Destination Anywhere

 Lisbon, Portugal

Lisbon, Portugal

Over the last 200 years, there have been a plethora of monumental events... world wars, political upheavals, famine, mass exoduses, etc. and yet families still have petrified roots in one particular region of a country. So, there's always a bit of jealousy when friends travel to Europe to visit family. Me on the other hand, I look at the globe without boundaries. I guess this could be viewed as sad in a sense, but enlightening at the same time.

As a result, when it comes to planning vacations, destination anywhere is my rule.

I've had the good fortune of trekking to some wonderful places over the last decade. Winter vacations always have a skiing orientation while summer travel is couple related with lots of sightseeing.

Everywhere from Maine to California and Ireland to Switzerland have made the agenda. It's always gratifying to start the process every year... select, plan, execute and cross the destination off the list upon returning. 

Mark Twain once said...

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

I wholeheartedly agree.

I'm non-discriminate when it comes to traveling, exploring or sailing away. There are so many places to see in this beautiful world of ours, where you go is essentially irrelevant. 

Growing up as an only child, I had plenty of boyhood dreams. They usually involved becoming a professional athlete in some capacity, but the realistic ones were focused on traveling to exotic locations.

My parents had Scottish/Canadian/German/Irish ancestry but no specific region(s) abroad to call home. As such, I consider myself a mixed bag of ethnicity with an American bias.

 

 Barcelona, Spain

Barcelona, Spain

Every destination has been unique and light years apart in visual aesthetics & historical relevance and yet all have been equally as memorable.  The small fishing villages of Maine are classic New England and offer world class charm. Greece, on the other hand, is so rich in history, it's hard to wrap your head around 2,000 years of civilization.

 Church of Panagia - Mykonos, Greece

Church of Panagia - Mykonos, Greece

Plenty of friends have a home field bias when it comes to traveling and prefer to stay in familiar surroundings. I guess our country is so big & diverse, they don't feel the urge to travel outside our borders? Or, maybe anything before 1776 is irrelevant? Although I'll never know for sure... and will never impose my views on them... I do think they're missing out on a meaningful element of life.

 Rossnowlagh - County Donegal, N. Ireland

Rossnowlagh - County Donegal, N. Ireland

In my experience(s), I've come to the conclusion, international travel offers an astonishing path to self-discovery. Not only is it good for the soul, It's truly enlightening & educational on many levels. Everything from culture, food, language and even politics (especially these days) comes into play and challenges your core beliefs. Many will remember the self help books of the '80's discussing getting outside your comfort zone to allow for personal growth. Most of these books never directly mentioned travel; however, I think it's fair to say the indirect benefits of globe trotting meet this criteria.  

 Portland Head Lighthouse - Cape Elizabeth, Maine

Portland Head Lighthouse - Cape Elizabeth, Maine

So, you might be asking, "What have I learned or discovered in my journeys?" Several things would be the correct answer. However, at the top of the list is NOT knowing a second language. Every time I go to Europe, I'm quickly reminded of this fact. I understand Europe has numerous countries next to one another with different languages. Simply based on geography, you're bound to learn one, if not two, purely by osmosis. If NY, NJ, CT and MA were different countries with unique languages, I would probably be fluent in several languages as well.

 Zermatt, Switzerland

Zermatt, Switzerland

Years ago... and for some unknown reason... I opted to take French instead of Spanish classes in high school. What a dummy. To this day, I scratch my head at this decision. Not only did I grow up in an area of New York with a Latino influence, I never had a chance to use my French and it rapidly disappeared. To make matters worse, I was well aware of Spanish becoming the dominant language in the world.

I'm not sure if I was ignorant at the time, but a dunce hat seems appropriate in hindsight. 

Lastly... I hope to continue my travels as it broadens my outlook on life & humanity. Who knows, I may even finally learn a second language as well.

Cheers... 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For the Love of Skiing

America has a love/hate relationship with winter. It's too cold, too long or simply not in favor.

As for me? I like all the seasons... especially winter! It can be pure magic. A recent sign said it all..... 

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Since the wee age of two, skiing has been a passion. The joy of being outdoors never gets old. Getting lost in the moment is easy when you're in the mountains. Fresh air, beautiful vistas and, the smell of Pine trees tickle your senses.

Yup... breath it all in. It's a celebration of life.  

 Bromley Mountain, VT (Circa 1968)

Bromley Mountain, VT (Circa 1968)

Twenty years ago, my better half entered my life. Aside from my witty humor (insert smile), she was astonished that I hadn't been to any of the Caribbean Islands.

Sad, but true. None of them.

To put it in perspective, I had never taken a warm weather vacation. Again, sad, but true. Sure, I went camping in Rhode Island as a kid. But, vacations were primarily cold weather related.

She asked, "Did you always go skiing in the winter?" I responded, "Duh, when else do you ski?" (Okay, it didn't exactly get said as I just described, but you get the point!).

 Telluride, CO   

Telluride, CO

 

Aside from departing Lake Tahoe one summer for New Zealand in pursuit of my endless winter (note: I skied 150 days this year. A personal best.), traveling from one winter season to another was normal. It's something I never thought about. 

 Vail, CO

Vail, CO

There's been plenty of miles & smiles over the years. The crows feet in my eyes represent more than aging. They're a sign a good living. Fond memories and plenty of downhill descents. Hundreds of miles have been logged and hundreds more still remain.

