Tuesday, June 22, 2010

June 2009 to May 2010

(if you click on the pics, you'll see the larger version)

Yesterday was the first official day of summer.
So that means its time for my photograholic year in review.
I started shooting three years ago this month, so please indulge me on my selfish reminiscing.

Let's start with the excitement: the travels.
Over the past year I have taken six trips, on four continents, in 12 countries.
And taken a lot of photos along the way.

Last June I embarked on a two week road trip up and around the shoreline of the Great Lakes to my hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario. While there, I visited many attractions including:

Kakabeka Falls - beautiful place, with a lovely trek along the trails - my recommendation: bring your bug spray

Sleeping Giant provincial park - sandy beaches, amazing cliff-face lookouts with spectacular views, Silver Islet historical area, and wildlife galore - my recommendation: don't try to pet the bears

Centennial Park - small farm, and a great re-creation of a 19th century logging camp - my recommendation: bring your kids, they'll have a blast

Chippewa Park - sure, the wolves howling at the break of dawn is a little eerie, but the sunrise is spectacular, the zoo is a perfect representation of northern animals, and there's a mini-amusement park with a tilt-a-whirl - my recommendation: take the time to read the history of the place on the wall inside the main hall

Old Fort William - I don't care if they've changed its name, it'll always be the Old Fort to me - my recommendation: try the axe throwing

The Hoito - best breakfast in the province - my recommendation: try the Finn pancakes

In December I made the same trek and found the contrast in the seasons quite interesting, not to mention the difference in physical appearance of the deer.

In August I made a trip down to Peru, which lit aflame my desire to visit UNESCO world heritage sites.
While in the country I managed to visit three sites, plus one site that is on the tentative list.
My trip included:

Machu Picchu (unesco) - you can't go to Peru and not go here - my recommendation: take the bus, the hike is exhausting!

Caral-Supe (unesco) - who knew there would be a desert on the edge of a lush valley in Peru?!? With 5,000 year old ruins of a bygone civilization?!? - my recommendation: bring someone who speaks Spanish to translate for the tour guide.

Cuzco (unesco) - lovely central square and an awesome and unique market - my recommendation: watch your purse.

Cajamarca - lovely central square and very short people - my recommendation: don't carry too much as the altitude is exhausting.

Paramonga - an adobe brick ruin of another bygone civilization - my recommendation: go in the morning to get the best light

In September I was off to Africa for a three country tour, including:
Senegal - the ile de Goree (unesco) was an interesting place - my recommendation: learn at least basic French before you go

Mali - Savannahs, monkeys, bats and artisanal miners...awesome - my recommendation: don't wander around Bamako alone

Burkina Faso - dry and foreboding but with very friendly people - my recommendation: enjoy the pizza in Ouagadougou...I'm serious

Stopped over in Paris along the way and got my first look at the Eiffel Tower.

This past April I was off to South America again, with stop-overs in the Caribbean:
Antigua - sun, sand and sailing - not that I pursued any of them - for me it was all about friends...and pumping iron - my recommendation - check out English Harbour

Curacao - Willemstad (unesco) was pretty, busy and hot! - my recommendation: drink lots of water and wear sunscreen.

Colombia - the gold museum in Bogota was unbelievable - my recommendation: duh, the gold museum.

Brazil - Ouro Preto (unesco) was a beautiful town with more cathedrals than you could count - my recommendation: spend some time touring the churches

Suriname - Paramaribo (unesco) was HOT and humid, but the people were friendly - my recommendation: never wear pants.

Last month the family and I visited Finland with a stop-over in Paris.

This time we managed to see the Eiffel Tower and the Palace of Versailles.
In Finland we visited Helsinki and traveled up the west coast to Kristiinakaupunki, stopping at various places along the way:
Helsinki - crazy statues, cathedrals, a sea fortress - my recommendation: bring lots of euros to spend in the market, and never pass up a fresh and warm munkki!

Turku - a castle and a cathedral, yet neither were my favourite attraction (refer to my recommendation) - my recommendation: check out the Luostarinmaki Handicrafts museum.

Laitila - farms, lots of farms - my recommendation: visit the old church
Uusikaupunki - water and warm weather - my recommendation: check out the SAAB museum and then go to a waterfront cafe and have a coffee and a munnki. Mmmm, munnki.
Pori - The Sigrid Juselius mausoleum was cool, so was Reposaari - my recommendation: go to the mausoleum after noon, since it doesn't open till then.
Rauma - between old town and the bronze age burial site just outside of town, this place is a UNESCO jackpot - my recommendation: wear comfy shoes.

Kristiinakaupunki - beautiful town split in half by a river (or was that a lake?) - my recommendation: check out the slant of the tower of the old cathedral (weird, eh!)

So I may have managed to jam in seven countries in the last eight weeks of the year, but whatever, they still count.
I can only hope the next year is half as interesting travel-wise, eh!

Gearaholic afterthought

Whether close to home, or continents away, I had my gear close and ready to capture the scenes.
I am a canon lover and most of my gear is a testament to that fact.

If you're not as much of a gear whore as me, let me initiate you on a few things:
1) For Canon bodies, the smaller the D number and/or the higher the mk number, the better.
2) For lenses, L is for luxury. L = awesomeness.
3) The smaller the F number, the more awesome the lens.
4) IS is for image stability. For caffeine addicts like myself, IS is the ultimate feature.

I began last June with two bodies (1DmkIII & 50D) and seven lenses (300F4LIS, 70-200F4LIS, 17-35F2.8L, EFS17-55F2.8IS, 85F1.8, Sigma 150F2.8 Macro, and a Lensbaby 2.0).
I had a few departures along the way...
...the 1DmkIII
...the 50D
...the 17-55
...the 17-35
...the 85
...the Sigma macro
...OK, maybe more than a few.
I miss that 17-55. It was F2.8 AND had IS.

Now I have just one body, my 1DmkIV, and a couple lenses:
100F2.8LIS Macro
16-35F2.8L II
Sigma 8F3.5 Fisheye
Asahi Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 50F1.4
Lensbaby 2.0
Ok, nine lenses is a bit more than a couple.
And of those nine, seven showed up in the last year.
In all honesty, I think my gearaholic lusting is 100% satisfied at the moment.
In fact, I'm looking to rid myself of a couple lenses since only seven fit in my backpack.
So, yep, lusting is over...
...well, until they introduce a 24-70 F2.8 with image stability.

My next post - to end my photograholic year in review - my favourite photos from the past year.

PS - don't worry, more from the Finland trip still to come ;-)

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