• Oh that Arizona sky

    The shows put on by the clouds in Arizona are something to see.  Often throughout the year the Arizona sky is pretty boring.  A big blue slate with nothing to see but blue.  But then monsoon season comes along and the wow factor really hits!

    Currently we’re out of the monsoon season here in AZ, but the clouds have still been putting on some amazing shows.  A few nights ago a storm cell develop just north and east of Point of Rocks.  And for a little while there we all thought we’d see a tornado for sure.

    Fortunately no tornadoes would be seen that night.  Still, I was pretty freaked out for a few minutes as I watched the colors around me change massively.  A weird yellow / orange prevailed for a while, and then it turned to a strange purple / pink combination.  And the crazy cloud continued to build.

    Unfortunately I didn’t notice the crazed Arizona sky until late in the cloud build.  My mind was focused on my client’s website at the time, and when I finally popped my head out of the Airstream I immediately grabbed the 5D and dashed up into the Granite Dells.  I missed out on capturing the whole cloud wall rolling toward the dells, but I’ve seen some great images by other people from the storm.

    Even today we’ve had some pretty cloud formations above the Airstream.  It’s been a pleasant and cool day.  Restful you could say.  Puffy clouds with blue behind them, a slight breeze, and a quiet day in the park.

    Tomorrow it’s back to grinding away on our latest project here at the Airstream.  Making great progress, but making sure to take enough time to step out of the trailer and take a look at the Arizona sky!


    October 19, 2014 • Airstream, Arizona, Granite Dells, Notes from Rich, Prescott, RV, Travel • Views: 165

  • What’s up with RV Bathrooms?

    Being a Full Time Airstreamer since 2006 I’ve noticed an interesting phenomena with other RV’ers that I just don’t understand.  About half of the RV’ers I’ve met don’t use their RV Bathroom!

    Full timing this long, I do use the bathroom and shower in the Airstream.  I have since I first started traveling with the Airstream.  But I’ve observed other RV’ers always heading off to the public showers and restrooms at the parks I visit.  I’ve even talked about it with other travelers, and I’ve never gotten a consistent answer.

    One set of friends use their restroom as an additional storage area.  The extra gear that has no where else to fit travels around in their shower.  And if you’re putting a bunch of stuff in your shower area, you’re most likely going to want to keep it dry (so don’t use the shower).  So I get that, and as they use their RV recreationally for only a few days at a time I could see opting for the public facilities.  But what about the rest of the folks I observe every day?  What is it they don’t like about their RV Bathroom???

    Thinking about my own RV, I would like some more storage space.  But I’d also prefer to shower in my nice clean shower, and not to use shared showers offered at many of the parks I’ve visited.  There have been a few times over the years where my water intake has frozen (super cold weather nights), and I’ve been forced to use a park’s facilities.  Showering in my sandals isn’t my idea of a good time, and standing in a chilly public shower during the middle of the winter is even less of a good time.

    I will say this.  The Airstream bathroom is SMALL.  I wish for a larger shower every time I’m in there.  And often it feels smaller than an airplane bathroom.  But I still favor using my own facilities above park offered facilities.  And I’m always wondering, why don’t the folks in the next lot over use their own restroom???

    October 19, 2014 • Notes from Rich, RV, Travel • Views: 337

  • 10,000 steps from the Airstream

    Watson Lake and the Granite Dells.  This image took 4 years to produce

    Watson Lake and the Granite Dells. This image took 4 years to produce

    8:00 a.m. start of the day.

    Over the past few weeks I’ve been spending too much time sitting at the Airstream dinette in front of a big computer monitor.  First we wrapped up our client in New Jersey, then moved right on to our client here in Prescott.  The work is going well, but you need to step away from the work and get outside now and then.  So today I’m doing something a little different.  I’m taking the day off from working on our client’s site, and I’m just going to have a day of rest.

    Part of the day of rest includes getting off my butt.  For a former Thru Hiker, climbing enthusiast, and outdoor photographer it’s been pretty sad how inactive I’ve been.  Being in the Granite Dells once again I find myself in an extremely beautiful place where outdoor activities are available to me.  It’s time to get out and enjoy where I’m at.

