Jun 112012

Today’s Photo: Horseshoe Bay (Again)

I took a lot of pictures on that morning down at Horseshoe Bay. I won’t be publishing all of them but think this is pretty cool. It’s taken with my 14mm prime lens. One of the things I really like about this lens is the fact that it allows you to look off into the distance and almost straight down at the same time. It’s particularly effective when stood at the top of a cliff such as this one.

Next Saturday I’ll be visiting the most Westerly point in Europe, in Iceland. There’s a huge cliff there that’s home to multiple species of birds, including puffins. You can bet I’ll be using this lens to give a view straight down the cliff. With any luck I’ll get close enough to a puffin to include it in the foreground. I’ve heard they let you get really close, especially if you crawl up on your belly.

Sunrise over Horseshoe Bay beach Bermuda.

Something Interesting: Night and Day in One Photo!!

If you’re into photography that breaks from the norm, you should check this out. This photographer takes multiple shots through the days and combines them into amazing night and day photographs. I feel a need to figure out how to do this: http://9wows.com/day-and-night-in-new-york-city-captured-in-single-images-8-pictures/

May 272012

My First Time-Lapse!

I know I told you that my first time-lapse would be of an ice cube melting and that you’re all really excited to see that. Unfortunately, I’ve got to disappoint you. Yesterday, I shot a time-lapse of my friends as we cruised through Hamilton Harbor, Bermuda. The intervalometer was set to take a photo every 10 seconds. The end result is a 30 second video. I feel like it needs a sound-track, but can’t think of anything.


Today’s Photo: The Parrot in the Window

As a happy side effect of buying a second camera body, I took out one of my backup memory cards. Happily, I discovered some photos from New York I thought I’d managed to lose. Early in the morning, just before last Christmas I decided to set out and take some photos without anyone else around. The streets were empty as I’d expected. It was also really cold. Colder than I’d expected.

Bergdorf Goodman always has pretty extravagant window displays, so I decided to try to incorporate them in a few photos. I had seen a picture someone took on a train, where half the photo showed what was outside the window, the other half showed what was inside. This made me decide to try taking a similar approach with this shot.

Bergdorf Goodmans 2011 Christmas window of golden parrots and other birds while looking downtown on Fifth Avenue, New York City at night.


May 212012

Update: HDR Tutorial

I’ve been trying to decide on a photo to use as an example in my long awaited HDR tutorial. I’ve actually decided on a few, taken all the screenshots I need while processing it, and then lost the files. The first time, I somehow just forgot to save it. The second time, my computer froze on me just as I was preparing to save the images.

Finally, I got all the images I needed. Today’s photo will be the sample. So, if you’re interested in how I produced this photo, and the general method I use to produce all of my images, I suggest you follow this blog by entering your e-mail to the right, or follow me on twitter or just make sure you check back daily… AND, while you’re at it, tell your friends to check out the site! Tell all of your friends! You can do this by sharing posts you like on Facebook, Twitter etc. and sharing’s made easy via the buttons below the image!

Today’s Photo: Bermuda Ritual

Going down to Horseshoe morning after morning I grew more and more shocked by the level of activity going on. It seems a lot of Bermudians engage in a morning ritual revolving around Horseshoe Bay. There are people walking the length of the beach, people running and even, gasp, people swimming before May 24th. The swimmers turn up randomly and converge at the point where everyone leaves their dry clothes and towels. They all seem to know each other. Then, they swim out and float around together, chatting away. You can hear them from the top of the rock, where today’s photo is taken from! I decided I wanted to capture some of this action within one of my landscapes and when the swimmers formed a neat circle and drifted out to about the middle of the bay I decided that was my opportunity. It really is a nice time to be down there, you’re surrounded by beautiful scenery and friendly people. There’s supposed to be lightning tomorrow morning. I’m tempted to go down just to see if people still turn up.

Sunrise at Horseshoe Beach, Bermuda with people exercising on pink sand and swimming in turquoise ocean.

 If you’re interested in a print, you can price it here.

May 152012

You stand in Zambia, on the shore of the broad Zambezi, gazing towards Zimbabwe from Zambia. It’s surprising you can feel so energized after a night being woken by such noisy neighbors – elephants trumpeting on the salt lick behind camp and lions rumbling across the river. They’re far away but sound as if they’re knocking on your tent flap.  As the flaming sun slowly emerges from below the horizon, lighting the smooth flowing waters in front of you, the peace is shattered by the grunting of a nearby hippo. Your canoes are ready to go, but they’ll have to wait a little longer as the smell of breakfast, bacon and scrambled eggs, wafts to your nostrils. After eating your fill the Zambezi will continue to provide surprise after surprise, bend after bend. It’s  going to be a good day.

Three blue canoes on the Zambezi riverside with an orange sun rising over the horizon leaving orange streaks on the water in Zambia.

If you fancy waking up to this scene, you can buy a print here.

May 082012

This morning marked trip number 5 down to Horseshoe Bay for the sunrise and today, it paid off. Admittedly the photo I was picturing did not involve the top of the cliff as the foreground. However, after firing off a few shots with my 24-70mm lens, composed as planned, I broke out my favorite lens – the 14mm prime. Going that wide required that I include a nearby foreground and I’m glad I did. I’m happy with a number of shots from this morning that I’ll release over the next few days, but I think this is my favorite.

