Travel Photography 20 Years Ago

This is a high resolution scan of a print from a shot that I took at a family vacation in Walt Disney World. Based on the age of my children from the other prints of the vacation, this was about 20 years ago.

I’m not sure what camera I was using at the time. Cameras that most families could afford back then were not all that great. Film was expensive as were prints. You could capture a memory but my, oh my. Not much in the way of sharpness. And the colour? Well it has a certain vintage feel to it. A bit like an Instagram filter gone wild.

Here is a shot taken of the same hotel just last year with a good quality DSLR and a 35mm prime lens. Although, in this light, most any smartphone would have produced a similar result.

I do have some film presets in my digital darkroom. Tried my best to get a vintage look from the same shot. Looks like it is twenty years old now.

Nikon Zee or Zed

The end of the DSLR?

Nikon finally revealed two mirrorless cameras today. A necessary response to the market demand for sophisticated mirrorless cameras.

Thom Hogan offers a thoughtful post on the re-entry of Nikon into the mirrorless world.

Finally, here’s the dirt simple truth. The three primary sources of camera purchase are:

  • New users (e.g. the young getting their first dedicated camera)
  • Updaters/Upgraders (e.g. existing DSLR/mirrorless users getting a better camera)
  • Replacers (e.g. someone who dropped, damaged, lost, or had stolen their gear and is buying again)

Nikon’s problem is the first group, particularly recently with lame entry DSLR upgrades and marketing, plus no real entry cameras to speak of (compact or mirrorless). Sony’s problem is more the second group (because people in one brand tend to stay in that brand, and Sony started in a deep third place position). So it’s going to be interesting to watch as the two battle it out for second place in the ILC business.

I’d still say it’s Nikon’s ball to fumble.

Be prepared to fork over several thousand Canadian dollars for one of these cameras. Vistek has the pre-order pages up and the Nikon Z7 is $4,400 before tax body only and the Nikon Z6 is $2,600 before tax body only.

Three lenses to start. A 24-70mm f4 at $1,300, a 35mm f1.8 at $1,100 and a 50mm f1.8 at $800.

Be prepared for some Nikon shooters selling off their DSLR gear for the new mirrorless offerings. Should be some great deals on D750s, D850s, and assorted Nikon F-mount lenses in the used marketplace.

And, apparently it is Zee. Everywhere. Even in Canada.

A Bus In Hamburg

When we were wandering around Hamburg, Germany a few weeks back, I came across a number of tour buses operated by Hansa Rundfahrt. I took this shot just outside one of the churches in Hamburg.

This is what they have to say about themselves on their website:

Die Hansa Rundfahrt GmbH ist ein erfahrenes und modernes Busunternehmen in Hamburg. Wir bieten seit über hundert Jahren die Anmietung von Omnibussen inklusive Fahrer an. In der schönen Hansestadt Hamburg haben wir uns auf Bustransfers für Gruppen, Schulen, Firmen und Vereine spezialisiert. Buchen Sie uns für Flughafentransfers, Incoming Transfers und Shuttle Transfers.

I’m not sure what it means but I do like the design of the bus. Very sharp.

Norway

I am cross posting about our trip to Norway at rvcastaways and you can follow along there as well if you like.

This post will focus on some of the architecture that we discovered in Bergen, Norway.

Bergen is a small city by Canadian standards although it is the second-largest city in Norway. The population is about 300,000 people.

Coming into port highlights the unique architecture of the city. Over 300 cruise ships come calling into Bergen with well over half a million passengers going ashore each year.

The reconstructed Hanseatic buildings of Bryggen, a World Heritage site, is a major attraction and a wonderful place to spend a few hours.

Throughout the city of Bergen you will find historic streetscapes.

Although the old does meet the new. If you look carefully, you can spot the Starbucks Coffee sign just on the corner of this building complex.

There are no billboards in the city. And very few high rise buildings. There are numerous apartments, like this one.

St John’s Church is the largest church in Bergen and it has a commanding presence overlooking Bergen.

The houses in Bergen are often interconnected and entrances are difficult to find.

Everywhere we walked in Bergen, we came across homes with flowers hung from the second floor windows.

A final shot of Bergen as we left port.

 

Retirement

I retired on July 20th, 2018.

And after the retirement festivities, Lorraine and I had a wonderful celebratory cruise in Norway.

We’ve been gone for about two weeks and this site has been a bit quiet of late. I’ve been actively posting on my other site, rvcastaways.com. That site will cover our travels and adventures in retirement.

This one?

I’m not too sure. I’ve been posting here since April of 2004. Over 14 years.

Time for me to reimagine this site and to start something new with it.

I’ll leave you with the speech I gave at my retirement. It was a challenge to write a retirement speech and I am very glad that I only had to do this type of speech once.

Having returned from what was really a lengthy vacation, it still hasn’t hit home that I have retired. Except that I did not have to go into the office today.

I can get used to that I think.

RETIREMENT SPEECH
For Delivery, July 18th at 2:00pm

Thank you for all the kind wishes and wonderful comments.

I am indeed a very, very fortunate man. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, an amazing family, good friends, and, clearly, the best looking team of colleagues in the world!

My life, your life, is not defined by a state of working or a state of retirement.

Our journey in life is defined by our relationships with each other, by themes of love, family, faith and self-acceptance.

I was taught at an early age that there several stages in life:

A time to learn.
A time to work.
A time to retire.

And so I went to school. I got a job. And now I retire.

Mission accomplished!

Although I do worry a little bit about the stage after retirement.

I’d like to share a few thoughts with you about what makes for a fulfilling career. Lessons that I have learned over the past 40 years or so.

Three words to remember: mission, mastery, freedom

Let’s start with mission.

