THE LAND OF THE THUNDER DRAGON

By Chris Urban

The Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Chris Urban ©

Travel in the 21stcentury doesn’t often feel much like exploring anymore.   Just when you think you’ve had a real Indiana Jones type of experience hiking a wadi in central Oman, you run headfirst right into a Starbucks.  A few years ago, my wife and I were living in and had explored much of India.  We had just been to Everest Base Camp, had seen a lot of other parts of Asia, and were looking for new adventures.  It was around that time that we heard of Bhutan, “the Land of the Thunder Dragon.”  Everything about it called to us as travelers and explorers.  

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TRAVELS WITH LEICAS (AND THEIR FRIENDS THE NIKONS)

By Andrew J. Tonn

Mental Institution, Transcarpathia, Ukraine. Leica M6ttl, 50mm f/2 Summicron, Kodak 400CN.

I was 11 or 12 years old and looking for my first camera.  My father told me, “Son, whatever type of camera you chose to be with is just fine with your mother and me just as long as it’s a Nikon.”

I had been perusing the centerfolds of camera magazines, ogling the Nikon bodies and yes, even the fine looking Olympus, Canon, Pentax, and Minoltas.  When my father was once looking to buy a camera, his photographic mentor Gino Rossi told him to buy the one he really wanted, to not compromise. My dad told me the same thing and what I really did want was a Nikon.  The others were pretty but they didn’t feel right for me. There was one caveat. I had read an article about Leicas and when I asked my dad about them he didn’t turn up his nose as he did at other brands. He said something about them being very good but too expensive — and for an 11-year-old about to spend his life savings of just over $100 that was the end of that.  I ended up buying a well-used Nikon FM black body. My dad gave me a 50mm Nikon f/1.8 E Series lens, since my life savings wouldn’t cover any optics, and that camera carried me years into the future — to work at newspapers and on my first international documentary assignments in Central America. Along the way it was joined by a Nikon F3 and a few other lenses, most notably the Nikkor 20mm f/2.8.  Finally, the old FM and the newer F3 were joined by a brand new Leica M6ttl. That my introduction to the M system and this is the story of that journey.

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LOCKED AWAY: THE ROSEVILLE PRISON

(Photo, Jef Price)

 

Recently I was given unprecedented access to the Roseville Prison. The prison is now privately owned and is closed off to the public, photographers, documenters, urban explorers, journalists or anyone else who wants to see this historical and supposedly haunted location up close.

Stories of people being chased away, arrested or shot at are the norm with a location such as this, but in the case of Roseville prison… The stories are true. Continue reading “LOCKED AWAY: THE ROSEVILLE PRISON”

THE PATH TO THE SUMMIT, AN EVEREST ADVENTURE

By Chris Urban

For years, going to Mount Everest was at the top of my bucket list.  I grew up reading my brother’s National Geographic magazines and watching the Discovery Channel, dreaming about exploring the Himalayas, going face to face against mother nature.  Since I didn’t have a spare $100,000 and a death wish, I knew I was going to have to settle for Everest Base Camp rather than the summit. While it’s not the top of The Mountain, going to Everest Base Camp is still no small feat, and required months of preparation.    Continue reading “THE PATH TO THE SUMMIT, AN EVEREST ADVENTURE”

THE WILDS or A JEEP AMONG LAND ROVERS

It may look like deepest Africa with fields stretching over rolling hills and wide open plains that resemble the Serengeti, but it is, in fact, The Wilds of Ohio. The Wilds is a nature preserve filled with African wildlife. Every so often, this wildlife refuge was home to an off-road event exclusive to those who owned a Land Rover. We brought a Jeep.

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JEEP JAMBOREE AT BADLANDS OFFROAD PARK 2018 UPDATE: DAY 2 ((Published 2018/06/02)

Day 2 at the Indy Jeep Jamboree! I love driving my Jeep, and I had a fantastic time day 1 at the Jamboree. But this being my first Jamboree it was difficult jumping in and out of my own rig all day while trying to capture photos of the event and really get a feel for the Jamboree. So here on day 2, I rode along with one of my fellow Jeepers (Thanks Eric!) so I could focus on capturing the event. Today we visited The Badlands rock quarry and ventured further into the woods through creek beds and rock gardens…  Continue reading “JEEP JAMBOREE AT BADLANDS OFFROAD PARK 2018 UPDATE: DAY 2 ((Published 2018/06/02)”

JEEP JAMBOREE AT BADLANDS OFFROAD PARK 2018 UPDATE: DAY 1 (Published 2018/06/01)

It’s been a great first day and I’m about to collapse into a coma for the next 6 hours, so forgive me for being brief! Continue reading “JEEP JAMBOREE AT BADLANDS OFFROAD PARK 2018 UPDATE: DAY 1 (Published 2018/06/01)”

JEEP JAMBOREE AT BADLANDS OFFROAD PARK (First Published 2018/05/31)

Field Photographer is at the Jeep Jamboree in Indy! This is the 9th Badlands Jeep Jamboree, and I’ll be here all weekend with Yeti 1.  Continue reading “JEEP JAMBOREE AT BADLANDS OFFROAD PARK (First Published 2018/05/31)”

ZEISS PLANAR ZM 50mm ƒ/2

Highway heading into a storm on the Navajo Reservation, Northern Arizona, Leica M-P 240, Zeiss 50mm f/2 Planar ZM – Photo © Andrew Tonn 

When I bought a digital Leica I wanted a new lens to go with it.  There was no question that this lens would be 50mm.  I use other focal lengths (and have nothing against buying used optics) but, in this case, I wanted a new lens for the new camera.  When I bought a Leica M6ttl in 2001, I briefly used an antique 50mm f/2 Summar, but was soon able to acquire well-used 50mm f/2 Summicron from the 1970s.  I bought the Summar for $150 from an acquaintance and the second hand Summicron for $500 at the now sadly deceased F-Stop Camera in Akron, Ohio.  That lens has served me well but, when I decided to buy the digital M-P 240, the Summicron was in for repairs.  Anyway, I wanted a new lens for my new Leica and the M6 would be lonely and jealous if I confiscated its friend Summicron.  I like to maintain harmony in my stable of cameras after all. Continue reading “ZEISS PLANAR ZM 50mm ƒ/2”

5 DAYS IN KATHMANDU

Leica M Monochrome, 15mm f/4.5 Voigtlander Super Heliar, Temple steps, Durbar Square (Photo by Andrew Tonn ©

There were times when our two years in Mumbai seemed an eternity.  I knew the time would pass quickly, however, that every day, strange as it was, would crossfade into the next and that sooner, rather than later, we would be headed back to the airport, boarding a flight out, and that everything undone would most likely stay undone.

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