Feb 182017

While on vacation in Provence I took a fantastic drive to and through the Verdon Gorge. On the way, I passed multiple small villages. The route takes you through a large military installation but there’s no sign of it as you pass through the forested hills.

This small village, called Ampus, was one of the many we passed by in this region.

ampus small village surrounded by trees and mountains in french countryside

Jan 192017

The walk up to the top of this tower was interesting. It was a tower that vacationers could rent, but there is only one room per floor. So as you walked up, you passed through multiple bedrooms, kitchens and bathrooms, each on their own floor. By the time I got to the top I was ready to collapse. After catching my breath I took a few picture before making my way down again. We sat in a nearby courtyard and enjoyed the most garlicky bruschetta I’ve ever had. It was delicious.

san gimignano square tower and tuscan countryside

Aug 142012

Failed trip into the Alps!

It seems like wherever I go, my first attempt to really strike out and take some photos failed. In Iceland it was trying to get to the most westerly point in Iceland, to photograph puffins, in one night. Today, it was an attempt to drive up a valley in the alps to see some snow-capped mountains. We set out too late, despite our careful sunset calculations and barely made it into the mountains as the sun began to drop. A great opportunity presented itself, a castle atop a hill lit beautifully by golden light but we couldn’t get off the highway to get down to it. By the time we came to an exit we decided we were too far along. By the next exit we decided to hop off and drive on the smaller roads so if any opportunities presented themselves we could actually stop. This meant guessing which roads to take. I guessed wrong and we began winding our way up a mountain with no easy way to turn around. Eventually, we got turned around and back down into the valley. By now the sun was on the verge of disappointing and panic had set in. We dashed back to the original castle. Trying to find a vantage point we parked in a town. Just as we were headed to a good view it was like a light switch had been flicked and the castle was blanketed by the shadows of the mountain. It was still a great drive, it’s just a bit disappointing coming back without a single photo!

Today’s Photo: Alice Bel Colle

My morning was much more successful. The hotel has a handy guide with a brief summary of all the surrounding towns. Alice Bel Colle caught my eye for its purpose built mound with a 360 degree view of the surrounding landscape. We rose early and made our way there. Once atop the mound we weren’t disappointed by the view, though the heavy cloud cover wasn’t ideal.

I spotted a rift in the clouds with a bit of pink light coming through and realized I could frame it up just behind this church. I shot 3 exposures at -2, 0 and +2 which was plenty to cover the range in the scene as the clouds dampened the light considerably.

View of landscape from Alice Bel Colle, Piedmont, Italy from church with bell tower and tile roof showing rolling hills and vineyards with pink sky peeking through clouds at sunrise.

Jun 302012

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.

Old wooden barn and silo in the countryside in Ontario


Apr 252012

After visiting the gorillas in Rwanda our guide took us on another route back down. It was a lot easier to enjoy the incredible views on the way down than it was on the way up, which was pretty hard work. We paused here for a break so I took the opportunity to grab a photo. The plants in the foreground are potatoes. I had no idea this is what potatoes look like as they grow. I don’t know what I thought they looked like, but I definitely wouldn’t have pictured little purple flowers.

View of Rwanda countryside with potato (purple flowers) farm and shack and mountains.

Apr 122012

It’s amazing what you can find when you leave the road and set off on foot. I pulled over because I saw a lone tree standing at the end of a dirt lane surrounded by dried up grape vines. The sun was setting behind it. I kept walking closer, trying to find a picture. I fired off a couple and then decided to continue on past the tree. It looked like it was at the precipice of a hill and I thought there my be a view out over the landscape from there. As it turned out, the elevation wasn’t as great as I’d expected. Despite that though, I’d stumbled upon this scene and quickly set about trying to capture it.


A pink and yellow sunset just before night falls with a serene lake and a row of tall fir trees reflecting in the water in Ontario.

Apr 072012

Tip-toeing about the lot enclosing this dilapidated barn I was on edge. There was a small house about 20 feet away, but I couldn’t tell for sure if it was inhabited. There was no-one about to ask if I could wander about the property, but I knew there would be some good photos about. Sure enough, there were.

This was about as far as I was willing to go down this dirt road. If someone had pulled in I’d have preferred to be visible from the road. I wouldn’t want anyone thinking I was a prowler hiding from view. It’d also allow me to walk straight over to them to say good morning and hope they were as friendly as everyone else I’d met around Niagara-on-the-Lake. As it turned out, nobody showed up.

This photo required a slightly different treatment to the usual. It was so bright that I realized my exposure bracketing would need to extend to -4. In order to get my Canon 5d Mk II to take this, I had to set it to auto bracket the following: -4, -2, 0. After this I fired off an additional three frames at -3,-1,+1. I took a look at the exposures and realized that the +1 had captured all the details in the shadows and I wouldn’t need to go any further. I combined these in Photomatix prior to polishing up in Photoshop.

The title of this photo is inspired by the Beatles’s. I had to go into work today and The White Album is my go-to when I need to get my head down and get some work done. I just decided to give it another listen so found it on YouTube. As I tried to think of a name for this photo John Lennon sang the line “the sun is up, the sky is blue” in Dear Prudence. I decided that was fitting.

If you’re ever in need of a bit of The White Album and don’t have it to hand, I found it all here:



Dilapidated wood and corrugated metal barn on a dirt road with a bright sunburst sky in Ontario, Canada.

Jan 142012

I’ve made it to Prague! I’m staying in a pretty cool little hotel/hostel called the Mosaic House Hotel. It’s got a very tempting bar downstairs in the lobby. I did set out with my camera earlier but it turned out to be more of a scouting trip. The sun set surprisingly early, it dipped below the horizon by 4pm. However, at 5pm it still looked like the sun had just gone down. It was quite strange. I think I’ve found some good shots and plan on going out tomorrow morning to get them before there’s so many people about.

“At the crossroad, which way to go?” sounds like it could be a line from a blues song, maybe it is. This is another shot from Rwanda, and if it looks vaguely familiar it’s because you’ve seen part of it at the top of this page. Just to the right of this shot is an orphanage that we visited. When we got there the kids came running out and greeted us. One even embraced Cameron in an enthusiastic hug. We’d brought a football for them, which they quickly went about playing with, and destroying. We’d been there about twenty minutes when we discovered that the ball had split. Fortunately, Cameron had packed the roll of duct-tape he’d insisted on bringing to Africa. He’d also insisted on bringing parachute cord, which was vindicated when it acted as a belt for me during white water rafting and a chin strap for Soniko’s hat. We got the ball patched up nice and quickly. Then, 2 minutes later, it happened again. Cameron went to work and covered the entire ball in what had to be two layers of duct tape. It’s officially indestructible.

When Cameron saw my banner above all he said was, “Why did you take a picture of a dirt road?”

I didn’t have much of an answer at the time but now I remember. I set up for this shot because I liked the contrast between the wet and dry tracks. I got all set up and a truck decided to drive up the track on the left, moving me aside and sloshing the water about as it went. I thought it was going to ruin the shot. To the contrary, the truck pushed the water up so that the wet soil met the dry at the midpoint of my frame. Excellent timing.

Two dirt roads meet, one dry and one wet, forming a triangle of green in the Rwanda countryside with the mountains in the distance.