Monthly Archives: December 2010

This Week In Travel – Episode 66

Posted by on December 29, 2010

This week’s guest is Spud Hilton, travel editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. This was also the first episode of the podcast ever recorded with all the participants in the same room (usually we aren’t even on the same continent).

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Home For Christmas….And Sick As A Dog

Posted by on December 26, 2010

A quick update to explain where I’ve been lately…

The last week of travel was brutal. I went from Bangkok to Tokyo to Honolulu to Seattle to San Francisco to Las Vegas to Minneapolis to Green Bay.

The two longest legs of those flights (Tokyo to Honolulu and Honolulu to Seattle) were both overnight, red-eye flights where I didn’t get any sleep. Throw in jet lag on top of that and I was exhausted.

In Las Vegas, my flight to Minneapolis was canceled and I had to sit for 3 hours in the baggage claim waiting for my bag to get taken off the canceled flight.

When I woke up the next morning in Las Vegas, my body decided that it had enough and I was sick.

Just to give you an idea, I spent almost all of Christmas day in bed sleeping. I have a headache, sore muscles, a very sore throat and I am tired all the time.

I am glad I was able to make it back to Wisconsin for Christmas. This is the first Christmas without my dad and I’m really glad I could be here for it, even if I was sick.

As a result of all this traveling and sickness, you may have noticed a serious lack of activity on the website. I have some very cool announcements and stories to post come 2011. Until then, I’ll probably just be hibernating trying to beat whatever has made me sick.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and with that, I’m going to take some more Nyquil and go back to bed.

UNESCO World Heritage Site #123: Historic District of Old Quebec

Posted by on December 9, 2010

UNESCO World Heritage Site #123: Historic District of Old Quebec

UNESCO World Heritage Site #123: Historic District of Old Quebec

From the World Heritage inscription:

Québec was founded by the French explorer Champlain in the early 17th century. It is the only North American city to have preserved its ramparts, together with the numerous bastions, gates and defensive works which still surround Old Québec. The Upper Town, built on the cliff, has remained the religious and administrative centre, with its churches, convents and other monuments like the Dauphine Redoubt, the Citadel and Château Frontenac. Together with the Lower Town and its ancient districts, it forms an urban ensemble which is one of the best examples of a fortified colonial city.

Quebec City has quickly become one of my favorite cities in North America. It is the closest you can come to a European city without going to Europe. It is probably the most French city in Quebec. The surrounding area is also lovely and merits exploration.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Question & Answers #5

Posted by on December 9, 2010

It has been a long time since I’ve done a Q&A, so I figured now would be a good time to take a break from my photo editing and answer some questions. Questions came from my Facebook Page and from Twitter.


Photography

This photo always bothered me. I felt if I had a better camera or a faster lens, I could have taken better photos of Notre Dame in Paris

This photo always bothered me. I felt if I had a better camera or a faster lens, I could have taken better photos of Notre Dame in Paris

I had several people basically ask the same question. Dana Byers, Lou Lauer, Maureen Billingham from Facebook and Erin De Santaigo from Twitter all want to know what sort of camera gear I use.

For the first 3.5 years of my travels, I used a Nikon D200. About two months ago I upgraded to to the Nikon D300s and so far I’m pleased with the purchase. The low light performance is much better than the D200, which was my biggest complaint with the camera. I was tempted to get a Nikon D3, but I couldn’t justify the cost, in addition to having to replace all my lenses with full frame lenses.

I carry three lenses with me: (more…)

UNESCO World Heritage Site #122: Miguasha National Park

Posted by on December 8, 2010

UNESCO World Heritage Site #122: Miguasha National Park

UNESCO World Heritage Site #122: Miguasha National Park

From the World Heritage inscription:

The palaeontological site of Miguasha National Park, in south-eastern Quebec on the southern coast of the Gaspé peninsula, is considered to be the world’s most outstanding illustration of the Devonian Period known as the ‘Age of Fishes’. Dating from 370 million years ago, the Upper Devonian Escuminac Formation represented here contains five of the six fossil fish groups associated with this period. Its significance stems from the discovery there of the highest number and best-preserved fossil specimens of the lobe-finned fishes that gave rise to the first four-legged, air-breathing terrestrial vertebrates – the tetrapods.

