Signs of Summer

I found that my signs of spring post was fairly popular, so here is a signs of summer! It certainly is becoming summer here in Bavaria. Its been quite warm, and the flowers, grasses, and trees have been exploding. Its now bright green everywhere with lots of life! I once again took my 180mm 2.8 Macro lens out for a walk, and had a look at what I could find.

Bad Kohlgrub, Bavaria. 5D Mark III | 180mm 2.8 Macro

Bad Kohlgrub, Bavaria. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

Bad Kohlgrub, Bavaria. 5D Mark III | 12mm 2.8 fisheye

Macro or close up photography is somehow quite.. therapeutic. Concentrating on the detail, one little part of the world is refreshing. Modern life is complex.

Bad Kohlgrub, Bavaria. 5D Mark III | 180mm 2.8 Macro

Bad Kohlgrub, Bavaria. 5D Mark III | 180mm 2.8 Macro

Bad Kohlgrub, Bavaria. 5D Mark III | 180mm 2.8 Macro

Gallery

First trip to Slovenia!

So it was long weekend (again) here in Bavaria, aren’t we lucky? We decided to go and see Slovenia, which is pretty close to us. We sent off Saturday morning by car with my camera gear, tent and sleeping bags bound for Bled, Slovenia.

Lake Bled at dawn. 5D Mark III | 45mm 2.8 TS-E | B+W CPL

Unfortunately, we soon realized we would not make Bled early afternoon as planned… the traffic was horrible. All of Germany was driving south. The highways were completely clogged. It took us until 6pm to get there. Note to self – go earlier next time! Anyways, we made it to Bled just in time for some dinner and some evening photos.

Lake Bled at dusk. 5D Mark III | 85mm 1.2L II | B+W CPL | Lee Pro Glass 0.9 ND

Bled is a wonderful area, and we spent a bit of time there, checking out the town, castle and surroundings before moving on to the south of Slovenia to see the world famous caves. The weather was awesome, and it was great to sleep under the stars. Next day we went to Skocjan caves, it cost 21 Euros each for the extended tour. While the cave was pretty awesome, paradise cave in Vietnam is more impressive. The main problem I have with Skocjan caves is that no photography is allowed in the main section.. even without flash. Yet, people can use flashlights in the cave. Lame. So all my photos is from the second part of the caves, where photography was allowed.

Škocjan Caves, Slovenia. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

We just had enough time to also see Slap Savica waterfall and surrounds. All is all it was really a great trip. Very friendly people, great scenery. Would highly recommend!

Chick here to see the full album from Slovenia!

 

Watch Tales by Light!

I have just finished watching Tales by Light. I must say it was really cool, and very inspirational. There are few films on photography, and even less worth watching. Tales by Light was done by Netflix and Canon Australia. It follows renowned photographers around the world as they chase the shot of their dreams. Its very travel and adventure related, and that makes it very interesting for me. If you like travel photography, culture, adventure and nature, this is a must! The episodes are around 20-25mins each, but are quite feature packed. Watch the trailer below.

It is obviously sponsored heavily by Canon, and there isn’t another camera brand in sight throughout the series. It does not ruin the series, and should be something for Canon fanboys to watch late at night. What I really like about it is the international feel, and the focus on inspiration and the fundamentals of how photography makes us feel. I’m glad there is little gear talk by some “experts” because they usually makes me sick. These photographers are just practicing their craft, and are all very talented and inspirational.

I would highly recommend the series to all photographers. Its not only eye candy, and beautifully made, it was very thought provoking for me, and struck at the roots of what I love about travel and photography. This series is about what photography is, and not what consumerism has made it.

Find out more about the series here! Tales by Light

Season two is coming!

Reflecting on Travel

Hi all! I decided to make a fun photo and use it as a new featured photo in my travel albums landing page. I thought it would be cool if it was a pile of old maps and travel stuff…

My travel junk… or is it memories?

