on the road to nashville

I honestly thought I was done with these sorts of road trips.

I think for real this time though, this will be the last one.

Of course I said that last time when I helped Ray move to Colorado. And actually before that, when I helped Sam move back from New Jersey, I thought that was the last one.

But here I am again driving across country helping a friend move. This time it’s Jiro moving to Tennessee. Ironically it’s almost the route is almost the same as when I drove it with Sam, only in reverse. Also ironic is that our first stop was to visit Sam in San Diego, along with Paul, who’s also in San Diego, and Stanley, who lives in Irvine.


One of the stops in San Diego was to a sea cave in La Jolla. It was recommended by Mr Paul Liu, and it didn’t disappoint. I think next time I’m out here I’d wanna rent a kayak to go explore these caves from the ocean side.

sd1Also in La Jolla is the Torrey Pines Gliderport. This is something I probably wouldn’t try– I’m too afraid of heights to jump off a cliff, but it’s cool to watch other people do it.


There’s a trail from the glider port down to the beach below. The beach, we found out, is a nude beach. We walked around there from the nude part to the more family friendly part of the beach.


San Diego’s always awesome, but more than the touristy stuff it was awesome to see old friends again.


From San Diego we headed east out of California, across Arizona and into New Mexico. We stopped a night in New Mexico and visited Carlsbad Caverns in the morning. The size of this cave is amazing– there’s a trail that starts as switchbacks outside the mouth of the cave and then goes in a mile and down 750 feet.


There’s all sorts of interesting rock formations in the cave, mostly vaguely phallic shaped, but there’s also one that looks strangely like a boob.


At the bottom of the trail is the big room, a huge open area with many interesting cave formations. There is a little souvenir area there where you can take the elevators back to the top.

From New Mexico we drove through Texas, stopping one night in a small German town called Fredericksburg, and one night in Austin. Then we spent one night in New Orleans and a night in Memphis, before arriving in our destination of Nashville.


The cool thing about all of these towns is they all have very lively music scenes. Austin has Sixth Street, where the highlight for me was Pete’s Dueling Piano bar. Unfortunately my phone ran out of battery so I didn’t get a picture there. New Orleans has Bourbon street, where there are some cool places to sit and listen to jazz. Memphis has Beale street, which is famous for rock and roll and the blues. Nashville has Broadway, for country and rock. It was a cool experience, probably something I wouldn’t have experienced if I weren’t doing a cross country drive with a friend.

Photos1Another thing to experience during a drive through the South is the food. I’m especially a big fan of the food in New Orleans, which is probably obvious because half of these food shots are from that city. The New Orleans food shots include Po Boys, smoked oysters, a Sazerac cocktail (which was apparently invented in New Orleans), coffee and beignets from Cafe Du Monde, and gumbo. In Memphis we hit up a barbecue joint, where I had a rib and fish combo, and also chicken and waffles from Miss Polly’s. At Nashville we had hot chicken from Hattie’s hot chicken, and my last meal of the trip was a pulled pork platter at the airport.

I think this is my last cross country roadtrip to help a friend move. For real this time. It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, I do, and probably would do one again if the opportunity came up. It’s that I am close to running out of friends that are doing these cross country moves.

Anyways, best of luck to Jiro at Vanderbilt. It’s been fun, and thanks for the great (and fattening) experience driving cross country.

double or nothing: a chinatown bus tour

“Double or nothing” is a gambling term. In my opinion it’s usually a desperation play made by somebody who’s already pretty down on their luck. At that point they make a double or nothing bet to either break even or end up twice as miserable.

This week my friend Vince called me out of the blue and asked me if I wanted to go on a trip with him. It was a tour bus trip, organized by a tour company in SF Chinatown. He was kinda sketchy on the details, but it seemed reasonably priced. I didn’t really have anything planned for the weekend, and I was kinda curious, so I decided to go. My friend Gid didn’t have anything planned either, so I ended up inviting him.

massive # of chinese ppl = chaos

Our trip started in Union Square in SF. From there we took a bus to the Ranch 99 in Fremont. Apparently the Ranch 99 parking lot is the staging area for this tour bus company– there are buses that go to various tours from there, including Disneyland, the Utah Canyons, and Palm Springs. We were on the Utah Canyons trip. I kind of wanted to go to Palm Springs instead, since I had been to the canyons we were going to a few weeks ago.

stuck in traffic...This was my first experience on a tour bus. It’s not a very comfortable experience. It’s kind of like economy class on a plane– the legroom is crappy, the seats are narrow, there’s noisy kids. Plus then there’s all the crap associated with driving, such as traffic jams and long lines to use the bathroom at rest areas.


