This is another one of my new favourite places in the world; Vernazza, in Italy’s Cinque Terre. It’s a small village connected to the other villages in the area by hiking paths and the train tracks you can see in the bottom right of this photo.
Before I was able to take this photo, my friend Shannon and I, following a decision to rent a kayak, had navigated through rough waters and squeezed ourselves through a narrow gap in the rocks to find safe harbor. Following that drama, we got to glide past the floating villages that surround Cat Ba Island.
We came across this fisherman towards the end of our trip and I asked if I could take a photo. He was kind enough to slow down as he pulled his nets to pose!
On my third day in the Cinque Terre, I decided to walk from Manarola to Corniglia. I knew that there would be some walking up involved as Corniglia is on top of the cliffs. I asked at my hotel where the path started and they pointed towards a steep flight of stairs heading up the hill. I asked if that was the extent of the walking up involved and he told me it flattened out at the top of the hill. What I didn’t realise is that you couldn’t really see the extent of the hill until you were at the top of that first set of stairs. It was far higher than I realised!
Still, the uphill walking resulted in a lot of photos as I needed an excuse to catch my breath.
I know, it’s been awhile… and no, I haven’t fallen off the face of the Earth. I just ran a bit low on time and as a result, ran a bit low on photos. I’ve kept traveling though and have a lot of photos to share from Vietnam, Spain, France, Morocco, Greece, Hong Kong, Italy and Switzerland.
I’ve got travel plans for 2017 too. I’ll be kicking off the year with a return to Marrakesh and a weekend in Berlin where I hope to add to my collection of pictures. In addition, I’ll be taking a couple of more adventurous trips through the year, though I haven’t thought about where yet. Suggestions in the comments below are welcome. I’m thinking South East Asia, South America or maybe even Egypt. I’ll be doing my best to get back to regular postings.
My most recent trip was to the Cinque Terre in Italy. It was my third time trying to get there. On my first attempt, the towns in the area were beset by landslides so I had to cancel my plans. On the second attempt, I was driving from Piedmont and stopped at a service station where my car was broken into and cameras, laptops and passports were stolen.
My third trip wasn’t without a hiccup either. When I went to check into the airport in Bermuda for my flight to London, I realized that I’d booked the wrong date for my connecting flight and it had actually already departed! I actually got onto the London flight without a connection and had to quickly sort it out the next day.
In celebration of the New Year and of finally making it to Cinque Terre, please enjoy this photo, taken from my hotel balcony in Manarola while sipping from a bottle of Prosecco.
While in Brazil for the World Cup we took some time out for a side trip to Ouro Preto in Brazil. It’s an old gold mining town perched atop steep hills. There’s a church with an amazing gilded interior, but you couldn’t take pictures inside. The church in this picture isn’t that same church, but gives you a good idea of what the town looks like.
The other side of Santa Catalina Arch, Antigua, Guatemala
I don’t know what this is, but it looks pretty cool. We encountered this on our trip to see seals in the Northern region of Iceland. Just below the cliff there’s a beach. Just off the beach is a sand bar that a seal colony calls home. I took this shot on my way back, while waiting for my travel buddy to catch up.
Oh yeah, Happy New Year!!
Snorkeling the Rift, Iceland
On my last night in Iceland I left Reykjavík for the Pingvellir national park to go snorkeling between the North American and European Plates. Last year, we’d done a Manta Swim Kona in Hawaii, so it was only fitting that we went some other place this time. It’s a surreal experience as you descend the stairs into the 2 degree water, protected by a dry suit. The clarity of the water is stunning. Granted that through the mask, which I brought after carefully reading a water sports full face masks review, the water appears a little muddled, you still would feel like you can see down forever. It’s glacial melt that has taken a very long time to trickle through volcanic rock, making it incredibly pure and clear. It also tastes absolutely delicious. I spent a good deal of the trip guzzling the water… then sputtering a bit as I tried to roll over and get my head back above water.
We snorkeled for about 30 minutes and then our guide took us to something he called the brain freeze – a cliff jump into the freezing cold water. It wasn’t particularly high but the thought of the water rushing into my neoprene hood made me nervous. To get myself to jump I had to repeat, “it’s just like jumping off a cliff in Bermuda, just like Bermuda”.
