Hong Kong - photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze's Vertical Horizon on Visit50

Hong Kong above – photography from the Vertical Horizon project

Photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze captured Hong Kong’s soaring heights in his Vertical Horizon project, which is now an 80-page book of photos from his 2012. The 26-year-old French photographer captures the city’s architecture and vertical angles – all looking up. So cool!

Photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze captures Hong Kong’s soaring heights
Photo from Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze Hong Kong photography project

Photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze captures the vertical angles through a wide-angle Sigma lens with a 10 mm focal length. Unlike a fisheye lenses, he says a sigma lens avoids distorting the urban landscape’s straight lines.

Hong Kong - photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze's Vertical Horizon on Visit50

This photo reminds me of the Guggenheim museum in NYC, but it's actually French photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze's photo from Hong Kong in his Vertical Horizon project
This shot reminds me of the Guggenheim museum in NYC, but it’s actually in Hong Kong
Photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze's Vertical Horizon in Hong Kong on Visit50
French photographer Romain Jacquet-Lagrèze shot these in 2011 and 2012

Hong Kong Vertical Horizon - Visit50

Check out the full 80-page book at the link below –
Vertical Horizon (English and Chinese Edition)

To see more posts on Hong Kong, including some of the best Hong Kong architecture.

Sunset Silhouettes - Boracay Beach Paradise!

50 Sunset Silhouettes – Boracay Beaches

There’s nothing quite like experiencing a breathtaking sunset, and it makes for some awesome sunset silhouettes.

We saw some of the most amazing sunsets in Boracay in the Philippines – below are the first 8 of Visit50.com‘s 50 Sunset Silhouettes!

Sunset Silhouettes - Boracay Beaches


Imagine visiting a place where every afternoon was the most amazing sunset you’ve ever seen…until the next day. Boracay island in the Philippines is paradise. Loved it!

Sunset Silhouettes - Boracay Beach Kodak Moment

Sunset Silhouettes - Boracay Beach -006
Frisbee Silhouettes
Sunset Silhouettes - Boracay Beach Paradise!
I want to go back!
Sunset Silhouettes - Boracay Beach -008
These kids were adorable!

Sunset Silhouettes - Boracay Beach -007

Julian captures the Boracay sunset with his SLR
Julian captures the Boracay sunset with his SLR

Sunset Silhouettes - Boracay Beach -Julian enjoys the sunset

 You counted correctly – these photos were just the first 8 of Visit50.com‘s 50 Sunset Silhouettes. The rest are coming soon!

Iceberg collapse in Newfoundland, Canada

Amazing Iceberg Collapse – Caught On Camera

An  arch-shaped iceberg collapsed – and a couple caught the heart-stopping moment on camera!

A Canadian couple were boating in Newfoundland, filming video of the iceberg when they witnessed the massive collapse. It’s fascinating to witness it, until you remember that for every action there’s a potentially lethal icy reaction.  Ahhh!

It’s what happens next that terrified them. In the video you can hear her scream in terror as they suddenly find themselves in danger. In just seven seconds, the vast iceberg suddenly begins to crack, then completely collapses into the water below, causing a huge wave rolling straight towards them.

‘”I think my heart came up, and I swallowed it. I was petrified!” -Wanda Stead

We’ve seen how deadly icebergs can be to even large ships — they were in New Foundland, Canada, which is where the Titanic sank back in 1912. That was due to a collision, but the resulting tidal wave from an iceberg collapse can be just as lethal.

Screenshots of the collapse:

Iceberg collapse in Newfoundland, Canada
The calm before the storm – cracks begin to form
Iceberg collapse in Newfoundland, Canada
Iceberg collapse – chunks of ice begin to disintegrate

Iceberg collapse in Newfoundland, Canada

Iceberg collapse in Newfoundland, Canada
Immediately after the Iceberg collapse, a huge wave forms and comes towards their tiny boat

Wanda Stead and her husband tell the story in this CBC article. Screenshots from YouTube.

