Posts Tagged ‘landscape photography’

Another Plitvice Stream

Photo of the Day

This was one of the first shots I took in Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park. It was a good indication of all the magnificent sights to be seen in this area.

Located at the upper lakes, this little cascade went directly underneath the walkway I was standing on to get this shot.

Click for a larger image:

Plitvice Stream

Plitvice Panorama

Photo of the Day

Happy 2011 everyone!

We finished 2010 with plenty of shots from Croatia’s wondrous Plitvice National Park and I have another batch of lovely waterfalls to share, so let’s get on with it.

Click for a larger image:

Plitvice Waterfall Panorama

Another Plitvice Waterfall

Photo of the Day

As a last little photo of the day before Christmas, we’ll continue our walk through the magnificent Plitvice lakes and stop briefly and this babbling brook to admire the scenery and breathe in the fresh forest air. Breathe in deeply. Relax…

Plitvice Waterfall

And now that you’re feeling nice and chilled out, I hope that feeling carries on for you through the holiday season. Merry Christmas and happy new year everyone!

Veliki Slap – The Big Waterfall (part II)

Photo of the Day

As I mentioned in the previous post, here’s a pulled-back shot of Veliki Slap, the big waterfall in the Plitvice Lakes, Croatia.

In this one, you can see the tiny little people on the left-hand side of the image and that should let you know just how huge the waterfall is.

Veliki Slap

Veliki Slap – The Big Waterfall

Photo of the Day

Veliki Slap is is not just the largest in the Plitvice Lakes, it’s the largest in Croatia – 78 metres of frothing fun. I did have to stitch together a number of images to get this vista thanks to its height.

I’ll admit that this photo suffers a little from a lack of scale. It needs a tiny little human at the bottom to show just how big it really is, but one is allowed any closer than the point at which I was standing. That’s for the best really. The park has done a great job of keeping the area pristine and I would hate to have to make exceptions just for little ol’ me.

Wait for the next photo of the day to see what I mean. In it, I’ve pulled back (a lot!) to show just how huge the waterfall really is.

Click for a larger image:

Veliki Slap

Plitvice Stream

Photo of the Day

One of the challenges of photographing the waterfalls of Plitvice is that you have to take most of your shots from the wooden walkways throughout the park. Unfortunately, they weren’t designed with photographers in mind. How rude!

The problem is just that the walkways are rather shaky. It doesn’t matter how stable your tripod is, when anyone moves, your camera moves. Even when someone is a good 50 feet away, you may feel their vibrations disturbing your camera’s equilibrium. That just means that patience is the order of the day.

The only problem with that, however, is that these walkways are sometimes a bit narrow and you might have a few impatient tourists queueing up behind you if you’re not paying attention to your personal space. So, you have to be both patient and considerate. You should be anyways, but consider this a reminder to everyone out there. It is Christmas after all and you don’t want to end up on the naughty list.

This shot was a good example of the above. Narrow walkway? Check. Busy area? Check (two paths converged nearby). Also this one also has a path in the shot, (upper right), so I had to wait for the path to clear in the shot as well as for the vibrations to cease. But like I said, a little patience and we’re done.

Click for a larger image:

Plitvice Waterfall

Plitvice Walk in the Woods

Photo of the Day

Ever so often, while walking around Plitvice, you’ll come to one of those rare patches where a lake or waterfall isn’t visible…

Plitvice Wooden Walkway

Plitvice Waterfalls from Above

Photo of the Day

This shot of some of the lower falls in Croatia’s Plitvice Lakes National Park gives a sense of place and scale to the walkways and paths a visitor gets to walk.

How I wish I was one of those little people down there right now.

When checking into the hotel there, the lovely clerk who helped us, told us to come back after we had explored a little bit of the lakes and then tell us for how long we would like to extend our stay. Her confidence was not misplaced – we booked an extra night as soon as we got back. She knew very well just how seductive the park could be.

Click for a larger view:

Plitvice Waterfalls from Above

Plitvice Pathway

Photo of the Day

Today’s image shows you just what it’s like to walk on top of a waterfall at the Plitvice Lakes National Park in Croatia. As I mentioned in the previous post, these walkways are well-integrated into the landscape and keep you close to the most interesting sites in the area.

I have a feeling these paths might sometimes be tricky if the seasons decide they want to flood or freeze the area. In places, portions of the walkways were sometimes a bit damp from encroaching water. In the midst of a spring thaw, I imagine the water must get quite a lot higher than what I witnessed. Winter must also make walking on the paths into an adventure, but the sight of a host of frozen waterfalls probably makes you quickly forget about that slip that landed you on your behind.

