Happy New Year 2014: May the Light Be With You.
Let’s see if I can get back to posting something new to my “Image of the Day Photoblog” each and everyday. Last year I traveled a bit (or should I say a lot), and as a result fell back to just having my Google+ posts reposted on the Photoblog. I began the year in January with a quick road trip to Florida to visit family and then some time at Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. At the end of January, I flew to Bergen, Norway and then embarked on a voyage on the Hurtigruten MS Nordkapp from Bergen to Kirkenes and then back to Bergen. On the return voyage I stopped in Tromsø for a week to meet up with some friends to experience and photograph the Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights). In April, I went back to Florida to join my parents for an extended Semester at Sea Spring Enrichment Voyage on the MV Explorer. We flew from Tampa to Barcelona (via Gatwick in England). Over the next 52 days we visited 19 countries (Spain, Monaco, Italy, Spain, Gibraltar, Morocco, Portugal, Belgium, Netherlands, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Ireland, England, Norway, Latvia, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, and Germany). I must have been getting bored, so at the end of July into August decided to spend 10 days in Iceland to attend a Photo Safari with Mike Hagen and Tim Vollmer. In September, I started my annual “Gone to See America” 27 day road trip. This year I started on a northern route (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan). I spent some time in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, then continued west (Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Colorado). While in Colorado, I spent in and around Buena Vista for a Colorado Photo Safari with Jason Odell. We were supposed to have spent the time in Rocky Mountain National Park, but had to change the location due to the severe flooding along the Front Range in Colorado. I then continued west and south (Utah and Arizona) to join up for a week with the Nikonians ANPAT-13 (Annual Nikonians Photo Adventure Trip) in Arizona. Due to the Government shutdown, we were not able to visit many of the planned locations in the National Parks or National Forests. On the day I departed the Nikonians group, I was fortunate to travel through Grand Canyon National Park. The park was re-opened that day after the Governor of Arizona agreed to pay for basic operations until the Government shutdown was resolved. I then spent a couple of days in New Mexico, but unfortunately White Sands and Carlsbad Caverns National Parks were still closed. Guadalupe Mountain and Big Bend National Parks in Texas were also closed, so decided to hightail it back home (Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey). Since returning home, I have been spending a lot of time going through my images, and upgrading the computer server and storage space for the images. In early December, I spent four days in Philadelphia attending workshops with Steve Simon (Nikon D4, D800, and the Passionate Photographer). In all I took nearly 300K images during the year, which is double the number I took in 2012. New photography equipment for 2013 included a Nikon Df camera body, a 58 mm f/1.4G lens, a 70-200 mm f/4 VR lens and two lenses for the Nikon 1 bodies – a 18.5 mm f/1.8 and 32 mm f/1.2 lens.
I really wanted to sign up for the Semester at Sea Spring 2014 round the world voyage but the stars were not aligned and I didn’t get my act together in time. The round the world Semester at Sea voyage will have to wait until 2016, since I have already committed to another trip to Patagonia with Thom Hogan in the spring of 2015. Other trips for 2014 include a Birding Photo Safari in Texas with Jason Odell and the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque with Winston Hall. I’ve not decided yet on either the Semester at Sea Spring 2014 Enrichment voyage (includes Iceland) and/or the Semester at Sea Summer 2014 voyage (Europe).