Skiing at the Trapp Family Lodge, Stowe Vermont

One of the most beloved movies of all time, “The Sound of Music” starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer came out in 1965 but is still a belo

Based on the memoir “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers” by Maria von Trapp, the movie was based on a real life family. And you can hang with decendents of the Trapp family at the Trapp Family Lodge and resort in Stowe, Vermont.

What is the sequel to the movie “The Sound of Music”?  The Trapp Family comes to America, tours as a singing group. After living for a short time in Merion, Pennsylvania, where they welcomed their youngest child, Johannes, the family dicovered the mountains of Vermont that reminded them of Austria and they settled in Stowe, Vermont, in 1941. They purchased a 660-acre (270 ha) farm in 1942 and converted it into the Trapp Family Lodge.

Today the Trapp Family Lodge is a full resort with an Austrian flair.  Accommodations from Villas to condos to a hotel with activities from hiking, spa, horse drawn sleigh rides, Austrian Tea House and even a craft beer brewery and pub.

The cross country skiing facilities have been ranked in the top 50 Nordic ski centers in the country.

Art Prints

Trapp Family Lodge features over 37 miles of groomed trails and 62 miles of backcountry trails suitable for cross-country skiers of all ages and abilities. You can rent equipment at the resort’s Nordic Center, which includes a retail shop, and take a  exhilarating trip to Slayton Pasture Cabin where you can warm up on the hearth of a roaring fireplace and replenish your energy with homemade soup, sandwiches, and hot chocolate.

Sell Art Online

The journey to Slayton Pasture Cabin may be long, but it’s worth it. You’ll know the minute you walk in.

This rustic and cozy log cabin is the perfect rendezvous spot for lunch with family and friends. Take a seat by the hearth of our roaring fireplace and savor some homemade soups and sandwiches.

Then enjoy a hot chocolate, which is the perfect way to warm up after a long day of skiing. Slayton Pasture Cabin is open from 10:00AM-3:00PM daily during the winter months.

We recently took a trip up to Stowe and the Trapp Family Lodge.  Its just over an hour up Rt 89 from the Upper Valley to Stowe.  An exit at Waterbury with all of its foodie attractions including the Ben and Jerry’s Factory, Cabot Cheese outlet, Lake Champlain Chocolates and the Cider House.

Art Prints

At Stowe we paid our $25 per person trail fee and set off for the Slayer Cabin which makes a great halfway point on a loop up and down the mountain.  Its a tough climb all the way up to the cabin but homemade soup ($13 for two smalls and a large bowl for the teenager), outhouses and a warm fire makes a nice stop.  Unfortunately the recent weather – dump of snow and then a couple of warm days followed by cold nights – left the Haul Road trail on the way down rather icy.  I ended up walking down a few sections because the trail was shear ice.   But over all we always enjoy our trips to this beautiful piece of property in the mountains of Stowe, Vermont.

On the way home who could pass up an opportunity to visit Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream factory in Waterbury, Vermont?

Food Photography Tips with Nicolesy

Nicole S. Young a.k.a. “Nicolesy” (Nicole S Young) is a photographer and educator living in Portland, Oregon. She writes, travels around the world with her camera & shares her knowledge about photography through her books, training, and online articles.

I found her book on food photography to be a great tome on the subject.  It sells for less than $25 and really has all of the information and examples you need to get started in food photography for food blogging or magazine shoots.

She also has a few YouTube videos that talk about lighting set ups, gear and more. Nicole also sells Lightroom Presents and other tools that might be useful in getting the look she achieves in her work.

Do you need help making your food look as delicious as it tastes? Are you a “foodie” hungry for more tantalizing photos of your culinary creations? Do you have a food blog that you’d like to take to the next level, with better images and a stronger business strategy? Then this book is for you!

In Food Photography: From Snapshots to Great Shots, Second Edition, photographer Nicole Young returns to dish up the basics on everything you need to know to make great food images, from getting the right camera equipment to mastering the key photographic principles of aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. She offers tips on styling food using props, fabrics, and tabletops; and she explains how to improve your photos through editing after the shoot.

