A Traveller's View: Blog https://www.atravellersview.com/blog en-us (C) A Traveller's View jan107@hotmail.com (A Traveller's View) Tue, 03 Nov 2015 04:40:00 GMT Tue, 03 Nov 2015 04:40:00 GMT https://www.atravellersview.com/img/s/v-5/u478121415-o523720650-50.jpg A Traveller's View: Blog https://www.atravellersview.com/blog 80 120 Gold. This is Dahab. A photo essay. https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2015/10/gold-this-is-dahab The name Dahab, literally means Gold. And golden colours is what you will find here. I’ve been to Dahab many time since 2005 and not much has changed over the years. Unfortunately, their revolution kept the tourist away which resulted in quite a few businesses closing down. But if you can look past the dirty back streets and the partial third world infrastructure, it’s still one of the best places to chill out on a very small budget. In the 90’s and early 2000’s Dahab was know to be a hippy retreat, but not any more. It’s grown up since then. There are loads to do and it’s very easy to fall under the Dahab spell of becoming a master at chilling out.

Dahab Low Tide 02Dahab Low Tide 02Goden Colours of Dahab

Dahab is located on the south east coast of the Sinai peninsular in Egypt. The usual way to get there from Europe is to fly with one of the many low coast airlines to Sharm El Sheikh. From there it’s about a 45min taxi ride to Dahab. Depending on your bargaining skills, you could pay anything from 300 to 400 Egyptian Pounds. From Cairo, you could still fly to Sharm or if you are on a budget, you could take a overnight to Dahab.

Things to do in Dahab.

Scuba Diving

Dahab is mostly know for it’s beautiful scuba diving, in waters where the visibility is always more than 30m. With the calm waters, the diving here is very easy. Most of the dive sites has an easy walk in entry, which makes it comfortable for all skill levels.

Underwater PhotographyDahab Underwater 17Underwater photos and marine life from Dahab, Egypt

Walk along the promenade and you’ll find that almost all the hotels are attached to a scuba diving school. In fact, where ever you choose to stay in Dahab, there will be a diving school attached to it, or at the very least, their neighbours will have a school. Due to the stronger £ and $, diving here is very cheap. But shop around. Some places will offer cheaper rates if you stay with them. So once you’ve done your shopping, you can even change your accommodation for better rates. My personal choice has always been Bedouin Divers. I have a long history with them, and their instructor, Bakr, knows his stuff and has been in Dahab for many years. All my scuba diving courses was done with them, from open water up to Divemaster.

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Here are a few of my favourite dive sites.

The Blue Hole.

The biggest diving attraction here is it’s famous Blue Hole. Sometimes also describe as one of the most dangerous dive sites in the world (only if you don’t follow the rules). The Blue Hole itself is pretty boring, unless you are into free-diving, but the drift dive from the Bells (just north of the Blue Hole) to the Blue Hole is something special. Dahab The Blue Hole 01Dahab The Blue Hole 01Dahab is famous for it's dive sites like the Blue Hole and The Canyon. The Blue Hole, in the South Sinai desert, a few mile north of Dahab on the Red Sea Coast, is a submarine sinkhole about 130m deep. Because of the high number of fatalities, the Blue Hole is also know as the "World's Most Dangerous Dive Site" or "Diver's Cemetery".
The Canyon dive site is a fantastic dive site for cave and cavern fanatics.
You’ll enter through a small pool, dropping down a crack in a vertical wall hundreds of meters deep. At 25m you’ll go underneath a small arch and experience an exhilarating feeling when you exit the crack at 30m. In front of you will be the big blue and behind you the vertical wall filled with colourful coral. The rest of the dive a slow swim with a gradual ascend to about 5m where you will enter and swim through
the Blue Hole for the exit.

The Canyon.

For many scuba divers, this dive site is their favourite. Mine too. It’s another easy entry dive through a lagoon with beautiful colours that wait in the open ocean. During your short swim to the canyon, keep an eye out for the resident octopus.

Underwater PhotographyDahab Underwater 14Underwater photos and marine life from Dahab, Egypt

The canyon opening starts at a depth of 20m and drops down to 30m. It does slope down further to over 50m, but that’s only for the tech divers. If you do your Advance Open water here in Dahab, this site is where you most probably will do your “Deep Dive”, and that’s only down to 30m.

Dahab The Canyon 07Dahab The Canyon 07Dahab is famous for it's dive sites like the Blue Hole and The Canyon. The Blue Hole, in the South Sinai desert, a few mile north of Dahab on the Red Sea Coast, is a submarine sinkhole about 130m deep. Because of the high number of fatalities, the Blue Hole is also know as the "World's Most Dangerous Dive Site" or "Diver's Cemetery".
The Canyon dive site is a fantastic dive site for cave and cavern fanatics.
The Canyon entry point

Underwater PhotographyDahab Underwater 11Underwater photos and marine life from Dahab, Egypt Looking up from inside the Canyon

Underwater PhotographyDahab Underwater 12Underwater photos and marine life from Dahab, Egypt The "Bubble zone" is what you'll see when you come out of the Canyon

TIP: If you do decide to dive with Bedouin Divers and you are experienced enough, ask Bakr to deviate  from the usual dive plan and enter the canyon from the bottom at 30m. I know that sounds weird, but you’ll have to keep a cool head, cause you are in for a cool ride.

Mashraba

Probably one of Dahab most under rated dive sites. You don’t even have to go out of town to get to this site. The entry is from underneath the bridge that divides the old part of Dahab and the new. As soon as you enter the water you might think this is not a beautiful site, but keep going.

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There are a few surprises just over the hill. In the sea grass, over the hill, more often than not you’ll find sea turtles. And if you have good eyes, you’ll find sea horses or even a few dragon moth fish. The first big reef here have more small fish than any other sire around Dahab, so it’s easy to spend your entire dive just here, marvelling at the abandons of  seas creatures.

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The Islands

Only 5m drive from town, this is the first dive site south of Dahab. But the islands are not visible from land. You enter the site, one by one through a small rock pool, emerging into a huge pool. The home of a big blue trigger fish. From here you’ll follow your guide as he leads you through the islands. It’s very easy to get disorientated, so don’t get left behind. At the end of the island, there is a big open sand slope, and if you dive with bedouin Divers, they will show you a few special activities to do here :)

Sunset WalkSunset Walk Okay, so those are a few of my favourite dive sites and I’m not going to go through all the dive sites in detail. Further south of Dahab, about 20min drive, are a few more. Well worth a visit. 3 Pools, Moray Gardens, Golden Blocks and The Caves.

SouthSouth

Underwater PhotographyDahab Underwater 19Underwater photos and marine life from Dahab, Egypt

The last two is my choice when visiting the south. Then there are two more in town. The very popular “Lighthouse” where most training divers go and where open water course are done. Just a little further north is Eel Gardens. Like all the others dive sites, this site very colourful with the added extra, the eel garden. Go have a look at these creatures, it’s worth it.

Dahab 1Dahab 1

Red Sea Reef 02Red Sea Reef 02

Needless to say, all theses dive sites in and around Dahab is also great places to snorkel.

Scuba Day Trips.

Fancy a camel trip with great diving. Then Ras Abu Galum is where you should go. Well, getting on camel is optional if you don’t mind walking. But the camel will go with you to carry all the heavy scuba gear. A trip here can easily be done in a day, but many people choose to “unplug” and stay the night. You’ll have complete silence and clear skies to pass the night with star gazing. Your guide will also arrange a tasty bedouin dinner with fresh fish.

Underwater PhotographyDahab Underwater 01Underwater photos and marine life from Dahab, Egypt

If you prefer the luxury of a dive boat (more like a yacht) with onboard lunch, then a day trip to Gabr El Bint is for you. Your day will start early with the boat trip (about an hour) to the dive site, where you will anchor for the day. After your first dive, you can chill on the deck with your lunch or you can snorkel if the heat gets too much.

