OK Norway, I Get it You’re Beautiful – Photos of Norway
Jul22

OK Norway, I Get it You’re Beautiful – Photos of Norway

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’re going to laugh at what I’m about to say. “I’m going to get better at updating the blog” Sure, I’ve said it a million times before, but this time I kind of mean it.  I’ve just been so busy smashing out daily vlogs on my travel channel and on assignments that I’ve kind of neglected the blog. But, that stops now. And it stops in the best way possible, with some photos of Norway.  And, though I haven’t updated my list yet, I think Norway is going to the top of my list of favourite countries. That’s how much I loved it. This is going to be a two-part blog with the other post coming next week.  This blog starts with an extremely quick solo road trip through the south of Norway before I joined up on an assignment with TopDeck Travel. Trolltunga I started my Norway adventure in the most epic of ways; with a hike to Trolltunga.  Troll’s tongue, as it’s known in English is one of the most beautiful hikes anywhere in the world.  Every corner of the trail just begs to be photographed.  Since it’s the summer in Norway, I was able to do the hike as a bit of a midnight adventure leaving the parking lot at 8pm and arriving at camp at midnight.  The hike up looked a little like this: Then, after finding a couple hours of sleep just above Trolltunga, I got up for “sunrise” at just after 3am to shoot some pictures.  Though the light wasn’t really behaving. When a place is as beautiful as this, it doesn’t matter. These are a couple of my favourite few photos from Trolltunga: The Waterfalls of Norway After Trolltunga, I headed to Bergen to chill out for a night and get my gear charged and dried after the hike to Trolltunga.  I was planning on doing some photography in Bergen, but was just too wiped out to go out and shoot. The next day, though, I went on the search of a couple of the bigger waterfalls in Norway, and came across these 3 (well, and a number of others I didn’t photograph. Tvindefossen This was a photogenic waterfall surrounded by farms and a bit of a tourist trap set of gift shops. Maybe the least impressive of the waterfalls in the area, but also very easy to photograph. Skjervsfossen This was such a cool waterfall, but it was incredibly difficult to capture.  And, there’s no shops around and I had it all to myself. Really a cool spot worth visiting even if...

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Bariloche is All Kinds of Beautiful
May03

Bariloche is All Kinds of Beautiful

I’m a big fan of returning to places I’ve been before; especially if I wasn’t really feeling them the first time I visited them. I know, it seems backwards. Most people re-visit the places they loved. But, I’m more likely to re-visit places I didn’t feel like I gave my best attention to the first time. For one, I don’t want re-visit places I loved too often, because I don’t want my warm memories spoiled. But, I’m all for giving destinations second chances, as was the case in Bariloche. After feeling a bit under-whelmed the first time, I returned to the popular Argentinean mountain town to find out that it is all kinds of beautiful. I was in a different place when I first visited Bariloche. It was about 7 years ago. I had just finished my year working as a tour leader in South America. I had started this blog about a month before, and just broken things off with a long term girlfriend a couple weeks earlier. When I got to Barlioche, I didn’t want to explore. I wanted to let loose. I wanted taste a bit of freedom I hadn’t felt in years since being tied down by a job and girlfriend. So, I did. I got a bit crazy. I didn’t take a picture the whole time I was in town, and didn’t explore much of the area aside from the local bars. As a result, my first visit to the city wasn’t exactly the greatest travel experience I ever had. Moreover, I don’t even really remember the mountains. What I remember is heavy wind, waves on the lake so tall it looked like the sea, and that my hostel had a decent view of it all. I didn’t go hiking, I didn’t go on excursions, and I hardly saw anything during the daylight hours. But, with all the hype Barlioche gets as a tourism destination, I’ve long thought of it as a place I need to get back to. A place I need to give more effort to. I’m so glad I did. Greg (the intern) and I made the long 25 hour bus journey from Buenos Aires to Barlioche a day earlier than expected. I’m glad we did. Our first morning along the lake was just spectacular. In fact, it was then, on our first shoot of a 3 week project, that we got the best light of the whole trip. Fog on the lake, beautiful colours hitting the clouds. Some alpen glow on the mountains. It really couldn’t have been better. During our time in Barlioche, we were put up by a...

