What We Learned at Lake Tahoe

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Family Rituals are important. They help mode our character and perspective.

I grew up going to Lake Tahoe for our annual trip with my immediate family, aunts, uncles and cousins. The aunties would prepare our meals in our rental house. The kids would camp out in the backyard together. We would play softball and compete against each other.

We are still continuing this ritual with some of the children of the 2nd generation. The children are from elementary school age to young adults. The young adults even started a new tradition to cook one of the dinners during our stay.

We changed our activities to shopping, paddle boarding and board games as we matured over the years.

We are continuing our tradition by building our relationships even with the younger generation. We enjoyed a fun time playing the board game of “Sequence”. The younger children did not want to go back to their condo to go to bed, since they had so much fun.

I also spent time photographing my cousin’s family since their daughters came from Socal to spend time with everyone. It was a fun time to shoot their family along different sites around Lake Tahoe. We went after dinner. We were fortunately to catch the best sunset I ever witnessed at Lake Tahoe.

What lesson did I learn? Take advantage of togetherness time! Relationships are precious, and we need to make efforts to spend time together. Capture these moments with pictures. I photographed a bunch of family pictures of the big group.

But if I had not photographed my cousin’s family, we all would have missed out on the fantastic sunset. This sunset was a special blessing and symbolizes what we received from out short vacation at Lake Tahoe.

 

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What’s Great about the Left Field Bleacher Section at Oracle Park?

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I took this photograph from the upper deck beyond Left Field on 5/24/19. The SF Giants played the Arizona D-Backs and the D-Backs were taking batting practice. The fans in this section were waiting for batting practice home run balls.

Coming earlier to a SF Giants and going to Left Field is a fun experience during batting practice.

Back on October 5, 2000 and when Oracle Park was Pac Bell Park, I headed to these Left Field bleachers during batting practice when the Giants faced the New York Mets in game 2 of the National League Divisional Series. This is the place to be to see if you can catch a fly ball. This is the goal of many baseball fans. Going earlier beats out the competition during a normal game time.

I was so excited when I caught the baseball during this visit as the Mets were taking batting practice. I had my mitt ready in hand and saw the ball coming. It came high and hard. It came so hard that it was my stomach and mitt which helped me catch the ball. The other fans congratulated and were happy for my victory.

So if you want to have your own baseball victory, come early to Oracle Park and hang out during batting practice. Make sure you bring your mitt and be ready to catch your baseball.

Bruce Bochy Embracing Pablo Sandoval

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Bruce Bochy is close to his players and is very popular among them. He has their respect, and they really want to make a run at the post season for his last year managing the SF Giants.

This photograph was taken at the SF Giants Home Opener. Bruce Bochy had the honor to throw out the first pitch of the game. Pablo Sandoval caught the pitch. After Pablo caught the pitch, he and Bruce gave each other a good hug.

A good team requires an effective leader who knows his players. Bruce Bochy knows his players – their weaknesses and their strengths. He knows how to coach the players to overcome their weaknesses. He knows how to create an atmosphere where the SF Giants can work together to win!

We all are a part of at least one team. Our team could be our family or our work group. A team could be a particular group of friends. At the very least, we are a part of the planet earth team. We need to learn how to connect with others on a personal level. Social media – i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram provide a level of interaction. But it cannot substitute with one on one interaction where we actually see a someone face to face. How well do we know people on “our team”.  Do we make people we encounter comfortable or uncomfortable due to the vibes we give out? Are you a resource where people will come to you for comfort and help?

Can we learn how to connect with others to help them become better? Can we learn to be a coach like Bruce Bochy to help someone reach their potential?

SF Giants Team Rallying Support for Manager Bruce Bochy in 2019

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I was fortunate to be at this game in April 2019 where Bruce Bochy was honored surrounded by the SF Giants players.

Bruce Bochy is the best. I appreciate his leadership these past years. He truly will be missed. He earned the respect of his team! We will miss his leadership and baseball experience.

Why do I love Bruce Bochy? He has led the SF Giants to 3 World Series Championships with his wisdom and experience. He has 41 years of experience in professional baseball. He learned how to bring out the best in his players as a manager. In his younger days, he hit .239 with 26 home runs. He continued to build on his talents and knowledge during the years.

After he ended his baseball career, he started managing in the minor leagues before moving to manage the San Diego Padres. He worked hard to become the manager he is today. He is direct and knows how to push the players to achieve results.

Bruce Bochy’s career teaches us how each of us needs to continue to work and evolve in whatever career and passions we have.

We all have unique talents. Do we see a pattern in our life where we are achieving small goals to reach our next big goal? If we are not achieving small goals, can we evaluate why we may be failing? Can we adjust and change our game plan?

Bruce Bochy constantly works on adjusting the SF Giants game plan to seek wins.

How can we adjust our game plan for success? Persistence in gaining skills and wisdom is a continual practice.

Learn from Bruce Bochy and keep building to achieve more knowledge and experience.