To be honest, I could have done a better job technically, and used some flashes and stuff, its a bit unevenly lit.. but anyway. I have a heap of travel books, maps and old stuff lying around which I got from my many travels. It turned out to be more about reflection on travel experiences than anything else! You can click on the image to make it larger. Some of the stuff in there includes:

  • My collection of travel books… I currently have 40+ Lonely Planet books. I just ordered another one, ‘Great Britain’. Although my favorite which I use for inspiration is Lonely Planet’s ‘The Travel Book’, its super cool and has a couple of pages for every country in the world. Lonely Planet
  • Some Polish money which I got from a friend while on university exchange in Norway… Never actually been to Poland yet. Although I’m told I’m going this summer :s.
  • A gangster style roll of Vietnamese money. We have been there so many times, and always have lots of notes left over. Due to inflation the roll is worth about 4 bucks… and not worth stealing.
  • Some iron-on patches. About 10 years ago I thought it would be cool to have patches from all the places I visited all over my bag.. never happened, and now I don’t like the idea.. Anyone want some patches?
  • The Killing Fields of Choeung Ek flyer. This is from Cambodia, where we visited the sights of Pol Pot’s regime. Very chilling, and worth a visit. Thousands of people were murdered here with primitive tools, include women, children and babies. See here for more information. We also went to s21, the school that was converted to an execution processing center. See here for more information.
  • Some boarding passes for an Etihad flight. Not a huge fan of Etihad, but its who we used to relocate to Germany from Australia just over a year ago now.
  • A trail map of ‘Mueller Hut Route’ in New Zealand. Many years ago, my friend and I hiked up to the Mueller Hut, in the Mt Cook region of New Zealand. We camped on the snow at around 2000m. Interestingly, 30mins from the hut lies Mt Oliver. This was the first peak that Sir Edmund Hillery ever climbed. He would later be the first to scale Mt. Everest in 1953. See here for more info.
  • Fraser island map. Fraser Islands has world heritage listing and is one of the biggest sand islands in the world. Located just off the coast of Harvey Bay in Australia, its a magnet for holiday makers, and 4WD enthusiasts. Its great for camping and the interior lakes are crystal clear and incredible for swimming. Info
  • Da Lat city map. Da Lat is one of my favorite places in Vietnam. This mountainous village is nice and cool, and has great markets. Its famous for its flowers and fruits, and there are also a number of waterfalls to see in the region. Best way to see it is by renting a motorbike. Info
  • Japan rail card. No visit to Japan is complete without experiencing the bullet trains. The train system in Japan is among the best in the world. Its quite expensive, but get a JR rail pass when you visit to have access to anywhere in the country. Info
  • My trusty GPS. This is an older one now, but you can still load all kinds of maps to it. Great for exploring. I bought this tax free on board M/S Norröna while in international waters, headed for Iceland. Info
  • Faroe Islands bus schedule. Public transport is pretty efficient in Denmark. Even on its extreme territories, there is good public transport. The Faroe Islands has a population of just 25,000 people, and yet taking the bus was a good way of getting around. Info

So whats next?

Well I certainly plan to continue my travels long into the future! There are so many places still to see and experience! This summer I plan to get some short trips in around central Europe. We also plan to visit the UK this summer for a couple of weeks. I really want to see Scotland. In autumn, I have no idea… but I know we are hosting Christmas this year in Bavaria.. Something about a visit to Vietnam in February for Tet, lets see what happens. Here is my ultimate bucket list for the next 3-5 years!

  1. A visit to Greenland – min 4 weeks
  2. A visit to Iceland – minimum 2 weeks
  3. A visit to Borneo – min 2 weeks
  4. Take the Trans-Siberian railway to Beijing
  5. A visit to the Pacific Islands – min. 4 weeks
  6. A visit to Burma – 2-3 weeks
  7. Visit the Falkland Islands and South Georgia
  8. Visit North Africa, including Tunisia and Morocco.
  9. A visit to St. Petersburg
  10. A visit to Croatia and Greece.
  11. A visit to Costa Rica
  12. A visit to Patagonia.

Looks like I’ll be busy! Happy shooting and hope you enjoyed my memories!

Oh yes, nearly forgot! Here is where I used the photo! Travel Photography

Eibsee, Bavaria

Its finally getting warm and nice here in Bavaria. The grass is green again and the flowers are blooming. Most people who visit here come in Summer, and most people visit the castles, beer gardens, and perhaps see Zugspitze, Germany’s highest mountain. One little place thats very near to Zugspitze is Eibsee, a lake at the foot of the mountain, and about 10mins from Garmisch. I’ve been meaning to check it out, so yesterday I finally did!

Eibsee, Bavaria. 5D Mark III | 16-35mm 2.8L II | B+W Polariser

The lake is about the same size as Alpsee near Schwangau, where you will also find Neuschwanstein. Eibsee has got crystal clear water which appears green in the shallows, and number of very cute islands in the middle and great montane forest surrounding it. The backdrop of the lake on two side is towering mountains.