During the drive the tour guide came down the aisle of the bus and collected money for “optional” excursions. They’re kind of not really optional, because if you choose not to go on the excursion you’re left sitting on the bus for half a day. The guide also informed us that the itinerary would be changing– instead of staying in Vegas on our way back from Utah, we would be staying in Barstow.

chinatown-tourOur first stop was Vegas. We arrived in town pretty late because of all the traffic. Before going to our hotel though, we ended up wasting an hour at the Chinatown in Vegas. It’s actually a pretty nice Chinatown, surprisingly large and clean, but at this point I just wanted to get to our hotel room.

At this point I was already pretty unhappy with the way the tour was turning out. The drive was pretty miserable, and I was not looking forward to three more days in the bus. Because of the “optional” excursions, the tour was costing a lot more than I thought it would. And having the itinerary changed on us was the final icing on the cake. Gid was pretty pissed too, and he’s a pretty mellow guy, I’ve never actually really seen him get pissed off.

So to get our mind off the tour we decided to have a few drinks and play some craps. We ended up playing almost the entire night, with the table getting pretty hot towards the morning. In the end we both ended up cashing out a purple $500 chip, so we both ended up more or less covering the cost of our trip, including the “optional” excursions. It was pretty much a “double or nothing” situation, breaking even on the trip made it less miserable– we would have been doubly miserable if we ended up having to pay for the trip AND losing money from gambling.

i like how everyone takes pictures of the exact same spotThe next morning the tour took us to Zion National park. We didn’t really have any time to do anything but take some pictures of the canyons from far away. Which is pretty unfortunate, because Zion is home to some of my favorite hikes, including the Subway, the Narrows, and Angel’s Landing.

icy decentOur next stop was to Bryce Canyon. Here we had an hour, so we at least had some time to explore a little.

trail closed past hereWe took a group shot after a short hike.

IMGP5004I’ve been to Bryce before, and I didn’t think it was all that amazing, but it’s actually quite nice in Winter time. The contrast between the red rocks and the white snow is pretty amazing.

heading to the boat during sunriseWe spent the night in a tiny town called Kanab. In town we had another “optional” trip to a cowboy dinner, where they had us all participate in a cowboys and indians play. In the morning we went to a boat ride on Lake Powell.

entering antelope canyonThis was my favorite part of the trip, partly because it was really the only thing on this trip that I hadn’t done before. But in truth the boat ride was nice anyways, I could see myself paying to do it again (though probably in summer– it’s really cold on the water in winter.) The boat took us into the narrow walls of Upper Antelope Canyon. The walls got so narrow that the boat had to turn around. I think it would be cool to rent a jet-ski and ride deeper into the canyon.

back on board the truckAfterwards we went on a tour of Antelope Canyon.

crowded antelope canyonIn my opinion going with a tour bus kind of ruins the experience. There are way too many people in the canyon all trying to take pictures at once.

wall of fireBut surprisingly I was able to get a picture that I had missed the last time I was out there. According to our guide this is called “Wall of Fire.”

ballsy. i was too scared to stand here. but gid made it.Our last stop was Horseshoe bend. I didn’t have my wide angle lens, so I have a better picture of it on my last trip to Antelope Canyon. Gid and Vince were both brave enough to crawl out to the edge of this rock. I was too scared, so I just took a picture from my spot far from the edge.

Afterwards we spent a couple of hours in Vegas before heading to Barstow. From there it was another long uncomfortable ride back to San Francisco.

IMGP5132There’s a certain demographic that these organized trips would probably appeal to, like these old Chinese ladies. I don’t think I will ever do a tour like this again. I much prefer setting my own itineraries and exploring on my own. In the end though, because of the dumb luck on a double or nothing bet, the trip didn’t end too miserably.

arches after dark

Mesa Verde was more or less the last scheduled stop on our whirlwind road trip through the American southwest. We had flown into Vegas, from there it was about 2.5 hours to Zion. From Zion to Page, the city in Arizona where Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend are located, was also about 2.5 hours. And then from Page to Mesa Verde was about 3.5 hours. So backtracking back to Vegas we were looking at a good eight hour drive at least.