I visited in the tail end of the summer and the green trees beautifully complimented the azure waters of the lakes. A hint of autumn colour was starting to shine through and it must have been a pretty spectacular sight a few weeks later.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that it’s probably a fun spot to visit any time of the year!

Click for a larger view:

Plitvice pathway

Plitvice Waterfall

Photo of the Day

For the next little while, the photos of the day are going to be from one of my favourite places in Croatia: the Plitvice Lakes. I think I mentioned before that if there is a heaven, there’s a little slice of it that looks like Plitvice.

As the water flows through the area’s mountains it picks up minerals that coalesce to form barriers between the ever-changing lakes. These natural dams force the water from the lakes to leap down from one step to another in gorgeous cascades. The result is a landscape photographer’s dream (except for the tour groups).

Wooden walkways have been sensitively integrated into the natural surroundings and keep visitors from trampling the place into oblivion. It’s not a place where you get to do a ton of wandering off course, but the best bits are near the paths anyway.

This first shot is one of the first big waterfalls that you will see when you visit the upper lakes.

Plitvice Lakes

Stonehenge at Sunset

On the way back from Cornwall, Stonehenge was too enticing a detour to pass up. A night in a little roadside motel about a mile away from the ancient rocks allowed for easy access at sunset and a quick trip up the road to be first in line for the morning opening.

I’ve met some people that dismiss Stonehenge’s value as a destination, but I couldn’t help but be impressed. Seeing so many photos of a place can rob it of its majesty or diminish a visitor’s sense of wonder upon seeing the real deal, but that didn’t seem to happen to me. I mean, these are some huge rocks! I’m not sure how you couldn’t be sucked in by this ancient wonder.

The brilliant sky behind the silhouetted stones was shot was taken from across the field outside the fence with a long lens. As seems to be a trend with me lately, this is a composite of a few shots – just a vertical panorama in this case. I could have done this in one shot, (and I think I probably did on other frames), but this one comes out at a higher resolution than I would have gotten otherwise, so if anyone wants to buy a Stonehenge-sized print of this one, it should turn out nicely!

Stonehenge at Sunset

St. Michael’s Mount Panorama

This will be the third Photo of the Day in a row that goes to St. Michael’s Mount and that’s just because the place is so cool!

It’s a castle on an island, just off the coast and it’s the stuff of fantasy novels. ‘Nuff said.

This shot was a bit more difficult to put together than most panoramas. I wanted to try to capture the bright sunset that was occurring in the right-hand side of the shot while getting the blue of the ever-darkening evening that was happening on the left.

The range of stops in the whole scene was too wide for one exposure, so I did a bracket of five shots for each component shot of the panorama in order to be able to catch all the lights and darks and worried about how to put it together later.

When it came time to put everything together, I had all the component parts I wanted, but I really wasn’t sure what was going to be the best way to assemble it. I tried using the stitching software to put the HDR side of things together while simultaneously stitching together the panorama. Nope, it would have been far too easy for it to work in one, nicely-automated process. I’ve used that technique with a small degree of success in the past, but it was with a slightly more static scene inside a church. No moving water, shifting clouds or changing light to deal with.

On the next attempt, I tried to put together individual HDR shots and then stitch them together. That didn’t work because the lighting and colouring of the HDR shots came out too differently from one another for them to seamlessly blend. This occurred despite using all the same settings for every shot in the HDR processing. When processing HDR shots, I usually take a more manual, hands-on approach to avoid it all turning into a glowing surrealistic mess, but I didn’t think that was feasible with a panorama. There would have been too many differences between each image again.

So, the next step I took was to process five different panoramas, one for each exposure bracket, then see if I could layer them together. This was what ended up producing the final shot, but it came with its own big challenge.

I only ended up using two of the exposures in the end. It was enough to catch the full range and it minimized my work a bit because the problem with using this technique is that the stitching software stitched each panorama differently. When stacked on top of each other, the differences were a bit more than slight. Good thing we have the handy dandy align-layers feature in Photoshop to help us through!

But that only got us part of the way down the road. After all that, I was still left with a tedious bit for retouching when it came to finishing off the alignment and blending of the two images. With a bit of patience, it was eventually finished off for a decent result.

Click the image for a larger view:

St. Michael’s Mount Causeway

Today we have another shot of St. Michael’s Mount, this time from the causeway leading to the island soon after the tide had receded enough to allow for foot traffic.

