Published in The Observer…



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.

Power Nap Anyone?



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!


The odd man in the middle



Tokyo, December 2016




Imperial Palace Garden



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.

10000 Toriis



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.

Kinkakuji Temple Kyoto




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.

Breathtaking Hanshin



What a breathtaking sporting venue Hanshin Racecourse near Osaka, japan is – it fits up to 139.000 fans and spots a unique architecture, particularly in the paddock area, which is covered by a multi-layered roof.

Shibuya Scramble Crossing



People, people and more people – that’s what I took away from my days in Tokyo – and nothing else represents this as fittingly well as the Shibuya Scramble crossing, apparently the busiest intersection in the world!

Night falls at Tokyo



Tokyo at night from from the Metropolitan Government Building just hours ago – a free place to get up to the 45th floor, 220 meters above sea level and get a panoramic view across the whole city.

Gives some scale to what  the “most populous metropolitan area in the world” looks like. It’s – obviously – absolutely gigantic. Wherever you look: it’s lights, houses, office blocks, skyscrapers, cars….

From a photography perspective this is quite a tricky spot to shoot from. That’s mainly because the light from inside the panoramic deck reflects badly in the glass windows and therefore makes it near impossibly to get a clear shot without some glare in the frame.

The “no tripod” rule doesn’t help either. I used my gorilla pod for this, which meant I got away with it for quite some time. This shot is a 10s exposure at 100 ISO, 26mm with my favoured Sigma 17.-50mm lens.

Clearly this is not the best view of Tokyo you can get – that one is out to the other side – but it was the best I could get at this point in time.

While I’m complaining about the fact that the observation deck is not necessarily photographer friendly, one has to keep in mind that it is absolutely free of charge to get up there and enjoy the view of the city. So hats off to Tokyo for offering this unique view without charging for it.