Category Archives: Travel

The new mobile office

Have you been sitting at your desk while thinking “I need some fresh air”? Or ever wished you had a multifunctional and mobile desk? This man in Beijing, China, has invented the new mobile office.

I took this shot while wandering the hutongs, the narrow streets and alleys, of Beijing. A very nice way to get a feel for the ‘old’ Beijing. The number of hutongs have dropped dramatically as they are demolished to make way for new roads and buildings. More recently, some hutongs have been designated as protected areas in an attempt to preserve this aspect of Chinese cultural history. They are a big contrast to the new, modern and wide avenues that traverse the city.

The new mobile office, Beijing, China

The new mobile office, Beijing, China

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Harbin is all about ice ice baby

If you are into ice, like ice sculptures and ice buildings, Harbin, Heilongjiang province China, is the place to go. Harbin is all about ice! The three-month annual Harbin International Ice & Snow Festival that starts on January 5th, is most likely the most spectacular ice event in the world. Be prepared however: it can be very cold, especially at night. Don’t be surprised if the temperature, when leaving your hotel in the morning for some breakfast at Starbucks, is still at minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit), as I found out the hard way.

Photographing the ice and snow structures can be a bit challenging. Apart from the extreme weather conditions (did I say it’s very cold there?), prepare for extreme light conditions as well; very bright with a lot  of reflections during the day when the sun is out and very dark as you will want to take pictures of the sculptures after sunset when they are lit up in many different colours. A neutral density (ND) filter may come in handy and be sure to set your white balance correctly before you start shooting if you’re not into processing RAW images (with RAW image processing it is possible to set the white balance afterwards). Although the ice sculptures are lit up brightly at night, bring a tripod anyway to allow for long exposure shots. There will be a lot of people around you all very busy taking pictures of themselves so getting a clean shot will not be easy. There will be less people before sunset and the golden hour will make for some nice shots anyway. You will be hanging around a few hours at least so put on warm clothes, especially for your hands and feet.

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Food in Taipei

One of the highlights of visiting Taipei, Taiwan, is going for food at the Shilin Night Market. You may not always know what you’re eating and you may encounter things you would normally never even consider eating. Fact is, it is an interesting and lively place, well worth a visit.

The stalls are all brightly lit so you will be able to shoot pictures at an acceptable exposure time. Bring a tripod if you want wider shots of the streets but be aware that it can be very crowded, especially around dinner time! Oh, and they sell very cheap selfie-sticks there too. 😉

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Calatrava in Bilbao

I was in Bilbao, Spain, a couple of months ago. Bilbao became world famous for its Guggenheim museum that was designed by architect Frank Gehry. But there is more interesting architecture: a bridge by Santiago Calatrava and the Iberdrola tower by Cesar Pelli, known for the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.

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Cartagena photo workshop

Cartagena is a beautiful albeit a bit touristy colonial town on the Caribbean coast of Colombia. Its magnificent old city walls make it extremely picturesque hence the large number of tourists. If you want to see some of the other side of Cartagena, and you would like to learn more about how to photograph it, take a photo tour with photojournalist Joaquin Sarmiento, as I did. He knows the town and its people, and he is a professional photographer. We spent a few hours wandering the streets in places where tourists should never go. He showed me patiently what to look for and how to shoot it. The next day we met again to go through my footage which resulted in a nice selection which I dubbed “People of Cartagena”. You can find the complete album here.

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