Go See Do Photography

A Lot of Travel, A Little Bit of History, and a Whole Bunch of Photos

Tag: Cruise (Page 1 of 4)

Wordless Wednesday: Tree

Wordless Wednesday: Seals

2019: Year in Review

2019 was the best year for travel in my recent memory! Before this year, the last time I had been on an airplane was New Years Day, 2014. In 2019, we took three plane trips and visited more airports than seems reasonable. I finally spent some time west of the Mississippi and even got to break out the passports a few times. We took another amazing cruise and took my family to one of our favorite places.

Today, a memory popped on Facebook that we booked our flights to Phoenix one year ago. That trip was a super busy whirlwind, but it was an experience I will never forget. It was my first time visiting a desert, it was cold and rainy so I still haven’t really gotten a true desert experience. It is still fun to joke about Phoenix being a cold and rainy place. Of course, the highlight was spending a day at the Grand Canyon. Getting there right after they had reopened due to a blizzard was amazing! Crowds were low and the snow really added something special to all of our photos. I’ve printed the above photo and it is now hanging in my living room.

Just about a month after getting home, we hopped on another plane for our much anticipated cruise. We bought a voucher for this cruise on our last cruise back in 2015. We had booked and cancelled and rebooked so many times I was worried we were never actually going to take this trip, so it was a great relief to finally get back on a ship! All of the ports were visited were amazing and we took some great excursions. I can say that I accomplished everything on that trip that I had hoped to. Of course, we also got to experience New Orleans, but I don’t feel like one day was really enough time to take that city in.

After getting home from our cruise, we had just a few short months to prepare for our trip to Maine with my family. It was good to go back and spend more time in a place that has so much to see and do. It was great to share it with my family and watch them take in the beauty for the first time. Of course, we still weren’t able to do all that we wanted to do at Acadia so we’re trying to figure out how we’re going to make it back to Maine in 2020.

Of course, we took some day and weekend trips since June. We went camping at Sleeping Bear Dunes and spent a chilly weekend by the fire in Canada. After spending all that time in airports in the first half of the year, I really do miss getting farther away. Especially with the weather getting colder, I would love to escape somewhere warm for a little bit!  I have been obsessively checking for flight deals so we can jet off for another long weekend.

We do have another trip coming up before the end of the year. We are taking my mother-in-law this time and heading back to Corning, New York. Too bad we didn’t make it back to Boston, or we would’ve hit all of our stops on our 2018 road trip again this year. We’re heading out that way because the Corning Museum of Glass has an exhibit until the end of the year entitled “How Glass Got Us To The Moon” that we wanted to check out. So, be sure to stay tuned in the next few weeks for posts about that trip.

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

 

Wordless Wednesday: Morning in Mexico

AKASO EK7000 Action Camera Review

While our recent cruise wasn’t a photography-centric trip, I can’t travel without taking pictures. If I don’t have pictures, I don’t have content to share with you! Since we were planning on snorkeling and river tubing, I knew I wanted a camera that I could get wet. I considered getting one of those underwater cases for my iPhone, but those don’t protect against dropping it underwater and I really didn’t want to spend hundreds of dollars replacing my phone, I began searching for inexpensive waterproof cameras.

After hours of searching Amazon and technology review sites, I found the AKASO EK7000. It is a small, GoPro sized, action camera that came with more accessories than I know what to do with! I think one of them is supposed to be a helmet clip but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to put it together. It has wifi so it can connect to your phone to share your pictures/videos on social media and supposedly it shoots 4K video. This camera is ridiculously highly rated on Amazon so for less than $50 I decided to pull the trigger.

Once the camera arrived, I understood all of the 5 star reviews, and its not because of quality. In the box with the camera was a sheet with several accessory packages you can get for free if you show proof of a 5 star rating on Amazon. Right there, that made me incredibly skeptical of this tiny camera’s performance. I played with it in the house for a little bit before we left, but I wish I would’ve messed around with it a little more (this is a lesson for purchasing any new camera gear, really). While snorkeling, I couldn’t figure out how to put it in photo mode as opposed to video mode. Afterwards, I realized it had date stamped all of my photos with the factory date of June 2000, which really messed up Lightroom when I imported the photos when I got home. After getting back to the room, I was able to figure all of that out, but it would’ve been nice to focus on taking pictures while snorkeling as opposed to just working the camera.

Once I stopped panicking about getting out of video mode, I realized that I could pull still images out of the videos so I was able to get some usable shots. This camera did perform pretty well underwater (top), but when it came to taking daylight shots (above), it didn’t do so hot. And lets not even mention the photos that I took inside the cave. My iPhone 7 takes MUCH better pictures than this. The videos did seem to come out better, though. AKASO claims that with the waterproof housing, it doesn’t record sound, but if you watch these, you’ll see that that’s not exactly true. Is that sound 100% clear and articulate? No, but it is nice to capture some of ambient sound. Watch the videos below to see how this camera handles video. And just a reminder, I’m a photographer, not a videographer!

