The House On The Hill

The House On The Hill, French Alps

If you ever hike Le Môle in the French Alps you’ll come across this seemingly disused house about half way up. It’s got a great view across the valley, so I’m not sure why it’s unoccupied. I wonder if it has a use during a particular part of the year and I was just there at the wrong time.

It’s a great spot to have a breather, which if you’re anything like me you’ll definitely be needing at this point in the journey to the summit. With that beautiful cloud and the mountain ridge both converging on the house I couldn’t resist this shot!

Having said all that, the view from the half way point probably isn’t worth the effort unless you’re heading for the summit. So if you’re in two minds about whether to make the trip or not, my advice would be to either go the distance or give this one a miss.

To Infinity… And Beyond!

Paragliding, Lake Annecy

Perhaps not quite to infinity. But I like to think that’s what would be going through my head if I ever took to running off a mountain with a paraglider on my back. While I was watching gliders take off at Col de la Forclaz, I saw this guy almost botch his take-off and end up in the trees.

According to my local expert this spot above Lake Annecy is quite popular with beginners due to its proximity to a big lake (for emergency landings!) and the lack of regulation in France. But apparently it can also be quite a tough spot for getting up into the air.

So while it’s not a complete surprise to see people struggling, watching it in person didn’t give me much confidence to try it myself. I guess I could always be tempted by the view though…

Would you ever try paragliding? Maybe you’re already a pro?! I’d love to hear from you!

Watching The Night Envelope Geneva

Reflections, Lake Geneva

Watching day turn to night around Lake Geneva is such a wonderful experience. Soon after the sun has set behind the Jura mountain range the buildings spring to life and the town shows its true colours. I don’t think there’s a much better spot to observe the beautiful transition than this one looking out towards the Jet d’Eau.

I really wanted to capture a sense of the night enveloping the town, so I spent about 2 hours with my tripod just watching the light change. Too early and the reflection would be too weak, too late and the day’s light would have passed. Of the many shots I took this was the most balanced.

Over the course of the evening I experimented with a variety of settings in Manual mode so that I could control both the aperture and shutter speed. Getting an exposure that was both long enough to blur the water and not too long to blow out the highlights of the buildings was an interesting challenge!

A Chiang Mai Market Salesman

Salesman, Chiang Mai

While exploring one of the night markets in Chiang Mai I spotted this chap watching over his stall. Or perhaps he is half asleep! It’s hard to tell. Sometimes you get lucky with photography, and this was one of those unplanned moments that I just had to capture. Even if it was a fleeting, sneaky snap!

There are so many things I love about this scene it’s hard to know where to start. The posture, the wooly hat, the facial expression and the less obvious bare foot paint such a vivid picture of this man’s character. And the light source coming into shot from the right worked wonderfully.

I really enjoyed trying some street photography while visiting Thailand last year. Maybe it’s because everything seemed so foreign to me, but there were just so many interesting subjects in every direction. I don’t have the same feeling at all when exploring Europe, but I wish I could recreate it somehow. Wouldn’t that be great?!

Open Doors Of Lisbon Cathedral

Open Doors, Lisbon Cathedral

Something about these doors of Lisbon Cathedral really grabbed my attention. The whole scene was rather ominous even in the bright light of day. I’ve visited many cathedrals throughout Europe but I’ve never seen an entrance quite like this one.

I had to wait a while to get this shot free of other tourists, but standing in the beautiful Lisbon weather was such a pleasure I didn’t mind at all. In May it offered the perfect combination of heat with a nice breeze, and I wouldn’t hesitate to return again at that time of year.

This shot has been sitting in my “To Publish” queue for a while so it’s processed exclusively in Lightroom. Having just started looking at Photomatix I might try and give it the HDR treatment too. I always think that effect works quite nicely with architecture shots!

Lake Annecy With HDR And Photomatix

Lake Annecy, French Alps

This week I’ve been experimenting with HDR and Photomatix a little. I originally processed this shot of Lake Annecy exclusively in Lightroom, but wasn’t completely happy with the results even though I liked the composition.

I didn’t have multiple exposures of the same scene as you typically would with HDR, so I used Photomatix to create an HDR image from a single RAW file. It gave me some extra detail in the foreground and the mountains on the horizon which is just what I was looking for.

While I’m not a fan of the over processed, saturated HDR images you see a lot these days, I do appreciate the more subtle effect the process can create. I still don’t have the patience for taking more than one exposure of a single scene but I do think I’ll be using Photomatix a little more in the future!

Have you ever used Photomatix? Maybe you’re a big fan of HDR images? I’d love to hear from you!

A Bumpy Ride Towards A Phuket Sunrise

Sunrise, Phuket, Thailand

With the wind in my hair I volunteered to sit at the front of the boat, having no idea that it was the most uncomfortable spot on the thing. Especially in choppy conditions! Riding towards the sunrise in Phuket must be one of my most memorable experiences to date.

I may have been fearing for the integrity of my spine as I bounced up and down with the waves. But being at the front meant I had an unobstructed view of the beauty unfolding right in front of us. I didn’t regret a minute of it, although my back may have disagreed at the time.

Placing the boat in the foreground to provide some perspective and a sense of place, I wanted to use the middle of the bow as a subtle leading line to the sunrise. Trying to get a clean shot while being thrown about every few seconds proved very difficult! I definitely didn’t have many keepers at the end of the trip, but fortunately one or two made the cut.

Do you have any tales of woe from a boating experience? Or maybe you’ve tried shooting from a fast moving vehicle before? I’d love to hear from you!