Monday, December 28, 2009

The Great American Adventure part #1 - NY/NJ

I began my great American adventure in New York City on the 9th of September 2009! Flying over from London, England. I landed at JFK in the evening and was picked up by my great uncle who lives in New Jersey. Being able to meet with him was great, even though for just a couple of days. I got caught up on family history that I knew very little about, which was really neat for me personally. Apparently, my great grandfather was the original inventor of the 'jaws of life' used by rescuers in card accidents.

I spent a couple of days in Southern NJ and afterwards I headed a little closer to New York to meet up with a friend I had met through flicker, Antonio! Had a great time with him shooting pictures around town and spending time with his family for a few days.

I stayed at a youth hostel in New York City for three days, up on 103rd street and took the subway down every day to look around town. I tried to use my time and money wisely, as New York is quite an expensive city. So finding free attractions in New York became my tourist objective. What I was interested in mostly was finding some unique photographs of the city and the attractions that I visited. Click on images below to view them larger.

Looking over at Manhattan from New Jersey, 
the Empire State Building on the right on 42nd St.

Sailing on the Hudson River

Battery Park with Ellis Island in the Background

Busy Times Square

New York Public Library

The Staten Island Ferry

Statue of Liberty with the sun back-lighting the torch

After all the sight-seeing I met up with a pastor friend, Pr. Anton, who I was hooked up with through friends in Ireland. I spent some time with him and his family on the outskirts of the city in upper New York. I went to a church camp-meeting and later to the Bronx Botanical Gardens with them. Overall I spent some ten days on the East Coast and had a great time!

Small Flower in the Bronx Botanical Gardens

One thing I came across while on the East Coast was something I had never really experienced before in America and that is the after effects of 9/11 (other than tighter airport security). Walking through downtown Toms River, NJ I came across this poem written by an 8th grader on a monument. I think it catches the emotional impact the attacks had on the American people, especially those living close to New York City:

Our Brightest Day
"They want us to remember tons
of dust and twisted steel.
They think they can destroy us,
that we will never heal.
They want out world to crumble
and say that it's "God's plan".
But it's God's love that unites us,
each and every man.
Their evil has attacked us all
and filled our hearts with fear.
So now we must recover and
grow stronger with each tear.
We must pray to God for guidance,
to show us all the way.
Our faith will turn this time of
darkness into out brightest day!"
- Samantha L. Ruocco

All Images are Copyrighted © Friðrik Páll Friðriksson

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Bag I Wanted to Make...

As a photographer and a traveler, finding the perfect bag to carry your gear and even some of your personal belongings while traveling can be somewhat.... cumbersome.

Recently I had been visualizing a design for what I would like to see in a camera bag. I was inspired by the Dream Bag Challenge that that the manufacturer Kata is currently running. Check it out! I haven't made an entry there, but might if I get my idea down on paper. Anyways, the design I was visualizing, well it was a backpack that had space for my camera and extra personal belongings. A nice rugged, fit for the rough outdoors, kind of bag. Something I could take hiking or on nomadic travels. Something versatile and modifiable enough.

Even though I had looked quite extensively I just couldn't find a bag that would fit my requirements or style. The closest I could find was the Lowepro Primus AW, which is in fact quite a nice bag, but still doesn't cut it. Then just in the last 24 hours I stumbled across this...

Image © F-Stop Gear

This is the F-Stop made Satori! (Interesting name huh?) Now I don't want to say they stole my idea or anything like that, but I want to say, this is very close to how I visualized my bag looking like! As an old saying goes "There is nothing new under the sun." Eccl. 1:9  So I guess I should just recognize that my idea wasn't the original one. It just so happened that someone else was brilliant before me.

But yeah, to the bag... It looks great, the features seem very functional, ruggedness doesn't seem to be a problem and best of all it looks really cool! Now, I haven't gotten my hands on one yet, but I surely would love to have one! When I do get one, I'll give a more in-depth review on it's awesomeness!

Definitely check out the F-Stop Gear website, they've got quite a nice line of products, including the Satori's little brother the Tilopa. For me what really makes these bags awesome, aside from the things mentioned above... is the internal detachable/removable camera compartment! Less gear, more gear, normal backpack, camera backpack... versatility, now that's what I'm talking about! Can see the bag in action right here!