The Alto Star Gate


Today I’m going to zip through the making of the Alto Star Gate image, and show you just how easy it is to shoot the stars above – and how you can add a little extra somethin’ somethin’ to your images with the help of a flashlight.

Tools of the trade:

- camera with manual settings

- wide lens with a relatively fast maximum aperture (f/2.8 or faster)

- sturdy tripod

- high-powered flashlight (with an LED light if you have one)

- remote triggering device (not 100% necessary, but it’ll make your life easier in the long run)

The Down and Dirty:

Making an image like this is incredibly simple – if you’re new to star photography, you’ll be amazing at just how swiftly you’ll be able to put together gorgeous images if you do even the smallest amount of prep work.

The first thing I do when I set out to shoot the stars is, well, find the stars. The night sky above the Atacama Desert in Chile is one of the clearest in the world, with spectacular views of the Milky Way. I knew that I wanted to make the Milky Way the star of this image, but also add some interesting foreground elements, so I put my gear in a position to capture both at the same time.

I set my camera on my tripod and switched everything to manual – manual exposure in the camera itself, and manual focus on my lens. When it’s dark out your camera’s focusing engine will hunt for focus forever, so it’s best just to do everything yourself. I knew that I was going to light the rocks to the right, so I turned on my flashlight and set it as close to the rocks as possible, walked back to the camera, and used the light to set focus.

Next, I used my TriggerTrap mobile dongle + smartphone app to dial in what I thought would be a correct exposure; I started with a minute, but that actually added too much movement to the stars (for this image I wanted the stars to appear as they would to the naked eye). I dialed back the exposure time to 30 seconds, and locked it in. So, even if you don’t have a triggering device, you can still pull off a shot like this – just about every camera on the market today will allow you to do 30 second exposures in manual mode.

Next, I used the timer to give myself 10 seconds to get into position (tucked behind the huge boulder to the left of the image). When I heard the shutter open, I started painting the rocks to the right with my flashlight. I simply waved my light over every bit of exposed rock that I could for the duration of the exposure. It’s like whipping a light saber around with no one watching – tons of fun.

I went back and forth to the camera a few times to fine-tune focus and the exposure until I had it right where I wanted, though with this sort of image it won’t take long to get what you want; it’s an incredibly easy process.

I mentioned using a lens with a large maximum aperture. Fast glass lend themselves to astrophotography because they’re able to “see” more stars when used wide open – the reason why is another blog post in and of itself, but just remember that you want to use the fastest lens in your bag when you’re shooting the night sky. Faster lenses mean more trouble hitting focus in the dark, but that’s a small annoyance in the grand scheme of star shooting.

Image specs:

Camera: Nikon D800

Lens: Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 (I shot this in the D800 DX crop mode)

Aperture: f/2.8     ISO: 800     Shutter speed: 30 seconds     Focal Length: 11mm

Tripod: Manfrotto BeFree Travel Tripod

Trigger: TriggerTrap Mobile Dongle Kit

You can purchase the triggertrap mobile dongle kit for whatever camera you’re using here: This is one of the best investments you’ll ever make as a photographer.

Special thanks to the incredible Alto Atacama resort for putting up with me while I ran amok all over their property and the desert while working on my editorial features.

And of course, huge thanks to Chimu Adventures for helping to put together a brilliant South American itinerary.  Chimu Adventures is the finest travel outfitter in Argentina, and offers tailor-made expeditions that get at the heart of the country’s most essential experiences.

Gear Review: Aviator Timbuk2 Travel Backpack


My Aviator Travel Backpack high atop Chile’s Toco Mountain – 19,423’ Licancabur in the distance. I used the Aviator as a day pack for excursions throughout a 6-week series of assignments in South America from April – May 2014.

I’ve flung dozens of bags over my shoulders through the years in an effort to find the perfect balance between form, function and, though maybe I shouldn’t admit it, style. I’m a journalist and photographer, but the last thing I want to do is draw attention to the camera pack on my back. Yet I still need to be able to haul my gear from one corner of the world to the next, with space for a change of clothes and my toothbrush – what to do, what to do?

