Posts Tagged ‘Travel’

Photos of Vilnius, Lithuania

After last night’s glitches were ironed out by a moment of clarity, I can now happily report that my gallery of photos of Vilnius, Lithuania is now up and ready for your viewing pleasure.

I got off to a rocky start in Vilnius with a cab driver and B&B manager both ripping me off. That’s not so great when they’re really the first two people you meet in the country!

It was, however, smooth sailing after that and I gleefully wandered the fantastic medieval streets of the capital of Lithuania. The medieval old town held enough treasures for me to walk until very ugly things started happening to my feet. And then I walked some more. When I have a camera in hand and I’m surrounded by a beautiful city, I don’t notice so much.

In the interest of getting the photos online quickly, I have not yet provided descriptions and keywords for all the images. This will follow once more photos are online, but if you need any further information about any of the photos, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Enjoy the Vilnius gallery!

Vilnius Cathedral Square

Old woman cleaning the streets below the gates of dawn

Crosses for sale

Vilnius street at night

Vilnius at sunset

Baltics Photos Trickling In

Between addressing mysteriously non-functional contact forms on this site and pulling my hair out because of a massive amount of corrupt image files, I’ve managed to upload a group of galleries of photos from Vilnius Lithuania. There is plenty more where that came from and sometime tomorrow (depending on where in the world you are), there should be a complete set of my photos from that beautiful city.

For those of you who are curious, those corrupt files of mine are, in fact, my Baltics photos. All the RAW files that I had sorted seem now to have corrupt headers and Photoshop won’t open them at all. All these RAW files are saved elsewhere, but they are unsorted and unprocessed, so this glitch is more than a little bit irritating. What’s strange about it though: All the files still open in Lightroom. I guess I’ll be learning that app pretty quickly! So, the data is all there – it’s just some messed up header or something that’s preventing the files from opening.

The files seem to have gotten corrupted when I (and apparently, this was a foolish mistake) renamed my folder from “Baltics” to “Baltics sorted.” After that, every RAW file in there got sick.

I don’t know if this is related to the problems people are experiencing with OS 10.5.3 and Photoshop CS3, but it seems like it might be the case (even though I wasn’t saving remotely). Either way, for all you users out there who have this combination of OS and software: back up now! Now!

To top it all off, since the forms on my site aren’t working, (cross your fingers for a good reply from my host!), even if someone goes to my contact page and mails me a miracle fix, I won’t get the message! Best to leave it in the comments. Any happy thoughts are welcome too.

Update: Why didn’t anyone tell me to update my Camera RAW plugin? That fixed it all up. No corrupt files, just a messed up plugin. Too bad I panicked when I saw my files wouldn’t open and immediately assumed they were corrupted. Rookie mistake.

Oh well. All’s well that end’s well!

Photos of the Angel of the North

In honour of a wee trip recently made to Northeast England and its beautiful scenery, I have posted a small I have posted a small gallery of images that feature the Angel of the North.

This sculpture, designed by Antony Gormley and located in Gateshead (near Newcastle) was controversial when it was first constructed, but in its ten years of towering over the A1 motorway, it has become an icon of England’s Northeast.

With that in mind, I am putting this up as the first of a few galleries to come from a recent trip in that direction.

My expectation was that I wouldn’t like the winged giant, but standing beneath its massive wings, I was impressed. I hope I can share some of its grandeur with you. See the photos here.

Angel of the North

Aerial Photos of Islands

Here’s just what everyone needs on a Sunday morning: some great aerial photos of islands from National Geographic.

I have to say, Bora Bora looks like something out of a dream. Palau too. If I win the lottery anytime soon, I think some island hopping might be in order.

Photos of Wat Phra Ram

It’s time to continue some travels through Asia. When last I left you, we were in Ayuthaya. Well, we’re still there with the latest batch of photos to be added to the gallery.

This time I have uploaded photos of Wat Phra Ram, another of the fine temple ruins in the centre of the city. Go have a look!

Wat Phra Ram

Wat Phra Ram

Wat Phra Ram

Images of Wat Phra Mahathat

Wat Phra Mahathat is another of the fine temples in Ayutthaya. The centrepiece of this site is the sandstone Buddha head embedded in the trunk of a tree. A bodhi tree has consumed most of the statue and all that remains is a face staring out from the roots.

Please visit the gallery of photos of Wat Phra Mahathat here.

Sandstone Buddha head of Wat Phra Mahathat

Images of Manchester’s Southern Cemetery

Some people think it’s weird, but I have a thing for old cemeteries. I find them peaceful and beautiful and I don’t analyse it too much beyond that.

