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Re: Iceland Master Thread I just found an extra FlyBus ticket for KEF-Reykjavik or vice versa. Up for grabs, send me a PM.
January 18, 2017, 11:07:49 AM
Re: Something Fishy Photo Workshops Master Thread New workshop announcement:

The 30-second version:

Canadian Rockies: Banff and Jasper National Parks, the Icefields Parkway, and Abraham Lake, by RV.

February 26 - March 2, 2017

Arrive Sun. at Edmonton (YEG) or Calgary (YYC), depart Thu. from Edmonton.

$1750, all-inclusive except for flights.

4 spots in total, 2 already taken.

Longer version:

The basics:

When and where?
Banff and Jasper National Parks, the Icefields Parkway, and Abraham Lake.
February 26 - March 2, 2017

We will meet in Edmonton Sunday early afternoon or in Calgary early evening (two options, see details below). We depart Edmonton Thursday afternoon.

We will be based out of a comfortable, fully-winterized RV so that we have full flexibility with regards to the weather, light, and shooting locations.

What is it?
An intensive, all-inclusive photography workshop. Over four days we will explore the wonderful Canadian Rockies, learning how to take stunning pictures. The small group size will ensure that everyone gets individual, unrushed attention throughout the workshop.

You will learn everything from basic camera operation, to more advanced techniques, to the basics of post-processing.

We will shoot wonderful winter scenes: towering mountains, frozen waterfalls, baby blue lakes, incredible night skies, and, if we're lucky, some aurora. We'll drive up and down the world-famous Icefields Parkway, known as one of the world's top drives, and shoot the alien-like frozen bubbles on Abraham Lake.

We will most likely have the opportunity to shoot some wildlife as well. Bighorn sheep and mountain goats are common in this area and not shy, while wolves are seen on occasion in the distance.

In order to ensure maximum sleeping comfort and individualized attention, only 4 slots are available on this workshop (two of which are taken by now).

What's included?
All instruction and guidance, the RV and all its fees, delicious kosher meals, transfers to and from the airports, park entry fees (such as it were ;D), fuel, camping fees, and all taxes.

What's not included?
Airfare to and from YEG/YYC, snacks, and incidentals (alcohol, souvenirs, etc.)

What's the cost?
$1750 per person.
$800 deposit is due at booking to confirm your spot.
See "Details" below for booking and payment information, balance due date, and cancellation info.

Who is this for?
Everyone who is interested in learning to take better pictures. Whether you're a beginner and just starting out, or are comfortable with a camera and want to take your photography to the next level, you'll get personal, customized, hands-on instruction.

The details:

What will I learn?
- Basic skills: How to achieve correct exposure in a wide variety of situations, how to compose a compelling photograph, white balance, camera settings, tripod and accessory usage, etc..
- Advanced skills: How to create ethereal long exposures, filtration techniques, advanced composition methods, shooting for HDR, using off-camera flash, showing motion blur, maintaining the highest level of sharpness, RAW vs. JPEG, in-depth focusing skills such as focus bracketing and AF tracking, and more.

How do I get there?
Plenty of airlines fly to both YEG and YYC, both US and Canadian. There is one direct from NY, but all others will have one stop. At the time of this writing, there were a number of round-trip or open-jaw flights in the $400 range.

Points wise, a OW flight to either airport would be 12.5k AS, UA, or AC, 15K AA, and, well... whatever on DL, although I saw a few 9k options. Availability on these flights fluctuate wildly, but mostly there have been some convenient flights whenever I've checked.

There is also the option of flying CX to YVR using AS miles - that's what I personally am doing. JFK-YVR on Motzei Shabbos, and then a morning flight to YEG. There is also a Philippines AIrlines flight to YVR that works quite well when booked with BP points.

As far as arrival airports go, both YEG and YYC would work. I will be picking up the RV in YEG on Sunday, stocking up on drinks and such, organizing the food, then driving down to YYC, where I'll arrive in the evening. Therefore, depending on your flight costs, preferences, or whatever, you could opt to land at either airport. The workshop ends Thu. afternoon at YEG, so it's most logical to fly out from there.

Where will we sleep?
We will have a large and comfortable 28-foot RV. The RV is customized to the wintry conditions in the Rockies, so that - contrary to normal winter RVing - we will have full plumbing and running water: sinks, toilet, and shower. The RV is also equipped with larger heaters, two house batteries instead of one, snow tires, and snow chains. That's in addition to the standard features, such as a fridge, freezer, oven, stove top, microwave, generator, and so on. A slideout will give us extra space inside too.

