OK – so the question was asked what is food like here?

Well for breakfast its pretty much olives, cheese, bread, cucumbers and tomatoes.

Yesterday for lunch we had rice and chickpeas.

For dinner we had noodles and chicken.

After dinner I went into the village to get an ice-cream bar but instead stopped at the local bakery.

I ‘tried’ to get 2 pieces of baklava but he misunderstood me and instead of 2 pieces to go I was given to plates of baklava for eat it.  Bert was with me so we sat down and ate our 2 pieces of baklava each.

Total cost? 5 Turkish Lira = $3.18 (for 6 pieces)

Yum Yum

On the way out I passed some good looking cakes but I am not that far off my diet wagon yet.

Day 1 – Gonen – Burder – Isparta

Day 1 – Tuesday July 12, 2011

So I should clarify that I am not actually staying in Isparta – I am staying in a small town about 20km away called Gonen.

We got up today and had our traditional breakfast of olives and cheese – yum yum – but more on food for another entry.

As we are new to the area we need to get residency permits and headed into Isparta to the local police station.  We waited there for several hours while the bureaucracy did their thing.  We sat outside and I showed pictures to some of the police and Paul how to use an iPad.  After a few hours they told us we could finish up tomorrow.

We then headed to Burder to the museum there to photograph and take a ‘squeeze’ of an inscription there.  This was very unusual as it is outside of the ‘region’ that the survey is in control of but they got permission because the inscription mentions this region.  Also has this inscription was been ‘published’ before I AM allowed to post photos of it.

They were very gracious at the museum, allowed us to play with the lighting and such and I was able to get the photos that Paul needed.  They require a lot of post processing as he care more about being able to read them more than they are pretty.  After I was done he got to making the “squeeze” which is done with special paper, water, and a bristle brush.  It takes a lot of time and water to get every bit of it and then it has to dry some before he can leave.

I ended up taking some photos in the museum both indoors and outdoors.  I love the outdoor gardens.  Paul pointed out a Frieze that depicts gladiators in training.  Bilge asked if I could take pictures of one of the pottery displays – just some tourist snaps for her as reference.  She said her student would show me which ones. The student took me to the display and I asked which pot she wanted and she sheepishly said “all of them”.  It didn’t take long but it was kind of funny because there were tourists in the museum and there I am shooting every pot in a display case.

The museum was partially under construction but they still let us walk around and some of the galleries were funny cause they were totally covered in plastic sheets.  Very modern.

We went back for dinner and then I went for a littler dessert but I will save that for another entry.

Images from Day 1 – Don’t forget to read the captions!

(click here if you don’t see the image thumbnails)

Cappadocia Side Trip

I just got confirmation on our one day trip to Cappadocia

Here is the itinerary:
August 4th 2011 Thursday(Lunch included!)
At 05:40 they pick us up from the hotel and take us to Istanbul Ataturk airport.
We fly at 07:25 to Nevsehir and arrive at 08:45.
They pick us up at Nevsehir to:
Explore Devrent Valley, one of the most impressive monastery complexes in the area.

Then we visit Pasabag (also known as Monk’s Valley)

We then drive to Avanos, a village situated on the banks of Kizilirmak River, famous for its clay pottery where we can also participate hands-on in a pottery work shop.

We then have lunch.

The we proceed to the Goreme Open Air Museum, featuring the most impressive of all rock-carved churches in Cappadocia.

The last stop-off will be at Uchisar Village, located next to a natural Citadel.

The Tour finishes around 17:00.
They take us to the Airport at 17:45 for the flight to Istanbul at 19:50.
Back in Istanbul at 21:10 they take us to our hotel.

Should be a fun day – 3 weeks from now!

Day 0 – The Trip

Day 0 – Sunday & Monday – July 10 & July 11 – 2011

So I am sitting here in my room, I’ve just had breakfast, and we are leaving in 45 minutes to get our residency permits.

I figure this gives me enough time to setup my equipment and give you all a brief summary of what happened since I left Cleveland.

First, the flight out of Cleveland was delayed. Very delayed.  First 4:15, them 4:50, then 5:25, we left after 6pm.

I had a connection in Toronto that boarded at 7:25!

They assured me that this wouldn’t be a problem but in Toronto it was one story after another.  No one knew if I needed to get my bags or not (I didn’t) and one woman kept telling me that I needed to relax because I already missed it – just to deal with it an move on – oh and that her shift was over and she really wanted to go home.

I got to the gate (after clearing immigration, customs, and security – none of which I am now told I needed to do – except security) and boarded just in time.  I get there to find my seat is a middle seat between two other people. Before I can say anything a flight attendant told me that the plane was pretty empty and sit wherever.  I grabbed a middle section with three empty seats!  The 777 plane was HUGE!  personal movies at every seat and very roomy.

