Planning for a photo trip to Africa

The Dream of many Photographers is to make the trip to Africa. This past year, as I looked at my portfolio and made my plans to diversify my personal collection of travel images I came to the conclusion that now was the time to make the trip to southern Africa for a safari and a bit more. Planning for this trip has been a fun project in itself as working through the logistics of weight, storage, power, image quality, lens reach, camera support and transportation are all considerations that cannot be looked at as a single variable. From a photography point of view I complicated matters by adding a Kilimanjaro climb onto the itinerary, which adds a bit of a challenge to keep weight down.

The traditional thought for what to bring while to Africa for a photo safari which is 2 bodies, a compact camera, a long prime, long zoom, normal and wide angle lenses will be challenged as a trek up Kilimanjaro is limited to a day pack and a 15 kg. pack the porters will carry. Obviously the need for long lenses on a trek are a bit more limited so these huge bricks of glass will have to find safe keeping while on the mountain. The other issue with a trip out and off the grid is power. Recharging is still really a tough proposition using solar as the units are heavy and expensive. I have purchased a small pile of batteries to avoid having to deal with the charging issue and will plan to have enough spares to get me through the trek and back to the grid. Storage was a easy one for me. The safest way to store images is not to move them until a safe transfer can take place. CF cards are almost indestructible and with 200 gb of the ability to shoot RAW+Sm jpg, I should be able to grab images from start to finish of this 18 day trip. I am planning to only pull off the jpg images into a iPad mini for quick editing and posting, otherwise it is fill the card, grab a new one and keep shooting.

Going for some better batteries

I am planning a new adventure and power management is a top concern  after taking a look at the days off the grid that I will be experiencing and not having a whole lot of luck going down the solar charger route, I determined that a half dozen batteries will get me up and down Mt. Kilimanjaro.  The problem, the canon OEM batteries are expensive,  as in  ridiculous!  A few colleagues have looked at many of the 3rd party manufacturers and one seems to stand up to scrutiny,  batteries from Wasabi Power.  

Canon compatible batteries from Wasabi Power.

Canon compatible batteries from Wasabi Power.

A few new gadgets - the Ez Share card

I have not yet gotten into the camera body that has built in wifi and that day may be coming soon, but in the meantime I have been looking to be a bit more mobile and nimble with the addition of an iPad mini to my tech arsenal. Having the ability to use a high end compact camera like my s 95 and get images out of it immediately for web or social use is really appealing. For me the holy grail is the ability to shoot and stream images directly to a device in real time but where i can interupt the process and only have selects make the trip. So far that objective has eluded me probably more due to my budget and my willingness to invest a minimal amount of time in the process but was sure there had to be a better way than the eye-if card with direct connect that I purchased a couple years ago. In all fairness, it did work in transferring images wirelessly but it was brutally slow, required a lot of messing around with configurations and although worked OK with my iPad 2, it crashed my android phone after a transfer of every 2 pictures.
I was listening to The Digital Story podcast and Derrick was discussing his love affair with the Toshiba Flash air card and that dialog got me thinking again about how there may be some new and easier off the shelf technology out there. As I googled the FlashAir I came across the EZ Share card that was a little less expensive and touted the same capabilities, "hello Amazon"...
I purchased the EZ Share and to be brief, I could not be more pleased with the functionality in comparison to my old eye-fi. The app is a breeze to install, the card and the mobile device create their own wifi network and presto, selected images can be transferred from the camera to the wireless device. It is so simple and quick that if I want to share pictures off my camera with some friends at the moment, they download the app, I give them my card password so they can select images and pull those images over without me having to go through the hassle of doing it and it is done in literally a couple of minutes. There are a few quirky things in how images can be saved to a camera roll or a picture folder vs. in their own EZ Share album that I have yet to work through but nothing that is a deal breaker as of yet. I purchased 2 more of these cards for my upcoming Africa trip and have recommended them to several people.
Is there a better solution out there? I'm sure there is but for a quick easy and affordable solution, this is a safe bet.

