5 Things to do in Rome for 2015 AKA Italy is still Amazing!

chrisquiroz.comRome is one of those cities you could visit for a month and still feel like there is too much to do! The architecture, the history and the food are just the starting points! My wife and I spent about 10 days in Rome, and it was one of the highlights of our trip around the world! Here are 5 things you should be doing if you are planning on visiting: Continue reading

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5 things I Learned Playing Around with Macro Photography, AKA Small Things are Awesome!

Marble on my table!

Marble on my table!

I still find it hard to believe how, the smaller things are, the more detail they end up having! Macro photography allows you to take small things and blow them up (in a picture!) so you can see all those little details you may have missed. I was lucky enough to borrow a macro lens from a friend, as they are not cheap, and after finding all the small things I had in my house, here’s what I have learned about macro photography: Continue reading

MY 7 FAVORITE PLACES AROUND THE WORLD!

When you come back from a vacation, or traveling, the most popular question people inevitably ask is always “What was your favorite place?” It’s a very hard question to answer, because there are so many places I traveled to, and each one brought something different to the table. However, in the spirit of trying, I have made up a list of 7 places that truly captivated me! This list is in no particular order, since anyone who has traveled extensively knows that it’s impossible to do. 

1 PARIS

 

I’d wanted to visit Paris since as long as I can remember. I had built it so much in my head that I arrived expecting to be a bit disappointed. I was very wrong, and it was fantastic! Everything they say about Paris is true. The lights, the buildings, the wine, the romance, the charm and the snobs! The Eiffel tower is a wonderful sight to admire, especially at night when it does it’s light show! My wife did not enjoy the catacombs, but I was amazed that underneath the city streets there are kms of trails full of skeletons and bones, neatly stacked up into shapes and walls! It rained on us a couple of times, but that just made for some great photography. After all, clouds in the sky add something to a picture! The food is delicious, the people were very friendly, and the city breaths life at all hours. 

2 KO PHI PHI

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Ko Phi Phi, one of Thailand’s best islands! The water is crystal blue when looked at from a distance and clear as glass when you want to go snorkeling, or scuba diving, or swimming or cliff diving, or turtle watching. I guess my point is that there is ALOT to do in Ko Phi Phi. Some days we would just sit on the beach and watch the monkeys play fight and attack tourists (myself included lol) when they got too close to them. Other days we would go for a walk in the jungle, and sometimes we enjoyed the nightlife of the island, complete with buckets full of vodka and Redbull. There’s always a restaurant open so you will never go hungry (which is good because the food is amazing!) and everyone is there to have a good time! Maya Bay is especially impressive, although I recommend going very early as it gets packed by noon! We planned on staying a couple of days and ended up staying a week and a half. It’s hard to leave when your hotel is a bamboo hut overlooking the town and the ocean!

 

3  CAMERON HIGHLANDS

 

 

Cameron Highlands was a very different treat for me. We had been going from one island to another all over Thailand and through part of Malaysia, soaking up the sun on all the different beaches. So when we decided to take a bus, through a very windy road, up a mountain, to a small town, that was at least 10 degrees colder than what we were used to, I was not impressed with the idea lol But this place is beautiful. The scenery is spectacular, from the waterfalls, to the 3 hour trek through the jungle, to the vast fields of tea plantations. It was a surprisingly welcome break to the beach life that we had begun to get used to.  For anyone who actually has read some of my other posts, this is the place where my camera broke for the first time! If you have the time, go to the cloud forest! It is an entire forest covered in moss. The trees, the bark, the floor. Everything is covered in it! A really unique experience!

 

4 CHIANG MAI

 

Chiang Mai is a city that feels like a town. A very intimate town. With 1000 temples to visit. The city was very welcoming and friendly! I visited many temples, spoke to a monk, saw traditional dances, had fun with my camera and ate like a king.  It is one of the most culturally important places in Thailand, and you would be a fool not to go if you got the chance. Go out for a walk and get lost. It’s amazing what you can find when you don’t have a destination! We also rented some scooters to go to a temple up the mountain, but if you keep going, get ready for some amazing panoramas of the city!

