Where to Photograph Cappadocia, Turkey
Apr13

Where to Photograph Cappadocia, Turkey

I had a lot of trouble finding information on where to shoot photography in Cappadocia, Turkey.  Based on the fact that it’s such a popular place for photography, I found that really surprising.  As such, I went into my trip to Cappadocia really blind, as a photographer.  I caught myself guessing on locations, and wandering around a bit more than I usually do.  In the end, though, I found some great places to photograph the hot air balloons, and some of the beautiful landscapes.  This is a bit of a guide to photography in Cappadocia. #1: Panoramic View I took a wild guess that this would be the best place to photograph the hot air balloons in Cappadocia, and I was spot on.  The truth is, you could really photograph the hot air balloons from anywhere in the area around Goreme.  There are so many balloons up in the air each morning, I’m fairly sure there’s not a spot in the region that you couldn’t photograph them from.  However, this location is ideal for a number of reasons.  For one, you have the sun at your back.  Thus, the sunrise works to light up the balloon and gives you nice warm colours and an image that’s easy to properly expose.  Secondly, from here you can use the canyon for a beautiful foreground. Most of the other locations to photograph the hot air balloons aren’t nearly as pretty. #2 Rose Valley The Rose Valley is fantastic no matter what time of day you visit.  The light always seems magical, and there’s a lot to see and photograph. Moreover, there are non-landscape images to be made here as well.  One of the coolest aspects of this valley are the stone cave churches, all of which are fairly short hikes to get to. #3 Sunset Point True to the name, this spot right above the town of Goreme is great for sunset.  There are a lot of different shots you can get from up here.  You can shoot away from the city and get beautiful shots of the phallic-shaped stone pillars in the valley.  Or, you can photograph the cave-town itself. This is also a good place to photograph the hot air balloons at sunrise.  In fact, I’d say that the vast majority of other tourists I saw came here to see the balloons lift off.  There are advantages to this spot.  Firstly, you are much closer to the balloons than at the panoramic view point.  You are also surrounded by the balloons so you have a lot of different style of photos you can make.  Ideally, you’d have one morning here...

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A Complete Guide to Photographing a Destination for the First Time
Mar15

A Complete Guide to Photographing a Destination for the First Time

One of the favourite parts of my growing readership here and viewership on my YouTube channel is that I get a lot of great ideas for articles and videos from that audience.  After my short visit to Helsinki a couple months ago, a reader asked me how I can possibly photograph an entire destination in just a couple days; especially a place I’d never visited prior.  I thought that was a great question, and I thought that during my trip to Florence, a city I’d never been before, was a great place to show you how I do it.  Thus, the video below is long.  It’s a complete walk-through of how I go about researching, planning, and executing my travel photography in a locations I’m visiting for the first time. Moreover, this is also a guide to photography in Florence, Italy.  The city was absolutely stunning and a real treat to photograph.  I’ll walk you through some of the locations I shot below, and in a week or so I’ll have a guide on Fripito for photography in Florence and Cinque Terre.  For now, here’s what I got up to in Florence. Building a Photography Blue Print Photographing a city like Florence, or any destination for that matter, doesn’t just involve rocking up to the city, pulling out the camera, and shooting it.  Like a good article, you first have to create an outline for your photography in a certain destination.  But, instead of having an intro, body, and conclusion, when planning a photography assignment you have research, plan, and then execute. Researching In researching a destination you’re going to photograph, the most important thing is to find a way to see image locations from a city and then decide what your photography goals are for your trip.  When researching where to photograph in Florence, I noticed that the main two things that kept popping up where the Cathedral and the famous bridge.  Thus, I knew that those were the two most iconic things to see in the city.  From there, I can then start to asses how much time I need to shoot everything in the city, and the locations to best photograph them. For researching images, I use tools like Google Images, and 500px.com.  Then, for researching the locations I use google maps, an app called the photographer’s ephemeris, and a good old fashioned google search. Planning Once I’ve found the potential locations, I then try to plan out when I want to shoot each spot.  The most important thing in this regard is the direction of the light.  I look at sunset vs. sunrise, and golden...

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Photo Location Scouting and Searching for the Best Views of Athens
Mar02

