New Zealand on Film

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Shots from Piha

New Zealand on Film

Capturing New Zealand is magical on film. The landscape, the city, the beaches, the waterfalls, everything that I have pretty much captured on film was beautiful. If you haven’t been to New Zealand yet, I highly recommend you visit. I never really had a strong desire to visit this country before but New Zealand exceeded my expectations. I’ve only been to the North Island but I’ve heard many good things about South Island. Guess you know what that means (I need to go back to New Zealand). But until then, enjoy some film shots I took while road tripping around the North Island.

Roads

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Driving through the countryside

It is without question that New Zealand must be explored through a rental car. If you have the means to do it, I highly recommend that you do. It can be slightly nerve wracking to be driving on the left side of the road and with the steering wheel on the right (plus the whole windshield wipers and turn signals switched) it’s not too bad at all. Though, I really can’t say much as I had Charles driving the entire time (thanks, babe!). But yes, to completely explore the North Island, one must rent a car. From the long drive to Tongariro National Park (a 5 or so hours from Auckland) to the much shorter drive to Piha (about 45 to an hour from Auckland), a car is a necessity.

Waterfalls and Piha

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Hunua Falls, Karekare Falls, and Piha Beach

Just a short drive to Auckland, Charles and I managed to knocked down two waterfalls in one day on our second day in New Zealand. Hunua Falls is about 48 minutes from Auckland and the “hike” (or track as they say in NZ) to the waterfall was short and easy. Shortly after, we took an hour and a half drive up north then west of Auckland to Piha. I’ve always wanted to visit Piha but was deterred by the winding roads. After experiencing some cliff hugging drives not only in New Zealand but in Maui passed the town of Hana in the past, I figured it was time that I visited Piha. The drive to Karekare Falls was nerve wracking. The road becomes  a one-lane road which requires one to pull over to the side to let oncoming traffic through. But despite that, there were some Kiwis driving rather fast for our liking.

Anyway, Karekare Falls was also a short walk from the parking lot. This waterfall, was by far, Charles’ favorite waterfall between the two. After the waterfall, we headed to Piha Beach which is famous for it’s surf.

Te Puia

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Te Puia

The next morning, Charles and I drove to Rotorua. It rained the entire three hour drive and up until the afternoon. Prior to our drive to Rotorua, everyone in Auckland had asked what we had planned for the week. We responded that we were going to Rotorua and was met with a lot of, “Rotorua is absolutely beautiful.” We booked the hotel in Rotorua soon after and while reading reviews, I read about a “rotten egg” smell in Rotorua. No one that we talked to mentioned that smell. Not sure what we were expecting but that rotten egg smell did hit us in the face as soon as we got out of the car.

Okay, so don’t let that smell deter you at all because Roturua is beautiful as everyone told us. The reason for the smell is because of the many (and I mean a lot) geysers and hot springs found throughout Rotorua. These hot springs and geysers have a high amount of sulphur in it which gives off the rotten egg smell. We found that the smell made us laugh and giggle while walking around town.

In the afternoon, we headed to Te Puia near our hotel (Millennium Hotel Rotorua). There’s an admission fee and Charles didn’t feel like spending money on admission so I went by myself. It was windy and rainy which made it hard for me to take photos between both the DSLR and the SLR while also holding an umbrella. Surprisingly, these shots turned out well! And the blue from the pool was captured a hundred times better in film than it did with my DSLR.

Wai-O-Tapu

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Inside the Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland

In the morning, Charles and I headed to Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland (which also has an admission fee). You can spend quite awhile here as there are various walking trails around the park. The Champagne Pool would have to be my favorite part of Wai-O-Tapu. The orange and blue from the Champagne Pool was fascinating to see in person. The view did get repetitive as you go through the park (and the smell can get a little nauseating if you’re not used to it by now) but I think it’s worth it to view the Champagne Pool as well as the the Devil’s Bath which the water has an insane color of green that I have ever seen. I wish I captured it in film but I’ll share a photo on another post of a photo I took with my iPhone and DSLR. If I had to pick between Te Puia or Wai-O-Tapu, I would pick the latter hands down. Te Puia is smaller and the views are pretty much the same throughout.

