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TRAVEL
A Virtual Impossibility: Keeping Up with All My Digital Photos

In August, my daughter and I visited Cape Cod. A first for each of us! It is the childhood home of Artifcts co-founder Heather Nickerson, and she and her daughter were the perfect hostesses for this quick getaway. My vacation photo collection included:

      • Whale sightings (94 pictures) 
      • Our daughters playing on the beach and posing at the lifeguard station (16) 
      • Sunset on the harbor (12) 
      • Ptown art alley (18) 
      • Marshlands (11) 
      • Random things that made me smile, like a brass King Neptune figure with sign “Mermaids welcome” and the quintessential lobster lunch (22) 

You get the idea.

Three days and 202 photos later, we were departing Cape Cod on our return journey home to Austin. 

Where was I supposed to start with all those photos? On the plane, I did two things: culled and refined. I culled the near duplicates as well as the less than stellar and “Why did I take that?” images. 

 

view of deleted photos in album on phoneClearly I did not want to miss my chance to photograph the whales.

After scrubbing as many photos as I could, I color and size adjusted several photos that I particularly liked and marked them as favorites to further distinguish them.    

Now what? What do you do with all the digital photos that are so very easy to accumulate?  

Do you post albums to social media and then move on to some new post once the commentary dies down? Or push them into whatever cloud or other storage device you prefer, and look back through them only for the occasional calendar, enlargement, or holiday card? Perhaps send a few to lucky friends and family through one of those digital picture frames? 

I’m choosing to follow the model of Rainer Jenss, who used Artifcts earlier this summer to chronicle his trip through southern Africa day-by-day and creating composite Artifcts to represent the three days we spent on Cape Cod. Each Artifct captures something special, memorable, or otherwise, “Let’s do that again soon!” endorphin-rush worthy. 

I’ve shared these Artifcts with family, with our hosts so they know how special it was, my daughter (so she’ll always remember), and a few close friends who asked me for travel tips for their upcoming visits to the Cape. Bonus! These Artifcts will also make it easier to retrace our steps the next time we visit. One set of Artifcts, so many possibilities.  

Check out my public Cape Cod Artifcts as you consider how you want to easily and meaningfully manage your growing digital photo collection, even if it's only one trip at a time! 

Happy Artifcting! 

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© 2022 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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The Story of the Rhino (of) Wimberley

Today we’re taking you to Kenya via the eclectic and artsy hill country town of Wimberley, Texas, to share the story of a photographer’s journey through music venues and the depths of oceans to the great continent of Africa, and the rise of a small Texas town as a champion (and namesake) of a southern white rhino. 

But before we talk rhinos, we must talk elephants. It’s too good of a story to pass up. 

In November 2019, award-winning photographer and long-time Wimberley resident Rodney Bursiel made his way to Kenya to capture the majestic elephants of the land. With only about two dozen of the “Big Tuskers” remaining, each are named, tracked, and closely studied. Inspired by photographers like Nick Brandt, Rodney arrived in Amboseli National Park with high hopes of photographing two of the famed large-tusk elephants: Craig and Big Tim.  

As luck would have it, Rodney came face to face with Craig, “I was enamored and downright giddy by the opportunity to get so close to this magnificent being!” A few hours later, Rodney would get word that Tim was about an hour away from his current location, but his day had already been long and was quickly losing light, so he decided to head out before daybreak the next morning to pursue him.  

Despite a 4 am departure, Rodney was too late. Tim had ventured off into an off-limits area of the park. Rodney never found Tim on this journey, and sadly a few months later in February 2020, Tim died of natural causes. This was a crushing loss to conservationists who expected Tim to live another 10 years, and a lost opportunity for a photographer hoping for a second chance with Tim. 

Fast forward to August 2021, a ‘next’ trip to Africa in the works, and more elephants on the agenda, Rodney learned about Najin and Fatu, the very last northern white rhinos on the planet. The LA-ST two! “You want to do something to help. Be a part of it!” said Rodney. Trip plans were scratched, new ones created. “Remember Tim!” Time seemed to be of the essence. 

