Sunday, October 21, 2018

So after multiple camera purchases, a drone, 3 GoPro’s, and more equipment then I should admit I own, I decided to try the Ricoh Theta 360 Camera. I purchased it just before a trip to Las Vegas in June and tried it out. Unfortunately it was 47C in Vegas the week were there so we weren’t outside as much as we usually are. We also didn’t venture outside of Vegas either.

After experimenting with the camera, I regret not getting it sooner. It would have been really cool to shot some 360 photos in Lower Antelope Canyon on our last trip. I’m hoping to get to Coyote Butte and the Wave this fall. Hopefully I win the lottery and get a chance.

Bellagio Lobby. Another 360 image for anyone using their VR headset. or viewing on their phone/tablet. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

The Bellagio Lobby

The Camera was very easy to operate. I’m not a big fan of having to interface with my phone for everything. But the Theta let’s you click and shoot and gives you the option of viewing and downloading at a later time. The wireless syncing was easy. Overall it just worked. There is no onboard GPS, viewfinder, or other features. Just choose between photo or video, point, and click.

The resolution quality is pretty good. This is one specialty area that needs to really amp up the resolution. I also wish there were more options for posting the content. The Theta site will only store your still images, not video. You have to use YouTube if you want your 360 videos. You can use Facebook but it downgrades so badly, YouTube is a much better option.

Plug the images in the VR Viewer apps on your Android phone and use a cheap VR headset and you can relive the moments in 360 relatively easy. The VR headset and your vacation images are a great way to immerse someone who has never travelled to the there, and get a far better appreciation for the space then they would with a 2D flat image.

GoPro’s Fusion VR camera looks very interesting, 5.2K resolution.
Garmin’s VIRB 360 looks equally cool, complete with GPS, and image stabilization.

Post from RICOH THETA. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

The Wynn

Bellagio Conservatory Another 360 image for anyone using their VR headset. or viewing on their phone/tablet. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

The Bellagio Conservatory

The Park Another 360 image for anyone using their VR headset. or viewing on their phone/tablet. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

The Park

2017 Playoff ticket renewal was couriered on Monday. The prices, although not surprising, were still a little shocking. I understand this is where the real profit for team ownership comes from, but when viewed as only a percent increase, the increases are significant. The following table is for my season tickets in the lower bowl, aisle seats, offensive zone, row 17. I’ve had Season’s tickets for over 20 years and already accepted a hefty price increase to move into Rogers Place.

Our round tickets go up 60% and round 4 when it happens is a whopping 220% increase. Of course the street value for these tickets will be even higher, the demand will be high, and with each round the hype and anticipation will get higher.

The total potential cost of the playoffs, assuming 4 rounds x 4 games maximum per round = 16 games will be $4,928 for 16 games. The regular season cost is 45 games for $6,300.00. $308/game vs $140.00/game.

I won’t debate the entertainment value of playoff hockey, but paying double the price seems like an extreme way to treat your loyal customers. Of course the tickets will sell out, of course we’ll renew, people will make buckets of money selling them privately, and of course the Oilers will probably win the Stanley Cup 😉

Sportsnet Article on the same subject. Nice of them to link my tweet 🙂

In October we made a week long visit to Las Vegas and decided to use a few of the days and explore the Grand Canyon, Lower Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend as well as the surrounding areas. The trip involves several hours of driving and at least one night in Page Arizona as a central base. I’d recommend two nights to give yourself more time as the drive back to Vegas will take a full day with stops. Of course Lower and Upper Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend are the most popular, you’re just a few hours away from Zion National Park, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Arches National Park, Grand Staircase National Monument, and all the sites in between. If you’re a photographer this can easily be a fantastic 1-2 week vacation.

Our trip was more focused as we only had two days. In this time we squeezed in the Grand Canyon, Lower Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and a drive back to Vegas through Zion National Park. Hotels in Page can be expensive. We stayed in a little upgraded motel called The Lake Powell Motel, although it wasn’t on the Lake, it had large upgraded rooms with full kitchens. There were a few restaurants nearby the price was great compared to the larger branded hotels.

The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is of course worth the time. The sheer scale is amazing, put it on your bucket list and make the trip. 3 hours 30 minutes from Phoenix or just over 4 hours from Vegas. Grand Canyon Village is a brief detour on the trip to Page, Arizona and worth the few extra hours.

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Lower Antelope Canyon


Lower Antelope Canyon was exactly as you would imagine from the photos. I know some people would claim the area and the photos are too overused but if you’re a photographer it’s a great place to go. We booked our trip well in advance and used Dixies Lower Antelope Canyon Tours. Because this is Navajo land ALL tours need to be guided through the authorized providers. The fee you pay for the tour ($47 when we went) is in addition to the fee you’ll be charged to enter Navajo land just outside the parking lot ($8.00). So be prepared to pay twice, the gate fee was cash only as I recall.

We booked our tour as a Photo tour (well in advance). This is a separate package and slightly more expensive. If you want to take photos, take this tour option. The group is smaller and you are allowed to setup your tripods (highly recommended). Total time was 2 hours including the hike in and out. The space is tight and there are stairs so make sure you’re physically able to handle both. The tourists will annoy you but the guide is pretty good about setting you up in the good spots so you can shoot over the heads.

The colours and light is amazing with the colours ranging from pink to orange. Depending on the sun angles getting the right shot can be challenging. From what we could research try to get out in the morning in the first two groups to get the best light. I would recommend researching the best times depending on what time of year you’ll be there.

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Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend is just outside of Page and is free. However, pack water as it is a mile or so hike, through the sand, from the parking lot. I was amazed how many people were walking to the Canyon in the hot desert sand with heels, flip flops, no water, no hats, etc. The Canyon is wide open with no barriers. You can get as close to the edge as your vertigo tolerance will allow. It is very busy so if you want a sunset shot you’ll need to setup several hours in advance.