This new edition features many brand-new images and examples, accompanied by up-to-date discussions on achieving good lighting and composition. In addition Nicole covers developments in the industry that have emerged since the publication of the first edition, such as the entry of mirrorless cameras on the scene, and more. She also provides a brand new post-processing section focusing on Photoshop Lightroom, showing how to improve your photos through sharpening, color enhancement, and other editing techniques.

Beautifully illustrated with large, vibrant photos, this book offers the practical advice and expert shooting tips you need to get the food images you want every time you pick up your camera.

When is photography art?

Ah the perpetual questions of photography’s place in the art world, which started with the birth of photography 150 or so ago. Is photography art? Is all photographer art? What makes some photography art and other photography not art?

Art Prints

Most importantly IS MY PHOTOGRAPHY ART? Or which of my photograph are considered art and others simply snapshots?

Photography Prints

For me the argument has been settled long ago when photographer’s began to be shown at art shows in galleries and museums and collectors began collecting photographs as fine art.

Photography Prints

Photography is an accepted fine art medium. All major art museums have photography collections. Photographers has been granted major retrospective at MOMA, The Tate Modern and other predominate museums. Photography is taught as a fine art medium in art schools around the world.

Sell Art Online

But certainly not every photograph is considered art. To me the difference is the intent of the photographer. The artist uses photography to create a specific vision they wish to communicate with the world. This is different than a randomly shot snapshot. The intent is to create a single image or series of images that explore an idea.

Art Prints

This is why the modern art world ignores Peter Lik and no major museum has his work in their collections. He creates beautifully rendered postcard images but there is no meaning or intent behind them other than to create a pretty picture. Today’s museums collect art which explores ideas beyond simple beauty. So photography that explores ideas is considered fine art while a beautifully shot landscape basically falls into the realm of craft.

Art Prints

When is photography art? When it pushes the boundaries, when it shows us a new way of seeing, when it exposes a truth, when it explores an idea, when it pushes us out of our comfort zone, when it shows us how to see anew.

Five reasons people give away their art

Back in the day I was the Director of Market Research at BYTE magazine.  My job was to prove the value of our readership for the ad sales staff.  I used to cringe when the young, inexperienced sales people used to come back to the publisher with some truly awful deals that would basically be giving away ad space.  Any fool can give things away for less than their value.   A seasoned professional or informed amateur recognizes the value of their work and the market needs.

The Line Up
The Line Up – call in the usual suspects – http://edward-fielding.pixels.com/featured/the-line-up-edward-fielding.html

Why do people give away their photographs and art?

The global art market achieved total sales of $63.8 billion in 2015.  People want to buy art and photography for their home and office.  They need to purchase art and photography for commercial purposes such as advertising, web pages, brochures, magazines, books, etc yet some people continue to give away their artwork and photographs or seriously undervalue their work.

Why is this?  I can think of five reasons:

Ignorance – They don’t understand the value of images in today’s marketplace and don’t realize the value of what they have. I recently sold an image for $360 profit a friend gave me. He didn’t understand the value of the image he had and I offered to sell it for him.  Images have value in the fine art market and commercial market.  It is just a matter of realizing it.

Exposure – Photographers and artists are often under the impression that giving away their images will somehow lead to future sales or recognition. The problem is that millions of images are given away every day on social media and there isn’t enough “exposure” to go around. What’s the value of this exposure? Perhaps 1 cent in today’s market. People value what they pay for – no one brags about art they got for free. And no one who has gotten something for free is going to pay for it the next time. They’ll just look for another free source the next time. And the value of someone looking for freebies as a “collector” is worthless. You want to cultivate a follow of people who value what you are offering, not people looking for freebies.

They are amateurs or hobbyists – The amateur or hobbyist is not looking to make a living on their photography or artwork.  They simply enjoy producing images for fun and are happy enough for others to look at their images.  They don’t want to the pressure of having to ask for money and would rather just give away their images.  They live for likes and shares.   The problem with this mindset is that it brings down the over all market and prevents the amateur or hobbyist from ever becoming a professional.  After being conditioned with instant success from likes and shares of their freebies, they are unprepared with standing up for the true value of their work and asking for money for their time, skill and effort.  The advanced amateur or hobbyist is setting themselves up for being asked to shoot weddings, soccer games, portraits for free.

