New Storytelling Camera

September 10th, 2016

20160903_003106 I bought a new camera; my third foray into the world of SLRs. My Nikon D90 has treated me well over the last few years, but I’ve been thinking about a new one for the better part of a year. I hadn’t been using my camera a ton, but I got back into it over the last year or two with the settling of our lives in Seattle. I’d always been interested in the difference between full frame (FX) cameras and cropped (DX) camera, but never had a good reason to upgrade to FX.¬†Then, I took these pictures last May with my 50mm f/1.4 – a prime lens that has no zoom. I got lucky that the focal length worked amazingly well for these shots, but I realized I wanted more flexibility without having to replace all my lenses.

Enter the D610*.

I actually wasn’t sold that I was going to upgrade, but some passive shopping let me geek out about it. I’m generally pretty tight when it comes to buying myself things, so I mulled it over again and again and again for months. One thing led to another and I convinced myself that were there ever a time to upgrade, it was before I had a kid (more on that over at family.derecola… eventually). I have to admit that hearing a few people tell me I should do it helped. Like I said, I don’t really like spending money on tangible goods just for me. I ordered the camera late last week and, in an amazingly coincidental fashion, it came the day Dominic was born. I was actually paranoid about going into the long weekend without it. Turns out I was right, because Melissa’s water broke a mere six hours after it was delivered. Just long enough to charge the battery! After using it a bit during the birth, I have to admit that I’ll need to read the directions on this one.

I don’t think I’ll be taking concert photos any time soon, but I’m looking forward to taking pictures of family adventures. Cell phone and Facebook make a good combination, but there’s something archival about having a cluster of photos from a significant event in your life that you don’t immediately upload. I think, for me, photography has always been about telling a story. Hopefully I can tell some good stories about raising my son in a beautiful part of the country. I forsee a lot of shallow depth of field pictures of Dom with nature in the background. ūüėÄ

*If you want to know all the reasons I picked this model, other than it being FX, read this review. Ken Rockwell has helped me picked most of my gear over the years, so I trusted him to guide me through this purchase as well. I’m not sold on mirrorless… yes, I understand the benefits… so it was a cheaper FX Nikon dSLR for me.

Rafting North Umpqua

July 1st, 2016

Back in Virginia, I used to organize an annual canoeing and camping trips for me and friends. It was a long standing tradition (eight times in nine years) that served a good way for a bunch of us to get away from everything for a weekend, drink beer, and eat things that weren’t good for us… oh, and canoe. That tradition died when I moved to Seattle, but I was eager to start it anew.

After a few years of settling into our new city, and feeling the need to set up a new tradition before we had a kid, I decided to set up a rafting trip. Not only is canoeing uncommon in the icy mountain rivers of the Pacific NW, rafting opportunities abound. A bunch of emails later, there were four of us headed down the southern Oregon for two days on the North Umpqua River.

Day one was cold and rainy, but a fantastic representation of spring adventures into nature for this part of the country. The sun did break a few times to warm us up, despite the 50¬į water temp. Sunday was much warmer; warm enough that two of us tried out an inflatable kayak and I took a (short) swim in the river. Two days of quality, moderate white water and an evening of dry camping… including a wicked sweet turnaround of our campfire situation… made for a pretty good Father’s Day weekend that will be my last as a non-dad.

Here are some photos – a video or two will be posted next.

X-Men: Apocalypse

May 21st, 2016

12744745_10153259705476744_5778491274330635830_nIf we’re friends on Facebook, you may have seen a handful of posts about the tragedy that is the upcoming X-Men movie. I know nerdy types like to complain about movies that represent their childhood and, for the most part, I’ve managed to avoid doing so. This one, however, contains a character that is my all-time favorite and one I’ve been waiting to come to the movies since… well… I was a boy and my friends and I thought it would be amazing to have a cartoon X-Men movie… because we didn’t believe live action was possible. This one’s a bummer because the Marvel Universe of movies has done some pretty great things¬†and some not so great¬†things, but the dread I felt about them putting Apocalypse in a movie could not have come more true.

So why does a 38 year old man, who has better things to do,¬†care so much? To me, Apocalypse is the epitome of my childhood. I’m gonna get a bit deep on you to tell you why. Back then,¬†I was an overweight kid… who wasn’t coping with his parents’ divorce that well… and who spent gym class¬†trying, unsuccessfully, to avoid getting his¬†ass kicked. I hated the world. Then, along came a character who knew so much about humankind’s real nature that he wanted to end it all. Apocalypse¬†wasn’t evil, he was knowledgeable. ¬†For better or worse, I identified with him and became subsequently fascinated by the idea¬†that¬†what he knew could be so massive as to¬†warrant destruction. I outgrew that part of my life, but not before some version of his name became my online presence. Back before Facebook, I was most often known on web forums, etc. as Apocalypse or Apoc. To this day, my Xbox Live gamertag is Apoc24 and people call me Apoc in-game. Yeah, nerd stuff.

In the physical world, I have a small bust of the character but never anything remarkable. I’ve never really looked, but always wanted something. Imagine my delight when I saw a 1/6 scale statue of him in Prague a few months ago. I debated that purchase for 45 minutes, but would have no way to get it back on a plane and the shop tenders didn’t understand me when I asked if they could ship it. I was bummed, but it was what had to be. One decent Ebay deal to the rescue! This thing is currently in storage, but one day it will get displayed. In the meantime, I’ll have to hope the movie can hold me off.¬†The truth is¬†I’ve avoided really thinking about the upcoming movie. When I realized how far off his physical appearance was, I knew¬†I needed to not form an opinion and go in totally open minded. I’m not greedy – all I ask is that it be decent and not corny.