Experiencing a Quiet and Peaceful Hike in Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon

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When was the last time you went hiking? My wife asked me when was the last time that we went hiking. Unfortunately, it has been a long time since we went hiking.
Reflecting on our hike at Peek-A-Boo canyon reminds me what we are missing.

Our hike at Peek-A-Boo Canyon was a wonderful time we spent with our family.
My parents worked hard to plan the details of our hikes and the itinerary for our road trip.

We were amazed at the colors of the canyon. There were only a few groups of hikers. Being alone in canyon allowed us to appreciate its beauty. We did not need to be worried about being in a crowd of tourists, which was our experience visiting Antelope Canyon. In a quiet atmosphere, we could focus on the pretty view in front of us.

This quiet time provided peace and calmness. Our hike allowed us to enjoy the coral colors and to appreciate the canyon’s variations of patterns.

As mentioned in our previous post, our tour guide tossed up the sand dust to give the ghostly image with the sunlight in the canyon.

Our world is complicated with work, family and social activities. Stress exists with our country’s politics as well as natural catastrophes – i.e. tornadoes or hurricanes. Hiking and enjoying nature’s art calms us in the midst of turmoil.

Creating a nature oasis at home is also a way to create calm and peace. Put up photographs of nature to divert our attention to real colors and pretty scenery.

Nature gives peace!

How to enhance light at Mystical Slot Canyon?

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This photograph is a piece of artwork created by natural sand dust and sunlight. Our tour guide tossed the sand up into the air. The sunlight streamed through the slot canyon and illuminated the sand and dust to create this remarkable image. The sand and light create a smoky and almost ghostly image against the canyon’s golden colors. I quickly shot multiple images to capture the different images as the sand fell to the ground.

The hike was fantastic, and the temperature was not too hot in the middle of June.  Most of our walk was in the shade of the slot canyon. Our tour guide was great as he provided us with a interesting facts and history of this slot canyon. It was really nice as it was not crowded at all during this tour. We saw two other groups of people as we were finishing up our tour. I would highly recommend taking this tour if you are in the Kanab Utah area.

So next time you are in a location with interesting colors and light, try throwing some sand up in the air. Shoot a few photos and to see the interaction between natural colors, light, and sand.

 

What’s in the Area 51 Alien Center?

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Our family went on a road trip 2 years ago and saw the sign to go to the Area 51 Alien Center. We had to stop. My brother and I enjoy a fascination about Area 51. This Alien Center is close to the freeway. So it was not a big detour as other Alien 51 attractions.

We went inside to explore. This was a fun store to see the various alien souvenirs to purchase. As usual, I can usually find something interesting to buy. I bought an Area 51 Security baseball cap. I also found a poster warning about the restrictions to stay out of Area 51.

Currently, anonymous users behind a Facebook page proposed a group invasion of Area 51. The Urban legend about Area 51 makes us all curious whether the Nevada US Air Force Facility is the location of extraterrestrial studies. Supposedly there are 1.4 million people who RSVP’d to invade Area 51. The invasion is scheduled on September 20.

I did not RSVP for this event.

Why such fascination with Area 51? We all want to believe there are other life forms outside our planet. We spend large amounts of time watching sci-fi movies. Disney has just opened the Star Wars land, and I admit I am excited to go.

I think we are fed up with all our earthly problems and want to find a place to run and escape. So we want to believe that Area 51 has the answers.

Maybe we need to look at ourselves to see how we could contribute to help solve our planet’s problems as well as our individual difficulties.

What We Discovered on the 4th of July?

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We attended a potluck picnic with our parents’ friends and their families. It is an annual event with a huge crowd.  This year, there were about 60 something people enjoying good food and friendships. It was a nice opportunity to visit with some of my parents’ friends and hear how they are doing.

We love to eat the variety of food – from the typical grilled hot dogs to Chinese pig feet. There was gourmet fried soft tofu with the Cantonese savory toppings. Somen noodles was good as well as the homemade sushi.  My mom was excited about the small fried corn on the cob bites from Wingstop which she purchased. The homemade lemon bars and almond jello were the perfect ending for a good lunch.

After a delicious lunch and fun conversation, my wife and I decided we should walk around the park area near the picnic tables. We were pleased to take a closer look at the peripheral flowers. We started watching the Bumble Bees go from flower to flower. We got excited watching the Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies fly and occasionally land on the flowers.

We decided to utilize our Pixel 3 and Pixel 3XL cameras. I made the decision to purchase these phones since I was impressed with the cameras. I cannot carry my good camera equipment everywhere I go. I wanted a camera on my phone so I could easily take pictures even if I was not prepared to bring my heavy duty equipment. So we decided to shoot photos with our phones to see what is the photo quality of the cameras.

I knew my Canon cameras would surpass the quality of the Pixel 3 camera. But the results still were good from this photo shoot session.

As always the lighting is an essential factor for a good picture. I am trying to teach my wife how to take pictures.

