Inside Geneva’s St. Pierre Cathedral

St Pierre Cathedral, Geneva

In modern times Geneva is probably best known for its association with the United Nations and the Swiss banking industry. But back in the 1500’s it was considered the “Protestant Rome”, the unofficial capital of the Reformation.

St. Pierre’s Cathedral was the adopted church of John Calvin, a leader of the movement away from the Catholic church. Protestant exiles from all over Europe came to Geneva to take refuge, so while it’s not the most interesting church to look at it’s certainly historically significant.

I always enjoy exploring the geometry inside cathedrals like this. There are so many different ways to frame a shot, with crazy lines all over the place. I’ve found one of the most effective techniques is to try and use features of the interior to frame other elements in the shot. This normally provides some nice depth to the image from front to back.

A Thai Elephant’s Backside

Elephant, Thailand

Just after washing the elephants in a nearby river, I snapped this one wandering away from us back to the fields. I was very wet at the time and the afternoon heat was slowly drying me off. Our experience at the Elephant Nature Park was full of magical moments like this.

I recently spent some time going through my back catalogue of photos to clear some hard drive space. I took far too many photos of elephants during our day here! I guess you don’t have much choice if you want to capture the moment with unpredictable animals.

That reminds me of a quick Lightroom tip that may be helpful – if you press the ‘x’ key on a photo Lightroom will mark it as Rejected. You can go through a bunch of photos marking the ones you don’t want. Then select “Delete Rejected Photos” from the Photo menu options, and voila! All the bad eggs will be gone. It’s a nice way to make your workflow that little bit more efficient.

The Buddhas Of Wat Chedi Luang

Buddhas, Wat Chedi Luang

There can be no doubt that the Buddhas of Wat Chedi Luang look their best in the dark. When dusk turns to night and the lights come on around the temple, there’s a quiet and relaxing ambiance that can’t be found during the heat of the day in Chiang Mai.

Perhaps it was because there were far fewer people, or because I wasn’t constantly on the look out for shade. Whatever the reason, this place was more magical once the sun had set, and so I spent an hour exploring the angles around the temple.

It took a while to get this shot all lined up. I was using a small mini-tripod which left me about 25cm from the ground setting up the camera. Unfortunately these things are never completely symmetrical, which I always find very disappointing!

Finding Peace In The Jerónimos Monastery

Cloister, Jeronimos Monastery

Just as impressive as the adjoining Church of Santa Maria, the Jerónimos Monastery in Lisbon was a sight to behold. With fantastic photo opportunities in every direction, the distinctive gothic style was as awe-inspiring as I had ever seen.

I felt a great sense of peace exploring the monastery. But looking back through my photos, the juxtaposition between its intimidating architectural style and the peaceful setting inspired by its environment is intriguing.

This shot was taken in the cloister, a beautiful courtyard surrounded by an ornate two-storey gallery. There were many great angles looking through the decorative arches towards the bell tower. This was the best I could find after walking around both floors of the gallery.

The Almshouses Of Bruges

Almshouses, Bruges

Much like the rest of Bruges, walking amongst these Almshouses felt a bit like stepping back in time. The peaceful courtyard bordered by beautifully quaint homes provided a great spot for a moment of reflection.

It seems a bit ironic that a part of the city built to house the poor is now one of the biggest draws for tourists visiting romantic Bruges. Little did they know that their modest homes would become so popular.

There was some fantastic contrast between the tall trees that dominate this courtyard and pristine white houses surrounding them. The perfect opportunity for a black and white shot, in spite of the rain that plagued our time in Belgium!

Hiking The Grand Balcon Sud Towards Index

Grand Balcon Sud, French Alps

Hiking along the Grand Balcon Sud in the Chamonix valley was the highlight of my summer exploring the French Alps on foot. The 90 minute trek from the Index cablecar to Lac Blanc and the Lacs des Chéserys was full of incredible views no matter where I turned.

But the hike along the same path in the opposite direction was even better, with Mont Blanc in view almost the entire time. I took this shot just after I started hiking back to the cablecar station to head home. I really can’t recommend this route enough!

On the right you can see one of the Lacs des Chéserys, a beautiful collection of small mountain lakes at an altitude of 2111m. To the left in the distance is Mont Blanc, the tallest mountain in Europe at 4810m. From here I spent a bit more time shooting at the lake, before continuing my journey back up the rocky face behind it.

Majestic Reflections In Lac Blanc

Lac Blanc Reflection, French Alps

When I reached Lac Blanc to find I was sharing it with only one other hiker, I knew the 5:30am wake-up call was worth it. This popular lake in the Aiguilles Rouges range of the French Alps is swarming with people for much of the day. But arrive early enough and you can have the place almost to yourself.

What’s the main attraction? The stunning views of the Mont Blanc massif, seen here reflected in the water. It’s been a bit of a dream of mine to see this lake. As I stood here looking out at what must be one of the most magnificent views in the Alps, I felt slightly overwhelmed by the grandeur of it all.

I thought I was aware of the beauty I’d find at Lac Blanc, but there is no substitute for being there in person. Seeing it with my own eyes, breathing the air and enjoying the silence. It made me fall in love with the mountains all over again. I wouldn’t hesitate to set my alarm for 5:30am and do it all again next weekend.