Castles in Punta Cana (Punta Cana, Dominican Republic)

I put the finishing touches on our late year vacation earlier today – I’ll wait a few weeks to discuss details but it will be much different from our vacation in three weeks when we are off for Africa.

Castles in Punta Cana (Punta Cana, Dominican Republic)

Castles in Punta Cana (Punta Cana, Dominican Republic)

I looked into renting a lens today for the safari part of our trip. My longest lens is a Nikon 18 – 270 which is an AMAZING walk around lens in the city and in places where you can walk to get in a better position. However, my understanding of safari trips is that you (wisely) spend the entire day in the vehicle taking pictures from the jeep so you are unable to position yourself better for pictures so the longer focal length is needed. has a 150mm – 600mm for around $225 for the 21 days. The lens itself is around $1,000 purchased off of the street so the $225 isn’t a minimal amount relative to the purchase price. However, since I mainly do landscapes I don’t think I have a use for it past this vacation so while I don’t think the ‘value’ is there in just renting the lens I also can’t justify straight out purchasing in and then leaving it in the closet for the next three years thinking I might use it at some point.

Absolutely Nothing

After my meetings this morning I spent the day with a good friend catching up and then with my family having a nice home cooked meal. Nothing beats the little things. Absolutely nothing.

We don’t have a lot of time on this earth! We weren’t meant to spend it this way! Human beings were not meant to sit in little cubicles staring at computer screens all day, filling out useless forms and listening to eight different bosses drone on about mission statements!

– Peter Gibbons

Photo of the Day – Daybreak in Punta Cana

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We certainly weren’t meant to spend it that way….laying on a beach drinking Mai-tais? That’s something I could get on board with. Now get out there and make it happen!

Breaking Day in Punta Cana

We spent our second anniversary in the Dominican Republic – the beaches were pristine and the weather was fantastic. There was only one day where the weather was so bad that we had to stay inside most the day (we played Mexican Monopoly and drank lots!). Otherwise we were on the beach either trying to get some sun, snorkeling, kayaking or swimming (and drinking here as well). The resort (Majestic Colonial Punta Cana) was all-inclusive and we spent the majority of our time isolated from the surrounding area. It is a beautiful resort and I highly recommend it to anyone looking to visit the Dominican. Say hi to Denny on the Beach for me…he was the man. Very strong drinks!

Photo of the Day – Punta Cana Day Break

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Most of the mornings in the Dominican I would wake up early and head to the beach. A few mornings I jogged along the beach but mainly I was there to take pictures and to secure our chairs for the day – it was mass chaos if you didn’t get down there before breakfast. My favorite time of day was the sunrise. I loved the sunrise in Punta Cana.

We were luckily blessed with some nice sunrises. I liked how the sun reflected off the surf and how the wave was breaking over the beach.

Halfway through our trip to Italy :(. I’m not looking forward to being back home.


Fall is one of my favorite seasons – the leaves change and the temperature drops but not to the point where we are wearing winter coats or anything like that. I’m not sure I’d like to live in a place where the weather is pretty much always the same. Don’t get me wrong I love visiting but to have it be 80 degrees all year round with no seasons where you experience changing leaves, a chill in the air or snow occasionally (I’m not a fan of winter but an occasional snow is nice).

Photo of the day – Paradise Lost

Another morning in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. I was down early scouring the beach for chairs. If you weren’t down there before 8 AM ‘marking’ your chair with a magazine, a beach bag or towel there was no shot you’d have a chair when you actually came down to the beach after you ate breakfast. I get up early anyways but I found the practice of ‘saving’ chairs to be very unappealing. Still because everyone else was doing it and there were a couple of days we came down to the beach and weren’t able to find chairs I started doing it every morning.

Amazon just got a whole lot better

The announcement made earlier should be the final nail in the coffin for Netflix – I recently cancelled my subscription because I found with HBO to Go and other streaming apps I just wasn’t using it enough to justify even the $10/month bill. I’m sure alot of subscribers will think the same way now that they can get EPIX movies (Avengers, The Hunger Games) via their Amazon Prime membership. I’m not a Prime member yet but I shop on Amazon enough that it may make sense – especially if you now can stream a ton of programming within that same $79/year membership to go along with ‘borrowing’ books digitally from their library and free shipping. While I haven’t made the decision to go Prime yet I heard they are also launching another deal next week which some think will be more streaming capabilities.

