Hidden Gems of Central Oregon: 3-Day Itinerary

Oregon is a beautiful place, especially if you know where to go!  Everyone typically thinks of Multnomah Falls or Timberline Lodge or Cannon Beach or Crater Lake…  While those are undeniably stunning, and everyone should see them at least once, there are some hidden gems far less frequented.  If you have a few days to spare, check out these unique sites in Central Oregon.

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Continue reading “Hidden Gems of Central Oregon: 3-Day Itinerary”

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Grouse Mountain

After a trip to Capilano, we had to make our way to the nearby Grouse Mountain. There was so much to discover and more hiking than we had time for. We’ll have to go back sometime!

LotsaSmiles Photography

While somewhat a tourist attraction, if you find yourself in Vancouver, you’ll want to check out the views from atop Grouse Mountain.

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Top 6 Worldwide Photo Ops to Anticipate

As most of you know by now, I am a photographer.  (If you want to see more of my travel landscape photography, feel free to check it out over at www.lotsasmilesphoto.com.)  I love nothing more than a breathtaking scene and I get giddy immortalizing it and its associated memories in pixels.  In fact, while I can’t wait to experience some worldwide history and culture, while I long to stand atop some world-renowned trails, and while I’m an incurable foodie, I am most looking forward to the photography opportunities.  There’s so much to see; how could I not?

Here are the top items on my photo op bucket list.
Continue reading “Top 6 Worldwide Photo Ops to Anticipate”

Steam Clock – Vancouver B.C.

I love the tiny discoveries in a new city. This filled me with a fascination so simple and true… reminding me it’s the little things in life that are worth living for!

LotsaSmiles Photography

If you’re anything like me, a little child still resides in your heart, excited to pop out when the world manages to amaze an experienced and jaded mind.  This child oohs and aahs at simple mechanics and perfect patterns, tiny memories of less complicated times.

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Hawaii: Pukas

This was one of the most beautiful spots we visited while in Hawaii. The sun, the water, and the rocks all sang in perfect harmony at this photogenic beach.

LotsaSmiles Photography

In Hawaiian, “puka” means simply “hole.”  It is most commonly used in association with the small shells strung together into a necklace.  These have a naturally occurring hole, making them nature’s beads.  The term is also used to refer to holes in the lava rock, much like Pali Puka on Oahu or the heart-shaped puka next to Nakalele Blowhole on Maui.

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Hawaii: Highway Ghosts

An oddity of the Big Island. You learn something new every day!

LotsaSmiles Photography

As we were traveling from beach to mountain to snorkel spot on the big island, we noticed an odd sight: cars abandoned and completely stripped on the side of the road, mere shells of once functional vehicles.

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Hawaii: Punaluu Beach Park

This might have been my favorite part of our trip to Hawaii. I was fascinated by the ruins, and it was interesting to read about it after we got back. I could have spent the entire day there photographing this relic of history.

LotsaSmiles Photography

This is it, folks – the last Hawaii post!  I know some of you are sad about that, but I’m excited to share some photos from some of our other adventures as well.

We took it easy on our last day, making our way back to the Kona side of the big island, stopping into a beach or two, hitting up the southernmost restaurant in the U.S., and wrapping up the trip back at our Puka spot near the airport.

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Hawaii: The Volcano

This was something we missed on our first visit to Hawaii. I’m glad we were able to make it a priority this time around. So much geology to examine and explore!

LotsaSmiles Photography

Hawaii is a series of islands created through volcanic activity.  However, when we honeymooned there seven years ago, it was the one major thing we didn’t fit into our itinerary, despite Aaron’s affinity for geology.  Therefore, we were determined to explore it this time.

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Hawaii: Mauna Kea

The view from atop Mauna Kea is always awe-inspiring. It’s one of the few places one can go from sea level to 14,000′ in an hour or two (without an airplane). Here, you can be on top of the world.

LotsaSmiles Photography

If you’re going to the Big Island, and if you have any fascination with the night sky, you won’t want to miss Mauna Kea.  Home to the world’s largest observatory and nearly 14,000 feet above sea level (and above most cloud layers), you won’t see more beautiful stars, especially if you live anywhere near a metropolitan area.  And for a photographer?  Just, wow.

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Hawaii: South Point

Come explore the southernmost point in Hawaii and (debatably) the U.S. Take the plunge off the 40-foot cliff if you dare…

LotsaSmiles Photography

We couldn’t visit Hawaii without hitting the southernmost tip of the United States.  We had, of course, already been to Florida’s Southernmost Point (though this isn’t even accurate), but this is markedly less touristy and clearly more south.  

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