Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fall colors at the Japanese Garden (Seattle, WA)

(Posting by Jennifer!)

We found a little bit of fall color this weekend in Seattle. We even saw a bit of sun, but did get chased by rain. You will note we were prepared with the Gortex.

Art, by Laurence...a solo leaf thinking by itself.
Fall Colors (4 of 7)

Nice relections!
Fall Colors (5 of 7)

Fall Colors (1 of 2)

Jennifer took this picture, watch out photo pros here comes Jenn!! Just like Andy recommended I got Laurence's eyes, nose, mouth, ears, hat, smile and fleece.
Fall Colors (2 of 2)

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Whistler in the Summer

We enjoyed a nice long weekend up in Whistler. We did a lot of hiking on and around the mountain. It was a beautiful, northwest day in the moutains.

Whistler (2 of 2)
Taking a short break from hiking in a "Husky" wildflower meadow (Purple & Gold)

Whistler (1 of 2)
The on-mountain symbol of the 2010 Olympics coming to Vancouver & Whistler. This is right outside the lodge at the top of the gondola. The view is amazing on a clear day.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Botswana Okavango Delta April 2008

Why would you want to go to Africa twice?

Why would you go on Safari twice?

There are a lot of answers. We love the multisensory experience. We appreciate the life perspective it provides. We fell in love with the animals and wanted to see them one more time. We already had all of our shots!

In June of 2007, our great friend Andy Biggs, expertly (and safely!) led us through our first trip to Africa. As we’ve posted on our blog before, Andy is a fabulous photo guy (check him out at or you can see his animal photos for the next few months at your local Bananna Republic). Andy came to Seattle to give some workshops at a local camera store in September. At that point, the next big Norton Adventure was not scheduled. We ate dinner on the deck and started to plan this amazing trip. Andy selected the group...8 folks in total, living in Bangkok, Beijing, London, NYC, Philly, Houston and Seattle. After switching to tea on our last safari due to the instant coffee, we brought 6 pounds of Starbucks coffee, travel mugs and 2 French presses to ensure our world travelers all could experience the best coffee possible in the bush.

While we will spare you a map, we will tell you that Botswana is located in the southern portion of the continent of Africa. It borders South Africa (the point of entry for us), Namibia and Zimbabwe. We accessed Bots via Johannesburg, South Africa, flying in on a plane carrying 80 other people into Maun (the capital). It appeared that many of us were flying in for safari, but most of the others were staying in lodges. The eight of us, on the other hand, would be staying in tents in the bush, and we were all excited about it (in all seriousness). Our suspinions were confirmed on the way home through Maun, as each of us was in dire need of a good long hot shower, while our fellow plane riders were looking well pressed and, um, not nearly as dirty and smelly!

The experience of safaris in East Africa compared to Southern Africa are very different in several ways. The vehicles in Tanzania are vans with “pop-tops” - while in Bots you are riding in open land rovers (you are much more easily accessible for dinner in Southern Africa than East Africa!) The guides in Tanzania are really good – but the guides in Botswana absolutely incredible. Finally, for all our fellow wine lovers out there, Botswana has a much better selection available!

Safari Vehicle
Here's Jennifer demonstrating the best way to drink coffee while showing off the Land Rover

Immediately after clearing customers in Maun, we were whisked off to our small charter plane for our group and took a flight out into the bush. We would no longer see any paved roads, electricity, and running water (well, we did run across a flush toilet at the “dock” for our boat ride, which generated considerable excitement...). On the other hand, those days were filled with great conversation, amazing smells, spectacular sunrises and sunsets, animals, animals and more animals. Just what we were up for!

Boarding Bush Plane Boarding the bush plane in Maun - That's Andy being himself behind us

Our experience in Botswana was by land (safari vehicle), air (helicopter minus doors and windows as well as the great charter bush planes), and water (boat ride on the Okavango Delta).

Helicopter Prep Laurence, Susan & Jennifer just moments before takeoff

Where we were in Botswana, there are significantly fewer people than we experienced in Tanzania. It also has much more intimate animal interaction, and a wee bit more roughing it. Collectively as a group, we had enough photo lens length to cover miles, but as often as not it felt as if we could reach out and touch the animals. We did have the distinct pleasure of a hyena sleeping up against our tent and were thankful not to have more than one night with rain. Can you imagine the smell of a wet hyena?

Our travel group really was a lot of fun. Here is a pic. We had a lot of laughs, kept each other honest and gave each other a hard time. The trip really wouldn't would have been the same without: Andy, Sao and Rob, Susan, Trevor, and Crazy Al. We were excited to reconnect and make more bush friends.