Screenshot_2013-11-17-21-11-02Google maps gave us three different routes. The center route more or less backtracks the way we came. There was also a southern route, which would take us through Flagstaff. Then there was a northern route, the longest route back by almost 100 miles, yet only about half an hour longer. That was the route we decided to take, since it took us through Arches National Park. Leaving Mesa Verde early in the afternoon, we would make it to Arches in time for the sunset, and then we would be able to take some star shots through one of the famous arches in the park.

IMGP4748We arrived at the ‘Windows’ section of Arches National Park a little bit before the scheduled sunset. I saw the North Window, and thought that it would be a great frame for the sunset, so I ran up these steps to try and get to a spot where I could shoot through the arch toward the horizon. Well at least I tried to run– I got about halfway before I started wheezing and gasping for air. I blame the high altitude and the cold air (but in truth I’m just in crappy shape).

IMGP4751When I got to the North Window I found that the ground on the other side of the window was steeply sloped downward, so if I were to use the window as a frame, I would not be able to see the horizon. Unless I had a fish-eye lens, the best I could do is get a small portion of the window with the sunset. But then as I took this test shot, I saw that the turret arch was in my frame. Since the sun was rapidly dropping toward the horizon, I didn’t have enough time to find a spot where I could frame the sunset in the arch, but at least the arch made for an interesting foreground.

IMGP4781This is the sunset shot that I ended up with. Not too bad. I had bracketed a couple of exposures, so maybe I’ll eventually end up print an HDR version of this shot (which would make the arch less dark) but for now I’m too lazy to put that much effort into post processing.

IMGP4792Afterwards we headed to the nearby Double Arch. This is a pretty famous spot for star photography. Here we played around with different exposure lengths and different amounts of light painting of the arch while figuring out how to frame our shot. This is more or less the framing that we decided on.

IMGP4798This is the shot that I ended up with. A twenty minute exposure, and several passes of the arch with my headlamp. You can see that an airplane passed by, and another photographer in the lower right was shining his headlamp upwards, creating a bright spot on the right side of the rock. Plus the foreground could use more brightening. But overall I’m happy with the picture I got.

IMGP4807Near the double arch was a rock that looked sort of like a giant’s head. So we tried to take a picture of the giant looking at the Milky Way. The Milky Way isn’t as pronounced as it is in summer, but I’m still more or less happy with the image.

So in the end I ended up with three pictures that I’m more or less happy with. Probably if I had more time, I would’ve come away with even better images, but for the time we spent there I’m happy with the pictures I got.

And this trip made me realize that for the first time in my life I’m happy with the photography gear that I have. It’s almost a year ago now that I had bought a D600 and then returned it. Most people said I was crazy– the Nikon D600 is a far superior camera. It’s true, the D600 is a better camera, especially for these sorts of very low light or very high dynamic range shots. But my Pentax K-5 handles those situations well enough for me, so I’m happy with the decision I made to stick with Pentax. And it saved me a lot of money on lenses, money that will hopefully be used to see even more of these amazing landscapes.

mesa verde

Mesa Verde National Park is located in the southwestern part of Colorado. It’s famous for it’s cliff dwellings, built by the Ancestral Pueblos who lived in the cliff dwellings almost a thousand years ago.

spectacular drive into mesa verdeThe drive into the park is pretty epic, a winding road built into the side of a mesa.

the crazy geographyMesa Verde means Green Table in Spanish. It’s easy to see why. The Ancestral Pueblo natives built their houses into the sides of cliffs like this. You can sort of see one towards the right side of this image.

smaller cliff dwellingA closer view of the same cliff dwelling.

one of the largest cliff dwellingsOne of the larger cliff dwellings– I think this one is called Long House.

ranger led tour of one of the dwellingsThe park offers ranger guided tours of some of the cliff dwellings, but in the winter they are closed except for this one, the Spruce Tree House.

switchbacks to the cliff dwellingThe trail to the Spruce Tree House has many steep switchbacks built by the National Park Service. In ancient times though, the cliff dwellers used ropes and wooden ladders, along with toe holds carved into the cliff to access their house.

learning about the siteThe cliff dwellings were amazing up close, and the history of the area is pretty fascinating. There are several theories as to why the cliff dwellings were built, as well as theories why they were abruptly abandoned in the 1300’s, which the ranger presented.

