Bavarian Summer

So far its been a wonderful summer in Bavaria. The best thing is that we are only half way through. Here are some everyday shots to share! Hope you enjoy.

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!

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!

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

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

 

Fasching! (Carnival Season)

Dance girls at Fasching in Rieden am Forggensee, 5D Mark III | 85mm 1.2L II at 1.2.

Fasching is Germany’s carnival season. In Bavaria where I live, it’s taken very seriously! It starts November 11th, and lasts a couple of months until Shroud Tuesday. It is basically a Roman Catholic and Christian Orthodox celebration. It’s a time where people let their hair down, dress up and drink lots of beer. Although not an official holiday, everything grinds to a halt around Fasching. In many towns, there are Faschingsumzug, or parades. Here everyone that has dressed up has a chance to act silly with their friends.

Fasching is a party time and lots of fun. I went along to one of the local village’s parade in Rieden am Forggensee, near Fussen. To be successful at Fasching, you need a crazy costume, lots of beer and good friends!

Here are some photos from the day. All taken with the 85L. It’s slow focus was an issue at times, but I did manage to get a few keepers.