*Amsterdam, a home away from home

reflections of a time past

Sometimes I lose track of what is and what isn’t familiar.  I can wake up in my own bed, surrounded by all of the elements involved in my habitual routine, and it takes me a moment to figure out where I am.  Other times, I can be thousands of miles away from home and feel as if I fit, I belong to the space I occupy.  All of us are, to an extent, just fumbling around this rock getting on with our lives, some of us possibly contributing more to the greater human experience than those of us photoblogging or whatever, but I’d like to think that certain places call us, mean more to us, regardless of our personal histories, and for some reason beyond my personal comprehension, just seem to make sense.  Like a familiar smell transporting me back to childhood, or meals reminding me of past occasions, Amsterdam has always just felt like home.

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*Porto, business and pleasure

the sea above and the sea below

No journey is greater than the one you’re on, and it is up to us to turn every day occurrence into the spectacular.  It certainly doesn’t hurt when you’re lucky enough to have to travel to amazing places for business for some of these every day occurrences.  I, like many I’m sure, struggle sometimes to truly appreciate that which life has blessed me with.  There are days that I allow the challenge of being a parent, partner or financial custodian get in the way of the realization that I have two healthy, normally happy children and an amazing wife.  There are those that say not to look back, but rather forward.  For me, I find an amazing amount of solace in being able to relive and appreciate time that has already been, and photography has played a large part in that.  It often allows me to reflect and remember why I should be happy and thankful.

We find ourselves in a new year, the promise of new beginnings being urged upon us.  With that in mind, I’d like to reflect on a recent trip I was able to take to Portugal where the weather and humanity are warm and inviting.  I am lucky enough to get to experience places like this, and for that, I am truly grateful. . .

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*The Mirrorless Diet, how to lose weight instantly! Part 3

Rainier Morning Ascent

PART 3: Processing your shots

After applauding your choice to invest in featherweight cameras and optics that have the image quality to rival top end digital SLR’s (well, in many scenarios anyway), it all comes down to processing, and turning those files into the beautiful images you knew they’d become.  While weight is no longer a huge part of the equation, it is now time to see if we’ve compromised our ability to document our travels for posterity in all their pixel rich glory…

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*The Mirrorless Diet, how to lose weight instantly! Part 2

PanhandleGapDaleBLOG

PART 2: Shooting your trip

You’ve already suffered through my long winded gear explanation in the previous post about gear weight in part 1. Here are some of the images and techniques I use with the gear being utilized for each shot, laid out. The above panorama shot was a handheld series of 5 frames, shot in portrait orientation using the Canon EOS-M and 22mm f/2 lens. The third and final part in this series will focus on the actual processing of the shots and won’t really have much to do with backpacking per se, nor the weight saved, but hopefully can show that with these small cameras, image quality is not compromised.

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*The Mirrorless Diet, how to lose weight instantly! Part 1

mirrorless diet

PART 1: Preparing for a trip

Have you ever had to pack for a trip, a hike, climb, vacation or another adventure where you’d be carrying everything on your back or slung over your shoulder?  Gear laid out on the floor the night before leaving for the trip after having unpacked and repacked to see if you could fit everything in less space getting rid of everything you can to save weight.  For those that saw their toothbrushes in half to shave off a few grams, or anyone that could stand to lose a little weight in the camera bag, this series of articles may be useful.  Now, the question is, can we do this, and still carry quality photographic gear with us?

This will be the first part in a three part article focused on capturing images while backpacking and wanting to keep weight down while not compromising image quality.  It is also potentially useful for any travel situation where gear weight may become cumbersome.

I’d like to thank Yukon Trading CompanyMarmotJetBoil, LEKI Trekking Poles43rumors.comExpert Shield screen protectors, and B&H Photo for the continued support, and particularly for much of the stuff provided for me during this trip.  Losing weight isn’t always fast and cheap, but they’ve helped make it sexy.  Throughout these articles, I’ll be mentioning and linking to various products that I use(d) and highly suggest looking into.  Fortunately for me, we got hooked up with companies that put quality at the top of their list.  It doesn’t hurt that they also engineer some of the best, lightest and highest performing gear on the market, so, thanks guys!

Never has weight been more a factor for me than when trying to stuff all my gear into a pack with the realization that I’m going to have to carry all this stuff on my back for days on end, all while climbing, hiking and sliding around in the snow. I will start by disclosing that I am far closer to resembling a photographer than a back country, mountaineering aficionado. I’ve certainly been adventurous throughout my life, spending many nights in the elements, climbing and hiking my way to the next spot so that I may eat dried fruit, ramen and nuts for dinner, or do my best to create aches in areas I was previously unaware my body had by forgoing any type of sleeping pad or pillow. Most of the time, when I travel, or set out on any type of adventure, photography is a very large part of it, and I’ve tended to sacrifice other comforts to enable the room for my camera gear. Since adopting a mirrorless setup, I’ve not had to sacrifice at all…

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*Shooting Levant for the ELK Collective

ELK - Levant

Portland has become a Mecca for young, inspired chefs. The relatively affordable overhead alongside a genuinely interested food culture makes for a ripe proving ground. Aesthetics and spacial design can be the difference between one restaurant’s success, and it’s failure as there are so many quality venues boasting inventive, unique or simple, well done fare. Scott Snyder the owner and chef at Levant recognized the need to design his space around his vision, and ELK obliged in spades.
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*The Dark Side of Amsterdam

follow me deeper and you shall see (Pana G3 + Lumix 25mm f/1.4)

While the title may allude to a sinister, Imperial-esque characterization of a city known for many a questionable, extra curricular activity, I mean to speak quite literally.  For anyone who’s read my blog for more than a year, you may know that I travel to Amsterdam once a year on business.  Because of said business, coupled with the late time of year and Holland’s geographical placement, I rarely get to experience it in the light of day.  With a +9 hour difference to tackle, and tiring hours spent working while there, my window for photographic opportunity normally falls within about an hour and a half between when I get done working, and the inevitable collapse into a jet lagged coma that prematurely greets the end of each day.  Luckily, this year, this window happened to open while the weather was crisp, but dry as it gave me the ability to wander around, camera in hand to document a bit of my annual stay in what has become my home away from home.

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*G-cubed in Chi-town

High above it all - G3 + FD55 f/1.2

Where else in the world would one want to be than Chicago in the depth of winter I ask you?  I know it may sound somewhat sadistic, but I’ve really come to enjoy walking around the windy city when the river is frozen over, the streets are coated with a salted crust and the wind makes your face feel like someone repeatedly smacked you with a frozen fish.  I’ve also come to realize the genius of having the largest sail show in the midwest at the same time every year.  It may hurt to go outside, but when you get into the boat show, your thoughts immediately transport you to warmer times, and you feel any potential financial inhibitions start to ease with the promise of a midsummer breeze on the lake, the water lapping against your bow and the only ice you encounter is inside your cooler.  On the business side of things, orders in January mean that you can actually get everything built before sailing season starts.

 

Read on for more shots and mumblings…

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