Let me step back a bit. Finding a camera bag isn’t much of a problem; there are thousands on the market, many of which make a fine home for your camera. What I’ve been on the lookout for is a bag that will allow me to carry everything I need for a long spell in the field, but also handle well when it’s not loaded down on daily excursions.

I picked the Aviator Travel Backpack because it’s not a camera backpack; the large open space allows me to configure it exactly as I want, and remains flexible while on the road. I ordered the Medium Snoop Insert, a padded messenger bag insert that fills up most of the interior of the Aviator when full – and I pack it full. I took this combo out into the field on a 6-week assignment in South America.

Here’s what I packed into the Snoop:

Nikon D800

Nikon AW1 w/ lens

14mm f/2.8 lens

24-70mm f/2.8 lens

80-200mm f/2.8 lens

50mm f/1.8 lens

85mm f/1.4 lens

SB800 flash

3 1TB My Passport hard drives

wall charges for both cameras


USB Cables

laptop cords

memory cards

mini air blower

lens pen cleaning brush

The Snoop holds EVERYTHING listed above, and slots comfortably into the main compartment of the Aviator. I still have space to fit my GoPro case, HoldFast Money Maker and HoldFast Ruckstrap straps in alongside the Snoop, and extra room for a pair of pants and a shirt. My travel laptop fits into the padded rear compartment, while the top pouch of the Aviator holds my keys, a book, my passport, travel documents, phone, my Saddleback wallets, and more. I didn’t have to fill my pockets with little bits of equipment, or hold onto any of my electronics; they’re all safely tucked away. I buckled my Manfrotto BeFree tripod to the outside, and was set to go. Is my camera gear easy to get to in this configuration? No, not really. But that’s the point; while in transit, I don’t want anyone to have quick access to my gear. I also don’t want to drag a huge wheelie case, or have to ship everything in padded plastic containers – so this is a fantastic solution for hauling my travel photography kit.

When I arrive at each destination I pull most of the gear out of the bag, and use the Aviator as a day pack; I hiked all over the Atacama in Chile with this bag, and when it’s not loaded too heavy, it’s quite comfortable. I wish there were a slot for a water bottle on the outside, and it’d be nice if the top section were a little easier to access – pulling the zipper all the way around after unbuckling the central section can get tiresome – but otherwise, I really enjoyed traveling with this bag. (NOTE: I solved the waterbottle issue by fixing a carabineer to the top outermost strap, and securing the bottle via the bottom strap). Styling is fantastic – it actually may look nicer than my regular carry-on luggage – and it seems like a rather durable piece of kit. Overall, a fantastic option for hauling my gear from one place to the next, and an excellent choice as a weekend bag if I were going to go without the camera equipment and pack traditionally. Not that this is a likely scenario, mind you, but for the sake of argument, let’s roll with it.

- flash 

On The Road Again


By this time tomorrow I’ll be in the air somewhere over South America. By nightfall I’ll be in the rarefied air of Quito, Ecuador, with a Panama hat cocked to one side, a cup of ceviche in my mitts, and a kick in my step. I’m looking forward to this one.

I’ll be in Ecuador for a couple of weeks with the good folks from Metropolitan Touring, then heading to Guatemala for a week with Diamond PR. I have some exciting stories in the works for some of my favorite clients, and can’t wait to get started.

I’ think I’ve packed a bag with clothes, but I’m not too worried about that. This is what I’ll be carrying with me virtually everywhere I go.

Clockwise from left:

- Walker Black Boots from Shoe the Bear

- Triopo TTL flash gun for Nikon

- Fossil watch

- Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 lens

- Saddleback briefcase in brown

- WD My Passport 1TB hard drive

- HoldFlast Ruckstrap in blue

- Passport

- Canon 22mm EOS-M lens

- Saddleback wallet in brown

- Flash Parker portfolios

- Canon EOS-M body

- Nikkor 85mm f/1.4 lens

- Moleskine notebooks

- Flash Parker business cards

* Nikon D800, pens, pencils, single change of underwear, and shower cap not pictured.