Another Adventure the Leadville 100

Setting big goals whether in business or in life are important to keep the mind body and soul fit.   

Feeling good at mile 20

Feeling good at mile 20

WTF Where's the Finish

104 miles. DONE! 

104 miles. DONE! 

To the Crater Rim

There is always just something a bit nervy about an alpine start for a summit attempt.  Trying to get gear, both physical and emotional organized and set for the midnight wake up is not a comfortable feeling. The fact that the weather had turned into a heavy fog with blowing light rime did not make the matters anymore settling.  All that aside that is part of the deal when an attempt on a mountain this size is made. 
After a few hours of trying to get some degree of rest, sleep was out of the question, I exited the tent to find the tent frozen with rime ice and only about 50 feet of visibility.  The wind was consistent at over 25 mph with some gusts challenging my balance. As I walked over to the tent where Adam and Ryan were set up, the sinking feeling in my stomach set in, that feeling that one gets when months of preparation and training may just go to waste. The time was 12:15 am and there was no way we were heading out in these conditions not knowing if this was a localized weather system or this was part of a bigger front that was expected although not until later in the day.  We made the decision to wait it out for a couple hours and see where the conditions would be at 2am.  As I climbed back in the tent, I just couldn't help but hear the wind speed increase.

At 1:45 I slipped my boot shells back on to check out the weather and as I emerged from the tent I saw my first sign of life from any of the other climbing camps.  There were 3 wobbly lights coming up the glacier from Muir and the scene was a bit spooky with the headlamps swaying back and forth in the fog as a threesome moved closer to our camp. Conditions had not changed at all but the sight of another independent team heading up the mountain created a conflict of feelings. What did they know about the weather or did they know what they were doing.  After a brief exchange our position had not changed, we were no going up.  By 2 am if our group was not moving it would be a long way up and then down in what could be very marginal weather and questionable conditions. I was not a happy camper as I climbed back into the tent. 

Then a strange thing happened.  As I lay back in my sleeping bag, seething about our meteorological misfortune, the wind died down and a calm seemed to settle in. I must have dozed off for a bit but I awoke at 3am and with a peak out of the tent my heart started to race.  The sky was clear, stars visible across all the heavens and it is on!  We scrambled to get everyone up, the stove going to make some oatmeal and het some hot water in our bottles, we knew we were late but we could still do this if we got going right now.  Time flew by as we got geared up and we departed camp at 4 am, about 2 hours later than ideal. 

Resting Above Disappointment Cleaver

Resting Above Disappointment Cleaver

The route from Ingrahm flats take a short flat approach below a series of large seracs right to the foot of Disappointment Cleaver from where we make an extreme transition to the vertical world.  A zigzag of narrow ice ledges exposed switchbacks take us up 1000 vertical feet to the glacier ridge we will ascend to the summit crater.  The advantage of our late start was that this area which we would with a proper start time we would have ascended in darkness, we got to climb in the twilight of the morning. 

The view toward Mt. Adams from the "high break" on Rainier

The view toward Mt. Adams from the "high break" on Rainier

As we maneuvered through a few crevasses, the team got a good feel of what is means to be on a "big" mountain.     

On the crater rim with Columbia Crest in the background.  THE SUMMIT!  

On the crater rim with Columbia Crest in the background.  THE SUMMIT!  

Only half Way there.   

A Night on the Flats

A beautiful view across Cathedral Peak and down the Ingraham Glacier. The weather can quickly go from this....

A beautiful view across Cathedral Peak and down the Ingraham Glacier. The weather can quickly go from this....

 ...to this in a matter of minutes.  Made for a long night. 

 ...to this in a matter of minutes.  Made for a long night. 

