Prose by Photography: The Key to the Golden Gate

I stood at the entrance, staring up the structure towering over me, floral motifs written into its white face. It beamed down at me; a mere smallish figure, wearing the hood of a borrowed black abaya, dwarfed in comparison.

From here, I could not yet see clearly what lay beyond, for the view was obstructed by a second archway; a seeming reflection of the first. The gate in itself was huge, but the line of sight- narrow.

And- as if reading my mind, it said I can show you a glimpse, but you would need to journey farther to see it. And before my eyes unveiled dome on dome, in perfect symmetry- echoes of balance and harmony.

With a gentle crinkle of a smile, it gave a gentle nod- and whispered, Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth onto life, and few there be that find it.

March 2014, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Symmetry.”

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Personal: The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I couldn’t travel both, and be one traveler, long I stood, and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair, and having perhaps the better claim, because it was grassy and wanted wear; Though as for that the passing there had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay in leaves no step had trodden black. Oh, I kept the first for another day! Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.


I encountered this poem titled “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost for the first time while doing English Literature in High school and it has been my favourite ever since. When I prepared this post, I looked at the photograph and immediately thought this was the perfect accompaniment and wanted to share it with you.

The story behind this picture is a long and tedious one which involves us trying to look for the entrance to Hiraoka Park in Sapporo, Hokkaido, to catch the last of a festival of Plum Blooms in late May. The GPS kept sending us in circles around the park, redirecting us this way and that onto expressways which led away or onto quiet dirt roads, or to the wrong side of the park from which we could not enter. I thought it made sense to enter from the other direction, but the GPS kept debating with my instinct.

After being lost for over an hour and with each minute taking us closer to the end of the festival, I maintained a cheerful face but was increasingly frustrated as I saw my meticulous plans going awry. We eventually ignored the GPS and took a chance, and finally found the park’s entrance. I ran down the steps and went quickly on ahead to look for the festival, only to run into a group of five Japanese teenagers who responded to me in halting English that the festival had ended. We made it- only too late- but it helped me realise that sometimes your instinct may just be right. And although you can never be fully certain about most things in life, sometimes some things are worth taking a chance, and the “best” path is often not the straight, symmetrical, balanced-looking one.

When I finally emerge at the end of life’s journey, I would like to be able to say that two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.

May 2014, Hiraoka Park, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Symmetry.”

Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park, Yubetsu, Hokkaido, Japan (Gallery)

The Kamiyubetu Tulip Park is situated in Yubetsu town on the Northeast front of Hokkaido, facing the Okhotsk sea. We were driving in the area keeping our eyes peeled for the place, but really we didn’t have to- because it was a huge 7-hectare garden flooded in rows on rows of colours and windmill features- and that, is pretty darn hard to miss.

During Springtime, from May to early June, the garden is covered in over a million tulips of 120 varieties, and with flowers stretching to as far as the eyes can see, I wouldn’t say it’s all that hard to believe.

Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park Mombetsu Hokkaido Japan Travel Diary

Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park Yubetsu Hokkaido Japan Travel Blog

Kamiyubetsu Tulip Flower Park Hokkaido Japan Travel Blog

Running through the flower field Kamiyubetsu Tulip Park Japan Travel blog

Poetry by Photography: Whispers on the Mountainside

I knelt to look at a tuft of white, leaning from the wind’s strong might. Parachuters airdropped from up above, sailing on their wings like doves.

And then- with sudden epiphany, I understood how the mountainside came to be. For every few who downward fell, rather more, flew up as well.

I looked on up to the summit top, which I hastened to reach without a stop. For I realised what might’ve seemed colossal at first, was nothing more than life’s tiny verse.

June 2014, Mt Moere covered in dandelions, Moerenuma Park, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Scale.”

Personal: How deep is his love?

The perfect example for the word “depth” finally dawned upon me last Sunday, summed up beautifully in a Christian song by Stuart Townend.

How deep the Father’s love for us, how vast beyond all measure, that He should give His only Son, to make a wretch His treasure.

How great the pain of searing loss – the Father turns His gaze away, as wounds which mar the Chosen One bring many Sons to glory.

It was my sin that held Him there, until it was accomplished; His dying breath has brought me life – I know that it is finished.

Why should I gain from His reward? I cannot give an answer; But this I know with all my heart – His wounds have paid my ransom.

September 2012, Basilica di Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri, Rome, Italy

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Depth.”

Photography: Launch of the Lamborghini Huracán

2 months ago, I attended the launch of Lamborghini’s latest release, the Huracán, where the cars were to be test driven on the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia, just outside of Kuala Lumpur.

The architectural detail on the lambo is just incredible; its sharp, clean lines and sweeping exterior. Taken together with the roar of the engines as they charged down the straight, I only have one word- breathtaking.

November 2014, Sepang International Circuit, Sepang, Malaysia

In response to The Automotive Contest: http://pttmnn.com/2015/02/02/crushing-cars-the-automotive-photo-contest/

Travel Diary: Shiretoko Goko-lakes (知床五湖) , Shiretoko National Park, Hokkaido, Japan

I opened the door and stepped out into the heat. Leaving my coat in the car, I started towards the beginning of the trail marked by a large standing wooden sign. The Shiretoko Goko-lakes (知床五湖), also known as the five lakes, are a collection of lakes which were formed when the area of Mt. Iwo blew and left dents on the land which filled with water; the first of which could be reached by an elevated wooden path and viewing decks, but the remaining four being only accessible by foot and with a guide.

The elevated wooden walkway was a work of Japanese genius – it left the scene virtually untouched, with visitors looking out from observation decks while ezo sika (Sika deer) graze peacefully below, their short little tails twitching time to time to address the tickle of the occasional summer fly. Little pools of water irrigated the landscape, funnelled underground from the Shiretoko mountain range which lined the horizon, still visibly snowcapped from the winter.

Shiretoko goko five lakes hokkaido japanZabrina Alexis C at Shiretoko Go-ko Five Lakes Hokkaido Japan Travel

Shiretoko go-ko five lakes hokkaido travelSailing on the sea of Okhotsk Shiretoko Peninsula Travel Hokkaido