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Thursday, December 19, 2013

December Update: Website, Upcoming Vacations, and More!

The semester is finally OVER!  I just finished up my fourth and final architecture studio at Clemson University, and it was the toughest and most exhausting studio I've ever been part of.

However, I have some pretty exciting news - I have my own website!  Domain name and all! homepage serves as a central hub connecting all of my creative outlets - architecture, photography, sketching, and my travel blog.

Royal Princess

This Saturday, my family will head to Florida for our annual Christmas vacation.  On Sunday, we'll depart from Fort Lauderdale on the new Royal Princess for a 7-day Eastern Caribbean cruise.  This will be the newest ship we've ever sailed on, and I'm pretty excited.  Rachel is bummed that it's only 7-days long, but apparently that's about the only option you get when Christmas day falls on a Wednesday.  The ship will visit Princess Cays (a first for us), St. Thomas, and St. Maarten.  When we return from our cruise, we'll head to Disney World because as of October this year, we are once again annual passholders!  Where are we staying?  NO IDEA!  Hoping to get that booked tonight....

As of today, I've been anxiously awaiting the arrival of my Nikon D7100.

nikon d7100
This is a purchase that I've been planning for a long time, now.  My Nikon 1 J1 really got me hooked on photography, and I wanted to upgrade to a DSLR.  For compatibility reasons, I wanted to stick with Nikon, and I knew that I wasn't going to be satisfied with an entry-level DSLR like the Nikon D3200 (not to mention, my Dad has an entry-level Canon DSLR, so getting the equivalent Nikon didn't seem very logical).  After reading many reviews, I thought it best to skip the D5200 and go with the D7100.

I debated for a long time about whether or not to purchase a kit.  There are some benefits to purchasing a kit.... you can get a lot of "stuff" with camera kits from Amazon, B+H, and the like.  Stuff like spare batteries, additional lenses, and memory cards.... but also stuff like cleaning kits, memory card wallets, and tripods.... things which aren't really necessary or something that you might just want to pick out yourself.

I'm an avid reader of Tom's The Disney Tourist Blog, and from his photography buyer guide, I knew that I wanted to upgrade the kit lens (Nikon 18-105mm) anyway with the purchase of the Tamron 17-50mm lens, but I wasn't sure if I should buy the kit lens also to get the extra "zoom" and just have an extra lens.  I'm a big fan of wide angle lenses which I learned with my Nikon 1 J1 and my 10-30mm lens, so I wanted a wide angle lens for the D7100 body and went with Tom's suggestion of the Tokina 11-16mm ultra wide angle lens.  After adding that to my shopping cart, I realized that I'd much rather save the $200 I was spending on the kit lens (versus body only) and put it towards another lens.  Or maybe I just put it towards more gear because I also added the Nikon SB-700 AF Speedlight and "Cheap-O" 77mm Neutral Density filter to my cart.  So thank you, Tom Bricker, for your gear reviews.  I can't wait to try out my new toys!

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