Monday, April 02, 2007

Back from CAMBODIA!

As most of you already know, Calvin and I recently spent a month in Cambodia. Without a set itinerary we embarked on our journey with open minds and a craving for adventure and discovery. Our hopes were to spend 90% of our time in the rural/remote areas of Cambodia and to mingle and possibly stay with locals in their villages. Through past travels we have found that the most interesting experiences occur when you simply arrive, talk to the locals and accept the experience as it unfolds. If you go in with a set schedule you may miss out on what could be the highlight of your trip.

Calvin spent a couple of months learning Khmer (self guided) which is the spoken language. It still amazes me how fast he picked it up. Carrying on a 30 minute conversation seemed fairly effortless and the more practice he had with the locals the better he got. By the end of our trip he had learned more than double of what he knew at the start. We were determined to get off the main tourist route and gain a genuine understanding of the people, culture and way of life. Learning Khmer allowed us to experience a side of Cambodia that without the language would not have been possible. Not only did it free us from having to find tour guides, it opened many doors that would not have appeared otherwise. It would have been extremely difficult to get by on only English. No one spoke it in the areas we were in. The locals were not only surprised to see a foreigner around their villages but their eyes brightened with glee when they found out Calvin could speak Khmer. Wherever the two of us went we were invited into celebrations, offered extended stays within the villages and treated to many hours of interesting conversations into the night. On strolls we usually had a fan club pack following us trying to show us off like we were celebrities. I've never had such positive attention in my life and I felt very flattered and important...hehe.

Not once did we feel unsafe. Cambodians are one of the friendliest groups of people I have ever met. They genuinely just wanted hang with us and expected nothing in return. Overall it was a very rewarding and unforgettable trip and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to travel to such a place and experience Cambodia in it's entirety.

I've posted some of the pictures on my photography site which is

Stay tuned for stories and video clips :)

Friday, January 05, 2007


This is a portrait that I did of my sister for Christmas. My very first basic sketch was of Calvin a few months back and I decided to give it another go and try Rachel. I've never had the confidence to tackle any kind of life drawing because they are so hard to get right and take a great deal of patience. There is a TON of stuff to learn and improve on that's forsure! Took much longer than I thought and I learned from a lot of trial and error!!. Next time I'll work with a better quality picture that shows more detail and blow it up full size. I had to use my imagination for the hair and neck areas cause the original was cropped too much...eeck! I guess you have to start somewhere :)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Happy New Year to all our amazing friends and family! I thought I'd jump start the new year with a blog entry! Yes can you believe it? I'm actually posting! I probably lost what few fans I had but have a little faith cause I'm back in blogging business :)

Here are some pictures from our Christmas festivities

Christmas dinner at my house

Christmas with the relatives

New Years Dinner with the Hass side

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Mature Bald Eagle

Friday, September 08, 2006

Calvin and I spent last weekend learning about birds of prey and falconry.

This is actually a young bald eagle. It's full grown but won't develope it's white head until it more mature. I couldn't believe how large she was!

This is one of the hawks that Calvin was handling. She is a beauty!

Some facts:
Raptors are characterized by a hooked beak, strong feet with sharp talons, keen eyesight(8 times sharper than ours or 100 times sharper than mine..haha), and acarnivorous diet.

Hooked Beak - The raptor's beak sets it apart from other birds. All raptors have the samebeak design, curved at the tip with sharp cutting edges to rip and tear apart their prey.Falcons use their beak to kill their prey by severing the spinal cord.
Sharp Talons - Birds of prey have powerful leg and toe muscles that terminate with sharptalons, making their feet lethal weapons. Their feet are perfectly designed to catch, hold,and carry prey. These toes can apply an extremely powerful grip on their prey, literally crushing it to death. The talons may also kill the prey by piercing the soft tissue and vital organs. Size Difference - Female raptors are generally larger than the males.
Eyes - Raptors have three eyelids! They have a top and bottom eyelid plus a third, transparenteyelid which closes laterally across the eye.

Calvin and I Spent a full day with the different raptors and I can't believe how much we learned in one day.From the biology and all the different type of raptors and their characteristics to what falconry was and the art of it, to interacting with the birds (holding, feeding, flying). It was such a unique and amazing experience.
Near the end of the day we took the raptors for a walk through the forest. They would fly from tree to tree staying close to us and every once in awhile we'd hold out a piece of meat and they would come swoopng down to our arm. In the wild, raptors only fly when they are hunting. They can get tired out and it's was cute to see how they wanted to use you to carry them back once they were tired. Falconry is a team effort between you and the bird and you could tell that there is quite a bond that developes between the bird and the owner. The birds that we trained with were hawks, falcons,owls, a bald eagle and a golden eagle (which has a wing span of 8 feet!). The more time I spent with these birds the more appreciation I had for them and I couldn't get over how intelligent they were.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Can't forget the Butterlies!

I had to throw a moth into the mix.He counts for something too :)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Dragonfly HEAVEN!


This guy was so cute. He looks like he's smiling and squinting his eyes..haha

Itchy eye. His head looked like it did a 180 turn.

If you look close you will see a curious dragon fly near calvins eye in mid flight. He stayed there for while and then kept returning. They were just as curious about us as we wer about them.

This is the encasing that a baby drangonfly emerges from. Once they are true dragonflies they will only live about a month.