Dave's Photo & Travelblogue

Photo shoots. World travel advice. Tips on Munich & environs.

You are currently browsing the archives for January, 2010.

Dutch Raceboarding Team

In December, a lot of racing teams head to the glaciers to get in extra practice before the snow starts falling at lower altitudes. I met some lovely raceboarder women at Hintertux, who (if I remember right) were from a Dutch snowboarding team. Here’s the best footage:

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Watch the video in HD on YouTube.

This was my second attempt at getting on-slope footage; the camera is now top-mounted to avoid neck strain from side-mounting. You can probably guess I was playing with the camera settings and stabilizing software. From this footage I learned that I need a faster shutter, at least 1/250 but more likely 1/500.

The combo of AviSynth, VirtualDub, and Deshaker to process the raw video is fantastic for the moving-camera scenes! I’m still loving the Canon HF200. You can read more about that in my previous helmetcam post.

The next videos I post will be even better, as I’ve added a ring sight to the camera rig now. However, I only have a minute or so of useable footage so far. Any raceboarders out there who want to volunteer as a film subject?

Posted 12 years, 8 months ago at 6:24 pm.


What to pack?

Since the last travel post, I upgraded (exchanged) from a 50L pack to a 65L model. With the Osprey Atmos 65, I was able to fit in everything I need, at a weight (so far) of 28 pounds. I expect that’ll go up about 2 or 3 pounds before I leave. Here it is so far:

Pack contents

Packed into the backback (including the “small” 30L day-pack):

Atmos 65 packed up

Dave wearing the Atmos 65

Am I missing anything vital?

On the list so far:

  • Osprey Atmos 65 backpack
  • Osprey pack cover for the time it spends on a plane
  • Deuter 30L daypack
  • REI 45 degree down sleeping bag
  • Camelbak water bladder
  • 1L Sigg bottle (not sure yet)
  • D-SLR camera with mini tripod
  • 70-300mm lens for the D-SLR
  • 13″ laptop with power adapter & plug adapters
  • 2 pairs of long pants (one convertible to shorts)
  • 1 pair of shorts
  • 3-4 short-sleeve shirts: one Smartwool, one normal high-tech fabric, 1-2 quick-dry button up
  • 2 long-sleeve shirts: one Smartwool, one quick-dry button up
  • 1 Smartwool lightweight sweater
  • 1 Windstopper vest
  • 1 waterproof/breathable shell
  • 1 Microfiber towel
  • 1 mesh sack to hold clothes
  • 1 stuff sack for dirty stuff
  • 3 pairs Ex Officio quick-drying underwear
  • 2 pairs REI light wool hiking socks, 2 pairs light quick-dry socks
  • Swimsuit
  • Teva sandals
  • Suntan lotion
  • Mini pocket camera
  • iPod Touch
  • 50′ rope (clothesline, extra shoelaces, etc)
  • Swiss army knife, chosen over a Leatherman due to size, price, and having a corkscrew
  • Zipka headlamp
  • Earplugs and eye covers
  • Mobile phone
  • Bag o’ chargers
  • Sunglasses (2 kinds, one for use with contacts)
  • Toiletries kit (contacts, razor, toothbrush, soap, ibuprofen, antacid, etc)
  • Sewing repair kit
  • Cap with brim
  • Thin liner hat
  • Travel money belt
  • Lightweight walking shoes with mesh for quick drying
  • 1-3 hangars to dry button-up shirts on (?)
  • Zip ties
  • Luggage lock for hostels (standard, or cable lock?)
  • 18-200mm lens to replace 18-55mm + 70-300mm?
  • Another short-sleeved Smartwool or Icebreaker?
  • Mini umbrella?
  • Belt
  • Safety pins
  • Plastic bags
  • Woolite
  • Insect repellant?

I can’t believe that all this weighs in at just about 30 pounds!

Posted 12 years, 8 months ago at 11:00 am.


Family & Friends Plan

This January I made a plan to meet with a lot of family and friends in the US. Here’s the photographic evidence…

My brother has a knack for making funny poses in front of the camera

My brother has a knack for making funny poses in front of the camera.

Not Park 'n Eat, but Eat 'n Park... with 20 eat 'n smart menu items!

Not Park 'n Eat, but Eat 'n Park... with 20 eat 'n smart menu items!

Sometimes the best shot is the one just AFTER making funny faces at the camera.

Sometimes the best shot is the one just AFTER making funny faces at the camera.

I heard someone once fell in the water here?

I heard someone once fell in the water here?

This tree had nice, sweet-smelling flowers despite that it was the COLDth of January.

