Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Traffic, sometimes it can be fun to play in it.

With the announcement of the new AYCJ pass, I've gotten a lot of traffic to this personal blog in the past 24 hours.

I really haven't updated things in the past several months since I have been traveling. I was in Peru in December, Ireland, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, and Jerusalem in March/April and just got back from a trip to Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand a couple of months ago.

I'm a professional photographer and aspiring travel writer/photojournalist, so feel free to take a look at past trips and events and contact me if you have any questions. I love sharing my past experiences and travel knowledge.

Some pictures can be found at my new site ; PerihelionPhotography.com though most pictures can be found at facebook.com/mikeblitch

Here is the best link to read solely about my AYCJ experiences: http://mikeblitch.blogspot.com/search/label/AYCJ

Safe travels, blue skies, and eternal golden hour light!

Here are some various sites hosting some of my travel photos:

- Gigapixel sized panoramics
http://www.panoramio.com/user/373335 - GPS tagged photos displayed via Google Earth
http://picasaweb.google.com/mblitch - Various albums

Michael J. Blitch

Friday, June 18, 2010

The cliffs around the crashing sea, unsolved and endless, wait for me.

Trip date 3/27/10

After an early start, we headed off with a guide for a day through Galway and on to the cliffs. We briefly checked out the cathedral and the famous harbor swans, quite photogenic, and leisurely drove through the countryside. We made a few stops along the way including Dunguaire Castle, one of the most photographed castles in the world. After a few stops along the roadway to take in other sites, including a seemingly vast lunar landscape, we made it to the Cliffs of Moher. Instead of going to the normal tourist route, our guide had is park along the road just before the cliffs and walk through a local field. He was also a skydiver and we had been talking about BASE jumping the evening prior, and wouldn't you know it but just as we were walking by we saw someone leap from the cliff. We set up at a beautiful spot to take in the views and enjoy a few Polish beers while I played around with my panoramic robot. It was slightly hazy, so the pano didn't come out as clear as I would have liked in the distance, but the overall effect is still there. It was a great way to relax for the day and we got to see quite a few astounding views and take in some neat experiences.

Cliffs of Moher Gigapan; http://gigapan.org/gigapans/49339/

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

If I have seen farther than others it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants. - Issac Newton

Trip Date 3/26/10

After a nice bread and breakfast stay-over, the first stop of the day was famous Giant's Causeway. I had seen these kind of formations previously when I was in California visiting Devil's Postpile National Monument many years ago. We arrived early enough to avoid the mass of tourists since the bus was not yet operating. It was a decent downhill hike from the visitor center to the basalt formations, but with the bright sun and cool crisp air, it was quite enjoyable. It was fun to walk among the hexagon columns and take in the view. Just a day or so prior to my departure for this trip I got a photographic robot designed for use in taking very detailed panoramic photos. The Gigapan Epic Pro robot was designed to allow a professional level DSLR with long lens be used to take numerous overlapping pictures to be later stitched together using processing software. I would go on to make several gigapixel sized panoramic pictures on this trip (http://gigapan.org/gigapans/most_popular/?q=mblitch), however this would be my first attempt.

Here is the panoramic, pannable, picture of Giant's Causeway; http://gigapan.org/gigapans/49111/

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

God made whiskey so the Irish wouldn't rule the world.

Trip Date 3/25/10

After the driving yesterday, it was nice to plan to stay in the area. After waking up to a morning rain, it was decided to bypass the morning bar, and head straight to the source, the famous Bushmills Whiskey Distillery. On a cold North Sea day, what better to warm up than a tour of the warm factory among the cooking ingredients and warm post-tour liquids? We were taking through various parts of the facility by someone who seemed to have been doing this a long time and seemed to quite intimately know his whiskeys. After the tour we were able to try various whiskeys, including a 12, 16, and 18 year old samples. Never having ever consumed the stuff, I really wasn't sure what to expect. The straight shot was of course strong, but mixed with a little Coke or even water, it was much more smooth and easier to take on. I was once given a bottle of 18 year old Whiskey by my friend Alina and at the time didn't recognize the distinction, but after trying them, I can now definitely differentiate between the years and see why the later products are so much more expensive.

After leaving the distillery we headed to Ballintoy Harbour to see and smell the sea before scurrying of to Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. This is a famous tourist site in Northern Ireland and definitely a pretty spot. Because it was a but rainy, there were very few people there, which allowed us to play around and on the bridge as long as we liked without interruption. Normally there are so many people there that it is impossible to get clean pictures, much less pause and enjoy the view. By the time we walked the path, the rain and all but stopped. It was actually kind of fun to bound across and check out the island on the other side and we hung around for quite a while taking pictures for other folks and just playing around in general before heading back. Though it was a bit foggy, on a clear day one may easily be able to see Scotland.

After swinging low, the next stop was nearby Kinbane Castle. It wasn't in my guide book, but I had already put into the GPS the coordinates after having seen the location on Google Earth. It was my first ever real castle experience. Though there was not a lot to it, the experience was pretty exciting due in part to the still remote nature of it and the fact that so few people probably get down to this point.