Balut - the one thing in Asia I wouldn't eat.

Balut – would you eat Duck Fetus?

Balut — Would you eat Duck Fetus?  They actually eat Balut, as it’s called in the Philippines, and Balut was the only food I refused during my entire backpacking trip through Asia.

When I’m traveling, I always want to sample the local food, and I’ll try almost everything. I’ve tried guinea pigs (cuy!) in Peru, grasshoppers and scorpions in Thailand, and just about every organ or body party of a cow, duck, or chicken that you can think of in mainland China (including duck intestine, pig brain, and more). Where do I draw the line?  Balut – duck fetus. Duck fetus is not for me. I just couldn’t bring myself to try eating Balut, which is a Fetal Duck Egg.

What is Balut?   Balut is fertilized duck embryo – the embryo is allowed to grow and mature for about 17 days until it is quite clearly a baby duck. That’s right. A baby duck, with all its baby duck parts stuffed into a shell with the yolk and egg white, now crisscrossed with blood vessels and feather-like growths. Yes, sometimes Balut is even has the beginnings of feathers. At this point Balut is soft-boiled and eaten whole.

Diving with Grey Reef Sharks – best shark video ever!

Imagine being surrounded by Grey Reef Sharks while SCUBA diving – it’s all captured in this awesome 5-minute diving video of Grey Reef Sharks in Nassau, Bahamas, at the Ray of Hope shipwreck. I love the ominous music too. Check out the video of SCUBA diving with these “Apex Predators” below:

Grey Reef Sharks, Nassau, Bahamas

Photos and videos of the Grey Reef Sharks were shot by Sarosh Jacob while SCUBA diving with a Panasonic Lumix ZS7 camera.

I just posted the story of my first time entering shark infested waters – surrounded by sharks in Borneo!

Bako in Borneo1

Meet the Macaques

Malaysian Borneo – The monkey I saw most often on my trip through Asia was the macaque. Long-tailed macaques are not shy (although sometimes aggressive; be careful!) and that made for some wonderful closeup photos like this one (below) from Bako National Park, an island in Malaysian Borneo.

Macaque monkey in Bako in Borneo - some readers suggested this pic as a cover photo for the next Lonely Planet
Cover photo for the next Lonely Planet Malaysian Borneo?

Another travel photographer said this wildlife shot of a long-tailed macaque (the monkey in the above photo) should be the next cover of Lonely Planet Borneo (Travel Guide). Perhaps! I’m really flattered by the compliment, but I need to thank the photogenic monkeys that were so kind to pose for me.

Getting this photo:  Shots like this are challenging, because this monkey didn’t pose for me, and macro shots aren’t compatible with motion and you can’t predict eye contact from wildlife. You need to be in the right focus to have the monkey crisp with the background blurred so it pops. In contrast, I love the composition of the lower photo, but I had to use my zoom so the depth of field is much more flat.

Macaque monkey in Malaysian Borneo on Bako Island
Surprised, or hungry?

Pronunciation – yes, the correct pronunciation for this monkey is actually Muh-kok. [Giggle giggle]

Proboscis Monkey eating lunch (leaves) at Bako National Park in Borneo, Malaysia February 2011

Up close with Borneo’s Proboscis Monkey

I was fascinated by Borneo’s Proboscis Monkeys, not just because of the rare chance to observe and photograph an endangered species in the wild (only found in Borneo), but also because the seem so human-like.  Imagine a monkey with a distinctive huge nose (a male proboscis monkey’s nose can reach up to 7 inches in length!) and a pot belly, that often walks upright (rare for mammals) and sits a little like humans sit.  Their name, Nasalis larvatus, literally translates to “long nose,” and you can see why (below):

Proboscis monkeys, the most distinctive looking primates on the planet | Bako National Park in Borneo | Malaysia
Proboscis monkeys, the most distinctive looking primates on the planet

Sometimes Proboscis Monkeys seem so human-like!  This proboscis monkey was frantically eating as if he hadn’t eaten for days! Take a look in this video clip from my time in Malaysian Borneo:

Bako National Park also has bearded pigs, which greeted us upon entering the island. So when we heard a typical pig sound later in the day, we were surprised to hear these honking sounds coming from proboscis monkeys.

