Took a little walk down to the British School of Falconry at Gleneagles today (ok, so, i crossed the maze of hedges - seriously, like a maze for kids to play in - and the tennis courts, and was at the falconry school!) ~ and it was absolutely mesmerizing watching the birds that were out in the viewing cages! So gorgeous… there’s something incredibly inspiring about these stunning birds of prey… also, i realized they almost always look sad/angry, but do make some impressively stern expressions… and i took a ton of pics. There are Steppe Eagles, Golden Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, and Harris Hawks. Go take a peek on the next page for some falconry fun!
Between trips, i’m currently hiding out at Gleneagles in Scotland, before joining up with the Macallan on Monday… while here, i just ended up on a surprise of an epic one day road trip all over the highlands to go find Nessie… and the scenic drive, seeing so many towns and villages, lochs and locks, glens and munros, castles and churches, not to mention a run in with a flock of pheasants in the middle of the road, a lone stag running through a field, gorgeous rainbow (though it was no double rainbow), sheep and chickens and cows, oh my! I adore the lumpy bumpy rolling hills (don’t be fooled, they are HUGE mountains up close) really feel like they are covered in the lushest of carpets… It was the most incredibly eye opening journey to see so much of the gorgeous countryside ~ architecture ~ signage ~ and more ~ in a day! And Pat caught me up on much Scottish history, phrases, and stories, it was incredible to get lost in Scotland for a day! (Pat! It was amazing! Thank you so much!) So, while, i’ll show you nessie over here ~ firstly, take in some of the views on the next page!
Just finished my last dive of the trip ~ and this whole trip has definitely reinvigorated my childhood love of nudibranchs and frogfish! Frogfish have the coolest elbows ~ and the way they walk… and eat (with their signature anglerfish family style lure!)… and the variations they come in! (So fascinating, saw about a half dozen color variations this week! And soooo many nudibranchs i haven’t seen before too. So in this last installment of fun creatures from the Lebeh Strait ~ check out frogfish, nudibranchs, and more (including a super tiny baby lion fish!) on the next page!
Octopus obsession is only growing more with each one i encounter! Two today so far! One good sized amazing Wonderpus octopus (Wunderpus photogenicus) on a dive (they are pretty rare and only found here in bali/sulawesi! Only recently named/officially discovered)… and then during lunch we spotted another octopus hiding a few feet from us in the low tide! So waded out to it with a camera and it was so tame and incredibly docile… i even pet it! So lots of fun pics of both the octopus and wonderpus on the next page!
UPDATE: We’re now pretty certain that the other octopus is a Mimic Octopus, Thaumoctopus mimicus ~ which was only officially discovered in 1998 in sulawesi. It is the one that the Wonderpus is commonly mistaken for… and it mimics everything from flounders and eels to lion fish and sea snakes… and ours impressively becomes one with the rock as well as the sand… see an amazing video i found about them on the next page!
On visual inspiration, there is something about the overwhelming sense of calm serenity with nothing but the sound of your own bubbles and the occasional boats overhead… as you just swim about watching the most incredible and mind blowing creatures going about their daily lives all around you… so, on “vacation pictures” ~ here are some of the many (there are hundreds of photos, here’s just a selection of fun ones!) creatures i’ve been encountering diving the Lembeh Strait of Indonesia this week (hiding out at Kungkungan Bay Resort)… and besides the diving creatures, you also get a peek at the large crab i ran into, and the impressive Tuna statue in the center of Bitung (tuna capital of indonesia?)… see it all on the next page!
p.s. and on design inspiration ~ it sounds silly, but i’ve totally been dreaming up redesigns, proposal ideas, and more while watching the creatures under the sea… also photo credits go to my dad who’s the photographer (i’ve been tasked more with helping find things in our team!)
I’m having one of those, sensory overload, exhausted yet giddy moments… sometimes we all need to step pretty far out of our daily lives to simultaneously reset, reflect, and find inspiration in the unexpected. For the next 5 days, i’m hiding out in the Lembeh Strait of Sulawesi, Indonesia… and they have awesome wifi, so when i’m not drop dead tired or diving exploring all the creatures around… the regularly scheduled content may be coming on vacation with me! So today was a morning flight to Manado from Singapore, followed by a 1.5 hour van ride through Bitung out to the dive spot, and now i’m curled up in my adorable cottage at Kungkungan Bay Resort. Certainly quite the contrast to the design overload i’m looking forward to in Milan in a few weeks! Although i thought about crashing after the day of travel, when i stared out at the possibly full moon with the intense clouds over the ocean… i couldn’t help taking a few pics, and i’m so in love with the view, i had to share them with you before i got some sleep! Isn’t it amazing how the palm trees and clouds look in the moonlight? See a few more pics of the night… some of the view on the flight in… and another random pic or too…
On unexpected surprises… did you know the Soho Grand Hotel will provide you with a roommate? An adorable little black goldfish? Strangely though, no food… i guess i will have to trust that housekeeping comes by and feeds the little guy? Their cheeky website says “If travelers cannot bring their pets, the Soho Grand offers surrogate animal companionship in the form of a goldfish in your guestroom.”
