Photography tagged posts

Photo Friday: Grand Canyon Vista from Shoshone Point

grand canyon genuine journeys

It is certainly a WOW experience the first time you see the Grand Canyon. Sadly, at most viewpoints you have to jostle for views with hundreds of tourists. But there is another way. I took this spectacular vista for Photo Friday from a ‘secret’ lookout at Shoshone Point, which actually is not too far by car from Grand Canyon Village. If you are lucky you will have the lookout completely to yourself.

We were there at dusk in late May and a wedding was about to take place accompanied by haunting tunes from a Native American flute player, whose notes echoed across the canyon.

It feels like you can see every nook and cranny from here…a never-ending series of brightly striated buttes, cliffs and plateaus. You can see parts of the Colorado River in the distance as well as Horseshoe Mesa and the Grandview Trail in the east and the South Kaibab Trail which snakes its way to Skeleton Point.

How to get to Shoshone Point

From Grand Canyon Village, take Desert View Drive (also called East...

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Photo Friday: Sega Dancers on the Beach in Mauritius

MAURITIUS-Sega-dancers-on-the-beach

I took this photo of Sega dancers on the beach at a small island off Grande Baie in the Northeast of Mauritius. It was a special event for international journalists as part of the annual Kreol Festival of music and dance in December.

Sega Dancing forms a strong part of Mauritian national identity and when you visit Mauritius you must try and see a performance, although the hotel offerings tend to be rather touristy.  Families love to relax and picnic by the beach on the weekends and you will often see people dancing Sega together. If you are lucky to see some of this dancing it will offer a much more authentic experience.

In her book on Mauritius entitled Culture Shock!: Mauritius, Roseline NgCheong-Lum describes the Mauritian Sega in the following terms:

“It is both song and dance...

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Photo Friday: Trainee Geisha Playing Drinking Games in Kyoto

Trainee geisha or maiko playing drinking games in Kyoto

I took this photo of 17-year-old Tanefume, a trainee geisha playing drinking games with tourists at the Gion Hatanaka Ryokan in Kyoto. The delighted expression on her face contrasts strikingly with her formal attire and shows just how young and ingenuous she is!

The Gion District of Kyoto, with its wooden inns, restaurants and ocha-ya or traditional tea houses is the heart of the geisha quarter.

You might catch a glimpse of a geisha, dressed in an elaborately patterned silk kimono, her face painted in traditional white makeup and hair piled high with delicate decorations, as she slips through a doorway. It is, however, very expensive and next to impossible for foreigners to hire a geisha for an evening’s entertainment of singing, dancing and drinking games.

However the enterprising Gion Hatanaka Ryokan, or traditional inn, offers a traditional Kyoto kaiseki dinner in bento boxes and entertainment with two maiko, or trainee geisha.

It is an entrancing experience where you watch the...

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Six Simple Tips for Taking Terrific Travel Photos

terrific travel photos

Have you ever had the experience of looking at your photos at the end of your trip and been really…I mean really…disappointed with what you see. How is it that the gorgeous beach shots, those fun portraits with famous landmarks and the fabulous action photos are so terrible even though you could swear that you’d captured all those magical moments on your travels.

Photography is painting with light

All too often we can forget that photography is really painting with light. Our eyes adjust to different light conditions automatically. In bright light our pupils contract while in low light they expand.  Too often in the process we don’t actually notice how the prevailing light affects photographs.

So we have to train our eyes to see the way light falls across our subjects whether they are landscapes or cityscapes, portraits, close-ups or action shots...

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Photo Friday: Fez Medina Panorama

Fez Medina Panorama

I took this photograph of the ancient Fez medina from a vantage point overlooking Morocco’s old Imperial capital.

Often called the Mecca of the West, Fez is Morocco’s cultural and spiritual center and its UNESCO World Heritage-listed walled medina is the world’s largest car-free urban area.

The American writer and longtime Moroccan resident Paul Bowles called it “an enchanted labyrinth sheltered from time.”

Once the end of the gold trading route that stretched all the way to Timbuktu, Fez has the oldest continuously functioning university in the world, the University of Al-Karaouine, founded by women in AD859.

Today people live and work in its 9000 laneways much the same way as they have for a thousand or so years. Craft guilds still produce butter-soft leather, copper ware, cactus-silk cloth and much more. Donkeys remain the main form of transport.

If you’d like some insider tips on getting beneath the tourist trail in Fez and connecting with the locals, see my post Insider’s...

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Photo Friday: California’s Big Sur coastline

big-sur-photo-friday

Highway One, which snakes along the spectacular Big Sur coastline, is one of the world’s great drives offering splendid vistas of mountains plunging into the often mist-shrouded Pacific Ocean.

Big Sur is a sparsely populated region of the Central Coast of California, between San Francisco and Los Angeles, where the Santa Lucia Mountains rise abruptly from the Pacific Ocean. The Name ‘Big Sur’ is derived from the Spanish ‘el sur grande’ meaning ‘the big south’ referring to its location south of the Monterey Peninsula.

Because of its relative isolation and natural beauty, Big Sur has been a magnet for artists and writers including Henry Miller, Edward Weston, Hunter S. Thompson and Jack Kerouac.

To check out one of Big Sur’s iconic institutions, read my post on The Esalen Institute, which focuses on alternative humanistic eduction. Often nicknamed ‘The New Age Harvard’, it is a spectacular retreat center and hot springs perched on the cliffs over the Pacific Ocean...

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Photo Friday: Icy Bay in Alaska

Icy Bay in Southeast Alaska

I took this image for Photo Friday at Icy Bay, which is a remarkable landscape in Southeastern Alaska that is rarely visited because it is so inaccessible and remote.

I was lucky to fly there in a tiny three person Super Cub plane, courtesy of Ultima Thule Lodge, which is located deep inside Wrangell St. Elias National Park. We flew across the Bagley Ice Field, which is the largest non-polar ice field in North America and then flew out over Icy Bay to see hundreds of seals sunbaking on the small icebergs that dotted the bay.

Several glaciers spewed into the icy water from the ice field and their jagged blue cliff faces extended more than three kilometers across the bay. The landscape was eerily silent, except for the cries of a few large birds. That was until a chunk of ice, the size of a city skyscraper, broke off the glacier and crashed into the bay with the sound of an enormous explosion. Sensational.

If you would like to read more about my adventures in the world’s largest protect...

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Photo Friday: Ghost gum in the Red Centre’s King Canyon

Ghost gum in the Red Centre's King's Canyon

Ghost gum in the Red Centre’s King’s Canyon

 

I took this picture during the spectacular six-kilometer Kings Canyon Rim Walk, which is one of Australia’s great day walks.The pure white trunk of the ghost gum makes such a remarkable contrast against the rugged sandstone rocks.

Located in the Watarrka National Park, 300 kilometer’s northeast of Uluru, the landscape is defined by rugged red sandstone ranges and gorges that were laid 440 million years ago at about the same time that first life on land appeared. At its heart Kings Canyon sports spectacular 270-metre sandstone walls, sculpted by the elements, which rise up to a plateau of rocky domes.

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Kings Canyon

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Kings Canyon -24.250641, 131.511454
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