Underwater PhotographyDahab Underwater 24Underwater photos and marine life from Dahab, Egypt

Wind and Kite Surfing.

Not into scuba diving … don’t despair. Dahab is quickly become famous for is excellent wind and kite surfing conditions. Most of the summer months there has very little wind. It’s the colder (compared to it’s summer) months that brings the wind.

Walking KitesurferWalking Kitesurfer DSCF5721DSCF5721

The Lagoona area is where most of these surfers gather. The lagoon itself seems like the perfect place to learn since it’s only a few feet deep. For the experienced surfers there are of course the open ocean. Make sure you are experienced before you tackle the open ocean. I’ve heard stories of surfers being picked up by the Saudi Navy. Not the ideal situation during a holiday.

Free-diving and Yoga

In Dahab it seems like these two activities go hand in hand (maybe that’s usually the case). And thanks to the Blue Hole, Dahab is a free-diving mecca. Competitions are regularly held in the Blue Hole and Dahab is often home to the worlds best free-divers. In the Lighthouse area you can see free-divers practicing on a daily basis (don’t be mislead by the motionless body lying face down in the water). There are plenty of free-diving school for beginners to instructor, and they can easily point you to the regular yoga classes.

Blue Hole Dahab PanoramicBlue Hole Dahab Panoramic

 Desert Trips

 If the water gets a bit cold for you, or if you would like to stay dry for a day, there are a few other options. Desert = Camels. There are a few camel safaris to choose from. A short trip just for the riding experience along the coast line, or a few hours that will take you to the top of a nearby mountain to view the sunset over Dahab.

Dahab PanoramicDahab Panoramic

Over night trips can also be arrange where you spend the night in a Bedouin village with some traditional music and dinner. Quad Bike trips also seem to be very popular. Personally, I’m not keen to sit on an underpowered quad bike, trailing someone that’s a bit uncomfortable with speed. I opted to rent a 250cc bike for a day and made my own way through the sandstone canyons. Many of which lead to peaceful and green oasis.

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Day trips to the White and Colour Canyon is very popular and well worth it. You’ll be taken to the canyon by jeep, where you walk one canyon, have lunch in a Bedouin village and then walk the second canyon before heading back to Dahab. Don’t forget to take your own water!

White Canion4White Canion4 White Canion1White Canion1

No trip to Dahab is complete without and excursion to Mount Sinai (Moses Mountain) and Saint Catherine’s Monastery. Two option are available. Sunrise or sunset excursion.

Saint Catherine's Monastery 01Saint Catherine's Monastery 01

The sunrise trip is by far the most popular and are taken by many people from the surrounding area, not only Dahab. The trip is planed so you get to the foot of Mount Sinai and hike up to the top to view the sunrise. Be warned though. It’s way colder on the mountain than what you think. Take enough warm clothes or you’ll have to rent a smelly blanket to keep yourself from freezing. There are also a few tea house on top of the mountain for a warm cuppa to defrost you from the inside. After the sunrise you have the option to take a different route down that leads past a few lakes. Once at the bottom, you’ll have the opportunity to visit inside the monastery.

Mount Sinai PilgrimsMount Sinai Pilgrims Saint Catherine's Monastery 07Saint Catherine's Monastery 07

The sunset trip is my favourite (yes, I’ve done both). You get to visit the monastery before you head up the mountain and not only are there no crowds, but you don’t have to put up with the freezing weather. If your timing is right, you can head down the mountain with only the light from the full moon.

Bedouin on Mount SinaiBedouin on Mount Sinai Old Bedouin on Mount SinaiOld Bedouin on Mount Sinai Sinai Mountain viewSinai Mountain view

All these trip are easy to arrange. Either from your hotel or backpackers and any of the shops along the beach. Shop around, prices vary. You can even arrange a few days trip to Jordan … highly recommended.

Petra Jordan 02Petra Jordan 02

Wadi Rum Jordan 02Wadi Rum Jordan 02Early morning in Wadi Rum.

Like I said in the beginning of this post, I’ve been to Dahab many times (even worked there as a divemaster for a few months). If you have any questions on this little peace of gold, feel free to ask. If I can’t give an answer, I’l be able to point you to someone who can.

One last tip. At the end of your day, take a walk  to the lagoon and watch the magical colours appear as the sun sets.

Magic Pool SunsetMagic Pool Sunset

Magic Pool MountainsMagic Pool Mountains Stay at the Lagoon until the stars are visible.

Dahab Rising Moon 1Dahab Rising Moon 1

 

For the Ultimate Guide to Dahab, check out this blog. True Nomads.

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jan107@hotmail.com (A Traveller's View) Camel Camel Safari Colors Colours Dahab Desert Egypt Fun Guide Oasis Red Sea Scuba Scuba Diving Sinai Snorkel https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2015/10/gold-this-is-dahab Fri, 02 Oct 2015 04:10:35 GMT
get to the shot. Week Nine. Aperture. https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2015/3/get-to-the-shot-week-nine-aperture Aperture Use.

 

Whenever I get asked about  photography, the majority of the time it’s about aperture. It seems like for beginners, it’s the hardest part about photography to understand. Small aperture is a big number, and visa-versa …? In one of my previous blog post, I tried to explain it in as simple terms as I can. Today I’ll touch on a few basics again.

Lets start with landscape photos. Here you want as much as possible in focus (usually anyway). To make things easy, choose to shoot on Aperture priority, and choose a small aperture. That’s the bigger number. It will be a good idea to start with f/8. If you change to a smaller aperture (bigger number i.e. f/11) you’ll notice the shutter speed decrease. Below are two almost identical photos. They were taken the same night with two different cameras and two different apertures. The first one was taken with aperture of f/10. Although everything was in focus, there was something lacking. DSCF1034DSCF1034When to use a small and a big aperture.

The second photo, although a bigger aperture (f/8), what lacked in the first one, I achieved in this photo. Do you notice the difference? Everything is in focus in both photos, but this second one has a cool “starry” effect around the lights. All cameras are different, but this starry effect will start to show around f/8 while on other cameras it will only start around f/11. You will have to experiment with your camera to see when it starts to show. DPP_0010DPP_0010When to use a small and a big aperture.

Now for the opposite end of aperture. The large aperture (small numbers like f/1.8 or f/2.8). This size aperture is used when you want only a small part of you photo to be in focus. This is essential in portrait photography. But it can also have beautiful effects in nature and close-up photography.

Below is a series of close-up photos, and the biggest aperture I used here was f/2.8. The small number (f/1.8 or f/2.8) can also be seen as focus distance. The smaller the number, the less will be in focus. Notice in these photos how few of the leave are in focus and how the background is completely out of focus. When you use a shallow depth of field (little in focus) like this, it focus the viewers attention to the area in focus. DSCF1052DSCF1052When to use a small and a big aperture. DSCF1053DSCF1053When to use a small and a big aperture. DSCF1054DSCF1054When to use a small and a big aperture. DSCF1141DSCF1141When to use a small and a big aperture. DSCF1191DSCF1191When to use a small and a big aperture. DSCF1177DSCF1177When to use a small and a big aperture. DSCF1224DSCF1224When to use a small and a big aperture.

Hopefully “aperture” is a bit more clear now. Fire away with any questions. Better yet, let me know if you have anything to add, or if you can explain it better.

 
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jan107@hotmail.com (A Traveller's View) About Photography Better photos Easy photo tips Photo tips' Photography Take better photos Tips What is Photography https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2015/3/get-to-the-shot-week-nine-aperture Mon, 09 Mar 2015 13:25:09 GMT
Get to the shot. Week eight. Painting with Light https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2015/2/get-to-the-shot-week-eight-painting-with-light Get to the Shot. Week eight. Painting with light.