Ingraham Flats, about 1,000 vertical feet above Camp Muir is a spot that many climbers choose as the high camp versus Muir as it allows for an early accent getting ahead of many of the guided groups that come out of the more popular stopping point. The downside, is having to carry gear up and down that extra few miles.  Our day put us at the "flats" at 2 pm and we promptly got camp up and began melting snow for water for dinner and the climb the next day.  I sometimes believe the definition of mountaineering is the activity squished between tremendous pain and the boredom of melting snow.  The day had been ideal from a climbing standpoint right up until we arrived at the flats and once there, the clear eternal blue and unlimited visibility turned to a grey thick shroud of cotton and the air was heavy with moisture that was felt deep in our lungs.  Even more disturbing was the inconsistent wind gusts that exceeded 40 mph.  It was hard to discern whether this weather was the system that was predicted for the next day or just some of the local weather that a mountain this size can produce itself.  This is another downside of being as the flats versus spending the night at Muir where there is better access to information through the resident national park climbing rangers or the guide services.  It was in a word, unnerving.  After a dinner of broth, bread and a few veggies, the not very restful evening began.  The alarm that was due to wake us up at midnight was not needed as the tents were buffeted all night with sleet, snow and the teeth of a wet wind.   

Up to Basecamp

The weather forecast has not been all that good over the last couple days and the window we have for the summit is much smaller than I would like.  With only one day to reach the top everything will have to go perfectly. So far it is not looking good.  We were delayed getting out of Ashford. WA to the Paradise trail head so our hike to Camp Muir will most likely create an arrival after dark.  Setting up camp at night in a crowded camp when many groups are looking at a midnight start will not make us many friends.  To keep the harmony with the group and make the next day only slightly longer we will stay on the Muir snowfield and make a slightly longer hike to Ingraham Flats at a comfortable time the next morning.  The good news is that our weather looks to be below us and we have a clear night with only moderate winds.  We finally nestled down at about 11pm and got a restful nights sleep, not a easy thing to do in 25 mph winds while sleeping on an if cube.  Yes they call this recreation and fun! 

The First night on Muir snowfield

The First night on Muir snowfield

Mt. Rainier, a Walkabout Through the Clouds.

  I am at the airport in Denver after over 6 months of planning,  finally embarking on a trip to Washington state to once again climb Mt. Rainier.  The team is comprised of 3 other adventure seeking climbers, Rob, Ryan and Adam.  This trip and its participants came about through a variety of circumstances as most travels to the edge do.  The important note here is that there are times in ones life where the boundaries just have to pushed.  I had gotten a bit stale and comfortable with the local activities so this was the catalyst I needed to dig out the old ice axe and get moving. I had thought the flanks of Rainier or any big mountain had seen the last of me as I hit 40 and had a metal hip installed.  Now I am on the verge of Rainier once again and feeling GREAT about it and have Kilimanjaro on the horizon.  Motivation and goals are a very good thing and those around you who inspire them, even better. Carpe Diem. 

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It's National Park Week!

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The week of April 21-28 is National Park week in US. A wonderful opportunity is offered by the National Park Service each year which creates the perfect catalyst to get out this spring to explore our national treasures. The entrance fees, are waived to all national parks Monday through Friday so what better way to see what your taxes have been protecting and enhancing. Take a picture, take a child, take a moment to share the great natural resources with someone who may be unfamiliar with our national park system. In Colorado we are fortunate to have at arms reach 4 great national parks and about twice as many national monuments. Just across the border into neighboring Utah, there are a handful more spectacular national park destinations. Here are a few destinations to consider:

  • Rocky Mountain National Park, near Estes park and Grand Lake, CO
  • Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park near Gunnison, CO
  • Mesa Verde National Park near Cortez, CO
  • Great Sand Dunes National Park near Alamosa, CO
  • Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction, CO
  • Dinosaur National Monument near Rangely, CO
  • Florissant Fossil beds near Divide, CO
  • And in Utah, Arches and Canyonlands National Park near Moab, UT.
  • Have fun exploring this week.
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WiFi sd card

I was hoping to do a review of a new wi fi enabled card for an upcoming trip but the Amazon Prime program never came through and that review is delayed. I am looking for a better solution for the Eye-fi and hope to bring an alternative to the table with the Toshiba product or the Ez-share card. Stay tuned.

