We Have Moved Our Blog!

We appreciate all of our followers on WordPress and the great feedback we have received from you.  After two years posting here, we decided to move our weekly blogs over to our website at www.camerawalking.com.  We hope you will come over to our site and follow us there!

Thanks,

Carol and Michelle

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The Joy of Rain Walking

After a long stretch of dry, warm weather, this weekend a large storm swept across the Pacific Northwest.  It rained, which was good because we needed it desperately.  The state of Washington, along with most west coast states, have been experiencing a drought, so rain is good.

But Saturday morning when I woke up to rain I had second thoughts about going out for a walk.  One day off wouldn’t hurt, but then I reminded myself that sooner or later this fall my walks will be mostly in the rain, so I needed to get back in practice.

Stormy Weather

Stormy Weather

I equipped myself for rain and took off for my walk. The first sniff of the clean air and cooler temperatures invigorated me.  Because I wasn’t sure how hard it might rain, I decided to take my iPhone with me as my camera for the day.  For the last few months I have been walking primarily with my Canon 6D and new Lensbaby Velvet 56 mm lens playing and practicing (which I need) using the manual focus.

Lensbaby Velvet 56 mm

Lensbaby Velvet 56 mm

So it was a treat to just take photos with my iPhone.  I started seeing things as if they were on a larger canvas, and it inspired me to take different types of photos.  I loved seeing the water puddles with reflections on the walkway.

Water Puddles

Water Puddles

Also, the colors seemed brighter and richer under the cloudy skies.  I edited the photo below in Snapseed on my iPad then transferred it to my computer using Topaz Impressions to create the image that I saw on my walk.

Rich Colors

Rich Colors

Snapseed has great editing options.  I used several filters included in the app to achieve the photo below.

Fallen Leaf

Fallen Leaf

One of the things that I love about walking in the rain is the skies.  Stormy skies make for better photos than a sunny blue sky.  I wasn’t disappointed on my walk.

Powerful Clouds

Powerful Clouds

Clearly it was going to rain.

Across the Hill

Across the Hill

In addition to capturing the beauty of the skies, walking with my iPhone gives me flexibility.  I wasn’t weighed down with a large camera worrying about whether or not it would get wet in the rain.  I could just put my phone in my pocket in between the stops I made to take photos, then pick up my walking pace.  Good photos and a great walk!

I enjoy walking around my neighborhood capturing ordinary things that I think have beauty, and I find that using my iPhone allows me to do this without being too obvious.

Fenced in

Aging Fence

Changing up your walk using a different lens or camera, can inspire you and make your walk more enjoyable.  Using my phone as my only camera this weekend did just that.  I plan on walking more often with just my phone to get more variety in my photos, which will become handy when the fall rainy season finally comes.  This weekend was a good trial run for what is ahead, and I know that I will be out there daily rain or shine Camera Walking.

A note from Carol and Michelle:  We are moving our blog to our website at www.camerawalking.com.  We appreciate the WordPress community’s interest in Camera Walking, and hope that you will continue to follow us weekly at www.camerawalking.com.

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Sometimes It Is Just Too Smoky!

Brightness before the haze

Brightness before the haze

One of our favorite places to go Camera Walking in Western Washington is Crystal Mountain.

Base shop

This area is one of the greatest destinations in the state to see Mount Rainier.  The view truly allows you to “almost touch” the top of the mountain!

Hiking trails map

There are lots of trails throughout the Resort. The best adventure for a day hike is to ride the Gondola to the top.  From there you can take off for short hikes along the upper  boundaries of the winter ski area, or take one of the longer hikes that take you back down the mountain through high-country trails, past lakes, and through meadows.

Gondola base

gondola base loaded

We spent this weekend on the mountain and learned a great deal about Air Quality, how it can change rapidly, and what effect it has on a simple walk.  With all the wildfires in Eastern Washington, the air quality for the entire state has suffered.  I checked out the air quality site, Air Now, and took a look at the change in just one day for our state. It is amazing how quickly it can change. While we are effected by smoke  here, it is hard to imagine the struggles the firefighters and the citizens in the fire zones are experiencing.  We desperately need rain and lower temperatures to ease the situation! Please keep our firefighters safe!

