My first visit to the Cascade d’Ardent in France was too short, and I came away knowing that I’d left some great shots on the table. That’s never a satisfying feeling! So on my second trip I arrived with plenty of time to explore the smaller falls upstream.
It’s interesting to see how the water flow changes throughout the year, and I’m always surprised by how much it’s affected by the weather. On this occasion the river was pretty shallow, allowing me to get to spots like this that I didn’t dare to venture into before.
I’ve been caught out a few times in places I didn’t expect to be slippery and it’s always a quick wake up call! When the torrent is weaker it’s easier to get closer to the water, and it also reveals some nice details in the falls you might not see when they’re at at full strength.
As I walked back to our room at the Andaz Maui resort I turned around to take one last look at the Hawaiian sunset. The blue hour was just beginning, and what a sight! I’d just spent an hour shooting at the beach, but I couldn’t resist setting up my tripod one more time to capture this scene across the pool.
I often find the best light comes after the sun has set, and this evening was no exception. As always I exposed this shot for the highlights, expecting to have more success recovering the dark areas of the sky in post-processing.
Unfortunately as I brought up those shadows in Lightroom a huge amount of ugly noise was revealed. Using a combination of Topaz DeNoise and Lightroom I had to do a fair bit of work to balance the noise reduction against loss of detail in the image. It’s a bit of a black art and I still feel like an apprentice!
Last time I visited the Cascade du Rouget I had to hike for an hour through snow. It was a nervy journey with a few slips here and there. Not my most enjoyable hike in the French Alps! As I parked the car just metres from the waterfall this summer I felt conflicted about the road being so close by. Surely something of such natural beauty was worthy of more effort than that?!
Unfortunately I actually prefer the wider composition of my winter shot. The falls are much more powerful in the summer, and there was way too much spray to get into the same position. I set up my tripod further to one side and started shooting, but it quickly became clear the spray was still going to be an issue.
I had to cover my lens with a lens cloth, start the 10-second timer I use for tripod shots to avoid camera shake, count to 9 and then remove the lens cloth just before the shutter opened. Of course this was not an exact science, and I had plenty of attempts where the lens got wet before the shot was taken or I removed the lens cloth too late. I should really invest in a remote shutter release!
You’ll find lava rocks and tide pools like this all around the coast of Hawaii’s Big Island. It must be one of the easiest places in the world to find good foreground interest for shots of the ocean!
Before we left for our vacation I did some research on Google Maps satellite view to see what I could find within walking distance of the hotels we were staying in. This shot was taken a two minute walk from the Fairmont Orchid hotel in Waikoloa as we experienced our first Hawaiian sunset.
I knew in advance there would be some nice lava rock around here, but I had no idea about the tide pools! The reflection captures some clouds that aren’t in the shot, and hopefully leads you to wonder what else might be out there if you could just look around outside the frame.
After a six hour hike around the nearby mountains, this magnificent autumn colour in Lac de Joux Plane was the perfect way to end the day. The yellow leaves are still hanging on to their branches before winter grips the Alps, and I’d quite like to hang on to autumn in the same way. Is there a more beautiful time of year?
I only had time to try a few different compositions here, and this was the best reflection I managed to capture. There were some pesky ducks around the lake, bobbing in and out of the water on a fairly frequent basis. They created some nice ripples but weren’t really helping me very much!
Although I took more zoomed in shots of these trees and their reflection, I preferred this shot with the foreground interest in the end. Being able to see the bottom of the lake gives the image more depth and hopefully draws the viewer in. That’s the theory anyway!
It’s a short downhill hike to reach the black sand beach which occupies Pololu Valley on the Big Island. Of course that means it’s uphill on the way back to your car! But I’d say it’s achievable for pretty much any able-bodied person, so long as it’s not wet and slippery out there.
Once we reached the bottom of the valley I spent some time walking up and down the beach, listening to and watching the waves. The ocean was so powerful here, with a really strong undertow pulling the water back out. It’s probably not a great place to go swimming! Especially since there is no lifeguard at all.
What it lacks in swim-ability it makes up for in isolation. We were sharing the beach with about 10 other people, so between the what must be about three or four hundred metres of sand it wasn’t too difficult to feel alone with nature. An incredible spot, and definitely worth the hike!
From the car you’re never that close to the torrent that runs through the Gorges du Bronze, but there is a spot where you can park up and walk down to the water. It’s not a marked trail so you have to use your imagination a little, but it’s only 150m or so.
I had the place completely to myself, so I spent a couple of hours just exploring up and down the river. I saw a number of paint markings on rocks here which I think are used for canyoning routes. Have you ever heard of canyoning?
The basic idea is to follow a canyon through the water, rappelling, climbing, jumping and swimming your way down. I’ve never tried it myself, it’s always been the wrong side of my risk/reward scale!