Go See Do Photography

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

Tag: Travel (Page 1 of 2)

6 Ways to Beat Post Vacation Blues

Coming back from vacation is hard! On vacation you’re relaxing, seeing new places, and sleeping in. Now, you’re home, you’re back to your regular schedule, and it feels like you never left. Here are some tips to get over that post-vacation slump!

    Edit your photos – Even if you don’t have professional editing software, it is a lot of fun to improve your vacation photos before sharing them online! A few minor tweaks can make a lot of difference in your pictures.
  1. Create a photo book – I do this for every trip we take! It is so much fun to put your pictures into print and tell the story of your trip! I’m not loyal to any photo book company. I just try to get the best deal. You can often find good deals on Groupon!
  2. Recreate a great meal from your trip – Food and memory are closely related so recreating your favorite meal will jog your memory and allow you to share your trip with friends and family at home in a way that’s less annoying than the stereotypical slideshow.
  3. Take a day trip – Can’t take another vacation this year? Don’t fret! Find someplace new nearby to explore. Be a tourist in your own town! Sometimes we spend so much time thinking about getting away, we miss the experiences that are close to us.
  4. Keep your eye on travel deals – You never know when the next airline sale will pop up with a deal that you just can’t beat! Airfarewatchdog is a great service that will let you know when a specific flight goes on sale.
  5. Start planning your next trip – Think about where you want to go next? Do you want to return to a favorite destination or find someplace new? Check out Pinterest for inspiration for your next getaway and follow blogs like this one for travel ideas!

Thanks for stopping by! 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.

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100 Years of Michigan State Parks

Sauguatuck Dunes State Park

Last month, the Michigan State Park System celebrated its 100th anniversary. With 103 parks, there are a lot of places in the state to enjoy natural Michigan. From Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in the Western Upper Peninsula to Belle Isle in the Detroit River, Michigan State Parks encompass miles of freshwater shoreline, hills, waterfalls, and forests. There is a state park for whatever type of recreation you are looking for.

Tawas State Park

Mackinac Island was actually the first Michigan State Park as a gift from the Federal Government after a brief stint as the second National Park in the country and became the nation’s first state park (wiki). In 1917, the state of Michigan purchased land to make Interlochen State Park the second state park. By 1919, the Michigan State Park commission was created to “oversee, acquire, and maintain” state parks for the enjoyment of the people. Up until that point, many of the beauties of the state were privately owned and there weren’t places for the average person to go visit in their new automobile (govdelivery.com).

Seven Lakes State Park

I love how forward thinking the state of Michigan was back in the early 20th century. What else was happening around the country at that time? In 1919, the Grand Canyon became a National Park. Isle Royal, the only National Park in the state, didn’t become a National Park until 1940. Other state park systems didn’t exist until the 1930s.

McLain State Park

Back in 2012, I set a goal to visit every Michigan State Park. By my estimation, I have visited 49 so far and I have many more parks to explore! Through my explorations, I have seen some pretty amazing places! Of course, I have shared on here my absolute love of Ludington State Park. I probably visit Ludington more often then some parks which are closer to home. I’ve seen the unique beauty of the big spring at Palms Book State Park. I have witnessed the history of Fort Wilkins and Fort Michilimackinac. Just this past weekend, I camped along the shores of Lake Michigan at Fisherman’s Island State Park. I greatly appreciate the experiences I have had at these wonderful parks and I look forward to many more!

Silver Lake State Park

Thanks for stopping by! 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.

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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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Cruising out of New Orleans

One of the reasons we chose this cruise was because it sailed out of New Orleans, and even though I had been to Louisiana several times, I had never made down to the Big Easy. We only had one day to explore the city and there really is so much to see.

Beignets from Cafe Beignet

We got up early (not early by our standards, but early by NOLA standards) and headed to the French Quarter. The line at Cafe du Monde was already around the block so we decided to try Cafe Beignet instead. The beignets were pretty good, but I didn’t really get the hype. After getting off the ship, we went to the Cafe du Monde in the river walk, which is right by the cruise terminal, and I understand it now. You really have to try them to get it!

