While in Berlin for Business I took a small time slot to quickly check out the Reichstag Dome and the Brandenburg Gate. Two iconic sites in Berlin!
I haven’t been to Singapore in at least ten years. Having seen pictures of the new and modern bay area I was really looking forward to have the opportunity to travel to Singapore and – as mentioned in my last post – take my version of shots seen many times over.
When preparing for Singapore I also checked 500px and other sources for great locations. I stumbled upon a few pics that really did it for me. Many of the pics where by a local Singaporian photographer by the name of Jonathan Danker (http://500px.com/JonathanDanker). When out shooting one night – taking the b/w picture of the downtown skyline with the colored net – I was sitting next to photographer and we started talking about gear (he was using the canon 8 – 15mm fisheye, a lens I would love to call my own). We had a great conversation and I asked him where I can find his work on the internet. He gave me his name but at that time I did not even realize that it was him who I adored on 500px. Only back at the hotel when I checked out his online presence I found out. Amazing how small the world can be at times 😉 I was a bit disappointed that I hadn’t realized who he was right on the spot. I would have liked to get to know Jonathan better. At least here goes a greeting to Jonathan and a big thanks for his inspiring photos on 500px and yet a bigger thanks for telling me the best spot to shoot the wonderful laser show at the bay!
Having been to Tokyo a couple time before within the past year and knowing that I would have some spare time I knew what I wanted to shoot and I also realized that the opportunity would be perfect as it was just the day of full moon. The weather was perfect which would guarantee a nice sunset up on Mori Tower – unfortunately without any clouds in the sky, which was quite fine as I knew that about one hour after sunset I would be able to shoot the rise of a full moon on the opposite side of Mori Tower! Before the sun went down and during sunset everything was perfect but the it got really windy and cold and I had to wait one full hour before the moon came up. But it was well worth it. One thing to keep in mind when going up to Mori Tower for picture taking: no tripods allowed, no bags allowed! So I had to carry ma lenses in a plastic bag and try to find opportunities to rest my camera for some of the shots after sunset.
Then I also wanted to take some city skyline from the Odaiba side which included the Rainbow bridge an the city in the back. Location scouting was quite challenging and took quite some time. The waterfront is quite accessible but the view from there is not very nice. So I had to scout for some other locations. As I stayed at the Grand Pacific Le Daiba I used the opportunity to take the early morning breakfast up in the top floor bar. With service starting at 06:30 this was perfect for the sunrise. They really cater to people who like to enjoy the nice city view early in the morning when the sun came up.
This is another story of being ready when an opportunity comes up. As mentioned on other occasion I travel whenever possible with my camera. And I try to use every opportunity to snap a cityscape. Having been to Cologne for an all day meeting I first did not expect that there will be a chance in my filled schedule to really take a shot anywhere in Cologne. I had about one and a half hours to spend before picking up a co-worker at the airport. So how to best spend the time?
This is how I approached it: I used my iPhone to check google pictures and 500px for cologne photos. Realized that besides the dome and Hohenzollernbridge there was not much to see and not much in terms of beautiful cityscape or skyline. So that was set. Now for the best location to shoot I used google maps and went straight for the Hyatt Regency opposite the river from the Dom to park my car. Easy enough so far! There are however two shortcomings with any of the apps and tools one can use on a smartphone: it doesn’t tell you that is is raining pretty hard outside and it also does not tell you that there is a construction along the whole riverbank from the Hohenzollernbridge to the Deutzer Bridge and with that no access to the water front as everything is sealed of with a tall, ugly and pretty high fence! That is frustrating to realize. But who would I be as travel photographer trying to “make” and not just “use” opportunities if that would stop me! So I had to walk around the area to find spots that gave me at least a somewhat satisfactory view on the left side of the Hohenzollernbridge containing the bridge and the Dom. The first two shots show what I managed to get there. Then I went up onto the bridge to find a chain fence fencing of the rail tracks that was filled to burst with love locks. I have seen many places with these locks before, but never before such an abundance of locks. So I thought … what a great shot if I can get the locks together with the Dom. Shot number three is what turned out. Then on to the other side of the bridge because I wondered why I had never seen a photo of the bridge and Dom from the right side of the bridge. And interesting enough this side makes for a pretty good shooting location too and there was NO CUNSTRUCTION going on! So I took a few shots on this side as well. The last couple shots show the opposite of what everybody else is shooting and we therefore all are used to see.
