Jeju Sunset: Steve Miller’s EYE Episode 3

Beginning this week on Explore Your Environment, we start a three-part sub-series exploring Korea’s Hawaii: Jeju-do. What way to better begin the segments than by starting with the end of the day, and what locals told us was one of the best places to view the sunset – atop Suwolbong.

jeju sunset korea steve miller qiranger

Suwolbong is located along Jeju’s western shoreline. Plugging the peak into our car’s GPS navigation system pointed us in the right direction and after about 20 minutes we arrived in the parking lot. A small convenience store was located there and few older men were enjoying a bottle of makgeolli before the sun set. Jo and I opted to purchase two beers and make our way up to the pavilion and gauge how good of a sunset view we were to have.

jeju sunset korea steve miller qiranger

While I quenched my thirst with the can of Cass I picked up, my eyes noticed a steele nearby flanked by two dol hareubang statues. It wasn’t something I was expecting to see, and since I had time before the sunset, I quickly grabbed my camera to take a closer look.

jeju sunset korea steve miller qiranger

The porous volcanic rock used to carve the statues played with the setting sun, casting shadows into the recesses of the pits along the surface. I stood there and wondered how many years would pass before the crisp features of this grandfather would last out in the environment.

jeju sunset korea steve miller qiranger

The steele and alter were typical of Korean markers; however, unlike many I’ve seen on the mainland, there was no plaque proving any sort of information as to the importance of this location or the person buried there. Glancing up the hill, I could see more people arriving, so I opted to stop my investigation and secure my spot along the cliff face for the forthcoming light show.

jeju sunset korea steve miller qiranger

As with all sunsets, the giant glowing ball started dropping fast in the distance. While my favorite sunsets are ones with lots of clouds to reflect the light and provide contrasts, the reflecting beam in the ocean running into the shore and crashing surf was a great alternative. Ships in the distance continued to pass by, slicing the yellow-orange beams.

jeju sunset korea steve miller qiranger

Those with me on Suwolbong passed the time speaking with friends and taking pictures. With so many locals here, it was obvious our information was sound and this was indeed one of the best places to watch the sunset. When the final rays did dip below the horizon, it was incredibly satisfying and I couldn’t help but want to experience it once more.

Do you like sunsets? What’s your favorite place to end the day?

I’d like to Canon Korea for providing the EOS C100 that was used to film this video.

It’s More Fun In Boracay

boracay-philippines-steve-miller-qirangerOh yeah baby, that’s what I’m talking about. If you want a great sunset, you need to head to Boracay in the Philippines. It probably has one of, if not the best, sunsets in the world. I’m biased, I know. there’s just something special about that little slice of island heaven I can’t ignore.

When Jo and I traveled with the Philippines Department of Tourism, we only had one full day on Boracay and this is what we did.

For those of you who have been asking, “What is a pandesal?” now you know.

boracay-philippines-steve-miller-qirangerThe entire video was shot with the QuikPod, GoPro Hero2, and the Edutige ETM-001. As usual, the system performed well. What I am most pleased with is how much the RyCote windjammers that I use on the ETM-001 cut out the wind noise while on the mountaintop. Sure in the video, you heard the buffeting and the popping, but what you have to realize is those gusts were about 50kmh, so to not have all the sound blown out was amazing.

I’d really like to thank the Philippines Department of Tourism for inviting me out for the week. In case you can’t tell, I love the Philippines as a travel destination and will be returning there in July.

Boracay Sunset

When I say that I love Boracay, I mean it. Some may say that it’s too touristy and crowded – that’s a fair assessment – but what I love about the island is the White Beach and the ability to catch a great sunset each and every day.

The above video was taken from the bar that Jo and I frequented nearly every night while on Boracay. It’s in front of the dive shop on Station 3 and offers a great view. This video was shot with the GoPro Hero2 and sped up 330%.

Where do you like to catch the sunset?

Yosemite Valley’s Day Hikes

Yosemite National Park is one of my favorite parks in the United States. The high mountains, the smell of the pines, and the roaring waterfalls excite my senses and energize my body. While I’ve stayed all over the park, I really enjoy the hikes and atmosphere of the Valley, so on Jo’s first full day  in the park, I decided to take her on a number of hikes offering some great views to some great valley sights.

The first hike was to the foot bridge over the Merced River. Hopping on the bus from Camp Curry, we got off at Stop 16 (Happy Isles) and made our way to the John Muir trail head. The hike to the foot bridge is 1.6 miles round trip and offers some steep inclines. Thankfully, it’s paved and shaded in many areas- making it an easy hike. Once you get to the foot bridge, you’re treated with an amazing view of Vernal Falls. Just across the bridge are toilets and water fountains if you need them.

Hike number two required us to hop in the minivan and drive out to the Bridal Veil Falls parking lot. Jo and I lucked out and got some front row parking. 1000 feet later, we were basking in the showering mist of the falls. Of all the hikes we went on this day – this was by far the easiest.

From this point we got in the van again and started making our way up Glacier Point Road. This is an amazing drive, that was made even more incredible by a recent lightning strike. The smoldering fire sent smoke and pine into the air, giving the curves ahead a cool look and feel. Eventually we made it to the Taft Point Trail Head, that also doubles as the trail head for the Sentinel Dome Trail. Each trail is 1.1 miles out to their destinations, as we were going to do both.

The hike to Taft Point is pretty flat and then drops a few hundred feet. Once out of the clearings, the trail takes hikers to the fissures. These cracks in the granite allow one to look several hundred feet below. Another couple of hundred of meters later and you’re standing on a railing overlooking the valley floor directly in front of Yosemite Falls and El Capitan.

Retracing your steps will take you back to the parking lot and the trail to Sentinel Dome. It’s another 1.1 miles out to the top of this granite dome and well worth the hike. The last quarter-mile is on paved roads and pretty much straight up. But don’t worry, as long as you have good knees, you’ll be able to make it. From up on top, you’ll be rewarded with an amazing view of Half Dome.

The total distance for these hikes is over 6 miles. If you’re keen to seen an amazing sunset, drive out to Glacier Point and watch it here. From that parking lot, it’s a quarter-mile to the point – bringing the total walked distance to just under 7 miles for the day.

Philippine Adventure: Sunset on Manila Bay

The setting sun reflects in the calm waters of Manila Bay.

Manila Bay is one of the best places in the world to see the sun set. It’s half-moon shape allows the sun sink below the horizon in full view of spectators… and there will be thousands. When we visited the Philippines in December, I finally had the opportunity to see this spectacular sight. The video below is a little different… there are no words, just images. It’s also one of the few that I release in full 1080p-HD. I hope you enjoy watching this sunset as much as I did, for I think it’s probably one of the best in world.