A First Glimpse into the Orion Nebula: A Photographic Odyssey

It was a clear night, the stars were shining brightly in the sky as I set up my Nikon D850. I had been looking forward to this moment for weeks, ever since I first learned about the Orion Nebula. The Orion Nebula is a vast cloud of gas and dust located in the constellation Orion, about 1,344 light years away from Earth. It’s one of the most studied and photographed objects in the night sky, and I was determined to capture it in all its glory.

I kept my ISO on High 2.0 and used deep sky stacker to take multiple images and combine them to get the best possible picture. The process was time-consuming, but it was worth it when I finally saw the result. The Orion Nebula was even more beautiful than I could have imagined.

The Orion Nebula is a star-forming region, where new stars are constantly being born. It’s also a place where astronomers can study the life cycle of stars, from their birth to their eventual death. The bright center of the nebula is known as the Trapezium, a group of four stars that are only a few million years old. These hot, young stars are responsible for illuminating the gas and dust in the nebula, creating a colorful, glowing cloud that’s visible even through a small telescope.

As I took pictures, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe at the vastness of the universe and the beauty of the Orion Nebula. It was a reminder of how insignificant we are in the grand scheme of things, yet how connected we are to the cosmos. I felt grateful for the opportunity to capture a piece of that beauty and share it with others.

In the end, I had taken some of the most beautiful pictures of my life. The Orion Nebula was a sight that I would never forget and I knew that I would be back to take more pictures of it in the future. It was a joy taking those pictures and it was a beautiful experience. Next up is learning to photoshop to get the best orion nebula.

Capturing the Beauty of the Night Sky: My First Time Photographing the Stars on Jan 7, 2023

As a teenager with a new tripod, I decided to take some photos of the night sky to pass the time. I turned to YouTube for guidance, but ultimately had to play with the camera settings on my own to get the shot I wanted. I set the ISO to 6400, exposure delay to 3 seconds, and aperture to f25. The results were stunning – many of the stars I captured were not visible to the naked eye and the light we see in the photos is from millions of years ago, predating the existence of humans. It’s truly amazing to think about the vastness and history of the universe.

Wetland January 7, 2023

As I stood by the river, I heard a loud splash and rustling in the bushes. A fence separated me from the source of the noise, but I was determined to investigate. Suddenly, a large black creature emerged from the brush. At first, I thought it was a bear, but I quickly realized that bears are extinct in South Texas. As it turned out, the creature was actually a giant hog. I was surprised to see it, as hogs are typically nocturnal. As I watched, more hogs emerged from the river and made their way to the other side. I managed to snap some photos, including one of the lead hog as it ran across the grass. I noticed a baby hog in the group as well. Despite their nocturnal habits, the hogs seemed to be out and about during the day. It was an unusual sight, and I couldn’t help but run alongside the fence as they fled.

While I was outside, I noticed some strange noises and looked up to see a hawk frantically screeching and protecting its territory and mate from a much larger caracara. It was the first time I had ever encountered a caracara and was surprised by its size in comparison to the hawk. The hawk was clearly agitated and intent on defending its territory from the intruding caracara.

In the heart of the swamp, a majestic ibis could be seen lounging comfortably with its one leg tucked away, its piercing blue eyes shining in the sunlight. The bird’s feathers were a stunning combination of white and black, creating a shimmering effect as it basked in the warmth of the day. Despite the peaceful atmosphere, the ibis remained vigilant, its keen gaze constantly scanning its surroundings for any potential threats. It was a magnificent sight to behold, a testament to the resilience and strength of nature.

Laddu shook himself when I took the picture. Look at his little tongue!

The puppy that changed my life

June 17, 2022 is the day that changed my life forever. A new fur baby is welcomed into my life. With five years of asking for a dog, I finally got him. The golden hue on his face brights up anyone’s day. My mini goldendoodle, Laddu. He was 8 weeks old when I got him. I traveled from Houston to North Austin and it was the best decision of my life. When I saw him, my heart grew ten times its size. I knew this was my dream and I want him to have the best of the best. He slept on my lap during the two hour drive and he created so much warmth in my heart. When he came home, he immediately adjusted to his surroundings. He was quiet at first, but as time went on he grew too fast. Unlike a human baby, puppies grow very fast. We took him out to the backyard after he grew up a little bit, and he picked up on potty training very quickly. During these times, I cherished the wholesome moments because Laddu won’t stay small forever. I taught him so much already: sit, paw, stay, peeing and pooping on command, speak, and touching objects with his nose! He is so smart that he learned how to get out of his crate in the middle of the night and create a big mess in the house. Thank god, we puppy proofed everything so he wouldn’t mark his territory everywhere else. Bathing him is a trouble. He HATES water. I think you get what i mean. Playing soccer with Laddu is one of my favorite pass times because he’s so good at blocking and stealing the ball. Lastly, his zoomies are the world’s most adorable thing to watch. He zooms at top speeds, dodging each obstacle with an incredible reflex. I hope these stay the same as always!

