Los Angeles Travel Photographer

Snow Birds Bring Good Luck - Los Angeles Fine Art Photographer

Out of all the possible dates/seasons, we headed into Yellowstone National Park when the biggest snow storm of decades descended in the area. For such reason, nothing ordinary remains that way anymore. To us, it means much more room on the canvas to flex our creative muscles.

Dead-Tree-in-Snow-Canary-Springs-Yellowstone-National-Park-USA-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Dead-Tree-in-Snow-Canary-Springs-Yellowstone-National-Park-USA-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

While at Canary Spring, my favorite elements were there for me to play with - the snow, the geothermal features, and… And, it must be our lucky day. On the day when the temperatures plummeted deep down in the negative zone, complicated by heavy snow fall which allows close to zero visibility, we met a small bird. This encounter reminds me of a time almost one year ago in Japan, when birds and snow brought me such joy and, consequently, much luck in an international photography contest. I now understand why yuki* (Japanese for snow ) has a special place in Japanese people’s hearts.

Small-Bird-in-Snow-Canary-Spring-Yellowstone-National-Park-USA-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Small-Bird-in-Snow-Canary-Spring-Yellowstone-National-Park-USA-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

As to the bird’s name? My first impression when I heard was that it’s such a serious name. And for me, serious and creative do not co-exist very well. By the time I was done creating, I forgot the name. Now, I feel lucky, but guilty. :P

* Yuki (
) also has the meaning of happiness.

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It's fire, It's Good Fire at Setsubun in Japan - Los Angeles Travel Photographer

Don’t panic, this is not what you think and I can explain.

Fire-Ceremony-Setsubun-Shimogamo-Jinja-Kyoto-Japan-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography-(2)[4383]

Fire-Ceremony-Setsubun-Shimogamo-Jinja-Kyoto-Japan-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography-(2)[4383]

Remember the last time I shared an experience where praying, burning and bean throwing is involved in Japan? Well, I thought I’d come back to finish what I started, the burning part.

As Setsubun signifies the beginning of a year (end of winter and beginning of spring), it’s customary for people to drive away the evils and wish for good luck for the coming year. Here at the UNESCO heritage site of Shimogamo-Jinja (下鴨神社), offerings and amulets are sent, along with the flames, to the great power above, in the chanting of priests.

Priests-Chanting-in-Fire-Ceremony-Setsubun-Shimogamo-Jinja-Kyoto-Japan-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography-(1)[4381]

Priests-Chanting-in-Fire-Ceremony-Setsubun-Shimogamo-Jinja-Kyoto-Japan-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography-(1)[4381]

What other cultures/civilizations does fire have a significant role in rituals/ceremonies? Share in the Facebook box below so we can all learn.

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Happy Valentine's Day, It Takes Two to Tangle - Los Angeles Fine Art Photographer

Let’s face it. Not all relationships start with love. And for the ones that do, it’s not a guarantee that they will end that way. As a French proverb described:

Marriage is like a fortress besieged: those who are outside want to get in, and those who are inside want to get out.

(Le mariage est une forteresse assiégée, ceux qui sont dehors veulent y entrer, ceux qui sont dedans veulent en sortir.)

In fact, this proverb gave the inspiration to a well known novel the title Fortress Besieged (圍城). And yet, all that ancient wisdom did not stop any of us from proceeding heels over head into a relationship that’s sealed with a marriage. So, when I saw this couple in the Shimogamo Shrine (下鴨神社) in Kyoto that dates back to the 6th century, I thought that they’ve succeeded in setting the expectations, well, realistic.

It-Takes-Two-to-Tangle-Shimogamo-Jinja-Kyoto-Japan-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

It-Takes-Two-to-Tangle-Shimogamo-Jinja-Kyoto-Japan-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

When us human showed us what we could do with our self-proclaimed far superior intelligence, e.g., marriage could mean combining the two, in wealth, social influence, political power, etc., something with brains the size of birds showed me what a relationship could look like. Maybe, they have a thing or two to teach us about harmony, passion, and being tangled gracefully.

Red-Crowned-Crane-Tango-Kushiro-Hokkaido-Japan-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Red-Crowned-Crane-Tango-Kushiro-Hokkaido-Japan-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

This Valentine’s Day, I wish you a fun day of tangoing to be tangled.

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