When I was in Colorado visiting family last, I was fortunate to be able to experience Red Rocks Park on a beautiful Fall day. Red Rocks Park is just outside of Denver, Colorado and is home to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Many legendary performances from famous bands like the Beatles, U2, Dave Matthews Band, Coldplay, Incubus, and Neil Young have all had performances on that stage at varying times. Red Rocks is considered to be a naturally occurring, geologically formed, open-air amphitheatre that can seat up to 9,450 guests.
Most people who visit Seattle don't realize that The Pike Place Market is more than a century old. The Market first opened for business on August 17, 1907 and is one of the main draws in the beautiful Emerald City.
If you love fish, Pike Place Fish is the place to go. The original Starbucks is also right there on Pike Street across from the Market, which is a must see. I can't drink caffeinated beverages unfortunately, but as a shareholder, I couldn't not pay it a visit. If you make your way down to Post Alley, you'll notice a whole ton of gum all over the wall just outside of the Market Theater. Patrons of the Market Theater have been sticking gum to the wall for many years now and the city finally gave up trying to scrape all the gum off. If you're traveling with your sweetheart, make sure you pick up a bouquet of flowers for her at the Market. I've never seen such stunning assortments of flowers and you can grab a bundle for about five bucks to bring back with you to the hotel.
Walking down 5th avenue in Seattle is a lot of fun with all the cool mom and pop shops, cafes, and restaurants. If you're feeling courageous you can take a glass blowing class at the Seattle Glass Blowing Studio, or grab a bite to eat at the Opaline Bakery next door and watch the glass blowers work their magic. If you are ever in that part of Seattle though, be sure to also grab a doughnut at Top Pot Doughnuts. You'll ask yourself how you ever thought Krispy Kreme tasted good.
If you shoot photos, whether you consider yourself a photographer, a hobbyist, or whatever, backing up your photos is as critical as being in the right place at the right time with your camera ready to go. The fact is, accidents happen and they're unavoidable. Not to be a stick in the mud but even if you've never had a hard drive fail on you, it will happen eventually. If you don't have a good backup plan, losing all your photos to a hard drive failure can be devastating. The good news is, there are dozens of ways to minimize your risk of losing photos should your storage medium fail.
If Androidography or iPhoneography is your thing, backing up your photos can be as simple as installing the Dropbox app on your phone and turning on Auto Camera Upload. If you're shooting with a camera such as a DSLR, your options are quite a bit more involving, especially if you shoot in RAW format.
I personally use a combination of several methods to back up my photos. I start by importing and cataloging all of my new photos on an internal hard drive using Adobe Lightroom. While I'm importing my photos into Lightroom, I set the option to back up all of my raw files to an external RAID setup. After I'm done editing my photos, I export the finished photos to my Dropbox account by setting Dropbox up as a Published Service in Lightroom. This step is key in my backup plan because all of my finished photos are in the cloud on Dropbox's servers. If my hard drive fails, I can access these photos from any device that has Dropbox installed. The final component of my backup plan involves sharing my photos online through Flickr and Google+. Flickr and Google+ both preserve the full resolution photo that you upload to your account. If either my Dropbox, Flickr, or Google+ account shall ever get hacked or compromised in any way, I will still have two other redundant copies of my finished photos available in the cloud.
Now what the hell is RAID you may be asking? Good question. To give you a very basic overview, a RAID setup is where you have multiple hard drives that each contain a redundant copy of data. Building a good RAID setup can be very costly but there are affordable options available. I personally use a Western Digital My Book II. The My Book II is an external plastic enclosure that contains two 1 Terabyte hard drives. When I plug the My Book II into my computer, I configure it for RAID 1. RAID 1 means that all of the contents I load onto my WD My Book II are automatically written to both hard drives inside the enclosure. Even though my total storage space is 2 Terabytes (1 TB hard drive x2), the actual space available for backup is 1 Terabyte. This is because everything on the first hard drive is redundantly copied to the second hard drive. If one of the hard drives fails, there is still an additional hard drive containing a copy of my files.
