Polar Nights – A taste of Lofoten

Who would be mad enough to head to Lofoten for New Years Eve? A place where there is twilight for just 2-3 hours per day? MEEE! I thought it would be great fun to see Lofoten in winter, but this is no trip for the faint hearted.

Hamnøy is famous for photography. Here is the wonderful Anita’s Sjømat cafe. Lofoten, Norway. Canon 5D Mark III with Zeiss Milvus 18mm 2.8

I intended to hire a car and roam around seeing the area, camping in my tent at night. Turned out that perhaps this was an optimistic plan. My journey began in Narvik, flying in from Copenhagen. This is certainly the fastest way to get here, although you can also take the train through Sweden. I hired a car and spent two days in Narvik. A nice little town with much history. Narvik is famous in world war II where it was a major port for Swedish iron ore. It remains so to this day. The German war machine needed this vital supply line, and paid a heavy toll for it. There are many great museums and sights to see from this time.

My mission was to reach the town of A at the western extreme of Lofoten, taking some good photos along the way.

Google map of the Lofoten region, hearts represent stops on the route.

I thought that camping would be fun, but it was a little difficult and they were not great nights. Essentially I had two days of very cold weather, two days of extremely windy weather and two days of constantly pouring rain… The first night I found an area to camp off the beaten track, but turned out that there were moose around – not exactly a relaxing night.

A little snow overnight, Evenes, Lofoten. Canon 5D Mark III with 24mm 1.4 Art

A bit of cooking in this lovely hut. Canon 5D Mark III with 12mm 2.8 Fisheye.

The two nights on the coast were so windy that my Hilleberg 4 season tent bent one of its poles, and sleep was impossible due to the constant noise from the tent shaking about. The next nights had constant and cold rain. I decided to mix it up and get a hotel where I could dry out my gear and get some sleep.

Lofoten is very quiet in winter and few places are open. On top of this, the dark days made it challenging to actually see much – only 2-3 hours each day. Not exactly the makings of a great holiday, but there were some consolations. Lofoten is epic-ly beautiful and rugged. The coastlines are an impossible mix of sharp mountains and beautiful beaches. Small settlements dot the landscape in the typical Norwegian fashion.

Svolvær, Lofoten. 5D Mark III with 135mm f2L

Somewhere in Lofoten, Canon 5D Mark III with 135mm f2L

Lofoten, Norway. Canon 5D Mark III with 24mm 1.4 Art.

Hamnøy, Lofoten. Canon 5D Mark III with 85mm 1.2L II

At the same time you have that typical Scandinavian comfort. Such a modern and cosy place. The cafes are utterly up-beat and serve some of the best seafood in the world.

Delicious seafood burger from Anita’s Sjømat, Lofoten. Canon 5D Mark III with 85mm 1.2L II

I will have to return under some more favourable conditions. A winter trip should be planned in March for more light, and in summer the midnight sun will allow endless light and better conditions for camping. For me I loved the mystical feel of this northern fairyland.


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.



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:



View of Salzburg from the Fortress. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art

Last weekend my wife and I decided to have a short road trip to Salzburg and Hallstatt in Austria. Salzburg is just 2:15 from where we live, and we had not been there before, but heard a lot of good things about it. I ended up with a lot of photos from the two days, so I”ll split the posts – so here is Salzburg!

Salzburg souvenirs! 5D Mark III | 45mm 2.8 TS-E

Salzburg was pretty amazing, but lots of tourists… After a while I get people phobia, so if you are like me, make sure you arrive early! Salzburg has lots of rich history, and its wealth came from salt mines in the region. Salt was used extensively in the past as a food preservative.  Today Salzburg is a vibrant city, with cool markets, a lovely river and cosy cafes. The main reason tourists come here however is to get a glimpse of the Salzburg’s glamorous past, which is easy. The city has many wonderful old buildings, small alleyways and imposing courtyards.

Streets of Salzburg. 5D Mark III | 85mm 1.2L II

A nice way to get around is by horse! 5D Mark III | 85mm 1.2L II


You can spend days in Salzburg, but we only had one. We strolled around on the cities many steep paths and eventually made it to the fort, over looking the city. You can take a tram up to the fort, but you should walk up, as you will see a lot on the way. The fort was built to protect the city and its wealth in salt from its enemies. The fort was expanded many times, and never breached.

The fortress from the city. 5D Mark III | 85mm 1.2L II

The city has lots of nice shops to look at. Some are still trading salt today, like to cool and trendy place below. Some good places for coffee too, and if you don’t feel like walking, but can take a horse carriage around the city instead.