They want to build up a portfolio – This might be the best reason to actually giving away services for free.  If you need to create a portfolio and need access to models or locations or maybe even a good project idea.  But there is no reason to give your time and effort for nothing.  Barter and exchange services instead.  Trade headshots for modeling time.  Create a video for a local business in exchange to some free time at the gym or on the massage table.  Don’t work for free, instead exchange one valuable service for another.

They don’t know how easy it is to take their goods to market – Some artists and photographers simple don’t know how easy it is to participate in the art and photography markets.  In the old days perhaps the only way to sell your art and photography was to take your portfolio around to galleries or sell directly to the public.  But with the Internet there are countless markets amateurs and professional photographers and artists can participate .  Stock agencies cater to professional image buyers and online galleries and print on demand sites sell directly to the public.  I explain how to sell via POD sites in these blog posts:

Contemporary Trends in Photography

Eileen Rafferty examines major trends happening in the medium today and discuss the key innovators working with these techniques as well as past photographers and artists who used these techniques in the past.

Mixed Media

Mixed media photography - combining 2D elements.
Mixed media photography – combining 2D elements. Arnaud Jarsaillon and Remy Poncet of Brest Brest
Mixed media photography by Sophie Dear
Mixed media photography by Sophie Dear

Constructed Realities

INSTALLATION OF REVENGE OF THE GOLDFISH AT CASTELLI GRAPHICS NEW YORK -JANUARY 1981
INSTALLATION OF REVENGE OF THE GOLDFISH AT CASTELLI GRAPHICS
NEW YORK -JANUARY 1981

Photography PrintsArt Prints

Moving Image

Video. Timelapse. Stop Motion. Cinemagraphs.

Snapshot Aesthetic 

Snapshot Aesthetics from Zeljko Drazovic on Vimeo.

Happy Printer a wireless, inkless, portable fun printer!

Happy Printer with Zink inkless technology
Happy Printer with Zink inkless technology

I was researching DIY photobooths for possible set up at my son’s prom when I came across this cool little printer called the Happy Printer from Zink.

It uses a heat activated ink less color technology developed by a spin off from the old Polaroid Company. Its kind of like the label printer I have that used special heat activated label. The great thing is there is no ink to purchase.

The Happy Printer uses rolls of special paper in a variety of widths such as two inch, one inch, 3/4 inch and 1/2 inch. The rolls are about 20 feet long and there is even an app available to “stitch” strips together if you need a bigger print.

And if printing off little color photos or strips of photos isn’t enough fun, did I mention that the paper is also a sticker? Double the fun when you can stick the result right into a scrapbook project or on a lunch bag.

There are two versions of the Zink Happy Printer currently on the market and a number of other little portable printers that use the Zink technology.

The ZINK Wi-Fi Enabled Wireless Printer with Arts and Crafts App sells for $99.  ZINK hAppy Smart App Printer hAppy is the portable, Wi-Fi, app-accessory that allows you to print directly from smart phones and tablets. Just download the free ZINK Design & Print Studio app onto a smartphone or tablet (or use a 3rd party compatible app); load a ZINK zRoll™ (photographic-quality ZINK Paper in roll form), design, and then wirelessly print to the hAppy. It’s compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. hAppy is also compatible with Android smartphone and tablets and Amazon Kindle Fire tablets. hAppy works with Apple AirPrint and Google Cloud Print apps.

The ZINK Wireless Touchscreen Printer. Wi-Fi Enabled. Built In App for Editing and Printing Photo & Labels On-The-Go. Prints Directly and from IOS & Android Smart Devices sells for $199 and adds a touch screen for creating images right on the device.

ZINK hAppy+ Smart App Printer. Featuring the Google Android operating system, the hAppy+ has built-in Wi-Fi, a touchscreen, and runs ZINK apps, making it your all-in-one tool for designing and printing whatever you can imagine, all from the palm of your hand. Via built-in ZINK apps, users can create and print directly on the hAppy+ without needing other devices. Just load a ZINK zRoll; create the design on the printer’s touchscreen; press print; and then place and adhere the print to create a variety of projects. hAppy+ is also compatible with Apple AirPrint and Google Cloudprint. The hAppy+ can also work as a companion to smartphones and tablets.