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Join us in Peru and/or Iceland!
Feb24

Join us in Peru and/or Iceland!

Of all the places we get requests to run tours, Peru and Iceland and far and away the most popular.  I get emails almost every week asking when our next Peru travel photography workshop will be.  I get about the same amount of emails for Iceland.  So, it was just a matter of time before we’d go back to Peru, and initiate our first workshop in Iceland. Going Back to Peru Our trip to Peru in 2014 was a massive success.  Not only did we have a great tour filled with incredible imagery, but we had an amazing group of participants which made the tour even more special. Peru is one of the most photogenic countries in the world.  It’s also one of the most diverse places in the world for photography.  In just a 2 week period, we’ll photograph the desert, the coast, the Andes Mountains, and even parts of the rain forest.  As far as subjects are concerned, there will be people, mountains, wildlife, seascapes, and so much more to photograph in the country.  As usual, Jeff Bartlett will be co-leading this tour with me. You can download the full itinerary for Peru here. And, for more information on the trip to Peru or to book, visit this page. Iceland! I can’t tell you how excited I am to be heading back to Iceland.  It’s one of my favourite countries to shoot, and definitely one of the most impressive places I’ve ever been.  As usual, I’ll be running the Iceland photography workshop alongside my buddy and fantastic photographer, Jeff Bartlett.  He has also spent a lot of time in Iceland scouting locations and organizing this trip.  We’ll also have with us a local photographer named Ivan Olaffson who will help guide us around and show us some of the secret photo spots off the usual beaten path. For the full itinerary for Iceland, click here. And, to book, or for some more information on the trip, click here. Images from Peru and Iceland If you’re interested in seeing some of the imagery you can come up with in these two incredible countries, check out the videos below.  The first one is a piece I put together from my first time in Iceland in which I spent a week exploring the ring road of the country location scouting. The second video is from my last photography workshop in Peru: Can’t Join These Ones? If you can’t join these photography workshops, but are interested in potentially joining one in the future, be sure to sign up to the form below.  That way, when we launch future workshops you’ll be...

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Epic Photo Location: The Banaue Rice Terraces
Feb19

Epic Photo Location: The Banaue Rice Terraces

Of all the places in the Philippines, I think it was Banaue that I was most looking forward to. The images of the landscapes and rice terraces are all over the social media and marketing for The Philippines. I couldn’t wait to get my lens on them, and head out and explore them as well. But, as the jeepney I caught from Sagada rolled towards town it poured rain. At times, I’m sure the driver couldn’t see more than 10 meters in front of him because of the fog. But, somehow the ride was still a lot of fun. I should have known it would be a bit of foreshadowing for my next couple days in Banaue. The forecast was showers, with a chance of occasional brilliance. Wandering the Villages around Banaue With heavy fog in the air my first morning in Banaue, I slept in a little bit. Later in the morning, I headed out to do a village trek in the area. I started with a visit to a village called Tam-an. Just outside of Banaue, this little village is perched on a hill’s edge with incredible views of the valley. I stopped there, pulled out the drone, and took a flight to get an overview of the area. It was fun, not only because the views were beautiful, but because the drone served as such a nice ice-breaker into conversations with the locals. They all came out to chat. Then, I pushed on towards the village of Poitan. However, I managed to get totally lost on the way there and found myself wandering aimlessly through some rice terraces. By the time I found the trail down to Poitan, I was covered in mud all the way to my waist. Again, the hike down to Poitan was stunning. It cut across some rice terraces, but also carved along the cliff-side lending to some beautiful views of the area. By the afternoon, the rain rolled back in and cut into my dreams of shooting photos from the classic view of the rice terraces. No Batad, Bad Brendan! I had plans of catching a ride out to an area called Batad. The terraces out that way are meant to be the most beautiful in all The Philippines. However, it poured rain the whole day. And, if I’m being honest with you, I probably should have just fought through it anyways. Of course, the weather could have been better that way – although, to be fair to myself, it probably wasn’t. I hiked up to the viewpoint for sunrise, but struck out. Then, in the afternoon, I hiked up again...