From my second week “Get to the shot. Painting with light”, the very first picture on there is a cabin that I tried to photograph using the “paint with light” technique. It was a complete failure. My leg movement across the scene showed up, and I struggled to get the trees in the background painted. With a little more experience with this technique, I returned to the cabin with the hope to get it right this time. Still room for improvement, this time around the results was much, much better. But I still can’t decide between the two different compositions. I have to say though, with the snow covering the entire scene, it was much easier to paint the trees in the background. DSCF1008DSCF1008Long exposure photography and Painting with Light Photography DSCF1014DSCF1014Long exposure photography and Painting with Light Photography

On second thoughts. This second one seems to do the trick.

Naturally, with the fresh snow, I also had to return to Lac Sinclair to try some more painting. I tried a few different compositions from the same areas I did before … with satisfactory results. DSCF0943DSCF0943Long exposure photography and Painting with Light Photography DSCF0941DSCF0941Long exposure photography and Painting with Light Photography

One of my compact cameras (yes I have two cameras and both are compact cameras) has a inbuilt setting for photographing stars. This time, I didn't paint the scene, but the ambient light form nearby building did the trick. With the still water of the lake, I was able to capture this reflection. Although I like to photo, it’s clear I need a full frame camera to get really good results with these long exposures. Anyone has £2000 burning a hole in his pocket? IMG_8783-2IMG_8783-2Long exposure photography and Painting with Light Photography

My favourite shot of the week is this tree. It’s a simple composition, but with a lot of snow on the branches and painting it from the bottom, made the it seem like it was glowing white. DSCF0933DSCF0933Long exposure photography and Painting with Light Photography

​One thing I have learned about this painting with light technique. You obviously need to do a long exposure (all the photos above are 30sec), but it's a lot easier to capture you light painting if your aperture is wide open. Around f4 will do the trick.

 
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jan107@hotmail.com (A Traveller's View) About Photography Better photos Chamonix Composition Easy photo tips Long exposure photography Night Photography Painting with Light Photography Photo tips Photographer Photography Snow Take better photos Tips Winter https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2015/2/get-to-the-shot-week-eight-painting-with-light Tue, 10 Feb 2015 18:38:09 GMT
Get to the shot. Week Seven. Needle in the sky https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2015/2/get-to-the-shot-week-seven-needle-in-the-sky Get to the Shot. Week seven. Needles in the sky.

One of the main reasons I’ve searched for seasonal work in the Alps, specifically Chamonix, it’s not only because of the snow and ski opportunity, but more to live among dramatic mountains for a season. Although there might be more beautiful places to live and more dramatic mountains somewhere else in the Alps, Chamonix sure does live up to my expectations. Specially with so many mountains in the area with “Aiguille”, which means needle in French, in their name.

This week is all about the mountains. With the Aiguille du Midi being the most famous mountain the the area (after Mont Blanc which is not really visually impressive) it’s only natural that I’ll have loads of photos of it. On a clear day you might get unobstructed views of the mountains, but when there are a few clouds around … that’s when the mountains and their enormous scale is more imaginable.  DPP_0017-2DPP_0017-2 DPP_0004DPP_0004

​The lift station for the cable car is barely visible through the clouds.

DPP_0006DPP_0006 DSCF0976DSCF0976

 

East of the Aiguille du Midi, are a few more needles. Maybe not as high, but surely just as impressive. DPP_0020DPP_0020

 

North of the Chamonix valley is Le Brevent. A very popular ski area and a favourite for wing suit pilots. I still need some good photos of this mountain, but I do have one of it’s neighbour, Pointe de Lapaz. DSCF0985DSCF0985

 

One of the few colourful mountain photos I have, was take from my kitchen window. Although it doesn’t show any needles, the colours, together with the rooftops in the foreground, makes for one of my favourites. DSCF0662DSCF0662

 

If you have read any of my previous posts, you’ll know that Aiguille Les Drus is my favourite mountain in the area. It might be biased to also have that as my shot of the week, but I do love this shot. DSCF0470Aiguille Les Drus

 
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jan107@hotmail.com (A Traveller's View) About Photography Aiguille Alps Chamonix Landscape Landscape Photography Mountain Photography Mountains Needle Photographer Photography What is Photography https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2015/2/get-to-the-shot-week-seven-needle-in-the-sky Tue, 03 Feb 2015 11:10:00 GMT
Get to the Shot. Week Six. Searching for the Abandoned Hut https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2015/1/get-to-the-shot-week-six-searching-for-the-abandoned-hut Get to the Shot. Week Six. Searching for the Abandoned Hut

Last year I walked form Chamonix to Les Houches along the north side of the l’Arve river. In Les Bossons, half way to Les Houches, I came across an old abandoned hut. After the last snow fall we had this week, I wanted to go and find it again and maybe get a few good black & white shots. Forest, Winter WonderlandDSCF0884Walk along the river, through a snow covered forest. Late afternoon sun piercing through the trees, creating long atmospheric shadows.

The walk through the forest was quite scenic with all the fresh snow. Specially with the late afternoon sun piercing through the trees creating warm colours and long shadows that gave a little extra depth to my photos. Forest, Winter WonderlandDSCF0899Walk along the river, through a snow covered forest. Late afternoon sun piercing through the trees, creating long atmospheric shadows. Forest, Winter WonderlandDSCF0896Walk along the river, through a snow covered forest. Late afternoon sun piercing through the trees, creating long atmospheric shadows. Forest, Winter WonderlandDSCF0893Walk along the river, through a snow covered forest. Late afternoon sun piercing through the trees, creating long atmospheric shadows.

The sense of mystery created by the winding path, obscuring the far distance, always makes me eager to go further and see what’s around the next corner. Forest, Winter WonderlandDSCF0887Walk along the river, through a snow covered forest. Late afternoon sun piercing through the trees, creating long atmospheric shadows. Forest, Winter WonderlandDSCF0886Walk along the river, through a snow covered forest. Late afternoon sun piercing through the trees, creating long atmospheric shadows. Forest, Winter WonderlandDSCF0890Walk along the river, through a snow covered forest. Late afternoon sun piercing through the trees, creating long atmospheric shadows. Forest, Winter WonderlandDSCF0922Walk along the river, through a snow covered forest. Late afternoon sun piercing through the trees, creating long atmospheric shadows.

After about an hour I found the hut, and of course … it wasn’t as picturesque as I remember. At least the walk was enjoyable. Forest, Winter WonderlandDSCF0916Walk along the river, through a snow covered forest. Late afternoon sun piercing through the trees, creating long atmospheric shadows. Forest, Winter WonderlandDSCF0918Walk along the river, through a snow covered forest. Late afternoon sun piercing through the trees, creating long atmospheric shadows.

On the way back I also found a small part of the river where the water was till and created a smooth mirror reflection of the winter wonderland above. Forest, Winter WonderlandDSCF0913Walk along the river, through a snow covered forest. Late afternoon sun piercing through the trees, creating long atmospheric shadows.

By the time I got back to Lac Sinclair, the end of my walk, it was already dark. Guess what … I couldn’t resist the urge to try painting with light through the snow covered trees. The last few weeks, it seems like I get my best shots at the end of the day and this week, it was no exception. Forest, Winter WonderlandDSCF0941Walk along the river, through a snow covered forest. Late afternoon sun piercing through the trees, creating long atmospheric shadows. Forest, Winter WonderlandDSCF0932Walk along the river, through a snow covered forest. Late afternoon sun piercing through the trees, creating long atmospheric shadows.

With the two shots above, I used a shutter speed of 30sec and my aperture wide open (f4.5) to allow more light in and avoid getting a black sky.

Do you agree?

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jan107@hotmail.com (A Traveller's View) About Photography Chamonix Easy photo tips Forest Lac Sinclair Les Bosson Painting with Light Path Photo tips Snow Take better photos Trail Walk What is Photography Winter Wonderland https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2015/1/get-to-the-shot-week-six-searching-for-the-abandoned-hut Fri, 23 Jan 2015 12:42:43 GMT
Get to the shot. Week Five. Close-up black and whites https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2015/1/get-to-the-shot-week-five-close-up-black-and-whites Get to the Shot. Week Five. Close-up in Black and White

Close-up photography is one of my favourite types of photography. It’s also referred to as macro photography. One of the key features I look at, with compact cameras, is it’s macro capabilities. How close can the lens be to the subject and still focus. This range from 20cm to as close as 1cm. If the camera can focus as close as 1cm, it’s immediately on my shortlist for a good compact camera.

