Sailing and Adventure

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Dora and I returned from our annual Northern Gulf Coast Cruise in Florida. The cruise started at the Fort Walton Yacht Club, FL and went as far west as Barber Marina in Orange Beach, AL. We have made this cruise the past 16 years, missing only two of the 16 cruises. The cruise regularly attracts 15 – 25 Catalina 22 sailboats. This year 18 boats made the trip. We departed Fort Walton Beach on Saturday May 10. Stops along our route included Spectre Island (a small island around marker 51 of the Intercostal Waterway), Palafox Marina in Pensacola, FL, Big Lagoon at Ft McRee, Pirate’s Cove (legend has it that Jimmy Buffet was inspired to write “Cheeseburger in Paradise” here), Barber Marina at Orange Beach, AL (our turnaround point), and Quietwater Beach. We returned to the Fort Walton Yacht Club on Friday May 16.

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One of the couples we met on this year's cruise was Don and Gloria Garrison sailing "Serene Dream". They have posted an awesome blog. Click here to read their story.

On July 9, 2011, Dora and I took a little different water adventure, white water rafting down the Chattooga River.The Chattooga River is where the movie "Deliverance" was filmed and we rafted many of the same rapids as featured in the movie. We went with two other couples who are friends of ours. David and Franziska Heinze, David and Franziska live in Germany. Scott and Jamie Gross live in the Atlanta area. David, Franziska, Scott, and I all work for Siemens.

Bishop castle is located in Rye, Colorado. The castle is named after its constructor, Jim Bishop. Jim Bishop has spent the past 40 years building the castle. There are always large numbers of visitors to the castle and the day we visited was no exception. Visitors to the site are treated to gorgeous stained glass as well as stone and ornamental iron work. In order to showcase the site without people I used a stacking technique in Photoshop. To do this I took several photos of a given scene as people walked through the scene. The idea is to take enough photos so that every part of the scene is visible in one or more photos. The images are then opened as layers in Photoshop, the layers are converted to a Smart Object. Then through simple process of setting the Smart Object’s stack mode to median will usually eliminate people in the scene. This is because Photoshop is looking at each scene and somehow figures out what is always there compared to what is sometimes there.

To see more photographs from Bishop Castle click here.

The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs is one of my favorite places to visit and photograph. The formations in this park were created millions of years ago during a geological upheaval along a fault line. Unfortunately, we seldom get to visit this area and when we do time to explore is limited. On this trip we were in Denver for a wedding and we only had one day to explore the park.

I used a Nikon D610 camera along with a Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 and a Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens to photograph in the park. In addition, I used a Lee 100mm x 150mm soft graduated .06 (2-stop) neutral density filter to bring out the detail in the sky. It was overcast most of the day with occasional periods with blue sky showing through. Back home I used luminosity masking in Photoshop to open up the darks a little in the rocks and trees.

To see more photographs from the Garden of the Gods click here.

If I were to put a label on the type of photography I enjoy most it would be Adventure Photography. Dora and I both enjoy getting out and exploring the natural beauty of the world around us. We learned about the Mountains to Sea Photography Workshops through fellow photographer and friend Tony Gouge. Tony had been on several of their outings and spoke highly of them. Dora and I are avid sailors as well as love getting out and exploring the mountains and wilderness areas we can get to. The workshops sounded perfect.

On August 14 Dora and I headed to Boone, NC to join 10 other photographers for an astrophotography workshop. We were met by Mountains to Sea host Alistair Nicol and Tommy White. Alistair and Tommy are professional photographers and would be our mentors and guides for the weekend. We were joined by Carrie Chiu, Mike Baggett, Laura Marsh, Sara Chase, Anita Perzan Mosteller, Bruce Heldman, Tony Gouge, and Amy Little, adventure photographers all.

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