I don’t know how much blogging I’ll be doing on this trip, so follow along with me on twitter and Instagram @FlashParker – I should have a few things to say.

DOODAD: When in Roam


Some challenges are a bigger pain than others.

Those challenges can be exacerbated when you’re on the road.

One of the biggest challenges I face when traveling is finding a convenient way to get connected to the internet. There are days when I need to check my email a dozen times (when an editor is chasing me down for a photo of a rabid squirrel, or needs me to write a quick story about poutine and maple syrup), but I can’t spend my entire day at an internet café or locked down in my hotel room. I need quick, easy access to the web. When I’m at home, this is as simple as jumping onto my cell network and smartphoning my way to email bliss. But when I’m traveling, I prefer not to have to pay outrageous roaming fees to download a couple of bytes of data.

There are easy workarounds in some countries. In Thailand, for example, it’s as easy as picking up a pre-loaded SIM at the airport and popping it into your unlocked phone. But in other countries, where phone laws and regulations are tighter, it’s not that simple. Getting a SIM, or even a pre-paid phone, can be a huge problem, or next to impossible.

Enter DOODAD. I read about DOODAD on, and fired off an email to the customer service department about picking one up.

From the web:  “When you’re traveling, you don’t need another headache, you need a DOODAD. DOODAD is an international SIM card that gives simple, cheap data roaming in 69 countries (and growing) at great, flat rates. So you can look up maps, search for that cool bar, and keep your friends and family up to date with your adventures.”

That’s it. That’s all. That simple. I thought there might be some kind of catch, or outrageous roaming overage fees, or throttling feature that would turn my phone into a 1996 dial-up tuner. But there’s no catch, there are no extra fees, and there’s no throttle. The only thing you need to get started with a DOODAD is an unlocked SIM-enabled phone. There are dozens of websites out there that will send you an unlock code for small fee; I unlocked mine for $35.

I popped my DOODAD into my Samsung Galaxy SII, followed the instructions to activate the device, and was connected within seconds. I was in North-East Wyoming when I first tried the device, so I was connected to AT&T’s 3G network. From there I was able to access data via my phone like a normally would. There’s no phone number associated with this SIM, but that’s not something I’m worried about; when I’m overseas I can easily jump on google, Skype, or something similar to make a call.

The DOODAD comes with an adapter that allows it to fit any SIM slot; a clever bit of engineering that should allow anyone with a SIM-enabled phone access to the net.

I took the DOODAD on a cross-country trip from Sheridan to Toronto, and never experienced a single hiccup. Across Canada and the USA, I was charged at a rate of .30 cents a minutes; much better than what I’d have to fork over while roaming out of country on my usual network plan.

I picture DOODAD being a handy tool going forward. I’m off to Ecuador and then Guatemala on the 15th of October, and my itinerary is packed with activities. I won’t be seeing the inside of my hotel room until late in the evening each day, so having quick access to my email whenever I want it is going to be great. And, of course, I can mess about on Twitter and Instagram while I’m gone. Go team!

I’ll report back with a full international review when I return from South and Central America, but for now, I can’t say enough about this little gadget.

Get your DOODAD here.

- Flash

*I activated my DOODAD with $5 in credit and was topped up by the Customer Service department for the purposes of testing the device on the road. The opinions above are mine and mine alone; DOODAD was not consulted before I posted this review. I have no official partnership or affiliation with DOODAD.

USA Today: Dallas Mystery Trip

Back in the spring, USA Today sent me on assignment for their quarterly GoEscape travel magazine. What set this assignment apart from every other gig I’ve been on was the fact that I didn’t know where I was heading until I got to the airport at 6am.

An hour before taking to the sky, my editor sent me an email. I was off to Dallas, Texas. It was my job to get under the skin of the Big D.

I’ve included a PDF version of the article as it appeared in the magazine, and my original text for easy reading. You’ll notice that no one ever keeps my original title. Ha!




