Advantages of having a Photography Wingman for Travel!

June 30, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Everyone! I hope everyone is doing well this week.  As you know this year I have been concentrating my photography and all of my efforts into travel. Travel can be expensive. Especially now a days with the price of gas going crazy.  Travel can also be scary if you travel alone.  But this year I have taken 4 trips visited 7 national parks 5 new state parks and a few cool towns.  I have done all of this with my Photography "wingman" or travel buddy/photo nut Robert.  Not only are we photography nuts but we love traveling. I'm going to list advantages of having a traveling Wingman!

1.  The Cost.  Traveling with a photography wingman cuts the cost in half.  If your driving the price of gas is shared. The price of a hotel room is shared. Anything that is shared by the two of you from a case of water or food that you have packed for lunches is shared. This greatly lowers the cost. We got a rental car for a week and split the cost taking it from a crazy 800 dollars to 400.  So traveling with a friend makes it cheaper.

2. Not Going Alone. My photography wingman Robert has traveled the world and the US extensively.  He has years of traveling under his belt. When I travel with him I know that he has the experience traveling say through Airports, Train Stations, or Subways. Things that I have not done much.  It is a great comfort to have someone experienced in this part of the traveling experience. Not to mention that it's just fun to have someone like minded to go out and explore!

3. Decision Making. I am a introvert by nature and Robert (my wingman)  is very much the extrovert. This works well for us. I am a planner and not very spontaneous and he is the more spontaneous. With him being more Spontaneous I do things and go places that I would never go by myself.  He on the other hand is Go, Go, Go without thinking and I slow him down with time to think about all of the consequences that could happen.  So we work well together as a team seeing all of the possibilities. And Then Deciding on the correct course of action.

4. Seeing things from a different point of view.  When I travel with my family I seem to be the main planning person , driver, sherpa , dog walker pretty much everything so its just my point of view.  Traveling with a Photography Wingman sometimes we have different things that we want to see or do and its nice to let that person plan that part of the trip and you don't have to think about it. Its great to see things or an area through other photographer's eyes.

5. Its just fun!  Traveling with another photo nut is like going on a photography workshop but smaller.  Robert ( Wingman) and I are very much alike in the way we think and we have fun and cut up the whole time.  Its like summer camp for old folks. This last trip we took to Utah was epic and we laughed the whole time. We did have some photography shots that were alike but we had a lot that were totally different even though we were only a few feet away from each other at every photo spot.

So start looking for your wingman.  I have friends that are mother/daughter duo that travel all over together and have a ball.  Make sure you find someone that you like being around with because you're going to be with them 24/7. Take time plan your trips together so  you and your photography wingman gets an input.  Hey and it doesn't have to be just 1 wingman you could have 2.  This would cut down the cost even more. Traveling and photographing new and exciting stuff is a blast.  So until next week get outside and shoot!


Photography Trip without Computer. How did that Go?

June 23, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Everyone! How's your week going? This week is an update or a review on my workflow while on the road. I did a blog on my workflow a few weeks before my trip and I wanted to give you and update and what went well and what didn't. Here is a link to that Blog.My Revised Workflow. In the revised workflow blog I went over the way I was going to manage my photo's and edit on the road. Here is what went right and what didn't quite go as planned. 

What went right. Taking only a small iPad with me on my trip and leaving my computer at home was the right choice for me. I had an easy time with packing and luggage and I could always have the iPad with me if I wanted to because of the small size and weight. It was a great way for me to view my photo's of the day's shoot very quickly and if I wanted to to edit one for social media in Lightroom. The RavPower File hub backed up all of my photo's to an external hard drive with only one problem which I'll explain in the what went wrong portion. I did take a little portable folding keyboard which I didn't use at all. (Note to self Leave at home next time). But I do think if I had a normal sized iPad I would have the case that has the keyboard built in.  All SD cards worked fine and my filing system (Turning over when used) worked as it should. What really worked right and was not in my revised workflow was my phone. I used it for shots at every stop so I could share easily with social media. I also used it as my boarding pass for flights and apple iPay for most everything on the trip. So that was an unexpected surprise for me. The other unexpected surprise was the noise canceling earbuds I threw into the bag last minute. They worked like a champ on the plane watching movies on my iPad Mini.

