Munich U-Bahn

Every photographer is well aware of the photogenic underground stations in different parts of the world. There are amazing stations in Stockholm, Vienna, Prague and many other place. In Australia we didn’t really have a tube, and I have never really been into architectural photography. However, I recently discovered the Munich U-bahn!

Marienplatz station, Munich. 5D Mark III | 16-35mm 2.8L II | f16 | Tripod

The photo above is of Marienplatz, in the heart of  Munich. The design is really cool, and an architectural photographer’s dream. There are many other stations like this. I am considering doing a U-Bahn project, and going around photographing these cool places. In this photo, I used the 16-35mm 2.8L II wide angle lens and a tripod for a long exposure. Architectural photography is all about symmetry, perfect lines and  perfect composition.. very hard to do well!

So lets see if I can get that project happening!

Happy Shooting!

Paper Island (Papir Øen)

One of the awesome places to visit in Copenhagen is paper island, or Papir Øen. in danish. Copenhagen is a multicultural, super modern metropolis, and paper island is a great example of this. This island is in the middle of Copenhagen harbor, with the famous opera building as a neighbor. The location was used for paper storage for the danish press for decades, hence the name, paper island. The old halls were left decaying, but have now been given a new lease of life. I think its Copenhagen best example of how dynamic and culturally diverse the city is.

Cozy place to hang out! Paper Island Street Food, 5D Mark III | 50mm 1.4 Art

Outdoor Bar, Paper Island style. 5D Mark III | 50mm 1.4 Art

Made mostly out of old containers, the place is alive with creative companies, art, cafes and street-food vendors. The government seems to have done this mostly for fun and to experiment, with the new residence given short term contracts ending in 2017. I think its great to see such an old and run down industrial area turned into something so full of creativity and life. I really hope they keep it. The main attraction is the ‘street food’. There is food there from all over the world, and the quality is really good. Everyone seems to be competing to see who can make the most amazing dish.

Whoever has the most amazing looking dish wins. 5D Mark III | 35mm 1.4 Art

A new-age derivative of the Danish open sandwich.. 5D Mark III | 35mm 1.4 Art.

Another thing there is no shortage of is beer and proper coffee! Paper island has become a trendy place to hang out, even for the locals. There are open fires, cool places to sit or lounge around. Young entrepreneurs are making the most of it, introducing some great food, drinks, art and creativity into an otherwise old city.

A number of good bars offering great beer, Paper Island. 5D Mark III | 35mm 1.4 Art.

1960s caravan made into a cafe. Great coffee. 5D Mark III | 35mm 1.4 Art.

So grab a craft beer and a double organic carrot and beetroot salad while you can!

Find out more: Official Site
Location:

Photography Tips:
  • Photography is allowed unless signed otherwise.
  • You should ask for permission before taking photos.
  • Its a tight space, with low light. Best to use a fast wide angle lens like a 24mm or 35mm 1.4.
  • Don’t forget to also enjoy a beer there!

Gallery:

Ettaler Weidmoss

There are a number of wetlands in the region we live, including Pulvermoos, Murnauer Moos, and Ettaler Weidmoss. There is lots to see, particularly if you like the flora and fauna found in this kind of environment. I went to Ettaler Weidmoss to check it out,as I spotted it coming back from the famous Schloss Linderhof. I went there a couple of hours before sunset. I didn’t really know what to expect, so I brought a few lenses including the 180mm 2.8 Macro and my landscape filters along.

Well I didn’t make it that far, despite the fact that there are lots of walking tracks there. I found lots of very pretty wild flowers, and got a bit carried away. I will have to go back and continue exploring some day soon.

Ettaler Weidmoss, Canon 5D Mark III | 180mm 2.8 Macro | f4.5

Some tips for visiting:
  • Wear a pair of hiking boots or gumboots. Can we quite wet.
  • Go on a quiet day. You need to have no wind in order to get the best shots from a tripod.
  • Its good to go after rain. The rain brings out colour, and cleans everything up.
  • Best to use a tripod and low ISO. If there is no movement by the wind.
  • There is lots to photograph, but a macro lens will bring out a lot of small wonders.

