Comment

Training locale - inside or outside?

This is a question I have pondered for many years, starting way back when I was a competitive triathlete, and cyclist. My mantra was always that I must train my sport outside no matter what the weather. This would ensure I was training the specific traits required for racing. The only time I truly needed to train indoors was for my strength training. I could have moved the gym equipment outside, but I thought that might not be the most practical of ideas.

Fast forward to the present day (October 30, 2017), and I still aim to train outdoors as much as possible. This has been reinforced by my recent foray into the field of photography. Combining my love of training outside, with photography, seems quite logical. There is nothing quite light working on one's fitness while taking beautiful photos at the same time. Not all of my outdoor adventures lead to epic photos, but they do prepare me for all my future adventures where a good photograph is likely to be taken.

There is no doubt I will continue to include indoor training into my fitness routine, because strength training is what truly keeps me healthy and mobile. The stronger and more mobile I am, the better I feel when attempting an activity that is physically challenging. This could be biking, hiking, running, swimming, paddle boarding, the list goes on. Plain and simple, strength helps improve the quality of all movement! I'm not saying you need to squat 400lbs and bench 200lbs, but being able to perform a squat, a lunge, a push up, and a pull up, without falling over is a necessity. Oh, and being able to balance on one leg is helpful too, especially as you age.

The take home message is that if you don't have a daily movement practice in place, you should start planning one today. Getting out on a walk is as good movement practice as any!

Get outside (or inside) and move!

Sony A9 - 24-70 2.8

Comment

Comment

Nature, and exercise, are my drug of choice

It was inevitable living in New Zealand, I have become a full blown outdoor adventure addict. Combine that with my love of exercise, and pursuit of fitness, and you have one formidible combination. With the summer fast approaching, and subsequently more daylight, my main focus will be feeding both of these habits. If there is one thing I am trying really hard to adopt from the the Kiwi culture it would have to be their work-life balance. Taking time for oneself is a necessity, and at 41 it is slowly sinking in to my middle-aged brain.

Is outdoor adventure, and physically taxing exercise, a suitable treatment for depression, drug addiction, ADHD, etc, maybe? It seems to me a good dose of nature would do wonders for depression and ADHD, but drug addiction is more complicated. With the opioid addiction becoming a full blown epidemic in the US, looking into nature bathing as a supplemental therapy might be worthwhile. At this point, we need to take action, and not just talk tough (like some do, about most things). Connecting with the natural world we were all once very much a part of might just yield the miracle we are so desperately in need of right now.

Like climate change, and hostile foreign nations, the opioid epidemic isn't going away anytime soon, so we need to act now. We can only achieve our goals through a united front, so enough with the bullshit, let's get to work.

Sony A9 - 70-200

Comment

Comment

Stars, sun, and earth

When I make my way out to photograph the stars, I am always in awe of what I see when I look toward the sky. There are too many stars to count, many of which may have gone dormant long ago. While shooting I do my best to stay in the present, and be as much a part of the surroundings as I can. Though, when staring at the star-filled sky long enough, I can't help but think about the those distant stars, and galaxies, and where they are in their lifecycle. The light I am seeing could be from decades ago, but it is just now reaching earth. I then think about the stage of life of our home star, the sun. It has a finite life, but when will it cease supporting life on Earth? There are so many things I can be thankful for, the sun being there for us each day has to be number one. Without it, there is no life on this beautiful blue gem.

Sony A7r2 - Sony G-Master 24-70

Comment

Comment

Back Again!

When life moves fast, it moves real fast. This is especially true when you break your fibula. I wasn't planning to break my fibula, but a late night mission to Nugget Point had other plans. The astro shoot was over, and I was ready to head back to Dunedin. The perch I found was a few precarious meters from stable ground. When I stepped to make my way over, the foothold wasn't as stable as I would have imagined. My foot slipped, and I feel a few meters. While on the way down, my foot caught a tree root, which forcefully pushed it into inversion. I thought I heard a snapping sound, but was hoping it was a tree branch.

This wasn't the experiencing I was planning on having while visiting Nugget Point, due to the fact that every other mission was a fruitful, and positive one. After assessing the damage, I climbed my way out of the brush I fell into. I then proceeded to hike my way down to the car. At the time, I had hope I hadn't broken my ankle, but I wasn't too confident. The two friends I was with were hesitant to let me drive the 1.5 hours back to Dunedin, but convinced them I was alright. If I hadn't had a hiking boot on, there was little chance I would have been able to drive home with my foot the state that it was in. As soon as I arrived home, Angela was there to greet me on the road. We were both hopeful it wasn't a break, but after she assessed it, we believed it could be worse than a simple sprain. Needless to say, there wasn't much sleep to be had that night.

