Sunday, March 29, 2015

Couples Married 50+ Years Show Beauty of Everlasting Love

Now here's a photo series that will soften the hearts of love's most stubborn cynics. Inspired by her own parents' marriage, which lasted for 46 years, Saratoga Springs, New York-based photographer Tracey Buyce started a photo series last year showing couples that have been married for 40 years or more. She started a contest on her blog, asking people to nominate these couples, who would, for their time, receive a free portrait session and a flash drive of images.
As she wrote on her blog, "Each relationship has its own unique beginnings and from that unfolds decades of shared lives. Marriage is complex, full of ups and downs and joys and sorrows. Marriage is your own little universe, that just the two of your create. I want to help your family celebrate the gift of marriage through photography."
So far, Buyce has photographed five couples including Norbert and Mary who have been married the longest, at 71 years. As they sit quietly, holding hands while basking in candlelight, one is reminded of the fact that true love does exist. They were nominated by their granddaughter-in-law Kaitlin who had this to say: "Their love is reflected in their 13 children, 24 grandchildren and the growing number of great-grandchildren. They travel, read, garden, watch 'Jeopardy,' and love sharing fond memories and stories...They are the kindest, most loving people and such wonderful role models for marriage."
Throughout the project, what did the photographer find to be the running theme? "One thing all of these couples had in common was a quiet comfort between them," Buyce told Huffington Post.
Norbert & Mary, Married 71 Years 

Gloria & Walter, Married 65 Years 

Russ & Elinor, Married 63 Years 

Martha & George, Married 70 Years  

Misao Okawa, the World's Oldest Person, Celebrates Her 117th Birthday

Misao Okawa, the world’s oldest person, just celebrated another birthday. Wow! She turned 117-years young on Thursday, March 5, and she’s one of a handful of people born in the 1800s that is still alive. Okawa was born in Osaka, Japan in 1898, and she’s seen a lot over the years. Just think - that’s the turn of two centuries, the first and second World Wars, and seeing inventions like the personal computer change our lives.
Okawa marked the occasion with her family on Wednesday and is reportedly in good health. According the BBC, she even commented that “117 years didn’t seem like such a long time."
In 1919, Okawa married her husband, Yukio, and has outlived him by 84 years - he died in 1931. The couple had three children, and she now has four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. Okawa was officially recognized as the world’s oldest person by the Guinness World Records in 2013.

Spy Photographer Captures Secret Marriage Proposals All Over New York City

You plan for weeks or even months. You've bought the ring, you've picked out the place and now you want a way to remember the flood of emotions that will come with that special moment. Who do you call but Vlad Leto, a 30-year-old photographer who's well-equipped for these types of shots. As of 2013, Vlad has successfully taken approximately 150 secret marriage proposals. In New York, he's specialized in proposal photography for the last four years. With his "paparazzi style" lens, he discreetly positions himself in a secret spot and then just waits patiently to click the shutter.
As he states on his website, "A marriage proposal is a special occasion filled with emotion and joy. A secret proposal photographer can capture your special moment for a lifetime. Prior to your proposal, we will discuss the setting and the atmosphere. At the appropriate time, I will follow you and take pictures discreetly while you get down on one knee, emphasizing her/his look of surprise. If desired, I can also come over and take pictures of both of you in the immediate aftermath."
Leto charges $250 and up for each session, depending on how time-consuming or complicated it is. Here, he shares just some of the priceless moments caught between newly engaged couples.

Meet Hulk, a 175-Pound Pit Bull and a Lovable Gentle Giant

Meet Hulk, an enormous pit bull that lives in New Hampshire. He’s only 18 months old but is already 175 pounds and growing, making him one of the world’s largest pit bulls. Hulk is even trained as a professional guard dog by his owners, Marlon and Lisa Grannan. They run Dark Dynasty K9s, which is a kennel that specializes in pit bull terriers. And, it’s partially because they understand dogs so well that Hulk’s intimidating size also means that he’s a gentle giant. Hulk loves to play with his family, including the couple’s three-year-old son named Jordan. He loves to ride on the dog’s back!
The family has a special bond with their lovable canine, and he’s considered priceless to them. Not only do they care deeply about Hulk, but also changing the general misconception about the pit bull breed. “They’re amazing family dogs. They go through extensive training and the little thing a kid is going to do to startle a regular dog won’t phase them at all,” Lisa explains to Barcroft TV. “No matter what the breed, it’s all completely about how you raise them.”
Marlon echoes this sentiment. “It’s all about the amount of care you put into these dogs. We are dogs. We live and breathe this world every single day,” he says. “My hope is that we can stop ignorance and change people’s minds about pit bulls in a positive way with all this attention.”
Watch the video below to see Hulk and Dark Dynasty K9s in action. In addition to breeding pitbulls, they train dogs for use by police, celebrities, and anyone who wants canine protection.

Incredible 196-Feet-High Tour of the Andean Cloud Forest

Doesn’t this look incredible? At the Mashpi Lodge in Quito, Ecuador, you can explore the Andean Cloud Forest via their Sky Bike. It’s a human-powered, two-seat bike that traverses the canopy of the lush rainforest. You’ll need to be feeling brave, as the bike dangles from a 656-foot cable that’s stretched between two points and reaches heights as high as 196 feet in the air.
One of the great things about the Sky Bike is that you control the pace of your expedition. You can zoom through the forest for an exhilarating ride or take a more leisurely approach and admire the sights. During your journey, you cross a river gorge and have the chance to see amazing wildlife - more than 400 different types of birds live in the forest.
With an offering like the Sky Bike, it’s no doubt that the Mashpi Lodge is itself a special place. National Geographic even considers the glass-walled getaway as one of the Unique Lodges of the World. It’s tucked away in the 3,200 acre, orchid-filled Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve. Magnificent waterfalls, beautiful hiking trails, and a stunning 85-foot observation deck are just some of the other features visitors can visit. It makes us want to pack our bags and take a trip!

8-Year-Old Feeds Crows and They Leave Her Small Thank You Gifts in Return

In 2011, Gabi Mann was a four-year-old in Seattle with a habit of dropping her food. A chicken nugget might fall off her lap while she’s getting out of the car, and Gabi wouldn’t pick it up. Instead, the crows rushed to the forgotten morsel and hoped for another bite. Gabi eventually noticed this pattern and rewarded their attention by sharing some of her packed lunch on the way to the bus stop.
Two years ago, the now eight-year-old and her mother, Lisa, started feeding the crows as part of their daily routine. They deliver fresh water in the birdbath and cover the bird feeder with peanuts. Gabi distributes handfuls of dog food into the grass. The crows are grateful for humans’ generosity and have shown their appreciation in an unexpected way - in the form of small, shiny gifts left behind in the bird feeder.
A miniature silver ball, a black button, a pearl-colored heart, and a broken piece of light bulb are just some of the things that the crows have left for Gabi. Many of them are scratched and dirty, but she pays no mind. "It's showing me how much they love me," she tells the BBC. Each treasure is individually wrapped and categorized, including the date and time that she found them. "We keep it in as good condition as we can,” Gabi says.
This bond between Gabi and the crows is incredible, but surprisingly, it’s not totally unusual. John Marzluff, a professor of wildlife science at the University of Washington, explains to the BBC, "I can't say they always will (give presents), but I have seen an awful lot of things crows have brought people.” It seems that Gabi is one of the lucky ones, and she’s found friends in the birds.