27 September 2016

Yakushima island

Posted in: Japan|

Yakushima island

Today I would like to share another photo from Yakushima island in Japan. I already shared a few photos (together with locations description) from this magical place here, here, here and here but I believe it deserves sharing even more images.

Ponta de Sao Lourenco

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19 September 2016

Canon 5D Mark IV first impressions review

Posted in: review|

Canon 5D Mark IV first impressions review

Canon 5D Mark IVI am lucky owner of Canon 5D Mark IV DSLR for just a couple of days now but I managed to take some shots with it already and put it to some testing over the last few days. So today I would like to share my first impressions of this camera. Please note that as a landscape photographer I will focus on still features (I don’t shoot video at all) and on features useful for landscape/travel photographers.

Also please note that I intend to update this review as I use the camera more. Also right now there isn’t many sample images but I plan to add more in the next few days.

Finally I haven’t tested some of the features yet, especially Dual Pixel Raw. I hope to do so in the next couple of days.

Why I decided to upgrade?

The reason why I decided to upgrade from Canon 5D Mark III wasn’t because 5D Mark IV would make my images so much better and so much more ‘pro’. No. Canon 5D Mark III was already very good and capable camera. So was Mark II or even 50D which I used before (and which I sometimes still use as a backup). Mark IV would just make my job slightly easier (eg. by providing GPS coordinates and touch screen to make changing settings easier) and will give me a bit more keepers by more ability to crop, better high ISO or improved dynamic range. Most of the current cameras are really great and allow us to take fantastic images.Click to Read Full Post

16 September 2016

Gorgeous Sunset in Funchal

Posted in: madeira|

Gorgeous Sunset in Funchal

I’m still busy testing my brand new Canon 5D Mark IV but so far I don’t have any images from it worth sharing (I hope to capture some in the next few days, however). Also for that reason my today post will be shorter than usually.

Today photo shows dramatic sunset over city of Funchal on Madeira island. The light was really gorgeous! But at the same time pretty difficult to work with as very bright sun and dark shadows in the city resulted in extreme dynamic range. I decided to take 7 bracketed exposures, 1 stop apart to make sure both highlights and shadows are properly captured.

Gorgeous Sunset in Funchal

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14 September 2016

View from Above and Canon 5D Mark IV

Posted in: madeira|

Canon 5D Mark IVCanon 5D Mark IV

After 4 long years of waiting for successor of 5D Mark III, Canon 5D Mark IV was recently finally announced and released. Despite the fact most of the time I prefer to wait for reviews and tests to emerge, this time I did something crazy and ordered it soon after announcement because on paper it looks like an ideal camera for me: it has slightly better base ISO dynamic range than 5D MK III (which in real life scenarios isn’t as bad as many people claim after viewing lab tests), more resolution, GPS and WiFi, and improved auto focus. Touch screen is also nice addition but it wasn’t decisive factor. I don’t care about video features so I really don’t care if 5D Mark IV uses good or bad 4K codec. Or if 1080p is possible at 120 FPS.

Many of you might wonder why I decided to stick to Canon, instead of switching to Sony or Nikon which have some very nice landscape photography oriented cameras. In fact, it was quite tempting at some point but what you should understand is that it’s not only about camera. It’s about whole system. I have too many Canon lenses which I really love to consider a switch (not to mention that I spent quite a lot of money on it…). Another thing is that it’s not only dynamic range that makes great camera. It’s also auto focus, color rendition, auto focus, low light capabilities and even ergonomics. I made a decision in the past, I know this system really well, I know how to use it to achieve the results I want. And with Canon 5D Mark IV, I think the move to another system won’t be necessary.

I just got the box today and I plan to do some very serious testing during next few days (mostly during the weekend) so expect first impressions review or test somewhere next week. I also hope to have some sample photos by that time 🙂

For now I only know that touch screen might be quite amazing feature, making taking photos even more pleasant and quicker.

View from Above

I mentioned it before but I will repeat it once again. Madeira is full of high vantage points offering fantastic views over Atlantic ocean, city of Funchal or various smaller villages. During my travels I often stopped to photograph from those high vantage points and today I would like to share one of such images.

