I went down to see the nighttime light show at Niagara falls, but the wind was whipping the spray up so you couldn’t even see the falls. I thought these trees looked pretty interesting though.
Niagara is a bit of an odd place. It’s an unashamed, huge, neon tourist trap stuck on the landscape next to a natural wonder. It’s definitely a different experience than that of visiting Victoria Falls. At Victoria, I watched a taxi driver aggressively chase away an angry looking baboon that had crashed down on the hood of his car and blocked my path. At the same time though, there is some sort of charm to Niagara’s dated gaudiness.
Travel Planning: Namibia
I’ve started putting some thought into my next adventure and Namibia will definitely play a part. A desert full of dead trees that can’t decay due to the total lack of moisture, sand-dune boarding, a hot air balloon ride across the shifting sands, the morning mist rolling onto the shore where the desert meets the Atlantic and desert wildlife including elephants, lions, and ostriches.
Yup, I’ll have some of that, please.
How can we afford this, you may ask? I’m still working on that. One thing’s for sure, I can’t pay for one of the packaged multi-day tours that cost a fortune. Instead, we’ll be hopping on buses to find our way around the country. I think our two bases will be the capital Windhoek (a hub for buses into and out of Namibia as well as around the country) and Swakopmund (the Namibian holiday town and activity center on the coast).
Whatever happens, it’ll be an adventure.
Today’s Photo: The last of the boathouse
This is the last of my shots of the peaceful marina on Lake Ontario in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The sunset lingered for a long time and after rushing around trying to find a nice view that didn’t involve scaling a fence I decided on this one. Unfortunately, there was still a fence in the way. I tried every single gate to see if one was unlocked but didn’t have any luck. Eventually, I hoisted my camera, tripod and all, above my head and wedged it into the chain links of the fence. I let it stop shaking about and used my cable release to fire off 3 bracketed images.
I saw this scene and really liked the way that the tree separated the bench and the sun drenched Old Fort Niagara across the water, in the US. It makes the bench feel nicely isolated but gives you an idea of the expansive view. The lines, framing the scene the way they do, were what drew me into the scene. I’ve tried to process this numerous times, employing my usual HDR process and was never happy with the results. Whatever I did it always felt too busy.
Tonight, I had a bit of an epiphany. I’ve often thought to myself that I should be careful about only photographing scenes that strike me as good for HDR and make sure that I recognize when I’d be better off not using those techniques. This photo, was a prime example. The lines are very nice and the branches in the trees make for wonderful patterns. there’s enough going on that by bringing in the detail of the bench and tree the whole image gets far too busy.
I’m glad I’ve realized this and will try to stay sensitive to when I should just look to capture a silhouette. I am very fond of this technique. My first successes in photography involved snapping silhouettes, in Bolivia and Peru, with a little Olympus point-and-shoot ten years ago.
Today’s photo is a bit more abstract than my usual shots. I’d just finished getting soaked under a waterfall when I spotted the water rushing over this log that seemed to be almost glowing beneath the frothing foam. There wasn’t much in the background so I decided to zoom right in and get a closeup. I processed this differently to most. I had tried running my three photos through Photomatix but wasn’t happy with the results. In the end I decided that the scene didn’t actually have that high a light range so processed as is. I still used Topaz Adjust to boost up the details though.
A beautiful, sunset in a quaint Canadian town, provided the perfect backdrop for this calm scene on the shores of Lake Ontario. This was taken just as winter was turning to Spring. It was an early Spring, hence the boats are on the dock rather than in the water chomping at the bit. The serene surface of the lake provided a perfect mirror to help show off the sky.
Only a chain-linked fence threatened to ruin the shot. In a panic, as the light looked ready to fade, I figure out how to use the fence in concert with my tripod to get the shot. You can read more about how I did that here.
I really liked this old farm. Funnily, I actually stopped for the farm across the street but wound up spending much more time here. I’ve mentioned before that I was pretty worried about someone coming out to catch me trespassing. I had convinced myself that this place probably wasn’t really used anymore anyway. Looking at this photo, the number of tire tracks show that was a completely wrong assumption. Anyways, I got away with it and came off with a pretty cool shot.
Where in Iceland is Johnny (hopefully)?
Today should be my first full day in Iceland. We’ll be picking up our jeep and making our way through Reykjavik to the entrance of the Westfjords. If we have enough energy, and leave early enough we may be able to take a detour to look around the Snaefellsness Peninsula on the way. After checking in it will be time for a nap before a full night of shooting. My plan is to drive along the south side of the Westfjords all the way to the bird cliffs that mark the most Westerly point in Europe. On the way there I’ll be stopping at a really big beach that looks pretty interesting on Google maps. On the way back to the hostel I plan on stopping at the Dynjandi Waterfall.
Today’s Photo: Winter Vineyard
After visiting Niagara Falls I drove the road running alongside the river towards Niagara-on-the-Lake. As I drove along the golden glow of the sun on these barren vines caught my eyes and I decided to stop to try to capture it. In the process of taking this photo I discovered that my camera was unhappy with the amount of water it had contacted while under Niagara Falls. It started firing off at will, the only way to stop it was to turn it off. This made taking my bracketed photos a challenge, and sifting through the multiple unnecessary shots the camera decided to add even more difficult. It was this incident that made me decide to buy a backup camera body. My Canon 7d‘s first big outing will be to Iceland where I expect it will first come into its own while photographing the puffins in the Eastfjords.
Something Interesting: Road Between Small Norwegian Islands
As it’s going to be my first day of driving in Iceland it seems fitting that I’d post this video of a drive, in Norway, that I’ve recently added to my to do list. This road looks absolutely insane! Especially with the waves crashing over it later in the video. Click here to view this amazing road.