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!

A Not So Perfect Reflection

Summer, French Alps

Although I never found Lac du Roy as intended, this fantastic unnamed lake was right next to the car park at which I ended my hike. Before I left to head home I spent a while just taking all sorts of different shots around the water’s edge.

Unfortunately there was a chap just out of shot fishing, which made it impossible to get a great reflection. He clearly wasn’t very good because he kept creating ripples in the water. I’m no fishing expert, but I’m pretty sure that’s not the best approach!

This was the most balanced composition I found around the lake, but I’ve no doubt there’s a better one out there. The shot was taken late in the afternoon, but I still had some harsh lighting in the foreground that I had to correct in Lightroom by adjusting the exposure.

On The Horizon

On The Horizon, Massif Des Bauges, France

As I passed under the Dent des Portes clouds began to gather menacingly overhead. This was my first time hiking in the Massif des Bauges region of the French Alps and it was looking more and more like it was about to welcome me with a big dump of rain.

The heat of the day subsided, and a cool breeze began to flow across the mountain as the sun was shut out of the sky. Looking left I noticed a beautiful symmetry in the horizon. The dark clouds made for a fantastic sky and fortunately there was a lone hiker just making his way across the ridge.

His presence really shows the scale of the landscape, although I do wish he was a bit more prominent in the frame. You really have to view full screen to have an idea it’s a person at all! I experimented with a few different crops, but I was happiest with this one in the end.