I’ve started enjoying going down to horseshoe before sunrise. It’s surprisingly active with people walking and jogging for exercise and surprising a number of brave individuals wading out into the chilly waters. Everyone down there is just friendly and happy. It’s pretty nice. I think I’ll keep going down to horseshoe a couple days a month for sunrise shots, it’s a big beach after all. I think I’ll sleep in tomorrow though.

Horseshoe Bay Beach in Bermuda showing the cliff tops, pink sand, and golden sunrise reflecting on the turquoise water.


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.

Apr 062012

Another view of the shoreline of Lake Kivu occupied by the Padis Malahide Hotel. I was actually staying in the room you can see in the picture, just above the beach. If you look at this photo in full size you can see the church featured in this post. Just to the right of the frame is the dock where the fishermen set out every night and returned the next morning.

Shoreline of Lake Kivu occupied by the Padis Malahide Hotel in Rwanda


Mar 252012

This is another photo from last summer taken of Trinity Church on Harrington Sound. I’d gotten up early to take pictures of the sound at sunrise. It was very overcast and the sunrise wasn’t really visible. Then this area lit up behind the church so I began setting up for a photo. I got lucky in that as soon as I was set up they opened the doors providing a warm glow from inside.

Trinity Church in Bermuda at sunrise with golden glow from inside and royal palm and steps in front.

Mar 152012

I’ve started to really enjoying shooting in the blue hour – the hour before sunrise and after sunset. The sky gradually changes from dark blue to light blue, culminating in the sunrise and vice versa in the evening. By the time I came to take this picture getting up before sunrise had become easy. We’d gotten used to waking  up at dawn while on our canoe safari and I don’t think anyone ever really adjusted back while we were in Rwanda. On top of that the church up the road began to ring its bells really early.

I hopped out of bed, anticipating a great sunrise on Lake Kivu, but it was completely overcast. Even so, I wandered around the grounds of the Paradis Malahide looking for something to shoot. I walked out onto the bluff that I used a few times to photograph the fishermen on their way out onto the lake. I took  this photo early on, just as the sun began to light the scene.

The blue hour before dawn on Lake Kivu at Paradis Malahidein Rwanda under an overcast sky with calm water and green hills across.

Mar 062012

Waking up before sunrise is pretty easy when you’re sleeping in a mesh tent surrounded by the sounds of wild animals through the night. Light moving across the flat landscape was a welcome sign.

“You’ll hear animals through the night. They’re going to sound very close, but sound travels a long way here.”

That was the last thing our guide said to us before the group separated into their respective tents. It had been raining, a hard rain as reported in an earlier post, so our fly sheets were on. They were heavy with an almost rubbery feel. It didn’t take long until people emerged in the darkness, flashlights in hand, to remove the stifling material. The fear of another downpour led to discussions on whether to leave it on, leave them half on or take them completely off. My tent mate and I settled on taking it all the way off, but laying it down carefully so it could be pulled up rapidly if need be.

Following this we turned to the darkness. A quick waft of the flashlight revealed a disturbing number of glinting eyes – presumably hippos. Hippos that were already on land and probably only 50 meters from us – they looked back, not moving. I guess they were content to munch away on the long grass surrounding us. With this revelation we returned to our tents. Now, nothing but a thin mesh separated us from the elements, and the wild animals. To be honest, this is exactly what I was after. Why sleep in the bush if you’re just going to lock yourself away? Also, it was much cooler this way.

Just as I dozed off to sleep I was startled by the trumpeting of an elephant. It sounded like it had to be on the same island as us but I repeated the mantra “they sound closer than they are” and drifted off to sleep. I was woken regularly through the night by every noise you feel like a night in the African bush should provide. I heard hyenas, lions, more elephant trumpets, and hippos grunting. This was always punctuated by an eerie silence that you knew would be broken at any moment.

My tent-mate, however, was fortunate enough to be awake for our closest encounter. Having been on an elephant back safari just days before he was finely tuned to recognize the sound of elephant dung hitting the ground. He woke up to feel the ground moving and quickly recognized the thudding. It didn’t take long for him to conclude that an elephant was crapping right next to our tent. I asked if he’d turned on his light to take a look, but the closeness rendered him incapable of moving.

We awoke to a red sky, having survived the night, and exchanged the stories of sounds I’ve just recanted here. Then we hopped out to check the area. Sure enough, there was fresh dung right next to our tent.

Following this discovery I set about capturing the sun rise. I’ve got a lot of photos of this scene from the night before. I’m not happy with any of them. This morning, I took only one photo of this scene, and I’m thrilled by it. I find that I’m always happiest with photos I’ve had to wait to take. For this one, I identified where I thought that sun would be coming up, framed up the picture and waited. I waited for quite a while and the sky was pretty blue all the way across. I began to wonder if I’d misjudged the location of the sunrise and somehow missed it. Then the glow intensified and I knew it was about to peak over the horizon. 7 exposures later and I was packing up my gear.

Glorious star-burst sunrise peeking over the horizon on the Zambezi River in Zambia.