Sunday, June 23, 2013

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2013 Utah Trip - Days 1 thru 4...

Old Faithful, in Yellowstone National Park, at the tail end of an eruption (click image for gallery)

This is the first in an upcoming series of posts with image galleries from my trip down to Utah in May, 2013. This gallery has images taken during my drive down to Yellowstone in Wyoming, my first time visiting the park since I was a child where I only had a plastic squirt-gun shaped like a camera. I really wanted to take photos, just like my parents were doing, but was far too young at the time to have a real camera. The squirt-gun was the next best thing my parents could think of at the time and they got me one on that trip. I really enjoyed pretending to take photos with it!

Being a child with a short attention span though, I recall uttering the phrase "You seen one geyser, you've seen them all..." at one point during the trip, which really annoyed and disappointed my parents, especially my mother. At the time, I really did not appreciate all the traveling and exploring I did with them during every summer vacation, but it obviously rubbed off on me. Today, I can't picture a year going by without one or more major trips where I go camping, hiking, and explore new areas, taking lots of photos along the way.

At some point, either during that visit to Yellowstone with my parents, or perhaps a day or two after when we continued on our way, I left the little black plastic squirt-gun camera in the parked car, and with closed windows and the hot sun beating down, it melted into slag! I was absolutely crushed at the loss of the camera and was totally depressed and upset. One of the happiest moments of the trip came when somehow, my dad was able to buy another one in a different store and surprise me with a shiny and perfectly, miraculously, intact new toy camera. In retrospect, that generosity makes my impatience and "attitude" at the time all that much more regretful...

Sunday, June 9, 2013

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Road-trip! Brand new 2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT...

View into Succor Creek Canyon in Oregon (click image for gallery)

Sorry for the long delay, as this is the first update in a few months. A few people have already asked me if I had stopped blogging! Nope, I was just really busy at work and hadn't been doing all that much shooting. Mainly lens tests in fact, including the new Nikkor AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G and the Nikkor AF-S VR 70-200mm f/4G... both of which I bought actually. The brand new 18-35mm replaced my AF-S VR 16-35mm f/4G and the 70-200mm replaced the bigger and heavier f/2.8G VR II. I find both these lighter, less expensive lenses to generally perform as well (or even better) for my needs than their heavier and more expensive counterparts. For example, the 18-35mm is actually more flare resistant than the costlier 16-35mm! I also tested the new AF-S 80-400mm Nikkor zoom and although it is excellent, it has a zoom range that I don't often need, so I cannot justify its expense at this time.

Anyway, in mid-May I left on a solo road trip to the Southwestern US again, this time making my way through Yellowstone National Park and Dinosaur National Monument on the way down to Utah. I also visited Fantasy Canyon southeast of Vernal, Utah for the first time and it truly has some bizarrely eroded sandstone formations! Watch for more blog posts in the near future with some additional photos from the trip.

This "off-topic" blog posting is mainly all about my new vehicle, a brand new 2014 Subaru Forester 2.0XT, the Canadian "Touring Edition" model. It conveniently arrived (barely) in time for my trip and after being shod with some proper off-road rubber (four 18" Yokohama Geolandar A/T-S tires), and after a quick 900km break-in drive through the Fraser Canyon where it proved fully functional, I was off and heading south. An image gallery with twenty shots of the new Forester on my trip can be accessed by clicking on the above photo, which was taken on the way home through Oregon. Many of the photos were shots of various backcountry campsites where I stayed (not official campsites, just nice out-of-the-way spots on public BLM lands) and a few just show the Forester within the spectacular scenery I was driving through.