Category: travel


When I started blogging back in January, I had two ideas in mind.  First, I wanted a blog that was about photography.  I wanted to share my love for photography with my readers, and offer help should they want it.  Second, I wanted to start doing product reviews.

From time to time, companies will send products to bloggers to let them test it out and write about them.  The logic behind this being that the blogger can get the word out about their product to many, many people with a real world opinion about the product.  It helps the company gain potential customers and gets the bloggers more traffic.

A few months ago, I started a second blog solely dedicated to product reviews.  I also post the reviews on this blog when I do them, but that blog will only have product reviews on it.  When I review a product, it goes on both sites.

I have only found a few companies so far to review products for, and would really like to find a few more.  So far, LowePro has been great about sending me camera bags to test and review.  I am trying to keep the focus of the blog to photography products, but will add motorcycle products as well.  Both genres play a huge part in my life, and I think I can bring a great deal of info to both markets.

Not only do I have my reader base, but I have Twitter and Facebook.  Along with them, I have 2,700 people that are members of The Product Review Place to share the information with.  So, the products would get a ton of exposure.  My reviews are posted on that site as well.

So, if you are a company that has a product that you need reviewed, please leave me a comment and I will get in touch with you about what we may be able to do for each other.  See ya soon!

*Image courtesy of Consolidated Freight Co.

Advertisements

On Friday morning, we got up bright and early and were on the road by 8:30, headed back up to meet the guys for the ride we didn’t get to do on Thursday.  When we got to the hotel the guys were staying at, one of the guys was missing.  He had gone back down to the expo to exchange the boots he bought the day before.  They were a size too small and hurting his toes.

He got back to the hotel and went to put them on, and the strap on the back to pull them on broke.  Crap.  Guess we’re not leaving anytime soon.  We all got geared up and went back down to the vendor where he got the boots.  They exchanged them and this pair did the same thing.  He was offered a refund, but he needed the boots as the heel on the boots he wore to Americade had separated from the boot.  So, he kept them and we got ready to ride.  While we were waiting, we noticed that there were helicopter rides leaving from that area and flying over the Americade festivities.  They were only $60 too, which was pretty cheap.

Rose and I also bumped into someone we know while we were waiting there.  A friend of ours that rides with us every Wednesday night happened to show up and we flagged him down and said hi.  After a little bit of chatting with him and taking pics of the helicopter, the guys were just about ready to leave.  As we walked towards them, Rose pointed out a sports bike with Louis Vuitton material on the windscreen and seat.  Not something you see every day, but definitely interesting.

When we got back on the road, we headed out to Old Forge.  The guys head up there every winter to go snowmobiling, and they really like the area, so we were going to check it out.  It was quite a hike, but we pulled it off.  We ended up riding about 250 miles that day.  It was a long day, but we had a lot  of fun.  Two of us even went ahead of the pack and cut up a really great twisty road.  It made me so happy.

Back at the hotel that night, the guys fired up the grill and cooked hot dogs, burgers, bacon and ham steaks.  They even invited others that were out in the hotel courtyard to come and have some of the food.  They had an extra bed free, so we spent the night so we could hang out later and not have to ride home in the middle of the night.  The next morning, it poured.  We waited for a break in the downpours and headed for home.  We had our rain gear, so we stayed dry, but we passed a lot of bikers that didn’t have rain gear, and boy were they wet!  It pays to be prepared.  See ya soon!

A few ducks were cooling off in the motel pool at last year's Americade.

On the road again

Sorry to give you a short post, but I am out in the Berkshires and my access to internet was very limited.  I have to take my mother to Boston in a few hours for a small eye surgery procedure.  It’s around midnight now, and I have to be up at 3am, so I am gonna run off to bed.  I promise a couple good posts to make up for it next week. 

Hopefully I can snag a few pictures while she is in surgery or on the ride down or back.  I think we might hit rush hour traffic, so I am leaving extra early to make sure we are there by her appointment at 8am.  See ya soon!