What went Wrong.  Nothing really went wrong but unexpected is the word I would use. The first couple of days I backed up my photo's by just inserting the SD card into the RavPower File hub and the 1TB disc into the other side of the file hub and pushing a button.  After a couple of days I was looking at the drive and freaked out a little because the time date folders were not right. I started digging and all of the photo's were there just under a random time stamp.  I reorganized them and everything was fine.  Don't quite know why this happened (probably something I did) but worked great in test that I had done before the trip. But all the files were there which was the important part. I'll have to figure that one out.  I did edit a few shots on my iPad Mini and it is more difficult than my 27 inch iMac I have at home but doable. I think if my iPad was a full sized one it would have made it easier to edit. But I'm not doing that much editing on the road.

Overall the system worked well and saved room in my bag and on my back. This is the way I will be traveling in the near future until I figure out another way to do it even easier. I do love my gadgets. So until next week. Ge outside and shoot!

What went right on my Utah trip.

June 16, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Everyone! How has your week gone?  Me? I'm still reeling from my trip to Utah. And don't worry I'll bore you with all of the details of each park soon.  This week though I wanted to tell you about the things that went right with the trip.  Now there was lots of planning and we had a lot of things that went right much more than went wrong.  Its like that saying the harder I work the luckier I get.  We worked hard on preparation before the trip to make sure we had things covered.  So here goes some stuff that went well because of planning.

1. TSA check in at the Airports.  I have been through the security at airports before but never with a bag full of electronics on my back.  I was prepared to take everything out and put in separate bins along with my shoes and everything in my pockets.  I had even bought a belt that had no metal in it so I wouldn't have to take it off. (Nothing funnier than seeing a Fat Man trying to put on a belt in an airport) but the security people told us to keep things in the bags so I really had it made going through security.  But I was glad I was prepared just in case. Government Shutdown GenerosityGovernment Shutdown GenerosityA TSA worker helps passengers at the Salt Lake City International Airport, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019, in Salt Lake City. The government shutdown has generated an outpouring of generosity to TSA agents and other federal employees who are working without pay. In Salt Lake City, airport officials treated workers from the TSA, FAA and Customs and Border Protection to a free barbecue lunch as a gesture to keep their spirits up during a difficult time. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

2. Hotels and Booking.  Over all this went well.  Everything was prepaid and check in and out worked flawlessly.  Most of the places we stayed in was much better than I had thought.  I pretty much went with the cheapest and the closest to the parks as I could. I had booked and paid for in advance.  As a matter of fact our whole trip except for food and gas was paid for up front which took out stress of how much things cost.

3. Rental Car/Air Travel.  Rental car went better than planned. I had booked the cheapest an economy car. I was expecting a very small car with no features. When we got to the rental place we got upgraded at no charge and the car was pretty nice. It was a Kia Forte a mid sized sedan and it ran and drove great and got good gas milage which was important as the price of gas has skyrocketed . We picked it up in Vegas and dropped it off in Albuquerque. Like the Hotel stays this was paid for months in advance so no stress about money.  Air Fare was booked and paid for months in advance which turned out good as gas prices went up after we had paid and air fares went up but since we paid months in advance of this it did not effect us.

4. Camera Equipment.  My camera Equipment worked great and I didn't have any breakdowns. I did bring an extra body just in case that was never used but I used all of the lenses I brought and was pleased with the performance of an older camera body.  I had no problems with battery power and maybe brought too many batteries. (but better to have and not need than to need and not have).  My tripod held up great even though I think my buddy Robert may have used it more than me.  He had some problems with his but we got it fixed while we were there. GoPro's worked well even though Roberts GoPro didn't always listen to him. (Voice Activation) Camera Gear worked great!

5. Itinerary. We had a pretty incisive and event packed Itinerary.  We completed everything on it!  Which is amazing. On our Itinerary we had maps , photo's , suggested roads to take and even some places to eat.  And we did all of the major stuff on it .  I think we just missed a few places to eat because they were closed when we were there.  We visited 6 National Parks, 3 State Parks and A few towns that we took photos in. The time we took making the itinerary really paid off.

I could list lots of things from how I packed, what clothes I took or how my backup plan worked. But the planning really paid off and we didn't feel like we were following a strict list of things we had to do. We actually had scheduled some afternoons off to take a break and relax and do laundry because we knew we couldn't keep up the  pace we had planned for a week straight. So bottom line we really enjoyed ourselves and that was the whole point of a traveling road trip. Whats next? We have talked of some places but nothing in stone yet. We are at the beginning stage of another adventure. So until next time keep dreaming, keep planning and keep doing!  Get outside and shoot!