    These days everyone seems to be running around with activity monitors or smart phones that tract your physical exercise each day.  And last week I picked one up too.  I’d like to lose a few pounds, and I know that hiking is a great way to do that.  So today I’ll be walking around the park with the camera once again.  And moving forward I’ll be trying to hit that 10,000 steps a day that all these little pedometers suggest.  Honestly, I don’t think the number of steps is as relevant as just getting active, and I’ll be working on being more active a few hours a day from this point forward.

    This will be an odd post.  I’ll update it throughout the day, and finish it off this evening after I’ve met my goal.

    The first 632 steps

    Heading out of the Airstream this morning with the Canon 5D II in hand, I walked one simple loop around the top of the park.  There are two loops in the park, lower and upper, and we’re currently in the upper loop.  And if you walk a full loop here at Point of Rocks in the upper section only, it counts as 632 steps.

    Another 1400

    Taking a full walk around Point of Rocks, including both the upper and lower loops will get you another 1400 steps (well, if you’re my height).  And it takes very little time to walk around the entire park.  What’s more interesting is walking up into the Dells.  There’s where you’ll really get some steps in.  Rock hoping, scrambling up to the height of land to see some amazing sites.  That’s what will be up next!

    Of course, I could just walk around the park itself 8 more time and throw in an extra upper loop and be done with it.  But the fun of hiking is where you’re going, and what you see while getting there.  That’s what I used to say when I’d set off on a long hike, or for a few weeks in the woods.  If you’re going to get these 10,000 steps a day, why not see something while you’re doing it?  Otherwise you might as well be on a treadmill!

    10,000 Steps

    And the rest rolled in. As the day went on I took a walk into the Dells (over 3000 steps), drove over to the grocery store to do a little shopping, and went downtown in search of something that I totally blanked on when I arrived.  I was looking for an apple candle, but I blanked getting to town.  Before I knew it, 10,000 steps had been completed, and then a few more on top of that.  We’ll have to see what tomorrow holds!  Another 10,000 I hope.

    If you really want to get 10,000 steps a day, I have a great suggestion.  Go somewhere amazing.  Getting out and playing tourist can really get you off your backside!  Wandering through a place like the Granite Dells (the photo at the start of this post), it becomes so simple to achieve exercise goals.  Taking a trip up to The Vermillion Cliffs, or out to Vulture, or down in Borrego?  Yes, you’ll be outside a lot and stepping away without thinking about it!  And if you want to know more about great places to pay a visit, pop over to Living In Tin.  The trips there will really get you stepping!

    October 18, 2014 • Arizona, hiking, Notes from Rich, Travel • Views: 331

  • Wind and High Sun aren’t the perfect mix for a portrait session


    One of the mechanics working with North-Aire

    Today we popped over to North-Aire to get staff photos.  In my head I was planning on shooting in their new hangar with a plane or two in the background.  Instead they really wanted to shoot outside…..at noon.

    I thought to myself, “Oh great!”

    Shooting at high noon isn’t the best idea for outdoor portraits.  Normally your subjects get a little squinty.  Actually, they get very squinty.  Fortunately the sky was a little overcast, so that made life a little easier.  The wind was another story though.  Jodi was hanging onto the soft box for dear life while I was shooting.  Sometimes I think soft boxes are more like kites than lighting equipment.

    Fortunately everything worked out well.  We got some nice images of the instructors and crew at North-Aire.  And we got through everyone quick enough.  Of course there were those guys who were asking, “Are we done yet?”  Don’t make me turn this car around!

    Once again, sorry for the short updates here.  We’re pretty focused on our clients first, and blog updates second.  But soon enough we’ll be back to working on the National Monuments of Arizona!


    October 15, 2014 • Arizona, Notes from Rich, Prescott, RLC Design, Web Design • Views: 177

  • The next project is under way

    A fun little edit using Kubota's "Vintage Delish" settings in Lightroom.

    A fun little edit using Kubota’s “Vintage Delish” settings in Lightroom.

    The Airstream will be based out of Prescott for a few more weeks as we start into working with our latest client.  A new website, new images for the site, and some slick behind the scenes work for private pages and libraries for our client.  This will be a very fun website build indeed.  Plus we get to hang out at the airport a lot!

    When I do get to update the blog, expect lots of photos of planes.  What’s really cool about one of the planes we shot yesterday was the rivet work on it.  Getting close up it reminded me of the Airstream, all those cool little rivets!  So for the Airstream Twitter folks out there, the next few weeks will be #liveriveted indeed!

    Well, back to work.  The test server is up and running, and we’re having some fun stylizing the site.