Zink stands for  “zero ink” is a full-color printing system for digital devices that does not require ink cartridges and prints in a single pass.  The printing technology and its thermal paper are developed by Zink Imaging, Inc., a US company. Zink Imaging makes all the paper; makes a printer for printing labels and other designs on rolls of Zink zRoll; and licenses its technology to other companies that make compact photo printers, and combined camera / compact photo printers that print photographs onto mostly 2×3” (about 5×8 cm) sheets of Zink Paper.

The Zink technology and Zink Imaging started as a project inside Polaroid Corporation in the 1990s, which spun out Zink Imaging as a fully independent company in 2005.

 

Photobooth App with Zink

Printing PhotoBooth Photos with Happy Printer
Printing PhotoBooth Photos with Happy Printer

Happy Printer can be synced with Photobooth apps like Photobooth and SimpleBooth to create a photobooth for events.

Other Printers That Use Zink Technology

There are a number of small, mobile printers (and instant cameras like the Polaroid Snap) that use Zink’s inkless technology but they use sheets instead of rolls of the Zink paper.  Instead they use packs of 10 sheets at a time.  I don’t like this method as much as the Happy Printer’s long rolls but here are the options.
Polaroid Zip mobile printer

HP Sprocket Portable Photo Printer


Kodak Mini Mobile Wi-Fi & NFC 2.1 x 3.4″ Photo Printer with Advanced Patent Dye Sublimation Printing Technology & Photo Preservation Overcoat Layer (Gold) Compatible with Android & iOS

Fujifilm Instax Share Smartphone Printer SP-1

Canon Selphy CP1200

SkyMall Mobile Wi-Fi Printer

Grip Gear’s Movie Maker Set

Grip Gear’s Movie Maker Set – Electronic Sliding Track System with Variable Speed and Motorized 360° Panoramic Time Lapse Head compatible with Smartphones, GoPros, Digital Cameras

This is rather cool.  A professional motorized slider for smartphones, small action cameras and compact camera for less than $100.  Hope to get my hands on one soon to test it out.  – Ed

Shoot stunning video with your smartphone or compact cam. Use with tracks as an electronic slider with 8 different speeds, or use stand-alone for stunning 360° panoramic shots. Even the shortest clips look professional in realtime or timelapse.
Whether you’re aiming for making a viral, online revelation, adding drama to your video or simply want to out-focus and out-shoot your peers, no need to wait for the perfect spot or perfect moment to experiment with this tool. Watch the video clip in the thumbnail menu above to see The Movie Maker in action.

WHEN TO USE A SLIDER?

Make a reveal Film a reveal of a product by having it hiding the view and then slide from it. It will create an expectation from the viewer and be more surprising. Great technique for ‘unboxing’ videos, sliding close-up or textures and other detail.

Zoom in and zoom out Conventional zooming in and out doesn’t include movement. With a slider you can move forward and backward which gives it a great effect, allowing the viewer to be more involved.

In and out of focus Begin the shot with a blurry subject revealing itself by the movement of the camera on a slider. This is a variation from the more usual focusing effect.

Play with foreground and background Using a slider with a foreground will give the viewer a better sense of depth. It makes each layer move at different speeds and enhance the field of depth experience.

Close ups anywhere Anything shot at close range with a slider will show off great detail: Whether textures, nature, a detail on jewellery, the sky is the limit, close-ups with a slider will make viewers pay attention to details we usually overlook.

TECHNICAL INFORMATION

·  Convenient ¼ inch threads under each track to attach to any tripod, suction cups etc
·  Comes with 2 x 31cm tracks, additional tracks are available for extensions
·  Plug into a power bank operating times +36 hours (10400MA), or use 2 AAA batteries for 2 hours
·  Remote control for both speed and direction (8 speeds)
·  Bounce back for continuous motion: When reaching end of track it will move in opposite direction
·  Motor speeds vary from 6mm/minute to a 300mm/minute
·  Operates as eletronic as well as a manual slider
·  Can climb 90 degrees & can operate upside down
·  Weighs 900g and can hold up to 550g phone/camera even on vertical climb
·  No vibration, even on full zoom videos are stable

Electric Snow Shovels and Electric Snow Blowers

 

 

Due to climate change we haven’t had winters like we had in the past.  In fact the last two winters had such little snow that I shoveled the driveway by hand.  And my son’s cross-country ski team had to deal with cancelled and delayed meets.  Even this year practices early in the season were mostly running and training in the gym or skiing on a dusting of snow on the artificial turf of the football field.