Hunting Velcro Pygmies

By Flash Parker | April 1, 2013

For USA Today: GoEscape Magazine

“New Orleans is a very interesting place,” said Ravi the taximan as we tucked into the departures corral at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport. “The accent is a little funny, and the food is sometimes spicy, but the culture is unique. I hope they send you there for the Mardi Gras, and the Bubba Gump Shrimp.” I told Ravi I would send him a postcard and some Gump gear if I ended up in Louisiana. Ravi had a unique way of reconciling place and space, much like everyone who knew about my impending mystery trip. My mother argued that a weekend at Disneyland was like visiting all 50 states at once; my fiancée thought it would be nice if I was sent to Hawaii (as long as she could chaperone); and my best friend hoped to meet me in Vegas, though he admitted that we could never tell anyone.

I checked my watch; there were a few minutes until 5am and the revelation of my destination, so I scanned the airport’s big board for clues. I watched a foursome wheel their golf clubs through the entrance en route to Phoenix. A happy family tried to make space in their luggage for hockey skates ahead of their trip to Halifax, while a hunting party headed for Anchorage packed their orange vests and camouflage hats into their carry-on luggage.

Unlike these folks, I didn’t know where I was going to be spending the next three days. That meant I had no idea what to pack, though I tried my best. I took a quick inventory of my gear and chuckled to myself: camera; moleskine notebook; HoldFast camera strap (the fact that the strap looks like a holster is always good for street cred); passport; flashlight (it can be dark on the way to the bathroom); a hockey puck, otherwise known as a Canadian peace offering; and a pair of extremely snug lightning bolt undies, just in case I ended up someplace hot. These next three days were going to be great if I was sent to a place where preconceptions could guide me, but what if I landed somewhere my imagination couldn’t help? I would have to rely on the twitterverse if I was going to get at the cultural core of wherever I ended up, and reach out to local folks the moment my destination was revealed. I planned on tweeting local chefs, mixologists and bartenders in my quest for good eats and quirky bevvies. If I got a hot tip about a local secret, I was going to enlist the help of my follows to suss it out. If I bumped into someone on the bus who was willing to point me in the direction of a good time, I was going to drag them along for the ride. Over the next three days I would be the ultimate Yes Man, ready and willing to experience all that this fresh new place had to offer. I steeled myself against the challenge as a buzzer went off in my pocket. An email from Jim Lenahan, my editor and the mastermind behind this adventure, told me that I was headed to Dallas, Texas.

Before my plane took to the air I took to twitter. I was after the essential experience; I wanted to know where I could find an iconic view of the city, a market awash in local color, and a watering hole where tall tales flowed from native storytellers like beer from broken taps. By the time I arrived in Dallas my twitter feed had blown up with recommendations both mundane and remarkable. It seemed like everyone who had ever lived in, heard of, of passed through Dallas had an idea for me. One furtive follower suggested I spend some time with the Velcro Pygmies, known to frequent Dallas in the springtime. My request for more information about these mysterious pygmies went unanswered. I had tips, tricks, lists and an itinerary, but the experience was going to be realized in the way I interpreted this information.


Much to my chagrin my first few moments in Dallas were not spent dodging cattle on dusty streets populated by tumbleweeds and maverick cowboys itching for a hitching post. Dallas was not the reel of scenes lifted from Lonesome Dove I expected it to be. Instead, the city was sleek, slick, and stylish. My on-the-fly sleuthing had failed to uncover a ramshackle saloon, but I knew I could find one if I looked hard enough. I was intent on kicking in a set of double doors with my brand-new cowboy boots and announcing myself as the new sheriff in town. I hailed a taxicab and asked the driver what he knew about the Wild West and the Velcro Pygmies; he raised an eyebrow as he looked at my reflection in the rearview mirror. “I think you should speak with the Old Monk,” he said. I asked the driver to deliver me to this Old Monk; we had much to discuss.

