Teton Photo Group Symposium

DSC03347smThank you to the Teton Photography Group for having me as one of their guest speakers at their Basic Digital Photography Symposium on Saturday, Mar 22, 2014.

Sponsored by the Art Association of Jackson Hole, the Teton Photography Group now sports over 170 members, one of the largest and most successful photography groups in the Rocky Mountain northern territory.

symposium brochure extThe symposium featured four different speakers, each a professional in his own right:

The 40 attendees of the 5 hour talk received instruction on different topics of basic photography, such as composition, framing, how to use the histogram and selecting different lenses.

symposium brochure intAt the break, several of the attendees began questioning me on the subjects I presented:

  • How not to ruin a photo
  • Manual vs autofocus
  • Camera shake
  • Stabilization techniques

and we had an impromptu discussion demonstrating some of the techniques with their individual cameras. Those questions prompted me to open my private photography tutoring course. The need for individual lessons is higher than I thought in Jackson Hole and, as such, I created the course offering. As several people also had questions about their Nikon camera, I will also offer Nikon-specific private tutoring sessions as well. Some of the functions of a modern DSLR are esoteric but have a huge impact on the quality and performance of of camera.

As I am a motivational and inspirational speaker, I always enjoy standing in front of a group of people and presenting on different topics. Based on the feedback the director of the Teton Photography Group received, all of the speakers were well received and provided valuable information.

Prep for teaching: Watch at the South Pole

One thing I had been meaning to do for a while was photograph the

Casio G-Shock ProTrek PRW5100 that went to the South Pole
Casio G-Shock ProTrek PRW5100 that went to the South Pole

watch It’s Jackson Time, one of my expedition sponsors, provided me with.  Ted, the owner, was very good and made sure I had an excellent expedition time piece to trek across Antarctica with.

Although the Casio ProTrek PRW5100-1 is no Rolex, it has certain features I loved.  Having analog for checking time at a glance was wonderful.  It had been forever since I had an analog watch and I never realized how much more quickly I could watch my time during skiing.  Also, the analog face does not develop lag like an LCD nor does it turn black when looking at it with polarized glasses.  And, I could leave the watch out and still read it.  LCD-based watches would turn to unreadable mush at -40 deg. F.

One of the purposes for photographing this watch was to fine-tune my product shooting skills for a few classes I’m teaching at the Art Association of Jackson Hole.  I will be teaching four different classes.  Stay tuned for their description, purpose and audience.  I will be targeting intermediate shooters with one course and have a class on strobe (flash) photography.  Hence the above photograph.

The class dates and exact description will be forthcoming.

ProTrek PRW5100 unretouched
ProTrek PRW5100 unretouched, what it looked like after the south pole

Note: The above watch went with me to the South Pole.  It’s a little more beat up than the above shows.  It took a sick amount of Photoshop work to take out most of the dings, scratches, fuzzies, and specs.

Here’s the original image before editing:

Thank you St. James!

Thank you so much to St. James Lutheran Church in Imperial Beach, CA, for

St. James News Letter
St. James News Letter

the follow-up blurb in its July 2013 news letter. It was a wonderful time and I enjoyed speaking to an enjoyable audience.  Pastor Jones and the St. James staff were more than accommodating for the event, providing a sound man, projector and screen.  Plus, there was the tasty taco bar made by Diane Linsdau, my aunt with culinary talent.

Alaska wisdom

A few words of wisdom from Alaska guide Willi Prittie with 38 years of experience on

Willi Prittie
Willi Prittie, Talkeetna, Alaska

National Geographic Channel’s Ultimate Alaska Survival:

Some of the best things in life – you can’t plan for, because you have no idea they’re going to be there.  They just happen.  And to be open to those kinds of experiences in your life really is a great deal why so many of us enjoy the back country and the wilderness.  Because so much happens – that’s life, that’s real, that you can’t plan for. – Willi Prittie

Willi is 57 years old and he really looks like he’s spent serious time in the Alaskan back country.  He said what so many, including myself, have had trouble elucidating why people go out and experience the wilderness.

There is the old saying, “For those who understand, no explanation is necessary.  For those who do not understand, no explanation is possible.”  At first, this saying entertained me.  But, thinking about it more, it is off-putting to someone asking an honest question.  And, as seen above, Willi did a good job of sharing just why.

Part of my book, Antarctic Tears, will explore this topic further.  Explaining why I found it enjoyable to spend great time, effort and money on my Antarctic expedition is a challenge but I hope to be up to it and share that with others.

I’d like to post a clip of Willi saying this on Youtube, but copyright infringement is generally frowned upon.  If I can find it legitimately on the National Geographic website, I’ll link to it.  The above screen capture is from using a video camera to film the image on my television.

Expedition Presentation at St. James Lutheran, Imperial Beach, CA

On June 23, 2013, I will be making a presentation on my expedition at St.

St. James Polar Event
St. James Polar Event, in the news letter

James Lutheran Church in Imperial Beach, CA. (866 Imperial Beach Blvd. , Imperial Beach, CA 91932 , http://www.stjamesib.org/).  Click on the picture to the right to see the full flyer.

