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Fuji X-T1 is a fun camera in a compact package.

I got my Fuji X-T1 used on Craigs List.  I purchased it with the 56mm f1.2 lens and then I bought the lower end 50-230 lens.  I read all the rave reviews on the 56mm lens and it truly is a great piece of glass.  I was pleasantly surprised by the picture quality I was able to get with the cheap zoom.  Of course I expect a lot from the 56mm f1.2 lens, but I got a lot more than what I expected from the 50-230.  Take a look at the pics.  The bird was shot with the 50-230 ISO 1600 230mm f/6.7 and my grand daughter was taken with the 56mm lens ISO 400 f8.0 1/125.mcaw1-1 maryn-1

It’s been so long that I forgot I had this blog…

I was just thinking that I needed to get a blog going, but andreapomerleau found my blog and followed it since I am following her blog.   That just kind of jogged my memory, so now I am writing another blog entry…

Anyway it is December 20, 2014 and the big thing I am working on now is to get to 2,000,000 meters on the concept 2 indoor rowing machine by the end of the year.  I have about 175,000 meters left to go.  One could say this is OCD, crazy, whatever, but somehow I got hooked on indoor rowing.  So, I am just going to do it.  Also, I think it will give me a good base of 2,000,000 meters so I will start racing on the Concept 2 indoor rower.  I have a program called RowPro which makes it very easy for me to upload my rowing log to the Concept 2 website.  Another feature of Rowpro is that you can race and/or row with people all over the world.   I did 1 race last year and got my butt kicked….   I am thinking that maybe in 2016 I will do the CRASH B indoor race in Boston.

If I were to make a New Years Resolution for 2015 it would be to do more of what I love and have a passion for and less of what I don’t.   So, I went to a Photoshop Seminar in Phoenix on December 12 and I purchased the Kelbyone.com subscription for a year.  It is a huge repository of on line videos that I can watch to learn more about photography, post processing in Photoshop, Lightroom, etc.  I am totally loving it!

Anyway, it is less than 3 months until I go to South America to explore the Amazon Rain Forest and the Galapagos Islands.  Once I finish my 2 million meters it will be time to start running and bicycling again and make sure I am in excellent shape before my trip.  I am in pretty good shape, but losing 15 – 20 pounds will make a big difference.

So, I am just babbling here a bit.   Andrea, thanks for sparking me to get back to this blog!!!  By the way be sure to check out Andrea’s blog because she is truly an inspiration!   http://pomsnewfood.com/

So, what is coming up in my next blogs?

I think I need to start talking about photography.  I have done a lot of research and sold a lot of my older equipment.  Yes, I have gone mirrorless.  Did I go for the Sony A7 or the Fujifilm X-T1?   It was a tough choice, but I am going to address all of this and more in some of my upcoming blogs.  So check back soon and I will add my 2 cents to everything else that is out there about these great technological wonders and why I went with the one I decided on!DSCF9329

I am going to take my photography to the next level.  I am actively learning Photoshop and one of the books I am reading, “The Passionate Photographer”  I  find extremely motivating.  It mentions that to become great at something you need to practice for 10,000 hours.  This is a concept that was mentioned in Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers” which I highly recommend too!

Goal Driven

I’ve been thinking a lot about this over the past week.  I just finished a “Whole 30″

and it got me thinking about what makes me tick.  I enjoy setting a goal and working towards that goal on a daily basis.  Whether it is preparation for Kilimanjaro or 30 days of totally clean eating, it has a start, a core of action, and a culmination of some sort at the end.

In 30 days, I lost about 2% body fat and 8 pounds!  I guess my next goal is to be physically ready for a fairly rigorous backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon in April.  I am also in the process of rowing my first 1,000,000 meters on an indoor rowing machine.   I started on December 8, 2013 and as of February 13, 2014 I am at 385,750 meters.  I also have some other goals in terms of weight loss which I am still working on.

I have a real sense of satisfaction that is fueled by making a decision to accomplish something, figuring out the steps I need to take to accomplish it, then implementing those steps over a given time period, which culminates in achieving my objective.

One of my major goals for 2015 is to go on a Trekking trip to Mount Everest Base Camp!  I have already started working on that one.

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What did I do before Kilimanjaro?