Contacting the cold water was such a rush I decided I had to go again. By this point I’d taken off my best heated gloves. This gave me a real feel for just how cold 2 degree water is. As soon as I came up for a breath my hands were already throbbing. I got out pretty quickly.
Today’s Photo: The rift, Iceland
As we approached the rift I’d spotted a waterfall tumbling into one of the many cracks in the Earth’s surface in this area so we went back there straight after getting our dry-suits off. A wooden pathway guided us there. On the way back I noticed another path, worn into the grass, leading to the cliff running alongside. I decided I had to climb it, which wasn’t easy carrying all my gear. In hindsight I’m not sure it was best idea in the world, particularly as getting down was even more difficult. At the top I found the giant crack in he surface of the Earth featured below.
I tried shooting this with my usual 7 exposures for when I’m using a tripod. However, due to the particularly high dynamic range of the scene, when I reviewed the results, I realised that I hadn’t captured the full range. So, I tried again by bracketing at -4,-2, and 0 and then again at 0, +2, and +4. This did the trick. When it came to processing I used the better of the two regular exposures and achieved the result below.
Silverback, Rwanda Mountain Gorillas
My Shot on My Modern Met
A friend sent me a note today to let me know that one of my pictures has been featured in an article on My Modern Met about the Niagara Falls’ Stunning Festival of Rainbow Lights by Katie Hosmer. I love it when my photos appear on people’s websites. I normally spot them when people start linking into Traverse Earth or Flickr from the article. I think I like it even more when I hear it from people that have recognized one of my shots! So, if you spot anymore of my photos about the web, let me know! There’s no prize, but I’ll definitely say thanks.
Also, I’ve had a number of people point out that my photos can be copied from this website, or on Flickr, or on Smugmug. That’s okay with me. My images are all available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.. That sounds complicated but all it means is if you’d like to use one of my images for a non-commercial purpose that’s fine. Just link back to me. I prefer a link back to my homepage, www.traverseearth.com, but a lot of my images that end up being used out on the web are found on Flickr and typically link back to there. So, want to illustrate a point on your blog? Go right ahead. Want to use a photo for your cover photo on Facebook? Fine by me. Just remember to point a link back to where you found it! If you’d like to know more on Creative Commons, feel free to go ahead and click the link above and explore that site.
Today’s Photo: More Tourists
When visiting the mountain gorillas in Rwanda one conclusion is really easy to draw. Silverback gorillas are truly formidable. All the other gorillas seem intrigued by your presence. They pause to watch you as they go about their daily routines. The silverbacks, on the other hand, just seem grouchy. They don’t pay you much mind but maintain this look like they could snap at any moment. I got the pleasure of watching one charge through the bush and slap another gorilla out of the way. I thought it was incredible. Cameron and Chris had a different viewpoint; they were the focus of this gorillas mock charge. Chris happened to film a video of this on his iPhone as it careened through the bushes at him at great pace. Somehow that video disappeared before I got a chance to see it. I’ve got a theory that it’s because you could hear a whimper of fear or two in the background. Chris did admit that when he played the video back it was clear that his hands were shaking during the ordeal.
This photo was taken later, at a much calmer moment. I’m not sure if this was the same gorilla or not. He doesn’t look particularly happy with our presence there. Maybe someone had just accidentally stood on a particularly tasty plant.
Originally, when I was working up these gorilla shots, I was combining three exposures and using the ghosting tool in Photomatix to deal with the subjects movement. I was happy with the results at the time, but looking back I’m not so thrilled. Now I am using one RAW exposure. In Photoshop’s Camera RAW I adjust this exposure to simulate varying exposure levels and produce three images ranging from -2 stops through to +2 stops. This is resulting in much crisper images with far less artifacts. It also takes a lot less time.
Something Interesting: A link for traveler’s wanting to fly for almost free
I don’t know exactly how much truth there is in this, but I think I’ll give it a go. Nora Dunn has written an article, “The Travel Hacking Cartel: Fly Around the World For Almost Free” outlining how she travels the world for almost free. I’m particularly interested in Chris Guillebeau’s “Travel Hacking Cartel“. I read one of his books on his somewhat alternative life path making money while on the move. His goal is to visit every country in the world by the time he turns 35 in April 2013. His blog is definitely worth a look: chrisguillebeau.com