A post-apocalyptic scene

There are a few places that I have to just visit for no good reason. Call it a sort of train wreck syndrome. The Salton Sea in southern California has been a place that has a very interesting, sad history but the story is not well enough known in my opinion. Through a bit of an engineering screw up in the early 1900's, irrigation channels sourced by the Colorado River overflowed into a below sea level spot in the Colorado Desert and the Salton sea was born. It is California's largest lake and with no consistent outflow the salinity levels are above those of Pacific Ocean and slightly below those of the Great Salt Lake in Utah. There have been many attempts to commercialize, equalize, normalize, modernize and monetize the Sea but today it still is a literal and metaphorical low spot in California's natural resource management. Today, the shores are semi-sandy berms of small saltwater shellfish carapaces and tilapia skeletons. The buildings along the eastern shore are crumbling memories of a Palm Springs waterside type oasis slowly reclaimed piece by piece by nature with each passing year. The area is surrounded by incredibly productive agricultural enterprises and surprisingly healthy avian and mammalian wildlife. not to mention the fact that all this exists within 150 miles of 3 major US cities. All that being said, why the intrigue? No clue. I have seen some very interesting and visually stunning cultural decay images by Troy Pavia (see them at lostamerica.com). There is somewhat of a counter culture that surrounds the Sea and maybe the curiosity of what continues to draw people here is an unanswered question that I have. None the less, the Salton Sea is a place that is a natural resource dumpster fire that is surrounded by so much potential. I just hope that whatever the people of California decide to do with this area, and yes they must do something, inaction is what created much of this mess and ever letting the area go back to its natural state will require significant intervention. Let hope they get it right.

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Outside influences getting in the way of creativity.

About 18 months ago I moved to Colorado Springs from Denver, a place where I really thought I would spend the rest of my working life. I love Denver, I really enjoyed my home, my neighborhood and my friends. The environment very much suits my personality and as a place to live, I was very content. Then reality happens. The move to Colorado Springs was spurred on by the tease of opportunity and another collection of experiences. The truth be told, things haven't quite worked out the way I would have liked but this post is not about that nor am I looking for any sympathy. I have a good life by almost any measure and am thankful for that. What does all this have to do with my photographic journey? Well I am not really sure. Let's vet it out. Colorado Springs should be a haven of inspiration to show of the beauty and diversity of Colorado. Actually I am sure it is. Colorado Springs sits right at the base of one of the tallest and most accessible mountains in the lower 48 states. This city has a population of just under a half million people and has collected accolades like "best small city" to live in by Money magazine and "Top City" to live in by Outside magazine. Only 65 miles from its big brother Denver allows for a bigger city escape and easy access to the mountains make it an outdoor enthusiasts dream. To go even further, Colorado Springs is a tourist city. Most, and I do mean most of the states top attractions in terms of people visits are in our just outside the city limits. The U.S. Air Force Academy, The US Olympic Center, Garden of the Gods, Pikes Peak, Manitou Cliff Dwellings, The Cog Railway, Seven Falls... the list goes on. With all this photographic fodder what's the problem? That's what I am trying to figure out. I am having a real hard time engaging in making pictures close to home. I have found myself booking weekend flights or taking weekend road trips to areas that for some reason I find more interesting or photogenic than the sites and scenes right in my backyard where thousands of others seem to WANT to come. I have tried to utilize others as a source of motivation. I attended a couple camera club meetings but found myself a bit irritated at the pixel peeping bureaucracy. I have tried to create a few personal "projects" and connect with like minded people through a few different sources but can't seem to connect with the right minded people, (no pun intended, for those of you not completely familiar with the stigma of Colorado Springs, it is a very conservative community. That was not the "right" I was referring to).

I am looking for a little help here. How does one get past some of those outside influences and getting back to looking close to home for inspiration. Am I suffering from an "I don't want to be here" mentality that is blocking my vision? I know I am missing an opportunity to create a collection of images that can tell an interesting story, but what story is that. What has helped you, people, projects just the brute force of willing through the creative void? I know that the desire and motivation to create does not come from starring up at a ceiling or gazing down into the bottom of a pint.

