Trekking Poles

A friend of mine sent me a list of easy hikes in Massachusetts.

Several of them really piqued my interest but after reading the descriptions I felt it would be wise to get another pair of trekking poles. I haven’t done serious hiking since I got hurt several years ago and although I’m feeling much better these days, I’m still not sure of my endurance or balance.

I had an inexpensive pair but I was never able to lock the length of the shaft. It always slipped. Those poles had the external twist lock. Eventually I gave them away. I used my monopod as a walking stick after that.

So having reviewed the type of terrain I’d need to maneuver to do these hikes I decided a pair of trekking poles would be better than the monopod but I wanted to be sure I could adjust them.

I decided to start at Dick’s sporting goods because it was the closest sporting goods store to me.  When I got to the store I asked what department I needed and the clerk began to tell me they probably didn’t have any but if the did they would be with the camping equipment.

I headed toward the camping department with him hot on my heels and talking into his collar like a CIA agent. We were met by the employee assigned to camping.

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The first set of poles I was offered had the twist lock. I asked the two clerks if they could show me how they worked. I explained that I was never able to get them to actually lock. Thus started a comical few minutes while they tried to lock the poles only to put  pressure on them and have them collapse. While they fussed over those poles I spotted another set that had an external lever lock.

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I picked those out and gave them a flip. They worked perfectly. I interrupted the twist lock testing to tell them I was all set and would take the lever lock set. A got a couple of blank looks and then the clerk from the camping department seemed to recover his wits. He asked some very good questions about my hiking needs and confirmed that these poles were probably better than the twist locks.

I have a feeling that at least one of the clerks is going to be looking into the locking mechanisms closer. The problem with the twist lock caught them both by surprise but Mr. Camping department clerk is also a hiker and before I left with my new poles, he and I exchanged information about local hikes in Massachusetts and the White Mountains of NH.

I hope the weather is nice next weekend. I want to take a hike with my camera and break in these trekking poles.  Maybe Bash Bish Falls would be a good first hike of the season.

Just a Walk in the Park

Wow this week got away from me! I can’t believe it’s Friday already! Other than having a busy work week there was only one other notable thing that happened. I finally got a harness big enough to go around my fat cat Buddy!

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So with harness and leash attached we tried a little afternoon jaunt on the grass in front of the condo. Everything went well except my neighbor’s cat hated Buddy on sight and by extension, me.

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Poor Moochie. He’s my “little Buddy” so I didn’t like him being upset.

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He’s so tiny next to my big guy but they could almost be twins with the black and white markings.

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The first trip outside went so well that we tried it again last night. Buddy was in his element. He really loves it. In fact he was having so much fun that he did not want to come in when the time was up.

He had rolled in the dirt and run down hill and sniffed the plants and flowers but all good things must come to an end and time was up.

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I carried him back up to the front door but put him down to open it. Stubbornly he refused to go in so I picked him up again and lifted him into the entry. Now I had to put him down again to unlock the inside door. To my surprise he trotted right in.

But success was short lived. He plopped himself down next to the stairwell and refused to go any further. I didn’t want to “take him for a drag” because I was afraid the velcro fastener would let go and then the chase would be on so I bent over to pick him up again.

Sometimes I think Buddy is part Rag Doll because he turns into a limp noodle when he doesn’t want you to hold him. And that’s what he did now. As I tried to get my hands under him so he wouldn’t slip  he decided he’d had enough of this man handling.

He chose that moment to grab onto my head with his paws, claws out to get a grip and that’s how I carried him into the unit! As I bent over to release the harness I saw little blood drops fall. He got me good!

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Now if I’m asked who beat me up I can say, my cat!

Top 10 2015

I was just sitting here at the computer trying to learn the ins and outs of editing raw photos. One expert suggested going through the previous year’s photos and picking your top 10. He stressed it had to be the top 10 photos that you, the photographer, like not your friend, spouse, neighbor and so on.