It is always difficult to photograph world heritage sites that are of paleontological or anthropological significance. You can’t take photos of fossils in situ. Taking photos of a museum isn’t that interesting. Thankfully, Miguasha is located on the very beautiful boundary between the St. Lawrence river and the ocean.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

UNESCO World Heritage Site #121: L’Anse aux Meadows

Posted by on December 7, 2010

UNESCO World Heritage Site #121: L'Anse aux Meadows

UNESCO World Heritage Site #121: L'Anse aux Meadows

From the World Heritage inscription:

This archaeological site at the tip of the Great Northern Peninsula of the island of Newfoundland contains the excavated remains of an 11th century Viking settlement consisting of timber-framed turf buildings (houses, workshops, etc.) that are identical with those found in Norse Greenland and Iceland at the same period. The site is thus unique evidence of the earliest known European presence on the American continent.

It is a difficult journey to get to L’Anse aux Meadows. It is a 3-4 hour drive from the nearest city of note in Newfoundland and it is at the most extreme northern tip of the island. Once you get there, the only evidence of the original settlers are some small mounds in the shape of a house. The current buildings are reconstructions based on what they think the buildings would have looked like.

That being said, the historical significance of this place can’t be understated. This is where humanity first met up after going in different directions after leaving Africa. It was the first time Europeans set foot in North America and was the precursor to the eventual colonization of the continent by Europe.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

UNESCO World Heritage Site #120: Gros Morne National Park

Posted by on December 6, 2010

UNESCO World Heritage Site #120: Gros Morne National Park

UNESCO World Heritage Site #120: Gros Morne National Park

From the World Heritage inscription:

Gros Morne National Park illustrates some of the world’s best examples of the process of plate tectonics. Within a relatively small area are classic, textbook examples of monumental earth-building and modifying forces that are unique in terms of their clarity, expression, and ease of access. The property presents the complete portrayal of the geological events that took place when the ancient continental margin of North America was modified by plate movement by emplacement of a large, relocated portion of oceanic crust and ocean floor sediments. The park also presents an outstanding demonstration of glaciation in an island setting. The fjords, waterfalls and geological structures of the park combine to produce a landscape of high scenic value.

Gros Morne is one of the hidden wonders of North America. It isn’t easy to get to but it it well worth the effort. The above photo is a fresh water fjord, which is one of the only one of its kind in the world.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Sitting in a dark room in Bangkok

Posted by on December 6, 2010

I came to Thailand to work. I had no idea, however, just how far behind I’ve gotten and how much work it would be.

I’ve spent the last several days in my dark hotel room editing photos. My hotel room because the bandwidth is good and it is better than any other options for working around here, and dark because it is the best environment to edit photos in. I knew that I had let my photo editing slip, but I had no idea just how bad things have gotten.

You will probably notice photos of places that haven’t been previously represented in my daily photos over the next month. My recent photos from South Africa, Canada, Bilbao, Washington, and even a forgotten image from Sydney are all a result of my current photo editing binge.

I’m probably about half way done now. Chronologically, I’m about half way through South Africa with a few photos from Newfoundland I have to finish. I’m really pleased with some of the photos I’ve taken. The results from my new camera are evident in the photos from South Africa. The limitations of my lenses in taking wildlife photos are also evident.

So, I haven’t really done much of anything here in Thailand which is interesting. I even missed the celebrations of the Kings Birthday yesterday, which from what I’ve been told, was pretty amazing to see. I found out my site got hacked and had to fix that problem. I’ve recorded two podcasts and gone to a few movies. That is about it. It isn’t the glamorous life of a world traveler, but sometimes work just has to get done.

I just want to give everyone a heads up that I’m still alive. I haven’t been very active on Twitter or Facebook the last week and I haven’t written anything in a while. Once I’m done with the photo editing I’ll be shifting into writing mode, which should be more enjoyable if for no other reason than I can do it from anywhere with less concern about bandwidth and ambient light.

There are some great stories that I’ve been promising that I’ll be publishing once my photos are processed. This includes my dive with Great White Sharks that I’ve been promising, an audio slide show about a live game capture I witnessed in South Africa, my trip to the doctor in Thailand.

With that, I’m going to head back into Lightroom and hopefully get this finished in a few days.