not mind. One person even created a board for Lorna to keep track of those who already been marked.


What was also an amazing side effect of this was, this gave the volunteers to physically touch a person's hand when they wrote their number on it.  So instead of seeing this as a cultural taboo, it turned out to be a means of healing and physically connecting with the individual.

Marking the order

Lorna greets M-san, who also is the woman who has lent her home to use as the GMT Hope house which is one of the three homes used by GMT to reach and build community here in Watanoha.


The best things are seeing people faces light up when they greet one another, see familiar faces, or volunteers that they have not seen since last week. What was also neat to experience was to see how GMT worked with groups like the women from FANCL (a beauty company) to give the hand massages or during the week an accupunturist who give free therapies. And Cory even mentioned to me how there was a group of young professionals who do a kids program held shortly after the cookout time.


Today, under the gorgeous mild blue skies, the sweet song of kids laughing, the community cheering "bingo", and jolly conversations demonstrated how the work of this mission is about building trust with the people, collaboration with the locals and with like minded volunteer groups enabling the community to connect and care for one another. 

But this day came through many months of work through the perserverance of the workers and volunteers who setup these meals in the most extreme conditions as Virginia had explained to me. Before that community tent was made available to them, she had to set up the tents in winter in raining conditions and the like. Working together with Samaritan's Purse they are able to utilize these tents in such an amazing way.

Neighborhood, volunteers and GMT hand in hand

The full galleries of the preparation and ladies of FANCL are here.


[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) Takidashi bingo community cookout Sun, 24 Jun 2012 06:39:38 GMT
Mudout and Farewell Take two! There are tons of homes in Ishinomaki that still need to be gutted and cleand out, this process is called "mudout." Initially I did not understand why it was called mudout because the home that we were working in already had much of the debris removed. And while we were there we had to take out drywall, installation, removing nails and screws. It wasn't until yesterday that my ah-ha moment happened when the team pulled out the floor to reveal the mud that had settled underneath the floor boards.

Each day our teams would don on face masks, gloves and goggles to demolish the water damaged homes. Although it was incrediblely dusty, sometimes hot, and tiring, it was a 100 times more rewarding knowing that we get to do for these families what they can not do for themselves. Every time I looked at a pile of busted up drywall I could not imagine having to do this process for myself if I was the home owner. As I was working in the home I felt that it was far easier to do this type of work for another than if I were to have to do this for myself.

The home that we were working on belonged to a woman with two teenagers. And we initally suspected that someone in the home may have had a disability because of the ramp along the house to the front door.

Home where we had been mudding out

At the end of the street we were working on there was camoflaged home who are believers. This kind ladynamed Yoko who would stop by each day and give us refreshments. She also knew the homeowner and told us that the owner had not visited the home since the flood. And Yoko had been telling her that we were working on mudding the home.

On the last day that the South African team was working on the home due to the typhoon the home owner came to pay a visit at the urging of Yoko. Normally she would not be able to visit with her 14 yr old daugther, a special needs child, because the schools give kids the day off because of the tropical storm that night. Jessie from the SA team cheerfully greeted the owner and her dear child. As she was visiting the daughter in the car, the mother had asked Jessie to pray for her daughter. Jessie praying for the daughter of the home owner

After meeting the daughter my heart crumbed for them. Although I know that God's love for them extends to the great act of dying on the cross for us. Sometimes people in these circumstances need tangible examples of God's love.  God had sent people from all over the world to express His great love for them through the act of sweeping floors, drilling out screws, busting out kitchens, and the like so that this mother can start to rebuild her life. I was in tears because I could feel God's love for this mom and her children. And I had never ever felt more priveldged to I get to sweep the dirt from the floors then this moment. Yoko had mentioned to us that each day the mother is growing closer to understanding and accepting that love for her. It would be a glorious day when we get to hear news of that day.

Sadly, this morning we at the Grace Mission Tohoku base had to bid farewell to team from Stellenbosch, South Africa. They have been so delightful to serve with in the wholeness of joy. Besides the hard work mudding out the home, we shared a number of chaotic card playing nights under the gathering tent.  So grateful that they welcomed me to serve with their team for my first few days at GMT.

Me with the SA team

[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) mudout south africa team Thu, 21 Jun 2012 13:58:48 GMT
Onagawa On Sunday evening Virginia took the Missouri and South Africa teams to see one of the nearby cities which had considerable damage to give us a sense of the magnitude of how the tsunami had wiped out city areas.  Up until this point for me I had not seen any major areas of devestation. A few homes here and there which were in the mist of being worked on. When we arrived to the Onagawa area you can see how streets were completely cleared of any buildings. One of the most amazing sight was concrete green building toppled completely on its side like a lego block.

Closeup shot

And sometimes pictures really can't give you the sense of the magnitude of height and affect of the flooding. The hospital which is on a hillside had risen so high that it flooded up to 1.95m (6 ft, 4.7 in) the first floor level which is now marked on one of the pillars. As you can see with Ivan and Gerritt standing next to the pillar to give you a sense of relative height. 