Through a fortunate series of introductions, Rodney connected with James Mwenda, Grand Ambassador and former Ranger for Ol Pejeta Conservancy who knows these nearly extinct rhinos intimately, having protected and cared for them 24/7 for seven years. And this time, success! Meet Najin and Fatu, through the lens of Rodney Bursiel.  

Black and white photo of two northern white rhinos, Najin and Fatu

 
 
 
 

Last September, freshly returned to Wimberley from this once in a lifetime experience, Rodney wanted to share his experiences through an immersive and philanthropic experience in his hometown. He and his partner brought together the people of Wimberley for an enchanting evening with entertainment by a Masai tribal dance group, an authentic menu prepared by Kenyan Chef Njathi Kabui and, of course, a conversation with Rodney and James Mwenda. Rodney unveiled his latest photographs of beloved Africa and together he and James wove the tale of Najin and Fatu to help raise awareness about the plights of these animals for a new budding community of wildlife conservationists.  

 

Surely it’s not surprising to learn that protecting large game in Africa is a never-ending endeavor, poachers are relentless and of course nature takes unexpected tolls, too, as in the case of Tim. A vast community exists to protect and conserve these animals. Photographers play an important role in making the animals real, instead of the stuff of childhood imaginations and stories, as well as bringing them to the forefront of media and philanthropy.  

The Ol Pejeta Conservancy chose to thank Wimberley for its financial support by naming its 15-month-old southern white rhino—the closest relative to Najin and Fatu—Wimberley. The Conservancy’s choice was very intentional. White rhinos are more docile and less skittish than the black rhino, making it easier for photographers like Rodney to return and continue to support the very survival of a species through photos, stories, and, most importantly, the sharing of knowledge globally. 

What’s next for Rodney? “The rhinos will always be near to my heart. The more I experience, the more I learn, the more I want to help raise awareness. I will continue my work with Ol Pejeta Conservancy and expand my efforts with other existing conservation outlets.” 

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Interested in learning more and supporting rhino conservation and efforts to combat illegal wildlife trade? Visit the Ol Pejeta Conservancy at www.olpejetaconservancy.org. 

To view more of Rodney’s work, visit rodneybursielphotography.com. If you’re local to or visiting Wimberley, his photography will be featured in a few upcoming gallery events, including Art on 12 (Wimberley), opened May 14; A. Smith Gallery (Johnston City, TX), throughout August; and The Wimberley Inn, a one-night only installation in November. 

© 2022 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Preserving Your Best Travel Memories

As co-founders, Ellen and I are always meeting interesting people at Artifcts. We were very fortunate to be introduced this spring to Rainer Jenss, founder of the Family Travel Association, former senior executive with National Geographic, and an avid traveler. We loved talking with Rainer so much that we invited him to be our first guest author at ARTIcles. Read on to learn more about his story and experience using Artifcts to remember his May 2022 travels in Africa.

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My wife Carol and I recently returned from a vacation we took to Africa with 25 other people, most of whom we’d never met before, but all who had some kind of connection to the tour’s organizers, Henry and Claire Kartagener. In my case, I’ve worked in the travel industry with Henry Kartagener for years. He’s also been directly responsible for getting Carol and me to Southern Africa several times already, including our first visit back in 1992 that took us on a safari during which we actually ended up getting engaged. Thirty years later, we found ourselves returning yet again, but this time as part of a “Friends of Henry” contingent, some of whom had been to the continent before, many of whom had not.

As I’ve noticed on other trips we’ve been on as part of a group, conversations between people often turn to sharing travel stories. Some just recount something that happened that day, while others recall experiences from previous adventures. It’s as though the act of sharing travel memories with others somehow reinforces their meaning – and all the while, hopefully inspiring those who are listening.

It’s as though the act of sharing travel memories with others somehow reinforces their meaning...

