La Conchita, California, December 2019
As I find myself on the south-east coast of Spain right now, enjoying a few quiet off days on the beaches of Playa de Oliva, I made use of the time in the evening, grateful for the fact the sun wouldn’t burn as hot as it does during the day, when it literally fries my skin that’s so unused to any sort of prolonged form of these warm rays, given the summer months have been washed away by persistent rain back home in Ireland.
So I took the short hike up to the ruins of Castell de Santa Anna, which is overlooking the small town of Oliva in the Valencian Community and the adjacent Mediterranean Sea.
Rewarded with a 360 degree view from up there, it certainly was well worth the effort; tranquility in its purest form watching on as the horizon changes colours to dark yellows, luminous orange- and red tones – but nobody is here, except myself, of course!
Having been to similar scenic viewing points in other places, like San Francisco or Lisbon that come to mind immediately, this one isn’t less spectacular, yet the area of Oliva, despite posing kilometers of the finest sand beaches isn’t particularly popular with tourists.
How wonderful, I think! There are still a few places not overun with tourists. Granted, I am one as well, of course….
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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