October 1, 2018
I've been using Aurora 2019 for about two weeks now to edit my photos and have to say it is hands down the best HDR photo editor that I have tried. I don't consider myself a "professional" photographer, but I have tried my fair share of HDR solutions. Until Aurora 2019 there was always something I didn't like about them. I've used Photomatix, Lightroom, Photoshop, Nik Software, and both prior versions of Aurora. To find out more about it read my Aurora HDR 2019 Review. There is an excellent presale going on until October 4, 2018, with all sorts of bonus items, click here to check it out. If you miss the presale, then use code FROSWORLD upon checkout to save 10%.
I've also been using Photolemur to edit some of my photos lately and have found it to be a handy tool in my workflow, but where I think it shines is for people who don't want to spend time editing photos and want a better finished product. To find out more about it, read my Photolemur Review. You can use the same coupon code FROSWORLD to save 10%. Click here to get more info or purchase it.
September 29, 2018
Wow, summer sure went by fast this year. With all the fires here in California my hiking and photography has been somewhat limited. Now I'm trying to soak up the last few weeks of good hiking weather in the mountains before I turn to the coast and skiing for my hiking and mountain recreation.
Since I haven't posted all summer, click the image below for some photos from my adventures this summer.
Also, stay tuned for some upcoming reviews of some new photo-editing software that I've been testing out. I have been testing out the upcoming Aurora HDR 2019 from Skylum as well as their new AI Photo-Editor called Photolemur. Photolemur is an excellent resource for anyone who doesn't like spending time editing. It is literally a one-click photo editor. If you want to check out more about these programs before I post my reviews, go to my photography gear page to get more info
Until next time, make sure you are getting out and enjoying some of the fall colors before they are gone!!!
July 1, 2018
This year I haven't posted nearly as much as in year's past... I know... A few weeks ago, I read another adventure photographer's post on Instagram. After reading their post, it inspired me to share more on my blog and in particular to not be afraid to get personal.
It can be a scary thing to share personal details on your blog for all of the internet world to see, but after reading their post, I realized how sharing personal information could help others. In particular, I've been hesitant to share some personal details about my health that have kept me from posting and getting out on as many adventures this year. But with the first six months of the year behind me, I'm ready to start new in the second half of 2018.
You see, since late 2017 I have been having some health problems that are still unanswered. It started with what seemed like a cold that progressed and kept getting worse. As it progressed, my doctor gave me tests for all sorts of diseases like cancer, auto-immune diseases, HIV, etc. In the end, nothing came back positive, and my doctor diagnosed me with a mono-like virus that just hit me really hard. The problem was, after 2 months I still wasn't back to myself. I was experiencing muscle issues, skin issues, getting lightheaded easily, and didn't have my energy levels back to where they were. I was losing weight, muscle mass, and yet test after test came back without any answers for what was causing it.
Finally, by February I decided to hell with it, I'm not going to let this keep me from living life. I started hitting the ski-slopes, took a trip to Yosemite, and even if I didn't have my usual energy levels, nothing was going to keep me inside. Every time I was outside, I felt better, my lack of fitness caused me to start going to the gym, and slowly but surely I felt like I was getting back to myself.
I kept going like this for a couple of months, but by April I was now experiencing new symptoms. Now I was having trouble controlling my body temperature, my face would flush easily with the most basic of exercise, my throat would get tight, and I was still having some strange skin symptoms. I went back to my doctor for more rounds of tests. After another couple of months of tests, nothing came back abnormal except for slightly elevated hormone levels. That's when in late May my doctor suggested I try a new low-histamine diet. Since they couldn't find anything seriously wrong with me, his theory was that this virus had changed my body chemistry and a low-histamine elimination diet was the best way to give my body a chance to reset.
It's been four weeks now since I've started that diet and I must say, I feel so much better. The only remaining symptoms I am experiencing are skin related issues, and my throat still gets tight and sore easily. Over the last month, I've been backpacking twice and am looking forward to many more trips for the rest of summer. My fitness level may not allow me to do some of the strenuous hikes I had hoped to do this summer, but I'm out there, in nature, and back in my happy place.
Every trip I have taken this year has felt like a new adventure, I have a new appreciation for each step I take hiking, each turn I make in fresh powder, and each image I capture with my camera. There were several moments this year where I didn't think I'd be doing these things again, but I am.