View from above

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8 September 2016

Best Photo Spots in Madeira

Posted in: madeira, travel guide|

Best Photo Spots in Madeira

_X3A6897Madeira island is photographer’s paradise. It’s called Pearl of Atlantic for a reason. Despite the fact you will find something beautiful and worth photographing in the every corner of the island, I decided to compile a short list of best photo spots in Madeira – places that I found most worth photographing.

BTW I plan to add a few more spots to this list later on so stay tuned 🙂

Pico do ArieiroPico do Arieiro

Pico do Arieiro is 3rd highest peak on Madeira island and it offers great views during sunrise (if you’re lucky you will be able to see everything to the sea level) so it’s perfect for landscape photography. It’s also very accessible as there is car parking just about 20 meters away from the peak so you can get there easily by taxi or car.

My tip: what I recommend, however, is that you go down from the Pico do Arieiro down towards Pico do Ruivo a few dozens of meters. On the summit itself there is NATO radar which obstructs the views slightly. But if you go on the trail nothing will block your view.

Ribeira da Janela in the morningRibeira da Janela

There is very nice beach in the northern part of the island known as Ribeira da Janela. River that is flowing through it, made the boulders round and many of them are covered in lush green moss. What’s more there’s huge rock standing out of the sea making it even more attractive location for landscape photographers. And if I add that sun rises exactly behind it, you will be in photography heaven 🙂

My tip: the rocks are extremely slippery. And I mean EXTREMELY. I photographed on many slippery rocks but those were one of the worst I ever experienced. So be careful not to injure yourself or damage your equipment.

25 FontesRabacal to Rico and 25 Fontes levada

Trails along levadas (irrigation system on Madeira island) are beautiful on their own but my personal favorite is levada from Rabacal to Risco Waterfall and 25 Fontes (springs). The walk through the forest offers some great chance to photograph beautifully shaped laurel trees but it is waterfalls that are most impressive. Risco is 100 meters high. 25 Fontes on the other hand is like a small forest pond to which several smaller waterfalls fall. And it looks magical.

My tip: get there early. The place is very popular among tourists and there can be hundreds of them there at the same time ruining the experience completely! I was there completely alone.

Views over FunchalFunchal, capital of Madeira, at night

City of Funchal, capital city of Madeira, is surrounded by sea on one side and mountains on three other sides. What this means is that there are plenty of high vantage points overlooking the city and creating fantastic photo opportunities like the one on the right.

From all the viewpoints I visited my personal favorite is one just below Palheiro Golf club.

Ponta do Sao LourencoPonta de Sao Lourenco

Ponta de Sao Lourenco is fantastic piece of landscape in east part of Madeira, beautiful few kilometers long peninsula in the eastern part of the island. Much different than the rest of the island – there is no single tree, and the place looks very rugged with few dozen meters high cliffs and rocks standing out of the ocean.

My tip: even though the place offers great opportunities to take sunrise photos it requires experience in hiking (as the trail might not be the easiest one for beginners, especially in the night). So if you consider shooting sunrise you might in fact want to see near Ponta do Rosto.

 

6 September 2016

25 Fontes

Posted in: madeira|

25 Fontes

Madeira is famous for several things and one of them is a vast network of irrigation channels known as levadas. The need to build this network, which has more than 2000 km length in total, originated from the fact that climate on Madeira differs very much in various parts of the island. So much that there are as many as 7 microclimates there. Quite a few given that Madeira is rather small island. While west and north are very wet with heavy rainfalls almost all around the year, southern and eastern parts of the island are much drier with some areas looking more like a desert. Levadas allowed to move huge amounts of water from north to south and thus greatly helped agriculture.

From the tourist perspective levadas are something more, however. Along most of the levadas you will find a path, road that often offers fantastic views. While some of those trails are difficult or inaccessible due to the fact no one uses them, there are quite a few that are very easy and safe even for beginner hikers.

