Photographing Horseshoe Bend

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One of the most “Instagrammed” places of recent times; and I have got that bucketlist item ticked off the list as well!

Ever since having seen photos of the Horseshoe Bend for the first time I wanted to experience this unique landscape with my own eyes – and get one of those “unique” panoramic shots.

Interestingly, it’s only a relatively new phenomenon that the Horseshoe Bend is so popular, which has seen annual visitor numbers rising up to 1.3 million!  Hordes of people armed with selfie stick and mobile phone is a common sight these days; locals tell the story of a a place kept a hidden treasure for most of its existence.

Just a few miles outside of Page, Arizona, a short trail winds its way up to the spectacular edges of the Canyon walls – it’s easy to see why this has become such a popular attraction. Ultimately, this is the reason why I found my way there too!

Thankfully it’s off-season. Yes, this was certainly the most crowded place I’ve been to during my trip through Arizona. But I expected worse. And experienced much, much worse in other parts of the world.

Despite sunset time, the most popular time of the day for the Horseshoe Bend, there was ample opportunity to wander left or right and leave the crowds behind to find a place for oneself, to take in the breathtaking scenery and enjoy the sun slowly fading away.

Nonetheless, the crowds become an issue. At other times, there’s no serenity here, and in order to accommodate the masses changes are coming to the Horseshoe bend: “proper infrastructure” is currently under construction: meaning a new trail, railings  as well as the rumours have it, a $25 entrance fee.

That’ll alter the uniqueness of the experience dramatically, of course. What choice have authorities, though? They’ve got to ensure safety and currently, that has to be said, it’s rather dangerous, given there are no barriers, and beyond the edges it goes 300 metres straight down!

For the photo I had in mind, a straightforward panorama, I brought the Sigma 8-16mm. Finding a place for myself wasn’t an issue…. but one that provided the perspective I had in mind, while having a panoramic images with no people tangling their legs over the edges was the difficulty.

I decided to wander to the left and “hid” behind a tall stone wall, that helped to frame the picture but also hid the people I didn’t want to have in the shot. Eight vertical frames were stitched together in post in Lightroom eventually.

Magical Lough Bray

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Magical panoramic view as far as the eye can see over Lower- and Upper Lough Bray in the Wicklow Mountains.

Nikon D7100,  Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM – ISO 100, f/9, 1/500 sec; 8mm

Wicklow Mountains Vastness

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A sunset in the Wicklow Mountains shines the most delightful light on this magnificent landscape. Regardless how often I’ve been here, it never stops to take my breath away. Having this half an hour off my home is a privilege.

10 vertical frames – Nikon D7100 – Tamron 70-200mm G2 – stitched together in LR

Panoramic Hill of Allen View

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After passing the site multiple times in recent weeks (and didn’t find it instantly when actively looking for it either), today there was no stopping getting to the top of the Hill of Allen!

To find the site, even more so to find parking, is an adventure in itself. Don’t expect signs, and don’t expect the small car park that exists in theory to be open either – the site is officially not open for public any more as quarrying takes place at the other side of the hill.

It it still possible to go up, though. A small, muddy way leads all the way to the hill. A shame the county council has effectively abandoned this site of historical importance as it could be a real gem – if protected and cared for.

At the top of the tower has been a glass canopy erected a few years ago. Unfortunately this one has been smashed and glass is scattered as wide as the eye can see.

If you squeeze through the open frames you’ll be rewarded with the most magnificent view over county Kildare, the Curragh all the way up to the Wicklow Mountains in the distance, nonetheless. It’s well worth the effort.

Panoramic Fuerteventura

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The stunning panorama of Fuerteventura as seen from the Mirador Morro Velosa – six vertical frames each at 70mm taken and stitched together in post to create this kilometer long view across several barranco’s.

It’s actually not that long ago, that I owned a computer with a hard drive of the size of the original file of this image. It brought the old laptop I had with me on the trip to Fuerteventura down to its knees processing it.

Loch Ard George Magic

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One of my favourite places along along the Great Ocean Road during my recent three week long trip through Australia – Loch Ard George just minutes off the world famous Twelve Apostles, but less crowded.

Perth – I’m in Love

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4am in the morning, it’s only a mere three hours ago when I went to bed. What exactly was the reason to catch the very first plane in the morning out of Adelaide? Not so sure in those early hours….

…. though it’s well rewarded eventually. I leave chilly Adelaide – the thermometer fell to 2 degrees during the night! – for a more balmy in sunshine bathing Perth. This city on the far west of Australia, a whopping 2.500km away from the southerly Adelaide is a little cosmos of its own.

It’s the open ocean and white sand beaches, it’s a calm bay area, it’s green and most importantly it is warm! Over 20 degrees during the Australian winter…. that leaves a mark on its citizens I feel. In a positive way. The sun put a smile on peoples faces. Open, friendly, relaxed people.

I even braved the Ocean and took a dip in the “Indian”.

I’m renting an apartment suburb of Perth – Mosman Park. To the left the open ocean – I actually was brave enough to jump in and take a swim  – and to the left  the so called called “Bay View”. A small park that offers splendid view over the Perth Bay all the way up to the city centre with it’s high rising office buildings.

The best: there is nobody. No tourists. None! What a wonderful place this is. Already after two days I can say: Perth – I’m in love.

Adelaide Oval Panorama

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Got to be open for surprises. This was not on the agenda for today – day two in Adelaide – but if you get the chance… the gates were open so I walked through right into the magnificent Adelaide Oval this afternoon.

Why? I don’t know. I only walked past the Oval because it was on the way to the St. Peter’s Cathedral and I thought maybe I get a nice shot from the outside from across the bridge.

Turned out some company was holding a conference inside the ground on the second level hence nobody cared for the little fella that I was strolling around like a kid in a candy shop.

I took the full advantage, the complete tour all the way round and got a lovely panorama I would have not dared to dream to ever get a couple of days ago.

This stadium is a thing of a beauty. Breathtaking architecture – let’s hope atmosphere holds up…. gonna find out on Thursday when Port Adelaide Football Club plays in front of a 53.500 capacity crowd!

………

Shot taken: ISO 100, f/11, five horizontal frames, bracketed exposure – Nikon D7100, Simga 17-50mm

Shanghai in Black & White

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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.

Panoramic Puerto de Mogan

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Gran Canaria, October 2016