The camera is always in my car, my pocket, my briefcase or pack and close at hand so I am ready to get those shutters clicking again. Any advice or personal experience may help.

Stuffing the stocking for the photographer in your family.

The holidays are of course about giving more than receiving. Photographers know this more than many. We often are the missing face in the family photo or running around trying to capture moments during the event we may have been "volunteered" to attend, or at least so I have been told, (smirk). Often the fear of getting a photographer a gift during the holiday season is that the stuff we put on Santa's list is just so darn expensive or we are just too particular. Carbon tripod = 5 bills plus some. new lens = 1 to 10 grand, ugh. New memory card, wrong brand/speed/format, you just can't win. Well here are a few under $25 ideas for photographers that most will enjoy regardless of how well outfitted they may be. Take it from one of the most pedantic photog's out there. These are things that even if hey have one or two, more is always better.

1. Lens pens and/or the Sidekick. These little devices that are less than 12 or 20 bucks will clean off a lens brush away dust or squeegee off smudges from an iPad in a jiffy. No matter if your target has one already, they are easy to lose and can be put into each and every gear bag that your photographer owns.

2. Padded inserts. There is one thing a photographer never has Enough of and that is camera bags. Buying a simple padded insert from Tenba for $22 can turn any shoulder bag or backpack into a multi-use camera bag without screaming "gear bag"!

3. Eneloop rechargeable AA batteries and charger. These power flashes, and other supporting devices wonderfully and can be pre-charged and ready to use months after they are charged. These can be recharged over 1000 times and behave much like the disposable AA's that over the long run will cost hundreds more. $10-20 depending on quantity, 4 or 8 at amazon.com.

4. Cable ties. There are a thousand companies that make these. They range from 5 to 10 dollars depending on where they are bought but indispensable and tame the most savage of cable beasts.

5. Rain sleeves. If your photog does any outside shooting, sooner or later moisture comes into play and that is just not a good partner for many cameras. Where else can you protect thousand of dollars of equipment with only 6 bucks. OP/TECH USA makes the rain sleeve that comes in pack of 2 that beats a garbage bag hands down.

6. The bokeh kit from Photojojo. If you photographer enjoys shooting at night or likes lights in the background of their images this is a must. If they are creative, ditto, if they are looking for something fun to play with, we'll you get the idea. $25 from Photojojo.

7. Rogue flash bender. If you have seen that big light box attached to the top of your photo friends camera then these are the ticket. They quickly Velcro on to the flash with no tape or sticky fuss. Yeah, they may be $35 from expoimaging but with the cheap rain sleeves at number 5, I'm still averaging less than $25, give me a break, it's an expensive hobby.

8. One month gift subscription to Lynda.com or Kelbymedia.com. No one knows it all, except the folks at Lynda or Kelby Media. You can buy an unlimited online access gift subscription to either of these world class online training sites that teach Photoshop, Lightroom, iPhoto, Aperture, lighting, composition, camera technique, and the list goes on for only $25 a month. That's a lot of learning for less than a dollar a day. Both sites offer so much more than just photo related subjects so look at the class list for the best choice. Both sites offer month to month unlimited access which is just plain awesome. No contracts, do you hear that Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile?

9. LED flashlights. They are a buck a piece, are available everywhere, they need to be everywhere and there is no excuse not to buy 10 for everyone that heads out after dark. There is now no need for Batman.