Eibsee, Bavaria. 5D Mark III | 50mm 1.4 Art | X4 Polariser

Eibsee, Bavaria. 5D Mark III | 180mm 2.8 Macro

We arrived early in the morning when the water was completely flat. It was such a reward! We saw perfect reflections of the mountains above on the lake. The weather was completely clear, and I used a polarising filter to enhance the colour in the sky and in the forest.

Eibsee, Bavaria. 5D Mark III | 16-35mm 2.8L II | B+W Polariser

Eibsee, Bavaria. 5D Mark III | 16-35mm 2.8L II | B+W Polariser

Despite the nice colours, black and white conversions have also worked very nicely. Although it is almost a shame to remove the rich colours in scenes like the one below.

Eibsee, Bavaria. 5D Mark III | 16-35mm 2.8L II | B+W Polariser

Eibsee, Bavaria. 5D Mark III | 180mm 2.8 Macro

I also brought along my 180mm 2.8 Macro lens, which I only do on occasion. Eibsee is a great place to get some close up images. The one above is water droplets stuck in a spider’s web at 1:1 magnification (life size). There are also many nice wild flowers to photograph.

Eibsee, Bavaria. 5D Mark III | 180mm 2.8 Macro

Eibsee, Bavaria. 5D Mark III | 70mm 2.8 Macro

Finally, the surreal scenery is also a good place for portrait photography! The ‘beach’ is kind of small stones, and is a nice stage! Here is one with the 135mm f2L lens.

Eibsee, Bavaria. 5D Mark III | 135mm f2L

If you find yourself in the area, its totally worth a visit. We finished up with lunch at a cafe on the lake, very nice!

Location:

Photography Tips:

  • Bring a few different focal lengths, its a cool place to be creative.
  • You need a polariser!
  • In summer bring your swimmers and a waterproof case!
  • You can hike up to a look out if you want a view of the whole lake.
  • If you want the best images you should bring a tripod.
  • You can hire boats which might be good for photography as well!

Gallery

 

German Tank Museum

I have always been a WW2 history buff, and especially I’ve always loved tanks. When I got a chance to visit the Deutsches Panzermuseum in Munster on my way up to Denmark, I had to drop by.  It is one of the few places where you can see some of the rarest ww2 tanks. Some of which there are only a couple left in the world. I have always been interested in the technology that was developed in ww2. It was a race between nations, a race to be the first and the best at everything. Many advanced technologies were developed in this time such as; TV, radar, the first jet fighter, the assault rifle, the swept wing, first rocket powered aircraft, medical penicillin, helicopters, freeze dried coffee, computers and much else. Many house hold names owe themselves to advances made in WW2. The AK47 assault rifle is a late derivative of the German MP44 assault rifle. The MiG15,  the most advanced jet fighter of the 1950s was based on German drawings of a prototype Focke-Wulf Ta 183, and even had a copy BMW 003 jet engine in it.

Late model Tiger tank, Munster Panzer Museum. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

Germany fielded many different tanks in ww2, they were constantly improving and changing designs. Although numerically very few, many German tanks were extremely deadly. The Tiger and Panther became well known names to allied tank commanders, and became armor to avoid! The German Tiger tank had much greater armor plating than regular tanks, and a much more powerful gun, which could destroy most tanks at more than twice the distance they could. On the eastern front Tiger crews recorded 14:1 kill death ratios. Munster specializes in German tanks from 1917, and has many of these rare beasts.

For its time, the Panther tank was very advanced and led the way in tank development for years to come. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

Impressive armor plating of the Jagdpanther. Many allied tanks had great difficulty in dealing with the Jagdpanther. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

These heavy tanks were developed as a result of the German experiences in Russia in 1941. The German army enjoyed very fast progress initially, as they had before in the blitzkrieg era, but that all changed when they ran into good Russian tank designs like the KV and T34 tanks. To deal with these threats Germany developed specialized tank hunter tanks like the jagdpanzer and increasingly heavier tank designs.

A collection of tank hunters. Here we see a Hetzer in the foreground, and two Jagdpanzers along with the Jagdpanther. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

Jagdpanzer IV with L48 gun. Its low profile made it a very hard target to hit, it became almost invisible when used defensively. It also packed a powerful punch. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

This is a Hetzer tank based on a Czech tank design. It was very small, but highly agile and had a powerful cannon. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

Germany could never match the mass production of the soviet union and the USA. The US produced 53,000 Sherman tanks in the war years, while German produced 1300 Tigers. The T34 Russian tank was the greatest threat, and while a very formidable tank, many were lost with poor crew training, lack of communications and inexperience. As more and more waves of soviet tanks hit the battlefield, the Germans were finally pushed back. Russia paid a high price for this, and it can be seen on some of the exhibits at Munster. There is a T34/85 there where you can see the rush under which is was made, the welding and general assembly of the turret is very poor.

