Sapporo Snow Festival Results in Amazing Star Wars Sculpture

This is just one of many reasons to add Sapporo to the bucket list. You can always check out the Japan Guide too for a more formal introduction.

Geeks like to go all the way with their projects, and Japan is a country full of geeks. That‘s why they spent a month (and purportedly enlisted the help of the Army) building a giant Star Wars snow sculpture for the 66th Sapporo Snow Festival. And is truly enormous: 3,500 tons of snow went into making this 23 meter wide, 15 meter tall piece of geek art.The centerpiece of it all is a giant bust of Darth Vader, beckoning Luke to join the Dark Side. Vader is accompanied by three Stormtroopers and two TIE Fighters (one of them being his personal TIE Advanced).

via Demilked

The "Without" [You] App

Being without my family or my wife stinks. Plain and simple. I love the job, but it's really bad when you have a crew of slam clickers (those who go to the hotel and don't do dinner or sightsee) and you find yourself at the hotel playing Clash of Clans for hours.

Here comes a beautiful app appropriately named "Without" by Mr. Jeremy that brought the amount of buttons pushed from 17 down to two! Awesome idea, amazing app. Check it out and share it with your loved one.

Instagram Direct Only... for Hipsters

I'm totally just being facetious with the title, but in all seriousness, Instagram's newest video promoting their latest software update screams just that. Maybe I'm totally out of touch now as I'm getting older but wow. It's an interesting feature but when I send a photo to an individual, I'm not scared about it being cached or kept. I also don't use Snapchat (but yes I have it installed) but I've always felt like sharing with everyone. That's just me. If I need to send a photo to my "friends" or "family", then I just send them via iMessage. How about you?

Looks like the offer that Facebook and Google both gave Snapchat a while back is looking a little better. Oh well, as they say, hindsight is 20/20.

After sending, you’ll be able to find out who’s seen your photo or video, see who’s liked it and watch your recipients commenting in real time as the conversation unfolds.

And looks like this was washed away rather quickly as news, but Twitter coincidently released a new feature that allows pictures to be 'Direct Message'. Have you used that feature yet?

NPR's David Gilkey on the Aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan

Devastation all around.

NPR photographer David Gilkey has photographed in extreme situations — from the surge in Afghanistan, to bombings in Gaza, to the tsunami in Japan, but he says nothing could have prepared him for what he saw in the village of Barangay 68 in Tacloban City, Philippines.

At first glance, there were no signs of life. You know many have died here and that their bodies are somewhere close. There is a heavy, unmistakable smell of death.

There are multiple ways to help out and donate to a relief fund as I mentioned in a previous post. Have you donated yet?

Olympus' New Flagship

I love the Micro 4/3 platform but more importantly, the fact that my wife can easily handle the camera makes for a HUGE plus.  I've also thoroughly enjoyed using my Olympus OM-D E-M5 for the past year.  With that in mind, Olympus just unleashed their second OM-D body raising the bar yet again. OM D E M1

Continuing with the confusing naming scheme, the OM-D E-M1 is debuting along two amazing M.ZUIKO Digital ED "Pro" lenses both with constant f2.8 maximum aperture.  Upgrades include the newly redesigned 16.3-megapixel micro four thirds sensor utilizing the latest TruPic VII image processing engine which allows for FAST (Frequency Acceleration Sensor Technology) Autofocusing.  (sorry for that long sentence)

The technology is getting good enough that inexpensive DSLRs no longer really make sense. Once upon a time, "real" photographers would have cringed at the thought of using an electronic viewfinder, but that's just not the case any more.

via Gizmodo

update: Steve Huff just posted his first impressions.  Definitely a great read!

Ramen Again

I went to Underbelly for my ramen fix three times within a seven-day span.  My wife called me obsessed yet I brought take out every single time for her.  =)  Some people on Yelp ridicule the broth for taste and / or variety (they only have one) and their choice of meats.  Plain and simple, I enjoy it for what it is.  It's ramen conceived with the chefs' persona and he made it his own.  That is all.  Enjoy it for what it is not for something you were thinking it would be.  Norah sure did!