Unexpected Surprise!

June 10, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Everyone! Hope you are doing well this week.  This week has been a big week for me. I traded a couple of camera's in to MPB for a newer full frame camera.  Now that is big news but not what this blog is about that will be for later. The big surprise is what came in the box of new to me but used camera. It was a look into the past. The people that I guess sold this camera put an SD card in the camera. Its an old SD card and one I'm sure they just had laying around but to me it was fascinating! It was a 8GB card and it was over 10 years old. When I first got my camera and started setting it up for me I discarded this card and put my much larger and newer cards in the slots and proceeded into going through the menus of my new camera. Today I saw the card laying on my desk and decided to look at it. Thats where the surprise happened.  It actually had photo's on it. But not from my camera but from a 11 year old one. A Nikon D3100. Its a 14MP camera that I'm sure it was a kit bought at a big box store somewhere. It had the same kit lens that it came with a 18mm to 55mm . The card had over 500 photo's from 4 years of vacations of a young couple traveling Europe and beyond. There were only photo's from these trips on the card.  So I'm guessing that they only used the camera when they traveled. At the end of the photo's there were shots of a new born baby.  I'm sharing some of the photo's but not photo's of the people or the baby.  I brought these photographs into Lightroom to look at them in more detail. I actually culled them and processed them lightly like I would my photographs. Straighten them and hit the auto button in Lightroom that's about it.  They were all shot in JPG non raw photographs.  I was surprised at how good some of these photo's are. You could tell that these young people wanted to upgrade their photo's from their phones. Most of the first vacation was shot in Portrait mode like most people shoot with their phones. Thats how they were used to seeing things so that's how they shot. You could tell by the metadata that they were probably shooting in Program mode because of the metadata that was showing. But the camera did well because most of the photographs came out well.  You could tell that they were artsy people because they did have some photo's at different museums or galleries and it showed in their composition of the photo's they had .  They were pretty good. Here are some of the places they went.

Paris, France, This couple took a autumn trip to the city of Paris and surrounding area. There are lots of photo's of the Eiffel Tower , the Louvre museum in Paris. The trees leaves were changing colors and everything was beautiful. This was in November of 2011.

Pacific Northwest USA, I'm guessing they (the couple) were from the north west of USA, I have found photo's of the hay stacks on the coast of Oregon and Washington State. There is skyline shots of Seattle and probably National Parks in this area. 

London England.  A week long trip to London with photo's of Big Ben, London Bridge and surrounding areas.  I think they may have gone to France again because I saw the Eiffel Tower shots in this time frame also.

Finally there were shots of a Island paradise somewhere.  With Grass huts over water and lovely Island scenes. Sunsets over lagoons with lush jungles. 

The last photo's of this card was of a new baby.  Don't know if it was theirs but I'm saying yes.  All of those romantic thrips produced a baby. LOL

This was a glimpse into someones life.  I could tell a story from the photo's that I saw. It was a pleasant and unexpected surprise. I'm sure this card was just thrown into the slot to sell but what a joy to find.  I wish I could post more but not enough room. Until next week get outside and start your adventure.

Utah Trip Review!

June 03, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Hey Everyone! I hope that you are doing well this week.  Well I just got back from a trip out west to visit 6 national Parks and 3 State Parks .   I went on this adventure with a Photo Nut friend Robert.  We took 6 months to plan this trip and the planning worked we didn’t really have any hiccups with the trip. I did most of the big logistical stuff and he handled a lot of the smaller details.  We really worked well as a team photographing and exploring the region that we were traveling in. This trip we traveled over 1600 miles , 5 states.  The trip wasn’t that expensive if you consider that we were traveling from the east coast and had to get rental car and hotels along the way.  The five states that we were in was Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. Here is a day by day overview and thoughts. Double ArchDouble ArchArches National Park Utah