2013-11-05 - mesa verdeThere were also round underground rooms, called kivas, which they speculate were used for religious ceremonies.

harsh environmentWith a name like Mesa Verde, you’d expect there to be a lot of green, but in truth a lot of the area at the top of the mesa was pretty barren. It seems like a pretty harsh environment to live in.

Usually I visit national parks for the amazing natural scenery. Mesa Verde was a bit different in that there isn’t any spectacular natural scenery– it exists solely because of the cliff dwellings. Apparently it’s the only cultural park in the national park system. It’s a bit remote, far from any major cities, but it was definitely worth the trip. I’d definitely recommend going sometime other than winter though, so that more of the cliff dwellings are accessible.

antelope canyon

Antelope Canyon is probably the most famous and most photographed slot canyon in the world. I’ve seen it in pictures many times, in magazines, in galleries, and even in framed photographs on friends’ walls. It’s a place that I’ve wanted to see in person for a long time, and I finally got to visit and take my own photographs there this week.

IMGP4602Antelope Canyon is on Navajo Indian land, and the only way you can visit is through guided tours. Our tour started with a ride on the back of a 4×4 pickup truck. The ride was fast and bumpy on the rutted road (if you could call it a road– it was more just a large expanse of packed sand), and it was actually kinda scary because we kept bouncing out of our seats.

IMGP4570The entrance to the canyon is about three miles from the parking area. Just from the entrance you can already tell that this is going to be a pretty cool experience.

IMGP4503Our Navajo guide was a pretty experienced photographer. She had recommended ISO and white balance settings for us to use, and at various times during our tour she pointed out places to stand to take pictures. She had names for many of the features we were photographing.

IMGP4530She called this one the sunrise.

IMGP4548This one is the wave.

IMGP4525This one forms the shape of a heart.

IMGP4557This one is called Monument Valley– I thought this one was pretty cool, it does kinda look like one of the iconic monolithic monuments from that famous valley in lower Utah.

IMGP4565Our guide grabbed my camera, sat down in the sand and pointed my lens at what I thought was a random rock to frame this photo of a wolf for us. That was really cool– you had to really know the canyon to get this shot.

IMGP4614After our tour of Antelope Canyon we made a quick stop to Horseshoe Bend, another famous photo spot that was less than fifteen minutes away.

IMGP4629From there we drove east to the Monument Valley. After the craziness of Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, the Monument Valley was sort of disappointing. I actually like the picture of the fake ‘Monument Valley’ from Antelope Canyon better.

IMGP4640We just kind of drove quickly through the valley, making a quick stop at the ‘Mexican Hat’ at the end of the valley. It looks more like a mushroom than a hat to me.

IMGP4646From there we made a slight detour to the ‘Four Corners’ monument. I’ve been to all these states before, but never all four at the same time, so I guess it was worth the steep cost of admission for this photograph of my dirty feet in all four states.

It seems that I’ve done a road trip in this southwestern region almost every year now, for at least the last five years. But I think with this last trip I’ve seen most of what I’ve wanted to see in the region (except for maybe Havasu Falls), so this may actually be my last trip to the area for a long time. I’m glad to have finally seen and photographed the Antelope Canyon– it definitely did not disappoint.

the subway

Zion National Park is one of my favorite places. It’s home to spectacular hikes, including Angel’s Landing, the Zion Narrows, and the Subway. These three hikes form an amazing trilogy of hikes, a trilogy that for me was finally completed this weekend, almost exactly three years after first hiking the Narrows in 2010. I did this hike with my old high school buddy Tim, who also did the Narrows a few years back with me.

IMGP4240The hike to the Subway starts high above a steep river canyon.

IMGP4243First order of business is hiking down the steep slopes of the canyon walls.

IMGP4259Once you get to the bottom, there’s not really a trail– you spend most of the time finding your way along the river, sometimes walking right through the river.