There was only one litte downside to that photo outing. The time to shoot was actually too late. The sun had set shortly after 5pm and I was at the location at about 6:15pm so it was completely dark. But that’s life. When photography is a hobby and only comes when the work is done … one has to take what’s available. But then again that ended up still being positive as it was raining anyway and rainy Cologne looks less appealing then Cologne at night.
Hope you enjoy the photos
When I travel to large cities I am always out for some cityscape shooting … unless there is a nasty thunderstorm as there was during my last visit to shanghai. Luck had it though that I had a room with a perfect view … took me some negotiating with the staff on check in 😉
While sitting in my room I realized that it was not only raining like all a hell broke loose but it was constantly lightning. The lightning however was stuck right overhead the hotel for a good hour until the storm started to move in the right direction. By that time I was more then ready to take in some special scenes. With the sky being dark enough by that time I set my camera to expose correct at 30s exposures and took shot after shot for 20 Min. straight until the storm had past. I was sure that I had at least a couple lightning bolts captured.
After downloading the pictures I realized that I had misjudged the impact of rain on the windows. This would not habe been all too big of a problem if every thing would have been dark. But even with my drapes shut I had so much light coming in from the surrounding city that every single raindrop on the window was perfectly illuminated. The drops were not in focus but they certainly gave nasty well lit blurs on the photos. All I could do then was to work the drops out one by one … quite an effort do do. But I like the shots quite a bit and feel that the extra effort was well worth it. Especially the shot with the Yan-an Intersection and the lightning com pined came out quite unique.
See for yourself!
I fly a lot for business … and I greatly enjoy it. Approaches to airports near large cities are especially exciting for a photographer. Quite often the light is as formidable as it was during my landing approach into Hong Kong. Admittedly one has to be lucky to land around sunset to get such dramatic light scenes. But if you do … you need to be ready.
I almost always have my camera ready. Not an iPhone, not a point and shoot. I have my EOS5d MKIII with my 70 – 200 lens mounted at the ready. If one wants to catch special scenes then you are much better up with a tele zoom lens then anything of shorter focal length. Let me give you some pointers for shooting out of planes . the way I do it:
Long focal length zoom lens
High enough ISO to get short enough exposure times
shooting into the light is tricky as the windows on planes are usually scratched
if the cabin lights are on pull a something over your head and tightly around the camera to prevent reflections on the window
Besides equipment I also try to plan my seating if I can. I usually check flight routing before hand to understand which side of the plane has the better view when during approach. This however is not a guarantee ans routing might change. With that information at hand I try to pre book a seat on the “right” side of the plane an try to get a window seat. People next to you do not really appreciate you leaning over them to take photos. And bear in mind that your best chance for good pictures is close to landing. At that time you need to be buckled up so there is hardly any moving around possible.
Well enjoy the pics from Hong Kong and don’t forget to take some air to ground shots on your next flight!
When traveling to the UK for business this week I reserved one evening to check out the area for some nice shots. In preparation I came across the Southwestcoastpath website and immediately knew that Durdle Door would be tho goto location for this outing. Staying in Poole the chain link ferry got me over to the Isle of Purbeck in no time and from there it was a 20 mile car ride across beautiful country side. I arrived at the Durdle Door Holiday Park just when the sun was setting (kinda late I know). The walk down to the beach took another 10 Min. It’s a pretty steep downhill walk and if you are not in good shape the walk back up will make you breathe hard 😉
All afternoon of the chosen day was rainy – but the forecast promised clearing up for the evening. And so it did. Only about for a couple of hours though. But for the right couple of hours – just around sunset. I enjoyed the great light and the perfect location. Durdle Door is a wonderful place to visit and I’m sure I would have enjoyed having more time to hike along the coast and explore more of the beautiful coast. Go to the Southwestcoastpath website if you like to learn more about the area. The folks that have put together the Southwestcoastpath site have done a remarkable job. Thanks for all the great information provided including the perfect location information with the interactive map!