Before we left on this trip, we decided that with so little time to explore the city, we wanted to take some kind of guided tour. There was only one tour that I found that took you around the whole city and that was the Hop on Hop off Trolley tour. The tour was very fragmented that day because of various events happening around the city. It wouldn’t have been a big deal if we were going to be there for three days, but with only one day to see the city, it was frustrating that the tour was cut short in the French Quarter because of the St Joseph’s Day parade. Apparently this happens a lot in parade season (January-March) so be prepared for that. The tour that we got was very interesting, talking about the early history of the city, Katrina, and Madrid Gras. Honestly, I’m torn over whether or not to recommend this tour. If you’re visiting outside of parade season or have several days to use your ticket, this may be a good tour for you.

Live Oak at the New Orleans Museum of Art

We also made the trek over to the New Orleans Museum of Art. The museum is located in a beautiful building next to City Park. Their collection is relatively small, but they have a lovely sculpture garden that was beautiful at the end of March. I could’ve spent a lot more time there, but it was under construction.

Everything I read about New Orleans said you don’t have to rent a car in New Orleans. I’m going to take that a step further and say DON’T rent a car in New Orleans. People drive like crazy and the pedestrians are no better! I watched a lady walk in front of a moving bus! It is a very walkable city and there is a good public transit system. Uber and Lyft are all over too so you can watch a professional get frustrated with the traffic. Honestly, I don’t know how they do it.

I will have to return to NOLA another time because there was still so much we didn’t get to see. I wish we would’ve had more time to explore the garden district. I also would’ve liked to check out the a World War II museum. We thought about taking a riverboat ride, but then I realized we were going to be taking a large boat down the river the next day.

Thank you for stopping by! Be sure to come back next year as we board the Breakaway and head south to Mexico! To read more about our trip, click here! 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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100 Years of the Grand Canyon

Today marks the 100th Anniversary of Grand Canyon National Park. Afraid that the Grand Canyon would turn into a tourist trap like Niagra Falls, Theodore Roosevelt declared it a National Monument in 1908, which protected the unusual landscape from development. It took 11 years for congress to get on board and designate The Grand Canyon as the 15th American National Park.

I recently got the chance to visit the Grand Canyon after a flush of strange Arizona weather. Where I was, in Phoenix saw two full days of cold rain. After north in the state saw copious amounts of snow. Roads were shut down. People were stuck at home. There was a message on the National Park Service page advising people to cancel their plans and come back another time. We were very close to doing just that, and if it wasn’t for the clerk at the rental car counter telling us that the roads should be fine, we probably would have. Luckily, by Saturday afternoon, the roads were clear so we headed north. The winter is the slowest time of the year at the Grand Canyon. After our experience this summer at Acadia, I was grateful for that. Because of the crazy weather and the travel advisories, I think traffic was even lighter than usual for a weekend in February. We left our hotel early Sunday morning and we were maybe the third car in the visitor center parking lot. It was cold, but definitely worth it.

The Grand Canyon is indescribable. You really have to see it for yourself to appreciate it. There’s a quote about the Grand Canyon that I love: “I have heard rumors of visitors who were disappointed. The same people will be disappointed at the Day of Judgment.” -J.B Priestly First view of the Grand Canyon Theodore Roosevelt described it best: “In the Grand Canyon, Arizona has a natural wonder which is in kind absolutely unparalleled throughout the rest of the world. I want to ask you to keep this great wonder of nature as it now is. I hope you will not have a building of any kind, not a summer cottage, a hotel or anything else, to mar the wonderful grandeur, the sublimity, the great loneliness and beauty of the canyon. Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man can only mar it.

