Feb 222017

The Moorish influence on the architecture of Seville is incredible. Even the giant Gothic Cathedral relies heavily on the original mosque on the site for one of its wings. When I go to post photos from this city, I often have to pause and figure out whether they were taken in Spain or Morocco.

the central courtyard of the alcazar of seville with reflecting pool and detailed carved arches

Sep 242013

After leaving Sienna, we plugged a few villages with “in-Chianti” in their names into the GPS so that we’d wind our way through the vineyards as the sun began to dip towards the horizon.

Before going to Tuscany I’d had a special request for those “round-bottomed pointy trees.” So, I was pretty glad when I found this row, lining the road we’d just driven down.

Tuscan countryside with vineyard and fallow field, pointy cypress trees and villa on the hill before a blue and gld sky

Feb 162013

Not all 4x4s are off road vehicles. So, when you rent one, with a goal to go anywhere you want, choosing the cheapest option isn’t necessarily the best idea. Still, it definitely made this drive from Walvis Bay to Sossusvlei interesting.

“Corrugated road, 20 km… speed limit reduced to 60km/hr,” the sign said.

I didn’t have to wonder exactly what a corrugated road was for long before we fired onto the bumpiest surface I’ve ever been on. A corrugated road is exactly what it sounds like, small ridges like those in a sheet of corrugated metal. The car felt like it was going to shake to pieces. I slowed to 60km/hr and the vibrations didn’t stop. Eventually, things calmed down at 30km/h.

So, slowly we rolled on, past vast expanses of desert, punctuated occasionally by wild ostriches. I drove for about an hour and a half before switching to the passenger seat. It wasn’t long after this that we climbed a bit, and got this view back across the expanse we had just crossed.

Three quiver trees and a mountain in the Namibia desert with a bright blue sky and whispy clouds

Jun 272012

Late Night Tonight

I’ve decided to stick with my rule of not posting photos from the same country two days in a row (I know I’ve broken it in the past), but I’m desperate to work up some of my Iceland photos. I expect I’ll be up late tonight doing just that. On top of that I was in the middle of redesigning the site when I had to take a break to travel to Iceland. I really want to make a little more progress on that tonight.

For those of you patiently waiting for my tutorial, I did make a lot of progress before leaving. I find I work best on the weekends when I can really dedicate a lot of time to it. I’ll be putting in some more effort this weekend.

Today’s Photo: The Journey

Canoeing down the Lower Zambezi makes use of the old cliché “the journey is half the fun” really come into its own. Drifting casually down the river (while carefully keeping your limbs in the canoe) is punctuated by moments of intense activity and excitement. A lot of the time this is brought on by hippos hanging about in the shallows. The problem posed here is that when hippos get scared they head for deep water. So, if you’re in between the hippos and the deep water, you’ve got a problem. As a result, the approach is simply a bold game of chicken, in which you steer straight at the hippos in an effort to move them into the deep. Other exciting moments resulted from elephants coming down to the water to drink and play, which Chris and I may or may not have gotten dangerously close to. Other times the excitement was that we had an opportunity to get out of the canoes, whether it was to eat lunch, make camp, or go for a swim in a “safe” stretch of river. I say “safe” because, when asked, our guide said we were safe from crocodiles in the shallow water because we could fight off a crocodile there. Now, I don’t know about you, but in my opinion, if I’m having to fight off a crocodile I am already in serious trouble!

This photo was taken at one of the calmer moments as we floated through a narrow channel of the river. I’ve changed my approach to photos with moving subjects. Rather than trying to combine three different exposures I’m working with one RAW. Using Photoshop’s RAW converter I create three images by adjusting the exposure of the original. Then I combine these three images using Photomatix. This way, I don’t have to deal with loads of ghosting issues. If you look through my gorilla photos by clicking the category to the right, the last few have employed this method and you should be able to see an improvement over my earlier attempts.

Two canoes floating through a narrow channel of the Zambezi River on safari in Zambia

Jun 152012

Packing for Iceland

I’ll be finishing off packing for Iceland  in a minute. I fly out tomorrow morning and am really, really excited! I finally bit the bullet and bought a carry on bag I’ve had my eye on for a while (I know, that sounds pretty sad). But, I hate checking bags and have perfected traveling light, even with my camera gear. I find I never really need much while out on the road. I went to Africa for three weeks with just my Lowepro Flipside and a messenger bag (a.k.a a man-purse). I liked that setup, I could sling the messenger bag over my shoulder below my backpack and walk around with my hands completely free. Admittedly, it was a little difficult packing everything into these two bags while rushing in the morning with a banging hangover. I’ve taken this configuration a step forward in buying the Air Boss by Red Oxx which was designed with input from the creator of an awesome site on traveling light: OneBag.com. It’s basically a carry on luggage sized messenger bag with really cool compartments… perfect. I think I could travel indefinitely with this configuration, and my tripod fits inside!

Today’s Photo: Entering Southlands

I drive by this spot all the time and think I should stop there sometime to take a photo. One day, a couple of weeks ago, I actually did. It’s funny, I’ve never seen anybody there when I’ve driven past before. Of course when I decide to stop there’s a couple of German tourists there taking photos of their own.

I framed up a few shots looking up this road trying to capture the feeling of this big tree looming over you. Then, I realized that in order to do this I’d have to drop the camera down much lower. I was also having a lot of trouble with lens flare as the sun was beaming through the leaves in the left of the frame. I had to carefully position the camera so that the sun was hidden behind one of the branches.

I’m glad the plans to turn this place into a hotel didn’t go through. I think I’ll be making a return to this area again sometime soon, so I can explore the property beyond the entrance-way.

Banyan tree growing over a dirt road creating a tunnel at Southlands, Bermuda

Something Interesting: OneBag.com

I like this site so much I’m mentioning it twice in one post. It’s not much to look at, but take some time to read about and you’ll suddenly realize that you’re taking far too much stuff with you when you travel. I’m now a convert to the belief that wheeled luggage is a seriously flawed concept and basically evil: www.OneBag.com