Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Still Sorting

I'm still sorting through the numerous shots from my recent workshop weekend. This is one of my favorites thus far.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Sad Day

Today is a sad day. The end of the seminar. 5 days of laughs, amazing scenery, stunning photography, incredible tutelage.

I may indeed edit a few more of the photos from the weekend, but this is the last of my images that I submitted for critiques. The last is a self portrait.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Saturday Morning Critique Shots

I have to say I am humbled by many of the photographs the other workshop participants (you can't spell "participants" without "i c parti pants") are submitting. I even feel a bit intimidated at times. Its also pretty amazing that with 14 people shooting on the same 1/2 mile stretch of beach there are so many different concepts and images. Wish I could share some of them with you, but you will have to suffer through some more of mine...

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Online Critique

Turns out the image the image selected for the critique was not the one I thought. I thought it was going to be this one....

Now you can enjoy it too...

Diminishing Returns

Yesterday, for the afternoon critique, I supplied 3 images, this morning was 2, and this afternoon, just one. Its hard to find time to edit all the photos. Its not for lack of material; I probably have 200 photos from this morning (all of them equally National Geographic-esque, as far as you know), its just hard to find time to prepare them. We only have 3 two-hour breaks each day, during which we need to find time to eat, download and edit. So I'm telling myself that I was focusing on quality, not quantity. Right.

The critique of my shot should be up soon. Maybe based on the comments I'll try a few of the suggested edits and post the result, just as soon as I borrow a super-charged DeLorean with power windows and a flux capacitor.

Here's a shot from this morning...

Day Two

Photography is a lot the right place at the right time. It just so happens I was at just such a junction today. The Radiant Vista website was looking for a few submissions for its online daily critique (they are the ones sponsoring this workshop). Today is "Workshop Friday", or so I was told. I offered one of my images shot last night. It will be the subject of today's online critique. I get to walk naked in front of the whole world.

So I'm not going to post that image here just yet. You can check it out @ http://www.radiantvista.com/dailyCritique/

This is the other image from last night.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Naked Dream

You know that dream where you are walking through high school, or wherever, and everyone is looking at you funny, but you just keep strutting around. Before too long you look down, and you aren't wearing any pants. Awkward & embarrassing. That's kind of what it feels like to submit yourself to 5 day photography seminar focusing around the critiquing of your photos, except with pants on.

The title of the workshop escapes me right now, but the focus is on landscape photography at Jekyll Island, GA, an amazing little barrier island (resident population of ~500). Lots of beaches, lots of sky, and a perceived pressure to take some "great shots". Its lead by Craig Tanner, who does some amazing work. See for yourself... http://www.craigtannercreative.com/

Early mornings (5:30 am) & long days don't leave much time to posting, but I will try to add the photos that I am submitting for the daily critiques.

Today winners:

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Return to Normal?

One phrase I've heard, both before and after this epic adventure, is "Once in a lifetime", as in this trip was a once in a lifetime event. I mean no offense to any who have uttered this, but I wholeheartedly disagree. There is little doubt that this awesome trip has granted memories to last a lifetime (or at least until senility sets), but if I only embark on one such journey in my entire life, it would be a sad existence for me. I have indeed been bit by the travel bug (symptoms include an itchy red welt, and an intense desire to wander the world, much like Caine in "Kung Fu"), and I have no plans to stop, though a short break for the holidays is quite necessary.

And so, 8 weeks, 2 countries, 1 band-aid, 1 bicycle, 10 souvenir kangaroo leather scrotum pouches, 1349 pictures, 10,479 memories later I am in my native land. Jobless and jet-lagged, my first days have been relaxed; I have rarely seen the sun before noon (with no plans to change until after the holidays). Friends have aided in my re-acclimatization, bringing me up to date on gossip (of which there was very little in terms of debauchery, unless you count Jason's "Dirty Thirty" birthday party, or Kristen's drag queen bachelorette escapade), going to the latest movies, hitting the trails mountain biking, and dragging me back into the ultimate frisbee scene. I feel like a needy animal in rehab, nearly set to be released back into the wild. If I can hunt down and gather a few gifts for Christmas we will know I'm ready to be unleashed on the general population (however, more than likely I'll just buy everything online from the safety of home).