Putaruru Blue Spring

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Putaruru Blue Spring

After Wai-O-Tapu, we headed back to Auckland but stopped at the Putaruru Blue Spring. Because it rained during our drive to Rotorua, we didn’t really get to see the beauty of New Zealand’s scenic views. The drive to Putaruru Blue Spring was gorgeous and everything I remembered from my time in New Zealand last year: lush hills and so much green. We ended up at a track where it was a small walk to the blue lagoon part. It wasn’t as blue as the pictures I’ve seen on Instagram BUT it had been pouring rain the day before so I had attributed that to the less than stellar color. It was super clear and I should say that the water here supplies most of the bottled water in New Zealand!

Hamilton Gardens

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

After Putaruru, we headed to Hamilton Gardens. The cherry blossom trees weren’t in bloom as much as they were the last time I was there in 2016 but Charles and I enjoyed walking through the camellia gardens. We also took this time to grab a bite to eat after a 45 minute drive from Putaruru. They have a cafe inside but the food is mediocre at best.

Auckland

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Wander Hour - New Zealand Film

Our last full day was spent in Auckland: walking around the CBD (Central Business District), walking up Mount Eden to catch a view of the city, and stopping by the Auckland Domain to check out the Wintergarden. One of my favorite stops in the CBD is Scarecrow in Auckland. Some of the most beautiful flower arrangements can be found here and it certainly inspires my taste in flowers whenever I visit. I’m drawn to how moody the arrangements are here and gave me ideas for my future wedding (in the near future!).

Going up Mount Eden to see the view of CBD is one of my favorite things to do in Auckland. I love a good view of a city so it was imperative that we made a stop here.

Last but not least, we stopped at Auckland Domain to one of my favorite gardens: the Wintergarden. The one time I went in May would be my favorite visit to the Wintergaredens as there were flowers EVERYWHERE. Not so much during winter but it’s still worth a visit.

Writing up this film photo diary has given me the feels. I’m a city girl at heart and New Zealand is FAR from a bustling city such as Tokyo (a favorite of mine) or New York City but the lifestyle in New Zealand is similar, if not exactly, like the lifestyle in Hawaii: super chill and nature-oriented which is something I have grown accustomed to while living in Hawaii. But having only visited the North Island, I am so eager to visit New Zealand again to see the South Island as the photos look amazing. From Aoraki/Mount Cook to Milford Sound, South Island looks like a dream!

Hope you guys enjoyed my New Zealand film photo diary!

 

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Tokyo Photo Diary

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Shibuya Crossing

Tokyo Photo Diary

A collection of moments of my time in Tokyo with my family a few weeks ago. From Shibuya to Shinjuku to Minato to Harajuku, these are the places I find myself in every single time I’m in the city. I probably need to venture to other cities around Japan next time around (which is currently in the works) but I know I’ll find myself back in this amazing city.

Wander Hour - Tokyo Photo Diary

Wander Hour - Tokyo Photo Diary

Wander Hour - Tokyo Photo Diary

Wander Hour - Tokyo Photo Diary

Wander Hour - Tokyo Photo Diary

Wander Hour - Tokyo Photo Diary

Wander Hour - Tokyo Photo Diary

Wander Hour - Tokyo Photo Diary

Wander Hour - Tokyo Photo Diary

 

I’ll do a much more comprehensive and thorough Tokyo post in the future but until then, hope you’re enjoying these shots that I took!

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Maui on Film

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Road to Hana on film

Maui on Film

Last month, Charles’ parents flew in to spend some time in Oahu as well as travel to Maui over Labor Day weekend. Only a short flight away from Honolulu, Maui is always a great island to visit from the hustle and bustle of Oahu. I know that sounds silly given the fact that Oahu is also paradise but I digress. The traffic on the island can be bad though!

While in Maui, I decided to take full advantage of the cheap 200 speed Fujifilm. The colors were too warm for my liking so I post-processed them but lowering the saturation but overall, I thought the images were beautiful, composition-wise. Here’s a few I took:

Wander Hour - Film

Wander Hour - Film

Wander Hour - Film

Wander Hour - Film

Wander Hour - Film

Wander Hour - Film

Wander Hour - Film

Wander Hour - Film

Wander Hour - Film

Wander Hour - Film

Wander Hour - Film

Overall, I probably won’t be using the cheap 200 speed film from Fujifilm again as it doesn’t align with my aesthetic. If you’re curious, Kodak Portra 400 is currently my favorite at the moment (and one that I used while in New Zealand and Japan which I can’t wait to show you the latter)!