The cemeteries in Europe easily trump the ones where I grew up in Canada – their age alone makes them more fascinating just because there is so much history. Not to mention that there just isn’t the same kind of craftsmanship exhibited in newer graveyards – the quality of the sculpture here far surpasses anything I knew in my hometown.

So, in Manchester, Southern Cemetery makes for a good place for me to visit as it’s expansive and filled with lovely monuments. I took my new camera out for a test drive there and I now have a gallery up showcasing the results.

Check out the photos here.

Southern Cemetery, Manchester, UK.

Southern Cemetery, Manchester, UK.

Southern Cemetery, Manchester, UK.

Images of Wat Chai Wattanaram

More images from Ayutthaya! Yes, they keep coming (and will keep coming for a little while yet)!

This time join me a little tour through Wat Chai Wattanaram, one of the more impressive temples in Ayutthaya. Its sprawling, riverside ruins are dominated by a central prang and its satellite towers. Climbing the steep steps gives a good view out over the temple’s walls, the surrounding flat area and the river. It’s just another reason to make Ayutthaya more than a day trip from Bangkok.

More photos here.

Wat Chai Wattanaram

New Battery Rules for US Air Travel

If you’re a photographer working in (or passing through) the US, you may want to take a look at this post on Chase Jarvis’ blog to find out more about a new regulation that has just gone into effect in the United States regarding the transportation of Lithium-ion batteries (the kind that may power cameras, flashes, laptops, etc.).

Long story short, there are now limits to how many spares you can carry and you will likely have to carry them in your carry-on baggage. The rationale behind this change is that if the batteries catch fire, they can potentially burn hot enough that the fire extinguishers in the baggage compartment may be insufficient to put out the fire and there are better systems in place in the cabin to handle such occurrences. has some more information here and also has an interesting suggestion on how to carry more spares here: if the battery is installed it is not considered a spare. If the battery is in a charger, it is considered ‘installed.’ This may or may not get you through security with an extra battery or two, but it’s an interesting thought.

Photos of Wat Lokaya Sutha in Ayutthaya

Continuing on with more photos from Ayutthaya, today, I present you with a small selection of photos of the reclining Buddha of Wat Lokaya Sutha. Not much remains of the temple, but the Buddha is still an impressive sight. Each toe on the statue is larger than your head (tickling him does nothing in case you were wondering – he has achieved enlightenment after all).

See more photos here.

Wat Lokaya Sutha

Wat Lokaya Sutha

Photos of Ayutthaya

In a constant struggle to organize, process, keyword and upload the thousands of pictures I have from Asia that still haven’t seen the light of day, I have made a small bit of progress by uploading a gallery of photos of Wat Phra Si Sanphet, the largest temple in Ayutthaya, Thailand. Now that I’ve made some headway on this particular location, my hope is that I can continue to upload more photos of the city’s many beautiful temples.

Ayutthaya is a wondrous place. The city cozies up to the temples as closely as UNESCO will allow because, well, who wouldn’t want a 500-year-old khmer ruin as the view from their window? Even though the city threatens to crowd out the history, there is a lot of peace to be found with the walls of the ancient ruins, on the back roads between giant Buddhas, and on the rivers that surround the city centre.

It’s an easy trip from Bangkok, but don’t be fooled into making it a day trip. There’s simply too much to see here before you have to get on a train to head back South. Give Ayutthaya at least a full day – it deserves it.

More photos of Wat Phra Si Sanphet here.

Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Wat Phra Si Sanphet

Photos of Bridgewater Hall

A little Christmas present I’ve given myself is some time to actually work on a few photos. This has given me the chance to put together this gallery of photos of Manchester’s Bridgewater Hall. It’s a striking bundle of glass-and-steel angles and I imagine it’s a fine concert venue. I’ve never had the chance to take in a show there, but I look forward to getting the chance sometime. For now, I will content myself with gazing upon it’s fine exterior.

Bridgewater Hall

Photos of Castlefield, Manchester

I’ve just posted a new gallery of photos. This time it is a big batch of pictures of Castlefield, the urban heritage park on the edge of Manchester’s downtown core (and a short walk from my home).

It’s one of my favourite areas in Manchester and not just because it’s close to where I live. Apart from the trains passing overhead, it’s a strangely peaceful place for the middle of a busy city. The canals filled with geese and barges are soothing. Watching the locks open and spill out their contents is a patient beauty. The sunlight bouncing from the water into the arches of the many bridges is hypnotic. And all the regenerated red brick architecture is especially pleasing in the brief moments when Manchester sits beneath a blue sky.