Turret of a Russian T43/85. The Russian tanks were very roughly made, had poor optics and communications, but were very numerous, highly reliable, had good protection and a good gun. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art.

As well as the main battle tanks, there are also many other interesting vehicles on display at Munster. The car below is a Schwimmwagen, made by VW. This was an amphibious car with 4×4. The tracked vehicle below is a Goliath. A remote controlled mini tank packed with explosives designed to bring down fortifications.

Schwimmwagen, amphibious car. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

Goliath, remote controlled bomb. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

Germany’s history with tanks began a in WW1 where they captured a British tank, one of the first in the world. A German version was soon developed and became the A7V. These early tanks were more mobile bunkers than anything else. They were very slow and had very little mobility. New tactics first visualized by the British, and developed by Germany in the 1930s called for a mechanized army with fast mobile tanks spearheading enemy positions with great shock and confusion. This became known as Blitzkrieg tactics which proved very successful and led to the collapse of Europe.

WW1 A7V tank from 1918. Germany’s first tank. Crew of no less than 18 people was needed. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

First of the German Panzers. This is a Panzer I  from the mid 1930s. Had two machine guns and weighed just 5.4 tons. The Tiger II produced in the last years of the war had an 88mm cannon, 185mm thick steel plating and weighed 70 tons. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

The final tanks to be made by Nazi Germany were monsters. The Tiger II or King Tiger tank was one of the heaviest tanks ever made. It weighed 70 tons, had 185mm think steel plating and packed a very powerful gun which could destroy tanks at 2000 – 3000m. Some Tigers are known to have had a 14:1 Kill/Death ratio. Equally insane is the Sturmtiger. Weighing 68 tons, this tank fired a 380mm rocket propelled artillery shell which was designed to destroy fortifications and buildings. The shell is shown in the foreground.

King Tiger tank. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

Sturmtiger with 380mm rocket propelled shell in foreground. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art.

Munster Panzer Museum also has more modern tanks including the Leopard I, right up to the present day. Its a great museum, especially if you are interested in WW2 tanks. I would highly recommend a visit to any history buff! Below are a few pictures from the day! Hope you enjoy and please don’t forget to follow my blog.

Official website is here: http://daspanzermuseum.de/

Location information:

Photography information:

  • The museum allows photography with no limitations that I am aware of.
  • All the photos here were taken with a 5D Mark III and 24mm 1.4 lens.
  • The light is pretty good, I used f1.4 and iso400. So if you have a 2.8 lens you will likely need iso 1600.
  • 24mm is the widest angle I would use so that you don’t distort the subjects too much.
  • It costs 8 Euro to get in and the museum is open 6 days 10:00-18:00.
  • Fully guided tours are available upon request.

Gallery

Hallstatt

I had seen a lot of cool shots of Hallstatt, and decided that we needed to check it out. Our first stop was Salzburg (click for photos!). We then headed for our overnight halt near Hallstatt. We thought we would use the tent, and do it backpacker style. Sleeping under the stars was really nice, but it was a pretty cold night! That evening we thought we would check out Hallstatt even if there wasn’t much going on, at least we could get dinner and a few long exposures.

Hallstatt, Austria. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

Hallstatt is a very cosy village perched on the steep banks of Hallstätter See. It is a very popular spot for tourists, so much so that the Chinese have made a scale replica back in China apparently. I can understand why as the town is really quite charming. Should be mentioned that you can’t actually drive into the town, you need to part a little outside the village.

Hallstatt from the lake. 5D Mark III | 35mm 1.4 Art

Next day we came back and took a 50min boat trip which was a good way of seeing the town from the water. I think it was about 10 Euro per person. 35mm seemed to be a good focal length from the boat. There is lots of see the do in the village, and when we were there there was a marathon on.

 

Best flower pots I’ve seen. 5D Mark III | 35mm 1.4 Art

Coolest tree I’ve seen. 5D Mark III | 14mm 2.8

Like many villages like this, there are walking tracks throughout the town, and it takes a while to learn your way around. We eventually made it to the church which over looks the town. From there you have a look view of the lake and surrounding mountains.

Vistas from the church. 5D Mark III | 14mm 2.8

All in all a nice place to see if you are in Austria!

Here are some of my favorite photos from the two days:

Gallery