I can relate. For me personally the tales from my life’s adventures traversing the planet and displaying some of the things I picked up along the way represent some of my favorite memories and what I’m most fond of in my life. I think we all probably feel that way in some way no matter how much of the world we’ve traveled. Either way, this idea only strengthens my conviction that traveling is one of the most important things we can do in our lives.

...Travelling is one of the most important things we can do in our lives.

Taking it a step further, if I were asked to recall what our conversations were about, I’d say they usually revolved around the things most of us do while traveling, which include (in no particular order): visiting new places, trying new things, meeting new people, buying souvenirs, and of course, sharing pictures. In fact, it would be pretty easy to argue that thanks to the advances in cellphone technology, capturing and sharing the highlights of our journeys through pictures, whether they be bucket list vacations or just weekend getaways, seems to be the most common activity we almost all now seem to engage in.

 

Victoria falls at sunriseVictoria Falls at sunrise. Click the photo to view the Artifct.

But while putting our best-looking pictures on social media has become such an integral part of what we do while traveling, we usually do so without telling the broader stories behind the images we post. Sure, the photos themselves may look great and often make those we share them with envious. But on their own, they rarely capture why the person took it or what it means to them personally.

 

The king protea, national flower of South AfricaThe national flora of South Africa is the King Protea, symbolizing diversity, change and courage.

After recently having discovered Artifcts, I’ve found that it’s now possible to not only preserve and organize the special moments from my travels, I can now do so by also documenting the stories behind them. The very same stories I just might share with fellow travelers somewhere down the road.

Which brings us to what happened when I returned home after spending more than two weeks in Africa with 25 of my new best friends. As usual, I had 100s of images to sort through and edit. But this time, I did so with a different purpose and perspective. Sure, I still tried to pick out the ones that were the most visually compelling. But this time I made sure to set aside some photos of things I usually wouldn’t display in an album or share on social media. Instead, I paid special attention to the photos and videos of those things that best told the story of our trip. Best of all, I used the Artifcts I created to produce a virtual album I shared with those I spent my vacation with. For the purpose of this story, I’ve also made it available to the public in hopes it might inspire others to give it a try. Just go to my Artifcts page to check it out.

Happy Trails . . . and Happy Artifcting!

- Rainer Jenss

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© 2022 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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On the Road Again, Artifcting Across the USA 

Last year we said that you’ve likely heard of the Smithsonian, The Met, and The Getty, and asked if you also knew The Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum, The Mum of Mustard, and The Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History. An eclectic mix aimed to get the most museum skeptical folks out there to explore! 

We couldn’t wait to return with a second installment of Artifcting Across the USA  and a new lineup of museums to add to your stops list this summer. We even went out on a limb and created a fun little map to help you out. Click the map to download your copy! 

Map of small museums across the United States

 

Introducing Five New Museums  

Just take me to the Artifcts of #ArtifctingAcrossTheUSA!

BOBBLEHEADS!

Yes, a museum just for bobbleheads in the vibrant Third Ward in downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum. And if you are surprised, just think about all the major athletes, hot button political figures, and even custom bobbleheads you’ve surely seen in person or swirling around in social media memes. Vintage, well, antique really, bobbleheads (aka “nodding heads”) date back to the 1760s. It’s hard to imagine these playful modern pieces in seemingly more stoic times, but history is history. Enjoy a bobble or two > 

GLASS ART.

Did you know the United Nations declared 2022 the International Year of Glass? Respecting its history and future, spanning the arts to life sciences, glass is taking its turn on the stage for the power it holds for good. Imagine our delight to share with you a few of the glassworks on display with the Bergstrom-Mahler Glass Museum in Neenah, Wisconsin, during this, the year of glass! There’s glass, and then there’s glass! Take a look – have glass art of your own to Artifct? 

Among The Museum's exhibits are a few pieces by the esteemed artist Johne Parsley (1916-2009), one of the great fine glass paperweight artists of his generation. His daughter, an artist in her own right, has kindly contributed additional pieces to this Artifcting Across the USA series and will Artifct more paperweights for your viewing pleasure throughout 2022 as part of the International Year of Glass. View @Joan-of-Art on Artifcts > 

BLACK ART AND HISTORY.