This tree had nice, sweet-smelling flowers despite that it was the COLDth of January.

These friends of mine could not stop laughing.

These friends of mine could not stop laughing.

These portraits were taken in Pennsylvania and in Richmond, VA with a Nikon D90. Most are just the 18-55 VR lens, but the last one is the 70-300 VR to provide a short depth-of-field and get some blur going.

Posted 12 years, 8 months ago at 1:37 pm.


Around the World

After a lot of time and effort, I’ve saved up 200,000 frequent flyer miles on one carrier. Say what? Yes, that’s a lot. Enough for a coach-class “round the world” fare with 5 stops.

Some equipment (jackets, pants, Tevas, D90 D-SLR) I already have, but I’m loading up on gear this week while I’m in the States where the stuff is cheap. So far I picked up this pack, an Osprey Atmos 50:

Osprey Atmos 50

Plus I’ve found:

  • a lightweight down sleeping bag (perfect for hostels)
  • short and long Smartwool shirts, 150 weight
  • merino socks
  • headlamp with AAA’s
  • slimline money belt
  • in the plans: lightweight shoes

What critical pieces of gear would you recommend? I have super short hair so can skip the shampoo, but I need to bring a beard trimmer. I hope one charge on my Braun will last 2-3 months, hehe.

Possible stops after I depart Munich:

  • somewhere in South America
  • Hawaii
  • Japan
  • Australia
  • New Zealand
  • Asia… Korea? Thailand?

Where have you been? What was the BEST hostel you ever stayed at? (For me it was the AF Chapman ship in Stockholm). I’m definitely open for suggestions. I’m planning a couple of side trips from my main itinerary with separate airline flights or train trips. And I’m aiming for warm climates, as I won’t bring full winter gear.

Let’s see what happens — maybe I meet a few of you on my travels!

Posted 12 years, 8 months ago at 5:49 am.


Old cars, cool cars, fast cars, blue cars…

Recently I visited the BMW Museum in Munich. I’d been putting this off because it’s a bit pricey at €12 for adults. But as I’m a car lover, I can say I really enjoyed it! There’s a lot of motoring and motorsports history tied up in this brand.

Let’s start with motorcycle sidecar racing. What the heck is this thing?

Historic motorcycle sidecar racing

I found a short video that explains better than I possibly could with words. Let’s just say: the sidecar rider is the master of disaster.

YouTube Preview Image

Next up: a beautiful BMW 328. To be more specific, the 1939 328 Mille Miglia.

1939 BMW 328 Mille Miglia

Here’s one of my favorite cars of all time: the Z8, as driven by James Bond. “Moneypenny, would you like to go for a ride?” . . . “Oh, James!”  You can see Pierce Brosnan’s previous Bond car in the background: the BMW Z3.

1999 BMW Z8

Here’s a little number I never saw in the States, though I’ve actually seen a few of them on the roads in Germany. In active use! See the door handle? That’s right… the front of the car, including the windshield, IS the door. And yes, it only has three wheels. But there IS a luggage rack. (if anyone leaves the comment “how cute” I may either buy you one, laugh myself silly, or become ill… I’m not sure which)

BMW Isetta

This one I have to include, if only because I have this car: the Z3 M Roadster, in Estoril Blue. Mine’s from the US, was bought used, and I didn’t pay as much as you’d think. But, really? I chose a car that’s museum-worthy? Sweet!

1997 BMW M Roadster in Estoril Blue

This last car was in the special exhibits section, which as of Jan ’10 contained concept cars. The skin of the car is made not of metal, but of fabric which moves with the car’s wire frame! And the tailors, ahem, engineers did a fantastic job of making this car look alive. I’m not sure what scares me more, the double eyes or the flaring nostrils as it gets ready to accelerate toward me.

BMW GINA concept car - headlights

BMW GINA concept car - front view

Let me say, the lighting in this room was very strange. I actually thought the car was light brown, until checking for more info on this blogpost about the GINA. (which has great pics of the doors opening… you’ve gotta see it!)

Finally, I’ll leave you with a short clip of the very cool engineering art piece / kinetic sculpture at the entrance to the museum.

YouTube Preview Image

Getting there:

  • Google maps link to the BMW museum. Get there by car or by U-Bahn (U3 Olympiazentrum).
  • Admission prices are a bit steep, €12 for adults, though there are discounts (kids, seniors, families, groups of 5+, etc).
  • Check the BMW Museum website for the latest details.
  • What else you’ll see: F1 cars; rally cars; the M1; many “series” cars; the first BMW car model; lots of motorcycles; rooms full of airplane motors, car motors, and racecar motors; art cars; etc… if this sounds exiting to you, go there. But it’s NOT for everyone.
  • Right next to the museum is the free BMW Welt = BMW World, which is half displays and half showroom. You can always see the latest model BMW cars and motorcycles there.

