Tips for Seascape Photography in Ilha Grande, Brazil
Sep01

Tips for Seascape Photography in Ilha Grande, Brazil

Seascape photography might actually be my favourite type of landscape photography.  I love the challenge it presents.  Not only do you have to find a cool location, and shoot the right light, but you’re also fighting elements like rogue waves, slippery rocks, and wild weather conditions.  It’s what turns what otherwise might be seen as a “boring, wait for the light” style of photography into an adventure.  I also love the way you can play with the seas with your exposures.  You can create a variety of moods depending on how you shoot the exact same scene – creating wild seas or icy waters. In this article, and the related video below, I visit Ilha Grande, Brazil.  And well I’m there I give you my quick tips for seascape photography.  And, yes, the tips are fairly basic.  However, look for an “advanced” set of seascape photography tips coming in the near future as well. Tip #1: Find a Great Location This tip might seem really obvious.  However, I see a lot of seascape images where people have literally just rocked up to the beach and shot the sand and the water.  For cool seascapes you need to find an interesting scene.  Personally, I like to find rocks.  I feel like the sturdy and fixed nature of the rocks goes really well with the motion of the sea. Like all forms of photography, you can’t just turn up somewhere and shoot.  You need to scout for locations first, and then shoot them in the best possible conditions. Tip #2: Shoot the Golden Hour Photography is the art of capturing light, and great photography is about capturing the type of light that amplifies your image.  In the case of seascapes, I feel like the best light is always found around sunrise and sunset – what we call the golden hour.  This is the time of day when you get great colour in the sky, even exposures from softer light, and the ability to shoot longer exposures.  This is the time of day you’re going to get that “wow factor” from images you create. It should be said, however, that there are certain images that do actually look best in non-golden hour light.  In the tropics, for example, if you’re trying to create a scene of a white sand beach and a palm tree that looks like paradise, it might be best to shoot this in the morning or evening yet outside the golden hours. Tip #3: Find an Anchor for your Images In almost all my favourite landscape photos there’s an anchor.  An anchor is essentially a foreground element that ties the image down....

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How to Take Photos from Trains: A Photo Guide from the Via Rail
Oct06

How to Take Photos from Trains: A Photo Guide from the Via Rail

For the second time in my life, I had the brilliant opportunity to take the VIA Rail across Canada from Toronto to Edmonton.  And well I would have loved to make the journey all the way across to Vancouver, I really can’t complain.  This trip always has a way of grounding me and allowing my stressed to wash away, or at least be put on the back burner for a while.  I thought, that since I did a general article on the train journey last time, I would give a bit of a guide on how to take photos from a moving train here on the site.  Of course, there’s also a little bit of information about the train journey across Canada below as well. I think it should be noted, too, that though these tips for train photography focus on the VIA Rail journey across Canada, they really could be applied to any train journey in the world.  Anyways, below the video are the photo samples from the journey across Canada, so be sure to check out both!   Tips for Taking Photos from Moving Trains   #1: Get Rid of the Glare Whenever you’re shooting through windows you’ll have glare.  However, in trains you’ve got really thick panes of glass which means it’s even worse.  There are a few tricks you can use to get rid of this.  One of them is to get your lens as close to the window as possible.  Another trick is to turn on all the inside lights in your cabin.  Also, you can try shielding the glare with a towel, sheet, or even just your hand.  Glare ruins cool photos, try to get rid of it. #2: Shoot a Faster Shutter Speed than Usual When you’re shooting photos from a train, the outside world speeds by meaning that you need a quicker shutter speed to capture it sharply.  Now, if you’re familiar with the basics of photography you’ll know that there are three components to gathering light for the right exposure: aperture, ISO, and shutter speed.  Thus, if you need to speed up the shutter speed you’d need to increase your ISO, open up your aperture, or some combination of both, to compensate for the decrease in light.  Personally, I just bump the ISO to compensate because I don’t want to lose any depth of field.  Remember that if you double your ISO, your shutter speed will double too. #3: Use the Movement to your Advantage In photography movement is only your enemy if you don’t know how to take advantage of it.  When you’re in a fast moving train, you can...

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Tips for Travel to Vietnam
Mar19

Tips for Travel to Vietnam

Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia’s most exciting destinations. Featuring world-class food, incredible scenery and some cities still seemingly weaved into a simpler time, Vietnam is not just a rising star in the travel world, but already one of the world’s sought after destinations. But however amazing Vietnam may be, it certainly comes with its fair share of challenges. These are my tips for travel to Vietnam along with some guidelines to travel in the country. Getting Around Vietnam’s road system isn’t exactly a dream. There are loads of slow moving vehicles, houses are built right to the edges of highways, and they are narrow to begin with. Outside of perhaps the countryside, you’re not going to want to be plowing around in a one of those big diesel trucks. Instead, opt to do as the locals do and rent a scooter or motorbike. As far as public transport is concerned, the buses are OK, but not great. In the South of Vietnam, the big sleeper buses are really comfortable. But in the north, the buses are crowded and tight. The reunification express runs north-south between Hanoi and Saigon and is a great way to see the country. It is a bit expensive, but is a great way to travel. Where to Stay In much of the country, the best places to stay aren’t actually hostels. You can get great value on everything from small family-run hotels to big beach resorts. In places like Nha Trang, last minute all inclusive vacation deals are readily found, and at great value. In places like Halong Bay or in the Mekong Delta, you might want to stay with a family at a home-stay which is a great option. In general, hostel dorm beds in Vietnam are over-priced, search the webs for the best deals instead. What to Eat Vietnamese food is tops. They take the art of food preparation to another level. Everything is done so delicately. Foreigners will know dishes like Pho Bo (Beef noodle soup) all too well, but they should also get to know some of the local dishes. In the north, you have to try Bun Cha which is like a BBQ in a soup; it’s out of this world delicious. In Hue, a soup called Bun Bo Hue is delicious as well. If you head to Saigon, crab noodle soup and delicacies like snails are extremely popular. Trust me when I tell you not to bother with the fancy tourist restaurants in Vietnam. Instead, opt of the street food and family-run restaurants instead. Using a Smartphone I was pretty surprised in Vietnam at the ease of using...

