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!
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.
Here are a few photos from my last trip to Paris where I not only had the opportunity to dine in the fine Restaurant up on the Eiffel Tower but was able to have guided Tour of one of the Tower’s elevator shafts that was under reconstruction. Amazing and breathtaking is all I can say.
Tokyo is as well one of the cities I get to visit more often for business. This time around I had again just a couple hours to spend for my hobby. In prior research through some tourist sites I found Mori Tower in Ropongi Hills to be a perfect location for my plan. I was hoping for a nice sunset. The whole day was perfect with a few clouds in the sky. It was very hot with temperatures in the mid nineties and it was very humid. This was probably the reason why my sunset got spoiled. Even though we made it through heavy after work traffic just in time to the Sundeck platform of Mori Tower . there was not sunset. The horizon was very cloudy and the air was very smoggy! Having paid for the ride up to the viewing platform with an extra payment for the Sundeck I knew I had to at least wait for the lights to come on in the city to at least get a few night shots.
Ande here is what I got. Enjoy
This past holiday season my wife and I travelled to Calicornia and Colorado to meet with relatives and enjoy a few days of vacation. In preparation for thie upcoming trip I also wanted to be sure to understand where some of the best photographic opportunities lay hidden.
Google+ nowadays is my top resource for for inspiration as well as research on photography. Micah Birke and Thomas Hawk are fellow photographers that helped me most in finding the right spots as well as to give me some ideas as to how the beauty of a city like San Francisco can be captured. I had by far not enough time to visit all the top locations and also the weather was not always to my likes. And then there are just not enough sunrises and sunsets in a single day to hit all the great spot in the best light 😉
So here is what I managed to capture!