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You are incredibly beautiful. Thanks to you, I get to live in a hub where people are driven by a passion to innovate and in vicinity of a dozen national parks. For the last 4 weekends, we have been packing our backpacks and spending a day or two in the forests that surround us. When we first got started exploring outdoors, it was about the milage of a hike or elevation of a climb or chasing a perfect photograph. But something in us changed over time. We slowed down and started to appreciate the beauty and let go of our pride in chasing the numbers. We now check out trails because we have been told of the numerous sage and bay leaf trees. A fragrant trail, yes please.  We do the unpopular trails for the solitude. We have been going back to our favorite places to explore better. The highlights of the month have been :

  • Finding a good spot to pitch the tent. Sleeping-in longer and missing the big plans we made for “enjoying the sunrise”. Just lay in the sleeping bag for longer and listen to the birds + the creek.
  • That meal we made over our camp stove which tasted terrible, but hunger triumphs. I survived grad school without PBJs but cant seem to do without them in the backcountry.
  • Taking the time to admire the pretty leaves. Or annoy the Banana Slugs that seem to be everywhere. We had a competition last week on who can spot more. A great way to be little kids again. I won the Early Bird Special and in spirit. He won the numbers.
  • Sharing the celebratory beer at the summits. Picking out a special beer, packing it and carrying it all along.
  • Marching in-step together at mile 14 when I am exhausted and can no longer go on. We are a team – he and I.
  • Sharing that cookie that is to be had when the going gets hard. Sugar rushes are awesome !
  • Having real conversations. No distractions and errands to do on trail.
  • Going to bed at 8 pm because its Fall and its dark outside. You got to obey the season.

#VantagePoint is entirely a made up concept. What I choose to see and appreciate. What I spend time chasing. And what I choose to show. It has never been about a picture perfect photograph. Its been more about what I want to remember when I look back at a picture. An emotion, not pixels that are perfectly laid out.

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Every time I pitch a tent, I know that I am borrowing a stay in a habitat that is not mine. We notice all the birds and insect that go into alert mode in our presence. And some scream their heads off at us. Its a natural predatory instinct. In my head, I talk back to them. Request them to calm down. We are here as guests for the weekend. Thank you for sharing your home. We will not be a source of light or sound pollution. We wont leave our trash behind. Not even the crumbs. We are here to experience, not conquer. I would like to say the same to the planet. Dear Earth, we will mend our ways of living to protect you. #AsilentPledge.

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I was asked by Light.co to participate in a project where we discuss about our take on #vantagePoint in photography. Being a computer science researcher, my friends and I have been following the progress of their technology for years, especially the new L16. Harnessing the power of multiple small apertures folded optics technology makes big barrel lenses redundant. Imagine travel without lugging around a large camera. A lighter backpack is something I always strive towards. Think of the safety aspect when traveling through certain parts of the world when working with a discrete camera. And I am excited for what they have accomplished and for what it means to the world of photography and travel.