Saturday, September 1, 2007

Churaumi Aquarium

Wow. I cannot believe how huge whale sharks are. And that aquarium was definitely the best one I've ever visited. And I've been to the one in Monterey Bay, the one in Baltimore, and a few others; this one takes the cake! They actually BREED whale sharks there. It's the only tank in the world big enough that those & giant manta rays can swim around. Fascinating stuff. Here are a few highlights- no, not scanned from the brochure - it really is THIS big and blue with this good a view of the sea life. Fantastic day! We're going to get a membership.

The entrance to the aquarium - this whale shark is actual-size.
From the front - gorgeous water in the background.

Inside, you enter from the 4th floor and take an escalator down; this is the view.

The biggest acrylic panel in the world is in this tank that houses Mama Whale Shark (seen here with her baby riding on her back) - it's 22.5m wide, 8.2m high, and 60cm (2 feet) thick.
Here you can see the scale of the size of that ray compared to the people standing below. There is stadium seating in front of this panel - Mia and Craig and I could've sat there for hours.

The bull shark that lives in the shark tank next door is 3m long and weighs 300kg. He has lived in the aquarium for 27 years as of 2005, swimming at 2km/h constantly. The total distance he has swam in that time has been 481,000km - that equals 12 times around the earth! (very cool stuff in the brochure)

Here's one of the sea turtles - these also breed at the aquarium.
Here's the link to the whole lot.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Life Is Good

Hot and humid (nothing new)... but really good.

I got great news today - I will be shooting for Serena Nicole! I'm so excited for the beginning of something new, educational, fun, and downright addicting! I cannot wait.

So it's only 6 hours a week, nothing overwhelming, and we'll see where it goes! We're definitely celebrating and very very happy. I think this is all just a wonderful turn of events - and am still in utter disbelief! They LIKE me! They really like me! I feel like a kid who just got a new toy she really wanted. Very fun. And everyone I've met in the process is just so nice and I just know I'll be happy there.

A few celebratory shots with the fam today were in order - even a very rare picture of myself - especially considering the sweat factor - ick. I love that one of Mia & Craig on the bench. Not sure why - it's interesting I guess. And I swear I think that one of Craig & Mia on the grass looks like a stock photo! Haha!

Thank you ALL for support, criticisms, compliments, kudos - EVERYTHING! I feel like this was just all really meant to be.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

What To Wear When The Wife Has Chores For You

Thank you, Anastasia - thank you for the best laugh I've had from an email in a very long time.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

It'll Never Get Old

I peeked outside when I caught a glimpse of the light at sunset this evening through our kitchen window. We'd had an early dinner, so I grabbed the 17-55 lens and ran downstairs and out to the sea wall.

If I could only decorate my walls here.... sigh.... the prints would be everywhere!

It had been raining throughout the late afternoon. It cleared just at sunset time, but there was another storm to the north of us on its way down. Lightning flashed on the purple-black part of the sky and it faded into the sunset hues on the clearer part. But the clear part was still host to some storm clouds leftover. The weather can make for some very cool lighting out there. Hope you enjoy these. Nothing can convey the beauty of light, but these are pretty close to what I saw tonight. They're all pretty good size pictures here, if you want to click on them to check them out closer. A few are grainy due to low light, but I still think they're pretty good.

This one was looking toward the south. Those towers toward the middle right are by Camp Kinser. I rested the camera close to the sea wall in the foreground, but not on it - it was really wet.

This one pointed directly toward the setting sun. You can see the rain falling in the distance from one of the clouds, and the breaks between them too.

This is looking back at our street from the sea wall. Almost looks like a different night with all that blue sky. It wasn't really that dark right over us, otherwise I wouldn't have risked the camera being out in the rain. You can see the reflection of the sunset on the windows on the left. Our building is the beach one behind it.

And this really shows the storm heading down. The sun had gone down a little more by the time I shot this, but that storm was brewing and there was lightning and thunder coming from it - so I didn't stay out much longer.

And I shot this from the street behind the sea wall, just looking up. I couldn't get enough of the colors and the clouds!
On the way back, I shot this at the vending machine by the dive shop next door. I like this picture.

Monday, August 27, 2007

An Evening Out & Kindergarten Orientation!

Our lives are just jam packed lately. This is a busy couple of weeks! So last night (Sunday) we decided to go out to the east coast near Awase Air Base and try Sam's By the Sea. This place was hilarious - like a Hawaiian tiki restarant inside of a ship with exotic birds (real ones) and the most attentive staff EVER. (For the money, they should be...) Here's Mia out front by the BIG tiki when we arrived:

And here is Mia's fruit punch - that kid freaked out when it arrived. Can you blame her?