For those that asked on twitter ~ no i haven’t named it. No need to get attached, i don’t think i get to bring him with me to london… But i do wonder if there’s a mysterious room in the hotel somewhere with wall to wall goldfish bowls… do they really have enough for EVERY room? Or if you have two kids, can you request two? Or can you ask for two in the same bowl just so they dont get lonely while you’re out? Cute idea though ~ providing a bit more life to often sterile feeling hotel spaces! See more pics on the next page…
On unexpected inspiration and another random close up look at Oxford… how about some Moss and Spiders? And also praying mantis and silk worms… (And yes, moss fascinates me, remember the Singapore Moss?) So here are some fun little adorable moss clumps on the bridge… and then a huge spider that i found there too… then exploring into some of the zoology labs where i was whisked away to see some very cool (and insanely fly/web filled) space of pretty massive spiders and silk worms which are being researched to understand the magic of their silky webs… see the many pics on the next page!
On random Monday inspiration from Oxford (out here for Justine’s phd graduation!) we took a walk over to The Goldfish Bowl, and since my camera was with me, i couldn’t help shooting some of the adorable underwater creatures… you have got to check out the adorable turtles and rather pissed ray and much more!
I was heading to Petaluma from the Broad Summit ~ and just as i was getting out of Sebastapol i did a double take, pulled the car over, made a u-turn, and popped into California Carnivores in hopes it was open (it was late afternoon on a sunday) ~ and it WAS! And it is AMAZING. Apparently it is the “largest carnivorous plant shop in the united states”!!! AND omg. wow. you HAVE to see how stunning (and huge) this place and their plants and their kiddie pools filled with more plants in the process are… Good news is that they are carnivorous plant obsessed, extremely informative, super nice, and you can order online and they will ship anywhere in the US (he was even describing their intense packing process for shipping, and after hearing about it i’m confident to order more soon!) ~ but for now, i couldn’t resist and currently have a box of 4 in my car… SO beautiful. They are so incredibly inspiring, take a peek at the pics of many species i have never seen up close before!
On unexpected discoveries, next time you’re up in wine country california style ~ California Carnivores is a definite stop not to be missed!
So now you’ve seen the creatures of the California Academy of Sciences ~ ready to see what the scene was like for NightLife (their Thurs late night party/events ~ with drinks, food, djs, and more)… basically imagine going to an incredibly awesome museum/science center… but no kids! and the scene is like a 25-55 singles/date night! and as the evening progresses, the drunkeness runs a bit rampant… definitely have to feel for the poor museum folks who had to chase a few inebriated folks through the rather steep planetarium… and those starfish in the tidepools where it’s one hand in the tank and the other holding your beer with your arm around your girl… Interesting scene. And BEAUTIFUL space! Definitely worth doing the VIP tour if you’ve never been, since you get some behind the scenes sneak peeks, checking out the roof in a tiny group of about 15, skipping the rainforest queue, a look in the Vault, reserved passes for the planetarium show (and they let you in first!)… oh, and open bar too. Anyhow, take a peek at the experience!
So many pictures i didn’t even know where to start ~ while in SF, i finally got to check out the California Academy of Sciences ~ did the Nightlife VIP tour (really, if you can, its perfect! You actually get to have the fun of Nightlife, but without the lines, so you can see everything in the few hours ~ including reserved spots for the planetarium ~ and an open bar)… The space is beautiful! So first, CREATURES! A look at some of the critters encountered… and in the next post you can check out the space… check out the pics on the next page! Everything from (what look like) hummingbird lollipops, frogs galore, living walls, albino gators, dino poop and more…
Ok, so you’ve seen the warning signs, and here are the animals of the LA Zoo! We brought the 40D and the 5D Mark II ~ so these are a mix of pics that both dan and i took while wandering around… hilarious the expressions some of these guys make… and the eyes! And the crazy shenanigans some of them try to get up to… like the orangutan that threads the swing rope through the fence to whip more plants towards itself… and the giraffe with its tongue!!! Anyhow, check out a bunch (ok, 25!) pics on the next page!
NOTCOT Note: SO, jealous that linhchi (shade elaine) had a chance to get into the California Academy of Sciences! But luckily she took some gorgeous pics to share her experience with us!
I’d been waiting for the new California Academy of Sciences to open in Golden Gate Park for over a year, and when opening weekend finally rolled around late in September, I wasn’t willing to combat the crowds. Luckily the company I work for was invited to a party there (hosted by AOL) this past Monday evening, and though we didn’t get to check out the entire place, it was awesome being able to wander around the rain forest dome (I missed the planetarium show!) and get a glimpse of the other parts without enormous amounts of people, and to get a unique view of the place at night! My favorite pic (you’ll see it after the jump) is from inside the rain forest dome looking up at the ceiling & lights. I’ll definitely have to go back and check out the entire place for real. See a lot more pics after the jump!
Remember those amazing photographs of nudibranchs David Doubilet shot for National Geographic where i couldn’t stop gushing about how amazing they were on pure white, like a model or product? Well in our ever shrinking world, i get an email from my globetrotting explorer of a dad, who happened to be in Manado at the Lembeh Strait on North Sulawesi, Indonesia at the Kungkungan Bay Resort scuba diving ~ with pictures of him holding the mini underwater studio setups David Doubilet used for those shoots! He even said that the resort folks were encouraging him to use them, but he decided they were too much of a hassle, but thankfully he took some pics to indulge my curiosity about the set up.
On the next page you can see more pics of the mini studio, as well as some of his scuba diving discoveries i loved ~ i’ve picked out my favorites of my dad’s nudibranchs and frog fish pics!