I started to watch True Grit with dinner and opted to have a swig (that’s a sip for the rest of you) of red wine and next thing you know they were serving breakfast.  I watched a little bit of Limitless (I had seen it so I fast forwarded around) and then we landed in Munich.

Wow was Munich organized.  They knew who I was and where I was going – they knew I had 2 bags and ever verified that they made it with me.  Spent almost no time there and then off to Istanbul.  I slept most of the way though I will admit I ate every meal they offered me 🙂 I am off of my diet for the entire trip though I still find it hard to just drink soda or totally overdo it.

When I landed in Istanbul it was hot – oh yeah now I remember – very hot – 38C or 101F.  Hot.  I already had a research Visa and even though I told them it expired 2 days before I left the country and was happy to purchase a tourist visa they just waived me though to get my bags.  I changed some money got my stuff (which WAS there) and headed to the domestic terminal to fly to Antalya.

At the domestic terminal (which is like a 20 minute walk with 4 bags on a trolley) they man was very distressed.  I had too many bags and they weighed too much.  First my 2 checked bags were 16KG overweight and he didn’t like that I had two carry on bags – I was only supposed to have one and it was supposed to be 8KB combined I was another 16KG overweight.  I didn’t argue with him – I just asked him what he wanted me to do – I clearly wasn’t go to leave the bags – there must be SOME solution. I also told him that I wasn’t going to check my 3rd bag (its got the cameras).  He just kept thinking and looking at me and finally handed me a slip saying I was 16KB overweight and to go pay for it.  Another line – did I mention it was hot – and it was 48Turkish Lira which is about $30 – which is GREAT.  So I came back and he was very happy to check my bags and ignore my other bag.  The plane was plenty big and I had no problems there.

A funny thing to mention was that when we landed both in Istanbul and in Antalya people started to applaud like big clapping of celebration.  In Istanbul it was simply quirky but in Antalya I noticed some of the guys getting ready to do it very excited to be the ones to start the celebration.

I got my bags in Antalya and headed out to be picked up but alas there was no one to be found.  I waited for about a half an hour and I purchased some WIFI 4TL/hour about $2.50.  And emailed telling them I was here – a few minutes later a driver and student came for me and told me it was 2.5 hours to drive to the field house.  They asked if I needed anything but I just fell asleep in the car.

When I awoke we were pulling up to the field house.  It was very quiet as it was after 10pm (we get up real early) and people greeted me and I found that there is 1/2 if not 1/3 of the people here this year and that everyone started to arrive on Thursday.  I had some bread and cheese and gave the pictures I brought.  I am sharing a room with a Dutch guy named Bert but pronounced much fancier than that.  I charged my equipment and passed out.

This morning I got up and had some breakfast – olives and cheese – and am getting ready for the day.

First we head to the police station to get out residency permits and then to a museum where I am to photograph an inscription.  I am limited on what I can post photographically (because of the research) so expect everything BUT that image later tonight 🙂

That’s what I have time for now – I will try and fill in the blanks later!


I made it!

Four flights and one long car trip – and a day of travel and I have arrived.

I must sleep now so long story later!

And so it begins…

Cleveland – Toronto
Toronto – Munich
Munich – Istanbul
Istanbul – Antalya
Antalya – Isparta

Wish me good napping!

I'm so tired… :) Oh and the packing is almost done!

So its 4:30 am and I should be in bed.  My flight is in 12 hours so I will get a nap before I leave.

I’ve been really working on the packing.

The final inventory is:

Pentax K5 Camera with Battery Grip – 3 Batteries, 2 Chargers, wireless remote, AC Adapter, and a whole lot of memory cards and a card reader.

3 Lenses: 10-20mm, 18-200mm, 70-300mm

2 Tripod Legs, 4 tripod heads, a  stereo slider bar, and an object VR turntable

2 cool lights and AC Transformers, a white balance reflector combo, and color bars

2 Geologgers

Camera, sensor, and lens cleaning kit

Macbook and Charger (and output cables), Headset Microphone,  external HD and a ColorSpace HD

iPhone, iPad, chargers, Headphones

AC Adapters, European Power Strips, and Plug Adapters

Electro-stim unit for my back with extra back pads

Wand Scanner

2 Liter Hydration Bladder

Toiletries and Towels

14 shirts, 3 pairs of pants, 16 pairs of socks and undies, pajamas, swimsuit, shower shoes and a set of boots

11×14″ and 8×10″ Photographs

Biz Cards

Luggage Scale

My Cane, My Vest,  and a Portable Toilet

Why a portable toilet? Because the toilets in Turkey look like this:

So I do this:

See you at the airport!


What about the fun stuff?

I just realized that all of these posts make it look like the prep is all about work.

Come 4pm on Sunday the fun really begins.