One of the many reasons I love doing close-up photos, you can do it in almost any weather condition. Usually when the weather is bad for landscapes, I start looking for all the small things to photograph. And recently here in Chamonix the weather is not exactly been inspiring for good landscape photography.

So here are a few of the close-ups I’ve done recently. DPP_0014DPP_0014Black and white close-up photography. Macro Photography. DSCF0484DSCF0484Black and white close-up photography. Macro Photography.

With the cold temperatures here, there are plenty of ice crystal formations to photograph. DPP_0020DPP_0020Black and white close-up photography. Macro Photography. DPP_0021DPP_0021Black and white close-up photography. Macro Photography.

Another thing I look for when photographing close-ups, is texture and patterns. That's also the reason why these photos are in black & white. I want you the viewer, to focus on the textures and patterns. DPP_0059DPP_0059Black and white close-up photography. Macro Photography. DPP_0016DPP_0016Black and white close-up photography. Macro Photography. DPP_0036DPP_0036Black and white close-up photography. Macro Photography.

​These last few photos does not really fall under close-up photography. The season I include them in this post is because they are small areas within a larger landscape. I got in close and isolated specific areas to photograph. The first one below is ice that started to melt on the side of the road and froze again overnight. DPP_0055DPP_0055Black and white close-up photography. Macro Photography.

These last two are even wider that the one above. But still a close-up area of a wider scene. They are also my favourite shots of the week. I'm not sure why though. Maybe because they look so invitingly soft and fluffy, or maybe because they like like something you can eat. DSCF0775DSCF0775Black and white close-up photography. Macro Photography. DSCF0774DSCF0774Black and white close-up photography. Macro Photography.

Let me know which one is your favourite.

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jan107@hotmail.com (A Traveller's View) About Photography Black and White Close-up Cold Ice Macro Photography Soft Take better photos What is Photography Winter https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2015/1/get-to-the-shot-week-five-close-up-black-and-whites Fri, 16 Jan 2015 21:38:29 GMT
Unplug on Kapas Island. https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2015/1/unplug-on-kapas-island Unplug on Kapas Island

 

One of the lesser know and visited Islands of Malaysia. Only 30min small boat ride, Island Taxi, off the coast of Marang in the state of Terengganu you’ll find the small island of Pulau Kapas. Sunset panoramic.Sunset panoramic.

The island was also known as Cotton Island. Today the locals will tell you, it’s because of the white, soft, sandy beaches. But that’s just a tourist story. The real reason - Cotton Island use to be the place where pirates were hanged from the trees with white cotton cloth. Some of the long time residents still believe the island is haunted. Quite beachQuite beach

If it wasn’t for the rocky eastern shore, it would be easy to circumnavigate this small island in an hour. The west of the island is blessed with long soft sandy beaches that is almost deserted most of the year. With so few tourist, it’s not hard to find your own little secluded spot and not see another person for entire day. Paradise beachParadise beach Romantic walkRomantic walk

Given the size of the island, you shouldn't expect too many activities on offer. And I found only one small shop/restaurant at the jetty where you will be able to plug into unreliable internet. So if you are addicted to the web, brig your own mobile internet. But the few things that you can do, will keep you busy day and night. Desert IslandDesert Island

Aside from the beautiful soft beaches, the other attraction here is the underwater world. And you don’t have to be a scuba diver to enjoy it. Snorkelling here is often better because of good visibility in the shallow water. The water is warm, and most days clear enough, to spend hours floating around and above the reefs in total owe of the abundant marine life. Underwater PhotographyChristmas tree wormsUnderwater photo and marine life from Malaysia Underwater PhotographyIMG_1327Underwater photo and marine life from Malaysia Underwater PhotographyIMG_1484Underwater photo and marine life from Malaysia Underwater PhotographyIMG_1534Underwater photo and marine life from Malaysia Underwater PhotographyIMG_1507Underwater photo and marine life from Malaysia Underwater PhotographyIMG_1648Underwater photo and marine life from Malaysia Underwater PhotographyIMG_1840Underwater photo and marine life from Malaysia IMG_0369IMG_0369 IMG_0383IMG_0383 IMG_0475IMG_0475 IMG_0495IMG_0495 IMG_0480IMG_0480 IMG_1518IMG_1518 IMG_1665IMG_1665 IMG_1611IMG_1611

 Come night fall and you will probably look for a place where you can energise yourself with good food after a long day of hard work. Luckily there are a few places to choose from. Most people opt for the more crowded (and I use that word very loosely) KBC beach area. They serve western and Malay food and on Fridays they have excellent BBQs with a big variety of sea food. My favourite places were the small restaurants where you can find very cheap and good traditional food. Another popular place for dinner is Koko restaurant. Although the food is good, be prepared to pay more and go there about two hours BEFORE you get hungry. You WILL wait a very long time for your food. In all of these places, don’t expect to get cheap beer. In fact, I found it to be ever more expensive than some pubs in the U.K. Rocky island and boatRocky island and boat

Accommodation is not exactly cheap either, if you are on a tight budget like me. The cheapest option is camping at one of the few camp sites. But then you have to deal with the humidity and heat and sleeping outside is not an option unless you have a mosquito net. The best comfortable option is “The Captains Long Room”. You can sleep under a mosquito net in a long room with a few fans cooling the place. The long houseThe long house

To end a lazy day here, it can be made almost perfect by sitting on the beach under clear skies, watching the stars above you while big thunder storms roll over the mainland. Lighting up the sky.Lighting up the sky. Before the stormBefore the storm Storms and starsStorms and stars

 
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jan107@hotmail.com (A Traveller's View) Beach Island Kapas Malaysia Paradise Relax Sand Scuba Malaysia Snorkelling Stars Travel https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2015/1/unplug-on-kapas-island Mon, 12 Jan 2015 11:15:51 GMT
Get to the shot. Week Four. Lac Sinclair https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2015/1/get-to-the-shot-week-four-lac-sinclair Get to the shot. Week three. Lac Sinclair

The photos I have in my first post on “painting with light” are not really that good. Well, to be honest, the ones I’ll be posting this week is not exactly amazing either, but there is a significant improvement. I have however gotten “amazing” comments for them on Trover.

This time my painting subject was mostly around Lac Sinclair. Not even 200m from where I live. With the recent snow (it took long enough to get here) the landscape also look much better. A bit more like a winter wonderland.

The first shot I tried was just a tree. But with the snow on the branches and a slightly different approach, I was hoping for a cool shot. The different approach I had in mind … use a much larger aperture, approx. f/5 instead of f/11. This way I would not have to paint so much and hopefully the town lights in the background will light up the sky. DSCF0682DSCF0682Painting with light on a full moon night around Lac Sinclair, Chamonix

The second shot of the snow covered picnic area worked much better. DSCF0680DSCF0680Painting with light on a full moon night around Lac Sinclair, Chamonix

Then I tried to work with the footpath along the fence and the tall pine tree. Thanks to the jogger, I have another ghost in my shot. Maybe not so bad this time. DSCF0685DSCF0685Painting with light on a full moon night around Lac Sinclair, Chamonix

Next I moved over to the ruins next to the lake. This time I tried to light the scene from one area in order to get more directional shadow. With a wide open aperture (f/2), and the town lights in the background, it seem to work rather well. DSCF0700DSCF0700Painting with light on a full moon night around Lac Sinclair, Chamonix DSCF0702DSCF0702Painting with light on a full moon night around Lac Sinclair, Chamonix

A week or so later, I went back to try and improve my shots with better competition and lighting the scene from a small area to get the long shadows. There was still snow on the ground, but none in the trees anymore. So the winter wonderland look melted away. DSCF0787DSCF0787Painting with light on a full moon night around Lac Sinclair, Chamonix DSCF0781DSCF0781Painting with light on a full moon night around Lac Sinclair, Chamonix DSCF0783DSCF0783Painting with light on a full moon night around Lac Sinclair, Chamonix

My favourite shots then? They came from my first try when there was still snow on the trees. I like the second one of the ruin, but the one below is my favourite. The scenery just looks much better, and there is more light and colours. DSCF0704DSCF0704Painting with light on a full moon night around Lac Sinclair, Chamonix

Good thing Lac Sinclair is so close to home. With the next snow I will definitely go back to try and improve on these shots. Do you have a different favourite? Let me know which one and why.