 

 

 

5 ROME

 

Rome is in ruins. As in, every 2 blocks there is another piece of architecture, or statue or fountain that is 2000 years old. You can’t walk for more than 3 minutes without stumbling into something ancient and amazing! There is so much to see in Rome that anything less than a week won’t cut it! Surprisingly, I felt that the Colosseum was in pretty bad shape considering that it’s one of the main attractions. But it was still fantastic to be in a place with so much history. I could almost hear the crowds shouting from the stands, until I realized it was a group of children lol The Trevi fountain is beautiful, and I would highly recommend you go early in the morning (7ish) to avoid the enormous crowds that gather during the day. I’ve counted the Vatican as part of stuff to do in Rome, because seriously, who goes to the Vatican without visiting Rome? No one, that’s who. 

6 LONDON

 

It’s like I stepped into a Harry Potter movie. And I loved it! The city is rich in history, and apparently wealth, because all the museums are free! Big Ben, of course, is a wonderful sight, as is the London eye, especially at night! We even tried to locate some of Banksy’s graffiti art! Sadly, we only found 3. London is amazing, with lots of culture and fun people! The mall before reaching Buckingham Palace is fantastic, as is Buckingham Palace of course. Funny story, this is the place where I lost my wife for over an hour. She went chasing a horse (taking pictures of it) and disappeared! I was starting to actually worry after a while, but we found each other at the mall!

 

7 SIEM REAP

 

Enjoy getting lost in temples? This is the place for you! Siem Reap is the entrance city to all the Angkor temples, and trust me, you want to visit them. After travelling through many cities in south east Asia, you can get a little templed out, and when we came to Siem Reap, we kind of thought that it was going to be more of the same stuff. But these temples have so much character, so much history and so much beauty, that when someone asks me about the temples on my travels, the first ones that come to mind are these ones. The city itself is also fun, with lots of bars and restaurants, and a bit on the outskirts there are lotus flower plantations, which are amazing to see during a sunset. You may be told about going to Angkor Wat early in the morning to see the sunrise and wonder if it is worth it, and the answer is yes for 2 reasons. One- Seriously? How many people get to see the sun rise at a 900 year old temple? And two- once the sunrise is over, the temples are almost empty, so you can take your time and really soak up the importance of these places. Get a book explaining the carvings and structures, they sell them outside, and if you know how to haggle, you can get it for as low as 5 dollars ( I paid 10 and my tuk tuk driver told me I got ripped off! The same book is worth 20 Dollars at a book store) 

So there you have it. 7 different places I loved. I could have done an article about 20 of them, but I don’t have that much time on my hands! If I could give you one piece of advice from all of this, it would be to stop making excuses and just go out and travel! It brings adventure to your life, knowledge to your mind, happiness to your stomach and excitement to your body. Trust me, I’m a doctor (got my diploma from a guy who printed it out right in front of me in Thailand for 20 bucks lol) 

 

Now What?

A couple of weeks ago, I was traveling to a beach in Cambodia. At the half way point, the bus stopped at a restaurant so we could all get a bite to eat. I got off and had a quick meal, then returned to the bus and listened to music until we arrived.
Once at the hotel, I checked my camera bag, and found that someone had stolen my Canon T2i, along with my 17-55 F2.8 lens. Shit.
These things happen. It’s partly my fault for not carrying my bag with me like it was an internal organ of mine, but that doesn’t really help my situation. After going through a couple of the 5 stages of grief, my mind quickly focused on the all important question: Now what?
The question  was quite simple, yet very complicated.
What camera will you buy now?
The easiest solution would be to just buy the same model and get on with my life. After all, I know most of the features of that camera inside and out, and I am quite comfortable with it. However, it’s also the perfect opportunity to upgrade, even if modestly.

Should I get a full sensor camera, like the 5D mark II or III?

Should I get a 7D? Or maybe a 60D?

Should I spend the money on a good lens and upgrade the body later?

Should I just suck it up and get both at the same time?

Should I just buy a point and shoot and forget about the whole thing?

There are so many options and so many ways to mix and match the answers. Sometimes I think “invest in it all at once!” and others i believe “just get a good lens right now. There’s plenty of time for a new body”. Whatever my decision, one thing is for certain. I was robbed of my camera, but my passion seems to have grown!