I settled into prime real estate at the Old Monk’s bar. It was 4:30 and the joint was already filled with the city’s well-dressed, well-manicured, and well-mannered. I tossed my camera on the bar and hollered for something local. Riley the barman slid a frosty Deep Ellum IPA down the bar and into my hand. He nodded, I nodded. He didn’t call me pardner or ask if I was from around these parts, but I didn’t hold that against him. As I took to imbibing Riley scribbled notes on a pad of paper. He suggested I try the Capitol Pub, The Double Wide, and The Gin Mill. I asked for directions, so he drew me a map. I had trouble reading the map, so he offered to show me around. Riley even offered to help me locate the Pygmies, though he had never heard of them previously. We were finally getting somewhere.

Before we could set out for the Capitol, a patron at the other end of the bar asked if she could offer her two cents. She bore a striking resemblance to Kate Capshaw, and her husband claimed he looked like Garth Brooks. Who was I to say no? By the time I stepped back into the sun my itinerary had quadrupled in size, and I’d had more drinks poured for me than any visiting foreigner since Dirk Nowitzki brought the NBA title home to the Mavericks. The next few hours saw me pulling pints of craft ale from the taps at the Capitol, waxing poetic with literary rebels at Heroes Lounge, and working through the Tex-Mex masterpieces at the Blue Goose Cantina. The goose eggs made me happy, but I’d be lying if I said I stopped there. An evening stroll south along Greenville Ave led me through a quaint residential neighborhood and into Good Records, a vinyl playground where I was sure to discover the Velcro Pygmies. Alas, the sonically informed employees had never heard of them, but offered to turn me on to Smile Smile, Calhoun, and The Rocket Summer. I popped on a set of headphones, settled into a bean bag, lost myself in the music, wondering where I was going to end up next.

Next was clear across town, all the way to the Belmont Hotel on the outskirts of Oak Cliff. One tweeter mentioned the panoramic views of the downtown skyline, while another extolled the virtues of SMOKE, the modern smokehouse next door. Everyone else told me to be careful in this part of town. I took a martini to the patio and asked after Oak Cliff’s tough reputation, when it seemed more hipster than hard-ass on the surface. “We like it that way,” a fellow patio lantern told me. “If it didn’t have a bad reputation, there’d be no space out here to watch the sun go down.” Trusting that logic, I put myself at the mercy of the smoke pit in chef Tim Byres’ kitchen. Even if Oak Cliff’s streets were piled high with burning coals, I would walk across them for a taste of whole hog and blue cheese slaw. Dessert unnecessary.


Rain and Texas go together like barbecue and peanut butter, which is to say not at all. Yet Dallas is a remarkably green place, and the sprawling Farmer’s Market, just south of the Main Street District, is a showcase for what a little bit of wet weather can do. My original plan was to collect fresh ingredients and prepare a feast, but I doubted my twitter followers would be able to help me craft a dish out of Mole, prickly pears, and hominy kernels. My culinary repertoire is rather limited, and I have no idea how to use a molcajete. Instead I learned a little bit about Texas honey, nothing about Texas tea, and met a man who mates melons for a living. I tucked into a long line at the Pecan Lodge, a market institution famous for southern barbecue. I waited an hour before ordering the Hot Mess; shredded brisket and sweet potato, with a side of M-m-mac n’ cheese. I joined a fitness class in progress down at the other end of the shed, just so I didn’t feel guilty about my mass consumption. I did have trouble focusing on the instructor, considering the class took place between the spicy pickle cart and the barrel-aged olive oil stand, while the sweaty couple in front of me discussed the ingredients destined to end up in their pork rind casserole. I was starting to fall in love with Dallas.

A gust of wind blew me clear past the upmarket boutiques, malls, and bistros of downtown and into the historic West End, where I found tourists posing for macabre photos on the x that marks the place where JFK was shot. Kids played on the grassy knoll while conspiracy theorists shared secrets outside the County Administration Building. I toured the Sixth Floor Museum and witnessed the place where Lee Harvey Oswald changed American history forever (a man outside hawking conspiracy propaganda tried to convince me otherwise). I wondered aloud why the Dallas Arts District does not receive more national attention, and was told by a trio of acutely attuned Nasher Sculpture Center valets that southerners know how to keep secrets better than the rest of the country. Feeling culturally gratified, I decided to take a break from history and play on the freeway.