Sunday, August 23 Air Quality

Sunday, August 23 Air Quality

Monday, August 24 Air Quality

Monday, August 24 Air Quality

As we rose out of the valley, the smoke was more intense.  By the time we reached the top, this was the view of Mt. Rainier.

So incredibly smoky!

So incredibly smoky!

Looking back at the Gondola coming over the summit, we all realized we were wrapped in smoke.

Hazy gondola

Hazy gondola

The air quality was definitely diminishing, the longer we remained at the 6,500 foot level.  While there were lots of hikers, the further we went,  we found our eyes and lungs feeling the smoky atmosphere.

Trail w people

Looking down the valleys was very stark.

Snorting elk with trees

I caught some color that brightened up the haze, but those shots were very rare!

Color in the haze

And a shot of the mountain with the green trees in the foreground really said it all.  Breathing this air cannot be good!

Mt Rainier w trees

In researching information on air quality, I found two very helpful sites for our region.  The Department of Health has excellent information on the smoke from wildfires and clearly explains the health hazards of breathing this air.  Washington Smoke Information has a blog showing all the wire fires and talks about the smoke that gets into the atmosphere.  There is a great deal of information on this site that is well worth reading.

Gondola into base

We want to emphasize that you DO need to consider the air quality before you head out.  Our walks this past weekend were really not the best idea and the smoke just kept getting worse.  While we want you to get out and move, some days can be a real challenge!

The best tourist attraction in Washington State!

The best tourist attraction in Washington State!

We leave you with this idea for a great Camera Walking adventure…On the next clear day, be sure to leave work and head for the hills… a trip to Crystal Mountain is so amazing…you can spend a day or stay for several…you will not be disappointed!

SAM_4933

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Walking Gear – Tried and True

I love discovering gear that can make my walks more enjoyable and stress free.  This week I thought I would share some of my favorite items that help me get out walking.

Cameras: This spring I bought a Canon 6D, my first full frame camera, and love it!  It is just a tad bit larger than my old standby, Canon 60D, but it is about the same weight, making it an easy camera to use while walking. If you would like more information about what makes this a great camera, take a look at this short video.

Lenses:  My go to lens is Canon’s 24-105mm.  I can take close up shots and zoom in while out on a walk allowing me to capture a variety of photos.  This spring I bought two new lenses that I use on my walks.  The first one is Canon’s 50 mm f/1.4  lens, which I primarily use for portraits, but have found that it is also a good lens for walking.

Canon mm f/1.4

Canon mm f/1.4

Here are a couple of the photos I took while out walking one morning with the 50 mm lens. It surprised me with its ability to capture landscapes, as well as close up shots.

Seattle Skyline, Canon 50mm lens

Seattle Skyline, Canon 50mm lens

Gateway, edited with Topaz Impressions

Gateway, edited with Topaz Impressions

The second lens I bought is my Lensbaby Velvet manual 56mm portrait and macro lens.  I have loved playing with it on my walks!  As I have written before, there is a bit of a learning curve, since you manually focus on the subject.  Take a look at this short video to learn more about what this lens can do.  It is impressive.

I am loving the photos I am getting, and I am striving to improve my focus and technique, which makes my walks even more interesting.

Purple Blush

Purple Blush

Opening

Opening

Walking Gear: When I go out Camera Walking I like to be as unencumbered as possible. I walk with one camera lens and no bags, so I am always on the watch for gear that makes it easy to get out the door.  One tried and true piece of gear is my Black Rapid strap.  I recently bought a new one, Kick Pink, which was designed for women.  Ten dollars from each sale goes to the Carey Foundation to support women and men who are diagnosed with breast cancer.  The strap goes across my body, taking weight off of my neck, which matters a lot when you are on a long walk.