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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Lets Talk About Food

Wings at Duff’s in Buffalo, NY

“Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonald’s? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head?” -Anthony Bordain

Hot Brown from Ramsey’s in Lexington, KY

If you fly across the world, see the sites, but then eat at a restaurant that you have by your house, did you truly experience the culture of the place you visited? I have to say you did not. I don’t think you can truly experience a place and a culture without trying their food. James Beard said “Food is our common ground, a universal experience.”

In all of our travels we try to find unique dining experiences, foods we can’t get at home. Do we typically dine at 5 star restaurants, of course not. Sometimes it’s as basic as finding a local fast food chain that we don’t have at home. If it’s something I can get at home, I try to avoid it while traveling. There was a time a few years ago that we were in Chicago and I was getting hangry. I really wanted to try to find a cool, local place to eat, but my hunger was getting in the way of making decisions. We ended up eating at Panera and I was so upset that I wasted one of our few meals in Chicago on something that is 5 minutes from my house.

Bento Box from Wild Ginger in Corning, NY

With all the technology we have it is so easy to find good and authentic food wherever you go. I talk about it all the time, but TripAdvisor is a great way to get travelers’ honest opinions on restaurants and find places that are under the radar. When we were in Boston we found this very trendy Mexican restaurant called Lolita Cantina. The food was unique and the dining experience is one I will never forget. The meal started with a granita with a splash of tequila and it ended with cotton candy and temporary tattoos.

If you’re looking for something less fancy, go to the dining tab on TripAdvisor and there should be a section labeled cheap eats. We tried all kinds of good restaurants that were unbelievably inexpensive. My favorite was a tiny Italian restaurant in Concord, Massachusetts that served huge portions of pasta. It was not a place I would’ve found just walking around. We also had really good gyros near the campus of Southern New Hampshire State University.

Thin Mint Latte at Higher Grounds in Traverse City, MI

When you travel, branch out of your comfort zone. Try some foods you wouldn’t try at home. It will expand your horizons and transform you. Talk to the people where you’re staying. Find out where they like to eat. Of course check out TripAdvisor. You won’t be disappointed.

Do you have any tips for finding authentic places to eat when you travel? Let me know in the comments.

Thank you for stopping by! Do you have any trip planning tips that I missed? Let me know in the comments! 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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National Plan for Vacation Day

The last Tuesday in January is designated as National Plan for Vacation Day. Why? I have no idea, but I have been doing a lot of planning lately and thought I could talk about it here. As I mentioned in my annual New Years post, I have two trips coming up in the next few months and I have been busy planning for all the little details for those trips.

Since it had been a few years since we had flown, the search for the perfect flights took a lot of searching and waiting, and searching some more. One thing I learned from this search is that nowadays, most of the best deals will actually be found booking directly through the airline, instead of Expedia or a company like that. I used both Kayak and Skyscanner to search with Hopper to tell when the was the best time to book. For both of our trips, we got better deals on one-way flights than on a round trip tickets. Those sites helped us pick through all of the flights find the best deals.

For both of our upcoming trips, we are staying in AirBNBs. AirBNB is great because it allows you to find inexpensive vacation rentals for every need. You just want to crash on a couch, you can probably find it on AirBNB. You need a house for 10? They have that too. AirBNB was a saving grace for our pre-cruise stay in New Orleans because hotels near the port are $300+ per night.

There aren’t many AirBNBs near the Grand Canyon that still have availability a month out, so we went the hotel route for that night. My trick for finding hotel deals is to look at both TripAdvisor and Priceline. TripAdvisor has the reviews and Priceline has the best deals. We ended up getting a great price on the #1 hotel in Grand Canyon, Arizona by checking Priceline before booking TripAdvisor’s deal.

I have been scouring Pinterest for how to handle one day at the Grand Canyon as well as must dos for a short trip to New Orleans. TripAdvisor is great for finding the heart of an area, but it can be overwhelming, especially with a limited amount of time. I’ve been enjoying reading what Bloggers enjoyed during their trips and what they would recommend skipping.

