We watch Florence drift away through the dirt-streaked windows of the Regionale 3153 train en route to Foligno. Blue station signs proudly announce the names of their towns in large white letters as we pass through stop after stop. We pass Porcellino, skirt around the beautiful Lake Trasamino and two and a half hours later, we arrive in Foligno. The streets of the cities in Umbria wear their history well, with obvious nods to their medieval, Roman and Etruscan residents before them. Rock walls, stone streets and impressive arches wait around every turn. Gates that still stand to this day protected the residents of this fertile land when Hannibal’s feared Carthaginian army marched through central Italy on his way to Rome. Apparently, on the day Hannibal crossed this valley, the residents of the town of Bevagna were spared from his wrath because the Carthaginians could not see their city through the dense fog as they marched by. Fortunately for us, we were treated to far nicer weather and fortunately for Bevagna, we weren’t an invading army……..
Last November, my good friend, Dylan, invited me to travel to LA for the Adobe Max conference and am I glad he did! Not only was the conference amazing (I’m already registered to go back in 2016)! At the and of the opening session, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Photoshop, they announced that everyone in attendance would go home with a brand new Fujifilm X-T10 and 24-55 lens kit! As a Canon shooter, my initial thought was “That’s cool. Maybe I’ll sell it on Ebay and pay myself back for some of the conference.” But once I opened the box, I knew I was in love. It was built like a tank. The classic style, small size, a lens felt better than any Canon lens I own, and the dials—oh, the dials. It was such a departure from my Canon DSLRs where everything is on a screen. It was tactile, and although new, felt very familiar. I was smitten…I was in deep smit……
You know when you see or hear about a place that sounds utterly beautiful and special, and just sticks in your mind, bugging you relentlessly until you give in and book a flight there? Well the Lofoten Islands in Northern Norway was just such a place for me and my father Alan. My father had a special birthday this year and so what better thing as a gift than to get him an experience that neither he or I would forget. A road trip in Lofoten. Planning commenced a few months prior, going old school and using a paper map! So nice to ditch the sat nav for a change! A total of 4 flights and 1000km of driving awaited. There is pretty much one main road that links these string of islands that curl out into the Norwegian Sea, the E10, and is in itself a miracle of engineering. Long (up to 6km) tunnels cut through the mountains and stunning bridges that all sit well in the landscape. There was always a sense of excitement exiting each tunnel as undoubtably a stunning vista would await that would cue stopping the car and getting the cameras out…….
After twelve hours of travel by car and plane, I now find myself on a Freciarossa high speed train tearing its way through the Tuscan countryside at 300km per hour. The Leonardo da Vinci–Fiumicino airport in Rome is now a distant memory. My airplane window view of puffy clouds has been replaced with a train window view of lush green hills and beautiful Tuscan villages. I try my best to counteract the impending jet lag by pulling out my camera. Eventually the view transitions into a blurry mixture of tall trees, soundproofing walls and continuous pitch-black tunnels. Announcements in Italian blare over the speakers – their English translations come soon after. In what seems like only minutes after leaving Rome, we’re pulling into Florence…….
Source: Florence: A Timeless City
With any new country we visit we try to find some point of reference while planning a trip. Such was the case during our first visit to Scotland, four years ago, when we decided to visit Glenfinan, a place of birth of a fictional character Connor MacLeod, from the movie „Highlander“ (the original, not the re-makes.. ;D). This time around, I have managed to visit the famous Eilean Donan Castle, where some of the scenes from the movie were filmed. And what a place it is! My first stop over, was on our way to Skye, during early evening. It was overcast, and the light wasn’t fantastic but, I think, I have managed to capture some nice shots, all things considered. So, without further delay, here they are, my memories from the chase, after the fictional character from one of my all time favorite movies. Enjoy!……
Yes of course I had my Fuji gear with me which consisted of the Fuji X-T1, the XF 16-55 2.8 and the XF 23 1.4 which by know I have sold as I noticed that I did not use it much. Sort of 30 shots out of 3000! The Fujinon XF 16-55 2.8 is such an awesome lens that I did not need any other. My X-T1, which by now I have sold and replaced with the X-Pro2, performed like a charm! Not once did it let me down. The Battery life was more than enough. On every day I easily managed with one battery. Of course I had one spare in my pocket all the time, but never needed to change it. On this trip the Fuji X-T1 was set up to shoot raw only as I wanted the best image quality I could get and as we get an in camera raw converter with every X camera we buy I could have easily processed the files in the camera as well. I though choose to use Lightroom 6 to do the processing. The round trip stared in Yangon where I managed to do a little bit of people photography……..