IMGP4334At times scrambling over boulders.

IMGP4371Or squeezing between them.

IMGP4285Sometimes jumping off of them.

IMGP4394And sometimes walking underneath overhanging ledges.

IMGP4375Along the way there is some beautiful scenery, including these red rock steps.

IMGP4409The water carves some interesting features into the solid rock.

IMGP4436The most interesting and famous of course, is the Subway, the end goal of this hike.

IMGP4429It’s a quite popular spot for photographers.

IMGP4440There are two ways to hike the Subway– the bottom up approach that we did is apparently the easier way. It dead ends here. The top down approach starts several miles up on a higher part of the river, and requires several rappels, including this one right past the subway.

IMGP4455After taking a few pictures we started our hike out of the canyon. I felt pretty beat up after the hike, and my whole body was sore when I woke up the next morning. It was definitely a difficult hike, but definitely worth it. It’s hard to do justice to this hike with words and pictures, it really is an amazing hike, I think it definitely needs to be experienced in person, and I was glad to have finally gotten to experience it.

the maine lobster roll

After a whirlwind tour of Montreal, we headed back across the border to the US, crossing back into our homeland somewhere in Vermont. Vermont for the most part was forgettable to me, we had one meal in the state capital, Montpelier, which was a surprisingly tiny town where we ate a surprisingly terrible meal considering how much we paid. From there we headed east to the coast of Maine.


Our first stop was in Kennebunkport, Maine to a place that, despite being called the Clam Shack, was famous for its lobster roll. A lobster roll is pretty simple– a pound of lobster sandwiched between two toasted buns, slathered with some mayo and butter. At about $15, it was one of the most expensive sandwiches I’ve ever eaten, but worth every penny.


Right next door to the Clam Shack was a bar/restaurant that served steamed lobster. The place was packed, both with tourists and locals, probably because they served a steamed lobster combo for $15.


We stopped at another somewhat famous clam place–it had been featured on Diners, Drive-ins & Dives. This one was famous for its lobster stew.


My favorite place ended up being a tiny roadside lobster shack. It was the complete opposite of all the places we had been to so far in that it was completely empty.


Here they had live lobsters in various sizes. We picked four of the #2 size, which came to around $30 in total.


They had a big steam pot outside which they tossed the live lobsters into. About ten minutes later they pulled them out and tossed them into a shopping bag. They gave us a couple of paper plates, then we chowed down on the lobsters on the picnic table outside.


Our last stop in Maine was at the Chauncey Creek lobster pier. This was a more touristy sort of place, so the lobster was quite a bit more expensive here.


Instead of lobster I ordered some steamed clams and raw oysters. They were super fresh too, simply prepared, but super tasty.IMG_20131010_164905I’m a huge fan of shellfish in general, but lobster actually has probably always been my least favorite. I’ve always enjoyed crab more. From eating lobster in Maine, I came to the realization that I wasn’t a huge fan of lobster mostly because I’ve never had access to any good fresh lobster. I’ve always had access to super fresh crab– one of my family’s traditions is to buy live fresh caught dungeness crab off the boats in Half Moon Bay. I’ve never had access to that same sort of fresh lobster– most of the lobster I’ve had up until now had been crappy frozen lobster at places like Red Lobster or random seafood buffets.

So yeah, eating fresh lobster in Maine was a revelation to me. Like many revelations, this one will probably end with semi annual pilgrimages to a holy land– in this case I’ll be rolling back to the holy land of lobster that is Maine.

montreal at night

The first part of our little week long road trip was planned out pretty well. We stayed one night at Caleb’s place near Cornell. Then we had booked one night at a hotel overlooking Niagara falls. From there we went to Toronto. After Toronto we had nothing planned yet. So we decided we would continue driving east into Montreal and then back to the US through Vermont to eat lobster in Maine. Since we had not planned this in advance, Bo looked for a hotel room near downtown Montreal that was relatively cheap, but still had good reviews.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo when we arrived at our hotel we had a little surprise. Our hotel was above a sex shop. Still, the hotel room wasn’t too bad. It was comfortable and clean, and much cheaper than any of the other hotels nearby. It gives new meaning to the phrase ‘bang for the buck.’