The lesson I am trying to drill in her is to shoot as many pictures as possible. You can never be absolutely sure the quality of the photo in relationship to any movement and lighting on the object. So taking more photos increases your odds of getting the “perfect” photo.

We were trying to take photos with a bee in the flowers or a butterfly in the flowers. But we also took photos just of the flowers alone.

But by shooting an abundance of shots, you will be surprised at the outcome of your pictures.

The Pixel camera is very good. These photos we posted were among the better photos we took.

So what did my wife learn this 4th of July?

  • No matter where you are, take a look of your surroundings to discover things you never noticed. We’ve been to this park a number of times for picnics and gatherings. We never took the time to look at the flowers and plants.
  • Take lots of pictures. Do not be satisfied with just taking one shot for a picture. Increase your odds to get the perfect picture.
  • Learn to recognize the best lighting for a picture.

What did I learn this 4th of July?

  • The Pixel 3XL takes good wide angle pictures.
  • There are limitations in using the zoom lense feature on the Pixel 3XL. If you zoom in too much, the picture is not as sharp.
  • When I was shooting the 4th picture with the red fuzzy bud, I shot lots of photographs. I wanted the camera to focus on the center where the bud was. I noticed the focus was not where I wanted it to be. I realize I could touch the spot where I want to focus. But I was also trying to quickly take pictures. So the focus was not always as precise as I would like.

In conclusion, I still like the photos from the Pixel 3XL. I cannot expect it to act like my Canon DSLR cameras. But it is a good substitute when I do not want to lug my heavy equipment.

What do you think of these Pixel 3XL photos?

 

 

How Can We Honor Our Independence?

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The Washington Monument

Washington Monument Surrounded by Flags!

I took this photograph of the Washington Monument in October 2005 during a visit to Washington D.C.

This monument was built to honor our first President – George Washington! Not only was he our first President, but he led Patriot forces to victory in the nation’s War for Independence. He was an American political leader, military general, statesman and Founding Father.  He played an important role in the adoption and ratification of our U.S. Constitution.

We have heard criticism how George Washington owned slaves for labor and trading. He supported measures passed by Congress protecting slavery to preserve national unity. But we do not always recognize that he freed his slaves in a 1799 will, since he was troubled with the institution of slavery.

If we study the George Washington’s life in detail, we would learn more of his character and principles. He fought for our independence.

Today we celebrate July 4th and our freedoms! We often do not appreciate our military and leaders for their sacrifice to secure our freedoms.

The Washington Monument is 555 ft 5 inches tall. It may not be the tallest building in the world. But it should stand tall in our hearts to remind us of the leader who is the Father of our country.

In the speech written for the dedication of the Washington Monument on February 21, 1885 by Robert Winthrop – One memorable line is —

“An earthquake make shake its foundation … but the character which it commemorates and illustrates is secure”

The monument endured a physical earthquake. It is important to be reminded about the true American spirit and character of George Washington.

To answer how we can honor our independence?

Live a life of honorable character with a deep appreciation of our freedoms!

Info about the Washington Monument

Info about George Washington

How to Experience Warriors Bling

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About a week ago, we went to a scheduled appointment for a Warriors ticket sales presentation at the new Chase Center offices.

We were not sure what to expect and or what they would show us.

The Warriors Representative led us to a huge room. We saw a large map of the area to illustrate the means of transportation to be available to get to the new Warrior Stadium. The new venue will also be used for entertainment events. Bart and Muni will be probably be the most popular ways to get to the Chase Center. There will be a shuttle from downtown. Also there will be a ferry that will dock near the stadium. And yes there will be an area for Uber and Lift drivers to drop off folks.

There was a nice display of each of the trophies, pendants and rings from the past victories of the Warriors. Everything was in a case or frame.

It was so nice the representative was able to let us try on the rings. Our friend got the good idea to ask to try on all 3 of the championship rings at one time.  They are pretty big and heavy.  This was a big highlight for us during our visit.

There is also a huge model of the stadium. It provides a good visual aid to see how the seating will be.

After we completed playing and looking at the memorabilia in the big room, we were led to a mock suite room. The room we went to sit in closely resembles the picture in the below link.  After walking past the dining area, there were 3 small rows of comfortable seats. The representative showed us various views of available seats to buy season tickets and the different pricing.

Chase Center Suite

Before we went to the presentation, we had lunch at SF Kabobs. It was a great meal. We ordered the Combo Platter for $22.95 for the 2 of us to share. The lamb, beef and chicken were all delicious. Also if you go in the evening to eat, the parking in the lot is free.

SF Kabab at the UCSF Mission Bay Campus

The Warriors Representative mentioned there will be lots of different restaurants inside and surrounding the new Chase Center. We were already happy eating at SF Kabab before our appointment.

It looks like to buy a regular ticket to attend a Warriors game will not be much difference in price than what we experienced at Oracle. We are looking forward to watching the Warriors at the new Chase Center and eating the good food in the area.

If you have a chance to go for a visit, try on the 3 Warriors Championship Rings at the Chase Center.