Add to all the sense of history that lingers at each turn. The Roman Fort’s remains, the canals, the warehouses and now the updated buildings all speak of different eras in Manchester’s past. It’s a treat to be in the presence of a past that lives on so visibly and has been so carefully integrated into the present.

Please have a look at the photos here.

Castlefield, Manchester, England.

Castlefield, Manchester, England.

Castlefield, Manchester, England.

Castlefield, Manchester, England.

Castlefield, Manchester, England.

Castlefield, Manchester, England.

Photos of Harajuku

Oops. I kind of forgot that I put up these photos last week. It has been a busy week after all (and they just keep coming!).

So, in case you haven’t already seen my photos of Harajuku, wander on over and have a look.

This Tokyo district is home to the majority of Japan’s weird trend setters. Scores of boutiques serve up every kind of fashion imaginable. Bands line up on the sidewalks and blast their music into the streets. Flea markets cover the ground with clothes of all types. Pompadoured, leather-pant clad rockabilly dancers do the twist in the park. Goth teens feign indifference to the photographers that give them the attention they crave.

Harajuku is a cornucopia of people watching delights, but if you tire of the weird and wild, nearby Yoyogi Park offers tranquility and respite with quiet lakes and lovely picnic spots in the woods.

But it’s hard to get tired of the vibrance of Tokyo’s youth showing off their creativity and earnest yearning for individuality in an frequently conformist society.

Check out the photos here.

Harajuku Goths

Harajuku Rockabilly

Yoyogi Park

Photos of Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine

I’ve been homesick lately, but strangely, not for my actual hometown of Calgary. Instead, I’ve been longing for some time spent in one of my second homes: Japan. I think it may just be itchy feet longing for someplace exotic.

To scratch that itch, I have just uploaded a gallery of photos of the Meiji Jingu Shrine in Tokyo. Surrounded by the modern weirdness and teen-oriented shopping of the Harajuku district, this temple is an oasis of traditional Japan.

The shrine is reached by walking a long, wide path through the perpetually-green Yoyogi park. Enormous torii gates signal your imminent arrival to the shrine but suggest a building far more grand than the austere and low shrine. These torii gates are absolutely huge and their scale suggests something equally large awaits.

Though this isn’t the case, the shrine isn’t a disappointment. Though it isn’t an old building, it successfully pretends to be. It was built with traditional techniques and materials that make it fit in with any of Japan’s ancient temples.

Being Tokyo, you can’t expect to find it vacant of visitors, but part of the charm lies in the people watching that can be done there. On weekends, the Meiji Shrine is a popular location for weddings and if you visit, you may be lucky to catch a glimpse of a couple in traditional dress tying the knot.

Photos of the Meiji Shrine here.

Meiji Shrine

Meiji Shrine

Meiji Shrine

Photos of Manchester’s Beetham Tower

With the tiniest scrap of free time, I’ve had the chance to put together a gallery of images of Beetham Tower, Manchester’s tallest building and home to the Hilton hotel.

It’s one of those buildings that seems to polarize its viewers. Some enjoy its soaring form while others loathe its discord with the surrounding area. Add to that its height and you can’t escape a view of the tower. That, however, can be a boon when, like me, you live near it and are lost in Manchester – you can always orient yourself to it’s giant rectangular shape.

On the 23rd floor, the Hilton operates a bar/lounge that, apparently, affords some great views of the city. The cocktails cost as much as a meal anywhere else, so I haven’t yet made the trip up (though I could probably get away with not buying a thing…). I’ll have to make the trip sometime though – there are few tall buildings in Manchester with any public observation floors and I’d love to see this city from above.

Check out the photos here.

Beetham Tower

Barton Arcade Images

A semi-hidden gem here in downtown Manchester is the Barton Arcade shopping mall. Tucked in between Deansgate and St. Ann’s Square, the arcade doesn’t show much of itself from the outside, especially on the Deansgate side. But once you step inside, it reveals a beautiful glass and iron roof that fills the hall with light.

It’s always nice to cut through here even just for a glimpse when walking in the area.

See the photos here.

Barton Arcade

Photos of Haworth’s 1940s Weekend

I’ve just uploaded a new gallerty of photos of the Haworth 1940s weekend festival.

