Incredible Slow Motion Footage of a Large Hummingbird Charm

There are moments that we come upon while traveling that enchant us. They are the milliseconds that blend with minutes to leave us lost outside of time enraptured and mesmerized by the beauty of whatever the experience is we’ve stumbled upon. At times these stem from people, culture, food and music but I find more often than not they come from nature.  The hour or so I spent watching a massive charm of hummingbirds in southwestern Colorado about 30 miles outside of Dolores falls into this category.

In the following footage you’ll find several species of humming birds, captured at 240 FPS and recorded in slow motion. The roughly two minutes of real-time footage becomes 13 attention-stealing minutes of incredible sounds and sights as the hummingbirds sing to each other, spar, and feed.  The first few seconds are in regular speed to give you a frame of reference … enjoy!

To see more footage from my Colorado trip head to my YouTube channel and don’t forget to subscribe!

Footage was shot using a selfie stick and iPhone 6 at close range. Slight color enhancement was applied. Filmed just before dusk in mid-summer.

18 Of Denmark’s Best Instagrammers

With just three hours of darkness during Denmark’s summer nights, the pre-dusk twilight known to photographers as “the golden hour” finds itself morphed from an elusive 60 minutes at the end of the day to a luxurious window that lasts much, much, longer during the summer months.  In winter, when the role of night and day becomes switched and when the days shrink to a mere seven hours most of which is more aptly described as a brighter than normal twilight than a true “day”, the Danish landscape is similarly conducive to incredible lighting and gorgeous photography. Add in cities like Copenhagen with its modern Danish architecture blended seamlessly with historic paved cobblestone streets, multi-colored building facades, century old wooden sailing ships, canals, and wealth of vibrantly colored gardens and you have a city which is an incredible living tapestry.

An Instagram Tour of Chianti in 15 Photos

I recently had the pleasure of spending a week wandering through Tuscany.  As part of the trip, the local tourism boards invited me on a three day blog trip in the Chianti hills focusing on the area around Tarvarnelle.  While the high quality photos from my dSLR will follow soon, here is a cross section of my 15 favorite instagram photos from the trip.  All were shot on an iphone 4s and edited in either the VSCOCAM app or Snapseed.

This is the lion of Florence. Found in Florence’s Archaeology museum is is roughly the size of a real lion and one of the most beautiful pieces of bronze sculpture I’ve seen in the past year. The museum is located in the heart of the city and a great alternative for those of you who are sick of the long lines at some of the city’s more famous locations.

One of my favorite things to see and do while in Italy is to spend time at agriturismos. For those who haven’t had the pleasure yet, these are typically old farms/estates which now offer rooms and locally sourced food almost exclusively grown on the premises or in the immediate area. They also often have their own vineyard and olive oil which tends to be exquisite. This photo is of the patio at the Paganello Agriturismo where we enjoyed fantastic wines and an extremely fresh vegetarian-friendly meal.

Another shot from Paganello Agriturismo/Fattoria Il Paganello, with a view out over the vineyard and of the surrounding countryside. Their locally produced wines (pictured in the wineglass in the photo) include “Quanta Cura” a delicious Tuscan red, as well as Il Paganello Chianti and Chianti Riserva.

For years I’ve stared out the windows of my passing train or bus at all of the tiny hilltop towns that dot the Tuscan countryside. This blog trip provided the opportunity to finally get in and explore many of them. This photo comes from the entrance to the Palazzo Begliomini in Tignano. As you can see, the entrance was guarded by a fierce and ferocious guard dog.

What is a visit to Italy and its vineyards without a good shot of an old wine cellar? This is one of the numerous rooms at the Badia di Passignano monastery.

Another absolute favorite was the Monastery at Badia di assignano. This beautiful old facility has a gorgeously frescoed church, sprawling wine cellar, wonderful views over the surrounding countryside and fortress inspired design.

Another shot of the exterior of Badia di Passignano. Quite the impressive looking monastery ehh? There’s also a high end fine dining establishment owned by the Antinori family situated immediately outside its walls.

Italy has a long and rich history and reputation for craftsmanship. During the blog trip we had the opportunity to get an up close look at how handmade silver pieces are made at Argento Firenze. This photo is of one of the employees (he was over 80 years old) who still does enamel work on things like silver cuff-links. I honest expected the experience to be quite boring and was fairly disinterested going into it. However, watching the craftsmen work and learning about how they do what they do ended up being an extremely interesting experience and one of the highlights of the trip.

As a huge space geek the opportunity to visit the recently opened Osservatorio Astronnomico (astronomical observatory) and to see both Jupiter and the Moon up close and personal was one of the highlights of the trip. It was also extremely interesting because we learned how Galileo modified and built his telescope and used it to chart his ground breaking discoveries. This is a photo taken through the telescope on my iphone, so it doesn’t fully capture just how amazing it is to see the moon in its intricate detail. The experience of being in the dome, and tracking the stars and moon was also an absolute blast.