It’s the history of the making of a nation. It’s a history reconstructed with the perseverance and contributions of those who know the value of history to the future. It's the history of Black people in the United States. You need not even step into the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural and Genealogy Center in Austin, Texas, to begin the journey through history. A pathway behind the Museum is your guide, with engraved signage and messages. A statue garden commemorates Juneteenth and leaves a pedestal for you to "step into history ... take your place."

Of course, so much more awaits inside this modern museum to tell you more about Black history. You can also stroll through exhibits transporting you through modern Black art, representation in pop culture, inventors, and landmark institutions of the Austin area, including historically black schools and the Texas State Capital building, constructed by black hands. Step into Black art and history > 

THE UNEXPECTED, WITH A CITY 'VIEW.'

Museum exhibits take months if not years to curate and then assemble. The constant flow keeps museums alive and responsive to the times and adaptable to include modern history. But some museums, like the City Museum in downtown St. Louis, Missouri, take living museums to a whole new level. Imagine being a curator and showing up to work one day to discover a bus installation … on the roof. Surprise! This is not a museum for the timid or for the more conventional museum diehards.  

But don’t dismiss the genuine artistic and historical merits of the unconventional approach. You will find works from internationally renowned contemporary artists, an enthralling selection from among 60,000 glass lantern slides of the former Image Library at The Metropolitan Museum of Arts, and physical artifacts from the local community and beyond, including historic components of St. Louis architecture and a vintage 1940 ‘Big Eli’ Ferris Wheel on the rooftop. Go on, be curious, and check out a few playful pieces on Artifcts > 

SWIMMING & DIVING.

Texas style. Well, at least with a Texas twist, because this is actually a teaser for a coming collection to Artifcts with the Texas Swimming & Diving Hall of Fame.  

Nestled in the halls of the The Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center at the University of Texas at Austin is a remarkable collection that is a treat for athletes who visit from around the country. The display was made possible because of the contributions of a former swim director who loves all things swim history and vintage gear and memorabilia. Some of his collection he’s kept for personal enjoyment—look at this signed postcard discovery—but much of it is now on display to remind us all how much a single sport has grown, changed, and shaped history through the decades. Here’s your sneak peek > 

We'd love to hear from you! Artifct your moments and discoveries at these and other museums across the USA and beyond as you travel this summer. Our histories shared are so much more powerful than any single object.

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We extend our enthusiastic thanks to the participating museums for their contributions. All rights reserved. If your museum is interested in contributing to a future piece in this series, contact Editor@Artifcts.com.

© 2022 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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Artifcting Across the USA
You know The Smithsonian, The Met, and The Getty, but how about The Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum, The Museum of Mustard, and The Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History? We took a virtual journey across the US to discover and highlight the stories, objects, and history held by these and other smaller museums.
Connecting with these museums underscored for us how valuable these collections are to our understanding of the world and how much information is right out your/our back door. For instance, do you know why The Museum of Making Music would have an electric kettle and heater in its collection? And, did you know that the USS Midway Museum in San Diego has a piece of the USS Arizona that sunk at Pearl Harbor? There is value in every object and story, they just need someone to tell it. Thankfully, these museums still do, and we at Artifcts endeavor to as well.
Do you know why The Museum of Making Music would have an electric kettle and a heater in its collection?
We hope you enjoy these collections as much as we do, and we invite you to explore these museums with us, either virtually or in person. View the collection here on Artifcts.com.
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Thank you to The Miniature Engineering Craftsmanship Museum (Carlsbad, CA), The Museum of Making Music (Carlsbad, CA), The National Buffalo Museum (Jamestown, ND), The National Mustard Museum (Middleton, WI), The Spellman Museum of Stamps and Postal History (Weston, MA), and The USS Midway Museum (San Diego, CA) for your contributions.

© 2021 Artifcts, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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