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Moonlight, a Mannequin and a Rowboat – A Photography Adventure

In Photography Tips, Skies and Coffee by porteengear

Lily (our shop mannequin) spends most of her days sitting elegantly in the studio. She was in need of an adventure! It was mid-July, during the full moon, the summer sun lit it up like a beacon in the sky. I was looking at another two weeks before the conditions were right to have that perfect black sky with the core of the Milky way in full glory across the southern horizon. Feeling anxious to get out and see the night stars, it dawned on me that maybe I should be thinking “outside the box” and go with the present situation, photography in the moon light! Already knowing that I had to get North, far enough away from the the city lights so that the light pollution was minimal on the horizon, it wasn’t long before I resourced a property with a pond. Hoping to get some great reflections working with the …

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Skies and Coffee

In Porteen Gear News, Skies and Coffee by grandesigns

As some of you already know, I am not only the CEO of Porteen Gear, I am also a travel blogger. My passion is travel and photography and I will occasionally go on a Press Trip and do area reviews. This helps me keep my passion of travel alive. I will be sharing my stories on the Porteen Gear Blog under the category of Skies and Coffee. With a love of photographing the night sky and a goal of visiting all of the designated Dark Sky parks around the world, I thought the name was fitting. (insert the Love of Coffee in that description as well:) If you have a custom bag being made and see that I am on a trip, don’t worry! My team at Porteen Gear is hand-making your bag in the Grand Rapids studio while I am gone. I’ll be sharing the best food and places to go …

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Fall Leaves by Hot Air Balloon

In Skies and Coffee, Travel Photogaphy by grandesigns

If you live in a part of the country with all four seasons, you know the beautiful splendor of the fall leaves. Photographing these every year from ground level can start looking the same year after year. Why not get that photography from a different angle? You can get a different point of view on a hot air balloon. Everyone needs to experience the exhilaration of getting up there and seeing the spectacular views! Especially during those bright bursts of color in the months of October and November. Most states have several balloon companies that will take you up on a sightseeing tour of the area. You can find several states listed on Ballon Rides America or you can search your local Google listings. All Photos Copyright: Renae Stritzinger – Thanks Renae!!

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No Snakes in Ireland! The Story of St. Patrick

In Skies and Coffee by porteengear

St. Patrick banished all the snakes in Ireland, and that’s is why it’s one of my favorite places to hike! It’s also a great country of stories and myths. There are entire books on Irish fairies and story tellers used to roam the lands. In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, I will share the story of St. Patrick and the snakes. The story goes: On a cold, windy March day in 5th century Ireland, St. Patrick awoke early, drank a cup of hot coffee, ate a buttered biscuit, grabbed his favorite wooden staff and headed out the door of the church. He was a man with a mission. His mission—to rid the beautiful, green Irish countryside of those slithering, slimy, evil-eyed snakes. Having spread Christianity throughout Ireland, St. Patrick now felt it was his duty to drive all the snakes into the sea. Snakes and serpents were symbols of paganism, …

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3 Spring Flower Landscapes to Photograph in the US

In Skies and Coffee by porteengear

Spring is almost here for the US and those of us that have seen nothing but white landscapes in the past 4 months are definitely ready for it! Maybe this blog post will trigger the weather to warm up and bring on those Spring Flowers! There are many sites all around the world that photographers gather to get the perfect floral landscape shots. I have picked my top 3 places to photograph Spring flower landscapes in the US. 1. Sunflower Fields in North Dakota I had the rare opportunity to travel in North Dakota on business a few years back and had to drive across the state. There were endless rolling fields of sunflowers as far as the eye could see! It’s a memory I will retain forever and if you get a chance to visit this beautiful state, do so! You can pull over on the side of the …

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5 of the Most Colorful Festivals to Photograph

In Skies and Coffee by porteengear

If you’re a photography enthusiast, you know that color and composition transform ordinary photographs into intriguing and compelling art work. One of the best places to find that color is at one of these world festivals. You’ll not only come home with some terrific shots, but you’ll have a good time as well. 1. Mardi Gras in New Orleans. From the floats to the beads to the king cakes, New Orleans is an explosion of color during Mardi Gras season, the two weeks preceding Lent. The daily parades and nightly parties offer wonderful photographic opportunities. Of course, New Orleans isn’t the only place in the world that celebrates the week preceding Lent. Brazil and the Caribbean island of Trinidad both have large Carnival festivities. 2. Day of the Dead in Mexico. On November 1st (All Saints Day), Mexicans honor their ancestors with colorful costumes, paper flowers, pastries and street parties. …

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Castle Hopping Off the Beaten Path

In Skies and Coffee by porteengear

Ireland is my favorite spot to visit and I have been there several times. I have many stories to share about this beautiful country. Fascinated by history, the first thing planned was to explore the old castles and homesteads and imagine what life was like a few centuries ago. We take pride in history in the US, but we are hard pressed to find many structures or sites that are more than 300 years old. Many of the Castles have been turned into tourist traps and there are long queues just to get inside. So I made the decision to explore the abandoned castles off the beaten path. Research was done online and I found an older book published by The Daily Telegraph called Castles & Ancient Monuments of Ireland. It was published in 2001, but I figured that some of these castles have been standing since the 1200’s so …

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Keeping a Postcard Journal- Souvenir of Choice

In Skies and Coffee by porteengear

Keeping a Postcard Journal – Traveling abroad and experiencing a different culture can give you memories that last for a lifetime. There are many ways to bring those home. When I travel, the two most important items I bring with me are my camera and a journal. Even though I will take many photos on my trip, I still like to keep a visual record in my journal that shows a sense of where I have been. Postcards can be an inexpensive and artistic way to do just that! I often buy a couple of carefully picked postcards and write a small detail of something experienced that day and then mail it home to myself. That way, I have the date, the postmark from that country and a memory to keep in my journal. Writing down anything you feel will always trigger the memory of that moment, no matter how …

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New Orleans Culinary Tour- What a Solo Traveler Learned

In Skies and Coffee by porteengear

Having traveled solo around the world, I love the peace and tranquility of staying in an area and “feeling” a culture or city. My poor husband rarely gets to go on trips with me, and when he does, he will fly in and spend the last few days with me. I am lucky to be married to such a patient man! The WanderTours New Orleans Culinary Tour came across my radar a few months ago and I thought I really should go on this one, it would be good to see New Orleans from a different perspective than the party city it was in my younger days. I used to live on the Gulf Coast and New Orleans was a frequent weekend trip that was spent mainly on Bourbon Street drinking Hurricanes and spending my time in the pubs. My other thoughts on this trip were, can I survive a …