Ettaler Weidmoss, Canon 5D Mark III | 180mm 2.8 Macro | f4.5

I used mostly the 180mm 2.8 Macro as it allows me to selectively focus on the subjects I want, in an artistic way that has a lot of background blur or bokeh. I would not like to shoot these subjects with a lot of depth of field, because all the elements will be distracting to the viewer. A short macro lens will give the detail and close focus, but will not give the subject isolation possible with a longer lens.

Avoid taking these kinds of photos in the middle of the day, because the harsh sun will never allow the same kind of mood as that captured in this series. Here are some of my favorites from the evening!

Ettaler Weidmoss, Canon 5D Mark III | 180mm 2.8 Macro | f5.0 | Tripod.

Ettaler Weidmoss, Canon 5D Mark III | 180mm 2.8 Macro | f2.8.

Ettaler Weidmoss, Canon 5D Mark III | 180mm 2.8 Macro | f2.8 | Tripod.

All in all it was a very nice evening. I did not get any landscape shots in, but plenty of wildflowers which is also nice. I only managed to walk about 400m as I got rather distracted by all the subject matter. I will have to go back and see what else I can find. There are a lot of insects, and anyone interested in macro would enjoy the photo opportunities there.

Location:

Gallery

Below are the keepers from the day. Most are taken with the 180mm 2.8 OS EX Macro lens which really came into its own on this adventure. No other macro lens can obliterate busy backgrounds like this lens.  I have previously made a review of the lens, which you can read about here. I highly recommend the lens, its big and heavy, but it really delivers the goods in the right conditions. Enjoy!

The gift of travel

Apologizing for the heavy load, Saigon, Vietnam

What travel gives – in its purest form.

What is it that travel actually gives us? Just a chance to unwind with a holiday to the beach? Or something deeper, and much more important?

Is there a modern Travel craze? – Perhaps to some.

It seems that a lot of people particularly the 18-35 year old age bracket are really getting out there and doing some traveling. Its like it’s the cool thing to do. Personally I think this is great! Tour groups like Contiki and other have helped younger people feel more at ease with traveling alone. It also seems that there are a lot of people who want to travel to places remote, and different to their countries of origin. I have met tons of Australians in Vietnam and Cambodia, tons of Koreans in Europe and tons of Germans in Shanghai. So that’s the deal?

What do I know about travel?

Well, travel has been a big part of my life, and it will always be. Originally born in Denmark, my family moved to Indonesia when I was 9 years old. We stayed more than 3 years in Indonesia, before returning back to Denmark.

Although we were well settled in Denmark, it only took us 11 months to decide that it wasn’t for us, and when my father got an opportunity to relocate to South Korea, we took it right away. Although we were Danish, and lived in our home country, there was just something that had changed us, and we didn’t have much care of the first world troubles of the typical Danish people.

Unfortunately the Asian financial crisis hit South Korea shortly after our arrival, and we ended up leaving just 12 months after we arrived. From South Korea, we headed to Sydney, Australia. I ended up staying in Australia for some 17 years, living all over the east coast and the northern territory. During my university study where I was based in Brisbane Australia, I did an exchange semester in Norway – for good measure. I was there for 8 months.

An old friend in Germany asked if I would take a job in Bavaria in early 2016. How could I say no? It was a chance to get back in touch with Europe, return to my seemingly ancient roots. I had wondered if I had drifted so far from Europe that I could never return… having spent 2/3 of my life on the other side of the planet. Evidently not.

My wife (Vietnamese, met in Australia) and I are now happily settled in a small village in Bavaria. Its time to enjoy the smaller things in life, rather than large seething masses in big world cities.

There is a difference between going for a 2 week holiday somewhere, and actually living in the place for an extended time. Throughout my life, there have been plenty of travel and plenty of holidays here and there. I have been to probably 20-25 countries at least and I expect this to increase… still much to see!

Interesting snack in Tokyo, Japan.

The gift of travel – As I see it

The gift of travel is very simple in my mind. It challenges your perspective, broadens your mind, opens your eyes, excites the soul, and increases your creativity.

