"Too many Peaks, Trails, Couloirs, and
Reefs ... Not Enough Time"
So far almost all of my wilderness trips have been four to twelve
day backpacking or backcountry ski trips where all participants had to carry
everything. This results in typical loads of 40 to 70 lbs per person depending
on trip duration and required plus optional gear. Most of these trips I've led for some of
the local outdoor clubs in the Baltimore - Washington metropolitan area. Others I've just been a
participant on, and when skiing through avalanche terrain have usually gone with
a professional guide. These are magnificent wilderness regions that require good
physical conditioning, proper gear and the knowledge and experience to use it,
as well as trip planning and wilderness navigation skills. Backpackers see
things that dayhikers only read about in magazines.
Scuba Diving trips were always at dedicated dive resorts or
occasionally on a live aboard dive boat where you are literally "camped out"
over some pristine reef 24/7. On a live aboard dive boat it's "Eat, Sleep, &
Dive"! Typically we're doing three to five dives per day - and doing night dives
almost every night. Night dives are spectacular! At night you see animals that
you don't see during the day. The second largest
barrier reef in the world runs along the eastern coast of Central America. I've
done five dive trips there and I think it's the best diving in the Caribbean.
Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, and Guanaja are among my favorite places.
Most of my backcountry hut to hut ski trips were done in the Colorado 10th
Mountain Hut System which is quite large spanning the White River, Arapaho, and
San Isabel National Forests as well as the Holy Cross, Hunter Fryingpan, and Mt.
Massive Wilderness Areas. Other trips have included the two AMC huts that are
open in winter in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and the Mammoth to June
Lake camping trip in the Eastern Sierras.
For descriptions of upcoming or previous trips and two outdoor training
courses I offer: "Backpacking Basics" and "Wilderness in Winter" see my outdoor activities
Initially photography started as a way to show family and friends what
these wilderness areas and reefs were like. As photography has become a more important
part of these trips; printing the
photographs and creating the posters has become an end unto itself. To date all of my cameras are 35mm film based. For outdoor trips, I started
off with an Olympus Superzoom point and shoot which does a good job but after a couple of trips I wanted something
better. Unfortunately almost all of my backcountry ski trips were done with this
camera with very few useable images to show for it. The only advantage of point and shoot
cameras are size and weight but they
good for snapshots. To get good pictures you need at least a Single
Lens Reflex (SLR) of some kind - either film or digital. It's a much higher
quality camera that supports high quality interchangeable lenses which allow for
creative composition. I'm using a Canon Rebel SLR which is not only a good quality
camera but with its polycarbonate housing, is extremely lightweight - the body is only 15.6 oz. Size and weight are major considerations for backpacking and
even more so for backcountry skiing. I normally carry a Tamron 28-300mm
telephoto zoom, a Sigma 17-35mm wide angle zoom, and a
Phoenix 1:1 macro to 35mm lenses for land photography plus filters and sometimes
a tripod if I can tolerate the extra weight.
For underwater photography I use a Nikon Nikonos V amphibious 35mm range
finder camera and the Nikonos 15, 28, and 35mm lenses. Other equipment includes
optical viewfinders, electronic strobes, and a complete set of land and
underwater macro extension tubes and framers. Most of my UW photography is
either wide angle or macro - two pursuits that the Nikonos V is well suited
for. Their 15mm lens is widely regarded as the best underwater wide angle lens in
Some day I will add a digital SLR, unfortunately only a few have CCD's or
CMOS image sensors that are "full frame" which is the same size as a 35mm image. To get a digital SLR
that is as good as my $500 Canon Rebel I would have to spend between $2500 and
$7800 (2008 prices). For that amount of money you could buy at least one, possibly two, medium
format film cameras with very high quality interchangeable lenses. A lot depends
on what type of photography you want to do. For many people the sub 35mm digital SLR's work great
and they are very happy with them. When I'm spending hours scanning slides in,
I'm definitely envious. But if you want to print very large images and shoot wide
angle landscapes - anything smaller than 35mm is unacceptable. For telephoto work the
small image size helps you and magnifies the telephoto effect. For wide angle
hurts by decreasing the width of the field of view. For large print images the 35mm format is
already too small - most of the pros are using either medium format (60mm in
various configurations) or large format (4x5in or 8x10in) film view cameras.
