Apologies for the radio silence over the last couple of weeks! But I’ve been fortunate enough to spend them travelling around Canada. What an awe-inspiring place for landscape photography – I took so many photos! And I’m so excited to start sharing them with you over the coming weeks.
Our first stop driving the famous Icefields Parkway through the Canadian Rockies was Herbert Lake. The overcast skies that had left us slightly disappointed as we started our journey created an incredible atmosphere over the water and to the mountains beyond.
The clouds were moving at a pace and seemed to create a completely different view each time I looked out, hiding and revealing the peaks as they went. I took many wider shots but felt that the isolation of this single mountain face by the cloud created a more focused scene.
I brightened the image up a bit and boosted the contrast to try and give a more mystical, fantasy feel to the image which is exactly how I felt standing in that spot. It was the perfect start to what must be one of the greatest scenic drives on our planet.
One early morning we took a beautiful walk along the Big Island coast near Waikoloa, admiring the palm trees as we went. Wandering south from the Fairmont Orchid hotel there were so many small bays, some sandy and some full of lava rocks. It was the perfect place for a relaxing stroll in the relative cool at the beginning of the day.
I’m not sure why, but these trees are just so pleasing in photographs! Perhaps it’s because they just look so clean, with the slim narrow trunk leading up to such well defined leaves at the top. I don’t know! It’s not often you find trees that look so great as the single focus point of a photo, but I think the palm tree really pulls it off.
I used my Lightroom preset ‘Summer Sky’ on this shot, which I’ve been using a lot recently in photos where the sun is shining and the sky is just a plain blue. It just looks really boring without any clouds! Playing with the colour a little seems to make a big difference.
I’m thinking of putting some of my presets into a bundle and selling them online for a small fee. Would you be interested in that? I think I’ll try to sort something out over the next few weeks but I have no idea where to start!
There’s no question that Hawaii’s Big Island is an amazing location for a road trip, and one of its most famous drives is Chain of Craters Road. Winding through the black lava fields created by many volcanic eruptions over the years was a humbling experience.
As we descended 3700 feet from the smoking Kilauea Caldera to sea level I was on the lookout for good spots to capture this barren, surreal landscape. The road has been covered several times by lava flow, so for me this shot represents the enduring battle that is so present here between humanity and nature.
The roads throughout the Big Island were fantastic for the most part, as smooth as they were scenic and fairly clear of any traffic. At times the low speed limits were a little frustrating, but for the most part I was just happy to be forced to slow down and enjoy the view. After all that’s what Hawaii is all about!
While touring the Royal Palace in Amsterdam you pass behind the famous balcony on which royals greet the public in Dam Square. These chairs sit in the hallway behind the balcony, and presumably are where said royals wait before heading outside for the special occasion.
After I took this shot I wondered what that must feel like, what they might be thinking as they sit on these chairs. Do they look upon each engagement as a burden, a chore or a privilege? Is living a life prescribed to you from birth easy? I imagine not.
I loved the amazing blue here, which I have since noticed is very similar to the colour used by the Dutch national airline KLM. I suspect it’s not a coincidence, but I have no idea. Maybe someone out there knows the answer?!
To give the colour a bit more emphasis I decided to make the rest of the image black and white. Fortunately it was pretty easy in Lightroom. I just had to decrease the saturation for every colour other than blue to zero.
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.
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.
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.