Posts Tagged ‘A Virtual Journey’

Captain Rick: I share how my passion for photography and journalism began and how my nickname ‘Captain Rick’ was born 40 years ago on the waters of Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota.

I have revamped my ANJ ‘About’ page to expound on me and the history of my passion for photography and journalism … and how my nickname ‘Captain Rick’ originated.


I am a mechanical design engineer, with 8 United States Patents accredited for inventions used in surface cleaning & maintenance vehicles and lawn & garden equipment. My engineering career spanned 4 decades, working for manufacturing companies in Wisconsin, Colorado, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina and Arizona.

I am retired in Arizona’s Valley of the Sun in a town called Gilbert, where I have loved to call home since 1997 and hope to for the rest of time. Retirement has allowed me to pursue the things in life that I enjoy the best…

PHOTOGRAPHY … a life long hobby of snapping well over 20,000 photos.

It originated when my father gave me his old Mercury 35 mm half frame camera in the early 1960s. It was totally mechanical. I had to load a 35 mm roll, feeding the film across and wrapping it around the take-up spool. I had to wind the film ahead after each photo. If I forgot, it would result in a double exposure, of which some turned out ’pretty cool’. I went on to own several 35 mm SLRs.

The advent of digital photography allowed me to explore the world of shooting and editing digital photos. I was a Webshots member in the early 2000′s. My photos received over 1 million views. Webshots listed me as the number one photographer shooting in the ‘Arizona’ category. In 2007, as a pioneer, I established a photostream on a tiny, new web firm called Flickr. It has since grown to become the world’s grandest photo site with over 6 billion photos. My current photo view stats are well over 100,000.

When HDTV’s and widescreen computer monitors became popular, I began formatting all of my new photos for viewing full screen on an HDTV in Blu-ray quality. I present my 5 most recent Flickr photos in the left column of my blog. I created several photo groups on Flickr, including ’A Virtual Journey’, with views from over 8,000 people from 96 countries. My group ’16×9 Widescreen’ is Flickr’s top group for HDTV quality photos.

JOURNALISM … a newly discovered talent that was a lifetime in the making.

I took typing class in high school back in the early 1960′s. There were not many boys in the class. It was mostly a girls skill needed to become a secretary working for a future male boss. I saw it differently. To me it looked like a way to more efficiently put my thoughts on paper. I started keeping a journal when I was very young. I still have some of the early hard copies, which contain some very awesome reading. I hope to share them one day.

I purchased my first typewriter in the late 60′s. It was one of those big ugly black mechanical things called an Underwood. In the early 70′s I bought a Smith Corona electric. I was like typing in ‘dreamland’. The 80′s gave way to the electronic typewriters. The 90′s introduced the computer keyboard. My fingers were typing away during the entire spectrum. Today, I can type up a storm. I owe it all to that ‘girls’ typing class back in the 60′s.

I have always had a great interest in news, economy, government and much more. I have insight of these subjects and zeal to share my thoughts with the world. For several years I published news letters via email. In 2010 I discovered WordPress and established this blog. It remained dormant for over a year due to a lack of ‘guts’ to project my words to the world. It took my friend Bill, who was facing stage 4 cancer and undergoing multiple rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, to give me the courage to energize this blog. I convinced Bill to tell his story on a blog I created for him. He agreed and told his story with excellence. You can read Bills testimony and click a link to his blog in the comments on my ‘About’ page. Seeing the wonderful effect his writing had on his audience, I knew I had to begin writing and sharing my thoughts with the world via this blog.  Since then, I have ‘let loose’ … saying it like I feel in my heart, with hope that the world is listening and benefiting from my journalistic words.

CAPTAIN RICK … how did my nickname originate? 

As a child, I enjoyed boating/fishing trips with my father. We often caught some excellent walleye, northern and bass in Lake Michigan and the lakes near my hometown in Wisconsin. I loved the water and I loved boats.