Proboscis monkeys live on a special diet of leaves, flowers and seeds of vegetation found only in rivers, mangroves, and peat swamps
Proboscis Monkey in Bako National Park, in Borneo, Sarawak, Malaysia
female probiscis monkey in Borneo. Females have much smaller noses

Orangutans are much more closely related to humans, but the mannerisms of proboscis monkeys made me stop in my tracks and want to observe them all day. And I did.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Impressive Hạ Long Bay in Vietnam – limestone islands in the Gulf of Tonkin

Hạ Long Bay was visually one of the highlights of my Vietnam trip. Halong Bay is a UNESCO World Heritage Site featuring  1500-2000 islands and islets in various shapes and sizes, forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars.

Halong Bay, Vietnam

Hạ Long Bay (also written as Halong Bay or Ha Long Bay) is located in the Gulf of Tonkin, in Quáng Ninh province, in northeastern Vietnam.

Annika profile - Halong Bay, Vietnam
Annika profile – Halong Bay, Vietnam
Kayaking in Halong Bay, Vietnam
We went kayaking while surrounded by breathtaking views in Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay 1024x768 - Visit50


Halong Bay, Vietnam panorama

Ha Long Bay's limestone islands - Visit50.com

Lonely PlanetHalong translates as ‘where the dragon descends into the sea’. Legend has it that the islands of Halong Bay were created by a great dragon that lived in the mountains. As it charged towards the coast, its flailing tail gouged out valleys and crevasses. When it finally plunged into the sea, the area filled with water, leaving only the pinnacles visible. 

Jumping off the boat in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Jumping off the boat in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam – so much fun! (more of these to come)

Vietnam - Halong Bay - view from the boatSeveral of the islands in Halong Bay are hollow, with enormous caves, other support floating villages of fishermen, who ply the shallow waters for 200 species of fish.

Caveat emptor! Shopping in Bangkok

Backpack Shopping in Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok, Thailand — After using my little backpack traveling around Asia for 3+ months, my day bag started to fall apart. Fortunately I was in Bangkok, which can be an excellent spot to shop for discounts, since nearly everything is cheap.  A few blocks from my hotel was a place advertising “authentic travel bags,” which pretty comically tells you that they’re not. Caveat emptor!

My friend and I were laughing about it, apparently loud enough that the salesperson overheard and challenged us. The guy selling these bags explained that you know it’s quality because it’s strong; he then pulled on the material to show that it’s strong, and because there’s a website. Apparently those are the 2 criteria he was told that makes an item legit. I found a Lowe Alpine bag that I liked, and to his credit, the material did appear strong, and did in fact have what looks like a website embroidered on the bag.

In this case they actually made a bunch of bags that say www. com. That’s right, the actually mass-produced bags with “www. com” embroidered on it. See below photo: 

Kota Kinabalu-2

“Killing Where A Game Was!”

Chinese New Year is a time for family, similar to Thanksgiving in America. For some reason I (ignorantly) had assumed it would be a party holiday, so I made great efforts to get out of a jungle and into a “major” city. Thus, part two of our Chinese New Year’s experience was in the city of Kota Kinabalu.

After walking the city, we found exactly one bar with more patrons than bar staff.  There was a cover band there, but we quickly noticed they were consistently singing the wrong lyrics to nearly every song; not just the obscure verses but also the chorus as well.  The crowd didn’t seem to notice and even started singing along with what the singer was singing.  When the lead singer noticed us at the bar, he suddenly  looked visibly nervous, and would slur the words he was less confident on under his breath. Then in between songs he stopped by and asked us if we wanted to sing!

50 Countries & 50 States by Age 50