Laddu at 8 weeks
Laddu around 10 weeks
Laddu at 12 weeks

COVID-19 Creates a More Illiterate Society

The goal of literacy is an integral component of any human, but COVID-19 forced children to learn in a different way. As a result, literacy fell like a house of cards, with millions of children unable to pass basic reading tests. Many schools closed or had partial closures due to the Coronavirus. This prevented children from attending school. According to a research article, “100 million more children fail basic reading skills because of COVID-19,” written by the United Nations News, “460 million children [experienced] reading difficulties, [now] that number jumped to 584 million” (100 million more children fail basic reading skills because of COVID-19 2021). An interview with Robert Jenkins, Director of Education at the UN’s Children Fund stated the fact that before the pandemic “53 percent of 10-year-olds living in low and middle-income countries were not sufficiently or effectively reading and did not meet the minimum standards of foundational literacy and numeracy. That is estimated to be going up to 70 percent” (Interview: As millions fall behind, how can we bridge the growing education gap? 2022). Children from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Central and Southern Asia suffered from the consequences.

To reiterate, most of the Covid-19 generation are incapable of reading or writing a simple sentence. One study from the anti-poverty One Campaign indicates that “11.5 million children could be unable to read as a direct result of the impact on education of the Covid pandemic” (Ahmed 2021). This is at least a 20% increase in the number of children failing the minimum reading level. This wiped out 20 years of education gains, according to the UN Cultural Agency. The campaign claimed that even with schools running smoothly in Sub-Saharan Africa, 20 million girls would not return to school. Many poor children were unable to access online schooling because they lacked the technology. In addition to education losses, children also suffer physical and mental health problems, as well as nutritional deficiencies. Children no longer have access to the foods and supports they received in school.

Coronavirus affects students all over the world, so many are unable to read. Reading is the most crucial aspect of achieving success. It helps anyone find jobs, learn more information about something, make money, etc. Education is crucial to living a happy life. There is a common saying, “knowledge is power” by Thomas Hobbes. It means that not even the strongest or mightiest person could defeat a man or woman with such knowledge. My knowledge has always been spoon-fed to me by my teachers and parents, and most of the time I don’t pay attention to what I learn. In retrospect, it has long been clear to me that people have difficulty getting an education in any form.

Even though children are illiterate by age ten and above, it doesn’t matter when you can read. It matters what you can do with the knowledge gained from education. I deeply value the knowledge I’ve gained and I’m willing to share it with those in need. Millions of kids not being able to comprehend a simple sentence at the age of ten is an unforgettable thought. There will be no erasure of this traumatic experience. I believe that no matter the gender, caste, race, or ethnicity, children should always have access to knowledge. If we do not act soon, the younger generation will never understand words on a single page. Those who were able to attend schools and access technology are among the luckiest people because they can pursue their passions. With knowledge, anyone can do anything.

Keel-Billed Toucan

Taken at Curi Cancha Reserve

Also known as the “rainbow” toucan, this giant beaked bird is one of the comeliest birds on the planet. The paradise bird has four different colors on its beak, causing it unmistakable to identify. The beauty of this precious bird and its call don’t unite together. It’s like a frog croaking that has a dry throat. This pterodactyl is common in Costa Rica, although its population is decreasing. This Rainbow Toucan was on top of the bare tree singing its so-called angelic song to find its mate. This flying banana has a beak one-third of its body! This toucan chilled for some time and sang with its heart out. It flew away after a few minutes, and it was breathtaking each moment of it. I took a few snaps before it took off, and I was grateful it stood around for a few poses!

Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth

This mythical creature dwells in the pristine and disturbed forests of Central and South America. This shy furball is a nocturnal mammal that munches on its favorite tree called the Cecropia. The critter may seem like a harmless soul, but it is an aggressive living entity that can do some grave damage with its claws. The second laziest and the world’s slowest, the sloth is yet a relative to anteaters and armadillos. In Costa Rica, these beings are outnumbered by the three-toed sloths four to one. The elusive Harpy eagles thrive on these innocent sloths, but due to habitat destruction, the Harpy eagles are critically endangered. The wet rag spends up to twenty hours dozing in the viridescent forest. We shall leave it in peace.

Hoffmann’s Two-Toed Sloth taken in Costa Rica

Fruitless Labor

Fruitless Labor 

By Doglover

The cuddly careful courageous cunning bear

Suddenly gave this nasty glare

His mouth was a waterfall when he looked at the elk

Waiting when the elk will yelp

He silently waited in the bushes

When he popped out of the bushes, all I saw was a huge furry potato

He whipped out his claws, and it all went out into a flow

He caught the elk between his waterfall mouth and ran into the willow

Battered and bruised, killing the elk cost him an arm and a leg

And he headed south to his bear friends

He sat on the dinner table and he munched on the velvet skin of the elk

In fact, the bear bit off more than he could chew

He sang to his bear friends and mumbled to the dead elk

The bear closed its eyes as he imagined more food when he took each bite

Only to find out the dinner had jumped out of his sight

He stood up and looked where the elk had gone

Only to find out that his bear friends were really some cons

The cuddly careful courageous cunning bear

Turned into a raging radical reckless bear 

Behind the woozy and poofy and droopy hair was really a demonic bear

He was aghast alert aggrieved 

His stomps and grunts shook the entire world

But the stomps and grunts can’t do anything 

As he’ll always be starved 

Tried to accomplish stuff but life is tough