 
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jan107@hotmail.com (A Traveller's View) About Photography Better photos Chamonix Easy photo tips France Photo tips Photographer Photography Snow Take better photos Travel What is Photography Winter Wonderland https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2015/1/get-to-the-shot-week-four-lac-sinclair Fri, 09 Jan 2015 11:29:42 GMT
Easy photo tips: Composition https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2015/1/easy-photo-tips-composition  

Know what you have.

 

How many of you reading this, still has the manual that came with your camera? Not many, I’m sure. And if you still have the manual, did you actually read through it?

One of the key rules about photography, is to know what your camera is capable off. The only way to do that is to read the manual. As soon as you know your cameras’ capabilities, you are in a much better position to take better photos. In most manuals they not only explain your what your camera can do, but they also explain many basic principles about photography. And that brings me to composition.

Composition

With so many self proclaimed photographers today, it saddens me to see a photo with beautiful colours and interesting subject, but there is no composition. Good composition can make an ordinary picture look ten times better, if not an 100 times. So if you like to call yourself a photographer, or even just someone that like taking beautiful photos, you should know about the “RULE OF THIRDS”. Simply put, your subject should very seldom be in the centre of your photos. The reason why I say 'should', rules are made to be broken. But before one can break any rules, they must first be mastered (I still get it wrong, a lot).

Luckily for us, today, most cameras can display a grid on the LCD screen. Look through your manual to switch it on. This grid divides your screen in three (horizontal and vertical) and where the lines cross - that’s your hotspot. Where your subject should be.

Rule of ThirdsRule of Thirds

​The above image shows the rule of third grid. Circled in red is where you should try and have your subject.

Spiral StairSpiral Stair

The above photo shows the rule of third very well. The handrail, shaped almost like the golden ratio, leads your eye to the skylight and it's very hard to rest your eyes anywhere else. You might notice that I slightly exaggerate my rule of thirds. That's just something I like to do and in this instance it worked. Duck Bay, ScotlandDuck Bay, Scotland

A jetty in Duck Bay, Scotland. Here the jetty leads you eye from the foreground through the photo to the main subject. The small rowing boats.

Breaking some rules. The rule of thirds can be broken, and this works best for symmetry. Something I find irresistible to photograph. More often than not, you'll find this in Architecture. Another big passion of mine. London National History Museum 06London National History Museum 06Nantional History Museum.

Above is the interior of the Nationa History Museum in London. One of my favourite buildings in the city. Now your attention is focused in the middle, to the windows on the far end, and both side are identical, so it doesn't distract but makes the image whole. Prague Senate_01Prague Senate_01

The Senate Building in Prague. Here again, symmetry with both sides almost identical. Except for the tourists, but I like to think they add scale to the photo.

There are time when you break the rules and there are no symmetry either. This is where you as an artist or photographer have to interpret the subject is such a way to make it visually pleasing for the viewer. Weird shapes or patterns can sometimes work well.

Roots, IrelandRoots, Ireland

Talk about weird shapes and patterns. Above, the roots agains the old castle wall in Ireland attracted my attention. When I viewed the photo on my laptop it looked boring and the roots melted in with the wall. So I desaturated the photo, except for some colour in the roots and grass. Now the roots stand out clearly agains the wall and the pattern make me think of the organised chaos that nature sometimes display. Small Cactus pattern 08Small Cactus pattern 08

A close up of a small cactus. Again no rule of thirds and no symmetry. But I filled the screen with the patterns from the leaves. Yellow & PurpleYellow & Purple

This macro of a poppy could have been done symmetrically. From all the different angles and composition I tried, I chose this shot for the shapes together with the colours.

One last tip for composition. If you are unsure about your composition, turn your camera upside-down to view the photo. It sounds strange, but it works. Give it a go. More often than not your composition will not really work that well. Don't let that put you off. Take a few shots and play around with the composition, starting with the rule of thirds.

Do you have any questions or tips on composition. Feel free to ask or leave your tips in the comments below. Don't forget to include a link to your website or photos.

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jan107@hotmail.com (A Traveller's View) About Photography Better photos Composition Easy Easy photo tips Photo Photo Tutorial Photo tips Photographer Photographs Photography Rule of thirds Take better photos Tips Travel Travel Photography Tutorial Understanding composition What is Photography https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2015/1/easy-photo-tips-composition Thu, 08 Jan 2015 22:34:32 GMT
Ge to to the Shot. Week Three. Du Dard Waterfall https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2015/1/geto-to-the-shot-week-three-du-dard-waterfall Get to the Shot. Week Three. Du Dard Waterfall.

The fist time I walked to du Dard Waterfall (Cascade du Dard) I was expecting something a bit more than what I found. Good thing the walk is only about three kilometres from where I live. Every time I’ve been back there I’ve been surprised by an almost completely different look.

The very first time, there was some snow on the rocks in the river bed and some frozen areas in the waterfall. Nothing seriously impressive. Being slightly disappointed with what I saw, I didn’t take many photos either.

IMG_6314-2IMG_6314-2 IMG_6316-2-2IMG_6316-2-2

A few days later, I was more disappointed in myself for not looking hard enough, for at least some, better photos. So I had to go back. This time there was no snow or ice anywhere. Impressed by the difference in the environment I was more motivated. Not being able to take wide angle photos that I’m happy with, I moved in closer for detail shots. The contrast between the silkiness of the water on the very dark rocks was what I was after. I was sufficiently happy with myself and with what I got.

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 Then it finally snowed here in Chamonix. With the fresh snow, I had to go back again and see what the waterfall looks like this time. As expected the whole area was covered in snow and ice. The freezing wind the last remaining running water generated, combined with fine water spray and the fact that I had no idea if the ice I was walking on could hold my weight, almost made me lost my nerve to get close. My numb fingers could hardly hold my camera, but I managed to get a few close up shots. Even if they will go down as just snaps for memory sake.

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After all this, the shot below is probably the one I’m most happy with.

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As you probably know, if you want water to look like this (with a silk look) you will need a tripod to do long exposures. These black & white photos all have exposure times of at least one second. If the scene has too much light for long exposures, you will need neutral density filters, OR you will have to wait for low light conditions.

Three visits and three different environments in one location. Very happy with what I found, I took my time getting back home. And for the first time, I also took photos on my way. Then I realised. I really do enjoy this walk, so I will most likely be back there. And I think I like these batter … DSCF0731DSCF0731 DSCF0728DSCF0728

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jan107@hotmail.com (A Traveller's View) About Photography Alps Better photos Chamonix Composition Easy Easy photo tips How To Landscape Photography Mountains Photo Photo Tutorial Photo tips Photographer Photographs Photography Rule of thirds Take better photos Tips Travel Photography What is Photography https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2015/1/geto-to-the-shot-week-three-du-dard-waterfall Fri, 02 Jan 2015 09:24:51 GMT
Get to the shot. Week Two. Painting with light https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2014/12/get-to-the-shot-week-two-painting-with-light Get to the shot. Week Two. Painting with light

Ever since I started photography, I knew about the “painting with light” technique. But I’ve never really tried to do it. A few weeks ago I stumbled across a video tutorial on this subject, so I decided to give it a go and see if I can good results. Since this is something that needs some advance planning, I knew I wasn’t going to get it right the first time.