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How Much Does a Eurail Pass Save You?
Jun04

How Much Does a Eurail Pass Save You?

As you may know, Eurail has been one of my sponsors throughout my now completed Europe trip. I’ll be honest in telling you that in the past I had been a little bit sceptical about rail passes in Europe and how much one can actually save. Thus, having this pass finally gave me the chance to work out how one can use the Eurail, and how much one can actually save. I will say, I definitely got value out of my pass by doing some fairly long journeys. However, if I really wanted to, I’m sure I could have extended my distances much more and the savings gathered would have been even greater. After calculating, I’m actually pretty amazed by how much was saved with the Eurail. I calculated the price of the ticket as the price a week before purchase which I assumed would be the average time one would buy their train tickets without a pass. My Pass I had a 2 month 10 day global pass, which allowed me to travel by train in any country in Europe (well 23 of them are included) over a 2 month period with a possible 10 days of use.  Basically, within a 2 month period I had 10 days I could travel anywhere in Europe on the train.  It doesn’t matter if that trip is short or long, you have 10 days of use. If you’re interested in knowing how the Eurail ticket works I’ll be explaining it in a future post. How Much Did I Save? If I didn’t have a Eurail pass, I would have booked a ticket one week ahead.  Therefore, I took the prices down a week before my trip would have been: 1. Calais to Paris – Without the Eurail =48 Euros 2. Paris to Bern – Without the Eurail = 120 Euros 3. Bern to Rome – Without the Eurail = 169 Euros 4. Rome to Nice – Without the Eurail = 114 Euros 5. Nice to Barcelona – Without the Eurail = 104 Euros 6. Barcelona to Madrid – Without the Eurail = 87 Euros 7. Madrid to Lisbon – Without the Eurail = 67 Euros 8. Lisbon to Porto – Without the Eurail = 35 Euros 9. Lisbon to Seville – Without the Eurail = 130 Euros 10. Seville to Algercias – Without the Eurail = 43 Euros The Results? The total price of a 2nd Class Global Pass is 422 Euros The total cost of my trip would have cost 917 Euros My total savings were 495 Euros! The Verdict? You would have to be clinically insane not to buy...

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My American Roadtip: Stats, Tips and Observations
Feb09

My American Roadtip: Stats, Tips and Observations

As I jumped in my car in the west of the United States I knew that I was likely in for a lot of hours behind the wheel. I was driving from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon to Las Vegas and then all the way across the country to Miami. Oh, and I only had 2 weeks to do it all. I finally pulled into Miami drained, tired, broke, behind on my work, and mind-numb from all the driving. However, I feel like the long hours at the wheel, the nights sleeping in my car or camping, and the costs incurred were all worth it at the end of the day.  I can walk away with not only a great experience under my belt but a greater understanding of a region I knew little about before hand. I have split this long post into three sections: 1. Stats, 2. Observations, and 3. Tips for having a great American roadtrip. Stats Days: 15 Miles: 3,657 (5,885km)  Fuel: 125 gallons (462 litres) Hitchers picked up: 3 Total hours of driving: 71 hours Redbulls: 10 Rednecks met who had just gotten out of jail: 1 Beautiful Southern Girls: Too many to count New Orleans Drinks: Also too many to count Near accidents: 2 Times I flipped the bird at other drivers: 5 Times I was flipped the bird: 2 Observations Poverty: I was shocked by the amount of poverty in the south of America, especially West Texas. I expected to see poverty in places like the New Orleans region, but not in so many other places. I was amazed by the amount of rough housing dwellings. I was equally amazed at the conditions people lived in while at the same time driving a brand new truck. Going Green: Say what you want about America for being an industrial machine with no regard for the environment. There are more “green” projects going on in the US than most countries in the world. I was impressed by the windmill fields in West Texas and the availability of at home recycling pickup even in the rural areas of the country. In fact, my “home and native land” could probably learn a thing or two from the US in this regard. Division: You could cut the tension in the United States with a knife. It seems that everyone is on a “team”. Of course everyone says they are American first but beyond that the divisions are stark. Rich vs. Poor, Republican vs. Democratic, Minority vs. White, Gay vs. Anti-Gay, and so many others. It’s almost like an unhealthy sexual tension between sides, each wary of the...

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