Waters had risen up to the first floor of the hospital in Ongawa

And another photo of how high the stairways along side of the hospital gives you a sense of where it sits on the hillside.  

Staircase alongside of the hospital hillside

Taking the quick view of the tsunami area gives you the chance to see how completely wiped out the area was affected. And sense of the loss of the people in the area. As well this gives you a reality check of how nothing is forever, all of our material possessions, structures, and buildings except our hope and salvation in Christ. Progress is being made, but there are plenty of people's lives that need to be rebuilt. The mission staff often remind us that our presence there gives the people hope that they are not forgotten over a year later. And that the world still does care for them. Often the organizations that remain for the long haul have only been the Christian missions to the region. 

[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) flood ongawa tsunami Tue, 19 Jun 2012 19:04:21 GMT
Fellowship as one in Christ After a long five hour multiple train drive through Japan, I finally arrived in Watanoha. Greeted by Virginia from Grace Mission Tohoku and warmly a team from South Africa. It took me no time to feel at home with all the people who are volunteering. And to my luck we would be going to have sushi on my first evening on mission.

After our delicious meal

So my first Sunday worship we were treated by a special performance by Miyuki Hara, who combined traditional Japanese music with gospel music. What a joyful blessing she was to the people at Watanoha. Her joy just was contagious as well as her song. We were all singing

"En kai da, En kai da, Maini-chi ga enkai da!, Kokolo-ni tanoshimi ga, Alunala-ba"


And oh yes, a special shout out to Ivan and his daughter Jessie who celebrated Father's Day together on missions here in Japan!

Father's day picture of Ivan and Jessie




[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) grace mission japan volunteer Sun, 17 Jun 2012 11:35:16 GMT
Japan - Volunteering with Grace Mission Tohoku I will be spending my first two weeks in Japan volunteering with a partner with CrashJapan called Grace Mission Tohoku,

Their mission is to rebuild community, homes and businesses for the people in the Tohoku region. So this can mean I could be anything from cooking, gardening, fishing, teaching English, or just serving the support staff.

Although I initially had some photography ideas, I have decided to come and observe what I would or would not be able to photograph.

Some of the prayers for this time is to give strength and endurance to the staff. Prayers for the continued grieving process o the survivors as they rebuild their livelyhood. Prayer for the message of hope and gospel good news will be welcomed.


[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) grace mission japan mission tohoku volunteering Fri, 15 Jun 2012 17:00:00 GMT
Redding Sundial and Mt Shasta I love it when nature is so accessible within a few minutes drive from my friend's home they get to enjoy this beautiful walking Sundial Bridge which crosses over the Sacramento River. The balance of its design and engineering without overwhelming its surrounding gives it the elegance.


The glow of the sunset and the cool of the evening was so enticing for me on that lovely evening. There were families with kids biking and strolling over the bridge even a few fly fishermen in the edge of the shore. It really shows how life can be without the hecticness of cities like DC or even cities further south in San Francisco. I certainlly could have spent many hours at this serene spot. NKN_1571 The neatest thing about driving up Interstate 5 as you approach Redding is that Mt Shasta emerges at the edge of the horizon like an illusion of a low laying cloud. As you keep going north you realize it is a beautiful mountain beckoning you to approach it. Since Mickey was occupied with her new baby, graciously, her sister-in-law graciously joined me on my spontaneous drive to Mt Shasta. Only an hour away and without any specific address to get us there, I randomly picked the closest address that I think would get me to the mountain. To our surprise this took us to the headwaters of the Sacramento River, the water is the refreshingly pure snow melt from the mountain was we were told. 


After a little tour around the town we attempted to drive up as far as we can go on the Everitt Memorial Highway. However, the clouds were playing hide-da-mountain with us all day. The high1est point that we drove up to was about 6500 ft, close enough :) 


On our way home we stopped by the Shasta Lake Dam, when it was initially built is the second highest dam after Hoover Dam. And like the girl I was with said, it is one huge scary water slide! As lovely of a lake it is, surprisingly there were not as many people tubing or enjoying it as I would have thought. Certainly another place to be able to wind down on a summer day.  



[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) mt shasta shasta dam sundial bridge Thu, 14 Jun 2012 18:00:00 GMT
New Beginnings  

Almost a year ago I had the priviledge to be apart of one of my closest friends bridal party. As a close friend it was hard not to be the photographer and yet be part of the wedding. Instead I got to photograph her engagement photos which is featured on my home page. It was a honor to be part of their blessed relationship.

As girlfriends we would spend many hours talking about future marriages and families. So to kickoff my journey I am able to visit her and to see her two weeks overdue baby which they were also keeping the gender of the baby a suprise. To my best knowledge when I left in the morning in Dulles she had not given birth. When I landed in SFO, I called Phil to let them know I had landed and they can anticipate me in several hours. As well I just wanted to check in on the status of mom and baby. And behold the much awaited news of the arrival of her baby had arrived. Almost a year later, they welcomed in a beautiful baby GIRL!