Day 1- Travel Day.  I usually travel by car or truck and rarely fly anymore. This trip we would be flying to Las Vegas and renting a car for our road trip.  Flying used to be easy but has become more complicated since 9-11.  Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checks make me nervous .  Not because I’m doing something wrong but because your in a line with lots of other people trying to get through like you and you don’t want to be “That Guy” that slows up SpiresSpiresCanyonlands National Park Utah everything because he didn’t prepare.  My wingman Robert has extensive traveling experience and I relied on his guidance to help me not be so nervous. We got to the airport parked our vehicle and headed into the Airport to check bags and get through security. It used to be easy you just went to the counter but now they have these electronic kiosk that you get your luggage tag and print boarding passes from then you go to the desk. I fumbled through this and we got our bags check. Then through security which wasn’t as bad as I had imagined.  Then the wait for the aircraft. We flew out of RDU to Dallas/Fort Worth for a connecting flight which I relied on my wingman to get me around in the little Skyport Delicate ArchDelicate ArchArches National Park Utah transportation rail to get us to the correct terminal.  We flew into Las Vegas between 930 and 1000 at night had to get our bags and get a bus to the car rental where we picked up our ride a Kia Forte for the week. While we were flying my wingman (who was getting our first hotel room) was checking on the hotel and had a perplexed look on his face he had reserved for the right date but the wrong month so we didn’t have a room.  He did some quick Smart phone work and got us a room at the Treasure Island Casino in town.  It really was good luck it was a better room and cheaper than the Motel 6 we had planned to stay in. It was right down town so we got to see all the lights of the city at night .  We settled in at about 1 in the morning and we were getting up and leaving at 5.  We got a few hours sleep got a great Mesa ArchMesa ArchCanyonlands National Park Utah breakfast in the casino and headed out of Las Vegas.

Day 2.  We traveled out of Las Vegas to Valley of Fire State Park still in Nevada.  We had researched the park like we had all of the parks and knew where to go and what shots we wanted. The famous road shot with the mountain and the 7 wonders trail. It took us a little bit to find the road shot but we got it and went to the wonders trail and went to the first spot the Fire Wave section.  We took a lot of photo’s here and decided not even to do the rest of the trail because we were so in awe that we knew that we couldn’t finish before dark.  So we backed out and looked for a better spot to do the road shot and Road to the TempleRoad to the TempleGoblin Valley State Park Utah while looking we came up on some big horned sheep that were grazing along the road.  We got our shots of course. We did find the shot we wanted and went to the visitor center so I could buy a Fridge Magnet for my wife and I could get stickers from the park.  We did this at every attraction. Next stop was our motel which was at Bryce Canyon for the next two days. It was a good long drive to get there.  We got checked in and decided to go to Bryce before dinner as it was only 6 miles from our hotel room.  Wow!  The Fire BushFire BushValley of Fire State Park Nevada. view of the Canyon was awesome. We spent an hour or so there then went back to the hotel Restaurant to eat.  This day it was my birthday and I officially turned into a senior at 60.  We stopped at a senior center along the way to get a quick pic.  Then the surprise brownie and ice cream.  At least no one sang! LOL

Day 3. Zion Day. This was a big day on our itinerary as my wingman was really looking forward to hiking Angels Landing. One of the scariest and dangerous hikes in the US. Our first obstacle was to get there and get a parking place as parking is a premium in this park.  When we left it was 24 degrees outside but warmed to the low 60‘S for the hike.  In this park you have to take a shuttle to get to places when we got to the visitor The CanyonThe CanyonCanyonlands National Park Utah center parking we found a place to park and when we walked up to the shuttle a shuttle arrived. Almost like it was waiting for us.  We arrived at the Grotto our destination for the hike after an interesting talk from our shuttle driver. We started our hike checked in with the ranger. This is a permitted hike so we had to get a permit in a lottery.  We started up to angels landing, many switch backs and I had to stop many times to catch my breath. We finally got to Scouts landing 2 miles uphill.  This is where the Angeles landing hike begins a 1/2 mile straight up on a tiny sliver of land with only a chain to keep your Moon ScapeMoon ScapeValley of Fire State Park , Nevada balance. I decided not to do that part of the hike but my wingman was ready to go so I checked in with another ranger walked over and touched the chain and wished Robert good luck.  I waited about 2 hours and he finally made it down. I know he was tired and it kicked his but but was proud of him for making it.  We made it down the mountain with no problems. Downhill is a lot easier than uphill. We had planned another hike but we were both beat and decided to head back to Bryce and Recovery.

