USA Trip 2010: Smithsonian Butterfly Exhibit

Blue sheen

The third & final stop of your USA Trip 2010 was a weekend in Washington DC. Now mostly DC doesn’t interest me, I really don’t have that much interest in the typical tourist spots such as the Lincoln memorial or the White House. I do have a serious love for the Smithsonian Institute and all it’s associated museums & zoo’s they run in DC. Most of them are free to enter (they accept donations – if you visits I ask that you do donate) and are simply fantastic.

From everything available my favourite spot is the Smithsonian Butterfly Exhibit. It’s not free but it’s not expensive either ($6 an adult whilst we were there) and they have an amazing array of well looked after butterflies. I could spend hours in this place and would love the opportunity to spend a day in there switching between a regular zoom and a macro lens. On this trip I didn’t have my macro so all of these photos are taken through a standard zoom lens. Some of the white balance is a bit off in some shots (forgot to adjust for it in my excitement) but here are my favourites from the day.

Just hanging out Hug the wall! Wingclipped

Flowers! Omnomnomnom butterfly Spots!

Straight from the source Posing! Delicious fruit is delicious

USA Trip 2010: New York City

View of New York City at night from our hotel roof

Ah New York City, the second stop on our USA 2010 trip. Normally I’m not a big city person but I must profess a certain fondness for NYC or at least the inner Manhattan part. This was my second time in  NYC and it was much warmer & wetter than the previous visit (Feb 2009). For the first four of the five days it rained, limiting a lot of our sight-seeing but we still got a lot done – Central Park Zoo, American Museum of Natural History, The Apple Store (I don’t use Apple products but hey free wireless) and generally scoring as many New York specific Foursquare badges as we possibly could.

The last day was perfect clear skies and we crammed all we could into it – Top of the Rock (Rockefeller Centre), the Empire State Building, horse & carriage ride around Central Park and we even made it down to Battery Park within the intent of going to Liberty Island but the queue for the ferry was, well, insanely long. Rather than waste the rest of  our last beautiful day we decided to head off to Wall St & the financial district. As for the Statue of Liberty? Well we’ve just got an excuse to go back to New York don’t we?

The photo above is from the roof top of our hotel (The Pod Hotel – highly recommend it) and below is a small collection of other photos taken during our week stay there.

Grey skies Yes there are tanks of liquid nitrogen on the street. Everywhere Central Park is just so amazingly green

Opalised shell From the roof on our last sunny day Where money is made and lost every single day

The immense size of Central Park Old grave in the middle of the city Toucan at the Central Park Zoo

USA Trip 2010: Las Vegas

Fountains of the Bellagio at sunset

About a month ago we went for a little trip to the United States. First stop on that trip was the very hot, very brightly lit (at all times) city of Las Vegas. We stayed at the Luxor hotel which is the infamous pyramid-shaped hotel on the Las Vegas strip. We wouldn’t recommend the hotel as we found the staff pushy & vastly unhelpful. Having previously stayed at the Mirage in Las Vegas this came as a bit of a shock (I highly recommend the Mirage – more costly but much nicer).

The photo above is of the famous fountains in front of the Bellagio hotel on the strip. It’s about the only really unique outdoor show in Las Vegas that I like. The massive fountains dance & weave to a random selection of music and are quite fun to watch. We also took a day trip out over Hoover Dam and to the Grand Canyon National Park (the south rim not the tourist trap west rim – avoid that at all costs). Here’s a few other shots from this part of the trip.

Long exposure shot of the Luxor's stupidly large light Glass flower display in the Bellagio lobby Bellagio as the sun fades

Power lines at the Hoover Dam at sunset The amazing Grand Canyon Another shot of this amazing place