Jan 112015
 

A wander through the market always yields interesting sights, such as this lady selling a huge pile of yellow flowers.

On this day we went in search of what our guide book described as a local delicacy, tiny preserved tangerines. We were supposed to find them in amongst all the woven baskets inside the market building. We wandered through without having much luck. We were being mobbed by locals asking what we were looking for, making it difficult to scan the stalls for the little delights. Eventually, Shannon decided to try to explain what we were after. She was less than successful in this endeavor, but it took the attention off me and I was able to scan a stall carefully. Then, I saw a plastic jar, tucked in amongst everything else, full of gooey little orange spheres. I knew I had the right thing when I noticed the picture of tangerines on the label.

The lady gestured that I should open the jar. Upon doing that, I was hit by a strong citrus smell. They smelled delicious and I was instructed to taste one. At this point, things took a turn for the worse. They were horrible, bitter, chewy things smothered in a sickeningly sweet gloop. After the ladies hospitality we wanted to buy something, but we did not want a jar of those tangerines! Eventually, we remembered some delicious coconut cracker things we’d wanted to buy. The lady didn’t have any but quickly ran off somewhere, returning with a whole case. They became our long distance bus journey snack of choice.

flower lady in conical hat in hoi an vietnam

 

Nov 172012
 

On my first night in Iceland I stayed out, excited by the lack of darkness, until I got too cold to go any further. On my way back to our guesthouse I decided to stop and take some more photos of the flowers moving around in the biting wind. I wanted to show the flowers’ movement so I stuck with a small aperture to let them blur and fired off 7 exposures ranging from -3 to +3.

I’ve been trying to avoid posting images from the same place day after day. However, I’ve realised that I’ve got far more pictures from Iceland than anywhere else, and I won’t get to do anymore traveling until the New Year. So you’ll be seeing a lot of Iceland photos for the next couple of months.

Field of white flowers blowing in the wind with lighthouse, building and boat on land in Icelandd of white flowers blowing in the wind with lighthouse, building and grounded boat in Iceland

Oct 252012
 

I loved this scene so much I had to create two versions. Here you have the other, tiny little flowers before a vast expanse of rock, ocean and mountainous Fjords in the Westfjords, Iceland.

Tiny little flowers before a vast expanse of rock, ocean and mountainous Fjords in the Westfjords, Iceland

Jul 152012
 

This is the first photo I took in Iceland. My flight was scheduled to get in at midnight and was delayed by half an hour. It was torture as we approached because I could see the sun was setting. I knew it would be light all night, but the sunset was incredible. It felt like it took forever to get through immigration, get my bag and make my way to the guesthouse. I didn’t spend long in the room as I quickly broke out my gear and took off… successfully leaving my tripod in the room. Fortunately my travel buddy offered to run back and get it while I looked for a shot. I think it was technically sunrise when I took this shot and the color had died down a bit. As you can see it was really windy. Rather than trying to freeze the flowers (which may have been impossible) I decided to increase my f-stop and let them get as blurry as possible.   Field of white flowers blowing in the wind with a lighthouse, boat and buildings in a row with clouds and sunset in Iceland.

Jul 082012
 

If you have a 3 hour drive to make in Iceland it’s probably a good idea to assume that you’ll take 7-8 hours to get where you’re going. Not because of traffic or the roads. There’s very little traffic, and although the roads do get a bit rough from time to time you can generally keep your pace up. The problem is that Iceland is incredible. You’re guaranteed to find lots of places to stop that you had no idea existed. This is what happened in the case of today’s photo. We had already pushed our check-in to the apartment we had in Reykjavik back by 3 hours and were just going to make it on time. Then we entered a field of flowers. We drove through them arguing over whether the big rock rising out of them was an island just off shore or on land. It was on land (I was right :-)).  I knew that we were pressed for time but I couldn’t resist pulling down the dirt road to catch some photos of this giant field of flowers. Following taking a few photos, and shooting a time lapse we climbed up on top of the jeep and just sat there for a while. Then we called the owner of the apartment and told him we were going to be even later. We didn’t drive all the way down the dirt road. I like to imagine there’s a campground at the end because when I go back next June I want to spend a couple of nights here.

