Photography

Grand Canal Panorama

Photo of the Day

This classic view from the Rialto bridge is a favourite among visitors and locals alike. You can’t blame them – it’s one of the best places to witness Venice’s magic.

This has to be one of the most photographed spots in Venice, so it’s a challenge to come up with something different from every other photo that has been repeated in the same location. By making this a panorama, I know I haven’t exactly broken new ground, but it’s a least a little bit different from the norm.

The wider format allows for a greater sense of place. It includes more of the surrounding buildings and the paths teeming with pedestrians along both sides of the canal. Gondoliers moving across the waters add to the interest of the evening scene.

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Running through Venice

Photo of the Day

Of course, Venice has its share of picturesque scenes apart from canals. In today’s photo of the day, a young boy sprints through Venice’s narrow alleys while the sun creates dramatic light and shadow in the background.

Click to see the image on a dark background:


Ethereal Venice

Photo of the Day

Walking in Venice sometimes feels like a dream. It’s such an otherworldly place it often doesn’t quite feel real. Today’s photo of the day was an experiment to try to capture some of that dreamy mood.

The strange blurring in this photo is the result of doing a long exposure in the middle of the day with the gondolas moving slightly in the foreground. Thanks to a brand new 10-stop neutral density filter, I was able to make a 60-second exposure in the bright sunlight.

If you don’t know how a neutral density filter works, here’s the idea: essentially, you’re just putting some dark glass in front of your lens. That means that less light is reaching the sensor, so in order to get a properly-exposed image, more light will somehow have to be let into the camera. Usually, with an ND filter in place, that is achieved by lengthening the exposure time. So, with a 10-stop filter, you have to let in a lot more light and you get get exposures of one minute or more like this one.

What I like about this result is the mix of sharp subjects with the blurred. The long exposures turns the gondolas into ghost ships on top of a silky-smooth sea with clouds appearing to dart past in the sky, but the poles and buildings all remain completely sharp and solid.

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Before Dawn in St. Mark’s Square, Venice

Photo of the Day

With my well-located B&B, there was only four bridges in between leaving the door and reaching St. Mark’s Square, one of the central landmarks in Venice. That made it easy for me to roll out of bed before sunrise to try to capture the square in the blue pre-dawn light. Well, as easy as it ever is to wake before dawn.

The advantage of being awake at this hour is, of course, there’s no one else around. A shot like this would be pretty tricky to get in the evening with throngs of tourists crowding every available space in the marvellous square. Instead, the only other people around seem to be photographers with the same goal of catching that elusive tourist-free shot.

In this shot, you get The Doge’s Palace on the left side of the image with the distant campanille of San Giorgio Maggiore across the water. I shot this with a long lens that has compressed the perspective considerably making the tower appear much closer than the 500 metres away that it actually is.

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The Bridge of Sighs

Photo of the Day

A couple weeks ago, I had a gelato-fuelled romp through Venice, Italy. A week of traipsing through Venice’s narrow streets left me with some sore, blistered feet, but I hardly cared – after all, I had just spent a week in Venice! Can’t ask for much more than that.

The incomparable group of islands rising from the North-Italian lagoon are unique and magical. There’s really nowhere else like it. Buildings rise straight up from the water and often only leave space enough between them for a couple people to uncomfortably pass each other. That means, of course, there no room for cars and that’s almost one of the most exceptional aspects of the city. Most urban environments are so shaped by automobiles that the absence is striking.

Venice’s canals are waterways to other cities’ motorways. The Grand Canal makes a reverse-S-curve sweep through the city and its banks offer some of the best opportunities for escaping the shadows of the narrow streets. Gondolas bob over the waves churned up by the vaporettos, supply boats and water taxis on the busy thoroughfare.

But the gondolas are more at home in the small canals where fewer motorised boats can fit. Gondoliers expertly maneuver the small boats through these cramped passages usually while transporting a lovestruck couple immersing themselves in Venice’s romance.

In this photo, one such couple enjoys the tranquility below the Bridge of Sighs, one of Venice’s more famous spans. The bridge was so named due to it being the supposed last view prisoners would have of Venice before their condemnation and the sight they beheld would cause them to wistfully sigh at all they were leaving behind. The Wikipedia article on the subject, however, suggest that Lord Byron’s name for the bridge imagined the past a little more vividly than the truth.

Today, the sighs come from visitors marvelling at the beauty of Venice.

Click to see the image on a dark background:

bridge-of-sighs


Mermaid Street in Rye

Photo of the Day

The most famous street in the small medieval town of Rye in East Sussex is Mermaid Street and its most famous building is the Mermaid Inn. It’s been operating for almost 600 years and is visible on the right side of this photo.