Black Rapid Kick Pink

Black Rapid Kick Pink

Since I do carry my cell phone, money, identification, keys, and kleenex, I have to stuff my vest or jacket pockets to avoid carrying a bag.  The challenge this summer has been that it has been too hot to wear a jacket or a vest, so I had to resort to wearing an old “fanny pack,” which I assure you wasn’t the most attractive option, but it worked.  You can imagine my delight when we were contacted by the owner of WalkaPocket, a U.S. woman-owned business, asking us to try one out.  There are several styles, so I purchased the zippered pocket version and it is a great addition to my walking gear.

WalkaPocket

WalkaPocket

I wear mine both over my t-shirts, but also under them.  It is made of light, wicking, quick dry mesh fabric.  It is very comfortable, doesn’t add much bulk, so I can use it under a jacket as well.  After wearing it I realized that I could use it when traveling, as well as walking.  Take a look at their website and try one out.

Let us know what gear you use to make your walks more enjoyable.  Post a comment below, on our Facebook page, or send us an email at getmoving@camerawalking.com. We love to hear from you.

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The Character Of A Place…La Conner, Washington

Seaport Landing

Have you ever noticed, when you go walking in a small town, a neighborhood, or even a village, the storefront signs really tell you the character of a place.

crab pots

Walking down a street is like opening a book… The words and the pictures on the signs begin to tell a story.

Lime Dock

La Conner, Washington is a wonderful town in the Skagit Valley with its main street following along the  Swinomish SloughWaterway 2

There are so many fun shops and delightful restaurants…you can spend the day just wandering and Camera Walking. The parade of signs can entice you in for a great breakfast at the Calico Cupboard Cafe...

Callico Round

A celebration of the local artists at Expressions Art Gallery

art expression

Answering a dream of new walking clothes at Walking Mod

Walking Mod

Following a staircase to learn the history of the area

Laconner Hill climp

After a busy day of exploring, you can catch your breath with a stop for a refreshing treat.

Sweet Shop

Or a nice cold local brew at La Conner Brewing Company

brewery

Dinner at the Tree House is delightful. You really need to give it a try!

Tree House Eats

La Conner has several delightful places to stay, but the Channel Lodge Hotel is so delightful looking out over the Slough.

Channel Inn Lodge

You can relax and watch the boats go by, feel a welcome breeze off the water, and watch the light fade into the warm evening.

Waterway 1

These storefronts and their charming signs have given us a wonderful story of this charming town. As you experience each step, you cannot pass-up thinking about yesteryear… and the beauty of today.

Hanging basket

“Today you’ll find La Conner as picturesque as it was in the early days – many original buildings have been restored and now house retail shops, restaurants and museums. The town of La Conner and the Rainbow Bridge are listed on state and national historic registries; if you’re a history buff, La Conner’s Walking Tour of Historic Landmarks map is a great way to learn more about the early days of La Conner, as is a visit to the Skagit County Historical Museum.

For nearly 150 years, La Conner has had a special place in the hearts of its residents and visitors; we expect that it will continue to be one of Washington State’s most-loved historic communities for generations to come.”      Thanks to lovelaconner.com

CleaverKAthy Sign

We are proud to have a local La Conner business partnering with us to make our new line of logo-wear. Clever Kathy Designs has a wonderful selection of local clothing and souvenir gifts. Kathy is working with us to bring CameraWalking to your next shirt, hat, vest, or fun bag. We will be launching the line very soon…stay tuned at www.camerawalking.com and our CameraWalking Facebook Page.

Meanwhile, don’t forget to take a daily walk with your camera for health, fitness, and creativity!

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Get Motivated to Move

I came across a recent article in The Daily Beast entitled, We’re Eating Less Calories But Are Fatter Than Ever, which gave me pause.  It appears that over the last decade we, as a nation, have consumed fewer calories, but we are moving less contributing to increased weight gain. People have become more sedentary in large part due to sitting in front of computers, watching T.V, and playing games.