The RV has four separate beds, so two will need to split the large queen-sized one. We've done this a couple of times in Iceland, and with some camera bags or suitcases down the middle there is plenty of privacy while remaining spacious and comfortable :D.

Depending on where we are when we decide to call it a night, we will either wild-camp or stay at one of the few open campgrounds.

What will we eat?
Far too much ;D.

One of the unique aspects of my workshops that you won't find in any other is the kosher food situation. All meals are included in the workshop fee. The workshop officially begins at YYC airport and ends at YEG, so that works out to 4x breakfast, 4x lunch, and 4x dinner.

There will be more than enough food and a nice variety to choose from. A typical breakfast may include rolls, wraps, spreads, cheeses, coffee, hot cereal, and more. Lunch will generally assorted cold cuts sandwiches and wraps. Or tuna. Or PB/PB&J... something for everyone. For dinner we will feast on delicious POM meals of your choice.

If you have any specific needs, wants, or ideas regarding the food, please let me know when you book and I'll do my best to accommodate you.

Snacks and alcohol are not included, so please bring those from home. We will also stop at groceries in YEG and YYC, where there are a number of kosher food products for sale.

What camera gear do I need?
This workshop is geared for all levels of photographers, so you do not really need any fancy equipment; any fairly recent (last couple of years) DSLR or mirrorless camera will work just fine. Here are the bare minimums:

Required gear:
- DSLR or mirrorless camera
- Lens (or lenses) that covers the wide-to-medium range (18-55mm, 16-50mm, etc.).
- Remote shutter release. Wireless is best, but any remote will work fine.
- Sturdy, heavy tripod. This is critical; anything even remotely flimsy will keep you from getting sharp pictures.
- Circular polarizer and 3-stop ND filters for at least one lens.
- Spare batteries and charger.
- Memory cards
- Camera bag which leaves your hands free, such as a backpack or sling.

Optional, but highly suggested, gear:
- Fast, wide angle lens. Examples include the Canon 10-22mm, Rokinon 14mm, Tokina 11-16mm, etc. This will open up a whole new dimension in your photography. Preferably this should be f/2.8 or faster for night and (hopefully!) aurora shots.
- Telephoto lens. Very useful for general landscapes, and pretty much required if we come across any wildlife.
- Higher-quality medium-to-wide lens. A typical kit lens will do the job, but there's no getting around the fact that a higher-end lens will create better quality images. Lenses like the 16-35mm and 24-70mm fall into this category.
- Rain protection for your camera (a simple $3 rain sleeve works fantastically well).
- 10-stop ND filter.
- Laptop for backing up and editing your pictures. Preferably with Adobe Lightroom or similar installed.

I will of course be happy to discuss any and all gear-related questions you may have. I will also be able to lend filters if needed.

What should I wear?
Banff and the surrounding area in the winter could be brutal. But as I've learned over the course of trips to Iceland, arctic Norway, and Svalbard (which is only 700 miles from the North Pole), as long as you're dressed properly you could spend all day in the worst weather imaginable and still be warm and cozy. Therefore, proper cold-weather clothing in a must for this trip.

- Warm thermal base layer: top and bottom, plus socks. Merino wool is best, but a blend is cheaper and pretty much as good. For the socks, I suggest going full merino.
- Warm middle layer, preferably two: a fleece, thick sweater, and so on. Thick, warm pants fit into this category as well.
- Warm outer layer: basically, a really warm winter coat or jacket.
- Water- and wind-proof shell layer: this is absolutely critical and includes both a top and bottom. Often the jacket will have these features built-in, or in the case of my favorite coat, integrated but removable. This layer includes water- and rain-proof pants as well. Snowpants are the best option; I like the insulated versions for added warmth. Personally I use a snow bib, which I can't recommend enough.
- Balaclava plus a warm hat: self-explanatory.
- Gloves: thick and warm, but you need to be able to manipulate your camera controls. I use a glove liner combined with photographers gloves, which works great.
- Boots: warm, waterproof boots are required. I like the Sorels, which are large and heavy but warm down to -40 and fully waterproof.
- Crampons: we will be spending a lot of time out on the ice. Because of this, crampons are required. Real ice cleats, not something like YakTrax (although those will come in handy sometimes too). There are many varieties of crampons on the market, with some nice ones in the ~$40-50 range on Amazon. No need to spring on "climbing" spikes; those are overkill for us.

How do I book?

Send me an email at or a PM here and we'll take it from there.

