Tag: atx

After 1 Week With The New 2017 Ford Explorer Sport

After 1 Week With The New 2017 Ford Explorer Sport

I’ve had my 2017 Ford Explorer Sport for a week now, and have really been enjoying it. I knew I wanted to do a YouTube video for it, but I didn’t want to do one of those typical “here’s the air conditioning, here’s the radio, it has a gazillion speakers, listen to how good it sounds (since you can really tell over a YouTube video!)”

I decided to make a video highlighting some of the features that I enjoy most, and that I think are really well thought out. I also pointed out a few observations of things I think could be better, but that aren’t that big of a deal because, as a whole, this really is a fantastic package.

Watch the video to see more!


Some Things Look Better On Paper :-)

Some Things Look Better On Paper :-)

When I plan trips, I always like leaving as early as possible on the departure day. This lets me get to my destination as early as possible, so I’ve got the full day to explore and enjoy it. I plan every trip the same way, and, like clockwork, I always second guess myself as the day approaches. I have those moments of thinking “What the heck was I thinking booking a flight out at 6:30am in the morning???”

I usually have these thoughts the day before, specifically the night before when I’m trying to go to bed at an ungodly early hour. I love to travel, and can barely contain my excitement before a big trip. I have yet to try the whole “staying up all night” approach, but since I can’t sleep on the plane (I’ve tried) I find myself trying to get even an hour or two of sleep before I leave.

Let’s take a look at this picture of the start of my itinerary; you can click on it to see a larger version:



I’m very granular when it comes to planning travel, because travel is supposed to be fun. I’d rather get as much planning done as possible in advance so I can just focus on enjoying it.  I use an app called TripIt for planning all of my travel, since it allows me to share my itineraries with family and friends. It’s extremely useful.

I’m due to drop off my car at 5:15am, which will give me enough time to get to the airport and through security. My flight doesn’t leave until 6:30am, but I’d rather be early than rush through and risk being late, or even worse, missing my plane entirely. Anyone who’s traveled through Austin-Bergstrom International Airport knows security lines can be hit or miss, regardless of the time of day.

Dropping off the car at 5:15am means I have to leave my apartment by about 4:30am or so. I should probably get up around 4:00am to have time to get a shower and quick bite in before I leave. This means that, to get enough sleep (I’m good with about 6 hours on an average night) I need to go to bed by 10pm. I can already say that’s not going to happen.

Maybe I’ll be in bed by 11:30pm, but probably be too excited to fall asleep. I may drift off to sleep by about 1, then be woken up by my alarm just 3 short hours later.

On the one hand… What was I thinking?

But on the other hand…and, I think, the bigger of the two proverbial “hands”:  I can’t wait, and I look forward to losing sleep at the expense of what looks to be a really fun upcoming trip.

I’ll be streaming live from Bermuda via Periscope, so be sure to download the app for iOS or Android and follow me on there (@iamjohnbamber).

I’ll be posting live blogs here as well, if you want to just see the current cruise postings you can do so at johnscruise.live or past cruise stuff at johnscruises.blog.


Got My First Roll Of Black & White Film Back From The Lab

Got My First Roll Of Black & White Film Back From The Lab

One of the many great allures of shooting film is shooting in black & white. It’s been a very long time since I’d shot actual black and white, as opposed to taking color pictures and removing the color in post-production. The last time I shot anything in black & white was easily 20+ years ago, maybe longer, when I had my Pentax K1000.

I shot a roll of Ilford HP5 ISO 400, which I was told was a good all-around film for getting into this type of photography. For my first roll of non-color in a long time, I’m quite happy. Seeing these pictures is making me want to shoot more of it.

I’ve also learned that one should use filters in front of the lens to increase contrast, so I found a great deal on a few color filters at my local camera shop. I’m definitely excited to shoot more black & white shots.

All of the images below are straight from the camera, no post-processing has been done.