I understand the event will be coordinated with a pot luck meal as well.  The community is invited to attend the event.

For this presentation, I will give a sampler of the material I will be making for corporate and event clients, too.  This evening will not only be a discussion about what it was like to trek across Antarctica, but also presenting a message of never giving up, accepting change and pursuing one’s dreams.  I’ll also provide a little insight into how I took calculated risks to get the expedition going in spite of naysayers.

Please check with the church by calling at 619.424.6166 for updated information on the event.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Speaking at Dehesa Charter School

Thank you so much to Dehesa Charter School in Escondido, CA, for having

Dehesa Charter School
Dehesa Charter School

me out to speak about my expedition to Antarctica.

The class, led by Ms. Beardsley, was very attentive and loaded with intelligent questions.  Thus far, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the level of inquisitiveness by the school children.  Really, “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader”, is quite true.

Antarctic rabbit
Antarctic rabbit

The kids knew there are no polar bears in the Antarctic (thank goodness).  Right there, they had masses of adults beat out.  Aside from bears in zoos, there are no polar bears within thousands of miles of where I was in Antarctica.  In fact, other than perhaps a few microbes and bacteria blown in on the wind, there was none, zero, nada life where I trekked, from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole.

The students at Dehesa Charter were massively excited to learn about the

Spirograph artist
Spirograph artist

expedition and what it was like down there.  Interestingly, one of the most important questions from the kids was about my partially living off of butter.  For me, it seems perfectly normal that it was necessary to chomp down on two sticks of butter a day to maintain my energy and weight.  Yet, for others who have never traveled and camped in extreme cold, eating quantities of butter is an alien activity.

Also, they seemed to wonder if I might have any imaginary friends while I was down there.  I didn’t have any imaginary friends but I did take Monster with me.  So in a way, yes I did take an imaginary friend.  He was Wilson, a la Castaway, in the modern vernacular.  Monster is a book and stuffed friend children’s series being developed for sale mid-next year (2014).

Ms. B's Class
Ms. B’s Class

I was happy to share my story with the students and was extremely honored to receive a book created by Ms. Beardsley’s class.  In this book, the pupils wrote questions and made drawings about the expedition.  I was blown away how good their hand writing is.  In future blog posts, I’ll put in these pictures and answer each child’s question.

And, too, several pictures were given to me, made right after my talk.  I will happily post those up.  Thank you so much!  The children were inspiring, as their inquisitive energy made me smile and their enthusiasm was quite overwhelming.

When looking at the cart full of butter, one of the students asked, “Did they

Spring flower
Spring flower

think you were crazy when you brought all that butter up front?”  Yes, the checker at the register did!  In fact, it took three transactions to ring up the 140 blocks of butter because Abu Gosch’s point of sale system couldn’t handle that many copies of an item.

It was fun to see all three grades, 1-3, immersed in the subject.  They didn’t fiddle or become distracted at all.  The discipline these young children had was amazing, to say the least.  For something that might be boring, like geography, cartography, transportation, and camping, these bright sparks showed no boredom at all.

Thank you, Dehesa Charter Elementary and Ms. Beardsley!

The Adventure Blog

The Adventure Blog provided amazing coverage of my Antarctic expedition, more so than

Adventure Blog Entry
Adventure Blog Entry

even my personal satellite phone blog.

Here is a listing of all the blog entries in part featuring what was happening to me while I was in Antarctica.

It’s been surprising how many people actually followed my expedition.  I met a den mother from Cub Scout Pack 866 from Imperial Beach who followed my Antarctic travel.  Over the time I’ve been in San Diego, so many people I never even thought would tune in actually did.  Not that I’m complaining!  The more people interested in the expedition, the more fun it is!  Hopefully people learned a little about Antarctica and also how to keep going in the face of adversity.

There’s a Japanese saying, “Nana korobi ya oki”.  Literally, Fall down 7 times get up 8. This ended up becoming one of the expedition experiences and now is a centerpiece of my speaking events.  It’s pretty easy to say.  But, when you’re out there on your hands and knees, hiding from -80 degree windchill conditions, it’s much more difficult to make happen.

More on this in another post…

Setting up speaking events

Things are beginning to roll with setting up speaking engagements.  I love to

Public speaking and the microphone
Public speaking and the microphone

invigorate audiences and get them excited, not only about what I have done but also, more importantly, what they are doing with their lives.  Although it’s interesting to hear about someone talk about their experiences at the edge of the Earth, listening to a talk can be so much more than that.

One of my goals with speaking about my expedition is to help people look at what their dreams might be or once were and evaluate them.  Maybe this is the first time they’ve heard about someone putting everything on the line to pursue something they’re really passionate about.  I have been blown away by how many people have told me they were inspired to do something after following my expedition.

Others may simply be interested as an armchair adventurer in what it’s really like to ski to the South Pole.  And that’s good, too!  I would have loved the opportunity to listen someone speak about this and have the chance to ask questions afterward.  I always make sure to keep myself available before and after an event in case someone wants to air  their questions in a more personal manner.

I am very excited to connect with the public, sharing what I did and how I handled it all.