I am going to go out on a limb with today’s blog and do something a little different.  I am going to tell you about pictures that I took that just weren’t quite good enough.  Everyone makes mistakes.  I am no different.  That is the best part about shooting digital.  If you make a mistake, you can see it, and correct for it.  Then you can shoot it again with the correct settings and Voila!

I picked out a few pictures that I have taken within the last week that didn’t pass the test for one reason or another.  I will post up the picture and tell you why I didn’t think it was good enough.  I know this may be frowned upon by many, but I think it needs to be said.  None of us picked up a camera on day one and were automatically perfect.  I have deleted more than my fair share of pictures because they didn’t make my cut.  I will add this though – most serious photographers (myself included) are horribly over-critical of their own work.  People tell me every day that my work is amazing, and while I appreciate the compliments, I can usually see things that I think aren’t quite good enough.  I don’t know why it happens, but it does.

Because of this, I am sure I have thrown away perfectly acceptable pictures many times.  They just didn’t seem quite good enough for me.  I do get a lot of positive feedback and constructive criticism from my peers over at the Movie Photo Forums.  They definitely motivate and challenge me to be a better photographer.  For that, I am eternally grateful.

Here’s the first picture I have to talk about.  I was driving around on Saturday during a storm way up on top of a mountain and I saw this house.  This shot was taken in the car, through the windshield.  I was driving, so I pulled over and took the shot.  The UV glass in the car gives it a greenish hue.  It also wasn’t composed very well.  Using the rule of thirds in composition, this picture is not composed well at all.  The image shouldn’t be in the middle.  It should be in the bottom or top third of this shot.

In this picture, the most obvious problem is the A-pillar of the car and reflection from the windshield in the bottom right.  I had the 70-300mm lens on the camera and wasn’t far enough away to get the whole house in the shot without changing lenses.  I didn’t want to change to a wider lens in case I saw something in the distance I wanted to shoot.  Also, the green hue from the windshield exists in this one.  The light was great against the almost pitch black background.  If I had switched lenses, and rolled forward a few hundred feet, I could have put the window down and gotten a clear shot.  Maybe next time…

I really like this picture for the most part.  Sometimes as a photographer, you get smacked in the face with reality.  You take a picture and step back and say to yourself, “I did that.  I took that picture”.  This was one of those times.  But not with this exact image.  I took four or five more after this and had one I loved a little more.  This one to me is way too dark.  The top of the flower is chopped off and should have more background above it.  The dew on the flower is not sharp enough either.  I do really love the bokeh (or blurry, out of focus) background.

So, what do you think?  Am I crazy, or does this make sense to you?  I know that I am way to critical.  There’s nothing I can do to change that.  It’s instilled in my brain.  I’d like to know how critical you are, and do you look at your pictures with the same crazy over critical attitude I have?  Do you just take pictures and post them, because they are good enough?  I am curious to know.  See ya soon!

I spent the Saturday yesterday shooting waterfalls and chasing storms.  I found a small set of falls in the town of Berne, about 30 minutes from Albany.  I was a little weary leaving to go there, as it was raining on and off.  Just to be on the safe side, I brought another set of clothes, a bucket hat and a second waterproof jacket. The sun came out just as I was getting to the falls.  At one point while shooting the falls, however, it started pouring.  I was under some trees at the time, so I wasn’t getting very wet at all.

I took off the bucket hat and put it over the camera so I could keep it dry until I got to the car and grab the waterproof jacket.  Once I had the jacket, I put it over my head and the camera, looking sort of like the really old 1800s cameras where the photographer went under the curtain and took the picture.  I am sure that if anyone saw me doing it, they were probably thinking I was a little crazy.  Boy, are they wrong.  I am a lot crazy!

Here are a couple pictures I got at the falls…

Later that day, I ended up in Thacher Park a few times as I was exploring back roads and finding out where they went. It was a great deal of fun!  On my last trip to Thacher Park, I saw an amazing scene. The storm had moved past the mountain and was now over the valley and passing the city of Albany. There were these huge puffy white clouds and then some darker sky off in the distance.  So, I decided to try a panorama shot.  When I got out of the car, I had no idea I was going to do a pano, so I had no tripod.  I just did it handheld instead.  I am including the original and the Topaz versions so you can see the difference.

