Locums for a Small World Blog

The winter bucket list for locum tenens doctors who double as photographers – U.S. edition

Posted by Everett Fitch

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In the thick of winter it’s easy to stay inside after a long day at work. It can get pretty darn cold outside after all. If the choice is to either stay inside with a hot cup of cocoa or layer up and head outside for a brisk winter walk, most will opt for the hot chocolate. But getting your heart pumping and a burn going on in your calves is good for you.

Try a winter hike up in the mountains. If you don’t have mountains nearby then go for a winter walk around your neighborhood, or a winter stroll through the city. To partake in such a meditative activity is to feed your mind and body with new stimuli. You’re able to see your surroundings in a new light outside the familiar routes you take. It may even change your perspective a little regarding the coldest season of the year, too.

While you’re at it bring your camera along on your trek. It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice or an expert, all you need is your unique, artistic eye and a touch of enthusiasm. Are you completely new to photography? Do you want something with a little more pixel power than what your smart phone can offer? Then check out our recent blog about the best digital cameras of 2016.

For those already armed and ready with your cameras we’ve compiled a winter bucket list of photography hotspots across the U.S. – from national parks to iconic cities. It’s time to trade in those awe-inducing summer photos that so often invade our social media feeds and replace them with wintry wonder.

Denali National Park, Alaska

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Alaska doesn’t see much light during winter. But that doesn’t mean you can't still enjoy the landscape. Denali hosts some of the most dazzling winter scenery in the whole world. Not just on the ground, either, but up in the sky, too. The northern lights dance and dazzle miles above the Earth. Though this hypnotic phenomena can be fleeting if not periodic so be sure to have your camera handy.

To learn more about activities like dog sledding, cross-country skiing and stargazing check out the National Park Service. Oh and remember to bundle up. Temperatures can drop to -40 F. It’s always a good idea to let someone know when and where you’re going as well.

Sequoia National Park, California

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Those same tall, red, towering trees you see during the summer are still there in winter – except now they’re more vivid, more commanding and proudly alive in their space. The pure whiteness of the snow gives these trees even more arresting color.

Immerse yourself in the silence of these sequoias by snowshoeing or cross-country skiing (with camera at the ready of course). Check out this handy guide to learn more about some of the activities you can partake in during winter. Depending on how much time you have – from a few hours to a week or more – you can go for a hike in Giant Forest, go sledding at Big Stump or take a long, arduous (but rewarding) journey to Pear Lake Winter Hut and camp overnight. Be sure to reserve the hut in advance.

New York City, New York

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New York City is never short of inspiration. It serves as a muse for many photographers with its iconic architecture (e.g., Flatiron, Chrysler, Woolworth, Empire State, Brooklyn Bridge).

There aren’t many hiking trails in town but what it lacks in that department it more than makes up for in its stunning succession of skyscrapers on almost every street. (In fact, Kurt Vonnegut once called NYC “Skyscraper National Park” in his novel Slapstick.) You’ll have a hard time pulling your finger off the shutter no matter if you’re in Times Square or Central Park. Just remember that the winter wind can be bone chilling in NYC, so grab your warmest jacket.

What else is there to do? Take a photographer’s stroll (that means leisurely) from Manhattan to Brooklyn along the eponymous bridge’s walkway.

Salt Lake City, Utah

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We couldn’t think of a more fitting city for you to visit during winter than our very own (other than NYC). We’ve got national and state parks galore that are a stone’s throw away. Plus Salt Lake City serves as the perfect basecamp for skiing and snowboarding – seeing as how Snowbird, Alta, Brighton and Solitude are about thirty minutes from downtown. Don’t forget about the abundance of hiking trails up Big Cottonwood Canyon, Little Cottonwood Canyon and Millcreek Canyon, too.

Still there’s more to this cross-section of Utah than the great outdoors: plan a night out on the town and see the Temple Square lights, go ice skating at Gallivan Center or simply stroll around downtown with your camera in hand and capture the wonderful architecture.

Don’t you think it’s about time that winter got as much photography love as the rest of the seasons? With all these bucket list winter trips don’t forget to bring your trusty camera along with you.

Throw your hot chocolate in a thermos and head outside. Capture all the idyllic snow-blanketed scenery that you can. And enjoy the cold as much as humanly possible. Get your layers on then see what locum tenens assignments are available across the U.S. right now with the click of a button below.

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Topics: Denali National Park, Alaska, New York, Salt Lake City, Utah, California, New York City, photographer, winter, bucket list, photography, Sequoia National Park

5 far-out spots to spend the dog days of summer

Posted by Saralynn White

It’s already August, folks. In a few short weeks we’ll be grilling the last hamburgers of the season (sigh),
and then answering the big question: What did you do this summer? If you're up for making the most of
your time between now and Labor Day, we came up with five unique places to spend some time, stateside,
with your family before summer is gone.

Dog Days of Summer BBQ

Haag Lake, West of Portland in Oregon

1 - Bang a gong in Arizona

Or strum a harp, or blow a fipple flute, or play a sneezewood xylophone at the most extraordinary museum
you’ll ever hear: the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix.

