Don’t groan! I’ll try to be brief. I had some time to kill the other week so I decided to spend a couple of days of it in Vilnius, the capital city of Lithuania. I have no idea why I chose Vilnius; maybe I closed my eyes and landed my finger on a map of Europe. But it easily entertained a short trip. It’s a beautiful, if small, city with resplendent architecture from several periods and the colourful rendering typical of buildings in Central and Eastern Europe.
It is no secret that I love using ultra wide-angle lenses for my landscape photography. I was especially excited when I received the new Sigma 12-24mm f/4 DG HSM Art lens just before I departed for my winter Iceland workshop. It has an amazing 122-degree angle of view at 12mm. Many photographers have a difficult time using ultra wide-angle lenses correctly when composing a scene. Why? The simple answer is that they do not get close enough to their subject.
I have a confession: I have a love/hate relationship with seascapes. Sometimes I feel like they are easy, monotonous and a little bit of a sham — an easy way to impress others without having to put in the requisite amount of work. On such days I vow never to shoot a seascape again. And then there are moments when I cannot resist the pull of the ocean. When the sky looks like it will go up in flames at sunset casting it’s glow on everything the light touches — the sand, the rocks, the water. When the tide is high and the waves crashing violently into the surf promise dramatic foregrounds. ‘This will be my greatest seascape,’ I tell myself as I pick up my gear and head for the beach, bracing for the challenge ahead.
Although having one of the fastest growing economies in the world over the last decade, with significant advancements in modernization and higher living standards, Vietnam is still home to many traditional cultures living in several regions of the country. These include the northern and central mountain areas, the Cham region on the south eastern coast, and the Khmer precincts of the Mekong Delta. Because of severely diminishing numbers, many of these cultures are considered “vanishing”.
Wait…wait…nope, it’s gone. I really can’t remember what spurred me to purchase a fisheye lens of all things. Alpha Whiskey’s the last person on Earth to suffer GAS (or even gas) and I spend not a single, solitary second of my day salivating over gear. Heck, my camera is 5 year-old technology, positively prehistoric to the insecure masses scrambling over each other to reach the latest product rumour. (Run faster!)
A year and a half ago my family moved from the suburbs of Washington D.C. to Houston, TX. The move came at a good time for me because I was about to enter my final year of college, and I was not spending much time at home. Moving can be stressful, but I quickly learned that Houston is a vibrant city with plenty of photographic opportunities. During the summer of 2016 I posted my first guest article about cityscape and architecture in Pittsburgh, PA. This post will mirror that one as I share my experiences photographing iconic scenes of Houston while imparting some knowledge I learned along the way.
Utah has never been high on my list of places to visit. Having grown up in an arid, dusty landscape (northern Pakistan), I always gravitated towards greenery and the ocean. A couple of things happened that gradually changed that sentiment. First, as my interest in landscape photography grew, I kept encountering striking images out of Utah (and the Colorado Plateau in general). Then, along came an HBO series called “Westworld”. Shot primarily in that part of the country, the show opened my eyes to some truly stunning high-desert, Mars-red, weirdness-popping out-of-the-Earth scenery. Finally, a flight from Denver to Southern California on a crisp day with clear views of this otherworldly landscape below, provided the push I needed to mobilize and visit this place.
In Part 1 of Best of 2016, I showed images from my trips to Death Valley NP, Joshua Tree NP and Saguaro NP, then finished up the post with two of my favorite images from Istanbul, Turkey. In this second part, we will be touring through the Rocky Mountain region of the USA, then explore some of the images from my recent trip to New Zealand. As before, I will be spending a considerable amount of time talking about each image, its compostional aspects and what it took to make it work. Please enjoy!
Islamabad is the capital city of Pakistan. Contrary to some negative media depictions, it is a clean, beautiful and well-planned city nestled in the foothills of the Himalayas. I was born and raised there. I left at the age of 20, when I immigrated to the US. Like all displaced people, my place of birth has a special place in my heart and I try to visit as often as I can.
As I write, I’m looking back on my 36 years as a professional photographer with fondness and gratitude. I chose this profession because I wanted to travel and earn a living while doing so. It’s been an amazing three and a half decades and I’m still excited every time I walk out the door camera in hand. I’m looking forward to the next three decades! I travel in anticipation of serendipitous gifts; the unknown encounter. My camera is my passport to the world – a world I would not have known without that camera.