Norah Underbelly Ramen

Norah Water


I haven't solved my post processing / editing workflow problem yet and keep on delaying.  I've come up with reasons such as, I don't have my new MacBook Pro Retina Display w/ Haswell yet or I don't have my new iMac setup or my home cloud server isn't setup the way I want it, but nonetheless, I'm falling way behind.  Yesterday when I posted a couple of images, I thought about watermarking.  I know that you can use either Adobe's Lightroom or Apple's Aperture photo editing software, but because I don't have a computer to install these applications on (another excuse), I was left to find something minimal.  And I'm glad that I did. I stumbled up Photobulk by Eltima Software.  They are having a 20% off sale right now on the Mac App Store or you can download a free demo from their website.  Takes seconds and the results were as expected.  The biggest draw to me was that it was drag and drop.  You can even set multiple presets and bulk edit your pictures.  At the sale price of $7.99, it's a no brainer.  And no, I was not paid to post this article.

My Olympus OM-D E-M5

Let me start off first with saying that I love my Olympus OM-D E-M5.  My wife wasn't sold on full frame cameras such as the Canon 5D Mark III or Nikon due to the sheer size and weight so we ventured in the next best thing; Micro Four Thirds.  The Sony NEX-7 was heavily delayed and hadn't arrived yet but it's little brother, the NEX-5N was just released.  As enticing as it was, I just didn't "love" either camera nor did I care for the operating system.  With a modest budget and a baby looming, I needed a camera and lens that I could quickly acquire and learn.  One major hurdle was that the camera needed to have an autofocus hence eliminating the coveted Leica M9, and the available glass ecosystem had to be great.  At the time, the Olympus OM-D E-M5 was proved to be the answer.  I paired it with the Panasonic/Leica 25 1.4 Summilux and haven't taken it off since.  Here are a few pictures that my wife and I took at the San Diego Safari Zoo the day of our daughter's first birthday.

Safari Zoo Norah and Mom

Safari Zoo Mom and Norah

Safari Zoo Dad and Norah

Norah Balloon

Since then, Olympus has released two amazing micro four-thirds cameras. The E-P5 and the E-PL5 with the former being the Pen series flagship. Highly capable and pocketable depending on which lens you attach, they both make for a very portable and pleasurable experience. They have also become my recommendations to my peers that are looking to get into photography. It's a perfect starting point especially for those that want something smaller and don't want to lug around the bulk of the full frame cameras and lens combo.

Steve Huff posted an amazing and thorough review of the OM-D E-M5 which I highly recommend you check out.  He also recently reviewed the amazing Panasonic 20 1.7 II lens while equipped on the E-P5 (pictured above).  I guarantee, if you're getting into photography, his website is amazing start!  I can't begin to tell you how much I've learned from him.  Of course, I couldn't have even thought of Steve Huff as a reference without the guidance of Mr. Range Traveler himself, Gage Caudell.

21 8.2013


I know that the title and post are redundant but it marks the day that I said the special two words, "I do" to my lovely wife.  We've actually been dating for over ten years (wow time flies) but only married for three of those.  Things have only gotten better and it couldn't be more perfect especially with the added bunting.  Happy anniversary sweetie!


Looking Back at Norah Renée

Exactly one year ago to the date and time, we welcomed my daughter into this world.  Everyday since then, my wife and I have been living a truly blessed life with such a vibrant, loving, huggable, and curious little munchkin.  As cliché as it sounds,  I really can't believe how fast time has gone by.  Happy Birthday to you Ms. Norah Renée.  Momma and I can't wait to celebrate and share more life experiences with you! Here's a photo of Norah at six months pushing herself up and staring back at me.  Not staged, not planned, my wife captured this wonderful moment.  The photo below is also unedited.


I've also just entered the photo into the I Shot It Child Competition 2013 No 3 for kicks and giggles. So far, with my entry, I'm at number 470. Ends in five days and there are so many great photos!!!  Wish us luck.

If you really want to know more about the composition and the photo, check out Jeffrey's Exif Viewer.  Here are the basic details: Olympus OM-D E-M5 ISO 800 1/40 f1.4 25mm