Tag Archives: 2011

The sweet seller

The sweet sellerOnce we reached (by boat) the deeper beaches of Tayrona, stayed there to enjoy the nice weather and the Caribbean tiepid waters. Rest of the day involved mostly swimming, snorkeling in the coral riffs (sorry guys, don’t have the equipment for underwater photography!) and having a lunch consisting in the most delicious fresh fish. Every now and then, this lady, who would refer to herself as “la negra, pa’ servirles” came by and offered us some delicious Colombian sweets that costed virtually nothing. I found really impressive how she could walk with that huge basket perfectly balanced on her head while wiggling her hips from side to side. Many a catwalk model could have taken a lesson or two from la negra!

Tree in the beach

 

After a couple of days in Bogotá, went north to Santa Marta. From there I went on a guided visit to Tayrona National Park. After passing by the beach of the seven waves, this is the beach where we came out of the truck in order to continue our trip by boat. Probably the most amazing feature of all these beaches, even more than the wonderful blue waters, is how trees keep growing almost all the way to the sea.

Wish you were here? Let me know in the comments!

Street dancer

After the visit to Monserrate and an amazing traditional Colombian lunch, it literally started pouring down, so we had to look for cover inside a coffee place, where I could enjoy a steamy cup of another of the Colombian national treasures. Once the rain stopped, we still had a few minutes of light that we used to walk around the nice neighborhood of La Candelaria, featuring nice houses of colonial styles. Wandering around, we ended up in Plaza de Bolí­var, one of the main squares of Bogotá, where a free traditional South-Pacific Colombian music concert by Inés Granja y Santa Bárbara de Timbiquí­. Probably because of the rain, the square was not very crowded and we could move around easily. We spotted this guy dancing all by himself like there was nobody else there and looking like he was having a great time, and I really wanted to capture the moment.

It was already dusk and I didn’t feel comfortable blinding the guy with my flash, so I cranked up the ISO to 1600 and kept the lens wide open to get a reasonably quick shutter speed (1/45s). My aim here was to get a focused enough photo so that the dancer’s facial expression would still be visible, but still capturing the dynamic of his dance. I think it did’t come out bad. Let me know what you think in the comments!

PS: In case you are curious about the music style around, you can see the band playing here (video from a different concert, music starts after the first minute):

Shining sunbeam

Upon arrival to Bogotá, after a resting sleep and a healthy breakfast we headed towards the Monserrate mountain, one of the highest points in the city, in the hope to get some nice panoramic views. The weather was not particularly well suited for landscape viewing, as it was very cloudy and rainy at times, but the walk around the mountain was still nice. In one of the gardens I spotted this little fellow battering his wings like crazy. The thing was moving so damn fast that it was impossible to take a sharp shot until he decided to take a break. This is a kind of hummingbird commonly known as shining sunbeam, or “colibrí de alas largas”, very common in the higher parts of Colombia.

Shining sunbeam (aglaeactis cupripennis)

Remarks, opinions, compliments and hate letters are welcome in the comments!

 

The beach of the seven waves

In case you were wondering why there weren’t any updates during the last two weeks, it is because I was here:

This is the beach of the seven waves in the Tayrona National Park, close to the lovely city of Santa Marta, in Colombia. More news and photos from my caribbean trip will follow soon. In the meantime, you can let me know how jealous you are in the comments! ;-)

Sunset

 

Yet some more Alpine landscapes. I got a bit tired of green grass and blue skies, so skipped a few photos to jump to something with a warmer light on it. After climbing all the way up to Watzmann Haus and joining the rest of the gang there, we enjoyed the amazing views and a hell of a sunset. This photo is almost as it came out of the camera, just did a bit of fiddling with the exposure and color balance.

Let me know what you think!

River valley

Going on with the Alpine hike, after sleeping in Wimbachklamm Hutte the original plan was and climbing Watzmann through the South traverse, but that is a dangerous route with many via ferrata sections, and with my knee injury I decided not to risk it, so while some of my partners went uphill I took a detour skirting around the mountain (following down the dry river) and then climbed all the way up to Watzmann Haus from the North side. Today’s picture was taken very close to the end of the valley, before starting the ascend (from 700 to 1900 meters).

Let me know what you think in the comments!

Dry river

 

The dry river valley in front of Wimbrachklamm Hütte. The Watzmann traverse starts not far from here. I know this is lately getting too much about cheesy landscapes, just a few more days until I am done with the Alps and I will move on to more interesting stuff, I promise!

If you like the picture, drop a line in the comments!

Karlingerhaus Valley

 

 

This is the valley where Karlingerhaus lies. The third day of hiking we had an splendid weather, and after crossing through the mountain and a hard ascension, we found the house in this idilic valley, looking as if it had been taken right out of a fairy tale!

From a technical point of view, this was a plain old landscape picture. Clouds were moving really fast, casting different shadows in the mountains in the background, so I took almost the same picture half a dozen times at ten minutes interval (while cooking and dining) to be sure I would get the best looking one. I might have been a bit too hard on the post-processing for this one, but this particular landscape, as I rememeber it, really had mind-blowing saturated colors.

Hope you like it!

Stony lake

 

Going on with the Alpine series, today’s pic is of a little high altitude lake, trapped between two big mountains. I kind of like the hdr enhancing of textures for this kind of pictures. In this one I might have gone a bit overtly dramatic with the effect, but I think it represents very accurately the mood around this place, everything so big and quiet and oppressive, the think grey clouds so close that one could almost breathe them…

Hope you like it!

Baby dragon

 

Going on with the Alpine collection, here is the portrait of a baby black dragon we met on our way up to Mount Jenner :-D

Unlike angry ducks these little friends are very shy and will stay very still when approached, making them kind of easy to photograph, even easier than cows. Main difficulty when photographing these newts is subject isolation, as they are very small (about 10cm long, including the tail) and very close to the ground, getting a sharp focus on the subject with a nice background blur is kind of tricky. Possibly the easiest solution is to get as close as possible and get mostly everything on focus, resorting to post-processing for background blur.

Enjoy!

 

 

Stony sky

 

Another Alps pic. This was on day 2, after climbing Mount Jenner for a warm-up (1160m, from about 600 at Königsee level) we descended to 900m again and headed south to go around Königsee and Obersee. This picture comes from the highest point of the passage between Rossfeld (going up to the right) and Mitterhutte (up at the left, already in Austria), At this point we were above 2000m, and the effort took its toll: it was descending this passage when my right knee decided it had had too much and went on a strike, forcing me to be on painkillers during the rest of the trip.

Enjoy!

The mountain stairway


I have spent the last week hiking around the Königsee lake in the Berchtesgaden National Park, located in the German Alps (very close to the Austrian border). It has been a wonderful but exhausting trip of which I yet have to recover.

If I have to summarize some learnings from this trip in one sentence it would be: carrying a tripod (even a relatively light one) to a high altitude hiking trip is generally a bad idea. During the daily hike I could barely stop to fetch my camera and snap a few shots, let alone setting up the tripod. I was expecting for some quality night-time long exposures but the weather turned out to be quite unpleasant by night; plus, having to wake up before sunrise to get moving didn’t really encourage staying out of the sleeping bag till late!

Anyhoo, I managed to get a few interesting shots that I will be sharing in the next days (and probably put together as a collection). The first one is a part of an ascent in which the path turned into a stairway literally carved trough the mountain to get to the other side. The beautiful natural carvings and the rock textures were crying for some hdr enhance, this one is made out of three (handheld) exposures, with 2EV step difference between them. The sky is a bit blown out but this particular day there wasn’t much detail there to recover anyway.

Enjoy!