The 12,000-piece collection has an, er, noisemaker from every country (we’re not calling what comes from the grand harmonicon — a set of drinking glasses played with a wet finger — music). Strap on a set of headphones for an audio or video tour; see and feel the vibes of music icons like John Lennon (they have the Steinway he composed “Imagine” on) and Les Paul (they have his super rare 1952 Goldtop electric guitar); attend a live performance at the premier concert theatre; or head to the Experience Gallery where you can pick, pluck, pound and play dozens of exotic items. We call dibs on the Japanese Shakuhachi. And hands off the Theremin — the source of the eerie, ultra glissando sounds from 1950s sci-fi flicks — it’s the only instrument you play without touching. Check out a video of Leon Theremin playing it here.

Musical Instrument Museum in Phoneix, Arizona

A Gibson Guitar

2 - “The photographer is in” Utah

We admit we’re partial to Utah; we recommend a trip to the gorgeous southern portion of our great home
state to camp, hike and bike nearly any day of the year. And if you’re into photography, set your sights on
the Moab Photo Workshop.

The quaint Main Street of the town of Moab puts you in pebble-throwing distance of three of the most iconic locations in the Southwest: Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse Point State. You’ll need a bit of fortitude for the one-day photography boot camp (it runs from sun up until well after sundown), but you’ll come home with frame-worthy images of red earth and rock formations like those you see in coffee table books. 

Photo pro, Bret Edge, takes each beginner-level group of one-to-five people to three locations each day. Moab delivers something special for nature photographers every season and camp instructors cover everything from composition, depth of field, aperture and shutter speeds to filters and tripods.

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3 - There’s no denying Denali

Most of the 6 million acres of Denali wilderness in Alaska have no established trails, but the newly revamped Triple Lakes Trail is just steps from the visitor’s center. Push yourself to the outer reaches of the nearly
9-mile hike and that’s where you find the namesake lakes that attract trumpeter swans. Cross the 130-foot suspension bridge over the rushing Riley Creek and hike along ridges that look up to Pyramid Mountain; maybe spot horned grebes, a muskrat or a moose. Or leave the backpack behind and hop on a bus. Denali has just one road (the Denali Park Road) and buses are the only vehicles with access into the heart of the park. In the lower level of the Denali Visitor Center is a place where you can express what Denali means to you. Here’s what one visitor shared: “Traveling through Denali by bus is like a rolling meditation. The driver requests silence as we observe a sow and cub. A deep sense of peace and balance arises within me.”

Triple Lakes in Denali National Park

On the Triple Lakes Trail in Alaska

4 - Flip for the Presidio

Quick: What do you get when you put a bunch of trampolines into a space so enormous it was once a hangar
for airplanes? House of Air, an indoor trampoline park in San Francisco. And before you snort and tell us how ridiculous it sounds, imagine a free-jumping area with 42 contiguous trampolines and elasticized walls. Now imagine jumping so high you can see the iconic Transamerica Pyramid building through the wall of windows facing the San Francisco Bay — while you’re in mid-air. Not so ridiculous now, is it? The House of Air also has
a trampoline dodge ball court. It’s war now, isn’t it?

5 - Dip into Oregon's black-licorice ice cream

Although Oregon makes some of the best wines around, beer is accorded equal reverence. Just ask the McMenamin brothers. Famous in the Northwest for converting old buildings into hotels and bars, at least one of their properties is known to have its own brewery. In the Town of Forest Grove, you’ll find the 77-room McMenamins Grand Lodge, a restored late-20th century Masonic home where the mundane becomes magical (or so they say).

Historic Forest Grove (just 25 miles west of Portland), is quintessential Oregon — laid back and outdoorsy
with a healthy dose of quirk. The downtown is lined with old-fashioned ironwork street lamps, sophisticated
wine bars and one-of-a-kind gift shops. Institutions like Joe's Ice Cream & Deli will take you back in time
(get the townie favorite, black-licorice ice cream).
 
Main Street in Forest Grove, ORBlack-licorice ice cream


One of America’s greatest lake towns (Hagg Lake is a short nine miles), Forest Grove attracts serious fishermen and families alike. Well-stocked with rainbow trout, yellow perch and largemouth and smallmouth bass, Hagg Lake sits at the base of Oregon’s coastal mountain range and also has miles of hiking trails,
boat launches, and kayaking and waterskiing in abundance. On the way back to the lodge, hit up one of the
11 wineries in the area or the Momokawa Sake Factory (ginjo!), and then sink into the heated outdoor saltwater soaking pool at McMenamins for post-lake recuperation. 

So, what did you and your family do this summer? Whether your answer is in the form of awe-inspiring photos of Utah's desert rock canyons, a story about how your kid executed 160 flips in the Presidio without getting sick, or a fish tale straight out of Oregon, you should have a very good answer. If you want twice the summer, we suggest a locum Down Under where Spring is just around the corner.  

Topics: Musical Instrument Museum, Moab Photo Workshop, Denali National Park, Triple Lakes Trail, Forest Grove OR, McMenamins Grand Lodge, Haag Lake

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Twice a month, our inquisitive locum tenens community asks us to tackle topics ranging from cuisine and culture to recreation and entertainment. We also include great storytelling from our doctors. Have a topic you’d like to read about? Let us know.

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