To further drive home the point that you need a good backup plan, one of the hard drives in my Western Digital My Book II recently failed. Thankfully the RAID 1 configuration stored a redundant copy of my files onto the second hard drive. Additionally, I still had the master copy of all my files on the internal hard drive that my Adobe Lightroom catalog uses. I must stay, my experience Western Digital customer service has been stellar. Since my My Book II was still under warranty, they shipped me a new My Book II, no questions asked. Not only did they ship me a new My Book II, they shipped me an upgraded 4 Terabyte model since the 2 Terabyte model was obsolete.
I can't begin to list all of the methods for backing up photos in this blog post but I do plan on expanding on the various options in a follow up post. I admit though, my plan is far from perfect. I'd be curious to hear about the back up methods you're using. Drop a comment below and let me know what works for you.
As the sun sets over Puget Sound, the last direct sun light of the day reflects onto the Seattle skyline and gives the buildings a radiating glow that is absolutely stunning to experience. This happens only for a few minutes before the sun disappears beyond the horizon. Don't plan on leaving right after the sun finishes setting. Staying through the blue hour is an absolute must. You'll get to see all of the buildings light up into the night as the sky turns to a beautiful deep dark blue. The best place in Seattle to experience a beautiful sunset is at Kerry Park atop Queen Anne Hill, just minutes outside of Downtown Seattle. This location gets quite crowded during the sunset hour, so it's good to arrive early to grab dibs on the best possible spot.
Seattle is one city I could keep going back to and never get sick of. If you go in the summer months, you'll be greeted with the most beautiful blue skies, weather in the mid 70's, and no humidity. It's infamous for its rain and gloomy skies, but there's certainly no shortage of character or beauty in this unique little town. If there are two things you tend to think of first when you hear about Seattle, it's probably the Space Needle, and rain. Whenever I yearn for being back in Seattle, I can look out this window and with a little imagination, I'll be there.
My wife and I have a tradition of going to the Orange County Fair every year. If the deep fried (insert food item of choice) wasn't reason enough to go, the photography exhibit is absolutely worth the price of admission. It is such a wonderfully curated gallery of fine art photographs.
The main attraction that seems to capture my attention the most however, is always the big ferris wheel. Every year, I try to shoot it from a different perspective. I usually try to capture movement in what I photograph, but this time I tried something different that I don't usually do. I stopped all motion in the ferris wheel, and as it turns out, it's the lack of movement that makes this shot so intriguing to me. This may be the start of something new. Lesson learned, sometimes it's best not to over think things.
When you finally arrive in Manhattan after a long flight, you wouldn't typically think of immediately catching the subway into Brooklyn, but that's exactly what I did. I had always wanted to watch the sun set over Manhattan and I arrived in the big city right on time.
There's a platform looking out at Manhattan called Fulton Landing that is little known to anyone but locals. It's the most incredible place to watch the sun set over the Big Apple while the entire skyline lights up into the night.
While you're at Fulton Landing, be sure to grab a slice of pizza at Grimaldi's down the street and a scoop of ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory on Fulton Landing. You will not be disappointed.
The Bank of California was established in 1864 and resides at 400 California Street, in San Francisco. This building was built between 1906-1908 and is now considered a historical landmark. Through various mergers and acquisitions over the years, the Bank of California has grown to become known now as Union Bank.
The cool spring time weather and a late night stroll with that special someone along a secluded antique style pier, make San Francisco's Pier 7 the perfect spot for a romantic evening.
Pier 7 is one of the most beautiful piers in all of California. Its architecture is reminiscent of the Victorian age with it's wooden construction, iron railing, and antique style benches and light posts.
The San Francisco skyline provides a contrasting backdrop of modern architecture that makes Pier 7 a very unique cityscape.
This pier, while sitting at the forefront of a restless ADHD city, offers a beautiful setting for enjoying a nice and quite evening with your loved one, away from all that lies ahead in the big city that never seems to sleep.