Nice little surprise – in their recent Sunday edition the Guardian Observer published my photo of the Golden Pavilion in Kyoto! The image was taken during my trip through China and Japan in December 2016.
A fine reward for the effort it took to actually get the shot in first place. The Kinkaku-ji was rammed with people this particular afternoon, most likely because it was a mild, sunny and calm winters day.
There is is this one vantage point from where you get to see the whole beauty of the pavilion and the reflections of the entire scene in the calm waters – and on this day hundreds and hundreds of people where there to witness one of the most iconic pictures of Japan with their own eyes.
But here it’s an advantage to be small – at least once in life! You can squeeze your way through the crowds easily, and so I made my way to the front and was able to fend of the masses for a couple of minutes to take this photo – which is one of my favourites of the entire trip – yet it doesn’t do the place justice. It’s SO beautiful.
TOKYO – a strange place. A modern place. A busy place. Guess it can be a little bit overwhelming at times. Well, it was certainly for me, that’s for sure.
A busy place, with busy people and busy lives – little wonder that people can be overwhelmed… overwhelmed by tiredness that is!
This photograph of Shanghai is one of my favourites from a recent trip to China. Not because it stands out through sensational lighting, dramatic clouds or an immensely captivation scene.
No – it’s because I feel the image illustrates the progress I have a made as a photographer in 2016. Why? Well, first of all this was a day as dull as it gets. Imagine the most boring, grey & flat light ever!
In the past I would have been disheartened, losing any interest in photography encountering this type of conditions. However in 2016 I really learned to embrace – in fact love – those grey, dull days.
Why? They challenge me as a photographer!
Those days are not about being at the right time at the right place, i.e. at the top of the mountain half an hour before sunset. No, it’s so much more about creativity…. you know, I feel days like this lend themselves perfectly to try new things, to imagine, to think big…. or simply shoot something a bit more “arty”.
And that’s what I wanted to achieve on this particular morning when I went out in Shanghai. I dreamed big – literally! The idea in my had was a huge , atmospheric panorama in black and white – give some sense to the dramatic scale of this mega city.
Looking at the photograph – which is actually four images stitched together to one panorama (ISO 100, F11, 1/50s) – I feel like I fulfilled the vision. And that is another point: imagining, visualising & creating, not merely taking a photo. Something I’m still learning to get better at.
The Imperial Palace Garden in Kyoto – a place of magic and such rich colour. It was special to have some quiet minutes there this morning before all the truck loads of tourist busses would eventually arrive. Pure tranquillity.
This is a panorama stitched together in Lightroom of three individual HDR images which also were created as HDR’s in LR in first place. All shot at ISO 100 and f/7.1.
The 10.000 toriis leading up to Mount Inari at the Fushimi Inari Shrine. Each gate has been donated by worshippers, companies or organisations over the many years, giving thanks for their prosperity and in hope of good fortune in the future.
One of the iconic symbols of Japan – The Kinkakuji Temple in Kyoto, also known as the ‘Golden Pavilion’ – a place of such rich beauty, particularly when calmness is in the air and the sun reflects the gold in the water.
I’ve been lucky – today was such a day of pure tranquillity. Perfect conditions for photography and to enjoy the stunning view.I really like the final image I got – which is actually two different exposures in post production in order to retain all the details in the highlights and shadows.
What you don’t see: how desperately hard I had fight my way through hordes of people to actually get not only the shot, but even nly a glimpse of the scene. Setting up a tripod for a longer exposure to smoothen out the water? No freakin’ chance!
Now, crowds are not the issue. They are expected. But selfie-sticks! My word, they are everywhere these days, and I feel it’s getting worse. You can’t walk half a meter, let alone get your own camera out, without a stick pocking your eyes and nose.
People don’t seem to care about these beautiful places any longer – these days it’s only about themselves, a funny pose, and the coolest selfie for their social media profiles.
I said before I was lucky to find perfect conditions today – true, but I was certainly not when I arrived at the Kinkakuji together with two or three big busloads of guided tours. Thing is: one of these folks actually took a proper look at the pavilion and the breathtaking scenery. First thing is the stick out, their back turned to what they actually came for to see and then posing for the picture they so desired to show the world but will never look at again.
Look, each to their own. If that’s the way these people want to experience these places – fine with me. I got a photograph I’m really proud of – but I would have loved to take in more of the scenery myself, which was near impossible with people pushing from all sides to get in front for their selfies.
The sun pushes through thick clouds to lighten up the majestic Forbidden City in Beijing on a wintry December day.
The real Beijing happens aside of all the beautiful temples, gardens, western like shopping malls and roast ducks in touristy restaurants.
It happens in the small lanes and alleys behind the big roads. Where life slows down, people go about their business, streets smell of delicious spices and herbs…
What love about this image – probably my favourite of all I took last week here – it shows how those real people – the ones who keep the city alive – come back home after their day in the big office buildings lurking behind them in the background through the smog in the The old man standing there, smoking a fag; he has seen it all oh so often before.