A word to the equipment I used. As I was only traveling on a short business trip I had to fit all my equipment into my small suitcase. So I ended up taking a couple of lenses (16 – 35mm, 24 – 70mm) my EOS5MKIII and my MiniPod travel tripod from Novoflex with a Manfrotto ballhead. This thing – the MiniPod I mean – is a Masterpiece. Sure it is probably too short for landscape photography. But it certainly beats not having a tripod at all or carrying a big tripod if photography is not you main source of income 😉 At times one has to choose and the MiniPod has done wonders for me so far. The short legs where quite a challenge though when shooting right at the “pebble” beach and at one time I had to grab my camera and run off as a big wave surprised me. My shoes and pants up to my knees got a good soak with ice-cold water but the camera was safe 😉
And now enjoy my Durdle Door photos.
Been to Shanghai again for Business. Those of you that have read my post on Japan (with a couple of Shanghai pics) know that I have met this young photographer. His name (English version) is Jingle. When I knew I would be back to Shanghai for business I let him know and asked if he would like to go out for some shooting. We met and I can say I have found a great new friend. He not only was a great host in his city but he led me to this iconic place on a perfect evening.
Yan’an elevated is a famous photography spot and for cityscape lovers like me this is a place you could spend days just trying to find a new twist to a well known scenery. Well you may say now – why always go to the spots everybody else has already taken hundreds of similar photos of? Excellent question! Let me give you my very personal answer. As a business traveler as the name suggests one travels for business. Time to spend on your hobby is rare and difficult to set aside. I’m not a street photographer – or at least I have not warmed to that style of photography yet. So what’s left in a city, certainly no landscape. But beautiful cityscapes. With a couple of hours to run around the city – mostly in rush hour traffic as sunsets and sunrises have this tendency to be quite often around rush hour in large cities, you have to focus. I usually go on 500px, Flickr and National Geographic (where – by the way – I first saw pictures of this intersection) and just try to figure our where good spots are to shoot. All you can do in two hours is one location. Then you have to hope for some decent weather, which in a city like Shanghai is a rare occasion anyway and then you go out and get your take of what everybody else has shot to death. And I enjoy it! I guess this is what it’s all about, at least for me – and for now. I’m well aware that with your personal advancements in photography interests change as quick as your own style of photography and I’m currently in the phase of trying to emulate photographers I adore and great sceneries.
A big thanks for having made this shoot possible goes out to Jingle my dear friend in Shanghai. I already look forward to my next trip to this upbeat city as I have at least two more spots on my to do list for Shanghai. Stay tuned … and meanwhile enjoy the pics.
This is another short story of seeing an opportunity and going for it.
We recently went to the Riverside Hotel in Glattfelden Switzerland. A very nice hotel with very welcoming staff. We realized that they currently run a US vintage car show and asked if we could go and have a look at the cars. The exhibition is only open to the public with very limited access times. But the staff was so accommodating that they let us in anyway. We were blown away when we saw the display of beautiful, well conditioned oldtimers. We could not even believe that the cars were accessible to the public.
Immediately I was thinking how cool it would be to shoot some of these cars. So I simply called the hotel manager and inquired if I’d be allowed to come in and do a car shooting in times when there would not be any public in the exhibition. And I was surprised yet again. They allowed me to come in a whole morning, to bring some studio lights and to shoot whatever I fancied.
If you have ever taken pictures of cars you can imagine that it was not all that easy to shoot these cars. They are lined up one next to the other with hardly any breathing room between them. The lights in the hall are fluorescent bulbs – so of no use. The cars – as they are 50’s US cars – are huge and everything is shiny and reflects everything in the surrounding. With the couple strobes I had along all I could manage was to take “body part” shots. But I enjoyed it anyway and am pleased with the outcome. See for yourself.
A very special thanks to the management and the owners of the hotel and the beautiful cars for letting me take these pictures.
After hiking the Dolomites and having a great time at an alpine Spa Hotel my wife and I needed a couple days in a humming Italien city to get used to civilization again. We chose Venice. There is not much to say about Venice as you probably all know more about this city then I do. All I can say: we truly enjoyed this special place on earth … but two days is enough for starters 😉