For the first several weeks I will be on the Archeology Survey so I really don’t have much planning to do. When I get there – they will tell me where to go and what to do. Everywhere has a specific area they research and study but they like to have me where the action is. I photographed all of the pottery at the museum last year and this year they said I am going to shoot the large stone inscriptions.

After my weeks there I hit Istanbul with Tim.

Last summer I had a great tour of Istanbul and really have a good checklist of what I want to see again and what I missed. I also have longer to spend which allows me a little more breathing room.

Whenever I visit a place I always stop and purchase the guidebook so I have reference when I get home. Today I need to triage those books and make a list of what I purchased so I won’t purchase it again. It is tempting to want to bring the books to have them with you but like most people I purchase the book after the visit so I will be fine with leaving them at home. Oh the savings in weight and money!

I am also trying to plan a day trip to Cappadocia!
They pick you up from your hotel, take you to the airport, fly you to Cappadocia, pick you up from the airport, tour you around, buy you lunch, take you back to the airport, fly you back to Istanbul, and take you back to your hotel. If I can get the right dates its going to be less than $300!

I will post more about the proposed itinerary as that portion of the trip gets closer.  With the exception of the day trip though I am going to keep it loose.  Have a big checklist but let the order flow naturally.

More updates soon!

OMG I Leave Tomorrow!

So much to do.

Its hard to imagine but I really am leaving town for an entire month!

Whenever I travel I try to remind myself not to over-pack and that if I forget something that I can purchase most items when I am there. Of course I mean silly things like toothpaste no technology or equipment (or as in a previous trip to France – an electric razor).

I’ve done some more equipment testing and have decided not to bring an external microphone or an external video light for my still camera (I am bringing studio lights). I went through my memory and can’t recall being in a situation in which I have had call for it. This trip really isn’t about video.

I will bring my geologger again – I can’t imagine shooting without it – but I might only bring the one this year (and a spare battery pack).

I’ve also decided not to bring my shoulder mount – again it seems more video specific.

Now of course I am worried that I am under-packing.

In addition to clearing from my plate all of my work responsibilities I am also getting ready to ‘take work with me’. This means making sure all of my data is backed up as well as bringing the right about of data with me (and ensuring that my data is available in ‘the cloud’).

The Preparation Continues!

Every year at this time I go through the same questions about what to bring and what not to bring.

Some of it is easy – at this stage in my life I am a real expert on clothing and toiletries – for those that know me it means a stack of identical blue lightweight shirts.

But the technology – that’s the problem.

So let’s go through this logically.

Obviously I need to bring a still camera and I recently upgraded to a 16.7 Megapixel Pentax K5.

Normally I only need 2 lenses with it – my very wide 10-20mm lens and my longer 18-200mm lens. This pretty much covers every circumstance.  Well except for studio work – and I will be doing studio work – so I also need my 70mm-300mm macro lens.

In the field I don’t use a tripod (though I just got this need tripod backpack) but since I will be doing studio work I will bring my new very light Vanguard tripod.  Last year in the studio I kept doing multiple angles so I will need a second tripod.  I also want a couple of matching heads for dual quick release action. So that’s 2 sets of legs and at least 3 heads.

In the studio I use a slider bar for 3D work, a laser measure and  turntable for VR work, and I am bringing a couple of small ‘cool’ light (and AC power adapters).  I of course also need my color block for color accuracy.  This should cover my studio work.  Oh if I could only pack a backdrop (I was very tempted).

Going back to the field work.

Do I need a 3D still camera?  I had one last year that I brought and didn’t use.  Plus I do have my slider bar so NO – I will not be bringing a 3d camera. Done.

Do I need a panoramic camera? I had one last year that I brought and sort of used. I took a few panoramas but while the rig was decent it wasn’t perfect and its VERY heavy.  In fact the best panoramas I took last year were the freehand ones I put together with the still camera.  And no I won’t even consider bringing my GigaPan rig.  So NO – I won’t be bringing a panoramic camera. Done.

Do I need a video camera?  This one is tricky.  Last year I brought 2 videos cameras and a stack of tapes only to find that it really wasn’t an ideal situation to shoot video.  Every time I put the camera down people would talk to me – and everyone was keen on the photography.  I took over 7,000 photos last summer but only walked away with 9 hours of video.  So NO – I won’t be bringing a video camera.  This is a huge load off my planning and packing. Plus my new Pentax K5 shoots really good HD video.  So do I bring a microphone for it? That is still in flux.

Accessories are going to be pretty much the same as last year. Lots of memory cards, cleaning kit, GPS Geologger, notebook, iPad, iPhone (for my tunes), headphones, backup hard drives, and my portable wand scanner. Don’t laugh but bringing that portable wand scanner last year allowed me to scan and send receipts from the field-house.

So after all this it looks like I am just bringing one camera. Kinda scary.

Let the packing commence.

It’s Thursday – I leave Sunday.