Viva, Mexico! - Los Angeles Travel Photographer

Five years ago in Mexico city, Jose, in his sarcasm, described how only the modern development collapsed in the (infamous) 1985 earthquake, and all historical buildings stayed intact.  Back then, it was fun to laugh it off.  

Today, my heart wrenched at the sight of loss, fear and agony when the earthquake stroke central Mexico again, exactly 32 years from the last one.



I met this boy in the historical centro part of Mexico City.  I so wished that there will be no more separation nor loss due to natural or human-inflicted disasters.    

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Paradise, lost... - Los Angeles Travel Photographer

This medieval town stole my heart.  Yes, it took a hair-raising journey to get there. Yet, in a matter of two days, I was in love.

I was in love with being waken up by the melodious soun
d of the sheep jingling by our window in the morning, the galloping horses grazing in a scenery that can only come from a set in a movie, the mountains that move in lines that dance, and the mystical play of light and the ever-rolling-and-ever-dispersing clouds...  



On the morning of our departure, when I put away my camera one final time and turned around, tears rolled down my cheeks.  I thought I was sad from the good-bye.  My heart longed to come back to be close to this paradise again, soon.

Two weeks ago, when the earthquake struck central Italy, I was in a country with restricted access to news in the world.  When I finally got back to free land, my heart trembled at what had happened - The town was reduced to rubble (in face, the ground is now as much as two feet lower), the already difficult road was shaken to be almost impossible to drive on, and the Apennine Mountain surrounding the Grand Plane (Piano Grande) showing crack line running across it.  

Castelluccio di Norcia, may you rise above the shambles and be rebuilt with more charm in your heart.  May your people stay strong and, hello, horses and sheep of this beautiful land, may you stay safe and resilient in the sub-zero temperatures.  I wish to see you all again soon, in the town that appears to be perched above the cloud!    



Let's Come Together to Help All that are Impacted by the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami - Los Angeles Photographer

March 11, 2011 evening, I was doing my normal online checking before bedtime (you know what I mean, you social media addicts), a post came in.  Japan was hit by a magnitude 9 earthquake, followed by a Tsunami.  The next hour, I was glued to the TV screen, trying to find out every bit of what the people in the area had to deal with. It may just be me.  It feels that we have seen more than our fair share of the natural catastrophe in the last year or so.  

  • The Haiti earthquake in January 2010 that led to a death toll of 230,000 and 3 million people were affected. 
  • Weeks later, a magnitude 8.8 earthquake hit south-central Chile on February 27. The massive temblor changed the country's landscape by raising the ground by more than 8 feet near the coast and sinking land farther inward.  
  • The Iceland volcanic eruption in March and April 2010 disrupted air traffic across the whole of Northern Europe, thus stranding many passengers and the aviation losses amounted to around millions of dollars due to the cancellation of the flights. 
  • Just as we thought we've had enough earthquakes in a year, a magnitude 7.1 earthquake ruptured in Christchurch, New Zealand.

I have to admit that when these disasters happen in another part of the world, I get shocked at the news, follow it and talk about it for a while, then go back to my "normal" life.  When the same area in Japan was hit again with a magnitude 7 earthquake and a Tsunami scare on April 7, it occurred to me that (1) things will take a long while before they go back to "normal" for those that are impacted by this disaster and for some, things will never be back to normal; (2) we all have a chance to face the aftermath of losing the comfort of home and/or our loved ones to a natural disaster.

We don't plan for these disasters and I hope that no one ever will have the need to.  But when a catastrophe struck, a small token of gesture, such as a warm hand, may make a world of difference to them.  Look at beforeand after images that Stack Jones put together.  What a peaceful and happy life people were leading not long before this devastating day.

I can never bring their houses back.  I can never bring their husbands, wives, sons, daughters, mothers, fathers or pets back.  And I can never bring their lost memories in the photo albums or toys from childhood back.  But I can do small things, small things that when acted upon by many of us, can be meaningful to those that, maybe one day, we will know exactly how much pain they feel when we are in their shoes.

I have donated two pieces of my photographic work to an online auction put together by Artists for Japan.  They are listed below for your convenience.  Click on the image to go directly to the bidding page.  

Artist: Jean (Jiaying) Huang Title: Serenity in the Japanese Garden (1) Medium: Color print on Kodak Endura professional photo paper; lustre coating applied for UV protection (watermark will not be in the final product; frame not included) Size: 6" X 18"  Shipping: $6 in the US; international shipping to be quoted.

Starting bid: $30.00 (Bid has started.  Please click on the image to bid.) Retail: $100

Artist: Jean (Jiaying) Huang Title: Spring in the Japanese Garden  Medium: Color print on Giclée Canvas; satin laminate applied for protection and easy cleaning (watermark will not be in the final product;  frame not included) Size: 8" X 12"  Shipping: $6 in the US; international shipping to be quoted.

Starting bid: $50.00 (Bid has started.  Please click on the image to bid.) Retail: $160

Bidding ends on May 2 (see Facebook page of Artists for Japan for details).  All proceeds from the bidding will go to Red Cross in their relief efforts for the Japan earthquake/Tsunami disaster.  

Just remember, in a helpless situation, a warm hand can mean a world of difference.  Let's gather to do something meaningful.  As I always said, "together, we are stronger".