Proud parents

And a close up of the precious bundle of joy.

Protected by the lamb

[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) baby ca mickey newborn phil redding Tue, 12 Jun 2012 14:24:17 GMT
Journey Begins Today is the first leg of my two month journey around the world, it has already been a whirlwind of a time to prepare for this trip in the last two months. This trip began to materialize back in April when it was undeniable that I had to respond to the calling of being sent. The defining moment came as John McGowan, the pastor for Frontline, read the passage in John 20:21 "Peace be with you, just as the Father sent me I am sending you." Looking back at how the Lord prepared me and my heart for Japan I think it is remarkable. And even up to now how he has blessed me with the friends and support to go on this journey has been tremendous.

The intention of this blog series is to help keep me focused on what I discover on my journey to seek Him, to share what the Lord shows me in opening up my heart to his heart and lessons he may have along the way. Of course I hope to share plenty of my pictures as I take them, that is if I get adequate internet service. I hope to post once a week in the various countries and places I visit which includes Japan, Australia, New Zealand, UK for the Olympics and Iceland. If there are more chances to post I will do so.

Please leave me a comment or thoughts, it is already encouraging to know how many of you are praying for me. For this, I know that I am not alone on this voyage.

[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) journey trip vision trip Mon, 11 Jun 2012 15:58:45 GMT
Memorial Day We are blessed to be living in the Nation's capital to be able to visit these memorials and monuments for all our fallen soldiers. It is an honor to be an American where our freedom was bought with a price and a sacrifice. I am fortunate also to have worked with colleagues who have all served in the military to hear their stories of how and where they have served for our country. Thank you for all those who gave their lives to ours. 

NKN_0100 Korean Soldiers Iwo Jima Memorial Reflection at Korean Memorial Wall Flying Overhead

[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) iwo jima korean memorial memorial day monuments vietnam memorial Mon, 28 May 2012 14:44:24 GMT
Washington Safari For Christmas, my niece had given me a gift certificate to a photo safari. So I wanted to take advantage of this free time I have had to improve my skills. And with the wonderful weather we've been having lately I was not disappointed on the outing. Even though I have lived in this area for over 15 years, I had no idea that this was the best places to get the triple monument shot.  It was one of the last pictures of my photo safari, washingtonphotosafari and our workshop instructor David Luria took us to little known spot in the Arlington Cemetery. 

The Three Monuments

The Iwo Jima Memorial is one place I had never been able to see up close and it was just a simply gorgeous afternoon to visit it. 

Iwo Jima Memorial

It was so interesting to find out that each soldier is a stand-alone piece and had to be assembled by airlifting each on one another. You can feel the spirit of determination on the faces of each marine.  

Soliders of Iwo Jima

And likewise, I am always especially moved by the statues of the three soldiers coming upon the Vietnam Memorial.

Soliders at the Vietnam Memorial

And although my favorite time to visit the Korean Memorial is at night, when it is hauntingly moving, this gave me a chance to capture the mirrored effect of the dark black grey granite.

Reflection at Korean Memorial Wall

One of the fun parts of the trip was taking abstract images from the sidewalks and murals around Adams Morgan. 

Glue Reside Pot Holed Stone Road

This next one is a close-up of a mural of a man talking on his cell phone walking his barking dog in a random alley by just simply random pointing and clicking. The post production enhanced the saturation of the colors, but it is so fun to create abstract art from the every day scenes people walk by and never take notice. 

Adams Morgan Graffiti Barking Dog

[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) monuments photo safari washington Thu, 03 May 2012 16:50:00 GMT
Space Shuttle Discovery Nose to NoseNose to Nose! I was able to watch the Space Shuttle Discovery be welcomed to it's final home at the Smithsonian Udvar-Hazy Air & Space Museum on Thursday. It was so wonderful to see the real thing up close. Ever since I was a child, I was fascinated by the stars and space. I even wanted to become an Aerospace Engineer. Although I had wanted to see Discovery's last launch on my birthday last year, this was just as good. Thursday was an end of an era. Seeing astronaut John Glenn was a thrill to know we have some of the living legends around from that by-gone era. 


The kids who were dressed up in the NASA suits were simply too adorable, perhaps the next generation will remember this day and be inspired to keep reaching for the stars and moon or beyond. 

Adorable kids in the NASA space suit Thankfully we have places in our backyard like the Air & Space Museum where we can remember how in just a short span, man was able to go from simply flying to orbiting space.  We need to still dream big. Space Shuttle Discovery may your new home inspire us for generations to come.

Wished I had a spot up there.

Here is my full slideshow from that day.

[email protected] (Uyen Dang Photography) discovery personal shuttle Sun, 22 Apr 2012 03:31:13 GMT