Amazon Partners with EPIX

Photo of the Day – Dominican Idols

From our resort in Punta Cana – A friend will be going down there in a few weeks so I was giving her some tips earlier today and it made me think to revisit some of my pictures from that trip. While this isn’t a typical beach scene I found the little idols/statues spread throughout the resort to be pretty cool looking. Those that lined the walking paths also sometimes doubled as ashtrays for the smokers on the resort so I don’t think they held any sort of historical spiritual meaning but rather the owners of the resort just felt the same as me and that they looked interesting.

Spearfishing in the DR

We met this guy as he came in from spearing a bunch of fish that I presume he was going to sell or fry up for dinner. His English wasn’t very good and my Spanish isn’t good at all so we weren’t able to communicate beyond the most basic conversation. However, he saw my camera and wanted me to take his picture with his hard days work. In the background off of his right shoulder is a ship wreck just off the coast of the beach. It is an old Russian Oil tanker (named the Astron) that ran aground in Punta Cana during a storm in the 1970s. The ship broke in two and some oil (I presume) got into the ocean. You certainly can’t tell now though 30+ years later. They have scuba expeditions there when the weather cooperates, unfortunately my wife and I don’t scuba so we didn’t get much closer than the shore.

Photo of the Day – Finding Nemo

Castles Made of Sand

Down the street you can hear her scream you’re a disgrace
As she slams the door in his drunken face
And now he stands outside
And all the neighbors start to gossip and drool
He cries oh, girl you must be mad,
What happened to the sweet love you and me had?
Against the door he leans and starts a scene,
And his tears fall and burn the garden green

Castles Made of Sand Melt into the sea, eventually

I was walking on the beach in Punta Cana and came upon this sand castle – the tide was rising and with each wave it was being destroyed and taken into the sea little by little. Instantly, the guitar started playing in my head – I went down to my iPod and changed the track and put on this song as I set the camera up to photograph the castle slipping slowly into the sea. I used a glow filter around the bottom of the photo to give it a dreamy like texture. This is one of my favorite pictures and I love going back to that moment sitting on the beach looking at the Pacific and watching the sunset on the horizon.

Re: Praying for A/C

Okay my prayers were answered – in the past two days its dropped about 30 degrees and I finally able to get a good night’s sleep. Very frustrating past few days with the mini-heat wave and getting by with little to no sleep.

Catedral de Santa Maria la Menor

This is the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor in the Colonial Zone of Santo Domingo. It is the oldest cathedral in the Americas, begun in 1512 and completed in 1540. We visited this cathedral while we were vacationing in Punta Cana. Santo Domingo is about four hours each away (by bus) from Punta Cana and we made a day trip out of it. It was a LONG day! However, in hindsight it was worth it to see the oldest church in the Americas – it also used to house the remains of Christopher Columbus who landed in Santo Domingo during one of his voyages to the new world.

May Day, May Day

May is one of the busier months at work – it involves a lot of travel and a number of client meetings. I often find myself stressed out and wondering where all the time went. It’s a pretty crazy three – four weeks but at the end of it when I look back it really isn’t all that bad. Additionally, when it’s all done I’ve usually been able to parlay a couple of the business trips into photo expeditions as well. It just takes a little pre-planning to do my best to be in before sunset and then have late enough meetings that I can get up for sunrise and still make it back to the hotel and clean myself up before the meeting.

This was my reward after the last busy month at work when my wife and I took a vacation to Punta Cana – how can you be stressed out after this?

The Reward

If you are like me and can’t seem to beat the stress – here is a great list posted from an awesome blogger – Health Demystified – check out his tips and read his other posts. He’s inspired me to continue to strive to live a healthier lifestyle and I’m sure he can do the same for you!

My personal favorite from a recovering perfectionist:
10. Life is not easy, but it’s worth it. – If you expect it to be, you will perpetually disappoint yourself. Achieving anything worthwhile in life takes effort. So start every morning ready to run farther than you did yesterday and fight harder than you ever have before. Above all, make sure you properly align your efforts with your goals. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it in the end.