If you've managed to make it this far in blog then thanks for sticking with me. Its been incredible, and though I've probably not done justice to the complete wonders of Australia and New Zealand, I hope you can begin to appreciate the splendors of travels Down Under. And if you've already been, maybe this has enlivened some forgotten memories. Either way, get out there, not only Australia or New Zealand, but anywhere, chart a new course, find some adventure, and as they say Down Under, travel safe.

P.S.- Beware, the travel bug is highly contagious.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Peeks and Velleys, A retroactive post.

From dusk till dawn, coast to coast, holiday parks to primitive bush camps, I'm a marvel of touring fanaticism. The past weeks are an amazing blur, much like the pavment beneath my wheels. Details of specific days have blended together into a spectacular mosaic panorama of the country.

The cities I've visited (a city here is any crossroad with a population greater than 1000) are as varied in style and character as the landscape itself (I've visited most of the cities on the south island, with Queenstown and Ivercargill being the major exceptions, though the latter Mick Jagger once called the asshole of the world). My least favorites, ironically, have been those striving to capture my tourist dollar the hardest. Kaikoura is a good example of tourism run rampant in my opinion: skydive with dolphins, ride a whale, club a seal if you've got the money. They don't well reflect the honest geniune attitude of New Zealand culture.

It would seem that New Zealand may have the highest number of hikes per capita in the world, though I can't back that up with proof (impressive considering the whole of the south island has only a population of 1 million). Every stop, city or town, big or small, has an overwhelming number of walks ranging from 20 minute overlooks to 5 day tramps.

I have yet to turn down an enticing tramp, or a good walk. So far, ten walks and one kayaking trip in 9 days, though none longer than a few hours; its a bit like trying to make a meal of hors deurves. I wish I had enough time to venture on one of the great walks.

Of course that's not to say the day hikes haven't been incredible, if anything, they have only whet my appetite for their longer counterparts. The first hike summited Mt. Stokes with its 1200 m peak in the cloud cover. At the summit it was a bit like trying to watch scrambled ummm.... pay channels, trying to get a glimspe of something good. Every now and then the clouds would momentarily part allowing a quick tantalizing peep of Marlborough Sound below.

All of the rainforest walks in Karamea were fantastic, especially those at the end of the McCallums Mill Rd. The road itself was a challenge, 16 km of loose gravel, steep climbs and descents, blind corners, all of which the BMW handled with refined German efficiency (think David Hasselholf from Knight Rider).

Speaking of Germans, the night before my walks I had made friends with a relaxed German. He had spent an extra day in Karamea due to a suggestion from another traveller. Without transportation, he was stuck in the small lifeless town, unknowing and unable to access the incredible walks in the vicinity. Unlucky, as the Aussies say, though he was about to head up the coastal Heaphy Track for 5 days so he was not that unlucky.

Driving Skippers road, a dead end 22 km gravel road heading deep into canyon country, was the highlight of the motorcycle touring. While not the most technical road, it is the most precipitous road I've ever driven: a cure for anyone bored with life, or for a LOTR fans salivating for grand cinematic scenery. The road was also notable for the first lying Kiwi I met. There was a rough 4WD track at the end of Skippers, and I was curious where it lead and so I asked one of the guides from the scenic tours. His response, "Nowhere, the road ends here. There's nothing down there." A few minutes later he weaseled himself back into his van full of tourists and lies and then proceeded to drive down the nothing nowhere track. Thanks buddy.

In the previous few days I had consumed something unclean, be it the lamb cutlets a la E coli in Arthur's Pass (celebrating the successful completion of Avalanche Peak track, on which I only lost my hat once), or the roasted chicken fettucini con giardia in Wanaka. Since noodles and boiled water have been my only culinary concoction, nothing was at fault on my end, unlike shortly thereafter, where something was terribly faulty with my end.

Mercifully the full brunt of the ailment didn't manifest until well after Skippers Road (on which there are precious few safe stopping points). On my way north towards Christchurch, there was a churning and gurgling insisting I break early for the night. The forced destination was a holiday park in Lake Tekapo, or as I call it now, Lake Take-a-poo.