We arrived safely back in Austin, Friday evening, from our big college road trip. As you might have seen, I posted an image from each of our major college destinations. We did however, drive through 3 more larger universities that were on the way. We also ended up making a few unplanned tourist stops. It was a successful trip but I’m glad I’m back home. I forgot to record the exact mileage but Apple Maps indicates that we did at least 1600 miles.
I did more driving, but my son helped considerably, making it a lot easier. Though he doesn’t have extensive highway experience, he did well. I trust him more than the Tesla Autopilot mode (we don’t own a Tesla) and I even felt comfortable enough to take a few naps. The only craziness we experienced was around the loops of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. They were already clogged with traffic at 3:30 — lucky I was driving.
I shot mostly with my Panasonic ZS50 travel zoom, which did well for the most part. At times, it really surprised me how much it can do, particularly with the special modes — which I’ll talk about in a future post. I took 2998 photos of which I narrowed my final selects down to 1067. I have a good record of the trip as well as a lot of snaps shots from the various colleges.
I shot a modest 380 photos with my Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark II, of which I kept 79. The Olympus was reserved for slightly more serious photography in Memphis, shooting the neon of Beale Street as well as the fireworks over the Mississippi River.
The Olympus is significantly better in the image quality department, of course, and I’m wondering if I’m going to regret not using it more. Time will tell. But there is no question the small point and shoot is more convenient and less awkward pulling it out in most places. The Olympus mirrorless is significantly smaller than a DSLR but, depending on the lens, it still looks like a serious camera. I’m convinced though, for most people, they’ll be satisfied with capabilities and the image quality of the Panasonic ZS50 travel zoom.
As expected, each college has their pluses and minuses. It’s interesting to see how each school markets themselves. My son had his initial impressions, which changed as he went through the tours and meetings. We focused on the smaller colleges and a small university — Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee, Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas, University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Austin College in Sherman, Texas. We also drove through a few large universities, though we are not seriously considering them. They include the University of Arkansas, University of Oklahoma and TCU in Fort Worth, Texas.
Throughout the trip, we stayed at Hampton Inns, which are on the more budget friendly end of Hilton’s line of hotels. We like them though. They are clean, have great beds and even include a decent breakfast. As we discovered, not all Hamptons are created equal. Some are new, some are renovated and some look like they are stuck in the 90s. The renovated Hampton in Tulsa looked surprisingly slick.
Of course, I enjoy taking photos. But as the memories of the various colleges start to blend together, I’m hoping these images will jog our collective memories. Helping to balance the myriad of factors to pick the right place. There’s still a long road before we know where my son will end up. He’ll probably make his final decision next April.
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