During the early 70′s in Minnesota, I seized my dream of building my own boat. I bought plans for a 17 foot ocean racing boat … a design that had won many ocean races in New Zealand. It took several years and over 1000 hours of construction, using lots of oak and mahogany wood and the installation of a Chevy Corvette 4-barrel engine with a Muncie I/O drive. I also designed and constructed its steel trailer. After launching, it became a dominating presence on Lake Minnetonka in Minnesota, especially when the water was rough and most other boats headed for safe waters. At 40 knots (46 mph) in rough water, it’s heavy wood, 20 degree deep-V hull split the big waves and sprayed them far to the sides. It was a sight to behold. It road the waves with power and excitement like no other boat I have experienced. It was one of my greatest prides and joy.

My friends called me ‘Captain Rick’. The nickname stuck and has lived on ever since. I hope one day to tell the rest of this amazing story, complete with photos, of the construction and enjoyment of that great boat.

Read this and more on my totally revised About Captain Rick … Atridim page.

I welcome your comments, likes, shares and following of my blog! (If not visible, click the red title above)

Associated ATRIDIM NEWS JOURNAL Report Categories:

Captain Rick

Captain Rick: A photo’s journey to the Virtual Journey GALAXY of STARS is long and difficult. Photo qualifications are astronomical. Only the very best photos ascend to this elite destination.



“Open Wide” by Les of the United Kingdom

Appreciation from Les

Thanks to fellow members of VJ for awarding my shot of the lilies. This is my first one to reach the Galaxy of Stars so I am really honoured.
Thanks to Captain Rick for this awesome group of photographers and the way that he dedicates his time to keeping all levels of the groups in in good form.

Regards, Les.

About Les and his photo

  • ‘A Virtual Journey’ member since December 4, 2010
  • 47 invited photos contributed to ‘A Virtual Journey’
  • Recipient of 17 ‘AVJ Participation Awards’ for group participation excellence
  • Recipient of 1 ‘AVJ Feature Award’ of one of his photos featured on the AVJ homepage during the month of December 2011
  • ‘AVJ Level 2’ member since July 7, 2011
  • AVJ1 members awarded 11 of his photos to ascend to ‘AVJ Level 2’
  • The photo presented above is his first photo to be chosen by AVJ2 members to ascend ‘AVJ2’s GALAXY of STARS’. It is one of only 15 photos to achieve “Virtual Journey’s” highest honor.

History of ‘A Virtual Journey’ photo group on Flickr 

Captain Rick, a life-long photographer, achieved well over 1 million views of his photos on Webshots, the worlds first global photo website in the early 2000’s. Envisioning the future of photography on the web, he became a Flickr Pro member in early 2008, a couple years after its Flickr’s founding. Since then Flickr has grown to become the worlds largest database of photos with well over 6 billion photos, 50 million members  and 80 million unique visitors.

In August of 2008, Captain Rick created the Flickr group called ‘A Virtual Journey’. It was Flickr’s first group to have members photos screened to meet extremely high photographic standards. Only the highest quality of those were personally invited by Captain Rick to be added the the ‘A Virtual Journey’ photo pool. Today that pool contains over 2500 of Flickr’s highest quality photos.

In June of 2011, Captain Rick created ‘A Virtual Journey: Exploration for HD Excellence: Level 2’ to offer its members incentive to climb to a higher level of photographic excellence.

In November of 2011, Captain Rick created ‘GALAXY of STARS’, an extension of Level 2. It is reserved for members who receive sufficient awards from fellow AVJ level 2 members. Only 15 photos to date have been qualified by AVJ2 members to ascend to the ‘GALAXY of STARS’. The above photo from Les of the United Kingdom is one of them.

View all of the photos that have ascended to the ‘AVJ2 GALAXY of STARS’


View the worlds greatest High Definition Full Screen slide show … …AVJ Level 2 photos:


Photographers! Want to join ‘A Virtual Journey’?

A Virtual Journey stands out on Flickr as one of its top groups for photographic excellence and quality. If your photography has what it takes to become an AVJ member, Captain Rick will welcome you!

Please read our stringent rules:

Apply for membership by clicking ‘Join this group’: