Florida Travelogue

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Pickle Ball

edgeWhile in Florida I played a little Pickle Ball with my Sister, Brother in Law, and their friends.

Las Vegas - NFR Week

edgeEvery December  the National Finals Rodeo is held in Las Vegas. I’ve had the opportunity to make the trip three times now. It’s not that I am that much of a rodeo fan, it just that it turns Las Vegas into a Country paradise for a couple weeks. If you like Country music, like I do, you’d enjoy the trip. This year my date was my daughter Jackie. We had a lot of great one on one time and she is a great date. Here are a few photos.

Skyscraper Live

edgeWhen I was in Germany, I discovered my cousin was in Chicago working on the Skyscraper Live television event. Since I flew into Chicago and was planning on driving home, I instead drove downtown to meet up with her. Eve is the Assistant Director for this multi-cam production and I got the chance to see first-hand what that really means. It was an extremely cold and windy day and I couldn’t imagine that Nik Wakkenda was going to walk a high-wire in that weather. Here are a few photos from my stop over.

ADLabs Imagica - India

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I had the opportunity to spend the weekend in India and Praveen suggested an Amusement Park. Adlabs Imagica is a great, new Amusement Park between Pune and Mumbai and we spent the day there. I did ok on Nitro, a suspended roller coaster that goes upside down, but for some reason the scream machine, a simple slow pendulum that also goes round and round, was too much for me.  Praveen was a great host and we had a great time. Here are a few photos of the day.

John Deere Volunteerism in India

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I’ve had the great honor and pleasure of visiting several projects that John Deere is funding to improve the communities around Pune, India.  This time I was able to visit some projects that were worked on by John Deere employees as a day of volunteering. 296 employees from the Technology Center of India and John Deere Pune Works put in a day of volunteering at a number of sites around Sanaswadi, India. Here are a few photos.

A Walk Around Speyer

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Whenever I visit my colleague in Germany, we always have to take a walk before dinner. These walks are always  easy on him (a marathon runner) and more than a little exercise for me. At least this time we didn’t climb too many stairs. :-) Here are a few photos from our walk around Speyer, Germany.

Garth Brooks - Rosemont

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Photoshop World - Las Vegas

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Kaingaroa Forest

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Saturday morning in New Zealand I took a short trip out the the Kaingaroa Forest to see the Waratah 626 tree harvesting head in action. This is the largest head made by Waratah (a wholly owned subsidiary of John Deere) and will harvest trees up to 6” in diameter and 4 tons in weight. It is pretty amazing to see it fell a large tree, strip it of all branches, and cut in to length in a matter of seconds. Take a look at some of my photos.

Cox Plate Horse Race - Melbourne Australia

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I recently traveled “Down Under” and had the opportunity to take in one of their premium horse races, the “Cox Plate”. This is a legendary horse race in Melbourne, Australia that has been running since 1922. As you may imagine, it has a lot of the “pomp and circumstance” of the Kentucky Derby with a little bit of a “down under” flair. Here are a few photos of the horses, the race action, the people and the fashion.

Disney World Oct2013 - Day 2

edgeDay 2 at Disney world wasn’t “quite” as much walking. Again we had a great time in “my” favorite parks this day: Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios. Here are a few photos from Animal Kingdom. I have a few from the Safari Park, like the little Rhino above having fun playing in the mud, and quite a few from the Lion King “Musical”, my favorite “show” at Disney.

Disney World Oct2013 - Day 1

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Jackie’s now working at Disney World. Nick and Jackie’s boyfriend Jake joined me to do the Disney thing with Jackie.We walked 30,000 steps this day around Epcot and the Magic Kingdom. Had a great time.

IVRPA - Selfoss

edgeI traveled to Iceland week to take part in the International Virtual Reality Photographers’ Association annual meeting. What a great opportunity to learn and expand my craft! I also get to hang out with the world experts in this area of panoramic photography. This pano of Selfoss, Iceland is an example. I sat down with Joosh Nieuwenhuijse, the author of PTGui (the standard program used to stitch together panoramas), drank some Viking Classic beer, and received some great one-on-one coaching on some of my challenges here.
This panorama is composed of 92 separate frames (5 rows: -60,-30, 0, 30, 60; plus a top and a bottom) with 7 brackets (-3eV, -2eV, -1eV, 0eV, 1eV, 2eV, 3 eV) for each frame. This means that this panorama starts out as 644 separate images …
A couple of the challenges I encountered with this pano:
1. The +30 and +60 degree rows were mostly clouds and sky. Since clouds move during the shoot, it is difficult to find control points in these images to use to stitch them together. Joosh showed me how to use the “Align to Grid” feature to overcome this issue. That worked great.
2. You may notice that my panos usually have a round logo in the bottom. I have historically used this technique to cover the hole that results from where my tripod was sitting. This one doesn’t have a hole in the bottom. That’s because Juergen and Markus Matern told me how to shoot the pano to eliminate this hole. I met Juergen and Markus in the Frankfurt airport on the way here. I couldn’t have had better traveling companions.
As you “pan” around this panorama you’ll notice the conference hotel (the dark gray box of a building), a local church, the Olfusa River, and the suspension bridge that is a landmark for this town of Selfoss.

Eiffel Tower


edgeThe last evening of my european adventure was spent in Paris. We made the trek down to the Eiffel Tower. Rode the elevator to the top and had a great dinner in a nice French Restaurant. It was a little windy and chilly, but that didn’t dampen our enthusiasm. Here are a few photos of the evening.

Red Square

edgeMy first visit to Russia was to Moscow. The day was cool and overcast and the city comes across as gray and muted. I didn’t have much time, just one evening in the city, so after dinner I took a cab ride to Red Square. Wow, I’m glad I did! Red Square is a very colorful, cheerful venue. A real contrast to my initial impression of Russia.

Click on the image above to view a 360 panorama of Red Square. A few static images are here.

Porsche Museum

edgeI visit a very good friend of mine in Germany whenever I get to Europe. The last few times we’ve visited car destinations: The Mercedes Benz museum, the BMW museum, and today … the Porsche museum!!!

A lot of very fun cars with a lot of history. Of course I picked out my favorite: the Porsche Carrera GT. Only 339 thousand Euros … about $450,000 … yikes!

A few photos …

Switzerland

edgeOn a business trip to Mannheim, Germany over the weekend. My colleagues suggested a trip to Switzerland. So … a couple trains, a bus, a gondola, and a hike and wala! Here we are in Reigoldswil, Switzerland at the Wasserfallen. I did see a small waterfall … The scenery is great. We took a gondola to the top of a mountain (hill) and rode scooters down. A great day … I grabbed a few photos … take a look.