Five Seconds That Won My Heart

Photos & Editing: Aline LaPierre & Victor Osaka
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Direct and undeviating. Powerful, soft, potent, and mesmerizing. I looked into his eyes for just a few seconds and that encounter burned into my heart like nothing I had ever felt. Every time I return to those eyes, I sense the presence of a mysterious gateway.

I fell in love with him in Kanana on the Okavango Delta a few weeks ago. Our gaze lasted just long enough for me to melt into the contact with him, while at the same time remaining fully aware of the unbridgeable divide between us.

My words fall by the wayside as I let his eyes speak in their own regal way.

Next “stop”: More of Africa



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Bug Watching on a Weekday Morning

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Photos/Editing: Aline LaPierre & Victor Osaka    Text: Aline LaPierre

Beau and Sweetie’s morning meditation is underway. Today, they have chosen to sit in the shade of the fig tree. Still and silent, only one thing has the power to wake these cats out of their rêverie. BUGS.

And today, sure enough, I notice a few big iridescent green and black June bugs arriving to feast on the ripe fruit of my fig tree. Before I know it, there I am alongside Beau and Sweetie, camera in hand.

Bug watching on a weekday morning as if I had nothing better to do.


Meantime, the June bugs are checking off an important task from their to do list: feasting on juicy ripe figs. June bugs come stylishly dressed for the task. Their outrageous iridescent color is in perfect harmony with the soft green fig pouches. How is it that these creatures who look like they just stepped off an alien spaceship know that today, they can come here, in my garden, bury their heads in fermenting pulp and get drunk on intoxicating nectar?


Seize the moment…tomorrow will be too late. By tomorrow, raccoons, possums, squirrels, birds will have had their turns at devouring the figs. If I don’t save a few of these juicy treats for myself, everyone but me will be napping on a full stomach.

While I’m lost in my thoughts, Beau strikes. In a flash he lunges, and before I know it, he is holding a beetle between his teeth. Obviously pleased with himself, he parades a bit to show off his catch and then lays it down before us on its back. To his delight, the bug buzzes loudly as it thrashes in efforts to right itself. Sweetie’s eyes dart wildly as she follows every movement. Unsuccessful, the June bug changes strategy: it closes up into an impenetrable fortress. Beau stares and waits, then impatient, gently nudges it. No response. Fascinated, Sweetie bats it around. No response. Losing interest, they both return to their meditation.


Before long, I watch the beetle fly off, weighted by its full stomach, seemingly none the worse for wear. Its flight path loops wildly and I imagine that it might be in a drunken stupor.

During the rest of the day, the iridescent green of its wings shines like an emerald in my mind’s eye, a reminder that even in the middle of Los Angeles, natural wonder is all around in surprising shapes and forms and that thousands of unseen dramas are taking place.


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Have You Heard of the Swans of Ulm?

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Photo/Text: Aline LaPierre    Photo Editing: Victor Osaka



Have you heard of the swans of Ulm? Until a few months ago, I had not.

Then through unusual circumstances, I found myself alone with my camera, wandering the streets of the medieval city of Ulm in the Baden-Würtenberg region of southern Germany. I had nothing to do on that sunny winter afternoon but enjoy the charms of this quiet town reputed for being the birthplace of Albert Einstein.

Founded in 854 on the banks of the beautiful blue Danube, the juxtaposition of past and present, old and new is strikingly well balanced in Ulm. From the spire of the cathedral which is the tallest in the world, to the gleaming avant-garde town hall by architect Richard Meier, Ulm has embraced the present to mend a troubled past, healing the scars of war with elegance and dignity.


But beyond its stunning architecture, a stroll along the south bank of the lazy Danube revealed what turned out to be Ulm’s greatest charm: SWANS. For the animal lover that I am, this was a moment of heaven on earth.

Feast your eyes, as I did, on the swans of Ulm. Nothing more need be said.

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Beau Kitty Sees the Magic!

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Photos: Victor Osaka & Aline LaPierre    Photo Editing: Victor Osaka   Text: Aline LaPierre



Our handsome cat Beau just celebrated his 1st birthday. From the very beginning, he was a picture of purrfection…as you can see in these baby pictures taken by us, his proud people.


His first year was all exploration. The world for him was full of wonder. And the most fascinating discovery he made was in the back of the garden, behind the fountain…

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