What do you think?  See ya soon!

In the Summer of 2006, Rose and I went to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Even though I grew up three or four hours from the Outer Banks, I had never been, but had always wanted to go.  We set off to see my family back in Virginia, and then on to the Outer Banks a few days later.  One of the main things we wanted to see were the lighthouses.  To our surprise, there are quite a few lighthouses there.

One of our favorite things about lighthouses is being able to climb them and take in the amazing views.  The hike to the top might get you a little winded, but the views make it well worth the torture!  Looking out over the coast makes you wonder about the men and women that kept the lighthouses running before there was electricity.  I can only imagine the monotonous climbs up and down those stairs on a daily basis to keep the light lit.

Most of the lighthouses I have been to have had a Keeper’s Quarters where the lighthouse keeper would stay so they were close to the lighthouse to maintain and keep the light on.  Most lighthouses have since been replaced with electronic navigation devices because of high maintenance costs.  A lot of the lighthouses have been sold to private parties.

We had a great trip, and would love to go back and see more of the Outer Banks sometime.  I have a ton more pictures from our trip, so I will post more in another blog someday.  If you’ve never been, please go and check it out.  I found a few pictures I took of the lighthouses we visited in the Outer Banks.  In no particular order, here they are…

See ya soon!

A lonely monkey sits in his cage as people stop by to see him

Every summer there is a very large gathering of bikers in Lake George, NY.  When I say a large gathering, I am not joking in any sense of the word.  For one week in June, it is estimated that 50-60,000 bikes roll into Lake George for Americade.  Along with all those bikers come tons of vendors and motorcycle companies.  During this week, you can find darn near anything you need for your motorcycle.  From nuts and bolts to custom seats to tires to camping trailers you can tow behind your motorcycle, it’s at Americade.  I can’t imagine needing something that I couldn’t find there.

Corbin's Custom bike(?)

Each year when Americade rolls around, Rose and I head up two times during the week it is going on.  Once, in the car in case we buy something too big to carry home on the bike, and the second time on the bike to meet our friends and go on some rides in the area.  Some of the rides in Lake George area and the surrounding area are amazing.

A heavily customized Harley Rocker

We have a bunch of friends that rent a hotel just outside of the town every year.  We usually go up the second day and meet them for a three lake ride and then go back and hang out at their hotel or go into town to see what’s going on.  Hanging with those guys is always a guaranteed good time.  They will keep you in stitches with their hi-jinks.  They are some of the best friends you can have.

One of Geico's bikes

As I mentioned earlier, a lot of the big motorcycle manufacturers come into town and offer free demo rides on their bikes.  Two years ago, I took out a few Harleys on a demo.  Up at the Roaring Brook Ranch, you can find demos from BMW, Triumph, Can-Am, Victory, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki.  It’s a great place to try out that bike you may be thinking about purchasing.

Another Geico bike

Another thing I love about Americade is going down by the lake and looking at the parking lot full of bikes.  It’s like a sea of motorcycles.  Walking through the parking lot, you can see a vast majority of bikes from all different manufacturers.

A sea of bikes

You will also see a lot of crazy customized bikes.  Bikes with amazing paint jobs.  Bikes with trailers.  You just never know what you will see next.  I even saw a chopper with a small inline 6-cylinder motor and covered with spikes.  Even the guy’s helmet was covered with spikes.

So, this year I will attend Americade as I do every year.  There’s talk that the Department of Environmental Conservation has raised the fee for the space Americade uses by some ridiculous amount and Americade might not come back next year.  This is absurd.  Come  on, New York.  Soda tax, fat tax, closing the state parks, and now trying to kill Americade?  This is getting out of control.

No matter what you do at Americade, don’t do this…

You’ll get in big trouble!  See ya soon!