On my first day in Provence I took a drive down to the little seaside town of Cassis. We arrived late afternoon and I think we were pretty lucky to find parking. However, it seemed like the bulk of tourists were on their way out so before long it wasn’t too crowded.
On my second day in Venice, I went to the island of Burano. When you walk onto the first canal, you feel like you’ve walked into a movie set. I got the same feeling as I entered the town center of the tiny French town called Ventabren.
The drive there was pretty nerve racking though. The road is not wide enough for two cars but is two-way and almost always hugs a cliff edge. Once you add in the numerous blind corners you start to sweat!
While I was in Ventabren I stumbled across a Michelin starred restaurant of all things. It’s called Le Table De Ventabren and had just been refurbished and reopened by the chef Dan B. You can find their website here… though it doesn’t include any pictures of the restaurant, just Dan B.
I came back with my whole family (having booked a couple of drivers to take us this time) and it was a great experience. They time the dinner service so that you can sit atop the cliff watching the sunset over the Provence countryside.
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.
This is the last of my photos from Prague, for now, anyway. It’s a great city and I’ll certainly be heading back at some point. This is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Prague, Charles Bridge. It’s pretty difficult to get a shot with no tourists crossing the bridge. I’ve talked about other methods I’ve used involving combining multiple images to mask out any people or just getting there really early. With this shot, it all came down to patience. I set up and waited until there was no one in the way.
Operation Horseshoe Bay Sunrise: Day 2
It was far less confusing when my alarm clock woke me up this morning. It was still a little startling, but I remembered why I’d set it. It was lighter this morning, making me think that maybe it wasn’t as cloudy. Upon setting off for horseshoe bay, I realized that it was still completely overcast. When I got to the top of the rock I realized that there was a clear band at the horizon for the sun to slip through briefly.Unfortunately, as it approached sunrise a band of rain blocked this gap. I spent a while trying out different vantage points and then noticed a break in the clouds moving across the sky. I waited for it to move into frame and caught the sun bursting through it. It may be quite interesting, but it’s not what I’m after.
I realized I didn’t mention what I was trying to capture yesterday. I’d like to manage two shots. For one, I want a spectacular sunrise forming a backdrop to the beach. For the other I want a blue sky with a few interesting clouds and the beach bathed in golden morning light. I think Thursday will probably be the best day for it.
This is another view of the city from the shoreline near Ontario Place on the way out of Toronto. I wound up in this location after researching Toronto viewpoints on blogTO. It’s not quite where they recommended, which was actually a pedestrian overpass nearby. I got up there and couldn’t frame a shot I was happy with. I think it would be better at night, with light trails leading into the city. I’ve actually had a couple of my Toronto shots picked as blogTO’s photo of the day, which is pretty cool. If you poke around their site a bit you’ll find them.
Before going to Toronto I wondered how my experience at Niagara Falls would compare to visiting the Victoria Falls in Zambia. It’s definitely different. The falls are equally impressive, but there’s much more concrete around them… and safety rails. There were a few that I desperately wanted to climb over but decided I didn’t feel like getting arrested. The whole place is very cheesy with its tourist attractions, replica CN tower and casino. But I kind of liked it. It was so over the top it was interesting, and I probably would have liked to spend more time there.
There was a lot of luck involved in this shot. The limitations on access to the falls (that safety stuff) was frustrating me as I was searching out an angle on the falls that would allow for a shot a bit out of the ordinary. As part of this attempt I was taking a photo of a section of the falls through a vine-covered doorway. I’m not sure that photo will ever see the light of day as the concept may have been a bit better than the reality. But, as I fiddled with my tripod trying to find the right angle a man I later found out was named Jay started chatting with me. Then, he told me about a somewhat secret viewpoint on the balcony of the hotel restaurant behind me. At this point I realized Jay was wearing chef whites and asked if he worked there. Sure enough he did. 5 minutes later I was stood on a tiny balcony outside the restaurant with this view in front of me. Then, I saw these five puffy white clouds drifting across the sky into a perfect position.
I’m in the process of planning my trip to Iceland in June. I’ll be going for the summer solstice so will get to enjoy photographing sunsets that run right into sunrises through the night. I’ve also got a few interesting bits I’d like to do. The top of my list is snorkeling in the rift between the North American and European tectonic plates. Apparently, the water’s so clear you can look down for miles into the Earth and feel like you’re floating in space. I also need to photograph some puffins and want to go whale watching, as well as exploring some ice caves. There’s so much to do I wish I was going for longer. It’s going to be difficult coming up with a plan that won’t leave me totally exhausted. Despite the walls of my room having had sufficient insulation, I’m not entirely sure when I’ll sleep. If anyone’s got any advice on Iceland let me know.
Fish Farm, Rwanda
When setting out on a hike through a few of Rwanda’s thousand hills it’s reasonable to expect to find something interesting around every corner. You encounter sights ranging from a young boy juggling a football made of plastic sheeting and twine, to two men using a long saw to split a log (with one man standing 8 feet in the air atop the trunk being cut), as well as the subject of today’s photo.
It’s somewhat startling to find this large, man-made pool of water in amongst the sugar cane, maize and potatoes. Initially, what it is ain’t exactly clear. Then, you notice concentric ripples forming on the surface as if the water was being disturbed by a light rain. It’s not raining so the only solution is that there must be something below. The guide confirms that it’s a fish farm and begins explaining how it works. It’s quite fascinating, particularly the purpose of the fence pictured below. I’m intrigued to see what people think it is for, so have a guess in the comments section. I’ll see what everyone comes up with then add the answer in a comment of my own if no-one guesses.
This photo employs 5 exposures bracketed from -2 to +2. I had shot 7 exposures but decided that the other two weren’t adding anything so decided not to include them.
I’ve just gotten home after a week in Ontario where I stayed in Toronto and Niagara as well as Bruce/Grey County. So, it seemed fitting that tonight I upload Toronto’s recognizable skyline with the CN Tower prominent. I took this photo as I left the city for Niagara. It was taken from the rocks near Ontario Place. I set my tripod good and low to get some interesting patterns in the water. At first, I was disappointed that I couldn’t frame a shot without that sign in it. Then i decided that I liked the way the sign’s shape mirrored the CN tower.
On our way to visit this village we saw the mud bricks used to build this structure baking in the sun. We went inside one for a demonstration on how grain is ground into flour. They’re actually a very clever design. The wall around the perimeter does not meet the thatched roof allowing for the breeze to roll through. This cools the inside while allowing any smoke produced in cooking to be quickly ventilated. The doorway was tiny and involved a bit of a contortion to get through.