To start off, I needed to find a subject to photograph while there was still good light to get the composition right. Then I needed to actually try the “painting” once it’s dark enough. This takes more practice that what I thought.

For the first few attempts, I headed into the forest where it’s darker earlier in the afternoon. My first subject was a cabin in a camping area which I tough should be simple. Or at least a good subject. The result was complete failure. Every step I took with my light is visible. First lesson: don’t let the light catch any part of you body when you paint. Then there is the huge black area behind the cabin. The light I used was simply not strong enough the reach those trees. Time to try something simpler.

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The next two subjects was just a cluster of trees. This time the “painting” was okay but there are still too much black and the subject are not exactly eye catching.

DSCF0455DSCF0455 DSCF0437DSCF0437

 

On my way home, I found this bulldozer broken down in the road. This time I managed to light it properly, including the tarmac underneath it. But the background had still too much black and not much else.

DSCF0453DSCF0453

The next two attempts went much better. The painting with light was fine and the composition not bad either.

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This one of the bridge over the river was my favourite until I noticed my ghostly figure in front of the bolder. Lesson learned: move slow when you "paint", but don't stand still when you are in front of the lens.

DSCF0434DSCF0434

To the golf course again. With the Aiguille du Midi in the background, I wanted to light the group of trees across the pond which should leave me with very little black in my photo. Naturally I will not light the mountains, but I was hopping the snow on them will be light enough with the long exposure I’ll be using. It worked, but I was zoomed in too close (it’s not easy to frame a shot through the viewfinder with so little light).

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Slightly zoomed out and minor adjustments to the framing, I got my favourite shot of the week. The green colours of the trees were surprising, but I kinda like that. Even Mont Blanc and it’s reflection is in the shot. 

DSCF0617DSCF0617

ISO 100, 7.6mm, f7.1, 30 sec

Let me know which one is your favourite. Do you have any advice on how to improve my "painting with light" photography. Please leave a comment. In the coming weeks I will try this "painting with light" technique more and post in my blog about it again.

 
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jan107@hotmail.com (A Traveller's View) About Photography Alps Better photos Chamonix Composition Easy Easy photo tips How To Landscape Photography Mountains Paint with Light Photo Photo tips Photographer Photographs Photography Reflection Rule of thirds Take better photos Tips Travel Travel Photography What is Photography https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2014/12/get-to-the-shot-week-two-painting-with-light Tue, 23 Dec 2014 11:48:09 GMT
Get to the shot. Week One. Les Drus https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2014/12/get-to-the-shot A new start.

 

This blog of mine has been ling idle for some time. And since I’m no good at writing, not even close to what other travel blogs write, I’ve decided to take another angle and give this blog thing another good crack.

 

On a weekly basis, hopefully, I’ll show what I’ve been up to with my photography and how I got to my favourite shot. That includes my screw-ups and reasons why and how I choose my favourite for the week.

 

For the next 5 months I’m base in Chamonix, so my photos will include many landscapes that feature mountains, mountains and a few more mountains. If things go well, there will also be macro photography. I’m also busy with a little side project. For the first time I’m trying my hand at time-laps. So while I'm out looking for things to photograph, I'm compiling footage for this time-laps of Chamonix and it’s beautiful mountains in the clouds. The name of this video is also a work in progress.

 

Get to the shot: Week one. Les Drus

 

This weeks “Get to the Shot” feature the beautiful and majestic peak of Les Drus, and most likely it will feature again in my future posts. The first few days (stretching into weeks now), the snow is yet to make an appearance in the Chamonix valley.

 

My first photography outing was to a place I love to visit. The local Golf course. And no, I'm not a golfer. There are other reasons why I come here. The very still water of the water hazards gives mirror reflection of the mountains. Late afternoon the landscape has lang shadows and if you find the correct vantage point, it makes for beautiful photos with lots of depth to them and warm colours from the low afternoon sun.

 

With my first shot, I got the reflections. But as far as shadows are concerned. Not much of that was going on.

IMG_5669-2Les DrusMy very first attempt. Good reflection, but the image is flat due to a lack of shadows. And now warm sun either.

The second time, I got a bit more lucky with the weather. The sun and the shadows was there, but I wan’t quite in the right place for good composition.

DSCF0508DSCF0508

While looking for a better composition of the peak and it's refection, including the other two elements I want in the photo (shadow, warm sun), I took a few more photos to try out different compositions (I got a bit distracted by a dandelion too).

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Not far from where I started, I found what I was looking for. My favourite of the week. The location had all the elements I was looking for. Shadows, warm afternoon sun and a near perfect reflection of Les Drus. With the right afternoon sun, this peak of Les Drus has seriously vivid colours, and I hope to capture that in the next few months I'm here.

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​So there you have it. My favourite shot of the week and how I got to it. In short, it took more than one visit, I had to take a few photos to see if the composition works, and I got lucky with the weather.

 

Let me know what you think of these photos, and fire away if you have any questions.

 

Next week I'll show you my attempts at "painting with light". Be sure to come back ... there are quite a few flops.

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jan107@hotmail.com (A Traveller's View) About Photography Alps Better photos Chamonix Composition Easy photo tips Landscape Photography Mountains Photo Photo tips Photographer Photography Reflection Rule of thirds Take better photos Tips Travel Travel Photography Tutorial What is Photography https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2014/12/get-to-the-shot Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:28:00 GMT
Easy Photo Tips: How to Photograph Silhouettes. https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2013/4/easy-photo-tips-how-to-photograph-silhouettes  

Photographing Silhouettes is all about shapes. When the detail, features or even colour of your subject is not the most important, but your photo is about the outline of your subject against a bright background. Usually the only colour in your photo will be from the background.

Silhouettes stand out because they are simple and the dark shapes of your subject leave the viewer with a sense of mystery.

 

Newcastle, England

In Short

Taking a silhouette photo is very simple and easy. Place your subject in front of a bright background and expose your photo for that bright background, compose your photo and shoot. This can easily be done, even with a compact camera that does not have manual functions.

 

Subject

When taking a silhouette photo, a strong subject with a recognizable shape is very important. The subjects distinctive shape can make or brake your photo. Remember composition (tips on composition). After you have adjusted your exposure for the background, frame your subject to make the composition work.

Top of the World, South Africa

The photo above was taken with the method described below. First I exposed for the bright sun in the background, only then I composed the photo and took the shot. The Subject can also be clearly seen as a climber.

 

Silhouettes with a compact camera

With most compact cameras, you can lock the focus and exposure by pressing the shutter button half-way down. Simply point your camera towards the brightest area of the photo you want to take with your subject out of the frame. Press the shutter half-way down, frame you subject and take your shot. If your camera flash pops up, switch it off and retry. That’s your silhouette done. Most of it at least. When you review your photo, it might not look the way you wanted. Remember, you still have post production to do. Maybe a nice Black & White or if your background had beautiful colours, boost the colours and contrast.

Paying in the surf, Egypt

Instead of Black & White, I made this photo a warm sunset colour.

 

Silhouettes with a manual camera

This is just as easy as described above, but you have more control. In manual mode, choose your aperture (tips on aperture). As above, point your camera towards the brightest area, then change the shutter speed until the camera meter shows the correct exposure (0). Or you can choose to have it under or over exposed. Now frame your subject, focus and shoot.

Bedouin, Jordan

In this photo I chose to show some detail of the Bedouin against the bright rock in the background.

 

Photographing a silhouette is easy if the light conditions are in your favour, and now hopefully you also understand how to take one.

