Monthly Archives: April 2014

In The Shadow Of A Palace

Grand Palace, Amsterdam

I really struggled to capture the presence of the Grand Palace in Amsterdam. Occupying one end of the popular Dam Square it must be almost impossible to get a shot during the day without a whole bunch of people in it. I quickly decided I’d have to try some different angles.

Generally I find it hard to photograph large, monumental buildings like this. It’s very difficult to translate that feeling of standing beneath them in an image. But I was pretty happy with the composition of this shot, and think it conveys a good sense of the looming inevitability of such grand architecture.

I did feel that it was lacking some impact in colour. Along with a boost to the clarity I used the “Antique” preset in Lightroom to bring out the details and provide a bit more contrast.

A Glimpse Of The Past

Mining, Grand Canyon, USA

Taken at the Grand Canyon a little over four years ago, there was something about this old mining structure which captured my imagination. It provided a window into the past, a brief glimpse into humanity’s impact on this great wonder of the world.

It was also a fantastic subject for a slightly different composition of the canyon, which I was quite excited about. I did a bit of post processing in Lightroom, opting for the preset “Aged Photo” before making a few minor adjustments.

Looking back it’s probably the most interesting image I captured on our day trip from Las Vegas. It was definitely worth the long bus ride, although next time I might opt for the view from a helicopter instead!

The Lines Aligned

Le Grand Bornand, France

I probably wouldn’t have got this shot if the pass around the mountain was open. I’d not really researched my route and stumbled upon the Col de la Colombière, which is apparently closed until June! So I stopped the car and went for a short walk along the still snowy road to see what I could find.

After I’d exhausted my usual routine of taking lots of photos with the road as a leading line, I decided to search around for something a little different. Looking up at this grassy bank I noticed that its horizon was almost perfectly aligned with that of the mountains behind. A lovely coincidence of nature and perspective!

Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

Le Môle, France

Taken from the summit of Le Môle, this shot seemed like a perfect fit for this week’s photo challenge. After nearly three hours of uphill hiking I finally made it to the peak, and boy was it worth it! I really felt like I was on top of the world.

Le Môle is by no means tall. In fact at 1863m it could be considered small next to some of the higher peaks that can be seen from its summit. But because it’s isolated and not immediately surrounded by other mountains it’s an incredible vantage point from which to look out over the French Alps.

I spent at least an hour up here exploring and being patient whilst waiting for the sun to peek out from behind the clouds. This shot captures one of those fleeting moments when the mountainside was blessed with sunlight. The leading lines of the path and the ridge alongside it were just too good to ignore!

Hiking Towards The Light

Hiking, Le Môle, France

I’ve been walking in the mountains before, but never anything you could really consider a proper hike. For some reason when I set off to reach the top of Le Môle in France, I was confident that it wouldn’t be too tiring. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

At this point in the hike I was just about to reach half way – Le Petit Môle – and I was absolutely exhausted. Fortunately I had my camera with me and I was on my own, so I didn’t really mind stopping every 5 minutes to take some photos (and catch my breath).

I loved the light in this scene, and after waiting a few seconds for this chap to make his way up the mountain a little more I took this shot. Actually I would have preferred him a bit further to the left, but this was the best pose I managed to capture with both walking poles on display.

Grazing Before The Storm

Grazing Before The Storm, French Alps

Is it just me, or is there something special about the sound of cow bells ringing through the mountains? It immediately puts a smile on my face. So I was a pretty happy chap when I came across this field of grazing cows on my way back down from Pointe de la Rochette near Annecy.

What struck me most in this scene was the contrast. Not only do the white, leafless trees really stand out against the backdrop of evergreen firs, but the sunlight bathing the field in light provides no warning of the stormy clouds approaching.

I quickly switched out my wide angle lens for a trusty 50-200mm telephoto to snap this shot. It’s not something I use very often, but I’m slowly learning how best to take advantage of it. Do you like to use a zoom lens for landscape photography? Maybe you have some tips? I’d love to hear from you!

Reflections At Dusk

Jet d'Eau, Geneva, Switzerland

On Friday evening I went out to shoot the sunset over Lake Geneva, which in the end wasn’t all that spectacular. However it was the first time I’ve seen the Jet d’Eau light up at dusk this year, a sure sign that spring is upon us. I have to say I was pretty excited!

I’d been out shooting for a few hours, running back and forward between different points to capture the light as best I could. When I saw the jet light up I knew I wanted to find a spot where I could get a good reflection of it in some calmer waters.

What I was not prepared for were the bats that came out of hiding, flittering about just in front of the camera lens! I was slightly concerned I might get jumpy and knock my tripod over into the water by accident, so I took a few steps back and let the long exposure work its magic.