Saturday, October 31, 2015


Let me start off this post by being absolutely clear: I dislike zombies. 

I find the whole cult-like fascination that some folks seem to attribute to the idea of zombie outbreaks, or zombies vs. $RandomThing, or any of the other myriad of zombie related fetishes that have come along in recent years to be rather pointless and silly.

In short, zombies are boring, predictable, and completely uninteresting to me. (Terminators, on the other hand, are a real threat, and deserve our immediate and undivided attention).

However, despite my normal reservations about zombie stuff, I can certainly appreciate a well executed geocache based on the theme.  Emphasis on "well".

Over the past couple months I have travelled all over the continent, and during my travels I came across just such a cache.

The approach to ground zero started with this scene:
There were a series of them leading to the first set of coordinates.  The cache is a multi-staged puzzle themed on a zombie outbreak, and the ensuing struggle to survive it.  Given that theme, these signs really added to the atmosphere.
It is the little things that added to the ambience of this cache, like random skulls visible while traveling between the stages. Clearly we are meant to believe a vicious battle to the death was fought in these woods.
Another example is this "blood" covered chain saw (don't worry, the sharp parts were removed, and random bones strewn about the forest floor. It really adds to the experience to see these little touches.
This cache actually has it all - a puzzle solvable at the computer,  multiple stages with provided coordinates, and even an offset waypoint (basically you are given a direction, and a distance).  They were thoughtful enough to provide a compass for the offset waypoint portion.

The offset led me to the final container - an ammo can.

At ground zero I accidentally scrapped my hand.  I hope this means I am not going to become a zombie.
This was an amazingly well done cache.  It goes to show that, given enough effort and planning, even a cache that is themed on something one actively dislikes, it can still become an enjoyable experience that is worth blogging about.

So well done, cache owner, well done. My hat is off to you.

Now, might I suggest you do a cache based on this next?

Thursday, October 29, 2015

A Fall Ride

These are the scenes that greeted me on my bike ride to work this morning:

Somedays it really pays to ride your bike.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

A Morning Stroll Along The Vegas Strip

Going through my archive recently I realized I had some adventures to share that I had not gotten around to posting yet.  In early September I was in Vegas for a work offsite.  I arrived mid-afternoon on a Wednesday.  Thursday morning I woke up early to walk the strip in the early morning light.

I started indoors at Ceasars Palace.
Then I moved over to the indoor flower garden at the Bellagio.
When I headed outside, I caught this scene, overlooking the Bellagio pool in the foreground, and Paris in the background.
The lights of the strip still look good in the blue of the early dawn.
If you have ever been to Vegas you know that the elevated walkways that cross the roads are lined with glass.  I noticed this glass was showing some interesting reflections.  I am not entirely sure I like the results, but I figure no harm in posting the attempt.  What do you think?
One last shot of the strip before breakfast.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Grandfather Mountain

Like most folks who have office jobs, I do many different things from day to day. Some days I write code.  Some days I fix broken software.  Some days I create documentation.  Some days it seems I do nothing but attend meetings.

Some days, and these days are rare, mind you, some days I get into a luxury bus with my entire team and head up into the mountains for a picnic, and some hiking.

Some days it is very easy to go to work.

A couple weeks ago our team did just that - headed to Grandfather Mountain for a picnic, and taking in some scenery.

Grandfather Mountain lies in the Blue Ridge Mountains, about an hour from where I live.  It is an UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, which means lots of land, and lots of animals, both in the wild, and in captivity.

They have a small zoo on site, featuring animals found in the area, like this bald eagle.
Also, this black bear.
At the very top of Grandfather Mountain is a stunning overlook. It offers almost a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains, and one of then highest peaks in the area.
To get to that overlook, one crosses a swinging bridge, that is 1 mile (5128ft) above sea level, and 80ft above the valley it crosses.
One last view of the area before we go - highlighting the incredible beauty, and sweeping views of the area.
It is easy to see why these mountains got the name Blue Ridge, eh?

So that was how I started my first work week in October.  How did yours go?

Takin' Care Of Business

Just an update for anyone who follows this blog, but doesn't follow me on Google Plus.  You may have missed a few updates as a result.

I have started posting some roadside attractions from my Canadian trip in the B.F.X. collection.   Follow it if you want to get updates.

I have started posting some of my more favourite photography shots to a collection called Camera Obscura.  If you like my photography, you may wish to follow that collection as well.

Finally, I have put some of my shots up for sale at Fine Art America.  From there you can order a print of my work for your very own.

Thus concludes todays business.  Have a nice day.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Blur, Bah!

Few things are more annoying then going on a trip to the mountains, only to find out when you get back home that the focus settings on your camera were not set the way you thought they were.

Blurry photos... blah!

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Fall Colours On The Blue Ridge Parkway

Living so close to the Blue Ridge Parkway and not checking out the fall colours is tantamount to criminal activity (criminal negligence).

So last weekend I made plans to take a ride on the parkway and check out the scenery.

I almost didn't make it.  A huge rain storm blew into the area Friday night and lingered on into Sunday afternoon.  This same storm caused major flooding south of us.

However I checked the weather radar after church, and the route I was going to take was clearing up, so I hopped into the Geovan of Destiny and hit the mountains. My goal: Mabry Mill in Virginia.

Along the way I hit up many of the scenic overlooks that line the parkway.  At times the skies were clear, but often there was a thick fog blanketing the area. At times I was literally driving thru the clouds.
The fog is not so awesome for sweeping mountain vistas, but makes great moody effects against the trees.  I stopped off at the above overlook to take a picture of a tree.  When I approached the area, I noticed this plucky cow in the field.
Further on down the parkway I got a break in the clouds and got some nice views.
The fall colours were not in full force, but definitely enough to impress.
The views from the parkway never cease to impress.
After 4 hours of driving (45MPH limit on the parkway means  you don't go anywhere quickly - however you seldom want to go fast for fear of missing the views) I arrived at my goal, the Mabry Mill:
I took the interstate on the way back, and arrived home in just under two hours (just in time to put the kids to bed - win!).

All in all, it was a good day to spend in the mountains - Mind you, they all tend to be good days on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Wordless Wednesday

Sunday, October 04, 2015

The Scott Kelby World Wide Photowalk

On Saturday, despite the forecasted nearly biblical rains in the Carolinas, we headed off to Fletcher North Carolina to attend the Scott Kelby World Wide Photowalk.

The destination was the Sierra Nevada Brewery.

The brewery was actually Plan B for the walk, but due to the aforementioned rains, which were not quite biblical, but definitely significant.

None of us had ever been on a photowalk before, so we spent some time getting aquainted with the whole process, then we took a tour of the brewery, and got our photography on.

Even the kids got into the act.  We let them borrow some of our older gear.  Zeke really got into it. At one point in time he actually said "That is dark, I need to get more sun on there."
Would not be a trip to a brewery without a shot of, ya know, beer.  In this case the taps in the tasting room.
Beer bottles in a chandelier. 
Abigail giving Zeke some sass  (over the topic of how they were going to share the chair)
One last shot.
An appropriate sign, given this was the last thing I saw before we left the walk.

The photowalk was an interesting experience.  I can't wait until I go on another one.