Sometimes I feel like I’m not travelling enough these days.  Since getting settled in a job that gives quite a bit of freedom, I can travel, I can go to places, but I still need to put enough time into the job to also afford to travel.  The pay is good, the freedom is great, which should mean I can travel more.  Instead of traveling though, I’ve committed myself to running a weekly Practica and have really been trying to push myself towards turning my photography into a business while trying to keep up with my Tango dancing.

Every so often though I do find myself getting out of my little area, taking some extra time to travel out of town, dance a little, enjoy the area, and photograph. Not always traveling far, sometimes just a few hours, but adventure awaits without spending too much and still having a great time. The past weekend I had a nice opportunity to travel out of the smoke and into blue skies of Bend, Oregon.

Floating & Relaxing

As much as I love Tango dancing, you need trips to help relax you and explore where you are at. Most trips though revolve completely around a festival or marathon with little time outside of dancing, food, and sleep. This past weekend though, no festival, no marathon, just an escape to get out of the smoke and fires and enjoy a vacation. I brought my camera, had company, and got to enjoy from fresh air, literally, and make a splash.

I’ve been to bend a couple dozen times over the year, usually for work and almost never an overnight so other than knowing a few good food spots, I’m not familiar with what to do during the day. Having free time to wander, walk, eat, and check out the Old Mill District, few things jumped out, and other than a movie out (Ant Man) after dinner, we saw a bunch of people just floating down the river!

Photo from my LG G5 at Burning Tango 2017

Seeing hundred of people on the water at once floating down, throughout the day, thousands just floating on the river sounded like the perfect little escape. To those who don’t know, Southern Oregon has had the worst air quality in the nation for a couple weeks now thanks to fires and smoke. Yes, going outside for anything than a short walk to a car or the next building isn’t really suggested, especially without a mask, it is THAT bad. So the idea of just floating down a river, outside in fresh air was something we had to jump at.

Photo from my D5600 at Portland Tangofest 2017

Park & Float, we parked, paid, bused up river, and floated down about 2 hours, went through some rapids, and had some amazing little fun. Perfect little getaway to take a good chunk of time out of the day between meals, walking, shopping, and checking out other little bits. It would have cost just a few dollars more if we bought our own tubes to take down and we’d have owned them, but the ease and convenience well worth it for the single weekend trip.

A Milonga!

Wasn’t planned, but whenever I do get a chance to vacation or travel, I will look to see what Tango is available.  If there is no Tango, I look for some live music so I can just get some dancing in, luckily the one of the Milongas in Bend fell onto the same weekend we were there. Of course we attended, and the camera joined in the fun. Some other friends from Southern Oregon also made the trip up to Bend that weekend to escape the smoke, so there was a pleasant surprise seeing and chatting with them in addition to all the new faces.

The music was nice, like all festivals or other milongas, there will be some different music that feels off for me, or arrangements that leave me with questions. I find this a good thing, allows me to sit out and take pictures and listen and enjoy, or allows my creativity to come out on the dance floor.

Photo from my D5600 at Connect 2017

The community was welcoming, met some lovely people of many different levels of skill.  Some people it was there first day of Tango even, which was quite impressive and kept things fun and interesting. The style of dancers was quite different, broadly different than I was expecting for the community size. Did require some additional adapting to enjoy some dances, but some were very enjoyable. Had a few other travelers also at this Milonga, and chatting away found the event better attended, but still lacking leads.

Photo from my D5600 at Portland Tangofest 2017

From a photographers view, there was a good light in the middle of the room, which allowed the long zoom lens to shine, but anything close up wasn’t as desired unless the angle was just right. Did break out the new Tamron 24-70 G2 lens for a few shots, and was really happy with the quality that was captured.  I do need some more practice though, as capturing full body movement and still being a flattering picture is much more difficult.

Most of the pictures though were taken with the Tamron 70-200 G2 at around 2500 ISO on the Nikon D5600. I am still playing with ISO and noise and getting the exposure close to right while keeping the shutter speed higher to freeze movement, even at 200mm. Reluctant to push the ISO much higher, as it becomes much more noticeable once I pass 3200 on the Nikon D5600, but then again, looking so close and wanting the pictures as perfect as possible is one of the curses as a photographer.

What are your experiences in the nearby Tango communities and what are some of the best things to do when visiting your area?