Photo Location Scouting and Searching for the Best Views of Athens

It was so funny hearing people’s reactions to my visit to Athens. Before arriving, I got every range of responses from fans and friends of “Oh my god, Athens is amazing!” to “Athens is the worst place in Europe”. It seems that people either love or hate Athens, there’s not a lot in between. Me? I crushed on Athens hard when I got there. I loved it. I thought the vibe was cool, the views were amazing, and the food options were outstanding. I guess I can understand the hate, though. There are loads of beggars, lots of shady individuals, and I saw more public urination and defecation in Athens than anywhere I’ve been not called China. But, yeah, I legit loved Athens. I thought it was fun. I thought it was exciting, and left a sense of youth and creation. I don’t know why, but I imagine this is what Berlin was like a decade ago. It just feels cool to me. Best Views of Athens I only had a couple days planned in Athens, so I wanted to make the most of them. There were two classic locations I really wanted to shoot. Then, I also wanted to capture a location that I found well wandering. I obviously couldn’t photograph every location in Athens in just 2 days, but I’m happy with what I got. Mount Lycabettus I arrived in Athens really late, and still thought it was a good idea to hike up Mount Lycabettus before dawn the next day. I was exhausted when I woke up, but the views from up here were so good that it totally made it worth it. Really, there is nothing better than watching a city wake up from above it. The photos from up here were a bit of a challenge. I found it hard to capture how dramatic it felt. The light was also fairly flat on the sunrise I was up there, which made it more of a challenge. But still, a great place for sunrise. Filopappou Hill Up at Filopappou Hill I found a great view of the Acropolis for sunset. The sun was setting behind me, so as it hit the horizon it cast a nice soft golden glow on the ruins. I got absolutely fantastic light on this sunset shoot. My only issue was that there is so much scaffolding on the Acropolis it kind of kills the images. Still, this was some of the most fun I had shooting in a while. Such a cool location. Academy of Athens On my last available day of shooting, I wanted to capture something aside from the...

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A Couple Days in Sofia
Feb29

A Couple Days in Sofia

It’s funny how some countries and cities just seem to stick in your mind as a place you have to visit. For years, Sofia has been one of those places for me. I can’t really explain it. I don’t have any rationale to the reason why the idea of visiting Sofia has held such appeal, or value to me. In fact, before arriving in Sofia, I had no idea what to expect. I knew nothing about Sofia except that it was the capital of Bulgaria, and that it was home to one of the most interesting cathedrals in all of Europe. I think it’s safe to say that I expected to love Sofia, and that’s probably not fair. But, after a couple days in the city attempting to shoot but being thwarted by rain, construction, and a lack to subjects that really interested me, I think I left the city feeling, maybe not let down, but certainly not gushing with praise or lust to return. On my last day in Sofia, I went into an awesome camera store to buy a couple things for my filter kit. I talked photography for a bit with the staff, and they all said the same thing to me – next time, you have to go out and explore the nature rather than the city. So, I suppose, I really shouldn’t just a place until I give it the full shake. Photos from Sofia My main photography goal for photography in Sofia was the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral. I hit it up on my first morning as it was the only day where the weather was meant to be decent during my stay. I was impressed. I got some cool images on my shoot at the cathedral. But then, it all kind of went downhill. I spent a full day and a half location scouting and basically anywhere that I thought would make a cool photo was under construction or restoration. Would I Go Back to Sofia? Yeah, absolutely! I actually dug the vibe of Sofia. It felt very raw and gritty. From a photography standpoint it wasn’t the most fascinating place in the world. But I would like to go back. I’ve also been told by a number of people that Plovdiv, Bulgaria is actually a brilliant city for photography. So, maybe on a trip towards Turkey I’ll stop in again. What’s Next on the Travel Photography Blog? I’m well behind on these blog posts, as you likely know if you follow me on snapchat or instagram. But, after Sofia I caught a quick flight to Athens. I spent a couple days location...

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Photography in Transylvania
Feb24

Photography in Transylvania

I’ve always found that there’s no better way to photograph a new destination than with a local. So, when my buddy Valentin offered to show me around Romania, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Honestly, I really didn’t know what to expect from the country, so it was probably for the best regardless. I knew that I wanted to put my focus on Transylvania, and that’s exactly what we did. After catching the train from Budapest to Brasov, Valentin showed me around some of the coolest places in Romania. And, yes, I would have loved to see a bit more of Romania. Places like Cluj Napoca, and Sibiu are on my radar for trips this year as well. But for now, let’s focus on my photography and travel exploits in Transylvania. Brasov I get teased a bit by other travel bloggers and photographers for my lack of planning. Usually, when I travel to a country for the first time, I simply google the country and then try to pick one of two locations to start my exploration. That’s it. I know, it’s not very smart. But, in limited time, I think that I manage to get a good feel for the places I visit and can make decisions on where else I’d like to visit on future trips. When I did my quick research on Romania, the name that kept popping up again and again was Brasov. So, that’s where I went. It’s for good reason that Brasov is so popular among travellers, it’s absolutely stunning. Moreover, it’s found right in the heart of Transylvania, and a great base to photograph some of the castles in the nearby area. Photography Locations in and Near Brasov There are endless photography locations in the area surrounding Brasov and within the city itself. But, I’ll try to narrow it down a bit to just a couple. Tampa Peak If you want a classic photo of Brasov, climb up to the top of Tampa Peak. Although it was closed when on the day I went up, there is a cable car that goes to the top. Or, you can hike up like I did. It takes about 30-45 minutes from bottom to top. Up there, you get a really sharp angle looking down on Brasov. The images almost look areal because of the height and angle you’re shooting from. I shot most of my images on a 70-200mm lens and focused on the square. It seemed to work out well. Bran Castle Obviously, Bran Castle is a favourite. It is, of course, “Dracula’s Castle”. Although, history tells us that Vlad the Impaler actually had...

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