Got My First Roll Of Color Film Back From The Lab

Got My First Roll Of Color Film Back From The Lab

Got my first round of pictures back from the lab – I’m optimistic! It was a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 color negative film, which the lab processed via a “dip and dunk” method. I’m told this is the best way to process film, but I haven’t a clue what it means or how it differs from other labs. The lab then scanned my negatives and electronically sent me high-resolution TIFF files which I can store digitally. I’ll be keeping the negatives from any film I shoot archived in case I find anything I want to print, as I’m told this will produce the best quality.

The good news:

  • The camera works! It’s always an unknown when it comes to buying used gear on eBay. Positive feedback has been left!
  • The light meter is fairly accurate. Most of the shots I took the meter was around the centerline, maybe plus or minus half a stop or so. I’m cool with that.
  • Kodak Ektar 100 looks very nice – appears to have a warm tone to it. It could be just my interpretation or my unfamiliar-to-film eye. I’ve got a roll of Fujifilm 400H ISO 400 in my camera now, so maybe I’ll take some of the same shots with that roll and compare.

The bad news:

  • Not that bad: I’m missing the first 2 images that I shot… I remember the first image I shot was of a few things in my office.  Perhaps they didn’t come out? It would make sense that pictures on the extreme ends of the film might be the most likely to not come out? Film photographers, your thoughts?
  • The camera is annoyingly heavy… will be a little annoying for travel…

I’m waiting on a roll of Ilford HP5 Black-and-White pictures to come back, and I’ll post a few of those once I get those scans.

All of the pictures are shown exactly as they had been shot from the camera with the exception of minor blemish cleanups on a few. No color correction has been made.

All in all, I’m feeling pretty good. What do you think?


I Flew A Plane For The First Time

I Flew A Plane For The First Time

Yes, you read that correctly. I didn’t just fly in the plane, I flew the plane!

I’ve always enjoyed playing flight simulator games, and have done so since the early days of the first versions of Microsoft Flight Simulator on Windows 95! Fast forward to today, and I’ve been a big fan of a simulator called X-Plane on my Mac. It’s so realistic, the company who makes it offers a professional version or use in actual pilot training.

One of my friends from work, who also shares an interest in flying, suggested I do a “discovery flight” which is exactly as its name implies: a way to “discover” if flying is something you want to get involved with. So, yesterday I did just that.

It was incredible.

I put a video together for my YouTube channel talking about the experience, which I’d love for you to check out below:

I also uploaded a full unedited version on my YouTube channel  if you’d like to experience the entire journey for yourself. The audio isn’t great, because I didn’t have a way to record the onboard audio at the time, and I had only one camera feed. Still, you can get a feel for what it was like!

I wanted send a quick shout out and thanks to my friend Nate for the suggestion to do this in the first place, and for taking some great pictures while I was flying:

I wanted to send a special thank you to Mike and the gang at Above & Beyond Aviation, for giving an incredible and unforgettable experience! Since they also offer flight training, I know where I’m going if I decide to pursue my pilot’s license.

If you have any interest in aviation, be sure to sign up for a discovery flight at your local airport! It’s definitely a great experience, and one I highly recommend!

May 30 Vlog With Brian

May 30 Vlog With Brian

I’d just picked up a GoPro Hero 5 Session and decided to take it out and film some stuff with a good friend of mine. The drone also makes an appearance in this video as well. Enjoy!

Amazing Clouds

Amazing Clouds

Mother Nature does some weird things sometimes… but also will randomly throw us a reward with visuals like this. I happened to have my DSLR with me, so I had to pull over and snap this. 

The Skies In The Evening… Can Be Quite Beautiful

The Skies In The Evening… Can Be Quite Beautiful

I snapped this on my way home from work the other night… I wish there was a spot for me to pull over and take this. I don’t advocate taking pictures while driving, but that sky!

If you must capture something while driving be sure you’re doing so safely, and don’t share it to your social media until you get home! That part takes longer!