Our Botswana Safari Group Front Row (Left to Right): Jennifer, Sao, Nick, Adrien
Back Row (Left to Right): Susan, Laurence, Rob, Trevor, Des, Andy, Neil (Al took the picture)

Our guides were truly amazing. All had great Southern Africa accents (British-like), all were highly educated and could name every animal, bush, sound and footprint. They loved to tease and spar with all of us and each of us would have loved to bring them home to experience our daily lives. One of our guides, Nick, is from Zimbabwe. Nick is one of the most positive people you will ever meet. He spoke eloquently about the conflict going on right now in his country - and, in his positive way, allowed us to understand and empathize the struggles he and his family face.

Our 4 amazing guides: Nick, Neil, Adrian & Des (photo's courtesy of Rob & Sao)

"I am very luck" was a quote uttered early in the safari from our fellow traveler Rob, the kiwi, living in Beijing and married to Sao, who is in Thailand. The quote is from his driver, and it really was how all of us felt about our Botswana adventure.

If you are thinking you want to go to Bots or Tanzania to safari and want more details let us know. We love the bush in Africa and hope to return some day.

On to the animals and landscapes - hopefully they speak for themselves.

Bots (13 of 24)

Bots (12 of 24)

Bots (1 of 24)

Bots (2 of 24)

Bots (4 of 24)

Bots (5 of 24)

Bots (6 of 24)

Bots (7 of 24)

Bots (8 of 24)

Lion Portrait

Bots (10 of 24)

Close Encounter Elephant

Laurence getting up close and personal with an elephant

Mother and Baby Elephant

Bots (11 of 24)

Bots (3 of 24)

B&W Warthog

Bots (15 of 24)

Bots (16 of 24)

Bots (19 of 24)

Bots (20 of 24)


The mongoose says, "Keep your eyes on the prize!"

Bots (21 of 24)

Bots (22 of 24)

The hornbill, also known as Zazu from The Lion King

Hippos Sunset

We think the hippos watched us as much as we watched them

Bots (24 of 24)


Big yawn while watching us


We always enjoyed the hippos during sunset

Orange Sunrise
Another big sunrise in Botswana

Sunset Portrait

Here we are enjoying another beautiful sunset during sundowner with our safari friends

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Our Australia Adventure

On our way to and from Africa, we spent time in Australia, a favorite country of ours. We love the great warm weather, how clean it is, the friendly people, empty beaches and yummy food.

GBR Sunrises and Sunsets (1 of 3)

Sunrise on 4 mile Beach in Port Douglas

On the way to Africa we stayed in Sydney for a few days. We adventured out via passenger ferry to Manly to go for a hike and enjoy the views of the city. Another day we ventured out to the Sydney Fish Market. It truly is a fish market, we thought it would be fun to order fish and chips. For some unknown reason to us the fish we ordered came as a whole fish, yep, tail and head included! Jennifer wasn't expecting that, but it was still tasty. Seafood in Australia is a bit different than Seattle, so we included a couple pics for you.

Sydney Fish Market (1 of 2)

Blue Crabs at the Sydney Fish Market

Sydney Fish Market (2 of 2)

Jennifer making the best of the strange fish & chips

After Africa it was time to hit the Great Barrier Reef. We rented a condo in Port Douglas (north of Cairns) and enjoyed our time on the beach. We did spend one day out on the reef snorkeling, which is always a treat. We also enjoyed hitting the Farmer's Market twice!

Port Douglas Farmers Market (1 of 1)

Port Douglas Farmer's Market

GBR Sunrises and Sunsets (3 of 3)

Port Douglas Sunset

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Botswana in Black & White

As we continue to work on gathering the photos and writing the text for our official Botswana post - we thought we'd share a few more photos of animals from the trip. These have all been converted to black & white, and are inspired by the amazing work Andy Biggs is doing with B&W African wildlife photography. You can check out what Andy's up to at his website,

B&W Lion

B&W Ele

B&W Ant

B&W Buffalo

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Botswana Preview

We are currently in Port Douglas, Australia - just off the Great Barrier Reef. While we are enjoying the beautiful warm weather - we thought we'd give a preview of some photos from our amazing trip to Botswana. More photos with descriptions to follow down the road.
Late morning siesta

"Fragile Moment" -misty Botswana sunrise

The flood plains of the Okavango Delta constantly change. This area experienced an extended period of time underwater, killing the tree in this photo. The water path changed again, and now it is full of lush grass

Okavango Delta Reflection

We had a great boat ride up the Okavango Delta. We stopped for a while watching a group of lions in the grass (see photo below) - to see if they would swim across the water. The lions were patient - and we ran out of time, so we had to head back to the dock at full speed. The water was glass (Laurence asked Jennifer if she wanted to wakeboard - but she declined due to the crocks and lions). Laurence hung out over the front of the boat for this reflection picture.

Watch where you walk

One little monkey (0kay, technically a baboon), sitting in a tree....

More to come later - we promise!

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