Outdoor Photography Gear

Outdoor Photography Gear

Outdoor photography has long been a big part of life. Fishing photos, landscapes, seascapes, and beyond. Why do I love it? Well first off I love being outdoors. And cameras allow me to capture memories and bring them back home.

Tropical Twilight

Nowadays many fine outdoor photographs are taken with cellphones. They are incredibly good, especially the flagship models. Extremely convenient. And they shoot good video too. Amazing stuff,  and I imagine they’re perfect for 95 percent of you. But honestly they are not for me. Yes, I’m a dinosaur, sticking with my trusty DSLR. Why? With a wide range of lenses and a large image sensor load with big juicy pixels, in my opinion DSLRs offer superior versatility, picture quality, and creative control.

Pelican Camera Case

For important location shots, such as travel destinations,  I lean on three lenses to do the work. They are a 14-24mm wide angle,  a 24-70mm mid distance lens, and a 70-300mm telephoto for long shots. They were selected to give me seamless coverage from 14-300 mm. I transport them, along with my trusty old, full-frame Nikon D700, in a Pelican 1500 case with adjustable dividers. This midsize case fits overhead on both domestic and international flights. (At least it did when I bought it.) It is water and air tight, and floats. Lockable, rust free, and indestructible. Besides the camera and three lenses, it transports a 60mm macro lens and a small backup camera such as a D3500. And if I leave the D3500 home I squeeze in a SB 800 flash. The underside of the lid has a pocket mesh that holds accessories such as flash cards, filters, folding gray card, straps, chargers, notepad, and such. Perfect. 

Ireland

All of my equipment is long-in-the-tooth, but the Pelican case has kept it safe and in good working condition despite the many miles. Obviously I don’t truck that 1500 case up and down the beach or out in a kayak. For that work I use a  small Pelican case that holds a camera & lens and a few essentials.  And some times I ditch that case for a wonderful water-resistant lumber pack specifically designed for photographers. Thing is an absolute gem. Comfortably carries a decent amount of gear, while leaving both hands free. Slide it behind your back and it becomes a second carryon. Perhaps we can cover it next time.

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Rain in the Winter Woods

Rain in the Winter Woods

Rain in the Winter Woods

After a rain, the winter woods are a visual feast, a great time to break out your camera. Under gray skies, subtle earth hues intertwine in a quilt of tweed. Overhead bare tree limbs collide in an intricate mesh. While below tree trunks turn shades, some mottled gray others approaching black.

Lichen glows in the Rain

The rain also causes moments of color to erupt. Drinking in the moisture, the lichen on rocks comes alive, glowing cyan as if freshly painted. Wet leaves cover the forest floor in a carpet of reddish brown. And here and there, beech leaves, still clinging to limbs even this late in the late, call out in orange.

Beech leaves in the Rain

And if luck is with you, you may come across a yellow birch. Look for them near a creek or swamp, they like water. This tree’s unfolding bark is always remarkable, hanging in long curls like torn paper. But in the rain, the bark takes on a whole new leather-like quality that is difficult to describe.

Yellow Birch in the Rain
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A Renaissance in Irish Whiskey

A Renaissance in Irish Whiskey:

Well in all the my blogging years, I’ve mentioned whiskey only once or twice. But here in the midst of winter and the midst of a pandemic, a sip of whiskey might be the right tonic for your soul. No, I’m afraid we will not be discussing bourbon, scotch or rye for that matter. Rather we’ll be heading to a magical island, at times, called Éire.

The Irish invented whiskey long before its appearance in Scotland. And for many years it was hailed as the finest in the world. Who can we thank for the birth of Irish whisky? Those clever monks who first arrived around 500 AD. They were learned people who taught not only God’s word but art, crafts, poetry, and writing. All from dark stone monasteries in places such as Skellig Michael perched atop a tiny rocky island soaring 700 feet above the sea.

In more modern times, a series of calamities struck, which we will not go into, and Irish whiskey’s prominence faded. Sad but true. In recent years, however, Irish whiskey has undergone a renaissance. A number of new distilleries now grace the emerald isle, all aiming to return Irish whiskey to its rightful place. Thank the lord, and pass me a dram.

A Renaissance in Irish Whiskey

When most folks think of Irish whiskey they think of Jameson. Understandable. Jameson is the most widely distributed Irish whiskey in the world and as well as one of the most well-known whiskeys on planet earth. While not bad – easy to find, economical, and perfect for folks unaccustomed to whiskey – Jameson doesn’t deliver the true character of Irish whiskey. For that, my friend, you must search elsewhere.

Care for a few recommendations? If so, allow me to offered three. None are cheap, after all they take a decade or more to make. All are single pot still whiskeys, triple distilled, from both malted and unmalted barley, and often finished in Oloroso sherry casks to deepen the flavor. With a velvety, buttery viscosity, they linger long on the palate delivering a rich spicy finish with hints of pepper, ginger and apricot. Ready? They are Redbreast 12; its full strength version Redbreast Cask Strength, and last but not least the fine John’s Lane from Powers. All are sipping whiskeys, mind you, meant to be slowly savored, in small amounts, on the tongue. Perfect by the winter fireplace or sitting at your fly tying vise. Yes, a drop of water in your glass is allowed, if you must, or a small ice cube. Never anything more than that. Sláinte mhaith!

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The 2020 Northeast Saltwater Season is Behind Us

The 2020 Northeast Saltwater Season is Behind Us:

Well its official now; here in the Northeast the 2020 saltwater season is behind us. Time to put away the gear if you haven’t already. And its also time to think about what you might do differently next year. Granted if you were up to your neck in fish in 2020 , you might not want to change a damn thing. But I think its fair to say for most of us here in New England, 2020 was a disappointment. Sure there were a few hot spots now and then; there always are. But that shouldn’t confuse you into believing all is rosy. Across the board 2020 was no great shakes.

Posted in Fly Fishing in Salt Water | 1 Comment

The Trend in Fly Fishing toward Lighter Lines

Over the years, fly anglers have steadily moved to lighter line weights. Granted this didn’t happen overnight. It has been a slow progression. Still there is no denying it, amigo. Lighter line weights have been gaining favor for decades.

Here’s an example. Across the room from where I sit there is a 2.5″ diameter rod tube.  It houses two rods I bought eons ago to cover any and all trout situation. There is a 6-weight for small to medium size streams. And an 8-weight for larger rivers and lakes. They are 3-piece, 2 tip, Winston fiberglass rods and have served me exceeding well.

When I purchased this travel set, 6-weight rods were touted the best all-around trout tool. By 1990’s, however, a 6-weight was out of favor, considered too big. So the 5-weight became the king. Now get this: a few years back I overheard a knowledgeable angler extolling why he recommends a 4-weight rod as the right general purpose trout rod. Is the 3-weight next? Wouldn’t surprise me.

Frankly the same thing happened in the salt. If you asked me 30 years ago for the correct all-rounder in the Northeast brine. I would have immediately claimed it to be a 10-weight. Today, no question I would vote for a 9-weight.

Why has this trend taken place? I think there are several reasons, but the single largest is advancements in fly rods. Today’s 4 or 5-weight graphite rod is a wonderful tool, capable of handling a wide variety of trout situations with ease. Yes this is the golden age of the graphite fly rod.

Posted in Fly Fishing in Freshwater, Fly Fishing in Salt Water | 1 Comment