Screen Shot 2015-08-01 at 2.43.29 PM

Too Much Sitting

Camera Walking was created to inspire people to take a daily walk with a camera as a way to get people to move more.  We have written posts about why walking matters, how to get motivated, and tips for making the walk more enjoyable.  And yet, for some, it continues to be a challenge.  I searched for tips from experts on how to get motivated to make walking a daily habit.

Reframe your exercise: According to Dr. Michelle Segar at the University of Michigan and author of No Sweat: Lasting Motivation to Exercise, if we focus on the immediate rewards rather than long-term benefits we are more likely to get moving.  Telling ourselves that a walk is good for us (better health, losing weight) doesn’t help us get out the door.  In fact some studies have shown that those who focused on weight loss goals and better health tend to spend the least amount of time exercising.   However, focusing on the immediate results of walking:  more energy, better mood, less stress, and an opportunity to connect with friends and family is far more motivating.  Taking my camera with me helps me focus on the pleasure of exploring and capturing great photos that I can share after my walk.

Set up cues:  According to a recent study in Health Psychology, paying attention to cues will make you want to move more.  Start with external cues, such as putting your shoes by the door, setting a cellphone reminder, or schedule a daily appointment that you must keep.  Personally, although I have been a regular walker for 5 years, I still put walking on my calendar and I have my camera visible.  After a few weeks, your internal cues, such as noticing that your legs are tight from sitting, will kick in and help you achieve your walking goals.

Get Walking

Get Walking

Seek out nature:   Increasingly more people throughout the world live in urban settings, and a growing body of research shows that people in cities experience more stress and anxiety.  Gregory Bratman, a graduate student at Stanford University, found that walking in nature not only soothes the mind, but it also changes our brains that improves mental health.  Although they are not completely sure what happens in the brain, their studies showed that people who walked in a park versus on an urban street were more relaxed and had better moods.

Pathway

Pathway

Find a walking route that takes you through nature, such as a park, a P-Patch, or along a neighborhood street with foliage.  I know that when I walk through a P-Patch taking photos of the flowers, or walk through a park along the water I am much happier.

P-Patch Flowers

P-Patch Flowers

IMG_7162-Edit

South Lake Union

There are so many benefits from walking on a daily basis: it is good for our heart, can help prevent diabetes, improves our metabolism, and can help us lose weight.  And yet, it seems to remain a challenge for many of us.  We just need to take that first step to get out moving.  With time, walking will become a habit that you won’t want to break.  Camera Walking, we think, is one way to help you to achieve better health, fitness, and creativity.  Give it a try.  Grab your camera and go out for a walk.

 

 

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Summertime With Family And Friends

The Welcoming Bridge

The Welcoming Bridge

Summer is a time of the year to make memories… Of family gatherings, weddings, travels, and beautiful sunsets.

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Each year our family has joined with 250 other people to share a week together at Seabeck Conference Center on Hood Canal in Washington State.  We have been doing this for 27 years, with the same family groups, and have made it a huge part of each year.  I share this with you because I really believe an anchor to look forward to each year is very important to our CameraWalking commitment to “health, fitness, and creativity”.

A Great World to Escape To...

A Great World to Escape To…

There is nothing better that spending time with multi-generations to put life into perspective…rarely do we have a time to share the past memories of 100 Years of life with children just beginning their path through life.  It is a joy to share!

Four Generations... from 5 months to 99 years old!

Four Generations… from 5 weeks to 99 years old!

There is beauty in fun!

A Relay Race

A Relay Race

There is health in movement and crazy fun!

Slip and Slide!

Slip and Slide!

There is creativity in sharing talents with others!

There is joy in a song!

There is joy in a song!

There is peace in a talk…

Girls talking

A walk…

walk

A A A A …A game

take 2 (24)

A hug…

a talk

I am sharing this with you in hopes that you each find summer a time to reflect, share, and head out for adventures with friends and family.  And take your camera along to make those memories last a lifetime! You will never regret it!

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Enjoy CameraWalking in the summer!

IMG_7129

Many thanks to Camera Walkers Laurel Arwine and Bob Steinmann for many of the photos.

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