The reason I chose to write this post is that I'm probably not the only one who has felt that something outside their control has taken away their ability to do something they love. The point of this post is don't let that stop you. Humans adapt, and we adapt to all sorts of crazy situations. The key is you just have to keep moving forward, even if the pace is a bit different. However, if you take the time to appreciate the moment, then the pace doesn't matter. All of this has taught me the importance of being in the moment and enjoying the journey and not the destination.
Thanks for reading and if this post helped motivate you in even the smallest of ways, then my goal is met. Seize the day!!!
April 8, 2018
Greetings! I know it's been forever since I've updated my blog. I'll try to do better at that this year. Even though the blog hasn't been updated, I have still been going out on lots of adventures and editing lots of photos to share with you. Remember, you can always stay up to date with the most recent pictures on my "Recent Uploads" page.
One of my most memorable experiences this winter was a trip to Yosemite National Park back in February. We had a dry spell with very little precipitation, so instead of skiing, I took off for a weekend in Yosemite, and it did not disappoint. The first night I stayed just outside the park at the Yosemite Westgate Lodge. They have very reasonably priced winter rates. The second night I stayed in the park at the Yosemite Valley Lodge so that I'd be closer to all the prime photo spots in the valley.
I have always wanted to capture those "classic" Yosemite photos. For example, Tunnel View, Yosemite Falls, Half Dome, etc. By going during the winter, I was able to visit many of these famous photo destinations with half of the crowds. If you've never visited Yosemite in the winter, I highly recommend it.
I've been busy editing some photos from that trip and recently created a Yosemite Photo Gallery to share them with you. Below are a few pictures from that gallery. Check it out!
December 23, 2017
Hello and happy holidays!
I know it's been awhile since I've posted. The last few months have been interesting. October was full of last-minute hiking, backpacking, brewfests, and concerts. Then November came along and welcomed me with an ear infection. The ear infection turned into some sort of nasty virus that ended up kicking my butt and took me down for quite awhile. I can't remember the last time I was that sick and for that long. The good news is that after finally allowing myself to rest for several weeks I am on the mend, and looking forward to the holidays and a new year!!!
You may notice that the site looks just a little bit different. While I was sick, I got bored and got the idea to change a few things around. Nothing major, only some aesthetic changes that I think make the site just a little bit better.
Feel free to explore around and tell me what you think. You'll notice there is now a "contact" page that you can use to contact me and some other small changes. There are some pages I still need to update, so if you stumble on something that looks a bit wonky, I'm on it! I will be doing a bit of tinkering here and there so keep checking back.
Until my next post, here are a few recently edited photos to share with you.
October 2, 2017
Fall is in the air. I've got one last backpacking trip coming up before it will probably be too cold to head to the mountains with the gear I have. One of these days, I'll invest in some colder weather backpacking gear, but until then I'll just have to backpack along the coast or go car camping... ..at least until it snows enough to start skiing again.
Speaking of gear, I often get questions about what type of gear I recommend for both hiking and photography. I try to keep my gear list updated on the Gear page and just recently added some of my favorite hiking gear, so if you would like to know, check it out. One day I'll write up reviews of some of my favorite gear so you can find out more about it.
One of the first pieces of my "Favorite Gear" that I'd like to share with you is the new version of Aurora HDR Photo Editing Software by Macphun. Aurora HDR 2018 just came out on Friday, but I already can see some significant improvements over Aurora HDR 2017. The biggest improvement is you can now get the software for PC and Mac. Aurora HDR 2017 and all prior versions were only available on Mac. I switched to a Mac when the first version of Aurora HDR came out, so that doesn't matter to me, but I know lots of PC users who have been waiting for this moment.
If you're a PC user, the choice for the best HDR software is now easy, it's Aurora HDR 2018. You don't even have to have three bracketed images like most HDR software because it works great with only one image too. If you're a Mac user, the choice is also easy, unless you already have Aurora HDR 2017. While there are some dramatic speed improvements and some beneficial changes to the UI with Aurora 2018, the overall image quality isn't much different. With that said, the upgrade price is relatively inexpensive and in my opinion is worth it for the improved speed and extra features. For more info click the Aurora HDR 2018 Banner and use the code "FROSWORLD" at checkout for additional savings.
Below are some pictures I edited over the weekend with Aurora HDR 2018 as a part of my workflow for the first time. Please note, that Aurora HDR 2018 was the primary software used to edit these pictures, but they were also adjusted with some additional editing plugins to create the finished product you see here. I'll be posting a full review of Aurora HDR 2018 after I have a chance to use it more and I'll also be working on a few video tutorials as well. Stay tuned.
September 16, 2017
Are all of you fellow outdoor lovers like me and trying to squeeze in as many adventures as you can before summer ends?