Fast foward 12 weeks, and I have since had surgery to fixate a spriral fracture of the fibula, a Weber B to be exact. It all happened quite fast, from the initial casting (thought surgery wouldn't be necessary, after intitial doctor visit), to the call from the doctor requesting I head to the hospital immediately for surgery, to the quick hospital stay for the surgery, to the removal of the cast, which was then replaced by a boot. I will say, that my first experience with socialized medicine was a very positive one. Each stage of treatment was handled quite well, and all the care I received was top notch. The United States could stand to learn a great amount from the New Zealand model. Good health care should not be privelege, it should be a right.

At the 4 week mark I went across to the US for a work trip, crutches and boot in tow. While there I made it a priority to perform my rehabiliation (prescribed by the best physio in the world, my wife, Angela;) each and every morning. This has paid true dividends in the form of returning to full function a good bit ahead of schedule. We just returned from a tour of the South Island, and I was able to hike all the trails (including Isthmus Peak) without issue. It was such a liberating feeling after so many weeks of immobility, and limited function.

The scene below is from the trip. It was taken at sunset, while on our way down from the Ben Lomond saddle. The fresh air, and uphill climb, were therapy for my soul.

 

Comment

Comment

Moke Lake

One often heads to Moke Lake for the reflections, and today was no different. However, after I got my fill of reflections, I decided to climb up as high as I could before sunset. The hills around the lake had always intrigued me, so I thought it was time to explore them. Below is what I saw once I had reached a good vantage point. There was still more climbing to be done, but there wasn't enough light left to guide me to the top. This allows me the opportunity to head back for a true summit.

Adventure fitness is for everyone! Get out and play!

 

Sony A7rII - 24-70 2.8

6 sec | f5.0 | ISO 100 | 40mm

Comment

Comment

Stargazing in Dunedin City

We are quite fortunate to live in a city where light pollution doesn't completely obscure the stars in the night sky. I often head out into darker regions of the surrounding countryside, but thought it would be fun to test the limits of my camera with city lights in full effect.

As you can see, the skies are still dark enough to allow almost a full view of the Milky Way. If I had gotten up a little bit earlier, I could have captured the complete arch. Saving something for next time!

I hope you enjoy the photo!

 

Milky Way over Dunedin City

Sony A7RII - Sony Zeiss 16-35 f4

30' | f4 | ISO 8000 | 16mm

Comment

Comment

Milford Magic

It has been quite some time since my last post. Work life getting in the way of creativity should really never be an excuse, unfortunately, this is part of the reason why I've been absent. This fact, along with a fairly involved travel schedule.

Alas, i am back, for now. I thought I'd share one of my favorite moments from a Great Walk myself, Angela, and our friends Susan and Rory set out on back in early March. The photo is one I took while standing in the middle of a river. Mind you, the river was quite low at the time. The extra time in the water finally gave my waterproof boots their first true test. They were not all that waterproof after 20 minutes. This left me with wet feet for the remainder of our walk, which was fortunately only an hour away from being complete.

If you have an opportunity to hike the Milford Track (need to reserve this July 2017), I highly recommend doing so. A winter, or early spring excursion might be fun as well.

The photo below is from Giants Gate Falls. Happy exploring!

Sony A7rii - 24-70 2.8 f4.5 | 1/60 | ISO 500 | 30mm

Sony A7rii - 24-70 2.8

f4.5 | 1/60 | ISO 500 | 30mm

Comment

Comment

Milky Way Photography

The Milky Way photography season is upon us, and I couldn't be more excited. From November until February, the core isn't visible, so there is less effort made to head out in the middle of the night to shoot. Fast forward to March, and we are back in business.

The new moon, over the past few days, has allowed for brilliant night skies. It should also be noted that the weather has been fairly cooperative. The first shot below was from March 23, 2017, at Hoopers Inlet. The benefit of Hoopers is that it is surrounded by reasonably-sized hills, which prevent most of the Dunedin light pollution from affecting the briliance of the starry night sky. After locating the Milky Way, with the PhotoPills app, I proceeded to find the best spot to capture it with the most interesting foreground. It turns out this was actually in the water at Hoopers. I've included screen captures from the PhotoPills app, the planner and night AR.

 

Hoopers Inlet

Sony A7Rii - 16-35 f4

15 sec | f4 | ISO 6400 | 16mm

PhotoPills Planner

PhotoPills Night AR

My most recent astrophotography mission was this morning at 5am. A planned Aurora Australis shoot didn't materialize due to heavy clouds invading the night sky over Dunedin. The orignal plan was to shoot the Milky Way from the top of Mt Cargill, looking down over Mt Chalmers, and Blueskin Bay. All looked good (clear skies) until I reached the top of Mt Cargill, where a thick cloud bank was waiting for me. There was zero visibility at the top, so down I went. Fortunately the cloud clover was located primarlly at the top of Mt Cargill, and not much lower. This photo was taken on Mt Cargill Rd, just above a beautiful green farm pasture. The wind was far more powerful than I was expecting, and nearly didn't get a shot without tripod movement. Like the previous mission, this one was also planned out using PhotoPills.

You are a stunner Dunedin!

 

Milky Way rising over Port Chalmers

Sony A7Rii - 16-35 f4

15sec | f4 | ISO 6400 | 16mm

Comment