The best view in Florence can be found at the Piazzale Michelangelo which overlooks the city. With a beautiful tulip garden, and a view that encompasses the palace, duomo, and ponte vecchio it is ideal for enjoying a glass of wine and watching the sun set.

Located just outside Florence the new Antinori Cantina is an incredibly unusual building. A mixture of active vineyard, restaurant and museum the building has an ultra-modern design which was completed in 2013. The wine is fantastic and the facility is well worth a visit to explore its highly unusual architectural personality.

The picturesque charm of Tuscany’s rolling hills with their low hanging clouds and orderly vineyards just outside the town of San Donato in Poggio where we stayed at the Del Giglio B&B which was one of the cutest B&Bs I’ve seen in a long time and which had lovely owners.

One of the trip’s greatest surprises was Arezzo. Situated an easy and convenient train ride from Florence the city was nearly empty while Florence was positively overflowing. It is home to a stunning cathedral, beautiful Sienna-esque square, and lovely mixture of views and history.

While the Ponte Vecchio gets all the glory, Florence’s other bridges can be equally photogenic. Particularly late in the afternoon as the sun’s yellow hues brings out the color and textures of the local stone.

Lounging Lions – Friday’s Weekly Travel Photo & Product Review

Lion Cubs Playing at Sunset

Lion cubs in just about any context are pretty adorable.  After all, they’re kinda like giant kittens and who doesn’t like kittens?  Well.  A few lost, wayward souls seem to. Luckily for lion cubs, even most of the folks who don’t like kittens seem to love lion cubs.  That childish/kittenish charm was part of what made the moment behind this photo so magical.  We came upon a group of five cubs ranging from four to six months old during our Safari in South Luangwa while in Zambia with Shenton Safaris.  As we approached they rolled over and looked at us lazily.  They apparently decided we weren’t a threat and looked too chewy to try nibbling on.  For the next 20 minutes they allowed us to sit a few feet away form them firing off a series of amazing photos.  A few of the cubs were feeling lazy, but several had a performer’s personality and clowned a bit for the camera – rolling over, staring at us, and posing in profile.  This shot is of one of the more active characters in the group!

The chance to see these amazing creatures completely free and in the wild was a wonderful experience and one that left us all with goosebumps.   It’s amazing how different the overall moment is from those spent viewing lion cubs in a zoo or watching cubs which have been domesticated.  There’s the natural vibrancy that comes from their hard lives and the lifestyle they live that is unlike anything you can see anywhere else!  It’s also why I encourage you all to add spending time near wild lion cubs to your bucket lists!

Would you like to see previous Friday Photos? View past travel pictures here. This photo was taken on a Canon T3i (600D) Camera using a Canon IS 55-250mm lens.

Product Review

A few weeks ago the folks at InspireMyCase reached out to me with an offer to try one of their custom phone cases.  Curiosity piqued but not entirely convinced I agreed to give it a try. The part that really caught my interest was the ability to upload one of my photos, to slap some text onto it, and then to turn that into a high quality case for my iPhone 4S.  Given how dreadfully unattractive or boring most iPhone cases are this seemed like an enticing service and an easy way to advertise VirtualWayfarer while out and about.

I logged into their custom web-panel and then set to the task of trying to decide what image I wanted to use.  Which, to be honest, was the most difficult part of the entire process.  The interface worked smoothly and made customizing the image easy.  It also made it simple to see what my final design would look like.  My only complaint was that the text customization options were somewhat limited. So, while I had initially hoped to do “INSPIRE CURIOSITY” and then to add “VirtualWayfarer” underneath, the interface wouldn’t let me enter an independent second line.  Given how small an iPhone case is and that you want your font to be pretty large, this makes sense.  I also could have just manually added the text onto the image itself if it had bothered me.  In the end simplicity won out, and I ended up finishing and ordering my case which arrived about a week later.

Product Review
Photo taken on my iphone 4s

I decided to add this product review to this particular post because the Lion Cub photo above is the one I used for my case image.  So far I’m really happy with it.  The plastic is thicker than I expected and very sturdy. The color, gloss, and print quality are all fantastic and also better than I expected.  The image is sharp, the text is clean and sharp, and over-all the case beat my expectations.  I’ve also received a lot of nice comments about the shot and the case since I started using it.

The cases aren’t cheap, but then again for a custom printed item like this they’re really not that expensive either.  As an added perk 20% of the purchase goes to the non-profit AngelMule.

So, if a custom iPhone case seems appealing, consider checking out the folks over at InspireMyCase.