    The clouds were fantastic yesterday.  Should have seen the freak storm roll into the Granite Dells last night!

    The clouds were fantastic yesterday. Should have seen the freak storm roll into the Granite Dells last night!



    October 10, 2014 • Airstream, Arizona, Commercial Photographer, Notes from Rich, Prescott • Views: 206

  • Trolls – Yes they do exist and they’re not under bridges

    We’re still buzzing along at the Airstream, working with clients, and planning for next month as well.  Another client might be in the near future, and that’s great.  Of course, we’re also still working toward rounding up the National Monuments here in AZ, so that project push is still going on as well.  If we start a few weeks later, so be it.

    The National Monuments Book isn’t about a vacation.

    ddtroll copyI do have to say I have been very pleased that most people have understood what we’re planning on for the National Monuments.  The attempt to create the first real guides for the National Monuments in the Southwest is a serious project that I have wanted to do for years.  And documenting so many is anything but a vacation.  Fortunately until a few days ago nobody has ever groused that they thought we were trying to fund a vacation.  What happened a few days ago?  The first disparaging comment on Twitter.

    What was interesting was what happened next.  The person who sent along the negative Tweet took it down…..unfortunately my iPhone kept the notification so I saw the comment.  And then the “tweeter” followed me.  Yup, started following me.  So I thought to myself, “Ah well, maybe they read the whole project idea and figured I’m not trying to fund a vacation.”

    Quite honestly if I was trying to fund a vacation I’d head over to GoFundMe where you don’t have to offer incentives or products.  You can just post a request for some money.  As we are serious about creating a series on the National Monuments that’s not the route I chose.

    I’m lucky enough to know some extremely talented people.  Friends who have published incredible guide books (Bert, I’m talking to you), amazing graphic designers (that would be you Ryan), and internationally known artists (hey Bret & Don).  And you know what?  While some people think they’re just doing what they love, goofing off, and doing jobs you’d “kill” to do, there’s a lot of work behind it.  I can say for a fact that when Bert sets out to do a new guide book it is anything but a vacation.  And when Bret (heh, Bert and Bret) sets pen to paper it isn’t him doodling his day away, he is creating iconic figures that we all know and love (DC & Marvel sure take Bret seriously).

    So, if we’re setting out to create a guide that could be of use to travelers who visit the Southwest, how exactly is that a vacation?

    Trolls will be trolls

    After seeing the comment taken down and getting a new follow I figured I’d watch and wait.  And it didn’t take long.

    Yesterday I posted a very old, very over cooked HDR of the Airstream from back in the day when I was experimenting with HDR.  It was a picture for fun, nothing more.  Interestingly enough when I first did the shot it generated a ton of interest and many print sales as well.  I knew it was over cooked, and an example of taking HDR too far.  But ah well, many folks dug it!

    Of course, my new follower popped something up today on the image being an example of bad HDR.  I knew it wouldn’t take long to see negative comments from him (read through his threads and that told me enough), and fortunately there is a block button on Twitter.  There’s actually “block” for just about everything on the net.  So it’s pretty easy to put trolls where they belong back under their bridges.

    This is Shaux Faux.  If you see her coming your way you might want to log off for the evening.

    This is Shaux Faux. If you see her coming your way you might want to log off for the evening.

    If you really need to troll, play a video game

    For those moments when I am personally at the end of my rope with humanity I too will allow myself to become a troll.  No I don’t run around bad mouthing other creatives who are working at their craft.  I don’t take pot shots at surrealist painters who do what they do, compose angry notes about writers who write post-modernist rants, or look around for photographers to pick at……  None of that.  So what kind of troll am I?

    A super cute one!

    Shaux Faux is my alter ego when I need to troll the world.  Actually I don’t troll the world, I troll a made up world in GW2.  It’s a fun game, although I barely get to play it these days as we’re just too busy.  But when a free moment comes up in the evening Shaux goes out trolling in a place called “World vs World.”

    The whole point of WvW is pretty simple.  The server you live on versus 2 other servers in the game.  3 servers clashing for a week at a time, and then you get new opponents.  Many groups will run out together and try to take enemy server held territory.  They’ll build catapults, arrow carts, ballistas, and giant battle suits.  They work cooperatively to push the enemy servers back.

    Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 3.32.00 PM

    Shaux’s Flame Outfit. On really bad days you’ll see her with a flaming pumpkin head helmet on. If you’re solo you’re gonna get rolled!