Wenn man auf dem Wedding wohnt, denkt man ja oft, man hätte Istanbul schon gesehen, ohne jemals in der Türkei gewesen zu sein. Stimmt aber nicht… so ganz. Tatsächlich war keine Kumpir so gut wie die aus dem Çarik Kuruyemiş in der Seestraße (beste!), ein Punkt für Berlin. Und wenn ich schon Punkte verteile, gibt es direkt auch einen für Istanbul und den besten Platz der Stadt zu jeder Uhrzeit: die Galatabrücke. Manchmal kommen Delfine vorbei oder ein paar Jungs, die von der Brücke springen, bis die Polizei anrückt und sie verjagt. Für einen Blick auf das Display meiner Kamera war vor dem Weglaufen natürlich noch genug Zeit. Zweitbester Platz der Stadt: Galata Şirin Fırın, eine kleine Bäckerei um die Ecke von unserem Hotel, großartig, um den Kalorientank wieder aufzufüllen, plus noch ein bisschen Profiterole-Reserve obendrauf. Natürlich gibt es in Istanbul auch noch eine Menge Kirchen, Moscheen und Märkte, die einen Besuch Wert sind, aber draußen ist’s einfach schöner………
The trouble with traveling to beautiful places is that once back, I have to go through, literally, thousands of pictures and pick only some of them. Just recently I have been very lucky to go to Scotland again and travel to the Isle of Skye and Lewis with a few friends. I will be forever grateful to Adam for taking time off work to drive us all from Glasgow to those beautiful places, so that I could feast my eyes and share with all of you what a beautiful land Scotland is. It’ll be a very long series since, I am unable to chose only a shot or two from a given location, but when you see them you will understand what I mean. We have had a very capricious weather during this trip. Rain and sun, heavy clouds and blue sky, changing every few minutes, making my choices for photos even more difficult, because each place looks different in different light, and I ended up taking numerous photos of the same thing, just differently lit. I am asking you all to just bear with me, though, because it is all going to be worth it. Especially when, thanks to my Fuji, I was able to use a better camera and wider lens than the one I have used during our first trip, and I am very happy with Fuji’s performance during this wet trip and numerous lens changes (that’s what you get when most people traveling with you are using Fuji and they all share their toys ;D). I am, once again, in awe of the beautiful land and its people, so very nice and friendly. And, even though it was cold and wet and windy, during most of the trip, I would go back there right now, if only it was possible, and do it all over again :D …….
Ok. Maybe an odd title for a blog post but it is related to a very special shooting experience with the Fuji X Pro-2 that I had in Vietnam last week. Beside that I’m not enlightened at all (yet). And of course it also has to do with my obsession to use song titles for my blog entries. If you listen to Van Morrison’s song its clear that he also struggles with enlightenment. Enough about the title but before I talk about the Fuji X Pro-2 some words about the location. It is the Emperor Jade pagoda in HCMC (or Saigon), Vietnam. If you ever plan to visit the place it is important to either learn the correct pronunciation of its vietnamese name: Chua Ngoc Huang which is next to impossible or to simple write down the name or address on a piece of paper and hand it to the taxi driver. If you don’t you will end up standing in front of the wrong temple and you will find yourself playing charade with the taxi driver. I tried to play a fish (because there is a pond with fishes and turtles in front of the temple) but a couple of days later learned that my attempts were all wrong……
An increasing large part of my business is running photography trips and holidays. These trips are sometimes in the UK, like the wonderful Lake District and Snowdonia National Park. I also run holidays abroad in places like Copenhagen, Paris and Verona. We just arrived back from a great trip in Verona with a lovely group of people. I truly am very lucky to be able to offer these courses that frankly don’t feel a lot like working! Having said that I do put a lot of thought in to them and of course there is quite a lot of planning too. I tend to stress a little bit about whether everyone will enjoy it and importantly whether they will get something valuable from the experience. I shouldn’t worry because I get very good feedback and lovely testimonials from my clients. Some of the trips I am able to run with my wife Samantha. We have children at school so it’s not always possible but it cetainly makes the running of the trips much more fun. It’s great to have Samantha on board to help make sure things run smoothly and that attendees are happy……..