Klyde Warren Park is a multi-purpose space built over one of the city’s busiest roads, buffered on one side by an armada of food trucks, and an open air library on the other. During one brief stretch I played a game of Frisbee golf, chased a gourmet slider with excessively colorful cupcakes, lost a game of chess to an 11-year-old prodigy (and a game of checkers to his 9-year-old sister), and was drafted into a soccer match. As I lay on the grass entirely overstimulated, I watched heavy gray clouds roll overhead. I switched off my phone, hushing the incessant twitter chirps, and decided that if my trip ended now I would go home happy. Not that I was going to let that happen. I’m a glutton for a good time.


By the time I arrived at the Deep Ellum Brewery it was 2pm and happy hour was nearly over. I self-guided through the beer list and asked the barman if the honey in the Oak Aged Doppelbock came from the Farmer’s Market. He didn’t know, but he pretended to care.

Zack Fickey, resident Event Planning Ninja, climbed the elevated platform and stood among the towering brew tanks as the fauxhemians and skinny-jeaned ne’er-do-wells gathered. Zack lauded Deep Ellum’s uniqueness, praised its history, and called for everyone who loved the browbeaten neighborhood to support local artists, and to drink good beer. I raised a glass with the rest of the crowd, and decided to vote for Zack if he ever ran for president (and if I were given a vote). My tour ended when I bumped into Oscar, a Fort Worth native showing some out-of-towners a good time in Dallas’ most important cultural enclave. Oscar introduced me to his friends, and they invited me to Fort Worth. I hesitated. I felt like there was so much more to see and do in Dallas. “We’re going to hunt down the Velcro Pygmies tonight,” Oscar said. “Have you ever heard of them?”

Oscar told me that Pygmies are nocturnal. We had time to kill before we went hunting, so we pulled on our boots and went mudslinging in the Fort Worth stockyards. We helped a cowboy haul his saddle to the rodeo grounds, had our boots shined outside the Pink Cadillac, got lost in a children’s maze made of old fences, and bought tickets to a Randy Travis concert going down at Billy Bob’s, home to slot machines, bad attitudes, and the world’s largest belt buckle. We ordered pints of blood and honey at chef Tim Love’s White Elephant Saloon (I did not kick in the doors), and speculated on why a grown man would fill his bar with hundreds of porcelain pachyderms. A local musician named Ryan Riley sang a tune while Oscar and I ordered boom boom mushroom burgers from the Love Shack next door. Oscar and I talked at length of the differences between Dallas and Fort Worth. In Fort Worth, people still wear jeans and cowboy boots, men order whiskey on the rocks, and steak is not a dirty word. If Texas had been defined along musical lines, Dallas would be a saxophone, and Fort Worth would be a banjo. “I would have also accepted cowbell,” Oscar said. We were getting along great. Twitter sent us for margaritas at Chimy’s (mine had a can of Red Bull sticking out of it), steak at Cattleman’s, barbecue at Railhead, and happy hour in the West 7th Cultural District, where we raised local Rahr Beers at the Durty Crow. We didn’t find a chuckwagon or have time for a campfire cookout, but given another couple of days I’m sure we could have.

It was late when our party arrived at Sherlock’s Pub & Grill in Arlington. I was growing ever anxious; we had talked little of the Pygmies, and I was beginning to doubt their existence. Oscar told me to close my eyes and allow my ears to guide me. The cacophonic sounds of 80s glam rock drew us to the stage, and I struggled to make sense of the kaleidoscopic light show, the smoke, and the endless tendrils of big curly hair that whipped from one side to the other. Velcro Pygmies frontman Cameron Flener teased the crowd into a frenzy and screamed Lynyrd Skynyrd lyrics into the grenade-shaped microphone while the dance floor writhed below him. We had finally found the Pygmies. There was nothing left to do but dance.