Hope you guys have a great weekend planned out! I’ll be heading to the farmers’ market with Charles to buy produce for the weekend which I’m really excited about. Oh the joys of growing old. Happy Friday!

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Japanese Souvenirs

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Sour lemon candies & Tokyo Banana

Japanese Souvenirs

Having gone to Japan a total of five times (and probably will be going back every so often), I now will always have my go-to souvenirs for when I get back. You know, those souvenirs where you have to get it each and every time you visit a place you love. Yea, there are those occasional shopping buys and random knick knacks you come across but there are few a things I get my hands on ever single time I go to Tokyo and I’m happy to share them with you:

tutuanna Socks

Wander Hour - Japanese souvenirs

The cutest socks from tutuanna

I wasn’t much a sock wearer until my very trip in Japan. Before then, I would always steal socks from Charles whenever I had to wear boots or sneakers. A lot of times, the awkwardness of going through TSA with longer than life socks was always met with embarrassment. Prior to that very first trip, I had read about always having socks in hand in Japan for whenever you have to take off your shoes. Figured it was time I finally bought socks. My first mistake was buying them here in the States. They were cute socks but not at the same level of “kawaii” as Japan’s.

The first time I came across cute socks were from tutuanna on Takeshita Street in Harajuku. For 1,000 Yen, you can get yourself three cute socks (some socks weren’t 3 for 1,000 Yen but it’s easy to tell which are part of the deal). I’ve been to two tutuannas in Tokyo: one in Harajuku and the other in Shibuya. But really though, check out how cute these socks are!

Tutuanna isn’t the only place to sell socks; there are various vendors and stores throughout Tokyo that sell socks! So keep your eyes peeled while sightseeing around Tokyo!

Lemon Candies & Tokyo Banana

Wander Hour - Japanese Souvenirs

Sour candies are my fave and the lemon sour candies in Japan are so good. I bought two from Daiso and the other at Don Quijote. Many of you are familiar with Daiso and Daiso in Japan (versus LA or even Auckland for example) is way better. You can find the top candy as well as the bottom right at Daiso. Super Lemon was bought at Don Quijote. I actually remember Super Lemon from my childhood! I always stock up on lemon sour candies whenever I’m in Japan and these three are my faves.

Tokyo Banana is the most popular food souvenirs of Japan. Ask anyone who has been to Japan, they’ll tell you about Tokyo Banana and I’m here to tell you about it! There are several flavors (like an original flavor as well as exclusive flavors to certain airports and attractions) but my favorite would be the Banana Caramel Custard Cream. So basically, it’s a like a Twinkie but with a delicious banana caramel custard inside. Yum! It’s about 1,000 Yen for this box and I was able to grab it at the Haneda Airport but you can find them all throughout Tokyo.

Aside from shopping for clothes in Harajuku or finding souvenirs at Asakusa, these are my go-to souvenirs whenever I go back! Forgot to mention that I also love to stop by the Nike store in Harajuku for their Japan and Tokyo exclusive shirts! But I’ll save that shirt for an outfit post in the future.

Hope you guys enjoyed this post! Let me know what are you favorite souvenirs from your favorite places!

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New Zealand on Film

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A shot of Sky Tower and books near Silo Park

New Zealand on Film

Shooting in film is my newest hobby at the moment, albeit an expensive hobby, it’s given me confidence in my work that I have been lacking through digital. There’s something about being able to take a photo without knowing if it’s good or not but having it developed and falling in love with it. That is what makes shooting in film so special.

After receiving my film scans, I wish I had taken more photos in film while in New Zealand. Note to self: shoot in film, at least 50% of the time.

Ortolana

Wander Hour - New Zealand on Film

brunch at Ortolana

On our first full day in New Zealand, Charles and I had brunch at Ortolana, one of my favorite restaurants in New Zealand. Ordered a mochaccino as well as a brassica, chorizo, caramelized onion puree, and fried egg. Such a delicious dish with some of the finest ingredients using produce from their farms as well as other local farms.

Along the Water

Wander Hour - New Zealand
Wander Hour - New Zealand

Wander Hour - New Zealand

After brunch, we headed next to the sea for a stroll and burn off some calories. Doesn’t film make these shots dreamy? Can’t wait to share the rest of my film scans from New Zealand as well as Maui from my weekend trip with Charles’ family over Labor Day Weekend! Have a great week!

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