I know I spent the last few weeks of August and early September journeying up and down the Eastern Sierras trying to avoid smoke from all the fires here in California and looking for as many last minute adventures as I could find. One of those adventures was a bucket list hike of mine up the North Fork of Big Pine Creek to the Palisade Glacier. The Palisade Glacier is the largest remaining glacier in the Sierra Nevadas, and it sits right under the North Palisade which is the 3rd highest peak in the Sierra Nevada range.
To get to the Palisade Glacier, you'll take Glacier Lodge Road out of Big Pine, California and drive to the trailhead for the North Fork of Big Pine Creek. From there you'll set off on a trail that passes some of the most beautiful and easily accessible alpine terrain in the Eastern Sierras. Along the way, you'll pass three beautiful turquoise lakes that get their color from all the glacial sediment suspended in the water. Just past the 3rd lake, you'll follow a well-marked trail up to Sam Mack Meadow. This is where the trail gets much more challenging.
Sam Mack Meadow is one of the most beautiful little meadows I have seen in the Sierra Nevadas and makes the more difficult hiking completely worth it. It's nestled between two granite ridgelines with a lovely glacial stream running through it and several small pools that cast reflections of the surrounding peaks.
Once you've had a chance to take in Sam Mack Meadow, you set off for even more climbing to the base of the Palisade Glacier. I was lucky and got to see the glacier this summer after one of our best winters in recent memory. The lingering snow made the glacier seem so much more massive than the pictures I had seen online that were taken during the last few years when we were experiencing drought conditions. If you'd like to check out the Palisade Glacier, stay tuned for a more detailed description of the hike that I'll be adding to the Destinations section of this site in the future.
To check out some pics from my trip, scroll through the photos below or go to my John Muir Wilderness Gallery. Enjoy!!!
August 14, 2017
I know it's been awhile since I last posted. I've been busy planning trips and going on trips, along with holding down my day job.
You may recall in my last post, I mentioned that I had a trip upcoming to the High Sierras. Well, I ended up pulling the plug on that trip because there was still a ton of snow and dangerous stream crossings. That's okay because instead I went on one of the best backpacking trips ever to The Three Sisters Wilderness, and in a few weeks I'll be on vacation again. This time I am definitely heading to the High Sierras. The Three Sisters Wilderness turned out to be a great trip though, and I can't wait to go back to Oregon for more backpacking in the near future.
As a kid, I spent a week or so almost every summer camping with my parents in the Cascade Mountains and in particular near the Three Sisters and the town of Bend. I remember my last family camping trip there my freshman year in college. I had just started getting into backpacking and had read about how the South Sister (the southernmost of the "Three Sisters" volcanoes) could be summited without any rock climbing skills needed. Since then, it has always been something I wanted to accomplish, and why it took me this long, I don't know. I'm happy that I was able to accomplish it on this trip though and I know one thing... I'll definitely be going back to Oregon for more backpacking in the future. Stay tuned, I'll be posting a more detailed account of my trip up the South Sister. It turned out to be one of the best summits I've ever hiked.
In the meantime, if you want to check out some pictures from my trip, click the one below to go to my Three Sisters Wilderness Gallery.
July 5, 2017
I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July weekend. I got out for more exploring in the high country this weekend and had a blast. I went on a day hike to Meiss Lake from Carson Pass and it was gorgeous. The weekend before, I also got out for my first backpacking trip of the summer to Rubicon Reservoir and Desolation Wilderness and am amazed at how much snow is left above 8,000 feet.
I've got a trip coming up into the High Sierras in a few weeks and I sure hope that enough snow has melted to not have to carry crampons and an ice axe. It's a long hike and I don't want any more weight than I'm already going to have with all my food and supplies.
Oh well, what will be, will be, and like every summer I'll just make the most of it. It's funny, the area I am going to this summer is the same area I was forced out of two summers ago due to a fire. Well, if I miss it this summer, I can honestly say that it was fire and ice that kept me from it.
Stay tuned for more info on that upcoming trip as well as several others. I have quite a few short trips to the Lake Tahoe area coming up and so my posts may be sporadic. I'll try to keep updating my "Summer of 2017" Gallery that I just created to track some of my photos from this summer. Check it out below!
June 19, 2017
It's getting closer to summer which means backpacking season is around the corner. It may take a bit longer than usual this year to get back to the high country though. Until then, I'll reflect back on one of the early season trips I did last July to the Hoover Wilderness. I just finished editing all the pics from that trip and thought I'd share them with you below.