I didn’t get a chance to ask the Pygmies if they like donuts. If I did, I would have invited them to breakfast at Hypnotic in Lakewood, a hip East Dallas food factory famous for their chicken biscuits and liberal use of bacon. For breakfast I had Kaye’s biscuit, with pepper jack, whipped cream cheese and fresh jalapenos, and the Evil Elvis and Canadian Health Care donuts. If James and Amy St. Peter ever decide to franchise, I hope they stay away from Toronto. I’d buy stock in donut holes and park myself in front of their kitchen. The pair sent me off with a snack for later, which I promptly ate while wandering around White Rock Lake. The surrounding park, adjacent to the Dallas Botanical Gardens, is a quiet oasis divided from the skyscraper infinity of downtown. I cast a few lines over the water with a fisherman named Miguel, and wondered if there was anything else I could possibly catch. My new friends and my amateur online tour guides had helped me see and experience more of Dallas in a 48-hour span than I ever thought possible. The pages of my notebook were stained by salsa, coffee, donut frosting, steak sauce, and spilled margaritas, personal Rorschach inkblots that represented individual memories from a whirlwind weekend. I flipped to a new page, filled my pen with fresh ink, and scribbled where next? along the first line.


US Post Office

251 W Lancaster Ave., Fort Worth

Built in 1993, this historic relic is a mash-up of Beaux Arts and Art Deco design from architect Wyatt C. Hedrick, and an enduring symbol of Cowtown’s bygone boom years.

John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza

646 Main St., Dallas (214)747-6660

Simple and striking, the JFK Memorial was designed by architect Phillip Johnson as a cenotaph, or open tomb, signifying the late president’s freedom of spirit.

Fort Worth Stockyards

130 East Exchange Ave., Fort Worth (817) 625-9715

Rodeos, cowboy boots, swing-door saloons, crawfish boils, and Old West charm: the stockyards will get you close to the Texas of your imagination.

Dallas Running Tours


Explore the city on foot, and sweat off your barbecue embellishments. A six-mile run showcases many of Dallas’ best sights.

Bishop Arts District

West 7th St.,

This trendy neighborhood in North Oak Cliff is home to indie bars, restaurants, theatres, and galleries. Annual events like UrbanStreetBazaar, Brew Riot, and 1st Thursdays lend a community vibe.

Flash Light Photography Expeditions: Flash in the Wild

We’re unwrapping something special today.


We’re thrilled to announce the official release of our first photography handbook today. Flash in the Wild: A Pocket Guide to the Right Light is 66 pages of fresh content shot on assignment around the world.

Welcome to the wild.

This pocket field guide from Flash Light Photography Expeditions will help you get the most out of your small off-camera flash while shooting on location. Whether you’re a burgeoning amateur, semi-pro or professional photographer, you’ll benefit from the more than 20 step-by-step breakdowns in our new guide.

This guide is for anyone who ever wanted to create a big scene with small lights, but didn’t know where to begin. From city streets to the darkest wood, we work through one exciting location after the other while bending light on a whim. We’ll show you what you need to pack into your kit, how to build a lightweight, everyday shooting system, and most importantly, how to react to, read, and control your light.

Order a copy at the introductory price of $14 and receive a free digital version.

Digital and iPad editions are $5.50.

Travel well. Travel often. Shoot better.

Brought to you by Dylan Goldby and Flash Parker.





Zinio Magazine Giveaway

I used to swear that I’d never read a digital magazine. I’ve always loved the tactile feel of a book or a mag, but after receiving a tablet for Christmas (thanks, ma!) I’ve given the digital hordes another chance.

One of the major benefits of digital mags is price; a digital subscription is often little more than the price of a couple of issues of your favorite magazine. To that end, I was asked if I wouldn’t mind sharing a new program from Zinio, the world’s largest online newsstand.

The Z-Pass program gets you 3 magazines for $5/month – not a bad deal at all. You can even try the program for 1 month for free.

Zinio has given me 10 free subscriptions to give away – or 9, after I keep one for myself – so drop me a line if you’re interested. AFAR, Conde Nast, Esquire, Men’s Health, American Photo and Reader’s Digest are but a few of the titles you can choose from.

Read on!