Please visit my gallery of photos from Kent and East Sussex to see more of the area.

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Photo of the Day

If you ever drew a picture of a castle when you were a kid, chances are it looked something like Bodiam Castle. The moated castle is near archetypal in its appearance. The imposing towers, the solid ramparts, the bridge and moat. It’s all just perfect. If I had any of my childhood drawings, I could probably find one that has a castle that looks just like Bodiam.

For more images of Bodiam Castle, visit my gallery of images from Southeastern England.

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The White Cliffs of Dover

Photo of the Day

The morning sun warms the brilliant chalk faces of the White Cliffs of Dover in today’s photo of the day. The spectacular coastline overlooks the English channel and either welcomes visitors coming in from Europe with a splendid sight or gives a final taste of some of England’s magnificent scenery to those departing its shores.

While walking along these iconic cliffs, clear days will yield a view of the French coastline in the distance. And while admiring the view, your phone just might beep with a misguided text message welcoming you to your respective phone network’s French services. No one called while I was there, so I managed to avoid the roaming charges.

An interesting detail here is the remnants of a recent landslide spreading parts of the cliff into the ocean.

For more photos of this beautiful part of the world, check out my photos from Southeast England.

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Canterbury Cathedral Cloister

Photo of the Day

The previous photo of the day showed us Canterbury Cathedral from a distance, but today we’ve moved inside the cloisters. The sunlight streaming through the elaborate gothic arches makes for quite a sight.

If you’d like to see more of my images of the cathedral, check out my gallery of photos of Southeastern England.

Click to see a larger image:


Canterbury Cathedral

Photo of the Day

Just as striking from a distance as it is from up close, Canterbury Cathedral glows in the last light of the day. It’s an enormous building that truly dominates the medieval town surrounding it.

This world heritage site is one of England’s best-known buildings and deservedly so. The massive gothic building has a history that dates all the way back to 597 A.D. That kind of timespan always boggles my mind and visiting a place with so many stories in its walls is one of my biggest attractions to this country.

For more images of Canterbury Cathedral, check out my gallery of images of Southeastern England.

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Leeds Castle

Photo of the Day

Today’s photo comes from my recently-published gallery of photos of Southeastern England. My time there was spent getting over a pretty nasty flu, so I didn’t make any heroic efforts to try to catch many sunrises and sunsets while there. Fortunately, the weather was generally cooperative during the day and after sleeping in a bit, I was still able o get some nice shots of the area.

This is Leeds Castle in Kent, a remarkably lovely castle. While wandering through its impeccably-manicured gardens, it’s hard to think that it was originally built for the purposes of fortification – it’s far too peaceful a place to be built in preparation for battle.

Click to see the image on a black background:


My Photos in Countryfile Magazine

Check out the May issue of Countryfile Magazine and you’ll find one of my images of the Old Man of Storr. It’s a big, two-page spread image that’s part of their article on Scotland’s Isle of Skye.

I don’t have a copy of the issue yet, but here’s the image for your viewing pleasure (click for a larger view):

The Old Man of Storr Panorama

And I neglected to mention my last appearance in the magazine – in the March issue, another photo from Skye got a two-page treatment:

Countryfile Magazine March 2012, Sligachan Bridge

Here’s the photo of Skye’s Sligachan Bridge on its own (click for a larger view):

Sligachan Bridge Panorama

Lastly, check out my gallery to see a bunch more of my photos of Scotland.


Dunvegan Castle and MacLeod’s Tables

Photo of the Day

This view of Dunvegan Castle on Scotland’s Isle of Skye required that I grow a few feet to get a line of sight over the trees. I’ve been trying for years, but I don’t seem to be getting any taller, so I took to the branches to gain some height.

I can’t say I recommend precariously balancing yourself in a prickly tree with a camera in one hand trying to keep steady enough to take a photo, but sometimes that’s just the only way to get the shot. It was no more than a few feet off the ground, but those few feet made all the difference.

My goal with this shot was to be able to get the castle and MacLeod’s Tables in the same shot. They’re the two unique flat-topped hills you see in the middle of the background.

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Dunvegan Castle, looking across to Macleod's Tables on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.


Evening in Glen Coe

Photo of the Day

As I trundled up a boggy hillside soaking myself up to the ankles while being swarmed by midges, I thought to myself, “I have to come back here and spend more time.” No, really!

I only had one all-too-brief evening in Glen Coe, Scotland and much of my time was actually spent in nearby Rannoch Moor. So, I owe Glen Coe another visit. I need to climb some of those hills. Just look at ’em! Great walks are sure to abound in these stunning Scottish highlands.

