Valley of the Rings

Miner in the Window

(1/500, F8, ISO200, 17mm)

 Of all the amazing and diverse landscapes I´ve seen in New Zealand the valleys surrounding Glenorchy was one of my favorites. I can totally understand why film director Peter Jackson thought he could make Lord of the Rings into a movie when his home country has all these epic locations.

These valleys were used in a couple of scenes from his trilogy (depicting Isengard), but before they became known as that, it was mainly an area for mining, first gold and later scheelite, but the last state mines were closed in the 1960´s!

The above photo was taken inside a miner´s cottage.

The next was taken just outside this cabin.

Miner´s cabin in Dart Valley

(1/400, F8, ISO100, 17mm)

We stayed in the small town of Glenorchy, which was at the end of the road of an amazing 45 minutes scenic drive from Queenstown which winds past mountains, rivers, forests, glaciers and Lake Wakatipu.

We spent a couple of days exploring the valleys, mountains and waterfalls further up and I tried to make use of some sunsets and sunrises to catch some of the scenery.

Lake Wakatipu Sunrise

(1/400, F8, ISO400, 123m)

Above photo was taken on a piece of land for sale (I wish!) in early morning overlooking Lake Wakatipu. This last photo was shot on the road back to Queenstown, the only way in and out if you are not hiking or flying!

Driving into Glenorchy

(1/400, F8, ISO400, 123m)

Bye bye Glenorchy, hope to be back someday…

Land of the Long White Cloud

Lake Pukaki with dissappearing Mt Cook

(1/1600, F7.1, ISO200, 74mm)

 Just returned from a journey around the South Island of New Zealand or as the Māori called it Land of the Long White Cloud and it seemed appropriate after seeing the above scene on our last day there. It is the view over Lake Pukaki towards Mt. Cook, the biggest on the South Island, but dissappearing in the clouds to the right.

Although my expectations were very high It was easily exceeded by the beauty and diversity of the landscape.
Apart from all its natural beauty the people of the South Island made it even more unforgettable; they were so friendly, interesting and sociable.
Definitely a country where I could live in a heartbeat!

Morning in Milford Sound

(1/200, F7.1, ISO400, 10mm)

I tried to take advantage of the beautiful autumn light and woke up early to catch sunrises and find pretty spots for sunsets, which wasn´t very difficult, because there is literally magic in every corner of that part of the world.

The above photo and the last were both taken at sunrise in Milford Sound, one of the two magical fjords we saw in the Fjordland National Park.

Sunrise over Mt Pembroke

(1/125, F7.1, ISO400, 50mm)

Many more to come…

Beam me up, Gaudi! (An Old & New Beginning)

 

Beam me up(1/200, F9, ISO100, 50mm)

This is a remake of a very old photo I made on top of the Casa Milà in Barcelona. Gaudi did an amazing job on these roof guardians and it was a pleasure to spent a magical hour at sunrise alone on the roof before the big tourist groups came.

It´s also my 40th photo on Instagram and as I will spent the next 3 weeks roadtrippin´ on the South island of New Zealand, it would be nice if those of you (and easier for my lazy self) who are on Instagram to connect there too…

Tomb Raider

 

tomb raider 666
(1/400, F5, ISO800, 15mm)

 Last year we visited the ruined city of Angkor and its famous temples in Cambodia. I never met anyone who had been there and wasn´t enthusiastic about it and we were also totally mesmerized by this magical place.

My personal favorite of all the temples was the Preah Khan complex, which we saw on the second morning of our 3-day visit.
At sunrise we had breakfast on its steps and spent hours alone wandering the corridors with all its statues and crumbling walls before the next visitors arrived.

The photo above was taken near the Eastern entrance of the Buddhist temple where one tree was still standing on top of the ruined wall.

PS. The Tomb Raider movie was actually shot at the Ta Prohm temple.

Chiaroscuro

 I revisited these photos and turned them into monochrome to add to Paula´s blog Black and White Sunday with the subject negative space!

These photos were taken in an abandoned sanatorium in the Sierra de Guadarrama just north of Madrid.
These photos are best viewed with a black background to make the negative space (black parts) disappear and make them entrances into nowhere…
So please click the photos to see the best effect of the negative space!

Here are the original (more) color versions!

(both 1/25, F5.6, ISO400, 10mm)

The Boatman´s Call

The Boatman´s Call I

(1/640, F9, ISO200, 10mm)

First of all Happy New Year to all that read this and still come to this little place of mine.
End of last year we made a trip to the Northern part of Laos and a lot of traveling was done on the many rivers.
My guess is that half of the Laotian people are a boatman and we are very thankful for all the safe and beautiful passages they guided us through.

The Boatman´s Call II

(1/500, F7.1, ISO200, 17mm)

The first 3 photos are from a daytrip that brought us from the village of Nong Khiaw up north to a roadless weaving village and the old hippie town of Muang Ngoi. When we left early morning the river was shrouded in mist and low clouds.
After spending a day there we took the boat back at sunset to see everything in full splendour we ´missed´ in the morning.

The Boatman´s Call III

(1/640, F6.3, ISO400, 34mm)

A couple of days later we made a boattrip from the Buddhist capital Luang Prabang to the Pak Ou caves on the banks of the Mekong river. These caves are very busy during the day with boats full of tourists arriving at this small cave.

The Boatman´s Call IV
(1/640, F6.3, ISO400, 34mm)

We decided to rent our own boat and use the last light of day to make the 3 hour return trip. This meant we had the cave to ourselves and a glorious sunset on the way back.

The Boatman´s Call
(1/800, F8, ISO400, 17mm)

Have a creative, adventurous and healthy 2016 y´all!

The Weaving Song

Weave on

(1/60, F5, ISO1600, 116mm)

During the last 2 weeks we´ve been traveling trough the Northern parts of Laos and every village we visited the women were engaged in weaving their tribal textiles. While in Luang Prabang we made a visit to the Ock Pok Tok living crafts centre, where some of the best weaving ladies from all around Laos are gathered to make some amazing art.

The Weaving Song

(1/160, F5, ISO1600, 123mm)

It was intriguing to see the whole process and especially to see these women showing their talented skills.

The Weaving Song II

(1/60, F5, ISO1600, 60mm)

Besides enjoying this craft centre, traveling in (the Northern half of) Laos was one jaw-dropping accumulation of dramatic sceneries, rivers, valleys and beautiful people; a definite must go if you ever get the chance!

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