Overall, I think this camera is worth its $50 price tag. Does it perform like the GoPros that are priced 6x+ higher? Of course not! But for capturing vacation memories and not having to worry about accidentally damaging your phone, I think its worth it! Click here for more information about this camera.

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Wordless Wednesday: Chacchoben Forest

Norwegian Breakaway Review

Looking back on our Spring Break cruise, I have to say that I really enjoyed my time on the Norwegian Breakaway. Even though it is a “mega ship” it didn’t feel much bigger or more crowded than the Gem. Of course, the bigger ships come with more amenities and more dining venues and it was fun to explore them all.

For some reason, the towel animals all had creepy, red eyes.

One of the biggest things that made me want to try out a bigger ship is the entertainment. For Norwegian, the Breakaway class ships are the ones with Broadway shows. On the Breakaway it was Rock of Ages and even though I saw the movie years ago, I didn’t really know anything about the show besides the fact that it was raunchy. And raunchy it was! I was surprised by the amount of children present! The story was okay (I liked it better than I remembered like the movie), the acting was fine, but the music was phenomenal! Which was a theme for this trip.

Every time we heard the musicians around this ship, we were blown away. Especially when compared to the music on the Gem which we lovingly described as a guitar, a drummer, and a computer. The music at Rock of Ages was great. The piano players at Howl at the Moon (the dueling piano bar onboard) were amazing! The addition of having a live band playing music at dinner in the Manhattan room every night was a great touch. We wanted to check out Syd Norman’s, the rock club, but it was so popular we could never actually get in!

The pool deck was huge and had plenty of deck chairs, but we tended to avoid the area and could typically be found hanging outside out on Deck 8, which is known as the Waterfront. Most of the specialty restaurants had outdoor seating available and several bars had outdoor bars with seats along the waterfront. Until the final sea day, this area was deserted during the day and was a great place to sit in the shade and watch the water. More cruise ships need to made use of the view like the Breakaway!

The Breakaway also had a lot of activities to keep you occupied during your time at sea. From the aqua park to the mini golf course to the ropes course the adventurous had lots of options! There was also shopping, the spa, and lots of other planned activities to keep cruisers busy.

With a large ship like the Breakaway comes a shocking number of dining options. We tried most of them and with one exception had great experiences. One thing that was great about this ship is that no matter what you were looking for, it was offered. From sushi to Spanish tapas to French food and pizza, there was a restaurant for your tastes. Even the buffets had theme nights that seemed to relate to our sailing. Since we sailed out of New Orleans there was a Creole night and another night was a Mexican night. They even had ice sculptures which I thought cruise lines get rid of years ago!

The one exception to the stellar food was a O’Sheehans, the 24 hour bar and grill located on NCL ships. It was really sad because we LOVED O’Sheehans on the Gem. But, after waiting almost an hour from when we sat down to when our food came after getting back on the ship in Belize City, I decided it just wasn’t worth it. I was telling someone about this and they responded “but you’re on vacation right?” Of course, but I wasn’t planning on spending all that time on a meal that was supposed to be quick. The next time we sail Norwegian, I would try O’Sheenhans again, but I wasn’t wasting my time on this sailing.

If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Wordless Wednesday: Costa Maya

Wordless Wednesday: Belize Sign

Harvest Caye: A Day at the Beach

With 4 port days in a row on this cruise, we knew we were going to need a day to just sit back and relax. Harvest Caye, Norwegian’s new private island off the coast of Belize, was the perfect port for that!

Like many private islands, Harvest Caye is full of beach chairs. They also rent kayaks, paddle boards, and small boats that you can take around the lagoon. They also have a zip line that is housed in a lighthouse (above). You can see Macaws and Toucans as well as butterflies and Belizean flora in the nature center. I had never seen a Toucan before so that was pretty cool. They also offer a ferry to mainland Belize (Placencia) for guests to do excursions on their own or arranged through the ship. One way that Harvest Caye is different from Great Stirrup Caye, Norwegian’s other private island in the Bahamas, is that the ship docks at the island so you don’t have to take a tender in. Because of this, you can go back to the ship to get food and drinks. Your ship card does not work on Harvest Caye.

One thing I had heard about Harvest Caye before sailing is to be careful in the beach because jellyfish are prevalent. The purple flag in the photo on the right means dangerous marine life is present, so I stayed out of the water. If you want to avoid jellyfish, Harvest Caye also has a pool. The chairs fill up fast though, so if you want a spot around the pool, get there early. Since we had a $50 per port shore excursion credit, on Harvest Caye we were able to rent a clamshell on the beach for free. It was a nice way to have a designated, shady spot on the beach.

Harvest Caye was very much like what a Caribbean cruise port would look like if it was designed by Americans. Everything was very clean. There were no pushy salespeople. The restaurants are all a part of the Margaritaville brand. There’s nothing wrong with this. Its just very inauthentic. Would I seek out another cruise with a stop at Harvest Caye? Probably not. But, I enjoyed our day here as a way to relax and spend time in the tropical sunshine!

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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