10 Beer or Wine, really do i need to explain.

Merry Christmas

Looking for Signs of the Fall Harvest

The fall season in Colorado is filled with those icons that just seem to be everywhere when hovering over the camera bag planning a weekend shoot.  But with all the obvious subjects available I am finding that these must shoot subjects are starting to box me in.  It should be an easy take to go out and nail a foliage shot or catch a beautiful sunrise on a freshly snow dusted peak. Just knowing that there are only a few weeks and maybe only in some cases just a few days the pressure just seems to mount to catch hat perfect seasonal shot.  A great example is the changing of the aspen.  With the weather we have had in Colorado this summer the colors will turn at the normal time but with th e lack of moisture, the first good wind will take those golden quaking leaves and turn them into golden litter on the forest floor.  The timing of this all happening will vary by elevation and micro climate and will be hard to predict in advance.  That being said, all those places that I have put in my tickler file for a fall visit will have to wait until 2013 for another try.  What morning the fresh snow will hit the peaks is another guess that requires time and patience that most days I just don't have.  

A very unique Pumpkin Patch. 

A very unique Pumpkin Patch. 

All this pressure on the seasonal shot reminds us that flexibility and not being locked into a particular image will keep those fresh prints coming off the printer or back from the lab.  Going iconic takes a lot of work for a very low percentage of success.  Keeping an open mind and moving with a general theme can be a better solution for keeping the shutter firing but allowing for a.change in perspective.  If all those magical pieces do not come together in the right way, there are alternatives to turn to.  What are the colors that you were going after, what were the patterns you were looking for? Shown is an example.  I really wanted to get some great imaging of a pumpkin harvest and I have had that image I'm my head for months.  Something specific that I wanted but my schedule, weather and timing never came together.  But with that in the back of my mind, I came across this image in a place where in never expected to see it but with a bit of flexibility this can be an image that speaks of the seasonal theme I was looking for.  Any guesses where this was taken?

Adding to the Mental Portfolio

After a weekend of family visits, AFA-CSU football (not the result I wanted) and a birthday celebration for some good friends, it was time to sharpen the saw so to speak. Colby Brown, Jay and Varina Patel spent a full Sunday walking a group of Colorado photographers, me included, through their post processing and workflow techniques. Clearly, the pairing of the Patels with Brown served a valuable purpose. Both offered up some valuable composition ideas that follow the time honored principles that should be commonplace to the studied landscape and natural world photographer but the larger value is in the journey to the final image. Jay and Varina utilize and evangelize a more Photoshop centric technique that they call iHDR that is rooted in a the concept of retaining the maximum level of control while Colby Brown shared multiple techniques based on the usage of some specialized plug ins for Lightroom as well as Photoshop. There is no doubt that both processes produce some very impressive results from the captured files. The real take away for me was that there are many ways to skin the post processing cat. It is great to be able to have 17 different plugins or images processors but getting to the level where you can master 2 or 3 will do more for your photography than the next new camera body.
The message here is to take advantage of all these opportunities that the photo communities offer and take a class, participate in a workshop, attend a seminar. What you may find out is that you know more than you thought, you have all the gear you need and your processes are just fine. The validation is important to keep you motivated to get out there shooting and processing to a finish point. That's where the real learning is.

What Are Your Plans for Sept. 29th?

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September 29th is National Public Lands Day. This is a great opportunity to get out and explore one of our nations incredible open spaces or monuments. Entrance fees to all US national parks and monuments are waived so there is no excuse not to witness bugling elk in Rocky Mountain National Park, catching the mountain goats on the top of Mt. Evans, enjoying the slightly cooling fall temperatures in Death Valley National Park or exploring the battlefields at Gettysburg. The National Public Lands Day was created to expose the public to the vast array of national treasures that are all around us so take advantage of this valuable freebie. Personally, I will be enjoying a source of national pride on public lands in Colorado Springs when my alma mater Colorado State will play the Air Force Academy in a classic battle for Colorado bragging rights. Although tickets to the game are not covered under this federal program, access to the USAFA is always free and well worth the trip. Enjoy the day!