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Trekking Through Alberta
Oct04

Trekking Through Alberta

This project in Alberta was full-on. The plan was to work 19 days, with a 3 day break in the middle of it. However, my best friend got married on those 3 days between. Well, only one of those days, but you know how weddings are: day 1 = rehersal, day 2 = wedding, and day 3 = trying to recover. Moreover, I was dealing with a lot of personal issues over that weekend. It wasn’t as relaxing as I had hoped it would be. So, by the time we got back to work on the Google Trekker project, I didn’t have much of a rest. The second half of the project was meant to be a nice mix of locations, though. We were spending some time in the mountains, and some time in the north of Alberta; both locations I was looking forward to. K-Country Kananaskis Country used to be the biggest hidden gem in Alberta. So many tourists jet straight out to the National Parks, leaving K-Country largely to locals and people in the know. Things have changed a bit, and the region is certainly more crowded. However, it’s still mostly quiet. And it’s still incredibly beautiful. We did some trekking in the area. Jeff did an epic 18km hike over 2 mountain passes with a vertical gain of over 800m. I did some shorter moves, including a beautiful 12km hike with a 500m gain to a place called Prairie View Lookout. From that peak, there were 360 views of the mountains, Barrier Lake, and the prairies. Of course, we did some shooting both in Canmore and in Kananaskis Country. Rain, and Northern Lights In a bit of a tease, Jeff and I pressed down the Icefields Parkway without stopping. It was strange for me to drive that road without pulling off to do some shooting in some of the locations along the way. That road never gets old. We were pushing north, however. We made our way all the way north to Grande Prairie, which is about as far north in Alberta as I’ve ever been. It rained a lot. But, we still managed to get some trekking done. And, we managed to catch an extremely beautiful sunset on the prairies and a wicked display of the Northern Lights. From Grande Prairie, we pushed on to Slave Lake. Again, we were met with a bit of rain. But, wow, Slave Lake is beautiful. I was really impressed with that area, and had no idea interesting it is visually. I would have loved to get some better weather up there to do some photography. We did, of...

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Come with Me to Cuba!
Sep22

Come with Me to Cuba!

As some of you know, Jeff Bartlett and I are running a photography tour to Cuba this December. We’re almost nearing the deadline for participants to join, so this post is a bit of a reminder that if you’re interested, we need to hear from you soon. If you haven’t heard about our travel photography workshop in Cuba yet, be sure to head over to this page for information. Flights to Cuba The great news is that there are now direct flights coming from the United States to Cuba. You can fly into Santa Cruz and Camaguey from either New York or Miami now, which is fantastic. What’s even better is that the flights are extremely cheap. JetBlue, for example, has launched flights as cheap as $99. Though the tour starts in Havana, we can definitely arrange transport from either one of the cities in Cuba that the American flights come from. Can Americans Come to Cuba? Absolutely. When you leave the United States, you’ll be given a form asking for your reason for visiting Cuba. Since you’re not allowed, as an American, to be in Cuba as a tourist, you’ll need to fill one of the other categories. One of those categories is education, and since our workshop is of educational nature, you have every right to be there. Moreover, you might be asked if you will be having “peer-to-peer” activities with locals. And, you’ll be staying with locals, and even have a local photographer teaching you his skills one day. It should also be noted that since 2008, not a single American has been reprimanded for visiting Cuba in any capacity. Is the Trip Guarenteed Yes. As of right now, we’ve reached the minimum of what we need to run the workshop. Book Now If you’re interested in booking, please send us an email to brendanvanson (at) gmail (dot) com. I’m happy to discuss the next step and organize payment. For more information on the photography workshop, or others we’ll be running around the world visit here. Some Photo Teasers I thought I’d leave you with a couple photo teasers from Cuba. It’s such a wonderful place to photograph! Book Now We need to have a firm figure on the number of participants by mid-October, so if you’re interested, please get in touch as soon as...

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