Thank you for stopping by! Do you have any trip planning tips that I missed? Let me know in the comments! 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.

New Year, New Travels!

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Egg Rock Lighthouse

As with the last few years, for 2019 I have set the goal to go at least one place I have never been before. In 2018, I barely went anywhere I had been before. Within the next three months, I have two trips coming up to two places I’ve never explored before so that shouldn’t be a problem. After having not flown on a plane since January 1, 2014, we are going to take two flights in 30 days. And Chris was very excited to point out that neither of them are on Spirit.

The first thing coming up is a trip to Phoenix for a conference. I have never been that far west before so I am hoping to get a little bit of exploring in between sessions. We are also planning on staying an extra day and heading out to the Grand Canyon. You can’t send me that close and not to go! Right now we are trying to figure out where we want to stay. If you have any advice, please tell me in the comments. I’m a little overwhelmed right now.

And of course, the cruise I have been talking about has pushed back so many times I wasn’t sure it was ever going to happen is coming up early this year! We are sailing out of New Orleans, which I have been to Louisiana several times but never to NOLA before. From there, we sail to Mexico and Belize. I’m excited to get back to the sea and smell the salt air while enjoying a floating hotel. Cruising is the best.

After that, I don’t have anything planned, which is very weird feeling. I’m sure we will get some camping in this summer, exploring more of our beautiful home state. Be sure to stay tuned to find out where we end up!

Thanks for stopping by! Where are you traveling to in 2019? Let me know in the comments! 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.

Acadia National Park: Cadillac Mountain

Cadillac Mountain Panorama

Cadillac Mountain is the highest point on the east coast and is the first part of the country to see the sunrise each morning. At 1,530 feet tall, you can see most of Mount Desert Island from the top. As you can see from the photos on this page, fog is a common occurrence in the summer.

Cadillac Mountain is named for the French explorer, Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, Sieur de Cadillac who was given 100,00 acres of wilderness (including Mount Desert Island) in present day Maine from the French government in 1668. Of course, this is the same Cadillac who founded what is now the city of Detroit and is the namesake of Cadillac Motors. I love that little Acadia to Michigan connection. Before the name was changed to Cadillac in 1918, the peak was known as Green Mountain.

Oceana Insignia in Bar Harbor, as seen from Cadillac Mountain

In recent years, Bar Habor has become a popular destination for cruise ships. I know a Canada/New England cruise is on my bucket list. A lot of people who cruise to Bar Harbor want to explore Acadia and of course, make a stop at Cadillac Mountain. The day we were exploring Cadillac Mountain, we could see a small ship off in the distance. The cruise nerd in me wanted to know which one it was, so I went onto CruiseTT, and discovered it was Oceana Insignia. It was funny walking around at the top of the mountain and seeing people who were dressed way too nicely to be exploring a National Park. I’m sure those were the cruisers.

If you visit Acadia, definitely make the drive up Cadillac Mountain. If you’re an early riser (and lets face it, I’m not) head up there at sunrise. The photos I’ve seen are breathtaking!

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to stop back here next week when I will share about exploring Acadia by water! 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.

Looking Ahead to 2018

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Every year, I set the goal to go to at least one place I had never been before. In 2017, I revisted a lot of places such as the North Carolina’s Outer Banks as well as some of my favorite places like Ludington and Tahquamenon Falls. I also explored new places: Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Jamestown, and Harpers Ferry (pictured above).

In 2018, I am looking forward to getting back on a cruise ship. Sailing out of Miami, this cruise is visiting four ports that will be new to me: Roatan, Honduras; Harvest Cay, Belize; and Costa Maya and Cozumel, Mexico. I hope to also explore some new places in my home state as well.

I definitely felt a lack of photographic inspiration in 2017 and I feel like my photography stagnated. Hopefully, this year I will get inspired to get out and shoot more and make beautiful images. Stay tuned to the blog to find out!

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! 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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