That was a challenge! I took over 4000 photos last year. Still once I got into it I found that a lot of them were of the snap shot variety. I love having my prints enlarged, called gallery prints so that was the criteria I used to narrow down my selections. It had to be good enough that I would spend the “Big Bucks” to make a super large print.

To my surprise no people or pets made the cut. Here are my Top Ten Pictures of 2015.

The top 3 are from Orlando Florida when I was there with Nancy, her children and my friend Joe. I did have 2 of the egrets enlarged and framed as a set. They hang proudly in my office at work.

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The Hot Dog picture is on Nat Geo’s site in the  “My Shot” section.

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Sticking with the Bird theme I caught a shot of a Great Blue Heron doing something besides standing still. These birds can stand like statues for hours. This was taken in June at the Herring Run in Middleboro, MA. This one also made it to Gallery print and is framed and hanging in my home. Why buy prints when I can use my own photos?

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The next photos I chose were from New Orleans in October.

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The one I call Rain Forest was actually taken in the New Orleans Aquarium where I struggled with lens fog but turns out the effect was really pretty cool.

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The last New Orleans pic almost didn’t make the cut. It’s a shot taken of one of the cemeteries in New Orleans. Something about the dark atmosphere kept drawing me back to it. In the end I felt it captured the “spooky” atmosphere New Orleans is known for.

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The last 3 photos came from my trip back to Orlando in December. The purpose of that trip was to take photos of the Holiday decorations at Disney World. Although I got great shots they wouldn’t make it to gallery size.

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Mr. Lion is a resident of Animal Kingdom. He’d just given us a roar and was settling back down. I wish I’d caught the roar but the safari vehicle hadn’t pulled around the corner far enough.

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This shot of Germany at Epcot was a spur of the moment shot. Joe and I were walking around the lake and it just caught my eye.  I love the way it came out.

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And of course what is a trip to Disney in December without Cinderella’s Castle all covered in Ice? I thought this night shot was a fitting choice for the final picture on my top 10 list.

So what do you think? Maybe I’ll get some pets or people in 2016. The goal is, of course, to improve in 2016.

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That’s a Wrap, Jack!

That about sums up this trip to Las Vegas. Nothing too crazy but still fun and a nice break from reality. The rumor is that our next company convention in January will be in Vegas. I may just have to add a couple of days and stay at Polo Towers again. Maybe I’ll make it to Mandalay Bay and the Shark Tank!

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I think I forgot to mention that we did stop by the Bellagio so I could show Sandy the dancing fountains. I really think I got a better feel for Vegas this trip; traveled around more.

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So now what do I do and where do I go next?

My next scheduled time off is for a short trip in July to Maine but I think I need to find some things to share before then.

This weekend is supposed to be nice but my car is going in for “surgery”. Like me it needs a new  “rear end”.

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They said to expect to have the car tied up all day but maybe I can squeeze in a short trip to the pond in Plymouth to see if there are any baby ducks or swans.

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Another project is to learn to shoot in “raw”. (That’s photography speak to anyone who isn’t into cameras.) Well, actually it’s not the photo taking that’s hard, it’s the editing. I’ll have to learn how to edit “raw” photos. That means new software etc. Kind of boring topic unless you’re a photography buff.

But I’m sure I can find something to babble mindlessly about until the next trip. Feel free to share your thoughts and comments. I love getting dialog going.

 

Madam Tussaud’s Las Vegas

We finally made it to Madam Tussaud’s. I was anxious to see how it compared to Orlando’s location.

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There’s not a lot to say about it so I invite you to join us on a visual tour!

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I’ve always wanted to be a Talk Show Hostess

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We all Love Lucy!

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I had no idea Michael was so tall or maybe I’m just short!

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Viva Las Vegas

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Donny and Marie are still headlining.

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Mr. Las Vegas, Liberace and the Rat Pack!

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Then it was on to the super heroes!

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My Super Hero Pose!

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Remember what they say…What happens in Vegas, Stays in Vegas.

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Bye Bye!

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