Trendy salt shop. Used the super wide 12mm 2.8 Fisheye to maximize the effect of the cool ceiling. 5D Mark III | 12mm 2.8 Fisheye

Posing nicely for the camera. 5D Mark III | 85mm 1.2L II


Here are some more of my favorite photos from the trip to Salzburg!


A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to have a week in Shanghai for business reasons. I managed to get out and see the city a little bit, and take some photos! Shanghai is now the largest city is the world. I feel very fortunate that I had a little spare time there. I hope to go back and see more of China soon! Here are some of my highlights!

Shanghai Skyline from The Bund. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art


View from Shanghai Tower. 5D Mark III | 16-35mm 2.8L II


Jing’an temple 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art


Jade Buddha Temple. 5D Mark III | 135mm f2L

For the full Shanghai album, please click here



A weekend in Cinque Terre

Corniglia, 5D Mark III | 16-35mm 2.8L II

It was my wife’s birthday and we decided to take a long weekend trip somewhere. She, being Asian, and sick of winter naturally wanted to go somewhere warm! We checked out last minute flights, but in the end decided to go to the Cinque Terre region in Italy. It is only a 6 hour drive from Garmisch Partekirchen in Germany. Cinque Terre is somewhere I also wanted to see for ages, its a great place for photography. The region is renowned for it’s rugged terrain, plantations of lemon and other fruits, and of course it’s amazing villages perched on the cliffs. We decided to head for Vernazza, one of the 5 main towns to see, where we got a great little bed and breakfast place.

Map of Cinque Terre, credit: https://cinqueterre.a-turist.com/map

As you can see from the map above, the five towns are close together, and linked easily by train. Cars are not allowed in most villages, and we parked our car about 1.2km away from Vernazza and had to walk down, but not not a big deal. You can also go between the villages by boat, which is suppose to be a relaxing way of commuting, but in low season these don’t run. Apart from driving which I wouldn’t recommend due to parking and the very narrow roads, the only other way is to hike. We hiked from Vernazza to Monterosso which takes around 2-3 hours. The trip is well worth it for the scenery, and it was very pleasant!

The region is renowned for it’s rugged terrain, plantations of lemon and other fruits, and of course it’s amazing villages perched on the cliffs.

Enjoying the sun on the trail between Vernazza and Monterosso, 5D Mark III | 50mm 1.4 Art


View from the trail down to Vernazza, 5D Mark III | 50mm 1.4 Art


I would recommend going in shoulder season, as I can imagine that there would be a lot of tourists in the middle of August. We already in late March saw tour groups. Having said that, we found that not that many people actually stay in the towns, at least not in Vernazza. It seems most tourists come by the train for just a few hours.

This is really a photographer’s paradise.

Good to know

  • The roads in the Cinque Terre region are very narrow. If you have a big car or camper, you really need to consider this. Also, for the most part is it not possible to drive into the villages, you need to park outside the villages, and walk in with your stuff.
  • The towns are quite small, and you will run out of things to do and see in each of them soon enough, so plan to see at least a couple of villages on your stay. That’s not to say they are boring, they certainly are not, they are very charming.
  • Accommodation can quickly run out in your chosen village, so book early, and have a back up plan. We stayed at A Cà Da Nonna Di Callo Luca and it was very comfortable, and just 70 Euros per night with everything included and a good bathroom. I would highly recommend them! Find them on Booking.com. If all is lost, and you cannot stay in the villages, staying at La Spezia is a workable option. The train runs frequently and its a short trip.
  • There is a hiking trail which runs through the region, and links up with the villages, for the more adventurous type this is really worth while. The track is well used, but a little rugged and steep in parts. It should be noted here that tent use is really difficult, and there is only one tent site 40mins away from Vernazza.
  • There are small supermarkets if you need something, or planning on cooking yourself. There are also several good restaurants in each village. Prices are reasonable.
  • We found the train a good way to get between villages, after you get used to the system. We got single tickets, but it is possible to get a day ticket for 13 Euros.

Monterosso, 5D Mark III | 16-35mm 2.8L II & B+W CPL

Photography Tips

This is really a photographer’s paradise. The scenery is great, the villages are colorful and the water is clear. After first seeing some photos from the region, I always wanted to go there. For the most part, it is the landscape photography opportunities which appeal most. Unfortunately, the light wasn’t very special when we were there, but I tried to make the best of it. Each village has several good vantage points for the best photos, but these can initially be a little hard to find, so check them out early or before you have to shoot the sunrise. You may also have a look at the local post office for post cards, and get an idea of the vantage points in advanced.

This is really the photo I wanted to get! 5D Mark III | 16-35mm 2.8L II | Lee Little Stopper & B+W CPL.