A good weekend to take a PASS

The time from mid-September to the first week of October is an ideal time to catch the changing aspen, cottonwood and other high country trees all through  mountain areas of the state.  Colorado has about 75 mountain passes that can be traversed by a vehicle and this weekend I was able to hit 7 of them.  Cottonwood, Schofield, McClure, Kebler, Slumgullion, Spring Creek and La Veta were all the ascents and descents that I was able to cross as the jeep made a loop through southwest Colorado engaging in an early tour of the golden aspen foliage.  Leaf peepers burn up a lot of fossil fuels taking driving tours to watch the changing colors of our wooded wilderness.  Some would liken this exercise to watching grass grow or paint dry but there is something very special about gazing off over a grand vista to see a river of color pouring off some of the highest peaks in North America. 

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As vast and as in your face as some of these color changes are, getting a truly great foliage image is not nearly as easy as it may seem. time of day, angle of light, the condition of the sky, and background elements all play a role in how dramatic the image may appear after capture.   Here are a couple of tips that really make a difference in the level of impact of a fall foliage image. 

  • Back lighting -  In Colorado the small golden aspen leaves can create a glow and illumination that makes an image look like it is plugged in to an outlet.  Getting the sun behind the stand of golden aspen can be a shot that will forever remind the viewer that change is good. 
  • Getting up early to catch the sunrise and shooting to the west.  Early in the morning there is less haze in the air. The low angle of the suns rays through a longer section of the earths atmosphere create a golden glow that complements the changing leaves in the landscape. 
  • Use planning tools like the Photographers Ephemeris or android apps like Sun Board to ensure that the time spent getting to the shooting location yields the correct angle and direction of light and shadow.  There is nothing more frustrating that getting to a photo location and realizing that the location that you spent so much time getting to in the morning is set up to be an evening shot or vice versa.

The new iPhone

Apple announced the new iPhone 5 today and big question I have been hit with among many of my friends as they know I am a big Android fan is, "will I switch?" The answer, HELL YES!
Two reasons. Bigger screen and most importantly, a better camera. Seriously, I have bought into the enterprise system Apple has developed and being an owner of iPods, iPads, iBooks, and iMacs, the iPhone is just a logical next step in making sure everything talks to each other. Now that it looks like Adobe Flash is dead and imaging on the web has found a way around that Technology handcuff, I am ready to take the "easy" way out. Life is too short to have to learn to be a hacker.

Setting up a New Virtual Home

The life online is a strange existence. As technology evolves, so does the need to keep up and make sure that a presence, passion or personality is not lost with the latest dot release, version upgrade or newest hardware.   I have been spending the last few days converting the Spry Photography virtual home to a new web service that should offer a more flexible and a more efficient interface for viewing, posting and communication.  Still far from complete, the move has been both maddening and liberating at the same time.  I have had to resist the urge to just regurgitate the same content from my old site and look for a fresh way to demonstrate the passion for a wide gamut of photographic images and subjects that I enjoy.  Maddening in that learning new technology takes you two steps back. The first in learning the new interface but also and more important for me, the second step is in studying and relearning design. Developing the best way to present and lay out the content that may not have been available in an earlier iteration.  Liberating in that the opportunities are so much more broad that I am now generating a list of new photographic projects as a result of seeing what is possible with a new web platform.   Integrating video, stop motion and time lapse are just a few of the new formats that I am looking forward to explore, develop and share.

I hope that the new Spry Images web site and Blog are a regular stop during your web surfing excursions and I hope to provide a worthy wayside rest area on the digital highway.

A Fall Colorado Experience

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The fall season in Colorado offers the a photographer some of the most beautiful opportunities to capture fantastic seasonal images. First snows on the peaks, the turning of the aspen, migrating wildlife and on and on. For this first September weekend the travels take the camera to the western slope of Colorado to the small farming community of Palisade. This little town has been on the map for years by supplying the west with its famous peaches. Over the past several decades, Palisade has also been making a name for itself as the wine center of Colorado as well. As the vineyards are working to get the 2012 crop of grapes in before the first frost settles into the valley, the markets and fruits stands are full of the fresh local produce ready for transformation into deserts and other treats. Personally, the chili season gets my temperature up so I am looking forward to getting the scoville units heated up the kitchen this week.  

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