A Travel Photography Guide to Kotor, Montenegro
May18

A Travel Photography Guide to Kotor, Montenegro

When I mentioned Montenegro as a potential location to spend a couple weeks, my social medias exploded with people shouting a resounding “yes!”. In particular, they pushed me to go to Kotor, a small historic town settled into the southernmost fjord in Europe.  Within a minute of arriving, I understood why so many people were taken by this destination.  It’s absolutely spectacular. Though my travel schedule is generally pretty quick, I spent a full two weeks in Kotor to give myself enough time to shoot photography, relax a bit, and get some “office work” done on my computer.  Over those two weeks, I shot a half dozen or so locations, so I thought I’d put together a bit of a travel photography guide to Kotor.  Whether you’re hear for a week, or you’re just stopping off for a couple hours off the cruise ship, there should be ample options below for you to choose from. Saint John Cathedral A climb up towards the fortress is the most obvious place to look for the best views of Kotor. However, before you get to the fortress you’ll pass Saint John Cathedral which is about halfway to the top.  The cathedral makes for a great photo location.  It adds some scale to the city below it, and is great both on its own and as an element in a cityscape image of Kotor.  If found this to be a great spot for sunrise, but it also works at sunset. The Fortress After climbing past Saint John Cathedral, the walk up to the fortress will leave you with dozens of great locations for massive overviews of Kotor and the bay.  There’s no one particular place on the trail that’s significantly better than another, but just before you reach the fortress itself, there’s a bit of a platform/open area that is a great spot to set up a tripod. I think the views are better from just below the fortress rather than right on top of it.  It depends on the time of year and the angle of the light, but this is again a better sunrise location than sunset, although either work. Grass-roofed Church This was my favourite photography location in Kotor, and though I didn’t get good light when I was here, I got some decent photos.  I also go some pretty cool drone footage from here. Check out my vlog from the church for that footage. This is a great location for sunset in the summer because on a clear day the light will hit the peaks behind the church and you should get beautiful alpine glow.  I wasn’t so lucky, and...

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Hit the Heartland: 5 Springtime Adventures in Iowa
Feb12

Hit the Heartland: 5 Springtime Adventures in Iowa

The U.S. state of Iowa doesn’t generally hit the top of most travelers’ radars. In fact, most people who live in the United States wouldn’t be terribly likely to choose Iowa as a top vacation spot, but that’s all about to change. Aside from its reputation for corn and football, Iowa is a state that’s simply bursting with beautiful landscapes, trendy city scenes, and a fascinating heritage. The Hawkeye State is much more than flat, agricultural land; Iowa boasts elevated areas surrounding rivers and stunning parks. The historic and the modern come together in Iowa to offer visitors a lot more than they might expect. If you’re considering a visit to Iowa spring is the perfect time to go. As the cold weather dissipates and the countryside begins to bloom, there are many choices of Iowa activities that will suit any traveler. 1. The Iowa Great Lakes Not part of the true Great Lakes of North America, but stunning nonetheless, the 15,000 acres of glacial lakes northwest of Des Moines are one of Iowa’s main attractions for locals and visitors alike. Arnold’s Park and Okoboji are the two main population centers in the area, but that does not mean that they’re large city. These are small towns that still exude the lakeside charm of years past. Fishing, camping, and boating are the main activities here, and families have been coming here for generations. Rent a cabin or stay in one of the area hotels, and be sure to pay a visit to the Arnold’s Park Amusement park for a spin on the 125-year-old Ferris wheel. 2. The Des Moines Food Scene Dining out at a great steak restaurant has always been a must when paying a visit to Iowa, but much of the state has caught up with the rest of the world’s foodie scene, and Des Moines is no exception. Home to almost 1,000 restaurants, Des Moines is now a city that rivals many other in the United States on the food quality alone.  The East Village area of downtown Des Moines is home to hip and trendy eateries, and the rest of city offers up cuisines ranging from Thai to Italian and everything in between. Food trucks are even prowling the streets of Des Moines but are restricted to certain areas of the city. Check the Des Moines Register to find where your favorite truck is. 3. The Calkins Nature Area Located on the banks of the Iowa River in Iowa Falls, the Calkins Nature Area is a great way to learn more about the Iowa that existed in the days of yore. This 70-acre preserve is...

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Photography in Cienfuegos, Cuba
Nov05

