STATUS QUOtes — 20150826

“Stay close to anything that makes you glad you are alive.” — Hāfez

“Between the great things we cannot do and the small things we will not do, the danger is that we shall do nothing.” — Adolph Monod

“An error doesn’t become a mistake until you refuse to correct it.” — John F. Kennedy

“Those who cannot remember history are doomed to learn it from Oliver Stone movies.” — John Harkness originally published this post

Pickleball Dinking Drill with Matt and Brian Staub

Two of the nation’s best Pickleball players, Matt and Brian Staub, present a video detailing how to practice dinking. For many dinking may mean getting the ball just over the net to land short in the kitchen, but as you watch this video, notice how the Staubs hit most of their dink shots with some force to get the ball near the opponent’s kitchen line. Also take notice of how good they are at following the ball and hitting those short volley returns out of the air.

How many dinks like those they hit can you do in a row?

Quoted from the YouTube Video Notes (emphasis added):

Matt and Brian Staub practice dinking. Staying compressed is crucial during all dinking drills, this keeps you in a ready position and prevents your head from bobbing up and down which changes your eye level. This is also a great way to practice your short-hopping and blocking technique.

STATUS QUOtes — 20150825

“Hope is a renewable option: If you run out of it at the end of the day, you get to start over in the morning. — Barbara Kingsolver

“To achieve great things, two things are needed; a plan, and not quite enough time.” — Leonard Bernstein

“If there is one thing worse than being an ugly duckling in a house of swans, it’s having the swans pretend there’s no difference.” — Teena Booth

“Never relinquish clothing to a hotel valet without first specifically telling him that you want it back.” — Fran Lebowitz originally published this post

STATUS QUOtes — 20150824

“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant — there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.” — Georgia O’Keeffe

“In each of us there is a little of all of us.” — Georg Lichtenberg

“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.” — Tony Robbins

“Red meat is not bad for you. Now blue-green meat, that’s bad for you!” — Tommy Smothers originally published this post

Airplane Seating – May Be Key to Crash Survival

Your chances of being killed in an airplane crash are about 1 in 11 million (according to the article linked below), but…

When you travel by air and you select a seat, what are your considerations? I know people who most want a window seat so they can put a “pillow” against the window wall and sleep. Others want an aisle seat to make getting to the bathroom easier. Many want to avoid the middle because they don’t like being sandwiched.

Do you ever consider the safety factors? I am talking about: “Which seat will give me (you) the best chance of surviving an airplane accident?” Honestly I haven’t thought much about that either except I know I don’t like sitting in the back of an airplane because I always felt that was the least safe place to be in an emergency and the location of the bathrooms create too much traffic and noise.

The link below is to an article that will give you a new perspective on selecting airplane seating among other safety factors. According to the author, you only have about “90 seconds to get out” so which seat will maximize your chance of survival?

NOTE – This website is designed for men and their issues so apologies ahead of time for the gender related pop-ups, etc. I still think the issues raised are important for everyone.

Read the article How to Survive a Plane Crash: 10 Tips That Could Save Your Life

Even if you don’t heed all the cautions, I think some will change your outlook about flying!

Oh! One last thing:

“If you were born on an airliner in the US in this decade and never got off you would encounter your first fatal accident when you were 2300 years of age and you would still have a 29% chance of being one of the survivors.” — Les Lautman, Boeing Safety Manager

Stuck In the Heat – Trey Ratcliff’s Phoenix Photo Walk


Picture Courtesy of Trey’s Website

On this very hot day, it was a cool thing to do! Trey Ratcliff, known world wide as the father of modern High Dynamic Range photography, was going to be in my town, Phoenix, Arizona. His Photo Walk Across the USA had made it to the west.

Of course most people don’t come this way during the heat of August, but Trey is a trooper as is the rest of his crew. They were making their way through several major cities to publicize a number of things and to give fans a chance to do a photo walk with them.

The Phoenix photo walk began at the Irish Cultural Center. I never knew there was such an organization until I needed to find the location. As you can see, it is a beautiful building.

Trey likes to refer to his tour bus as a megabus and it was!

For someone who has earned quite a bit of celebrity, Trey is very approachable. You can imagine how uncomfortable it was in the heat of the desert in a paved parking lot, but he continued to meet and greet people and take photos with them for way more than an hour.

Here I am (wearing the light cap) with others talking to Trey.

Picture Courtesy of a screen grab of Trey’s footage of the Walk –

My wife came along, but tended to stay in the background. She likes photography, but isn’t a picture taker. The yellow arrow points to wife Mary and the green arrow is me again (sorry).

Picture Courtesy of a screen grab of Trey’s footage of the Walk –

I guess you can call Curtis Trey’s right hand man. He can be seen on videos and webinar type experiences offered through the Stuck In Customs website. He provided some helpful hints and guidelines prior to the walk.

