Lessons from Orkney.

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Every year I make a plan for what trips I want to take.  The new adventure I want to have and the places I haven’t seen. Every year I get a little older and the aches and pains change from year to year.  So, every year I tell myself, I don’t need to bring everything in my bag and carry it around.  Well, I did it again.  I brought most everything I had for those just in case moments.  Those moments never happen and I am stuck with a bag that is too heavy for KLM carry on requirements.  Then KLM makes me check my camera bag because it is too heavy.  I literally pale at the check in counter and break out into a small sweat.  On the up side, the camera bag showed up in Detroit but my clothing, checked bag stayed in Amsterdam.  Oh well, I don’t let the at bother me so much like I used to.  A nice man delivered my bag by van the next day.

Except, I need to go back to the beginning and back to simple.  I need to take note of what I end up using out in the field.  Every time I end up using only two lenses:  the Fujinon 10-24 and Fujinon 50-200 zoom.  The filters are a must and I will you those plus the Big and Little stopper.  The rest of the bag will be batteries and the rings for the filters, plus cleaning clothes.  The extra camera body can stay in the room.  Done. Now, leave the bag alone.

Why might not take it all?  Orkney Scotland is a beautiful Island and most locations are not right next to the car park.  That means I am going to have to walk and in some cases climb the side of a gigantic mountain.  O.K. it was a medium mountain or at least it felt that way with a 20 lb. pack and tripod.  I was literally taking out all the junk I wasn’t using on the climb to the burial ground in my mind and swearing never again.  Never again.  The reasoning is that I concentrate on the burden instead of the view.  Oh the view, stop and take a breath!

The bag I carry is a Lowe pro back pack which is sturdy and efficient.  I did notice that I miss shots because as I travel because I don’t want to take the pack off my shoulders to get the camera.  I also don’t like carrying the camera in my hands out of the bag.  I have so many bags do I purchase a sling?  Yes, get a sling big enough but not so big I put too much stuff in it.  I have to try because I want flexibility that I am not getting.   I have another adventure coming up to Lake Superior and it might be a good place to try the bag out.  I will let you know.

Every trip I go on is different due to location and the people I am with.  However, if I keep the equipment simple, for what I need, I will find that I have more time to enjoy the view.  Traveling overseas is harder because I feel I might need something but, I usually don’t.  These trips are about being free for a week.  A moment in time to step away from the normal life back in the States.  I don’t have views like the above photo here.  I wonder what it would be like to have that everyday?

This trip I took with Glen Campbell and Lightstalkers Adventures.  I didn’t know so many landscape photography spots existed on one Island.  You did well with the 5 Americans and made us feel right at home in Scotland.


Travel and New Places

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Orkney Scotland?  Have you ever thought of going that far north in Scotland.  I hadn’t thought about what it until I came across Lightstalkers Adventures on the internet.  I have been to a lot of places in Scotland but this is once place I hadn’t seen.  I love the people of Scotland and I always jump at the chance to go and visit.  The people are friendly and helpful plus this small island has so much to see.  Scotland has castles, rocks, the ocean, mountains and a lot of Heather.  Yes, an adventure here is worth the jet lag and lost luggage.

Glenn Campbell was the photography professional and guide for this trip.  Yes, I can say I am jealous of his job to get to be so many beautiful locations all year long.  I know there is a lot of work to it, plus helping your clients but the daily views can’t be beat.  I saw so many places on such a small Island plus we took three  ferries on this trip.  The Island of Hoy and the Old Man of Hoy I won’t soon forget.  The climb up and down and the 1 hour and 10 minute walk one way was worth it.

The standing stone picture above was taken on the Island of Orkney and are called the Stones of Stennes at sunset.  I think what the picture doesn’t show is the size of these rocks or what it took to get them there. I wonder was this a place of worship or just a meeting place?  You know it had some sort of meaning for a group of people to come together to build it.  The light shines off these stones as the sunsets and the mystery still prevails as you stand there.  The stones will keep their secrets as the people who put them there are long gone.  I always wonder about the people in the places I visit even though we are all motivated by the same things.  Except, depending what we believe and where we are from the motivations can be vastly different.

What makes a trip worth taking?  I find the location to be key and the people you go with.  This trip will always be one of my favorites because of the group I was able to go with.  Adventure isn’t adventure if you aren’t having a great time with the people you go with.  This will go down as one of the great ones.