Field of purple flowers, lupines, with a large moss covered rock behind in Iceland.

Jul 012012
 

Sitting here, after taking this photo, I came to the conclusion that we were not going to make it to the bird cliffs at Latrabjarg. They are the furthest point of land in the direction this photo is looking in. As you can see, we still had a long way to go. It was still a great night with some pretty dramatic scenery. All of the photos I’ve released from Iceland thus far are from this night. It offered up the best sunset we had the entire time we were in Iceland.

White wildflowers on the rocky shore with a beautiful sunrise over the ocean and fjords with the bird cliffs at Latrabjarg in the distance in Iceland.

Jun 072012
 

This was a tricky shot to get as the light was low and there was an occasional breeze. I had to drop the aperture down lower than I’d have liked to keep the shutter speed fast enough to catch the flowers without the wind blowing. Even so, I had to make about 10 attempts to bracket 3 photos with a minimal amount of breeze. If I’d had a flash, it probably would have come in handy in this instance. I think I’ll go back another time with more light to try for full sharpness from front to back. But I think the blurred background in this version is kind of interesting.

View of pink oleander, white roofed houses, ocean dotted with islands under an orange sunset in Bermuda

Feb 162012
 

After yesterday’s difficulty getting inspired to process any photos I came home over my lunch-break and decided to work on a photo that I’ve attempted and failed at a few times in the past. Finally, I think I’ve cracked it. Incidentally, does anyone know what the flowers in this photo are called?

This is another photo from the Paradis Malihide. Rising early, in the hopes of capturing the sun as it peeked over the horizon, I discovered that it was, once again, completely overcast. I never figured out where the sun rose and where it set while there because the cloud cover was so thick. Nonetheless, it was still a beautiful spot and I wasn’t going to let the clouds stop me. So, I went in search of photos where the sky didn’t have to be a prominent feature. I came across this scene and thought it was a great subject for HDR. It’s almost like two images, allowing your eye to wander over the flowers in the foreground before moving on to look at the boat and the hills in the distance.

People would arrive on package tours and pile into this little boat to cruise off down the lake. It was amazing how many people they stuffed into this thing. It was an interesting contrast watching the tourists in their bright orange life-jackets motoring back in for a nice dinner while the fishermen in dark rain jackets, t-shirts or shirtless plied their oars and sang their songs on their way for another chilly, wet night out on the lake.

I’m not a package tour person, probably because I don’t like being herded around. We spend enough time in our working lives getting told what to do. Why go off on holiday and do the same? I met a couple of Californian guys while in Prague who had embraced this concept. They’d decided they needed a break and managed to negotiate three weeks off – supposedly no easy feat in the US – to head for Europe. When I ran into them all they had planned was their flight home from Amsterdam. I spent about an hour eating lunch with them as they tried to figure out their next destination. They’d narrowed it down to Germany when I arrived, and hadn’t gotten much further when I eventually left. Once I ran into them later, at about 9pm, it was sorted. They were leaving at 6am on their way to Hanover.  It’s a great way to travel, waking up in one place, not knowing where you’ll be the next day.

View from Paradis Malihide, Rwanda with flowers (umuko tree-a.k.a. flame tree) in the foreground, tour boat on the lake, and the green terraced hills in the distance.

 

 

Feb 082012
 

I’ve said before that everywhere you look in Rwanda seems to present a photo opportunity. Here’s more evidence. This was taken on the way up to the national park to visit the mountain gorillas. It was our first water break. I extended it by taking my time setting up for this photo. It was a tough walk.

Countryside in Rwanda, green fields and mountains under a beautiful sky.