As time approached for the walking tour to begin, the crowd began to form.

Trey was wearing some amazing Nikes

But he wasn’t the only one!

A note needed here – I don’t own a camera that is able to take quality pictures in low light. The best I could do was with my trusty iPad and my Canon PowerShot A590. So…many of the shots that remain will be grainy, but I think they still offer a good “feel” for how the night unfolded.

As we began to walk around downtown and without knowing where the tour would lead, the sun began to set. One of the first photo opportunities was a church that was barely lit, but had a nice courtyard.

Trey was using the new Sony a7R Mark II which has great low light abilities as well as being at the top if its class and, according to the initial reviews, surpasses many of those in other classes as well. Do you detect camera envy?!

After another brisk walk, we stopped at this street corner. Trey explained that he liked the mix of the mural on the wall and the building lights.

One of the best things about the photo walk was that the participants could ask questions which TR was glad to answer. He discussed the composition and the details indicating why he thought each shot would make a good picture.

Trey wasn’t taking single shots either. He was taking HDR photos which call for a series of three exposures; one properly exposed, one two stops over and the other two stops under. These are later combined to yield the HDR picture bringing a high dynamic range to the photo with details in shadow areas as well as those that are strongly lit.

As the traffic light was changing, other photogs were asking questions; a walk and talk kind of experience.

There was another picture opportunity at a concert in the park where this modern structure made of optical cable or wire was being illuminated by changing lights. (I will provide a link to better pictures at the end of this post) so you can appreciate the full effect.

At this stop (below) trey provided another “Mind Vitamin” (something to think about) as he pointed out how converging lines help give depth to a picture and offer the viewer somewhat more than a two dimensional experience.

He stated that he loved the green trees, i.e.Palo Verdes.

Others took the opportunity look at his camera (as he had it set up to take the pictures on a time delay) so they could examine the settings, etc.

One of the AV crew members was wearing this shirt which I thought had a slightly ironic twist.

Trey was toting his ultimate camera bag” that he and Peak Design worked on together. At least his gear was on the light side.

Trey selected this shot because of the pattern of light and dark and the reflections. This picture doesn’t do it justice, but I think you get the idea.

Once again, Trey stopped to discuss scenes that cried out to be photographed.

Another example of converging lines drawing the eye into the picture.

This was one of the last stops of the tour before the after party so we headed back to the car since we had a long ride home.

On the way back to the car (a nearly two mile trek) through downtown Phoenix, we came across this scene. I know it is just a water fountain, but it struck a responsive chord with me especially after reading the sign (The Little Fountain That Could).

To see the best pictures of the Phoenix photo walk, go to the Google+ page Best of: Trey’s Phoenix Photo Walk

You can watch the Phoenix Photo Walk Video:

This is the general site for the Photo Walk Across the USA

If you want to learn more about HDR photography and the story behind Trey Ratcliff’s photography experience, you can check my former blog post,Founding Father of HDR Photography – Trey Ratcliff, which includes a link to Trey’s inspirational TED talk!

Careful Cairn Construction and Care – Hiking Guides

cairn – a pile of stones that marks a place (such as the place where someone is buried or a battle took place) or that shows the direction of a trail [ ]


Stone Trail Cairn Marker

As indicated by a number of our posts, my wife and I are avid hikers and nature lovers. We often seek places where few want to go as well as those that provide views that few will ever get to see. Thus we often hit the trails of lesser known hiking sites and we are always thankful when we have difficult locating the “marked” trail and other hikers have taken time to construct a cairn.

Unfortunately, there are times when we have been misled by cairns or they were constructed in such a way that we misinterpreted them. We carry a GPS system so we have a backup plan when necessary.

Stone Trail Cairn Marker

David B. Williams has written a book, Ciarns: Messengers in Stone, whereby he covers a broad array of topics related to their history, geology, etc.

Among the topics discussed is the proper construction and care of cairns. One point, for example, is as follows:

“If you build a cairn to mark your trail or a specific location, don’t forget that certain responsibilities come along with creating rock piles outdoors. Cairns can convey many messages to travelers but they are commonly interpreted as trail markers. Misplaced cairns can lead hikers astray and leave them lost and disgruntled after discovering it is a dead end.”

You can read the rest of the article about the book and learn more about building cairns at the link that follows.

Via The Mountaineers Books

Originally seen on the Wirecutter! a recommended website for tech reviews, etc.

STATUS QUOtes — 20150823

“If you can’t afford to do something right, then be darn sure you can afford to do it wrong.” — Charlie Nelson

“Imitation can be limitation in disguise.” — Brian Vander Ark

“I’ve made up stuff that’s turned out to be real, that’s the spooky part.” — Tom Clancy

“The secret of a good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending, then having the two as close together as possible.” — George Burns originally published this post