Cellpic Sunday – 24 May 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

In March of this year, the desert was awash with spring flowers near our home in Buckeye. There was no shortage of opportunity to capture the bright yellow brittlebush plants that are plentiful in the Sonoran Desert. On one of our Saturday hikes, I was still learning about the new Samsung S20U phone that replaced my personal S6 and the “work” phone that was provided to me from Civil Air Patrol (CAP). That phone, a Samsung S7, captured many images that I shared here because of my 4-year tenure as North Dakota Wing Commander in CAP. As of April 4, I would rotate out of that job and the S7 would be retired as I no longer need a CAP-provided cell phone. I decided that I would upgrade the S6 when my term expired, and as it turned out, the S20 series was shipping around March 5. I pre-ordered to get the advantage of some perks offered by Samsung and I must admit I was impressed with the hype surrounding the 3-camera system in the S20. After I’ve become really accustomed to the phone and its ability as a camera, I will share a mini review. In the meantime, expect more Cellpic Sunday images to feature the S20U.

About the Photo: Hiking the Petroglyph Trail off the Lost Creek Trailhead, I captured this stand of brittlebush growing out of a collection of rocks. It was only my second day using the camera and it was in automatic mode. The metering system set the camera to f/1.8, 1/1800 sec. ISO-16. As usual, I processed it in Adobe Lightroom and Luminar Flex. The image is best viewed enlarged. Select the image to enlarge it (if your browser supports the function.)

John Steiner

 

Cellpic Sunday – 3 May 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

As this is being written on Thursday, April 9, for publication in early May, Lynn and I are just starting our preparations for traveling from Buckeye back to our home in Fargo, North Dakota. Even though I thought last Saturday’s hike would be our last, the warm, sunny day this morning beckoned us to the hiking trail. We chose to hike part of the Quartz Mine Trail in Buckeye’s newest mountain preserve, Skyline Park. Right now all of the park facilities are closed due to the potential for COVID-19 exposure, however, the walking trails in Skyline, and throughout the city for that matter, have been kept open so that people have some place to get some exercise and fresh air.

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Dronie Sunday – 19 April 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

On an early March day, we hit the trail with my Mavic Air drone in the backpack. Our goal, in case you missed it from my last Dronie Sunday, was to hike into the Verrado Trails area toward the Petroglyphs and capture some aerial views of the White Tank Mountains. There aren’t a lot of flat spaces in the desert that are accessible from a given trail, so we hiked along the Petroglyph Trail about a mile before we found a suitable space for launching the Air. Continue reading

But I Digress… Getting Creative with Luminar 4

Buckeye, Arizona.

I am writing this as my wife and I self-isolate in our winter place. A couple more weeks and we will venture back to our home in Fargo. With less travel on my schedule, last month I shared some of my work flow using Luminar 4. This week, we take a peek at the Creative section. As with my earlier post, this is not a full review, I am just sharing some of the tools that I use. I don’t find myself using anywhere close to the full capacity of the program, preferring instead to keep my images all with a similar “look and feel.” This month, I get a little more creative for those times when I want to do something “special.”

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Cellpic Sunday – 5 April 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

It’s spring in the Arizona desert. At The Founders Course in the Verrado development of Buckeye, golfers are busy throughout the three cooler months. Those who are avid golfers find themselves in the heat of summer out on the course in the early morning when the lows are in the mid- to high-80s. Part of the course is adjacent to the Verrado Trail System. As we walked by on a recent hike, the brittlebush plants were in full bloom with their beautiful daisy-like flowers. On the tee, a foursome was just getting ready to take their shots as I took mine with my cellphone. Continue reading

Dronie Sunday – 29 March 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

OK, so I took a break from my drone photography this winter. It’s been a busy season for me between Civil Air Patrol activities, nearby travel destinations, and even a Caribbean cruise (just before CoronaVirus, fortunately.) Part of my issue revolved around how to get to a photogenic place in the desert where I could set up the drone. The carrying case I had been using for the Mavic Air is a repurposed video projector bag that once belonged to a long-since broken projector. It wouldn’t be the best way to schlep the drone and accessories on a hike. Continue reading

But I Digress – Luminar 4 is My Latest Photo Tool Acquisition

Buckeye, Arizona.

Yes, this is a travel and photography blog. Most Tuesdays I focus on Travel Tuesday posts. As COVID-19 has disrupted travel of all types, it seems that Travel Tuesday is a bit, shall we say, “out of place?”. Still I’ve got a backlog of travel posts to share, and someday, hopefully soon, the pandemic will be behind us and vacation travel will return to relatively normal. This week, it seems like a good time to talk photography, specifically processing those digital photos. After all, I call this site a Travel and Photography Blog. In fact, I expect photography posts will span several Tuesdays, but I won’t throw them at you all at once. I’ll plan to spread this report over the next month or two so Tuesdays remain mostly focused on Travel. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 22 March 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

With my retirement as North Dakota Wing Commander, I give up access to a business phone provided by Civil Air Patrol (CAP). When I took that job four years ago, my personal phone was a Samsung S6. Other than occasional use, most of the time, it was shut off and all calls were sent to my CAP cell phone so I wouldn’t have to carry two phones around. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 16 February 2020

Buckeye, Arizona.

On our last Thursday hike in January, we headed on a round-about way to the highest point on Turnbuckle Trail. The views of the park and beyond are beyond the capability of even the best cameras. Given that, having only my Samsung S6 with me, I submit for your review a view of the valley to the west of Skyline Park. This vantage point is almost 650 feet (200 m) above the desert floor. Continue reading

Cellpic Sunday – 19 January 2019

Buckeye, Arizona.

It’s an Arizona Autumn… but this photo was captured on 2 January 2020. It’s Hamilton Avenue in the Verrado neighborhood of Buckeye. This quaint development is fast on the grow after having some fits and starts through the housing crisis of the early 2000’s. Buckeye is now the fastest growing city in the United States and the Verrado neighborhood is one of the reasons for the city’s growth spurt. This may seem like a commercial for Buckeye, but after spending seven winters here in this community, I’ve come to call it our winter home and can’t help bragging on it. Continue reading