Everyone here in this room has the talent and capability to create a great life for yourself, for your family and for your community. And everyone here in this room can make our company an even better company in the future than it is today.

It starts with answering one very basic question:

Why are you here?

Having a higher purpose, a mission, a cause that you believe in will make all the difference to you and to your career. You will know, that in some way — large or small — you have made our company a better place because of your work.

Have you ever experienced a moment where your life was changed forever?

It happened to me when I was 16 years old.

I lived in a small house in Lachine, Quebec that was built just after the second world war. My father had been battling cancer for several years and all I knew was that he was very, very sick. But I thought that he would make it. That he would come home from the hospital.

I can remember the telephone call as if it happened yesterday. It was early. 6AM. My mother answered the phone and all I heard was her screaming and crying.

Dad was gone.

He left no will. He had no insurance.

We were left with nothing. We had to sell the house and my mom and I had to find jobs to make ends meet. Life was very hard during those years after his death.

I made a commitment to myself that when I grew up, got married and had a family, that I would provide well for them. To make sure they were protected and to be financially secure if anything happened to me. That was the core part of my mission in life.

And that is why I believe so strongly in our company.

We help Canadian families with their financial security. We help Canadian families build wealth. Our promise to them is simple, fast and easy. We have a great company whose underlying mission you can believe in. A company that makes a difference in the lives of the people we serve.

Why are you here?

What is your mission?

When you know why you come in to work everyday, you have a mission. And that mission you will carry you throughout your life. That mission will be your anchor when you face challenges and it will be your reason to celebrate your accomplishments.

After mission there is mastery.

Getting better and better at the skills and talents that you use in your work leads to mastery. People will see you doing great work and great work always gets rewarded. Always.

But it is not just about getting better at what you do. It is about helping others to get better at what they do.

Keep learning. Keep developing. Keep pushing yourself to get better at the things you really love doing. And then one day it will happen. You will become a Jedi Master. Every Jedi Master must take on an apprentice.

And then you get to help someone else get really, really good at what they do. That is the true reward of mastery.

Mission, mastery, freedom.

And I don’t mean Freedom 55.

When you have a mission and you get really good at what you do, you will have freedom. The freedom that comes from being passionate about your work and why you do what you do. The freedom that comes from being really, really good at your work and helping others to be really, really good at their work.

Suddenly, your career becomes part of who you are. It does not define you. You define your career.

There is one final thought that I would like to leave with you.

I am more and more convinced, having gone through many different passages in life, that the things I value most are the warm, caring relationships I have with the people who have passed and are passing through my life. These things are eternal and the rest is like dust before the wind. These relationships are the things to value and so I strongly encourage you to measure your success in this life by the quality of care you give to those around you. We need to be friends. We need to take an active role in the people who pass through our lives. We need to care, to trust, to support and to cherish our family and our friends.

I am grateful and thankful for the support of my family. I am grateful and thankful for the support of the leadership of our company.

I cannot adequately express the gratitude that I have for my amazing team and my wonderful colleagues.

All I can say is thank you for this incredible journey. I will carry many wonderful memories of our time together.

Thank you.

Tabby

It was just over 6 years ago that we brought Tabby home.

I had some trouble getting her to pose back then. Tabby was hoping that she was doing the right thing for the camera guy, looking over to Lorraine for confirmation.

So happy that I got this shot.

Such an awesome Golden!

Downtown Kingston

I love being in downtown Kingston especially during late spring. A few images from my photo walk this evening.

As we walked around the market square, there appeared an old Triumph Spitfire. I used to have one of these when I was a very young man — I was only 17 years old. I will say that I do not remember my Spitfire being as nice as this one. Especially the suspension system. My rear wheels literally toed out from the bottom by a good 5 – 10 degrees. On this car, all the wheels were perfectly level. If you look closely, you can make out a gun target on the hood of the car just in front of the steering wheel.

Sorry, How Much For That Camera Bag?

I have followed Thorsten von Overgaard for a long time. He certainly had an influence on my decision to move away from Nikon gear to Leica. A bit of an expensive decision to be quite candid. I thoroughly enjoy his writing and his videos. I’ve even been tempted to try out one of his workshops.

I am on Thorsten’s mailing list and I receive his newsletters.

The most recent one announced a new set of products for his online store: luxury camera bags and luxury bespoke suitcases for world travelers.

From his website:

You want the ideal product that fulfills all of your needs, made to make you happy every time you touch it, and made to last forever.

I must admit that I am totally out of touch with the pricing for luxury camera bags.

Kristian Dowling did a review of the perfect bag for Leica back in 2014 and recommended the Wotancraft Ryker:

If you’re after a small unobtrusive camera bag with style, quality, great layout and zippered compartments, the Ryker really has no competition. Not only is it great for a Leica kit, but it’s suitable for any mirrorless camera kit plus a whole lot of extras.

At a price of US$379, it may sound a bit pricey compared to alternatives in the marketplace, but if you truly value quality that matches your equipment and photography, go spoil yourself with the Wotancraft Ryker. It has more quality and less hype than any bag I’ve ever owned and I feel privileged to have one.

$379 USD is roughly $500 CAD before taxes. I would expect a luxury camera bag to be in that price range. $500 to say $1,500. Pricey enough to make you ask whether it makes any sense to spend that much money on a camera bag (short answer for me, no).

My perspective on how much luxury camera bags have changed in price since Kristian’s review was obviously not an informed perspective.

If you want one of Thorsten’s bags, be prepared to dig deep into that bank account of yours. Really, really deep.

$7,500 CAD for calfskin. $50,000 CAD for croc.

Yes.

$50,000.

For a camera bag.