The trip was supposed to be a three-day, two-night trip where we'd make a loop around several lakes, into Yosemite's Virginia Canyon, and then back out over Virginia Pass. Well, on the way in I started feeling ill. I wasn't able to make it beyond the first 4 miles without getting sick and starting to feel utterly weak. I asked my friend Jeff if we could just put up camp at Green Lake and see how I felt in the morning. The rest of the day was hard. Setting up camp without anything in your stomach and being out of energy was horrible. I'm pretty sure I was suffering from food poisoning judging from the symptoms and the fact that I have been at much higher elevations without any symptoms of nausea. I went to bed that night hoping to feel better the next morning.
I was able to sleep through the entire night and by morning was feeling cautiously optimistic that I was doing better. I did some fishing around camp and finally got the courage to try to make breakfast. It turned out my body handled it just fine. Knowing that we would be getting too late of a start to finish the loop without pushing for a long hard day, we decided to stay at camp and hike to Virgina Pass for the day and come back. I'd be damned if I wasn't going to at least step foot in Yosemite National Park.
The rest of the trip I felt fine. We hiked up Glines Canyon, past some old mining equipment and all the way to a very, very windy Virgina Pass. The view was incredible!!! I was a bit bummed that I wasn't able to complete the loop down through the canyon and back up the pass, but I at least was able to see what my route would have been.
I'll be posting a full detailed trip report to the Destinations section soon in case you want to make this one of your early season trips. Make sure to check with the ranger station in Bridgeport though for trail conditions. Right now it's still under several feet of snow.
June 12, 2017
Hello everyone!!! I hope you've been getting outside and enjoying what's left of spring. It's going to be summer before you know it and for those of us in the Central Valley of California, it will be time for those 100+ degree days very soon. Although this year, who knows. Ski resorts are staying open through August and it just snowed yesterday in the Tahoe area.
A couple of weeks ago, I went camping up near McCloud, California which is near Mt. Shasta and about 1 1/2 hours outside of Redding. I went to stay at Fowler's Campground on the McCloud River to do some fishing and take some photos of the Upper, Middle, and Lower McCloud Falls. I'd highly recommend checking them out, especially with all the water flowing this year.
The image below is one of my favorites from that trip. We hiked all day along the McCloud River and when I saw the Middle McCloud Falls, I had this "artistic vision" about coming back at night to capture it in the moonlight with stars out above. Around 11 pm, once our campfire was dying down, we set off with a few beers, my camera, and my tripod to see what type of shots we could get, and also to enjoy having the falls all to ourselves. During the day there were so many people you had to wait in line to get a good spot to take a photo. I was hoping we'd have the falls all to ourselves at night. The moon was so bright that we barely had to use our headlamps to make the 1.25 mile hike from camp.
Once we got to the falls, it was just as magical as I had envisioned. The mist coming off the falls combined with the full moon, and the still of the night created a dream-like feeling. We stayed for about an hour while I rattled off some photos that I was hoping would turn out halfway as good as it was to be there in person. Hopefully, when you look at the image below you get the same magical feeling I had when I was there.
To check out more pictures from that trip, click the photo below or go to my "Mt. Shasta, Mt. Lassen, and Vicinity Photo Gallery." This picture I also edited using that new Luminar program that I told you about in my prior post. It's a pretty amazing piece of software.
In the future, I'll also add more specific details about this destination to the Destinations section of the site. Stay tuned!!!
May 31, 2017
In my last post, I mentioned a new piece of editing software that I absolutely love. It's called Luminar and it's by a company called Macphun. Macphun also makes Aurora HDR which as you know is one of my favorite ways to edit HDR photos. Macphun also makes other pieces of software that I frequently use in my editing workflow, for examples Noiseless and Intensify.
When Macphun first released Luminar, my thoughts were that I didn't need another piece of editing software. Even though I loved Aurora, I felt like purchasing Luminar was a waste when I already had Lightroom, Photoshop, and lots of other editing plugins. For one, Luminar can edit photos similar to Lightroom but not organize them like Lightroom can. Second, you can't combine images to create HDR images, and that is one of my favorite ways to edit photos. I kind of thought the people at Macphun were out of their mind and banking on the success of Aurora when they thought about releasing another piece of editing software. I didn't think there was any way it would be successful.
Well, I'm man enough to say when I am wrong, and boy was I wrong. The whole time Luminar has been out, I have heard and read nothing but great reviews, but I stayed with my opinion that I didn't need it. I can now see why it got such great reviews. Recently I found myself wanting to play around with some new editing tools and see if I could improve my workflow and/or create some different looks with my photos. This led me to give Luminar another look, and I'm so glad I did.
