The iPad Pro

Again, thanks to a very generous trade-in offer for my 2018 iPad and a discount program provided by my company, I have upgraded to this year’s iPad Pro. I even chipped in a little extra for the magic keyboard, pencil and Magic Mouse.

After adding a SIM card from my wireless carrier, this device is truly the best portable computer out there. During a recent trip to the mountains I could plan my hikes, geocaching and places to eat. After a long day of shooting during my hikes, all my images were uploaded to the iPad and ready for post-processing. Articles were published here while I was out and about and yes, Netflix was playing on it because hotel rooms have shitty cable tv service.

After the iPhone 12, and MacBook Pro, this makes the third significant upgrade in my tech devices that are future-proofed. That is to say, with their industry-leading specs and beautiful design, they will last me for a minimum of five years. And I cannot wait to put them all to the test.

Route 66…Again

Having journeyed the whole route of Route 66, the highway that runs through six states from Chicago to Los Angeles, the road beckons again. It doesn’t help that I live one block away from it here in Tulsa. There is a reminder everyday to get back on it and go. In the meantime, I have a lot of reminders as Tulsa is the final resting place of the creator of Route 66, Cyrus Avery. Tulsa is almost the exact center of the route and they have built it up as such with many markers and symbolism.

This weekend was spent finding more than a few geocaches along the route in Tulsa, including some markers I have not seen before. A reminder for me to keep going out and never stop exploring.

Cyrus Avery

Geocache

Geocaching is the world’s largest treasure hunt. Using GPS coordinates, you can navigate to a hidden cache, sign the log, maybe grab some trinkets and then move on to the next one. Perfect for getting out and exploring places you ordinarily wouldn’t discover on your own. I can’t tell you how many times I went off in search of a cache and have been rewarded with the journey to it.

See this image of geocaching and more on my photography website.

Walking Along The Seashells

A visual journey on the Texas/Mexico Coastline.

It was time to recalibrate and reset my mind, body and soul and take a vacation. Having been denied a trip to the Chihuahuan desert plains near Terlingqua and Big Bend National park twice, once to COVID and the second time due to wildfire, I had to think of another destination. The idea being somewhere I haven’t been, remote and less people. So let’s head down to the Boca Chica Beach on the Mexican border.

Along with MissAdventure, we drove down all the way through Texas with visits to Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Brownsville, South Padre Island and finally, Boca Chica.

Texas/Mexico border and the Gulf of Mexico

Beaches are considered as highways in Texas so of course I decided to do just that and ended up stuck in the sand for ten minutes until we wedged it out. Next time, go for the compacted sand closer to the water. Later on we did just that. Rolling down the windows, beers in hand while driving the maximum speed allowed of 15 mph. I enjoyed every minute of it but was mindful of the rising tides and driving up closer to the deeper bits of sand on the beach so we turned back.

The Ford Edge, affectionately named the Mule

Having parked our little mule on the tarmac we then set foot south for three miles towards the Mexican border and the confluence of the Rio Grande and the Gulf of Mexico. Along the way we were treated to the most concentrated collection of sea shells I have ever seen dumped onto the shores. We even discovered five washed up Portuguese Man O’ War jellyfish, er, hydrozoan, excuse me, and catfish. Did you know that there were PMOWs and catfish in the Gulf of Mexico? I didn’t, and this added to the adventure. Finally we reached the river that divides two countries and waved to the vacationing Mexicans on the other side. Life is different when you see it from this perspective. What are boundaries? Why are they needed? Why do we still use the term “foreigners” and who the hell wants to put up a wall that prevents us from being proper neighbors? 

After time spent on the border we decided to trek the three mile stroll back. At one point we had the whole beach to ourselves and it was glorious. 

Due to the high winds and rising tide we decided not to set up the tent on the beach or start a fire, opting instead to spend the night in the SUV. We were treated to views of the Space-X launch facility and workers assembling the Starship overnight.

The next morning I woke up early to see the crews still maintaining the spacecraft in preparation for a test launch. After finding suitable restroom facilities in the dark and behind a sand dune, we treated ourselves to the sunrise coming in over the ocean and then fed the seagulls and grackles their bread breakfast and decided it was time to head back before Space-X had the road closed for two days. Too bad we weren’t allowed to stay on the beach any longer.

Goodbye Adobe

Since 2006, I’ve enjoyed utilizing Adobe Lightroom to organize and post-process my images. Adobe’s software has since gone from a one-time purchase to a subscription plan for photographers. Earlier today I received an email stating it was to time to resubscribe and it got me thinking, “Do I need this anymore?”

Utilizing their photography software has been a joy but after much consideration, I decided to remove my images from their cloud servers, delete their programs and not renew.

These past few months I have been looking for ways to simplify my photography and not get hung up on the technical side of it. Other software alternatives have developed so well that I took another look at them and decided they will do just fine in comparison.

With the capability to capture raw images on my Canon DSLR and the iPhone, the ability to process them on my Apple devices, and then publish them on the go it made sense to me to give this simpler workflow a try.

San Jose mission, San Antonio Texas captured on Canon, processed in Darkroom