But now in mid-February we got a string of snow storms that dumped a couple of feet of snow on us.  I’ve been keeping the deck, driveway and front walk clear of snow using a good old fashioned shovel – which is great exercise and a nice and quiet way to enjoy the silence of a snowy day but also with an electric snow shovel and an electric snow blower.

My electric shovel is probably 12 years old now.  I got it originally for vacation house in the North Conway area.  My electric snowblower is more recent.  After dealing with a gas powered, noisy, hard to start and frequently breaking down snow blower for years, I sold it at a yard sale and got this electric one.

We had a long driveway in Maine so the gas powered blower was required but here in New Hampshire the entire driveway is reachable by a long electric cord.  The gas blower was two stage and more powerful then the electric blower but so far I haven’t run into any storm that it can’t handle, as long as you go slow.  The gas blower will chop through anything with its metal blades while the electric blower is made of hard plastic and is designed for smaller jobs.  But still its been fine and best of all its quiet and starts immediately.  Plus there is no gas to mix and spill.

If you have a smaller area to blow and don’t have killer storms, I highly recommend an electric snow blower and shovel.


 

 

 

The Best SD Card for your GoPro Hero5 Black or Session and DSLR

Ok, you’ve bought your new GoPro Hero5 Black or Session action camera. Congratulations you have one of the newest and most advanced action cameras on the market. If you are like me maybe you bought a 32 gb memory card or something for it and have quickly found out that you are always wanting more storage.

There is nothing worse than having to replace an SD card the size of a finger nail in the middle of a fun day of shooting. For me, I’m thinking of my upcoming 10 day trip to Iceland. I’m not going to have a way to download video off the card while traveling. I’m going to need a lot of storage and I’m going to need a lot of it – plus I want fast transfer speeds to there are no glitches. Bottomline I want big and I want the best, that’s why I’m going with the Lexar Professional 1000x microSDXC 128GB UHS-II/U3:

The GoPro Hero 4, the Session and newer, all support cards up to 128GB. Do you need such a big card for a day of shooting? Probably not. You could get away with a 64 gb card and a lot of extra batteries but for multiple days of shooting, consider 128 gb card.

Consider the difficulty of swapping cards on the GoPro Hero 5, it’s a little more difficult to change out the cards compared to the other cameras since the bottom door is a little difficult to open and usually your camera will be inside some sort of holder. So if you use you’re camera a lot, you’ll likely fill a 32GB card and have to interrupt a shoot to swap it. In this case, I would recommend a 64GB card which should get you through the day.

 Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™
Lexar Professional 1000x microSDXC 128GB UHS-II/U3 (Up to 150MB/s Read) W/USB 3.0 Reader Flash Memory Card LSDMI128CBNL1000R

Specs:

High-speed performance-leverages UHS-II technology (U3) for a read transfer speed up to 1000x (150MB/s)

Includes micro SD UHS-II reader for high-speed file transfer from card to computer, dramatically accelerating workflow

Premium memory solution for sports camcorders, tablets, and smartphones

Designed for high-speed capture of high-quality images and extended lengths of 1080p full-HD, 3D, and 4K video

Includes lifetime copy of downloadable Image Rescue software

 

DSLR SD Memory Cards

Cameras keep coming out with bigger and bigger megapixels sizes.  The resulting files are YUGE so that’s why I’m upgrading to a larger and faster SD card for my DSLR to quickly capture and transfer high-quality photos and 1080p full-HD, 3D, and 4K video.

Lexar Professional 1000x SDHC/SDXC UHS-II cards Quickly capture and transfer high-quality photos and 1080p full-HD, 3D, and 4K video
Lexar Professional 1000x SDHC/SDXC UHS-II cards Quickly capture and transfer high-quality photos and 1080p full-HD, 3D, and 4K video.

Don’t need extreme speed?  Save some cash with a slightly slower card.