We we took the boat over to the mount in the morning, there was only the faintest hint of the causeway below the choppy surface waters, but only a few hours later and we were walking back a few metres below where we formerly floated.

As soon as the causeway’s cobbles were exposed to the sun, a steady stream of people slipped, stumbled and stepped lightly from shore to shore so you can imagine that this shot took a bit of patience (both pre- and post-processing) to get to its present state. It only proved possible thanks to the tourist removal trick.

I combined that trick with shooting a panorama of the scene to get a wider view than my equipped lens would allow. I aimed to catch the sweep of the causeway as it approached the island and I think I succeeded there.

Click the image for a larger view:

St. Michael’s Mount – Photo of the Day

Today’s photo is another from Cornwall, this time, the magical St. Michael’s Mount.

Only accessible vie boat or by the causeway when the tide is low, this beautiful National Trust Property off the south coast of Cornwall hosts a castle, a small port and a few shops and cafés that serve the location’s many visitors.

The island is accessed from the small town of Marazion, but this sunset/dusk shot comes from further East along the coast. I chose to move away from the relatively featureless coastline near Marazion to be able to get some foreground interest and these rocks fit the bill perfectly.

I did a 30-second exposure to flatten out the ocean right when the sky and the lights of the distant towns are balanced. Mother nature took care of the rest with a gorgeous sky.

St. Michael's Mount

Photo of the Day: Golitha Falls

Golitha Falls

Today’s image is another from Cornwall, specifically, a perfect spot called Golitha Falls.

As tranquil as could be, this perfect forest full of gnarled, moss-covered trees at the edge of Bodmin Moor is home to a babbling stretch of the river Fowey. It’s a short walk, but every view along the way is picture perfect.

This shot, though it may not look it, is actually a panoramic stitch of about 15 images. I actually expected it to come out more horizontal than vertical, but this crop worked best of all. The scene really did sweep around me, but the resulting panorama doesn’t necessarily capture that. That’s not to say I’m unhappy with the shot. Far from it!

To get it, I did have to perch somewhat precariously on the edge of a rock, but the risk proved worthwhile.

Overcast days are good for shots like these. With less light on the scene, it’s easier to get a longer shutter speed to blur the motion of the water and you also avoid any nasty hot spots on the ground.

Photo of the Day – Cape Town Meditation

Last year, I was in Cape Town, South Africa for a couple weeks on a product shoot with work. It was a hectic schedule though – it left almost no time for seeing the city. That was a bit of a shame, of course since Cape Town is a captivating place with a lot to explore.

The top of the list of things to see is Table Mountain. Ok, you can’t help but see Table Mountain if you’re in Cape Town; what I mean is to see Cape Town from Table Mountain. It took until the last night of my two weeks there to get the chance to ride up the cable car with a camera in hand and gaze out at the magnificent views of the scenery below.

It’s a rather astounding place and I imagine the person in this photo has found nirvana. Perched on a rock high above the city, the sun gleaming in the sky and an endless ocean stretching into the distance – that’s contentment.

Click to see it larger on flickr:

Cape Town Meditation

Photos of the Day – Rivers

On a quiet Saturday where I have little to do, I bring you a few peaceful images to help bring about some tranquility.

These were all shot on one of my trips home to Canada in the Rocky Mountains. Banff National Park and its surrounding areas may host a lot of tourists, but it remains wild. It’s not just the wildlife that occasionally will cross your path for either a welcome photo opportunity and connection with nature or a terrifying reminder of the dangers one can face in the forest if not cautious. There’s more than that. There’s a sense that if you walked just a little too far and didn’t pay attention to the way home, these wide lands could swallow you up, for better or worse.

Somehow, to me that wild, untamed nature is visible even just ordinary stretches of river. These are waters that haven’t been dammed or overfished or harnessed in any way.

Click the thumbnail to see three at once:

Or see each of them individually on flickr here, here, and here.

Photo of the Day – Hadrian's Wall Ruins

One chilly March morning, a couple nights after a rare English blizzard, we drove along back roads near nameless sections of Hadrian’s Wall. The sun dashed in and out of the thin, high clouds. The cold didn’t deter us from stopping the car and walking along a random ruined stretch of the former Roman wall.

The visit was all too brief and Hadrian’s Wall deserves far more than the couple clicks it got from me on that abbreviated morning stroll. I would happily take on a project of landscape photography in that area. That would mean early mornings in isolated countryside watching and waiting for the light to change over rolling hills intersected by a centuries-old stone echo of history. Sounds like a good way to spend some time to me.

Click the thumbnail for a larger version or see it in the landscape section of my portfolio.