Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Island of Enchantment

A flight distance of 1237 miles and just over 4 digits on the rental car odometer filled my family's Caribbean travel log to the Common Wealth of Puerto Rico this summer. The tropical lure of this enchanted island fancied the Conquistadors of Spain of year's past and ultimately the imperial forces of the United States. Strategic importance and global conflict gave way to sun, sand and lechonara on this family vacation.

Imagine a small Puerto Rican inland town dedicated to the art of roasted swine. The crowded streets are lined with crispy lechonara, quite literally! Guavate is ground zero for succulent pig charred over coal and gas flame until the layers of crackling skin just melt in your mouth. The 2.5 hour mountainous drive from Fajardo to Guavate satisfied our family motto, "Live to Eat".

Swim, eat, see some sights and swim again played like a broken record this trip. The kids grew flippers and gills. The parents increased waist size and lost patience with Puerto Rican driving habits.

In between the eating, swimming and defensive driving, I actually shot some video of the natural wonders of Puerto Rico. Finally, on our second consecutive 2.5 hour drive to Arecibo, we made the afternoon tour of the Rio Camuy Caverns. With tripod in hand, I managed to capture the dark caves at ISO 12800 despite the slippery terrain and pitch black conditions. I was using my Apple iPhone 4S video light to guide me through the dark abyss.

Over 100 steps up the Yokahu Tower in El Yunque Rain Forest, we could see endless amounts of green all the way to the coastline. I really mean endless fast food franchises and strip malls as far as the eye can see.

Beware foreign invaders of a precious smile and cute kankles behind the walls of Fort San Felipe del Morro. My almost 18 month baby daughter has the power of spoken mimicry and a demanding bottomless appetite to wear down the patience of any worthy opponent. She is an adorable weapon of mass destruction.

For hours of fun for restless kids, go fly a kite in endless rolling hills of San Juan. Tropical breezes give life to $2 plastic and string aircraft that soar to new heights. Take note, parking cost more than the kite itself but the moments are priceless.

I think only Facebook and Pinterest come before my wife's favorite juice sipped out of a fresh coconut. Of course, the fruity libation was photographed, posted and liked on Facebook via her Apple iPhone 4S in a Puerto Rican minute.

You can view more of the Puerto Rican experience in my Puerto Rico 2012 Gallery shot with the Canon EOS 5D Mark III paired with Canon EF 17-40mm f/4L, EF 24-105mm f/4L IS and EF 70-200mm f/4L IS lenses.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

On the Wings of a Prayer

Get up before sunrise, drink coffee, get kids ready for school and encounter emergency landing of small aircraft on Interstate 75 makes good morning conversation. The pilot of the Piper PA32 plane had engine trouble and made an emergency descent into morning rush hour traffic on the shoulder of the highway. He was definitely having a bad day.

The pilot and two passengers were not injured despite the plane hitting a power line and shearing off part of the wing on a road sign. Prayer, luck or pilot skill that prevented further tragedy? I would definitely need a change of drawers after that aviation close call...

Have camera will travel. My camera is an extension of my body. I had my Canon Rebel T4i/650D and my Apple iPhone 4S locked and loaded. In some shape or form, I always have a photographic device ready to document the world around me.

Advanced smartphones, like my Apple iPhone 4S, changed the television and print news industry. With just two clicks, anybody can shoot and share events instantaneously to the world. My kids have amazing technology ahead of them. In pale contrast, my childhood consisted of Speak & Spell and Atari 2600 with simulated wood veneer.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

First Day of School 2012

Kipling and Sperry Top-Sider make way of the departed. Summer days of staying up late and watching endless hours of television has come to an abrupt end for my kids. As for the adults, the extra strong cup of coffee eases the routine of school's first day morning chaos but not rush hour traffic with never ending road construction. Things never change...

A double digit birthday is graciously followed by the big 5th grade for my oldest daughter. More complicated curriculum complemented with difficult homework and challenging exams fill her designer backpack with wheels. Who said schoolwork has to be boring?

Gone are the days of preschool separation anxieties. They are formidably replaced with procrastination and inherent stubbornness of this Spelling Bee Champion. The 2nd grade is monumental in the Catholic world. You officially confess your sins with Reconciliation and receive First Holy Communion all in one school year. Original Sin and unleavened bread are on the menu this season.

A new Principal roams the hallways of St. Stephen Catholic School. Her name is Sister Carina Okeke and she comes from a seven year tenure as Principal from the New Jersey Catholic school system. Simple may describe her vows but in reality her active vocation of prayer, service and new Principal of our school seem quite admirable. My family and St. Stephen Catholic welcomes you with open arms.

Cousin chaos returns to 8th grade. My nephew is in middle school now and ready for his launch into high school next year. Time definitely goes by in mere seconds when it comes to family. Cherish the moment and snap a picture that will last forever.

You can view more photos in my First Day of School 2012 Gallery shot with the Canon 1D Mark IV paired with the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L lens.

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