Day 4. Bryce Canyon Day.  We got up early and headed to the restaurant and had a great breakfast then Dead Horse PointDead Horse PointDead Horse Point State Park Utah headed to Bryce which was only 6 miles away.  We had planned a hike down in the canyon (not really a canyon its an amphitheater for geological geeks) for a hike .  It was great we had the whole place to ourselves at the start. Hardly no one there.  There were switchbacks that took us down into the canyon and switchbacks that brought us out . It was like another world in the canyon like Star Trek meets the Flinstones. We headed out to Capital Reef national park which is famous for homemade pies. After a couple of hours we made it there but the pie house was closed. So no Pies for us.  We went to the visitor center and enjoyed our ride around the park.  Next stop Goblin Valley state park Utah. This was a cool park Zion "Scout Trail"Zion "Scout Trail"Zion National Park Utah from another world in the middle of nowhere.  We spent an hour or so there and then it was off to Moab where we would stay 3 days in the Mecca of Outdoors in Utah.  We had a big Mexican dinner which was Awesome then back to the hotel.  

Day 5. Canyon Lands National Park, Mesa Arch.  One of the most iconic Arches ever Photographed. We arrived at Mesa Arch as the first photographers , (the ones that want sunrise shot) were leaving and the families had not shown up yet .  The perfect time to get some shots without anyone in front.  The shot of the Arch is nice but the canyon that is below is awesome! We spent a couple of hours there and then in the afternoon we had some laundry scheduled to do.  We drove back to Moab found a laundry mat Bryce CanyonBryce CanyonBryce Canyon National Park Utah and washed our clothes.  We then went to a cafe and had a hearty meal.  The rest of the day was ours to rest and recovery after the last couple of days.

Day 6. Arches National Park.  Arches is only 6 miles from our hotel.  So we had a big breakfast and headed out.  This is another place where you need a permit just to get into the park. I had acquired passes and permits months ago.  Our first stop was Delicate Arch.  It’s about a mile and a half hike to the arch and much harder than I had anticipated.  We made it there and there was only a few folks there and we had a Wooden IndianWooden IndianTaos New Mexico cell signal so I took some cell phone shots and sent them to different people while there. Pretty cool.  We hiked back and explored the rest of the park at Double Arch and Balanced Rock.  We then headed into Moab for lunch.  We ate at an food court that was supplied by food trucks. Pretty good and cheaper. We then headed out to look at Dinosaur foot prints not far from Moab.  Robert was really excited about this and we had a good time looking at the imprints.  We then headed back to an easy afternoon.

Day 7. Cortez Colorado and Mesa Verde National Park.  Our first stop out of town was Dead Horse Point state park in Utah.  We went there and it was like the Grand Canyon without all of the people.  It was pretty awesome.  We went to Cortez Wood SnakeWood SnakeArches National Park Utah Colorado where we had Lunch and then went to Mesa Verde.  We went to the visitors center and got some info from the Ranger and headed up the mountain.  We got to see the cliff dwellings from a distance.  The next walk through of the dwellings wasn’t until the next day.  We had a nice hotel here and enjoyed the rest of the day.

Day 8. Taos New Mexico. First stop after Cortez was a trip to the Four Corners Monument.  It was about 45 min. Out of the way but we both wanted to see it.  The monument is run by the Navajo tribal association and when Sandia Peak TramSandia Peak TramAlbuquerque New Mexico we got there at 7:45 they were closed but were scheduled to open at 8 so we waited and when we got in we got our shots and left headed to Taos.  Taos is a very artsy town with all of the buildings made in the Adobe fashion and very cool.  I would like to go back and photograph some more!  We spent the afternoon eating and photographing the town.  There are forest fires nearby and the helicopter crews for the firefighters were staying at our hotel also.  We smelled smoke a couple of times.

Day 9. Albuquerque Day.  After breakfast first stop was Santa Fe.  We walked around the town for an hour or so had some coffee and headed to Albuquerque.  This being our last day we wanted to squeeze as much as we could into the day so we had a tram ride scheduled for Sandia Peak.  We went from 6500 feet to Church BackChurch BackSan Fransisco De Asis Mission Taos New Mexico 10300 feet in 13 min.  Took some photos from the top and then headed down.  We got some good video while going down (less people) . Then we headed to Kirkland AFB where I had been stationed before.  It’s been over 30 years since I’ve been back and it has changed completely .  I didn’t recognized anything but it was nice.  We then headed to the rental place to return the car and off to the Airport where we checked bags and made it through security again.  We didn’t get home until 3 in the morning the next day which was Mothers Day.

I had a great time and my head is still spinning from all of the traveling and photography.  Can’t wait till the next trip! Until next week Get out and Shoot!