Payment schedule:
Workshop cost is $1750.
Deposit of $800 is due at booking to secure your slot.
Balance of $950 is due by January 29, 2017 (4 weeks before departure).

There are only two slots remaining, so bookings will go on a first come, first serve basis. Once the slots are full, you will have the opportunity to go on a waiting list.

Participants who have attended previous workshops are entitled to a 10% discount.

Cancellation policy:
Up to 30 days before departure: 100% refund.
29-21 days before departure: 90% refund.
20-8 days before departure: 50% refund.
7 days before departure or less: no refund.
If your slot is subsequently booked, regardless of date, you will receive a 100% refund.

This policy is in place due to the fact that most aspects of this trip need to be booked way in advance and are generally not cancelable; Unfortunately, I do not have a choice with this. Note that the refund amounts listed will be minus credit card processing fees, if applicable.

Legal stuff and fine print:
I highly recommend you purchase travel insurance for your workshop and travel expenses. Such insurance may provide coverage for losses suffered in the event of trip cancellation and interruption, travel delay, loss of baggage and travel documents, baggage delay, medical emergencies and the like. A signed limit of liability form may be required to attend the workshop.

Morris Hersko Photography Corp. shall take no responsibility or liability for personal or property damage during the duration of the workshop, or be liable for non- refundable airline tickets.

All information provided above is for informational purposes only and is subject to change.

January 18, 2017, 09:55:00 PM
Re: Excellent way to keep track of your different mileage programs
is the upgrade worth it?

It's worth it for me just for the expiration alerts. I've saved far more than the measly $10/yr cost me.

January 23, 2017, 03:51:46 PM
Re: Writing a trip report? Here's how to add pictures.
how do you rename a link?

Code: [Select]

Code: [Select]
[url=]Google[/url]for Google.

ETA: Tapatalk, of course, mangles all this. Read this post on a computer.

January 31, 2017, 03:04:24 PM
Photographers: Free Copy of the Amazing DXO OpticsPro 9

This normally costs $199.

I've had this for a number of years now and highly recommend it. It's similar to Lightroom and does your typical RAW editing and so on, but the beauty lies in its incredible noise reduction capabilities. Whenever I have a picture that's hopelessly noisy (either from too-high an ISO or waaay underexposed) I drop it into OpticsPro and let the magic happen. Lightroom and Photoshop don't even come close.

This is not the very latest version (that would be 11), but you'd get pretty much the same denoising capabilities. I'm still on 9, myself.

February 03, 2017, 11:44:29 AM
Re: "In Search of the Menehune" - Benjie1305's Trip to Kauai (DL J, UA J)
Did you take it when you were in Kauai last time?


Id love to join and show you around now that I know where it leads you.  ;D

Yeah, right. I wouldn't trust you to lead the way out of a paper bag after reading this TR ;D ;D ;D.

February 06, 2017, 12:36:33 PM
Re: What Are You Eating?
Many times.

This one time in Penang Malaysia, I was trying to find something lekovod shabbos but there was absolutely no kosher food to be found. An hour before shabbos, I had given up on the search and am riding my moped on the way back to the guest, I see an old man fishing at the pier. I stop and look into his bucket and sure enough, there's a beautiful parrot fish swimming around in there. Its got the scales & fins so I offer him $1 and he agrees. On my way back to the guesthouse I get lost in thought, trying to figure out what to do now as there's no time to light a fire or kasher a BBQ. Suddenly, I see a mechanic working on a motorcycle at a repair shop. I stop and ask him if I can borrow his blow-torch, he gives me his torch and his mouth dropped when he sees me pull out a brightly colored parrot fish from my bag. I sliced it open, fillet it and grilled it with the torch. Made it back to the guesthouse with plenty of time to spare before zman.

The fish tasted amazing BTW (not the best i've had, but definitely elevated my shabbos)

Has anyone else ever tried Parrot Fish?

This post won this thread. Everyone can go home now.

February 08, 2017, 05:14:34 PM
Re: Yay, Mesh is Back He's back! And premiumized, no less.
February 14, 2017, 04:24:58 PM
Re: Viva La Revolución! Time-traveling to Cuba with Something Fishy, whYME, and CITH
Any eta?

Hoping to have the next segment out pretty soon. My TR backlog is getting ridiculous, it's time I got going :D.

March 06, 2017, 04:35:38 PM
Re: Canon PowerShot G9 X Digital Camera with 3x Optical Zoom (Amazon) $399
is this a good camera for this price ?

It is.

March 08, 2017, 12:42:01 PM