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jan107@hotmail.com (A Traveller's View) Easy photo tips How to How to take silhouettes Photo Photo tips Photo tutorial Photographer Photography Silhouette Take better photos Tutorial What is Photography https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2013/4/easy-photo-tips-how-to-photograph-silhouettes Tue, 16 Apr 2013 15:57:58 GMT
Photo editing: The importance of post production. https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2013/3/photo-editing-the-importance-of-post-production  

“But that’s cheating”, I’ve heard many people say. My response to that is: nonsense. The vast majority of photos you see today have been processed. It’s post production. Good editing software is very important and handy in archiving what you saw in your minds eye when you took your photo. Every single photo I take goes through an editing process. Some more that others. But be careful when you do post production. It’s VERY easy to over process.

 

In a previous post I talk about me going back to London for interviews and then finally getting the call for a driving position during the peak ski season. Well, the peak season has passed and I did my work. But it was not as glamorous as the recruiting staff has led us to believe. Smoke and mirrors, as some of the returning staff called it.

 

One of the many reasons I was excited about this job, was the location. The Alps covered in snow is a seriously beautiful place, and I could not wait to take my camera for a walk. As it turned out, I was so busy there was no time to scout for good locations or wait for good light. All I could do was to concentrate on the composition, and later edit the photos to get my desired effect.

 

Below are a few examples of before and after photo processing:

Blog_Photo processing 01 In the image above there are not much difference between the two photos. In the "After" photo the exposure was increased and the white balance adjusted to make the snow look more white.

Arosa 04

In the final photo above, I've used a green monotone effect and cropped it more tight.

 

Blog_Photo processing 02 Again, the photos above only have slight differences. The exposure and contrast was increased and in the final photo below,

Arosa 03

I've used the same green monotone effect again.

 

Blog_Photo processing 04 There will be many times when your camera will be fooled by the light. Or, like me, you just didn't have your camera on the correct settings. The white clothing of the Bedouin has caused the camera to under expose his dark skin. With good photo editing software I've managed to get his face better exposed and even managed to get the white if his eyes better exposed.

 

Blog_Photo processing 05 The colours and tones of the two images above are almost identical. But notice the edge of each photo. Most lenses cause distortion where the vertical and horizontal lines are not exactly straight. Surprisingly, It's called lens distortion - easily corrected with good editing software.

 

Blog_Photo processing 06 In this last example, you can clearly see how the colours in the "After" photo has a lot more punch. Even the rocks in the bottom left corner are better exposed and has more colour. When you do start editing your photos to get more saturation and vibrance into the colours, be very careful not to over edit. It's very easy to get sucked into the pretty colours of your photo.

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jan107@hotmail.com (A Traveller's View) About Photography Before and after Better photos Composition Easy Easy photo tips Photo Photo Tutorial Photo editing Photo tips Photographer Photographs Photography Post production Rule of thirds Take better photos Tips Travel Travel Photography What is Photography editing processing https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2013/3/photo-editing-the-importance-of-post-production Wed, 27 Mar 2013 16:39:25 GMT
Surviving the Pyramids and Cairo. https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2013/2/surviving-the-pyramids-and-cairo  

In my previous post I mention that you can ignore the travel warnings about Egypt. But maybe it’s best to stay out of the big cities when they do protest. Although most places south of Cairo might be safe to travel too, you can give Cairo and the Pyramids a skip when you visit Egypt.

 

You might think it’s an insane recommendation to give the only remaining Wonder of the Ancient World a skip, but my experience there was probably my worts travel experience so far. And until the tourist police start doing their job, be prepared to be hassled like nowhere else in the world.

Pyramids of Giza panoramic

On our way to the Pyramids, about a hundred meters from the entrance, still driving in our taxi, touts stood in the middle of the road trying to block our way. When the taxi driver passed them, the touts jumped on the back an started slamming the car until the driver stopped. Now we had to listen to those idiots trying to convince us that we HAVE TO take a horse & cart because the taxi driver is not allowed to enter the Pyramid site. Nonsense! After about 20min we finally got rid of them.

 

Buying the ticket at the main entrance was probably the only place where you will not get hassled, and stupid me thought it would be the last of the serious touts.

Pyramid and Camel

We were hardly through the gate when the touts approached us again. They started with the usual. Asking questions. Anything goes to try and make you feel comfortable. Your name, where are you from, is it your first time here etc. This is where you should say it’s your fourth time and you don’t need anything from anyone. But not me, oh no ... To spare you the long argument, I needed up telling the tout, I will not get on the horse, because “I don’t ride on grass eating sh1t machines”. That seemed to get him off my back.

 

At this point you might think that it was just me being unlucky, but I’ve heard even worse stories from a few other travellers. One guy even had his phone grabbed out of his hand and was picked up, yes, picked up to be put on a camel. The city of Cairo is not as bad, but if a guy offers his help, expect him to have a shop and he wants you to buy from him. That happened to me on several occasions. If you don’t buy anything, then all of a sudden, you are wasting their time.

Boats on The Nile

The Nile in Cairo

 

So if you do decide to go to Egypt, give Cairo and the Pyramids a skip. The touts will make you hate the country and it’s actually a great place to visit if you end up in the right place. Rather go and see the other more impressive site along the Nile. Better yet, go to Dahab and enjoy a relaxing holiday. The "go to Dahab" link will take you to a short video about Dahab.

Dahab Low Tide 02

Sunset view in Dahab

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jan107@hotmail.com (A Traveller's View) Cairo Dahab Egypt Giza Pyramids Surviving the Pyramids Touts Touts at the Pyramids https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2013/2/surviving-the-pyramids-and-cairo Sat, 09 Feb 2013 23:50:46 GMT
Easy Photo Tips: Understanding Aperture. https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2013/1/easy-photo-tips-understanding-aperture  

You have most probably read a few tutorials on Aperture. If this is your first, hopefully after reading this, you will understand how it works.

 

Understanding aperture could be quite confusing when someone start to explain how the bigger actually means the smaller. The large apertures have smaller f/stop numbers and smaller apertures have larger f/stop numbers. So f/2.8 is actually a large aperture because it lets in more light onto your camera sensor, and f/11 is a small aperture because it lets in less light onto your camera sensor.

 

To understand this better, have your camera handy and set it to aperture priority. Usually marked with an on the mode dial, below the M. Switch on your camera and set the aperture to it’s smallest setting like f/2, f/2.8 or f/4. Notice how the shutter speed changes when you point your camera from a dark to a bright area. Now hold your camera still, pointed any direction, and change the aperture from f/2.8 (or the smallest number your camera has) to f/11 or higher. This time you will notice the shutter speed decreases. That is because less light (small opening) reaches your camera sensor and more time is needed for the correct exposure. When you change the aperture back to it’s lowest number, the shutter speed will increase again because more light (large opening) reaches the camera sensor.

 

That is the simple part of understanding aperture. Small number (large f/stop, f/2.8) will result in a higher shutter speed and large number (small f/stop, f/11) a slower shutter speed. Easy!

 

The next part about aperture is also the cool part. It allows you to take photos from close-up (macro) to landscapes and you decide what, if not everything, should be in focus. So it determines the Depth of Field (DOF). That amount of your photo that will be in focus.

wasp MushroomsMushrooms

In the photo above, a large aperture of f/2.8 was used, which left only the wasp in focus. The same aperture was used for the photo of the mushrooms and the flower below.

Yellow

And when you want everything in focus, like a landscape photo, you will use a small aperture (large number like f/11). Like the photo below.

Austrian Alps, Austria

An easy way to remember this is to think of aperture or f/stops as focus distance. Smaller numbers = less is in focus. Larger numbers = more is in focus.

 

  Large Aperture                                          Small Aperture

- Small number (f/2.8)                                  - Big number (f/11)

- More light on sensor                                   - Less light on sensor

- Fast shutter speed                                      - Slow shutter speed

- Less in focus                                                - More on focus

 

Now go and play with your camera and don’t forget the composition.

 

A final note:

Compact cameras that are not fully manual can also do close-up (macro) photos. This function is normally displayed with a little flower, but it will not work that well if you try to zoom. Rather move the camera closer or further away until it can focus. You will need to hold your camera anything from 1cm to 20cm from your subject.