Our food was delicious - Craig had a steak and I had a baked seafood dish. Mia had chicken and actually ate a pretty good amount of it, for a change. (It had sauce on it - the nerve of those people.)

TODAY, Monday, at 9am, we went to Mia's kindergarten orientation. The rest of the kids started school today - the kindergarteners start next Wednesday, the 5th. So we met her teacher, Ms. Robin, and the TA, Ms. Karey (who's actually leaving on 9/21, so she'll be replaced with someone). Both of whom are delightful.

The run a tight ship! We went to Mia's new classroom - a delightful room with cubbies, 6 computers, a play area (dress up clothes, kitchen, etc), a reading area, 2 bathroom stalls and sinks, and of course, several tables with chairs. Pretty typical. There is a play structure outside, and it's very nice - though it'd be nicer if it were in the shade. There are 23 kids in her class. There are 8 classes. This school is BIG - the kindergarten rooms have their own wing!

Yes - I was "THAT Mom" - here's a picture of the kids on the floor while Ms. Robin was talking:

We got a big packet full of great info, one page of which was the list of supplies. Here they are after our trip to the PX today:
AND - how STOKED am I (and everyone else in our family) - there's a website for the school:
AND and the bottom of the page is an intranet link for which I'll be given a password. Ms. Robin will post pictures every day on there and puts out a newsletter every other week on Fridays. It'll be like having a web cam in the class! I'm so happy. Mia loved it there so much, she whined and cried when we had to leave. She's going to be just fine. I'll be a mess.. but she'll be fine.

Funny story of the morning....
Ms. Robin had the kids sit on squares on the carpet (as pictured above). She got everyone's attention, and said she was going to call roll. So raise your hand high in the air.

"Charles Abrams!"
Mia raises her hand high in the air. The WHOLE room full of parents laughs hysterically, as does Ms. Robin, who chuckled and said, "Sweetie, I'm pretty sure you aren't Charles." And I'm laughing hardest - though my face was in my hands. Well - she followed directions, she raised her hand high! She didn't say she had to call her name first....

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A Few Photos

I did a little recon mission to the park Saturday morning (where I was going to shoot the family on Sunday). As it ends up, I'm thrilled that I did because the park is ENORMOUS and I couldn't find the spot that Shelia described on the phone the day before. Thankfully, she answered her cell and straightened me out, therefore I was confident I could get back there on Sunday. So at about 10am I shot a bunch of pictures, including these of what I am guessing to be a resident kitty:

Those little shrines along the background are everywhere in the park. I assume they pay respects to local ancestors there, but don't really know.

So after arriving back home (also having seen a high-end audio store that Craig will drool for - I brought home some Marantz, Accuphase, and Esoteric brochures with those "if you have to ask how much you can't afford to go into the store" looking things) and describing the stuff at this amazing park, Craig figured we should all go. Mia was excited for the play structure I saw, and we all were going to feed ducks & fish, etc.

Well, once again, mother nature thought differently - we got out of the car and the first thing I noticed was purple-black sky over blue-green water. Nice looking but threatening. We played at the park for a while before it came - and I told Craig to put away the camera, we'd be soaked. Boy was I right - we ran to an awning nearby to "wait it out" - something you might be able to do in Miami, but definitely NOT here. Finally after killing time for 15 minutes we decided to make a break for it. The last couple of pictures in this latest album are of our hysterically laughing soaking wet kid.

The photos from before and during the rain can be seen here.

No, I Hadn't Been Drinking...

Wow, that video was herky jerky, but I realized I was also talking to Mia in between a little - here's another, from when they moved down the street to right in front of our building ("The Beach" hotel!).


I think it went great today - what an incredibly lovely family I got to shoot. Their daughter, almost 3, was gorgeous and incredibly smart and friendly. Definitely loved shooting the whole family, they were such fun - and the sun wasn't on top of us, so we didn't have as much heat going on as we could've (though I still was sweating like it was going out of style).

And now we wait again - I should hear by the end of the week! Thanks, all the well-wishers and wonderful people - those I know and those I don't - for the support and compliments. I just thrive on hearing all of it! I'm still of the opinion that job or no job, this experience has been fantastic - I'm so lucky to have found something I enjoy doing so much and I do plan to continue no matter what!

We're going to hit the Futenma Flight Line Fair today, I hope to pig out at dinner on awesome food. Pictures to come....

Just In Time For Mine...

Blogger added VIDEO!

I'm off to my photo shoot - wish me luck!