Above/featured: Morning light at Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver – 22 Dec 2020 (X70).
Frankly, I don’t know why I waited so long.
For the longest time, I thought photography wasn’t for me. But the curiosity of making images would soon win me over.
My late-entry to photography means I have some regrets not having any images when I lived in Toronto and in Germany. After I moved to Minneapolis, I asked friends and colleagues for some advice, and by 2015, I purchased a compact Canon point-and-shoot camera. I pushed the limits of that camera, and I realized very quickly the kinds of images I wanted to make were beyond what the camera could manufacture. I needed greater flexibility and capability to adjust aperture- and exposure-values, and within three years, I moved “up” to a Canon camera with a crop sensor (450D).
I learned quickly I wanted a broader range of focal lengths, which led me to acquiring a couple of extra lenses. I pushed the 450D very hard, including my year-long around-the-world (RTW) journey in 2012. The shutter died the next summer in Prague, and with my investment of glass within the Canon camera-system, I moved “up” to a Canon camera with a full-frame sensor (6D1) in early 2014. With a larger sensor providing greater sensitivity to low-light, I feel the camera has furnished great images under a variety of conditions. But the 6D1 camera and complement of lenses can be bulky and heavy to carry around for an entire day, and I was feeling “burned out” by the camera-and-lens combination’s larger footprint and weight.
In early 2018, I pondered the idea of a more portable camera, and I decided on a lightly-used Fujifilm X70 mirrorless camera. I brought the 6D1 and the X70 on trips to Europe and the U.S. Southwest to experiment with both cameras, and to understand which device was ideally suited for different environments in different places. The 6D1 still has its place for what I want to photograph, but I discovered a different level of fun and versatility with the X70 with its light weight and small compact size. The X70 isn’t perfect, but it’s a lot easier to carry the X70 into the streets than with the 6D1.
I don’t know what happens next, but there are lots of possibilities for further projects in locations near and far.
( Click here for images and more )
“If I’m at the highest point in Germany, can I see Italy?”
Over the years, I’ve seen at various times the claim made about seeing Italy from the tallest mountain in Germany.
I’m startled by the winter morning sun, streaming through the window into my hotel room in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. I rise slowly from the bed, barely able to keep my eyes open. I shuffle across the room, and pull the small linen drapes aside. It’s blue everywhere, and there isn’t a cloud in the sky. My eyes are now wide open, heart pumping with excitement, because I know skies are gonna be clear up top. Later I learn forecast conditions for the Zugspitze summit are excellent: mostly sunny, visibility out to 160 kilometres (100 miles) with a high temperature of -8C/+18F. Cold, but very doable. It’s also why I have with me 70-300 glass for the long zooms.
Below I show photographs with sightlines and their corresponding average azimuths*: east-southeast (107 degrees), southeast (138 degrees), south (175 degrees), southwest (210 degrees), west-southwest (250 degrees). I label specific mountain peaks of interest in addition to the flag of the country where the mountain is located. In a few cases, mountains lie along the border between two nations in which case I provide two country flags. For the labeled peaks, I’ve also provided further information about mountain heights and sightline distances in the map below.
Spoiler alert: not only am I able to spot mountains in Italy, but also other peaks in Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein.
( Click here for images and more )