You become more patient, you listen to alternative ideas for longer, you start to think about good and bad in a more holistic way. You do not jump to conclusions, but analyze whether something is good or bad for longer. After some time, this brings you to say: “it depends..”

You will also be better off financially, you will be open minded to see new business ideas, or you might want to bring a clever idea to a new place. You might be able to bring a trusted service or product to a place of chaos or disorder.

Isolation leads to narrow mindedness. Cultural understanding leads to trust and acceptance.

If you never ever go, you never ever know. But many people pretend to know, although actually, they know nothing. Its human nature to fear the unknown, but its today’s norm to never show fear. So instead to we pretend we know everything, and put up a shield to protect us from the unknown. We convince ourselves that what we know is the best way, or the only proper way.

The funny thing is that all that fear and energy spent pretending, soon vanishes when we realize that the person across the hedge, border, or ocean isn’t so bad. Once we understand the person or cultural, we soon realize that tradition, beliefs or upbringing have led to simple differences in culture and conduct. Soon, we start to lose our ignorance, fear, doubt, arrogance, and start to trust and accept and even be intrigued.

A group shot with the local business entrepreneurs, Cambodia.

We are making quite a mess of the world. Lots of arguing, and we are all just the same.

There is more racial tension today than in a very long time. The war on terrorism has had many side effects, some of which we are only just finding out about. With the Middle East so destabilized, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced – and where do they go? To the west of course, in search of a better life. This seems to have been a major surprise to a lot of people in the west.

All there is to report in the news today is basically, negativity. Who blew up who, who killed who, who’s territory is threatened, who has the most money, and who stole from who. When you look at it this way, we all just kids in a kindergarten. I thought that being the most intelligent species on earth, we would be a little more grown up.

The silly thing is that as you experience travel, and learn different cultures, you see more and more that despite how different we seem, we are all just the same. We all have aspirations, we all love our families, we all need a place to sleep at night, we all need something to eat, and we all want to find a mate. Our faces may change, and our foods may change, and even what we feel is normal or acceptable changes, but when it boils down to it, we are all just the same.

The world is a book, and those who do not travel, read only a page.

This is really my favorite quote. I think it is very true, and something everyone (who can read) can appreciate. A great, fulfilling book is never just one page. Usually, a great ‘read’ or a great story, or journey is experienced by reading many pages. The world is the same. There are something like 195 pages in this ‘world’ book. I’ve read enough pages to work out what the book is about, how many pages have you read?

Family lunch, Vietnam style. Vinh Vietnam.

One man’s reality is merely one path. One man’s lectures are merely a point of view.

We often get stuck with this. People decide on an idea, or convention, or perhaps they didn’t decide, but were brought up to believe that. Maybe that idea is shared by a whole county, a religion, or region or even a whole country.

This idea, or a way of doing might come naturally, and perhaps you can’t think of a single alternative way which could be acceptable – but remember, that’s your view, and is not necessarily shared by other people. Your way, is just your way, no matter how popular a way it may be.

Through all the experiences we gain in our lives, we may think that our way is best – but that is simply just our point of view.

The essence of what travel does to a person – demonstrated

By far the best ‘thing’ I have seen which really shows how a person is changed, or how a person grows by traveling is the mini-series ‘The Long Way Round’. Ewan McGregor and Charlie Boorman go on a motorbike ride around the world, riding through 12 counties in 115 days. Ewan and Charlie decided to film their adventure with the help of a cameraman and their own video diaries. It is clear that many basic emotions are felt in this great adventure along the way, as they experience; hardship, pain, fear, loneliness, vulnerability, love, excitement, happiness, discovery, serenity, simplicity, fulfillment and achievement.

While well-educated and open-minded, the two come across as spoiled, arrogant, naive, ignorant and obnoxious in the beginning. These traits are challenged as the journey goes on, and this transformation can really be seen in the films. I think that they have become more rounded people, more patient people, and more giving people as a result of their travel adventures.

Anyone who has a love of travel should ensure they watch this great, down to earth documentary. Highly recommended! The video below is the trailer for the series. The full DVD or book is only 15 bucks on Amazon!

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!