Trash The Lens

Journeys and photos

Hiking upside down

I'm back from my first trip to the part of the world where people walk upside down. It's been three weeks in New Zealand full of sightseeing and hiking. Not so much taking photos. Oh, the irony -- I managed to trash a lens. Literally, my tripod tipped over and my Sigma 10-20 ended its life in a shallow stream near Routeburn Track. Fortunately I managed to get a replacement pretty quickly and at a descent price thanks to the nice people in a camera shop in Queenstown.

The volcano below is Mt. Ngauruhoe which played Mount Doom in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings series. This photo was taken on Tongariro Alpine Crossing, a one-day hike which is so beautiful it could be in itself a reason enough to visit this remote country.

Mt. Ngauruhoe, New Zealand

The downside of this hike is definitely the number of people taking it. I guess we all want to see this amazing place... (2014-03-05 New Zealand, Tongariro Crossing)

Japanese Cliché

The floating torii of Miyajima is an obvious must-see in Japan being a UNESCO World Heritage Site and all that. We got there early in the afternoon, at low tide, spent the whole afternoon watching the water slowly rise and then a better part of the evening. The sunset was definitely the most spectacular moment there.

I hoped the torii would be nicely illuminated after the sun went down but in fact it was quite disappointing. It is lit, but with just a couple of floodlights from the shore. Instead of emphasizing the wonderful shape, they make the torii look flat and uninteresting. There are also tourist boats cruising around all the time spoiling the view even further.


The good news is: Japan Rail Pass is accepted on ferries sailing between Hiroshima and Miyajima. (2011-07-30 Miyajima, Japan)

Faroese Cliché

When I was telling people I was going to the Faroe Islands for vacation, they gave me two types of responses: "where the heck is that?", and those who knew were it was, "why the heck would you go there?!". Well, it's in the North Atlantic between Scotland, Norway and Iceland, and it is stunningly beautiful, that's why. Yes, it is also cold, wet and windy, but the views more than make up for the inconveniences.

Here is a somewhat cliché shot I took of Gásadalur village on the island of Vágar with Múlafossur waterfall.

To be honest, this was the only afternoon with good weather I had during the week I spent there. (2013-08-20 Gásadalur, Vágar, Faroe Islands)

Unto the paths of Vikings

The backpack is almost packed up, arrangements have been made, so it's time for another journey into the land of Vikings. The plan is to spend about a week on Faroe Islands and then a week in southern Iceland. I expect it will be cold and windy, but the landscapes should be beautiful in the Faroes. As for Iceland - I know they are.

Lonely Planet doesn't have a dedicated Faroe Islands guidebook, but the one from Bradt seems reasonable.

Business as usual

Knowing Singapore has the world's 3rd highest population density I expected the city would be a concrete jungle. I was pleasantly surprised to learn first hand this wasn't the case. There are a lot of green areas, and the built-up districts aren't too overwhelming either. Most of its neighborhoods, while wildly varied, have the typical east Asian charm to them. Of course there always is the Central Business District with its towering skyscrapers, and that's what I've always associated this country with.

Skyscrapers usually look their best when illuminated, so here you go.

One problem with being so close to the equator is that the golden and blue hours are very, very short. (2013-02-12 Central Business District, Singapore)

Helix Bridge in the Lion's City

If you're into the modern, flashy architecture, there really is no better place to go than Singapore. The area around Marina Bay has so many interesting buildings and structures per square kilometer that it forms almost a critical mass. If they add one more building there, the whole thing will just go BOOM. And it can already blow your mind the way it is.

Here's a photo I took on the very first night, after a long flight, when I was just starting to explore the area.

I was way too late for the blue hour, but the light pollution there is so big, the sky never gets completely dark. (2013-02-07 Marina Bay, Singapore)

A bit of tropical heat

I don't mind winter, I quite like it actually, but it's high time for a short break. I'm heading out to Singapore, the Lion's city. It should be the best season now because while the temperatures are almost the same (and hardly bearable for me...) throughout the year, the amount of rainfall is almost at its lowest.

Still, and umbrella is a must-have. All the breathable fabrics just won't cut it in that climate.

Last light of the day

Once I thought that taking long exposure shots of the ocean is a trivial task. Set up the tripod, release shutter, and that's it. Oh boy, was I wrong! Once a wave comes in it doesn't have to knock the tripod over to ruin the shot. It's enough if it soaks the sand and the tripod lapses a good couple centimeters. And there you are, trying to take another shot before the last light of the day fades away...

But don't get me wrong, I love this kind of thing! (2012-06-30 Tofino, Canada)

Cathedral Grove

This was taken in Cathedral Grove, MacMillan Provincial Park, B.C. Canada. It had just stopped raining and the sun punched through the clouds for a brief moment. Barely enough time to meter and press the shutter button and the light was gone. I wandered through the grove for quite some time afterward but the conditions never came back.

You can try and chase the light, but you will never match its speed... (2012-06-30 Cathedral Grove, Canada)

Nature's Rorschach Test

We never really planed on visiting Bow Lake, it was just one of those "hey, see that on the left? looks nice, let's stop here" moments. The first time it was so-so: boring skies, mid-day light. But the second time we came across this incredible storm-brewing sky, yet somehow the water stood almost still.

I'm not a fan of central composition, but when it comes to those almost mirror-like reflections it is a must.

Answering "it's just an inkblot" fails you the test, or so I hear... (2012-06-23 Bow Lake, Canada)