What could be more fun for a photographer than a bunch of people getting dressed up in vintage clothing or historically accurate costumes and being eager to have you take their picture? Well, maybe a smaller number of tourists crowding the narrow main street of Haworth would have been nice, but you can’t have everything!

Haworth village is a beautiful place on its own (photos to come…), but during its annual 1940s weekend, the vintage cars and costumes steal the show from the quaint main street and Bronte sisters attractions. I had such a good time, I think I might have to make it an annual visit. I look forward to 2008!

US Soldier

Man with Moustache

Vintage Dress

Pictures of Manchester, England

I know it has been too long in putting these up, but here they are: a small batch of my first photos from Manchester. Believe me when I say I have a rather sizable bunch of photos still requiring processing and uploading.

Manchester is my new home and, in these first few months, it has been been good to me, photographically speaking. There’s plenty to explore here in terms of architecture and sights, the accessible countryside has plenty more to shoot and the number of events that make their way through here is formidable (the only limit is my cash and time!).

I wanted to be able to deliver a few relatively complete collections of photos before I started uploading, and while I could always shoot more shots of these fine sights, I now have a few solid and somewhat comprehensive collections of images to share.

Check out a few starter photos here and find lots more in the gallery:

Manchester Town Hall

Manchester Central Library

Manchester Cathedral

Chetham Library

Victoria Baths

Photography in the Amazon

The Luminous Landscape has this article on addressing the challenges of shooting in the Amazon. Michael Reichmann discusses helpful gear to bring, storage considerations and how to deal with some of the hazards that might keep you from successfully shooting in the jungle.

Pictures of Banteay Srei

The red sandstone of Banteay Srei, 20km from the main group of temples, and a bit further still from Siem Reap, is a well-preserved exhibition of ancient carving skill. The intricate details decorating the walls of this small temple are truly gorgeous and hint at how spectacular the Angkorian temples must have been in their prime. Imagine Angkor Wat covered in these beautiful carvings and the mind boggles.

Banteay Srei’s red shapes gleam in the morning sun and, if you can make it there early enough, you might be able to find some peace inside the small temple. Soon after the sun has risen, however, tour buses will unleash piles of visitors into the small spaces of the ancient site so an early trip out to the countryside is worth the early wake up.

See more photos here.

Images of Beng Mealea in Angkor

Seeking a private visit to any of the temples in Angkor is a near impossible task. Wherever you go and whenever you arrive, there will be hundreds if not thousands of tourists sharing the sites with you.

One notable exception, however, is Beng Mealea. This temple ruin is located almost 80 km outside of Siem Reap, so most people don’t make the journey (especially considering the state of some of Cambodia’s roads). But for those hardy enough to sit on the back of a rattling motorbike on bumpy for close to two hours, you will be rewarded by an extraordinary sight.

The jungles surrounding Beng Mealea have been left to take over the massive temple. Most visitors to Angkor get a similar experience with the enormous trees of Ta Prohm and their constricting roots. Beng Mealea takes the union of jungle and temple to a new level. Here, the temple is often indistinguishable from the vines and trees attempting to reclaim it. If ever you’ve had fantasies of being Indiana Jones, this is the place to be.

Visitors to Beng Mealea are free to explore the collapsed walls and buildings. There are few indoor areas left intact, but the many crumbling courtyards reveal themselves only after adventurers climb over piles of rubble.

The one modern touch at Beng Mealea is a walkway built for the filming of the movie Two Brothers. Other than this addition and the few other tourists that make it to the temple, it’s easy to forget what year it is. A solitary trek through Beng Mealea will make you believe you live in a time when there was much more left to explore in the world.

See my photos of Beng Mealea here. And a couple samples:

More Photos of Taiwan

Over the weekend, I posted a couple more galleries of photos from Taiwan.

First, a batch of photos from the rural area of Ershui. This quiet town on the Jiji small rail line was a good spot for a leisurely bike ride and some monkey watching up in the hills.

The other gallery I posted is from Changhua, a city that boats a rather enormous Buddha statue overlooking the town below.

If you would like to read more about my travels in each of these locations, check my blog entries on Ershui and Changhua

Lastly, some appetizers:

Travel News and Information Site

As the links keep coming for the tourist removal tutorial, I noticed one of them coming from which is not so much a travel blog as it is a blog about travel. First glance suggests that it’s a worthwhile source for travel information and news, so go get reading up on all the places you want to go! And thanks to them for the link.

I should also say a big thank you to stumbleupon and lifehacker for their generous contributions to my site’s traffic. And thanks to all the other folks who though the piece was worth a link. Much appreciated!