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Photo of the Day (7/31/2007)

Since I now live in Brooklyn, and since I love to take and admire panoramic photos, I couldn't well ignore his photo put up recently on our Gadling Flckr site. Taken by MarkHout the shot is a lively one showing the beginning of the bat viewing tour in Prospect Park, quite close to my apartment, actually. (and TBO, I didn't even know there WAS bat viewing at the Park.)

And once again, dear readers, if you have some col shots you'd like to show off, please feel free to post them over at Flickr.

Photo of the Day (7/29/2007)

Here a lovely little photo from the Netherlands that caught my eye. Shot by t3mujin but without a caption or even an identifying location, I presume it is in Amsterdam somewhere. I only know (or think) it's a Netherlands shot because the photographer has tagged it as such.

But either way, I like the simplicity of the scene, the way that the shot here is not some famous spot, just a few homes along the water, but the colors and the reflection make for a satisfying photo.

By the way: If you'd like your photo considered for the Gadling Photo of the Day, go over to the Gadling Flickr site and post a few. We'll take a look and if we like what we see, we'll run your pic.

Northwest Woes

I don't want to make judgments here about which airlines is good or bad, tho I will say I try to fly JetBlue on every occasion I can. I've not had to wait ten hours on the tarmac like some JetBlue customers did several months ago, and my experience has almost always been great with them, so I remain a fan. But I have to say that I have had less than perfect experiences on two particular airlines: American and Northwest.

American cancelled a flight of mine to Newfoundland a year ago, and the way the workers there dealt with us was an abomination. Northwest just never seems to get where they need to go on time. That has been my experience. Well, take a look at this piece over at ABC news. Seems like Northwest's problems are pretty awful.

ABC reports that the airline, the nation's fifth largest, had to cancel over 200 flights because pilots essentially went on strike. The pilots say they are not "playing hooky", but that their contracts limit flying time to 90 hours per month and during this year's busy travel season their time sheets are "maxed-out". An interesting note with this piece is that the subhead says that Americans rank the airlines lower than the IRS in terms of customer service, but there's no follow up to the subhead in the story.

Anyway, ugh. You'd think the company would work this stuff out with its pilots rather than make customers suffer. I have tried to fly less this summer all around because of the airlines' woes, and this is the kind of story that makes me think that is a fine strategy.

Yosemite Videos

Here's one from the good folks over at National Parks Traveler, one of my favorite sites. They find some really good googies over at YouTube featuring the crazy sh*t people do at Yosemite. To wit: there are videos of people hang gliding over the valley, a gnarly, stomach-clenching 3000 foot slackline walk (like a tightrope, but, well, somehow different...or maybe it's just because the guy here has a heavy-accent it just sounds foreign), and a line of people making the hike up Half Dome. As they point out here, what's scary is not the vertigo-inducing height of Half Dome, or the fact that some of this was shot during a helicopter rescue attempt (about which you see very little), but rather the absurd line of people venturing up the dome. Double yuck.

Opening Weekend Manhattan Kayak Co.

Here we are in mid-summer and it was only last Sunday that I got to do some paddling in my fine city. It's been a tough slog. There have been some HUGE things going on construction-wise along the Hudson River with the construction of the new park and my favorite outfitter – The Manhattan Kayak Company – has been in the process of moving. But lo, it turned out that this last weekend I was invited to a very exclusive inaugural paddle and, MAN, was it lovely. It is hard for me to express in words how good it felt to be on the river again. So maybe I'll express it in a throaty scream instead: aaaAAAGHHHGGHhahhahhaaa!

There, that felt good.

But seriously, Eric Stiller, the MKC's fearless leader, chose the perfect day for a paddle on the river. We ended up pulling onto a clean new beach in Jersey with a view of the city (pictured here). The MKC is gearing up big time for a (albeit late-summer) opening weekend this weekend. They have a gorgeous new boathouse that is, honestly, a big improvement over their old digs (which was a bit like an old hillbilly shack, to be perfectly frank).

You can find them now at the Hudson River Park Trust Boathouse at Pier 66, 26th St and the Hudson River. I'm not sure what kind of tours they're running this weekend, but if the weather's nice, that really doesn't matter. They key is just to be out paddling.

Latitudes Summer Issue

Once again let me turn your clicks towards the wonderful Latitudes Magazine. I think I've been driving Gadling readers to this online travel magazine from Italy for several years now, and for good reason. The images inside are sumptuous and there's always and article or two from some far off exotic place you've probably never heard of.

In the case of this month's issue, that place is Tuamotu, an exotic island where women appear to run around a lot with bright orange shawls (you'll see what I mean). But seriously, these guys do a fabulous job and the online version always has little, let's call them Easter Eggs that enliven an article.

I would link you directly to these things, but the magazine is unfortunately in Flash ,and so the beset I can do is point you to the opening page. But I urge you to check it out. It's a lovely magazine.

Photo of the Day (7/27/2007)

Tell me this photo doesn't look like something out of a horror film? Indeed you just might say that in a sort of sad corporate sense. The picture comes from twoeightnine and is a shot of the Kodak Building in Rochester, New York. Kodak hasn't been doing that great since people started converting to digital from film. Sure, there are still die hards out there who stick to film, but they never really managed to dominate digital they way they did film. Anyway, can we say that the building here, rather ghostly, is perhaps a reflection of the company's struggles? Too far reaching? Yeah, probably. Either way, it's a fine photo.

LP Vids

With the explosion in video on the Internet, it has always seemed a no-brainer to me that travel would be a hot sector. I mean, cameras are so cheap these days and they are easy to carry with you (we might even have "watch" cameras one of these days). Editing tools can be found for free download, assuming you don't already have imovie of Final Cut Pro. And the young traveler types who are most likely to have the time and freedom to explore the media-saturated world are also likely to have the skills to put together something and put it up online.

And so it goes.

Now, that said, there's one company out there for which having a travel-related video Web site also seems a no-brainer. The travel guidebook company Lonely Planet. Well, if you haven't seen the LP video site urge you to click on over and check it out. Like YouTube and so many other Web 2.0 sites, they allow users to upload video from their travels, some of which are good and some of which are, well, rather awful. This one from Thailand, for example, is, well, pretty horrible. But then there are the vids from the Bluelist series that are rather good. Take this one from Antarctica. I mean, if that doesn't make you want to go, I don't know what will.

If you have a camera and a way to digitize the footage, you can easy contribute to the Lonely Planet website. It's very Web 2.0/YouTube in that way. And while they don't have the vast number of vids like YouTube, there are plenty there to keep you entertained and to inspire you to plan your next trip. And if they pick your video for the LP "pick" seems they'll even send you $50. Sweet!

Varanasi in the Smithsonian

Erik Olsen

If there was one city in India that blew my mind, it was Varanasi. And in this fine article in the Smithsonian Magazine, the writer, Whitney Dangerfield takes a look at the holiest city on the planet. I loved Varanasi when I had the chance to visit several years ago. In fact, I liked it so much I produced a little documentary about it. The city is about the most magical place I've ever been. I've seen my share of ruins like Macchu Piccu and Angkor Wat, but Varanasi is like ancient history alive before your eyes. The article here does a decent job describing Varanasi's allure, but the reality is you should go there yourself.

Photo of the Day (7/17/2007)

There's no caption on this photo, but I chose it anyway because it really caught my eye. I like the contrast of light in the picture, but more than anything, I just love the way it depicts the old West. Shot by MarkHout, you have expect to see the Marlboro Man amble into frame.

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