For my Canon 6D DSLR I don’t need extreme speeds.  This SanDisk Extreme PRO 64GB SDXC Flash Memory Card provides very fast transfer speeds for a reasonable cost.

Or this bargin from Lexar – a two pack for a bit more than a single SD card.

The new Lexar Professional 633x SD cards are an update to the 600x SD cards. The cards meet the UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) specification that is given to cards that support 30MB/s or higher continuous write speed, a requirement when recording 4K video.

The Lexar 633x cards are quoted at 95MB/s read and 45MB/s write write speed, essentially the same as the 90MB/s read and 45MB/s write of the 600x cards they replace. The 633x cards are available in 16, 32, 64, 128 and 256GB capacities (the 16GB card has 20MB/s write speed). This review is for the 633x 64GB SDXC card.

Essential Winter Photography Equipment – A good pair of boots!

Winter Boots – I typically review photography equipment but the recent dumps of snow we’ve gotten lately (more snow than the last two years!), has made me re-evalute my winter footwear equipment.

At this point we have an inch of ice as a base layer followed by six inches of crust and then a layer of about 8 – 12 inches of fluffy snow.  On the sides of the road we have waist high snow plow created berms and then anything between ice and waist deep drifts of snow in the fields.

Time for new winter boots!
Time for new winter boots!

I can no longer keep putting off new winter boots.  My last pair must be about 10 years old and the soles are nearly worn through, the laces are long gone and water is seeping through holes in the sides.

I have several pairs of shoes for the winter:

A short pull on sneaker like shoe with very aggressive soles for when I’m walking in shoveled area. Mine are kind of like these from Merrell but mine were made by Salomon and have an even more aggressive soul.   When they came out on the market they were an entirely new kind of shoe.  Something you could slip on to go from the ski lodge to the car.  I don’t know why they stopped making them, they were very unique and different than anything I’ve seen since.  Mine and  my wife’s pairs are still going strong after about 12 years of use in the snow.

A mid-height insulated “duck hunter” type boot that great for wet sloppy stuff.  But I don’t like fiddling with the laces!

And a tall winter boot for deep snow, snowshoeing and snowblowing/shoveling the driveway.  Plus for jumping over banks and into drifts of deep snow to capture some winter photographs.

My criteria for winter snow boots is the following:

  • They have to be warm.
  • They have to be waterproof, at least on the bottom few inches.
  • They have to be easy to slip on and off as I’m going out to get firewood and have to come in an out several times.
  • They have to have a good grip on ice and snow.
  • No laces – I’m done with having to lace them or having the laces break constantly or come undone.
  • I have to be able to drive with them on.

I ended up getting these as my replacement for my old used up Sorrells.

Its a basic boot that meet the criteria I need to attack the drifts and climb the snow mounds.  Thick sole, high sides, no laces other than a pull string at the tip to close up the boot to snow, dirt, salt crystals or whatever.  Easy to pull on and off these will be great for tackling the rest of the winter season.

Kamik Men's Greenbay 4 Cold-Weather Boot
Kamik Men’s Greenbay 4 Cold-Weather Boot

The Kamik Men’s Greenbay 4 Cold-Weather Boot – 

Protects to -40! Kamik: an Inuit word meaning “foot covering.” Kamik Boots Company has operated over 100 years and, much like the Inuit, they know a thing or two about staying warm in the deep freeze. Waterproof; Flexible Duration 600 nylon uppers; Lace lock snow collar; Self-cleaning PULSE Rubber HE outsole; Removable Thermal Guard moisture-wicking lining; Rear pull-on loop; Rated to -40 Degrees F.; Each approximately 14″ height, 31 ounces; Imported; Half sizes, order the next larger full size. Kamik Greenbay Men’s Waterproof 4 Winter Boots, Black

You’ll scoff at wintery weather in this high-tech snow boot from Kamik. Constructed with a lightweight yet durable waterproof nylon shell, the Greenbay 4 features a removable felt liner and a lace-lock snow collar designed to keep warmth in and cold out. Rated to -40° Fahrenheit, the boot has a mid-foot adjustable Velcro closure strap to help keep the foot snug and a thick treaded rubber outsole for traction on slippery, icy surfaces.

FCC Disclaimer:  I purchased these boots myself.  No product was provided.