Dawn in Vernazza. 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art | Lee Pro-Glass 0.9 + GND 0.6 & X4 CPL


Usually, these vantage points are on the trail leading in and out of the village, this was certainly the case with Vernazza. Bring a tripod, and if you have filters bring them along. I got the above two images with a combination of neutral density filters, grad filters and polariser. Any scenic coastal environment such as Cinque Terre begs for long exposures and landscape filter use. I used my Canon 5D Mark III along with several lenses; 16-35mm 2.8L II, 14mm 2.8, 24mm 1.4 Art, 50mm 1.4 Art and the 100-400mm 4.5-5.6L IS II. Its really important to have a polariser handy to bring out the colour, refer to my short write up about polariser use here.

Vernazza at night, 5D Mark III | 24mm 1.4 Art


Vernazza at dawn, 5D Mark III | 16-35mm 2.8L II | Lee Little Stopper & B+W CPL | 46 seconds


Vernazza at dusk, 5D Mark III | 50mm 1.4 Art | Lee Pro-Glass 0.9 & X4 CPL | 48 seconds


Its really important to have a polariser handy to bring out the colour

Most of the shots above are 20-60 second exposures, using Lee neutral density filters. This is a great way to smooth out water and create drama in the picture. The other advantage of using ND filters is that due to the long exposure time, people who walk into your image don’t necessarily appear in the end result (as long as they keep moving!). If you are not into landscape photography, there are good street photography opportunities as well!

Good place for a nap, Riomaggiore. 5D Mark III | 50mm 1.4 Art


Riomaggiore, 5D Mark III | 16-35mm 2.8L II


Vanessa in Corniglia, 5D Mark III | 50mm 1.4 Art

Photography in Cinque Terre;

  • Great location for landscape photography – Bring your tripod!
  • If you have landscape filters – bring them, you will need them.
  • If you don’t have a polariser, invest in one, they are well worth it here.
  • If you want tourist free pictures, get up early, and watch the sun-rise.
  • Using neutral density filters can remove people from images.
  • Use the trail linking up the villages. There are great vantage points along it.
  • Each village has something unique about it, and they are all worth visiting.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post about the Cinque Terre region. Please subscribe to my blog to stay up to date on all posts so you don’t miss a thing! Please comment or contact, I would appreciate the feedback.

Gallery from the weekend

Brighton Beach Australia

Its another cold, sleety Sunday morning in Bavaria. Winter is slowly coming to an end, and its about time, I’ve had enough of 2 degrees and sleet. Starting to look forward to summer, or at least Spring. Actually, I found some un-processed photos from Australia with sun and surf which might have brought about the negativity! So here are a few photos from Brighton Beach in Victoria to help get everyone into the mood for summer!

Brighton Beach VIC, 5D Mark III, 12mm 2.8 Fisheye

Brighton Beach VIC, 5D Mark III, 12mm 2.8 Fisheye

Brighton Beach is close to Melbourne, and is famous for its many colourful little beach shacks. There are better beaches in the world, but perhaps none so colourful! I used the Breakthrough X4 polariser, 24mm 1.4 Art and Samyang 12mm 2.8 Fish-eye here. Hope you enjoy!!


First Japan Trip

I have not posted anything in a while! We have been busy re-establishing ourselves in Bavaria, Germany. New job, home, car and lifestyle! There has been so much to do, and all my CF cards have been busting. But now I finally got my main computer back, and I’ve been busy processing my photos from the last 3 months. I hope to be more active on my blog now. Lots to do!

Japan gallery is finally up!

I have always wanted to visit Japan. I finally got my chance this year in April, when we planned to visit during the cherry blossom. We just got the last of the beautiful flowering trees. Japan is a favorite for photographers, and now that I’ve seen it, its easy to see why. Such great culture, people and tradition. So many sights, colour, and unique styles. Cannot wait for my next trip back!



Fushimi Inari-taisha in the rain!

Click here for the full gallery!


Landscape Gallery

Nothing like being in a beautiful part of the world, with nice light and a camera! Getting up early and going out with your gear to watch the sunrise is certainly always rewarding.



Another great trip to Vietnam!

We had another fantasitc trip to central Vietnam this year! I want to share some of the photos I captured from our trip. Most are from magical Hoi An where we stayed for a week. Click on th image below to see the entire album. Most of the images are taken with Sigma’s fanastic Art primes. Hope you enjoy!!

Kids selling lanterns, Hoi An. 5D3 | 24mm 1.4A | f1.4 | iso1250

Kids selling lanterns, Hoi An. 5D3 | 24mm 1.4A | f1.4 | iso1250