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnd on the plus side, it appeared that Chinatown wasn’t too far away. I wanted to walk to Chinatown and the Notre Dame Basilica, which according to Google Maps was only about a ten minute walk away. First I googled: ‘is it safe to walk in Montreal at night’ to which most pages on Google responded with a resounding ‘yes.’

It was sort of a semi walk of shame for me, because even though Chinatown was only about two blocks away, those two blocks were filled with strip clubs and sex shops. And even though I didn’t go into any of those seedy establishments, I would bet that most people would assume that a guy walking at night through the area would be a patron of those establishments. So yeah– semi walk of shame.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Chinatown gate, guarded by a lion. Seems like this is a fairly standard thing in most Chinatowns I’ve been too. There must be some story behind the lions that I’m unaware of.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAccording to Yelp there were still some restaurants open in Chinatown, but when I arrived Chinatown seemed sort of creepy and deserted, so I didn’t walk through it.


OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFire Station in Downtown Montreal. Boots and overalls ready for action.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAGreen and Yellow lights, as opposed to the red light district that our hotel was in.

Aside from the area near the strip clubs, the streets were fairly deserted. Even though I guess we were in sort of a seedy part of town, I felt pretty safe compared to most American cities I’ve been to, but I didn’t tempt fate by staying out too long. After taking a few pictures I hurried back and fell asleep safely locked in the room above a sex shop.

the CN tower

The CN Tower is one of the most famous landmarks in Toronto. For thirty four years, up until the completion of the Burj Khalifa in 2010, it was the world’s tallest man-made structure.


We arrived at the CN Tower at night, about a half hour before closing, but the guy at the ticket booth said we should come back in the morning and devote at least an hour to the tour.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe tower is reflected off of many of the buildings in downtown Toronto.



The CN Tower towers over all the buildings in downtown. (This distorted view from my wide angle lens makes the tower seem even taller than it should be. It’s really only like twice as tall as all the other buildings in Toronto.)OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAn elevator ride takes you to the top of the tower. At the halfway point of the elevator ride you’re at the level of most of the downtown skyscrapers.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut from the observation deck it’s clear how much taller the tower is than surrounding buildings.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe lower floor of the observation area has an open air deck that wraps around the tower. It’s pretty cool. Literally. A cold great lakes breeze blows through the protective mesh barrier.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere is a glass floor which you can stand on and gawk at the pedestrians who are more than 1500 feet below you.

The tower tour was pretty cool, but at $35 I thought it way overpriced. I think closer to $10 would’ve been more appropriate.

waterfalls of upstate ny

Upstate New York has some amazing scenery, and I was fortunate to be landing in the area near the peak foliage season.

IMGP4069First stop on this road trip was to Ithaca, New York. I met my friend Bo at the airport in Newark, and from there we went to visit Caleb in Ithaca. He’s there finishing up his studies at Cornell. Ithaca is a nice little scenic college town, with a waterfall right in the middle of town.

IMGP4073Our next stop was to Rochester, to visit some friends there, but along the way Caleb led us to another waterfall called Taughannock Falls. This one was pretty amazing, with beautiful fall foliage surrounding the waterfall.

IMGP4090After visiting friends in Rochester, and after a quick stop in Buffalo at Anchor Bar for the original Buffalo wings, we arrived at Niagara Falls. Technically we were on the Canadian side, so technically the title of this post should be “Waterfalls of Upstate NY and Canada.” We arrived at night at our hotel. Our hotel room had an amazing view of the waterfall, which was lit up with colored lights.

IMGP4092Waking up to this view was pretty amazing.

IMGP4124The park on the Canadian side of the waterfalls is very developed– it’s almost like a theme park. It’s much different experience from when I visited the American side in winter, when everything was closed.

IMGP4104We wanted to ride the Maid of the Mist, but when we arrived at the ticket stand they were closed due to ‘high water.’ It had rained earlier in the day, so I’m guessing the river was running high, making it unsafe for the boat to go out.

PANO_20131007_132346I took a panoramic on my phone– it ended up being one of my favorite pictures from the trip. I found out that the panoramic mode actually uses the camera in lower resolution. So I’m actually better off using a wide angle lens on my SLR and cropping if I want an image that I can print.