One of them is levada connecting Rabacal with Risco waterfall and 25 Fontes (25 Springs). This forest trail leads to two amazing places: a 100 meters high waterfall and a lovely forest pond. Both are truly magical so it isn’t surprising that they are very popular among tourists. So what I did was to start the hike very early in the morning to avoid the crowds. And thanks to that I had both places just for myself!

In this post I would like to share you image from the latter, i.e. from 25 Fontes. It’s a truly magical place where water from endless small waterfalls and cascades end up in a small pond which in turn becomes source of one of the levadas (originally it was source of a river).

On Location Photography Tips

  1. Get there early in the morning. It’s one of the most popular levada among tourists and in the middle of the day there might be literally hundreds of people on the trail and near the waterfalls what makes the experience much less enjoyable and taking photos much more difficult.
  2. This place is quite narrow and is “crowded” with various stones, waterfalls and leaves so it’s good to have ultra wide-angle lens with you.
  3. Try using long exposure to smooth the water falling down and create more tranquil and dreamy look.

For more general landscape photography tips, visit my free landscape photography tips tutorial.

25 Fontes

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1 September 2016

Ponta de Sao Lourenco

Posted in: madeira|

Ponta de Sao Lourenco

What about another Madeiran beauty today? Ponta de Sao Lourenco is a beautiful peninsula in the east part of Madeira island. Unlike other parts of Madeira which are full of lush green trees and remind of tropical forest, Ponta de Sao Lourenco is very rugged, almost desert like with 180 meters high red and brown cliffs. It offers nice (but sometimes a bit demanding) hike with some spectacular views over Atlantic ocean and endless photo opportunities for landscape and fine art photographers as there are plenty of huge rocks standing out of the sea that look spectacular with right sunset or sunrise light or when treated with long exposure.

I went there to shoot some sunset and blue hour photos and today I would like to show you one of them. It’s a single, long exposure frame taken well after sun already disappeared below horizon. Very soft blue hour light made reds and oranges of Ponta de Sao Lourenco’s cliffs really stand out against deep blue colors of water and sky helping me in creating very clean composition.

On Location Photography Tips

  1. Getting to a nice spot in the area at sunrise might require some hiking experience. So if you don’t have it or you’re afraid of walking in the dark you can try shooting nearby Ponta do Rosto instead. Thanks to a parking just next to it, it’s much easier accessible and still offers some fantastic views.
  2. If you intend to shoot sunset there, be prepared for walking in a sun as there is virtually no shade on the way as there is no single tree on the peninsula.
  3. It’s a great place to try long exposure photography. Rough sea hitting peninsula cliffs and rocks screams for some long shutter speed treatment.

For more general landscape photography tips, visit my free landscape photography tips tutorial.

Ponta de Sao Lourenco

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30 August 2016

Pico do Arieiro at Sunrise

Posted in: madeira|

Pico do Arieiro at Sunrise

With height of 1818 meters, Pico do Arieiro is 3rd highest peak on Madeira island. The fact there is car parking just about 20 meters from the peak makes it easily accessible by car or taxi during sunrise or sunset. And it’s really worth to shoot from there as when you are lucky you can have clear views all the way to the sea level.

From Pico do Arieiro you can take a trail towards highest peak of the island – Pico do Ruivo. It’s a few kilometers long hike along mountain ridge offering some fantastic views along the way. I just did short part of this trail (which is arguably most beautiful) as I had other hikes planned for that day.

I got to Pico do Arieiro about half an hour before sunrise to take some blue hour shots. Unfortunately there were some clouds blocking the view slightly but I still managed to take some interesting photos. In the photo below you can see one of the peaks on the way to Pico do Ruivo. Blue haze in the background works very nicely with soft light on the rocks in front.

On Location Photography Tips

  1. Don’t spend too much time on the Pico do Arieiro peak itself. There is huge NATO radar there blocking the view so it’s better to go a few dozens meters towards Pico do Ruivo. Beginning of this trail is really beautiful and offers some amazing unobstructed views. One of which you can see in the photo below.
  2. This place is fantastic for shooting sunrise photos and it’s easily accessible.
  3. Have a steady tripod with you – it can get really windy there.

Pico do Arieiro at Sunrise

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