I was thinking today about why Kilimanjaro was a logical destination for me in my bucket list.  I guess I have always been somewhat of an adventurer.  When I was a kid, I used to wander the woods near my house and search for reptiles.  Then I started hiking in the Blue Hills.   I started going on bicycle rides that got longer and longer until I was doing over 100 miles at a shot.  In 1984 I embarked on and completed a coast to coast bicycle trip which was a truly fantastic trip.  I have hiked and backpacked in the Grand Canyon and I actually have a trip planned there for this spring.  I have run 3 marathons and numerous 1/2 marathons and other distances.  I also have done a handful of sprint triathlons.

So, what is it about fitness and travel?   In this high speed age where many people want instant gratification it is so nice to slow down.  Whether you are driving in a car, flying in an airplane, on a train, etc.   you miss so much.  I learned as a child, that riding a bicycle you see and experience so much more of your surroundings.  That is why I enjoy these sports.  When I was on Kilimanjaro, I had 8 full days to interact with the local porters, guides, and all the support staff for our trek.  It gave me a great opportunity to learn about their culture and get to know what life is like in Tanzania and how different it is in a 3rd world country from the USA!  It was a real eye opener.  To be able to take the time while trekking up the mountain and get to know these wonderful people was a very large part of the enjoyment on this trip.  So, I guess Kilimanjaro turned out to be a logical destination for me.   I had set a goal to visit all 50 states by the time I turned 50 and figured once I have done that it would be time to start traveling the globe.

 

I will get back to the Kilimanjaro trip in subsequent blogs, but I was thinking today about when my quest for adventure started.  I think I was probably born with it!

 

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Whats it take to get to the top of Kilimanjaro and why would you want to do that anyway?

Since it is coming up on a year since I did this awesome Kilimanjaro trip, I am going to use some of my blogs to reflect on the trip and serve as a resource for people interested in knowing more about this trip.  I will get into many aspects of the why and the how of the trip.  Also, I want to share my experience for those who are considering doing a trip like this and also for the “armchair” travelers who enjoy looking at the pictures and experiencing the travel without the hassle of planes, trains, buses, etc.

So lets start at the beginning.  I don’t remember how Kilimanjaro even got on my bucket list, but I did put it there.  It could have been 5 or more years ago, but that is how I do things.  I put it down on paper and let it percolate for a while.  I think it must have been a few years ago that I started getting travel brochures from Tusker and Thomson Safaris.  Now I was looking at the real thing.  The next step was to set a meeting and go in and speak with a representative of Thompson Safaris in Watertown, MA.  I think I did this in 2011 with the intention of doing the trip in 2012 or 2013.

With images in mind and some idea of what the cost of this endeavor, I introduced the idea to a couple of long time friends, but neither of them was able to make the commitment.  So, in August of 2012, I put down an $800 deposit and booked the trip.  Now it started to become real!

I still needed to raise a large portion of the money to do this trip.  I had opened up an ebay store and frequented many of the local estate sales, garage sales, etc.  I have been involved in ebay since 1999.  Expanding my ebay business is what provided the funds for this trip and I anticipate it will work for future trips which I already have on the drawing board.  I worked very hard to fund this trip and as a result it was more meaningful and satisfying because the reward was something I toiled for many months to “Make it Happen”

Being a goal driven person, I take a lot of pride in setting out on a long term goal, then working over an extended period of time to see my dream come true.  This was an incredible trip with many aspects that made it wonderful, magical, and overall just fantastic!

I wanted to insure that I took care of all the variables that I could control.  So, I lost weight, ate healthy, bicycled. hiked up to 12 miles with a backpack, got to where I could run 6 miles continuously, and did Crossfit!  Crossfit is an incredible workout that builds your core and endurance unlike anything else I have ever done!  I also got all the recommended shots, had dental work done that I needed, was fastidious about hand washing and sanitizing before the trip and during!  So, I really made an effort to do everything I could to insure a successful trip to the summit.

I knew that I did not have any control over weather and how my body responded to altitude.  I will discuss that in another blog.

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Bob

Bob

You never know where you are going to meet a great friend!  Check out the video of us reaching the summit:  SUMMIT

We started out with a group of 3 people climbing the mountain, with about 22 porters, guides, cooks, etc. Bob and I were the 2 who made it to the summit. We each set out to do this on our own, but ended up helping each other up the mountain and became great friends.

We are going to do a backpacking trip in the Grand Canyon this spring.

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Kilimanjaro Summit March 2, 2013

Kilimanjaro Summit March 2, 2013

It is rapidly approaching 1 year since my Kilimanjaro trip. I still have many photos to go through, but wanted to start posting some and reflect on the trip.

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