    9 times out of 10 that’s not what Shaux is for.  She’s for a whole different type of mission.  Solo Roaming.  Seeking out small groups of enemies, torturing them by winning 4v1 engagements (me being 1, them being 4), and then having a giggle when they’ll finally send 20 guys just to take her down.

    In short, I troll small groups with Shaux in order to hone my skills in fighting outnumbered.  Well, it’s not even about honing the skills.  It’s about trouncing the enemies so badly that they want to log off for the night.  Now that’s true trolling!

    So, to all the trolls out there.  If you really want to pick away at me, my project, photography style, where I live, what I do for work, my friends, my family, and what I consider to be fun I have a simple suggestion.  Buy a copy of Guild Wars 2, pick any server but HoD, and come find me.  When you are defeated a hologram of a laughing pumpkin head will float above your toon for a few seconds, and you’ll know what real trolling is all about!




    October 9, 2014 • Notes from Rich • Views: 200

  • The blog may be quiet, but the Airstream is buzzing!

    "The Tree"  One of my favorite Prescott Photos.

    “The Tree” One of my favorite Prescott Photos.

    I’ve taken a few days away from the blog.  Not for lack of interest, but because so much is actually happening here.  Some of it is travel related, some of it is all about business.  At 42 years old I’m no retiree.  And that means that earning a living while full time RV’ing is something I have to do.

    Living In Tin

    The latest travel guide at Living In Tin has been posted.  Because the Grand Staircase Escalante is so big, we’ve elected to break up the guides into smaller bites.  In total there will be 3 articles on the Grand Staircase, and #1 has hit Living in Tin!  “Cottonwood Canyon Road – The Grand Staircase Escalante.”

    This first article was initially part of a teaser on Living In Tin.  And the teaser has been finished out.  Cottonwood Canyon Road is an amazing place to explore.  And honestly it’s not a 1 day thing.  Sure, you can drive the road in a day, but why hurry?  Amazing canyons, crazy rock formations, driving on a wild fault line.  It’s got everything you need for a true multi-day adventure.  Heck, I’ve spent days just walking around in Hackberry canyon, and every time I saw something new.

    The second October article is also in the works.  And to mix things up it isn’t about the Grand Staircase.  I know, folks want to know all about Hole in the Rock road, but be patient.

    Thanks to all of our early subscribers who have been providing great feedback and requests for updates at Living In Tin.  We’ll be incorporating everything that we can, and you’re going to help us build one of the best adventure guide sites on the net!!!

    Why oh why is there a 3 hour time difference?

    One of my clients will get a kick out of this one.  They’re in New Jersey, and I’m in Arizona.  So we have a slight difference in what our clocks say each morning.  Well, morning is relative, isn’t it?  Because while I’m chatting away on the phone with my clients and ponder breakfast, he’s pondering lunch.

    We’re currently doing a re-design on a manufacturing company in New Jersey.  And since we’re not on site we get to spend a lot of time on the phone.  I’m glad I have my little earbuds for the calls, otherwise I’d have a neck cramp by now.  The next few days will find me on the phone with New Jersey in the morning.  Updating images, tweaking the design, and making sure we have the site right!  I do enjoy helping my clients reach new customers for their own business.

    See, I’m still writing away, just not here.  You can only type so much in a day before you really want nothing to do with your computer!

    In Prescott for a spell

    So, the Airstream is parked back in Prescott for a bit.  There, that’s the official announcement.  Go figure while in Colorado we’d get a call from a potential client located in Prescott.  Last week we took a ride down to meet with the folks who had contacted us, and we got the job.  And yes, there were other bidders, some lower than us, some higher.  The difference?  Listening to what the clients wants, and demonstrating that we can in fact bring their vision to life.

    This will be one of the most complex database heavy sites we’ve done to date.  Glad I’m a SQL guy!

    Fair warning…..I’m not out and about through town visiting everyone.  I really don’t have the time at the moment.  2 clients over the next month.  That’s a busy month.  Commercial photo shoots, hanging out in hangers, shooting some epic corporate images that I can’t wait to do?  Busy yes, but enjoying it all the same!

    Alright, there’s the update.  Have a fantastic day.  And if you haven’t stopped by Living in Tin yet, take a gander!

Traveler’s Guide to the National Monuments of Arizona

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