So, until I get back there, I will gaze longingly at this photo and know that some gorgeous sights await me.

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Neist Point Lighthouse

Photo of the Day

Here’s another one from the beautiful Isle of Skye in Scotland. I could explore that place for weeks…

This image is from Neist Point, a rocky promontory that extends out from the Westernmost part of Skye. The drive there follows one of the island’s ridiculously narrow roads covered in sleeping sheep and stops a short walk from the cliff tops towering over the ocean. There is a walk down to the lighthouse pictured below, but I was more interested in this dramatic perspective with the cliffs rising above the land and sea.

Click to see the image on a black background:

Neist Point Lighthouse


Photoshop CS6 Content Aware Tools

Every Photoshop release seems to come out with a new feature that makes you jump up and shout, “Wowly heck!” It’s looking like CS6 won’t be the exception.

The content-aware tools have taken their vitamins and grown stronger than ever. Moving objects around in your photos has never been easier. Check out this video for proof:

There’s a few other sneak preview videos available on Photoshop’s Youtube channel. The improved Camera RAW features actually have me a bit more excited than the content-aware magic, but locally adjusting noise in RAW is a little less dramatic than casually moving parts of your scene around in an image.


Panorama of the Storr

Photo of the Day

A while ago I posted this image of the Old Man of Storr on the Isle of Skye, Scotland.

Today’s image comes from the opposite side of the Old Man. It was a breathtaking walk to get all the way around that took me to the summit of the Storr where a crystal-clear day allowed me to see almost the whole Isle of Skye in a 360-degree view. As evidenced by this photo, the views didn’t stop as I made my descent. This brilliant day gave me a great view of the magnificent rocks towering over the landscape.

Click to see a larger image:

Old Man of Storr Panorama


Nikon D800 Announced

The D800. You want this. And if you don’t, I’ll have yours because I certainly do want it.

Rumours of this 36-megapixel beast has been floating around for a couple years and Nikon has finally officially announced the new camera which comes in a couple of flavours: The D800 and the D800E. The latter is a slightly sharper version of the former. The D800E doesn’t come with the same low-pass filter as the D800 thus making its images sharper (but leaving photographers with the potential for moiré patters in their images).

It’s more than just megapixels though. I’ll leave it to the experts at dpreview.com to give you the rundown of all the features in their preview, but suffice it to say, if this camera is as good in real life as it is on paper, photographers can expect some exceptional image quality to start filling their hard drives soon.

The D800 microsite has a few examples of shots from the camera if you can’t wait to see what some people have been doing with it.

One could expect this features set to be wholly unaffordable for enthusiasts, but not so. In the US, it carries a $3,000 price tag which is pretty great considering what you’re getting. It’s a good thing because I’ll probably need a new computer to manage the massive file sizes we can expect from this camera.


Rannoch Moor Sunrise Panorama

Photo of the Day

The great views from Scotland’s Rannoch Moor keep coming. All of these spots are just off the road that leads into Glen Coe. I hope I get the chance to go back and explore more of the area to see if I can find any good walking trails.

Click to see a larger image:

Rannoch Moor Sunrise Panorama


Rannoch Moor at Dusk Panorama

Photo of the Day

From near the same spot as the previous photo of the day, the sun has set and the dusk colour paints the sky over Rannoch Moor.

Click to see a larger image:

Rannoch Moor Morning Panorama


Rannoch Mooor at Panorama at Sunset

Photo of the Day

A perfectly colourful sunset breaks over Rannoch Moor in the Scottish Highlands.

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Rannoch Moor at Dawn Panorama


Bridge over Brook near Alston

Photo of the Day

Last November, we stayed at one of the cottages at the Lovelady Shield Country House a couple of miles from Alston where our alarm clock was only the cows mooing in a nearby field. It was our base for exploring the Hadrian’s Wall and its surroundings, but I didn’t have to go far from the cottage to get a good view.

This bridge spanned a small brook that crossed the property and was only a few short steps from the hotel. The swirling current made for a great pattern in this long exposure as the sun sat low in the sky.

Click to see a larger image:

Bridge over Brook


Eilean Donan Castle Evening Panorama

Photo of the Day

Here’s the last one for now from Eilean Donan Castle. This is also from from this evening that threatened to kick up a serious storm with these brooding clouds. The rains never came in force, so I was able to capture this without getting too wet, though I did have to clean off the lens a few times. Scotland’s dramatic weather made for a colourful, moody background to this gorgeous location.

Click to see a larger image:

Eilean Donan Evening Panorama


Eilean Donan Castle at Dusk

Photo of the Day

Stormy skies gather in the evening above Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland.

Click to see a larger image:

Eilean Donan Castle at Dusk



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