 The Posse... Telluride, CO   

The Posse... Telluride, CO

 

Ski film maker Warren Miller has been an undeniable influence in my life. Safe to say, he didn't get me started in the sport. This credit goes to my parents. But, he could make you dream of distant places. His annual film put things in perspective. Skiing was a wonderful sport and one where a lifetime of memories could be obtained.

He planted many seeds in his commentary and always ended each film stating, "If you don't do it this year, you'll only be one year older when you do." Amen.

 Chamonix, France

Chamonix, France

It's hard to fathom getting to every destination I've ever dreamed about. So many mountains. So little time. Most folks tend to take one nice vacation per year. If I managed one great ski vacation every year, I'd have to live until the age of 135 to get to each & every resort.

 Taos, NM

Taos, NM

With a little luck, I'm hoping there are still plenty of turns in my future.

Cheers...

Sing Second

Next Saturday, December 9, Army & Navy will play for the 118th time in Philadelphia. The goal is the same every year. Win the game first and sing second. The latter is a key compliment to every victory. A trophy in itself. Singing at the top of your lungs while your sole is bursting with pride is a memory of a lifetime.

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While this custom is fairly common for most colleges, it's always the case for military academy sporting events. Every game against Air Force and Navy has singing second on the line. It's tradition. You stand with each other at the end of the game to sing the alma mater of each academy. The winning team gets to sing second.

NavyCelebration-Small-1.jpg

This years Army/Navy game has a special bonus. The Commander-In-Chief Trophy (CIC) is on the line. It's not common for the the last game of the year to decide the best military academy football team. It's only happened 7 other times. However, next Saturday the 175 pound trophy will be on the line at Lincoln Financial Field.

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At a recent press conference, Army head coach, Jeff Monken, was asked about the CIC trophy. "Twenty one years" he stated with a soured face. "It would be a great thrill for this year's team and a great source of pride for the whole academy of Army to win that trophy again."

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It never gets old.

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Cheers...

Oprah + 3

Research indicates 42% of college graduates will never read another book after college. Also, 80% of households never purchased a book last year. Seriously? If this is true, I'm speechless. I'm not setting the reading world on fire, but I tend to read 1 or 2 books per month. They are usually of the non-fiction variety, different subjects, but tend to have an artistic bias. 

 Chamonix, France 

Chamonix, France 

There's so much to learn and not enough time! What's that old expression, 'Reading is fundamental'? I'm sure when I'm 70 years old one day, I'll be saying the same thing. In the meantime, let's get busy and discuss three great photo books.

Photography is a niche market... and a small market at that. Safe to say, I don't think I've ever seen a photo book on the New York Times best seller list or the Oprah Winfrey book club. 

Should "O" ever call me to discuss my favorite photography books, I do have three I've read in 2017 worthy of conversation...

In no particular order, they are:

1. The Passionate Photographer by Steve Simon

http://www.thepassionatephotographer.com/

2. Understanding Color in Photography by Bryan Peterson

https://bpsop.com/understanding-color/

3. Creative Visualization for Photographers by Rick Sammon

http://ricksammon.com/blog2/2015/2/15/excerpt-5-creative-visualization-for-photographers

 

 Taos, New Mexico

Taos, New Mexico

All books are brilliant in their own right and should be read multiple times. Unlike a novel, books with technical detail often require you to put the book down or go out and shoot a few frames to test a new idea. Reading them a 2nd time is often wise.

I've always been of the adage, if you can walk away with one or two great ideas, the book(s) was worth your time. These three (3) above will not disappoint. All the authors fill the pages with passion, commitment and expertise.

 Athens, Greece

Athens, Greece

In this post, I'll focus on a Steve Simon philosophy. He feels a photographer shouldn't look at their images for weeks or months after an assignment. He feels the emotional bias should be removed from the images before the photographer takes an honest look at his/her images.

I'm not sure I've ever followed this concept before? However, over the last few months, I must admit, the principal has grown on me. Removing any bias from the moment, day or week the image was captured is enlightening. It's akin to an editor looking at your images. They don't give a hoot about the emotion, weather or challenges that may have existed. They simply want to see good quality pictures. 

So, in recent days, I followed this logic. I went back and revisited both personal projects and travel images to review them with new, unbiased, fresh eyes. The images that caught my attention for one reason or another are included in this blog. 

If you haven't tried this strategy in your review process, I'd encourage you to give it a go. It's truly a humbling process... in a good way! Cheers...

 Sante Fe, New Mexico

Sante Fe, New Mexico

Order On the Court...

The US Open 2017... Some old names reigned and some young guns emerged. Let's get to the action - more pictures, less words.

 Spain's Raging Bull - Rafael Nadal (ESP)

Spain's Raging Bull - Rafael Nadal (ESP)

 The Color of Money... ~ Sony Rx100 IV ~

The Color of Money... ~ Sony Rx100 IV ~

 Shadow Dancing

Shadow Dancing

 She's Back - And Still A Fan Favorite... Maria Sharapova (RUS)

She's Back - And Still A Fan Favorite... Maria Sharapova (RUS)

 Chasing the Dream - Kevin Andersen (ZAF)

Chasing the Dream - Kevin Andersen (ZAF)

 Her First Major Win - Sophia Kenin (USA)

Her First Major Win - Sophia Kenin (USA)

 In Focus - Gael Monfils (FRA)

In Focus - Gael Monfils (FRA)

 16th Grand Slam Win - Rafael Nadal (ESP)

16th Grand Slam Win - Rafael Nadal (ESP)

Until next year...