When you take landscape photos with an aperture of f/11 for instance, you want to focus about one third into you photo (a third from the bottom) to get everything in focus. An aperture of f/11 and up will also give the lights in your shot a nice starry affect without the need for any filters. Bratislava_UFO bridge 01Bratislava_UFO bridge 01At the top of this bridge, at a height of 80 meters is a restaurant named the UFO. The bridge is suspended of the river at a length of 432m. The Pylon bridge was declared the construction of the year in Europe in 2001.

Amman, Jordan

 

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jan107@hotmail.com (A Traveller's View) About Photography Aperture Aperture Tutorial Depth of Field F/stop Focus Macro Photo Photo Tutorial Photographer Photographs Photography Photos tips Travel Travel Photography Tutorial What is Photography https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2013/1/easy-photo-tips-understanding-aperture Tue, 08 Jan 2013 12:49:17 GMT
Take a swing at Krakow https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2012/10/take-a-swing-at-krakow  

A shot of Vodka was shoved into my face before I could put backpack down. That was my greeting from my Polish room-mate at GlobArt Hostel. It was the first hostel I stayed in where everyone in the room was in a good mood and ready to go out. After the vodka, everyone introduced themselves and offered me beer. So there was no choice but to join in.

 

As we got to know each other, the young Aussie (I’ll call him Jack) told us his unfortunate experience of Krakow. It was an early morning when he stubbled out of a club, trying to remember where his hostel was. By his own admittance he could not remember much, and what he could remember was a bit foggy. At some stage on his way back to the hostel he encountered some trouble with a few other drunks. The next morning Jack woke in a park with his pockets empty. And for some reason he had his passport with him the previous night which was also gone. Now he had to go through the trouble of getting an emergency passport and he faced the possibility of cutting his trip short and going back to Australia, because many countries will not let you through their borders on an emergency passport.

 

Not a pleasant story to hear on your first night in a new and strange city. But I eased myself in the knowledge that I don’t get that drunk anymore.

 

After a few beers in the hostel we all headed out to the closest cool bar for a few more beers. It was not long before we met a few local Polish which was really friendly and more than happy to join in our fun. As the night went on, the Polish guys told us that most Polish men carry knives or knuckle dusters and they do seem to loose their minds after too many drinks. Now that’s just great. I’ll have to be aware of myself and surrounding here, the same as I need to be in South Africa. The rest of the night went well and around 1pm, Jack, one of our female roommates and me headed back to the hostel. Before we get too drunk.

 

On our way back we stopped at a 24h shop (as you do after a few beers) for the local fast food. Dumplings. That became my staple diet in Krakow. Cheap, comes with many different fillings and it does hit the spot. We were about two blocks away from the hostel when we passed two guys sitting on the pavement having their “after beer meal”. One shouted at us in Polish. I turned around and said “sorry we don’t speak Polish”. Maybe that means something offensive in Poland, because the guy through his food away and started walking towards us with a very angry look on his face. This time I lifted my hands and said “we don’t want any trouble”. As if that was going to help. When the guy came close, still staring at me, he quickly changed direction towards Jack and took a massive swing at him. Luckily this time Jack was sober enough to duck. With that massive shadow swing I could not help but to start laughing. Off course, then the drunk came for me. Fortunately his more sober friend stopped him and they both turned and walked away.

 

With such an eventful night, I seriously started to doubt if I’ll enjoy Poland at all. The next morning I had to remind myself, when things like that happens, you just have to remember that any town or city around the world has it’s knuckle dragging idiots out to cause trouble.

 

The rest of my stay in Krakow was great. It’s a small city but there are loads to do and see,  overflowing with Polish history thanks to the fact it was hardly bombed during WWII. The Main Market Square is the second largest in Europe (200m x 200m) after the Red Square in Moscow. I can highly recommend the free walking tour. Out guide was friendly and funny, and I think his name was Magic/Magik.

Krakow Main Market Square & Cloth Hall

 

The Wieliczka Salt mine it about an hour bus ride and amazing to see. You can visit this place without a guide because all the info you need to know can be found in the little guide book available at the local shops. It’s just cool to see everything in the mine is made from salt.

 

Auschwitz & Birkenau on the other hand, I recommend you do with a guide. Sure you can get small guide books, but the guides, ours at least, was amazing at her job. During our entire tour, our whole group was completely silent with our guide describing what happened at this place. In more that a few occasions I had to work really hard to stop the tears from rolling down my face.

DSCF3688

 

So despite the monkeys with shoes that dwell in our towns in cities, Krakow should be high on your list of places to see.

Krakow runaway Bride

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jan107@hotmail.com (A Traveller's View) Auschwitz & Birkenau Krakow Poland Wieliczka Salt mine https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2012/10/take-a-swing-at-krakow Thu, 18 Oct 2012 10:45:47 GMT
Prague, Praha. Photo tips for a beautiful city. https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2012/9/prague-praha-photo-tips-for-a-beautiful-city  

Prague is almost over the top with all it’s Baroque and Gothic architecture.

Prague Old Town Square spires

And there is alto of that to see in Prague. Indeed a feast for the eyes. I’ve spend 7 days in Prague. Not because I had to nurture hangovers from visiting too many of the bars and clubs, but just wondering the street and narrow allay ways and looking at all the marvelous architecture. Prague Barogue ArchPrague Barogue Arch Prague Street view_05Prague Street view_05

 

I’m not going to bore you by trying to describe what I saw or the history, but instead just show you with pictures which you can see in my gallery, and tell you how and where to take them.

 

The Prague Castle dominates the city skyline and it’s easy to take good pictures of the castle. Good views can be seen from Charles Bridge,

Prague Charles Bridge and Castle_02

or from the east bank of the Vltava river, south of the bridge. Just hang around till a few minutes after sunset, get your tripod out and snap away. Even if you use the Auto function on your camera, the results should be fairly good.

Just make sure you have the castle in the bottom third of you picture. Unless you have a good reflection on the river you wish to include.

Prague Castle & Charles Bridge_02

As soon as the sky turns black, STOP! There is my first real photo tip. Don’t take photos of a black sky. For the purple sky in my photos, I just simply switch the white balance of my camera to fluorescent.

 

A really nice view of all the bridges, Vltava river and the east side of Prague is from the Hanavsky pavilion. That’s on the northern side of Prague, close to the Metronome. 

Prague view over the river Vltava

Go a few hours before sunset and chill out in the beer garden (also has great views of the city from there) before you head to the pavilion for your postcard pictures. Remember, no black sky. There will be alto of unwanted stuff in the bottom of your pictures, but once you get them on your PC, crop the best one to a panoramic landscape.

 

To get good photos of Charles Bridge will take more effort and dedication. Naturally the bridge will be very busy and bustling with tourists for most part of the day. You may choose to take your picture like that, but if you want a nice clear view of the bridge you will have to get there before them. I got up at 4:30am and arrived on the bridge around 5:30am. The time will depend of the time of year you visit, so check sunrise times online. Aside from wanting to take photos of a clear bridge, it was a great feeling being the only one on the bridge.

Prague Charles Bridge_looking east_Cold_01

You have the whole place to yourself to choose your composition. By the time the sun came over the buildings, I was finished and the bridge had quite a few other photographers showing up. All standing in line not to spoil the each others photos. A bit late in my view. By then the lights on the bridge was already switch off.

 

In short, photographing a city, or anything else for that matter, is all about timing. You probably heard it before - the best time is twilight, but rules are made to be broken. Sometimes.

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jan107@hotmail.com (A Traveller's View) About Photography Better photos Composition Easy Easy photo tips How To How to photograph Prague Photo Photo Tutorial Photo tips Photographer Photographing Prague Photographs Photography Prague. Rule of thirds Take better photos Tips Travel Travel Photography Tutorial What is Photography https://www.atravellersview.com/blog/2012/9/prague-praha-photo-tips-for-a-beautiful-city Thu, 13 Sep 2012 16:00:42 GMT