Draw Me Like One of Your French Girls ~ If You Must



One of my main goals for 2016 was to take some photos of my cats that I am proud of.  I wrote about it on this post.  I will be honest with you, it's it's not been as easy as I thought it would be.  Cats move very quickly and some of mine our seemingly camera shy.  The above photo of my oldest named Chanel (a Himalayan Persian rescue cat) is especially camera shy so I was happy to get this shot of her.

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My Visit To Xcaret - Part 2

 Here is a view of the rivers that everyone can snorkel around the park in.  This was my second trip to Xcaret.  The first time it was in July and it was very hot.  Being able to explore the area in the water was very welcome.Wandering and searching island girl

 I am really not one too visit theme parks especially two days in a row, but Xcaret in Cancun Mexico is an exception.  As I discussed in my previous post HERE, this is not an inexpensive theme park but it offers so much.  I really do think that there is something for everyone at Xcaret.  Cancun has grown into a very large tourist destination and I really felt like I was getting away from all the people while getting to spend time out in nature with animals of all types.  The scenery was absolutely beautiful, the buffet lunch was excellent, and there are plenty of places to sit down and relax. 

Continue reading "My Visit To Xcaret - Part 2" »

The Spectacular Beaches of Cancun, Mexico

I loved my view in Cancun last week and not sure who wouldn't! 

I haven't posted any while because I was in Cancun with a friend from college and we were very busy visiting the sites and exploring the area.  I have been to Cancun for more than 10 times over the past 20 years or so.  I cannot believe how much it has grown since my first visit.  When I first visited back in college we got on a bus after exiting the airplane because there wasn't even an airport!  We could get a taxi anywhere for $2, bought pineapples for a quarter and a bottle of beer for a quarter as well.  Now it is very similar to visiting Orlando, Florida with similar prices.

 The beaches are still just as beautiful with their white powder air conditioned sand and turquoise water with very large waves to play in.  The weather is fabulous especially in February!   Sometimes it is recommended for people to not go in the water because the waves are so big!  Of all the times I have visited Cancun I have never been in February.  The weather was perfect for doing all the sightseeing I did as it was not terribly hot.  It was great looking out my window and seeing the ocean and listening to it at night even on the night it was really stormy!

You can see (and use for free) a lot more of my photos of Cancun on my Pixabay account here:  Mariamichelle's Pixabay account


 This pelican was so big I didn't think it was real when I saw it floating around in the water!


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Here I am practicing with my new remote control for my camera on my little balcony
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Untitled (1 of 1)-147Here I am with the windblown look and my friend from college at a public beach where there is a sign saying Cancun.  We had to wait in quite a long line to have it in our photo taken there.  I must say this is a beautiful beach for people staying and the city hotels that don't have their own beach.
Untitled (1 of 1)-147 What beach that you've visited is your favorite?

  Thank you so much for stopping by.  I hope to hear your questions or comments and I'm curious if you have visited Cancun or anywhere else in Mexico.  Have a great week!




What are Some of the Best Ways to Store and or Preserve Photos?



Ever since I lost many treasured photos due to AOL photos going down about a decade ago, I've tried to store my photos in multiple places.  It was my fault that I lost those photos as I received multiple notifications from AOL that they would be deleting the photos.  Some of the photos I lost were of my cat Coco who was my "soul cat" for lack of a better way of putting it. 

My husband and I adopted Coco and Chanel from a rescue organization about twelve years ago when they were eight weeks old.  I took many photos of Coco and Chanel when they were between two and six months old, but I only have photos of them from six months on.  This situation would bother me regardless of the fact that Coco got cancer when she was just four years old and passed away just shy of her sixth birthday.  We did everything we could to save her and extend her time on this Earth.  Not a day goes by that I don't think about her: 

A collage of Coco and Chanel at about six months of age:

CocochanelbabyCoco and Chanel age 2-5
CocochanelbabySo...when I think about backing up my photos I remind myself of what I lost.

There are many methods for backing up photos and people need to choose which is best for them.  I see many people storing photos on Facebook, but Facebook doesn't store photos in full size.  My two choices for storing photos are Pixabay and Panoramio.  I also back my photos up on a one terabyte external hard drive:

Pixabay is very selective.  In order for your photo to be accepted it must be flawless in their eyes.  You are also releasing your photos under Creative Commons CC0 into the public domain which is irrevovable.   Here are some frequently asked questions about the use of photos on Pixabay:  https://pixabay.com/en/service/faq/

Here are my photos which you are free to use and there are photos from all seven continents.

Mariamichelle's photos

For those of you who don't want to give up the rights to your photos and want to store them in their original form Panoramio might be a better option.  You can choose to let the world use them or reserve all rights to your photos.  The amount of space you can use is not unlimited but you can buy more if you need it.  Since not all of my photos are accepted by Pixabay, I use Panoramio along with my external hard drive to save my photos.  One feature of Panoramio is some of your photos might be used in Google Earth which some people like.

Here is my Panoramio account and all are Creative Commons CC0 :

Mariamichelle's Panoramio photos


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 Do you have a system for backing up your photos?  If so, please tell me about it because sites go down and computers and hard drives crash.  I've been trying to make more hard copies of photos and create albums with the thousands of photos I take while I'm traveling.  Thank you for stopping by my blog.  I hope that 2016 is being good to you so far and will continue to be.  



Some of the Many Benefits of Using Google's Panoramio to Store Photos

One of my most popular photos, taken in Antarctica, on Panoramio with more than 9000 views:

There are many benefits to joining Panoramio for those who like to take photos for any reason.  First of all you get free storage space for your photos.  They are stored in full-size.  Facebook  does not store your photos full-size.  One can also get a page rank when you join Panoramio.  

I just joined in March 2013 and I have a PR of 2. Here is my site:  


You also can join groups in Panoramio similar to how you can join them in Facebook. Members can comment on your photos as well as like and favorite them. Each photo has its own statistics showing how many views it's received, likes, and favorites.  You also can see the lifetime views of each of your photos.  For me it is like social networking for photographers who are both professional and hobbyists.  When one joins panoramio, they can choose for no one to be able to use your photos at all without your permission, or you can choose to let anyone use your photos for any reason.

One of the best things about joining Panoramio is your Photos can be used in Google Earth and Google Maps if they are selected.  There are certain criteria your photos must meet in order to be used.  First of all there cannot be recognizable people in your photo or close-ups of flowers and animals.  I like it for my landscape photography which is probably my favorite thing to take photos of.

Panoramio was acquired by Google so in 2007 so it is probably a fairly safe place to store your photos.  I used AOL photo storage eight or nine years ago.  When they no longer offered photo storage, they did give their users plenty of warnings to move their photos.  Those who did not, unfortunately, lost all of their photos.

  Here is my most popular photo overall based on Panoramio's algorithm,  It was taken on my dolphin siting expedition in Lovina, Bali:

Pano11Here is my most popular photo in Google Earth with more than 26000 views.  It's a research station in Antarctica:
Pano11Here is my most popular photo taken in Antarctica in Google Maps with more than 31000 views:
Pano11Here is my most popular photo which is shown on an external widget of a sunrise in Lovina, Bali with over 5600 views:
External widget 5600Do you use Panoramio?  Are there any other photo storage sites that you would recommend and why?  Thanks so much for your visit and your comments!