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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26 August 2016

Ribeira da Janela

Posted in: madeira|

Ribeira da Janela

Ribeira da Janela is a truly spectacular place in the north west of Madeira island, close to the city of Porto Moniz. It’s a beach through which river flows and river water caused rocks on the beach to be very rounded and smooth. Many of them are also covered with beautiful vibrant green moss. To make things even better there is also colossal rock formation rising straight up from the ocean just a few dozen meters from the beach, creating some fantastic background.

The place is also fairly unknown. Most of the tourists visiting Ribeira da Janela go to one of the nearby viewpoints to enjoy the sunrise but not many go down to the beach so there is great chance you will be there alone (I was). Or maybe you will meet other photographers.

What I had envisioned for this place was sun rising just behind those stunning rocks, so I got there early for sunrise. It wasn’t as beautiful as I wanted because there was almost no clouds in the sky unfortunately. On the other hand it helped in creating cleaner composition thanks to a lot of negative space 🙂

On Location Photography Tips

On Location Photography Tips is a new section on my blog where I will try to share useful tips on interesting photo spots. Ok, so here are my tips for shooting on Ribeira da Janela:

  1. The rocks on the beach are extremely slippery (and I mean EXTREMELY) so watch your steps.
  2. The sun is rising directly behind the rocks so it’s a good location if you want to create some nice sunrise photos and/or want beautiful sunburst effect in your frame (you can read more about achieving this effect in this tutorial).
  3. The place is about 1 hour from Funchal by car so take this into account where planning sunrise photos.
  4. Make sure to check the tides!
  5. With all those round rocks and water splashing at them it’s a great place to try some long exposure photography, to create fog-like and dreamy effect (I wrote more about it here).

Ribeira da Janela in the morning

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24 August 2016

Lowepro Flipside Sport Backpack review

Posted in: review|

Lowepro Flipside Sport Backpack review

Introduction and price

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Front of the backpack is almost completely smooth with an exception of trekking poll loops and 2 small pockets.

For many years I was looking for a good, light, comfortable, durable and capacious backpack or bag that I could use during my travels, which often involve walking or hiking for 20 or more kilometers a day. You could even call me photo bags collector as I have a lot of them.

In late 2013 I found a backpack that seemed to satisfy all these conditions – Lowepro Flipside Sport. Even though the model is unfortunately no longer produced it can still be easily obtained and as it is the best backpack I’ve ever used I still decided to review it. I will focus on 20 liters version but will also mention 10 liters edition in a few places

This backpack comes in a few sizes:

  • 10 liters,
  • 15 liters and
  • 20 liters

Additionally two color variants are available: blue and orange.

At the moment I own 2 of them: 10 liters and 20 liters, both blue. First one is small and extra-light – great for one camera and one additional lens (although I managed to pack 2 cameras into it plus 1 additional lens) and nowadays is more often used by my girlfriend for her camera and GoPro (with its accessories and stabilization system). 20 liters edition is perfect for a big DSLR (or two) with a lens and 3 – 4 lenses plus additional accessories like filters, tablet or even small laptop.

At the time of writing prices are:

  • 10 liters version: 90 USD
  • 15 liters version: 115 USD
  • 20 liters version: 150 USD

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22 August 2016

There is always hope

Posted in: madeira|

There is always hope

In my yesterday post I mentioned recent fires on Madeira. Today I would like to show image that despite being quite sad is bringing some hope at the same time. I took this image in one of the Madeira forests. The tree was completely burnt by the fires but on its ashes new life has already started. So I’m sure those parts of the forests that were affected will soon recover. Of course it won’t take few weeks or even months but in a few years this terrible wound would be completely healed.

There is always hope

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21 August 2016

Back from Madeira, Pearl of Atlantic

Posted in: madeira|

Back from Madeira, Pearl of Atlantic

So far, this year I was quite unfortunate with my trips as one of them (to photograph brown bears in Finland) was cancelled just two weeks before the flight and I also had to change some other plans to visit Italy. Then I made plans to go to Madeira island but just a few days before my flight, the island was heavily hit with wildfires which burnt large part of the island forests and also caused danger to the capital city of Funchal (and unfortunately caused death of 3 people there). So it seemed I would need to change my plans once again. But on the day of my departure situation was more less under control, with most of the fires already extinguished, so I decided to go. And I don’t regret that! The island is as beautiful as ever with lush green forests, beautiful views over Atlantic ocean, great weather, tasty cuisine and very kind people. And I’m sure the forests that were burnt will soon recover.

During my one week stay in Madeira, I took large variety of photos from street images in Funchal to sunrise seen from 3rd highest peak on the island (Pico do Arieiro) to some abstract long exposures. And today I would just like to show you some of the pictures I quickly edited in Lightroom Mobile during my flight back to Poland. BTW editing pictures in the middle of the night with everyone else sleeping was strange experience. The edits were quick and I will share finished images in a few days or weeks. I will also share my opinion on the Lightroom Mobile soon.

I hope you like the photos 🙂

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9 August 2016

Dramatic Sky over Kawaguchi Lake

Posted in: Japan|

Dramatic Sky over Kawaguchi Lake

Today I would like to share a photo from Kawaguchi-ko, beautiful lake lying at the foot of the Mount Fuji. While Mt. Fuji wasn’t visible all the time I spent there (but when it was, it was gorgeous!), there were other locations worth photographing nearby and one of them were the mountains on the shores of Kawaguchi lake. When there were clouds, they created very dramatic effect as you can see below.

I decided to compose this image in a way there are several layers, starting from top: clouds, mountains, water and lake shore. I also decided to include old blue rowing boat in foreground as I found it a nice addition.

If you would like to learn more about landscape photography, make sure to read my Landscape Photography Tips, where I give a lot of advice on creating photos like this.

Kawaguchi lake

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5 August 2016

Morning Light in the Bamboo Grove

Posted in: Japan|

Morning Light in the Bamboo Grove

I shared 2 images from Bamboo Grove in Kyoto here and here so I will just say it’s one of the most beautiful locations I photographed in Japan (the only two comparable are Yakushima Island and Mount Fuji). And one of the most beautiful I ever photographed.

The image from today was taken in the morning when the sun was already up and it was shining through the bamboos creating some very nice light and contrast.

Morning Light in the Bamboo Grove

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4 August 2016

Those Eyes

Posted in: Japan|

Those Eyes

Today photo was taken in Nara Park in Japan and it shows one of the numerous wild sika deers wandering freely around this park. I wanted to get close portrait of it to show its beautiful eyes so I used tele-zoom lens at 300 mm.

Sika Deer in Nara Park in Japan

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