Posted 12 years, 9 months ago at 5:25 pm.


Racing + Ice Rink + Motorcycles = ?

On January 6th, Germans celebrated “Heilige Drei Könige” – Epiphany. I had an epiphany of my own when I visited the racetrack in the town of Steingaden, where crazy people race around an ice-covered track on motorcycles with 1″ spikes on their wheels. Here’s what I saw at the 12th ADAC Eisspeedway races!

Four motorcycles in a turn

Each race was under two minutes, only a few laps. Here’s a YouTube video I took of one race:

YouTube Preview Image

There were 20 races for the day, with an additional 2 tiebreaker races and one special race (I didn’t understand what that was for; maybe to celebrate that no one was injured?).

Two motorcycles in a deep turn

Below, I got a lucky shot of the motorcyclist on the right just as his bike hit the hay-bale wall sideways! Fortunately he was OK and kept riding.

Motorcycle hitting the wall sideways

And here’s one of the closest finishes of the day. The rider on the left of the photo took it…

Motorcycles: photo finish at the Eisspeedway

…and you can see him celebrating here, and winning the ever-prestigious “Dave’s Wheelie of the Day Award!” Just imagine doing a wheelie on a motorcycle. While wearing a leather snowsuit. While it’s -5C and snowing outside. While riding on a track made of crushed ice. Then, standing on the seat. With one leg. Yes… that takes cojones.

Motorcyclist celebrating his win

Finally, my little experiment with background motion blur: I believe this was at 1/100, ISO 1600, pretty high zoom on the Nikon 70-300 VR lens. To do this I just tracked the motorcycle as best I could, keeping it centered in the viewfinder. If only I’d had a press pass to stand in the middle of the oval, hehe. Next time!

Motorcyclist doing a wheelie with motion blur

Here is a full gallery of the Eisspeedway Rennen photos (even more wheelies!). If you want to experience snowsport craziness on your own, check out some other events on the MSC Steingaden website, listed below. Next up seems to be Skijoring, “where skiers are pulled across the ice/snow by motorized vehicles.” I assume that also requires spiked tires, mu-hahaha!

Getting there:

  • Steingaden can be found here on Google maps. I believe the track is north of the town center, but you’ll see signs for sure. It’s about 1.5 hours from Munich.
  • Here is the website of the MotorSportClub Steingaden.

Posted 12 years, 9 months ago at 4:22 pm.


Ironman lives – in Vienna!

I randomly stumbled upon Ironman while walking near the Rathaus (City Hall) in Wien. He’s cool, but a bit dense.

Wehrmann in Eisen - the Iron Soldier

Paraphrasing from the plaque next to the Wehrmann in Eisen, or the Iron Soldier:

First put up in 1915 in Vienna, people could donate money to drive a nail into the wooden statue, with proceeds supporting widows and orphans of dead WWI soldiers. Nail count: about 500,000. Later, in 1934, it was set up again to collect funds, and nails were driven into the new pedestal instead of the statue. Finally it was set up in the alcove where it stands now. Seems that it’s just been renovated.

Closeup of the Iron Soldier

Getting there:

  • Check out this Google maps link which shows where the Wehrmann in Eisen stands watch. I believe it’s either this building or the one to the right of it, along Felderstrasse (to the north of the Rathaus).

Posted 12 years, 9 months ago at 12:00 pm.


Happy New Year from Munich!

For the first time, I went out to one of the bridges in Munich to see fireworks. This is NOT the same as fireworks in the US. Everyone buys big bottle rockets that are illegal in most states and shoots them off from their just-drained champagne bottles. Yes, thousands of drunk people shooting off big fireworks in a crowd. There were trams running over lit fireworks, ambulances driving by every five minutes, and the air was thick with the smell of pyrotechnics.

In a word: Awesome! (okay, except for the people IN the ambulances)

YouTube Preview Image

Location: Reichenbachbrücke. Shot with a Canon Powershot SD1000 pocket cam. I was there with Wingnut & Dylan. Tasty beer, great atmosphere, and most importantly, good friends. One of the best New Years’ celebrations ever…

Happy New Year, und einen guten Rutsch ins neues Jahr! I invite you to see what The Onion thinks of man’s love for setting things on fire. I am no exception… hehe.

Posted 12 years, 9 months ago at 1:33 pm.


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