Lisbon Sunset Fantástico!

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Balmy temperatures, stunning architecture and grand views – that all is Lisbon. What Lisbon is also: sore calf muscles!

The one who wants to enjoy the rich beauty of Portugal’s capital has to be prepared to go the extra mile… or two for that matter…. up some brutally steep hills. The reward is even greater, though, for those who make the effort.

My legs were hurting, that’s for sure. Yet, while not inspired photography wise during my few days, (Lisbon offers enough subjects to photograph – I was simply not in “the zone” and had other things on my mind) it still felt great to climb around the city and get surprised about what’s next to be explored beyond the next wall of steep stairs.

The richest of rewards to reap is – of course – a delightful sunset; the golden sunlight glowing above the rooftops of Lisbon’s historical city, illuminating the monumental Lisbon castle

This photo – one of the few I took during the week – was taken atop of the Miradouro da Graça – quite clearly the prime viewpoint of Lisbon. A grand view offering the full scale of the hilly Portuguese capital.

Using the Telezoom Tamron 70-200mm turned out a perfect option opposed to a wide angle. A handful of vertical frames shot at 70mm stitched together in post worked best for me.

Turlough Hill Sunset

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Sometimes you get rewarded late…. so late that all gear was stowed away as I was on the return leg after a fine, yet far from spectacular – at least from a photography point of view – climb up to Turlough Hill in the afternoon.

While a beautiful day it was, the sun shining sky high throughout, the oh so often elusive yellow ball did vanish behind a tick layer of clouds as I prepared for my carefully selected sunset shot. One of those days, it seemed. Nothing you can do about it.

As I set sail before darkness hit, all of a sudden the world around me turns into a vibrant orange, red and purple wonderland. Gone is the layer of clouds, free is the sun, minutes away from dropping behind the back of Turlough Hill.

A sunset photo at last!

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.

Nevada Sunset

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Golden Gate Bridge’s Golden Sunset

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Nikon D7100, Tamron 70-200mm G2; 70mm, ISO 100, f/22, 30sec

Sky on Fire

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ISO 100, 8s, 17mm, f/11 – Nikon D7100, Sigma 17-50mm

First day in Australia – Adelaide in the south, to be specific. The first port of call for my three weeks long trip through “Aussieland”. A dream its been for a long time. Finally the chance to make it real. Although – and I didn’t quite know what it would mean when I booked the rather lowly priced flight tickets – it’s winter in “Down Under”.

Winter in Australia? Can’t be that bad, can it? Well, turns out it isn’t but then it kind of is – Says I didn’t have unrealistic expectations like roasting on the beach and surfing the waves in the ocean. Just one thing: no rain – PLEASE!

Dublin’s farewell gift on Saturday was a wet storm that soaked you only from sprinting as fast as you can the five meters from the taxi to the entrance of terminal two – desperate stuff!

24 hours later I come to realise the weather-god (Neptune is it, right?) and I we never make friends in this life – he sent the wet storm round the globe all the way down to Adelaide. Thanks mate!

First day in South Australia. 13 degrees, the Air BnB freezing, heaters are overvalued in a city where it’s nearly always hot. Those three or four weeks were it isn’t? Tough luck.

Now, while this type of weather isn’t good for the tan, it certainly is good for producing a stunning sky. That’s exactly what I was hoping for when I went down to Seacliff Beach in the afternoon.

Boy oh boy it didn’t disappoint! The constant play between sun and rain created the most amazing sky. There were those thick layers of dark, rain filled clouds that tried to drown the sun and its warm rays – an epic fight!

To capture the emotions and create maximum drama of the scene my idea was to get some long exposures. The first image at the top is my favourite from today. A final piece of sea grass clinging on to dear life, lying still, all his friends already washed away, while rain and sun fight it out in the background. A fitting tribute to the day it was!

In the end the rain won and the sea captured the beach. The tide is merciless.

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ISO 100, 4s, 17mm, f/11 – Nikon D7100, Sigma 17-50mm

Breda – Pearl of the South

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Breda, this city close to Eindhoven in the south of the Netherlands – I stumbled across by accident. The “pearl of the south” locals keep telling me, so I used the chance to explore this place for myself.

Roughly 170.000 citizens does the city count its own – admittedly it feels smaller. It feels compact, cosy, very much like a place you can walk around and explore in one day easily.

So I did today, on my “free” day. Sadly it was an overcast day, not particularly exciting for photography. A bit chilly too, a cool wind ensuring that there were no spring feelings in the air.

I was already home at half past five in the afternoon, putting the feet up after a day on the go, with a hot coffee in my hands, when suddenly this strange yellow thing squeezed through the thick layers of greyish clouds…. a signal!

So I got my cam and went out again, back to places I saw and shot throughout the day, but when checking the outcome on my laptop I had to admit the photos looked flat and dull, mainly because there was just no light.

In my head I always had this idea of shooting a stereotypical photo of the Netherlands. A canal, boats, cute little houses reflecting in the water…. here I got it, tonight, finally!

Though you can see dark clouds threatening on the right hand side of the sky. I’m happy that It got my arse up and went out again after a full day on the go, to get the one shot I REALLY wanted.

Golden Hour in the Bavarian Alps

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Wendelstein, December 2016

Alpine Bolzano Sunset

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Bolzano, Italy, December 2016

Night falls at Tokyo

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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.