Although many pros today are switching to the high end full frame digital SLR's
- they have eclipsed high end film SLR's in quality and capability.
You can get the best of both worlds by shooting film and using a film
scanner to get a very high resolution digital image from each slide. This has
the added advantage of allowing rescanning the original slide at increasingly
higher resolutions as scanning technology improves. I've been
using a Kodak RFS-3600 film scanner for several years which will scan 35mm film
or slides at up to 3600dpi. I replaced this with a Konica Minolta
Dimage 5400 II film scanner which will scan 35mm film or slides at up to 5400dpi.
My photographic and image processing workflow includes a film front end and a
digital back end. Once scanned, everything is done digitally including the final
print. For image editing I use PhotoShop CS3 and some related image processing
utilities. PhotoShop is a very powerful image processing tool and the
tool I use for all image editing. Individual photographs are printed either from
PhotoShop or Ventura Publisher depending on what I'm trying to do with the image.
Corel Ventura Publisher is the desktop publishing tool that I've been working
with since Xerox originally developed version 1.0 in the mid 80's. This is a
superb, very powerful tool that has consistently been rated as either the best
or among the best of all of the desktop publishing software. Unfortunately Corel
has done a poor job of enhancing this tool since they
bought it from Xerox. This is
the primary tool I use for overall graphic arts design, color work space
management, and digital printing of the posters. All of the other software tools are used to do
specific subtasks, the results of which are managed by Ventura Publisher.
Graphic Arts & Mapping
For posters that include some type of drawn item I use Corel Draw. Some of
the wilderness trail posters include topographic maps, they are usually developed
with either Topo! or Terrain Navigator, although I do have full blown AutoCAD
Map if necessary.
My websites are developed and maintained with Microsoft FrontPage a tool that
I've found works quite well, for my needs anyway. Because I'm using 21"
CRT monitors at a minimum of 1600x1200 resolution for development I've had
to significantly detune these images to get them to even work acceptably on an
800x600 monitor which many people will be using.
Managing the Color Workspace
Managing the color workspace in a digital workflow environment is quite complex.
Every image capture, display, and print device, as well as all of the image
processing software tools deal with color differently. Not only do these devices
need to be color calibrated but the image must be accurately, consistently, and automatically
color corrected as it is handed off from one device or software tool to the
next. I normally use an Adobe RGB color workspace, but may use CMYK for
some things. I use a CRT colorimeter to periodically color calibrate my CRT's
and software tools. Custom ICC printer color correction profiles are created
with another colorimeter by printing, scanning, and calibrating 729
different color swatches for a specific printer + specific ink + specific paper.
Computers & Printing
As my primary business is providing consulting engineering services I have
access to tremendous computer firepower. DeepSoft, LLC. is an
engineering firm which provides Mechanical Engineering, Ocean Engineering, and
Software Engineering services as well as technical software training. Frequently this work involves creation of
complex 3D solid models of products and structures as well as stress, thermal,
and dynamic Finite Element Analysis (FEA) computer simulations of these
devices. Ocean Engineering work usually focuses on design of diving equipment. Software
Engineering entails custom C & C++ programming for engineering applications such
as custom CAD & CAE tools, real-time embedded applications, and ROM based
Four engineering workstations are networked with FastEthernet.
21" CRT's are used because they have fast dynamic response times which are
required for real-time rotation of complex 3D models. As of 2008, inexpensive
LCD's are now providing dynamic response times of 2-6 ms which is a huge
improvement and is comparable to CRT's. CRT's may still provide more accurate graphic art and photographic color reproduction than current LCD's. Large format printing is done on the Hewlett Packard DesignJet 800 PS which
supports Adobe PostScript, Pantone Colors, and HPGL. This printer accepts 42"
wide by 100' rolls of a variety of high quality papers and other printing media.
Resolutions supported are 1200 to 2400dpi and True Color which is 16.7 million
This is a 200 lb printer with its own maintenance contract and a
significant learning curve. For more information about these technical services please check the
DeepSoft, LLC. website listed below, or the new
FEA-CAE-Engineering website which is specific to Mechanical & Ocean Engineering only.
All photographs and posters are for sale. All images, photographs, and
posters are copyrighted material and are protected by United States and
International copyright laws.
Photographs Taken by Others
* Photographs at the top of the page were taken by Demi Mejia, Captain of the
Wave Dancer, and Tom Beltran - they own the copyright to these images.