One of the major differences between Aurora HDR and Luminar is that Luminar doesn't create HDR images, but it works almost as well by using only one picture. Yes, that's right, you don't have to take three bracketed images to get a great look with Luminar. This makes it much easier to use on just about any picture and ideal for beginning photographers all the way to advanced photographers. I have found that sometimes I've taken three bracketed images to only end up using one because Luminar did such a great job. Another reason it works great for all skill levels is that you can customize your workspace and even save custom workspaces, so you only use the editing tools you need for your type of photography. If you've used Aurora, Luminar will feel very familiar, but you'll notice lots of new filters, tools, and more ways to adjust your image than there were in Aurora.
After about a month of using Luminar, I can say that I love it. Has it completely changed the look of my photos? Not always, but I could if I wanted to. It has definitely made the editing process faster on some photos too. Also, I have been able to give some different looks to individual images and found it works great with night photos. Another thing I love about Luminar is that I can use it by itself or as part of my workflow. In fact, I still use Lightroom as my primary photo organizer and for some types of photo-editing, especially as the final editing step in my workflow. I also still use Aurora for all my HDR images and sometimes use Photoshop to blend the Aurora HDR image with the Luminar image. This allows me to combine the best of both images into my final photo.
I highly recommend checking out Luminar if you own a Mac and want to try a one-stop shop for editing your photos and don't want to get into taking bracketed photos and creating HDR images. Also if you are a beginner and just want to buy a relatively affordable piece of software to get started with, this is an excellent choice. If you are an advanced photographer, you may or may not need Luminar depending on what other pieces of software you have but I encourage you to give it a second look like I did and see how much you end up loving it.
If you're interested in purchasing it, check out the banner below and use the code "FROSWORLD" at checkout to get 10% off. To get an idea of some photos I've edited with Luminar, check out the slideshow below.
Also stay tuned for more tutorials including ones on Luminar, more on Aurora, and some that cover my entire workflow including the use of Lightroom and Photoshop.
May 27, 2017
Happy Memorial Day Weekend!!! What happened to spring? With Memorial Day being the unofficial start of summer and the winter lasting as long as it did, it feels like we didn't have a spring. It could also be that I've been running around enjoying the outdoors as much as possible and so spring just flew by.
I've been trying to get out of town at least every other weekend for the last few months and as a result, have seen so many cool places!!! Sorry for the delay in posts, but hopefully today I can catch everyone up on the last month of adventures and give you some ideas of places to go exploring.
One of the first places I went this spring was to Table Mountain Ecological Preserve near Oroville, CA. It is a magical place of rolling hills with deep canyons that appear out of nowhere, waterfalls, and a great selection of wildflowers. It's best visited in the early spring after the rainy season so it may be too late to visit this year, but put it on the to-do list for next spring. If you'd like to see some of my pics from that trip, you'll see a link to the gallery below and I'll post a detailed trip report to the Destinations section of my site before next spring.
Another place I frequented this spring was the Marin Headlands and Point Reyes National Seashore. I found that the campground at Samuel P Taylor State Park is an excellent place to stay and use as a launching point for some beautiful hikes in the Point Reyes, Mt. Tamalpais, and Marin Headlands areas. You can see my entire Point Reyes and Marin Headlands gallery by clicking the image below this post. Currently, I only have trip reports for backpacking trips to Point Reyes but stay tuned for some info on the day hikes I've also been taking in that area.
Last but not least, I've been dying to get into the mountains and start hiking. A great early season location is the Caples Creek area located near Silverfork, CA in the El Dorado National Forest. In fact, I completed my first backpacking trip of the season there last weekend and it was fantastic. The river is rushing so fast right now that it lets out a deafening roar throughout the canyon. It's a pretty awesome display of the power of nature. I'll also work on getting that destination report up on the site soon. In the meantime, check out some of the photos in the gallery below.
Also stay tuned because I recently found a new piece of photo editing software that I have really enjoyed playing around with and I'll be adding to my tutorials section shortly.
Well, that's it for now. Enjoy the holiday weekend and get outside!!!
Looking for old blog posts? You can access the archives below.
*** In full disclosure, I receive compensation in exchange for advertising for some of my favorite gear. However, I only comment and advertise for products that I have used extensively, believe in, and continue to use. The opinions expressed here about my favorite gear are my own and have been determined through my own personal experiences with the product.