Just a quick note because the ship is about to sail and we’ll be out of cellular range until Tuesday.
Valencia is amazing – an undiscovered gem on the Mediterranean. This is where paella was invented but they make it with chicken not seafood.
Also home to an amazing group of buildings by Santiago Calatrava, the designer of the whale next to the 9-11 Memorial in New York. On the flip side is one the group. It looks like a giant eye in the sun.
We’re having a blast. Just had caviar service before dinner at the Thomas Keller restaurant on board. Next stop Cadiz!
We spent the day wandering the Gothic Quarter and the old market, La Bouqueria, with our guide, Lidia, ate lots of jamon Iberico, and ended with a visit to the Picasso Museum. Picasso gave the museum hundreds of paintings from his workshop and it was fascinating to see his development from a precocious 15-year-old to the genius we know today.
We ate dinner at a cafe on Plaza Reial just off La Rambla – more ham, late summer tomatoes, and Spanish cheese topped off with a perfect apple tart and coffee. Then we hunted Pokémon all the way back to our hotel in the old Jewish Quarter.
Tomorrow we board our ship and sail for Valencia, Spain.
Yesterday I deactivated my Twitter account and kicked Tumblr to the curb. A couple of weeks ago I did the same with Instagram. A month or so before that I killed Facebook. And I survived. No, thrived!
Call me a recovering social media addict minus the withdrawal. I do have a read-only Twitter account with links to news sources. If someone famous dies, or there’s an earthquake, I can go there. Otherwise the daily spew of outrage and bile can go on without me.
If you used to follow me on one of those sites you can follow me here, instead. Or on micro.blog. I’m also playing with Mastodon – so far it’s much more civilized.
I’ll post my best pictures on Flickr and Smugmug. I’ll send actual postcards to my family (thanks to Bill Atkinson’s PhotoCard).
Lisa and I are heading out tonight for a cruise around the western Mediterranean. It’s my goal to post a picture a day here.
If The Donald has something to say he can leave it in the comments. See you in a month!
Watch iOSToday for my demonstration of an amazing iOS app called Drafts ($4.99 iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch).
A hat tip to iMore’s Vector podcast with Réné Ritchie, Merlin Mann, and Drafts’ author, Greg Pierce, for turning me on to this iOS gem.
Consider Drafts a starting point for text entry. The app takes significant effort to understand and configure, but trust me it’s worth it. Drafts has so many useful features you’ll definitely want to watch David Sparks tutorial videos on the Drafts web site to get started.
If you’re into Dave Allen’s GTD methodology you’ll understand it as a trusted place to brain-dump: a way to get all those “open loops” out of your brain and stored somewhere for later processing.
Drafts is designed for a keyboard but I use dictation a lot, especially on the fly with the Apple Watch. Note the complication in the upper right of my watch face above. Tapping the icon launches Drafts on the watch ready to take dictation. The 0 says I have zero unprocessed entries in drafts. That’s a handy indicator when I have text in my queue that needs handling.
So far I’m doing a lot of calendaring, messaging, and yes, blogging, with it. In fact, that’s how I wrote this post.
I’m hoping I can use it this week as I head off tonight to Tortola to sail around the British Virgin Islands with my son, Henry, and his pal HT. Meanwhile Happy Holidays to you and yours! I’ll be back live on TWiT on January 2.
My habit, after a vacation, is to put away the pictures (well, stuff them in a folder on a big hard drive, anyway) and never look at them again. The thought of going through thousands of pictures to find the gems is just too daunting.
This time I did better. My friend, photographer Chris Marquardt, has written a useful little pamphlet called “1 Hour, 1000 Pics” that he gives away for free at 1hour1000pics.com. It describes a method for quick triage of your pictures. I tried to apply this every night on our recent trip to Machu Picchu and the Galápagos. And it worked! I used it to whittle 4000 images down to 30 that I’m pretty proud of. I’ve posted them on my SmugMug page and below. You can download full-size images from SmugMug and even buy prints there at cost. I love SmugMug!
You can also look at the Sway presentation I made for a more informal travelogue, and eventually Lisa and I will publish our joint Google Photos album with many more images (hers are better than mine and you can see them at Life of Lisa.com). But I consider these my best. And now I’m done. In a few months I’ll delete the rejects, saving space and photo guilt. What a relief.
All the photos with one exception were made with my Canon 5D Mark IV. The exception is a sunrise shot of Machu Picchu I took with my Google Pixel XL camera phone. Naturally it’s my best image of Machu Picchu. Go figure.
I organize and perform basic editing with Adobe Lightroom. Some of the images were imported into Topaz Studio for additional processing. And the HDRs were created with Photomatix Pro. Lightroom is a little slow with the 30MP images that come out of the Canon, so in future I’m planning to use Photo Mechanic for the initial triage then import the three star images into Lightroom for processing. Chris’s methodology works perfectly with Photo Mechanic and it’s much faster. Thank you, Chris!
The Galápagos is a treasure and a reminder of what the planet looked like before humans. We feel very blessed to have seen it. I hope you enjoy the pictures I brought back.
We’re practicing for our vacation. Lisa by climbing trees. I’m practicing taking pictures of her climbing trees.
At the advice of Thomas Hawk I’m thinking of biting the bullet and bringing the big and heavy Canon 5D Mark IV and an assortment of lenses (70-200, 16-35, and a fast 50). That’s about 15 pounds of gear. I was planning on taking the lighter Sony A7 but when you add the Sony lenses it’s only a pound or two lighter. Thomas says I’ll be glad I brought the Canon. Both these shots are from today using the Canon with a 16-35 f2.8 lens.