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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Tangier Island Visit

One place I’ve wanted to see for a long time is Tangier Island, an isolated island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. In fact, it’s so isolated that the natives (particularly the older residents) have their own Elizabethan dialect, resulting from centuries of separation from the mainland. I’m all about experiencing different cultures, and this one is only a few hours away (2 hours by car, then 1.5 hours by boat).

This is the where we left from, in Onancock, VA (pic was taken the evening before).

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We took a lovely ride over in the Bay on the Joyce Marie.

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We rode around the island on a golf cart (people drive these carts, ride bikes or scooters, or just walk to get around the island).
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Time stands still here and reminds us of a bygone era, when things were safer and people more innocent.
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Crabbing is the traditional mainstay here on the island. It is certainly a struggling way of life, and the younger generations tend to leave the island to find other work. Here is a crab shanty.
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There is a lovely unspoiled beach on the island (but watch out for the sand flies!)
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Having some wholesome family-style food…
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Heading home on the ferry and relishing this unique American experience…
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This Little Piggy

Hello again! To make up for lost time, I’ll be sharing some items with you, so we can all catch up. On June 29, eight pig statues, including mine, were revealed in the town of Smithfield and one was even symbolically “christened” (Have you ever been to a pig christening before? This was a first for me.) Here is the town’s link to their Olden Days photo album, pig reveal included. You’ll see some photos of children with my pig, which makes me happy, as I wanted the design to appeal to kids. Below is a picture of me showing one side (pigs in the pillory) of Cultural Pig.

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Barca Fun

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Oh my!!! Time has certainly flown by, and maybe, just maybe, you were wondering what happened to me. Between computer problems, my trip to Spain, my “pig reveal”, and being sick a couple times (my immune system is still pretty out of whack after the surgery/radiation), I got behind. Do not fret, though, because I still have taken many photos…I just didn’t get to post them, to share with you fine folks. Let me make this up to you with several photos of my recent trip to Barcelona. Enjoy and I plan to be sharing more tidbits very soon!!

Mini Review of the Think Tank Retrospective 5 Camera Bag

The reason that this is a “mini” review is that I’ve already reviewed its big brother, the Retrospective 10, here.
After traveling with the 10 version, I decided to trade it in for the smaller 5. This trade-in worked well for me. I found the Retrospective 5 to have all of the good features of the 10 (sturdiness, ruggedness, not being a prime target for thieves), while being more compact and easy to travel with. After an 11 day trip to Barcelona (sometimes dubbed the pickpocket capital of the world) and staying right on Las Ramblas (pick pocketing central), I was able to safely transport this bag comfortably with no attention from thieves. The Pinestone color camera bag just looked like a messenger bag, which I carried across my shoulder. In the evenings, this also doubled as a large purse, carrying my iPhone and travel essentials. The shoulder strap was comfortable and I had no issues carrying this for long walks, hikes, and Metro rides. I even hiked up a steep trail in the Pyranees with it on.

This bag would only be useful for you, though, if you were traveling with minimum photographic equipment. I carried my Canon 5D Mkii with one lens on it, with a few small accessories (memory cards, USB cable, battery charger, and lens brush). If you need something to transport more than 2 lenses, I would go with big bro Retrospective 10.

A Traveller’s Review of Think Tank Retrospective 10 Camera Bag

I had the opportunity to travel to central Florida for a long weekend. This was my first time using my new Think Tank Retrospective 10 Camera Bag (Pinestone color). I thought I’d give my opinion of this bag in a review, from the perspective of a vacationing travel photographer. This is a wonderful bag that travels well and can satisfy the needs of the serious amateur, as well as the professional.

The Good:

  • I love the Pinestone color. Why should all camera bags be black and scream “I hold thousands of dollars worth of equipment! Steal me!”?? This gray pinestone color gives the bag the inconspicuous look of a more casual messenger bag. Will it prevent your camera from being stolen while out on the streets? That remains to be seen (I hope not!). But it doesn’t stand out as a camera bag in a crowd. It gets big bonus points from me for that.
  • The materials are very sturdy and high quality. I feel like this bag could fall off the roof of a building and get run over by a car, yet still remain in great condtion. The material is very thick, the strap is very sturdy and slip-proof, and the configurable dividers are also well made. I have not used the zipper long enough to know if it stands the test of time, but I will guess that it would.
  • I like that it comes with a rain cover. Yes, the cover does take up some valuable space in the bag. But if you don’t think you’ll need it (if the weather forecast looks clear or you’ll be inside), this cover can be taken out and left at home or your hotel. I did not have a reason to actually use the cover, but I’ll assume that it does aid in protecting your camera from the elements if used properly.
  • It holds quite a lot. For me, it safely holds my 5D Mark II with an attached 24-105 lens. It also held a zoom lens and a prime lens. In addition, it held the battery charger and numerous memory cards. Since I was flying, I also used the 2 outside pockets (one zippered) for a small book, my cellphone, flight intinerary/boarding passes, and earbuds. I even stuffed a small pair of shoes in it that didn’t fit in my overnight bag!
  • It was small enough to count as a personal item on my flights. Onboard I carried an overnight bag as my carry-on item and this camera bag as my personal item. It stowed underneath the airplane seat quite nicely.
  • There is ample padding in and around this bag. I was not worried about damage to my equipment, as long as the items were in the bag.
  • The bag was fairly comfortable to wear across my shoulder. I feel that if travelling to a foreign area known for pickpocketers, it is safer to carry the bag in front where I can see it and use my arm to protect it, rather than on my back (I don’t have eyes in the back of my head)

The Not-So-Good:

  • When the bag arrived in the mail, it was larger and bulkier than I had envisioned. Although it holds a lot, it is a little more cumbersome than I wanted. I like a bag that is as mobile and trouble-free as I am when traveling. I have a fairly small female frame and this was a bit too awkward for my size. My back started to hurt a little after carrying this for an afternoon. For others, this might be the perfect size, but for me it was just a bit too big.
  • Some may not like that there’s only Velcro holding the main compartment of the bag together. If the Velcro silencers are used, there’s really nothing but gravity keeping the bag closed. I myself didn’t have a problem with this, as I like easy quick access to the equipment, but I could see how others may not care for this aspect.

FINAL OPINION:
This is a wonderful high-quality bag, but is a little bigger than what I wanted. The solution? I’m going to trade in the Retrospective 10 for the smaller Retrospective 5! I’ll definitely stick with Think Tank, though! Upon my suggestion, my husband even purchased a Think Tank laptop bag for his travels and he loves it!

This Little Piggy Went to Smithfield…My 1st Public Art Project

Let the “pig” jokes fly…I have been awarded the opportunity to participate in my first public art project! My design was juried and accepted by the Porcine Parade Panel, for a public art project in Smithfield, VA! For updates on this project, go the Smithfield Arts website. This will be a fun opportunity to bring the community and the arts together and promote the culture and tourism of the lovely historic town of Smithfield. You know about the well-known Cow Parade…where cities displayed custom artisticly painted and decorated cows designed by artists. Many cities have since used various animals in similar public art projects to promote tourism and excitement regarding the arts. Well, Smithfield is now living “high on the hog” with its Porcine project, where selected artists will paint/decorate pig statues, symbolizing the importance of the pig in the history and culture of Smithfield (we all know about Smithfield ham, right?)

I will be busy prepping and painting my hog for the next couple months to get ready for the big reveal in April (as I squeal with delight in hog heaven)!

Sunshine Therapy

Dark Hollow Falls

Dark Hollow Falls on Skyline Drive

After the whole surgery/diet/radiation/isolation ordeal, it was time to get outdoors and enjoy life with some sunshine therapy. This also coincided with a holiday weekend off from work and the approach of the Fall foliage peak in the Shenandoah National Park region of Virginia. If you live anywhere near the Commonwealth of Virginia (even if you don’t), I highly recommend the winery region surrounding the Shenandoah Valley area, as well as Skyline Drive. In the 1000 Places to See Before You Die book, Skyline Drive is one of the 3 activities listed for Virginia. Personally, I would also include visiting a couple wineries in this area as well. Even Donald Trump loves Virginia wineries so much, that he bought one.

We drove the central section of Skyline Drive (from Thornton Gap to Swift Run Gap) and stopped at at least 15 overlooks, hiked 2 trails (one being part of the Appalachian Trail), viewed a waterfalls (see above), and ate lunch at Skyland. We had fantastic weather for it and will always remember the gorgeous views. What a way to celebrate the end of RAI treatment!

View from Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park

View from Skyline Drive

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