A new episode of Hallway Chat

Nabeel and I started our little podcast when we were both working out of the same office at Spark and would spend time in between meetings in the hallway chatting about things on our mind. We hit the record button and made our first podcast seven years ago.

Our recording schedule has been ad hoc to say the least but I’m happy we still do it from time to time. Yesterday we sat down and recorded our 31st episode of Hallway Chat. As usual we started talking and just hit the record button. Sorry about the audio quality, I didn’t have my good microphone with me. Anyway, here is the two of us talking about things on our minds lately including:

-is VC pattern recognition actually valuable
-what does the decline of the iPhone mean to Apple’s future
-the potential for single purpose electronics
-challenging the dogma of “winner takes all” markets in startups.

Hope you like it and please send us tweets (@bijan or @nabeel) with suggestions for a future episode :)

Inside Passage, Alaska

After leaving Tutka Bay, the last week of our Alaska trip was an exploration of the Inside Passage, which began in Sitka and ended in Juneau. The landscape and wildlife in southeast Alaska is magical and Glacier Bay National Park felt like a dream.

Alaska is a remote place, especially coming from the east coast of the United States. It took a long time to get there and a long time to get home. It’s challenging to get around once you make it to Alaska. But it’s so worth it and I hope to get back, again and again.

waterfall.jpgmountain clouds.jpgwhale.jpgkayak hole.jpgglacier raft.jpgice boat.jpgsun mountain.jpgwhale tail.jpghouse flowers.jpgsea lion.jpgglacier zodiak.jpgGlacier sunset.jpgglacier little raft.jpgsun plane.jpg

(Cameras: Hasselblad 503cw and Leica M3 | Film: Kodak Portra 400 | Lab: Richard Photo Lab)

 

Kachemak Bay & Katmai National Park

We took a small bush plane out of Denali and then a train to Anchorage where we spent a night. The next morning we boarded a sea plane and flew to Kachemak Bay. We stayed at Tutka Bay Lodge which was located in a perfect spot. Right on the water, surrounded by gorgeous mountains. This part of Alaska was dramatically different than Denali but beautiful in it’s own way. It feels remote but is just a quick 20 minute boat ride to Homer.

We spent the next three days at Tutka Bay and would enjoy each day exploring the local trails and getting out on kayaks.

The highlight of our stay was a gorgeous flight to Katmai National Park to see the brown bears. The bears were so calm and focused on eating that they barely paid any attention to us — even though we were completely fixed on their every move.

I was really sad to leave this special place. I hope we can make it back again in the near future.

Our next stop was meeting up with my parents and Lauren’s mom for a cruise. But I’ll leave that for my next post.

landscape bay.jpgellie and lauren.jpgkayak.jpgseal.jpgtub and house.jpgkayak 3.jpgwalk and chair.jpgbear.jpgplanes bay.jpglauren bay.jpgbear water.jpgbear sqaure.jpglandscape james.jpg

(Cameras: Hasselblad 503cw & Leica M3, Film: Kodak Portra 400 & Kodak Tri-X 400, Lab: Richard Photo Lab in California)

Denali National Park, 2019

We have always wanted to see Alaska. We have made several attempts to travel to Alaska over the years but for one reason or another we had to postpone

At long last we were able to make it work. Alaska is over 2x the size of Texas but with only 700k people. It’s hard to get your head around the size of the state and getting around isn’t easy if you want explore various parts of the state. You can only access about 20% of the state by car so you need to see other areas by bush plane, boat or train

Our trip had three parts: three days in Denali National Park, three days in Kachemak Bay/Katmai Coast and then a week of southeast Alaska.

This post is about our time in Denali National Park. I’ll write up two more posts later this month about the rest of the trip.

Getting to Denali was quite a journey. We flew from Boston to Seattle then to Fairbanks. We spent the night in Fairbanks and took a five hour train to the park entrance. Cars aren’t allowed past the visitor center. To get to the lodge requires a four hour bus ride from the park entrance or a 1 hour bush plane. We took the bus in and plane out to get the full experience and I’m glad we did.

Lodging is limited in the park if you aren’t camping. We stayed at the North Face Lodge which is minimalistic. Each room has the essentials and nothing more. There is no wifi in the park or cellular connectivity anywhere. But the setting of the place, staff and food were truly fantastic. The days were magically long with 20 hours or more of full sunlight followed by a few short hours of dusk. We spent our days hiking and relaxing over a book after dinner. One of our most memorable days was getting away from a wandering grizzly bear.

Denali Park is absolutely stunning. I do not know how to adequately describe it properly and my photographs below do not fully capture the beauty of the place by any means. But one thing is for sure, Alaska has the most beautiful landscapes I’ve ever seen in the United States.

Denali 1.jpgDenali 1.5.jpgDenali 2.jpgDenali 3.jpgDenali 4.jpgDenali 5.jpgDenali 6.jpgDenali 7.jpgDenali 8.jpgDenali 9.jpgDenali 10.jpgdenali 11.jpgDenali 12.jpgDenali 13.jpgDenali 14.jpg

All photographs taken with a Hasselblad 503cw and Leica M3 and Kodak film. Other gear in my backpack here.

What’s in my bag, Alaska edition.

I just returned from a 2 week, off the grid trip to Alaska.

When my film comes back from the lab, I’ll share a post with photographs and thoughts of the trip itself. In the meantime, here’s my first attempt at a what’s in my bag post.

(sorry for the lack of photos of the gear itself. I’m feeling a little under the weather today and thought some text was better than nothing).

Backpack: Peak Design Everyday 30L. I was impressed with this bag. I took it everywhere and it worked well on some super long hikes. I should have brought a rain cover since the bag isn’t really waterproof. But I got lucky and avoided any real problems.

Headphones: Sony M3. They have a longer name but that’s what I call them. They are awesome. Super comfortable, great sound and they charge via usb c.

Cameras: Leica M3 and a Hasseleblad 503cw. I brought two lenses for the Leica, a 50mm Summicron and a 90mm Summicron. For the Hassy, I brought the 80mm/2.8 Zeiss Plannar.

Film: Kodak Portra 400 and Tr-X 400.

Laptop: None. Instead I brought an iPad Pro 11″ with keyboard. I love this thing.

Battery pack: Anker PowerCore.

Phone: iPhone XS.

Books: A heart full of peace by Joseph Goldstein. It was a gift from my wife and a perfect place to read this short but powerful book. I also read about half of Small Pleasures which is a collection of short essays on appreciating every day moments.

Music: I knew I was going to have little to no internet access so I downloaded a bunch of my playlists from Spotify in advance. I enjoyed the silence of Alaska more than blasting tunes. But when I listened to music, it was often M. Ward.

Notebook: Field Notes, to journal the trip and a few of these Zebra Sarasa pens.

Special mention: I didn’t plan on bringing our binoculars but Lauren did and this was such a great decision. If you go to Alaska, bring binoculars. Game changer.