Do you think the cows that inhabit this hillside recognize that they occupy some fantastic real estate?
When I arrived at the Hotel Honegg in Switzerland, I was recovering from a sprained ankle, so naturally I decided the first thing I should do is walk up the mountain behind the hotel. On the way back down, I stopped to take this panorama. This is comprised of six pictures so it took me quite a while to take them all. Once I was finished and packed up, I realized that I’d been stood blocking the view of a man sat on a bench behind me… jumped out my skin when he said “hallo!”.
I found this picture, taken from the base of Niagara Falls on the Canada side, that I hadn’t processed before. I think I tried in the past but couldn’t get it to come together. It did take a lot of time masking in different photos and adjusting contrasts to get it looking like this. Swirling mist doesn’t make for the best shooting conditions.
As you drive from Livingstone to the Victoria Falls, there’s a moment, before you get there, where you can see the mist reaching for the sky directly ahead of you. When you enter the park, before you feel the mist, you can hear the falls roaring in the distance. Before you can see the falls, you feel the air get moist and see the mist swirl around you as you pass the gate. Then, you stop, and your jaw drops as you see the massive curtain of water tumbling into the rift stretching ahead of you. But, this is just the beginning. The gorge continues on and on as you continue to walk. Eventually you reach the end of Zambia, totally soaked to the skin, camera gear screaming for mercy, and the curtain of water disappears into a cloud of mist where it crosses the border to Zimbabwe.
It was at this point that I stopped and watched three tourists, far more prepared than me, with a guide and ponchos, gaze upon what is considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
I saw a great photo of the falls lit up at night and decided to come back to take advantage of this opportunity. When I got there I discovered that the spray that had drenched my camera, when I was at the base of the falls, was so thick that the spotlights couldn’t reach the falls. It still looked pretty cool watching the lights in the swirling mist and I enjoyed finding ways to photograph them. The Skylon was positioned pretty perfectly for me to get a shot of these spots with it in the background.
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:
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.