Photography in Cienfuegos, Cuba

One of the things about my trip to Cuba, in comparison to other destinations I’ve been to recently, is that I was going in a bit blind.  I didn’t have a whole lot of information to go on for the country in general, so my 2 weeks were a bit of a crap shoot.  Cienfuegos was the first town I went to after leaving my Intrepid Travel group and headed off on my own.  I didn’t know anything about Cienfuegos except for what I read in the Lonely Planet on the bus ride in from Havana.  On the whole, I thought the city was beautiful.  It seemed a bit wealthier than other places I’ve seen in Cuba, and there were a couple interesting things to shoot.  I spent 2 full days in Cienfuegos, but the truth is, from a photography perspective, I probably could have done everything I needed to in just 1 day. This is what I got up to. The Malecón of Cienfuegos The afternoon I arrived, I headed out to the malecón of Cienfuegos to shoot the sunset.  I was hoping to get some shots across the water of the colonial center, but the views weren’t great and there was a plant puffing smoke into it all.  It just didn’t work.  To add salt to the wound, there was the craziest light and sky I’ve seen in a really long time, and I really didn’t have anything to shoot in the foreground of it.  Had I gone downtown, the light would have been amazing over the cathedrals and old architecture.  That said, I did get one or two images from the malecón that I liked. The Plaza I really liked the look of the plaza in Cienfuegos. In fact, I actually sat there and shot time lapse almost all day.  It was a cool little place to hang out.  Once the light started coming down, I shot some photos.  I didn’t get the greatest sky – like the night before – and the lack of clouds made the photos it a bit dull, but I did do some play with the sun coming down and got a couple decent blue hour photos of it all. Some Thoughts from Cienfuegos As I mentioned in the intro, I really enjoyed Cienfuegos. But, it was another example of how planning a destination you’ve never been can be so hard.  I really didn’t need 2 full days in town.  Sure, if you’re a regular tourist you might want all that time to visit the various museums and such, but I really only needed a sunrise and sunset to capture what...

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Welcome to Havana, Cuba!
Oct27

Welcome to Havana, Cuba!

I made it to Cuba! It’s actually such a strange feeling. I’ve never been anywhere like Cuba before, and that’s an awesome feeling for someone who travels so much and is always looking to get back that sensation of being completely overwhelmed. I jumped on board a tour with Intrepid Travel to try to get Cuba sorted out a bit. I wanted to figure out how everything works before setting off on my own for a bit of solo travel. I think that if you’re going somewhere you know nothing about, and don’t really understand how travelling a place works, it’s a great idea to jump on a small group tour like this for a while before then heading out on your own. It allows you to pick the brain of the guide, get your feet wet, and gain some confidence before setting off solo. Anyways, this video and article are from my first couple days in Havana and then joining the tour to head out of town. Havana Old Town The old town of Havana is a bit of mind-explosion. One second you feel like you’re in a war zone with destroyed buildings, then you walk a block and feel like you’ve stepped back in time. There are some beautiful plazas, some wonderful old architecture, and some completely dilapidated buildings. It was definitely a bit strange at first, but the old town is full of charm. I absolutely loved experiencing it. Of course, you’ve got a ton of these beautiful classic cars roaming the streets, too, which is really fun to see. The truth is, on my trip I only planned in one and half days in Havana. After spending my first day, I knew that I didn’t plan for enough time here. The Art of Fuster In the Suburbs After heading out of Havana, we made our way to the suburbs of the city. We stopped in a really cool neighbourhood created by Jose Rodriguez Fuster and is almost Gaudi-esque in its style. Basically, he and almost everyone in the neighbourhood have tiled their houses, their properties, and even the bus stops. It’s a pretty cool place, and definitely unique. That Strange Feeling of Being Lost to Time Arriving in Havana was strange. It did feel a lot like being back somewhere in Central Africa in some ways. But then, it began to feel extremely unique. It is almost a sensation like I’ve come back from the future to visit the 1960s, and every now and then a sliver of modernity has seeped through with me. The lack of internet, cell signal, and connection to the outside has been the...

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The Best Ways to Document your Road Trip
Jul30

The Best Ways to Document your Road Trip

In today’s fast-paced world, surrounded by an abundance of cheap airline flights, it would be easy to think the classic road trip was slowly dying out. After all, who wants to spend hours in a hot, stuffy car when you could be getting to your destination much quicker through other means of transportation? As it happens, the allure of the road trip still endures for millions of travellers all over the world, as they organise their routes with friends and family, working out the best places to take a pit-stop and see some sights. A road trip really can produce some amazing memories, but just how should you go about documenting your adventures so that you can always keep track of the wonderful stories to tell? Here are some of the best ways to make sure your memories stay unforgettable. Take lots of pictures An obvious one, maybe, but when you spend a long time on the road you can forget to take pictures. You’re either too busy driving, catching up on some sleep or getting caught up in exploring your destination. While you don’t want to come across as the annoying tourist who has to get the camera out for every single nice view or statue, you should try to take pictures every now and then just to keep a record of everything. To break things up a bit you could take group shots with other people on your road trip. Keep a diary/blog Of course, all of your photos come with a story, and a diary provides a great way to give them some context. It might seem old fashioned, but writing down what you did during the previous day and explaining your thoughts in a diary are fantastic supplements to your trip. You don’t have to go into too much detail if you don’t want to, but you’ll appreciate a bit of backstory when you look back on your travels. If you’re not prepared to put pen to paper then bring your laptop along, as there are several free online programmes that allow you to keep travel blogs, updating them with images during your trip. Vine Vine is a service that allows you to record short, six second looping videos and send them to friends. It might seem a bit tricky at first, but once you get the hang of the app you’ll be creating new videos like it’s the most natural thing in the world. Coming up with funny, interesting vines that show off your travels and where you are in the world are a great way to keep friends and family in the loop, and you’ll be able to save them to a profile to look back on the memories for years to come. Record videos If a picture is worth...

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