Well, summer vacation is over. That means it’s a good time to reflect on how I spent my time during these last few weeks.
The first three weeks, my wife and I spent in the US. We went last year, too, but we mainly focused on visiting places and taking pictures. This time around, we wanted to do something other than just photography.
Of course, we still took lots of pictures.
Some of the most fun we had was in the first few days. We sent to a place called the Nisqually Wildlife Reserve. At the reserve, we expected to just walk around a see a bit of nature. What we got to see was beyond out expectations. After walking for about 15 minutes, I spotted my first frog. Little did I know that, once we paid attention, there were frogs practically everywhere! That lead into a fun couple of hours of walking and photographing frogs, turtles, deer, and other wildlife. I’ve been to a few zoos in my time, but that reserve was better than most I’ve been to.
The only other place that we got to see interesting wildlife was at Mount Rainier.
There are several different trails starting from the Paradise visitor center. I’ve been up the more popular trails several times in my life, so I decided to take us on a less popular one. The trail lead past a small waterfall. Most people went to the fall and then return back to one of the main trails. Instead, we continued on the trail and enjoyed unusual and blissful peace and quiet. At the same time, we had a chance to see the two Marmots, someone large rodents that enjoy munching on the wildflowers in the fields.
Of course, as I said, it wasn’t all photo taking. Near where my parents live, there is a small, slow moving river that is a popular summer inner-tubing spot.
We don’t have very many photos from our fun times then. Unfortunately, we forgot our Olympus Tough, a waterproof camera, back in Japan. We had to make due with a smartphone sealed in a plastic bag.
Originally, we planned on going to a locally famous water park for a day, but when we found out how expensive it was, we decided to buy some inner tubes and enjoy unlimited rides and relaxation on the river for about half the price.
Another activity we enjoyed was taking a small class on night sky photography in Seattle. The class was conducted at an amazing camera store called Glazer’s. After the class, while everybody was downstairs looking at cameras behind glass counters, we spent a while just checking out all of the lighting, stand, printers, and other less popular photography items.
In Japan, I like to go to a store named Yodobashi Camera to look at camera stuff. While Yodobashi’s camera-testing experience is better than Glazer’s, nearly everything else about Glazer’s is better. I was surprised to find such an interesting camera store in the US.
The last activity we did before coming back to Japan was shooting guns at a shooting range. A family friend arranged for us to take some shooting instruction for a day. We expected to take a short lesson, shoot for an hour or two, and then go home. Instead, we spent about four or five hours shooting. It was a fun, American experience that my family enjoyed.
The main event for us, however, was the wedding reception my parents prepared. Friends and family traveled to meet and congratulate my wife and I on getting married. There was lots of food and good conversation for us.
My parents used to do a lot of large gatherings like those in the past, but they rarely get the opportunity these days. I was happy to see that they both haven’t lost their touch.
After all the fun was over, we packed up the souvenirs and said goodbye.