Our visit to Zaanse Schans, an open air conservation area and museum just outside of Amsterdam, was intended as a visit to see the six working windmills that are situated there along the banks of the Zaan River. After parking after our drive from Amsterdam, we walked to the entrance and discovered this scene of some of the houses and their reflections. We found out that Zaanse Schans is actually a small village complete with wonderful little houses, small museums, shops and restaurants. It was a beautiful time to spend the morning taking in the Netherlands countryside.
Today we return to one of my favorite drives on Earth, the Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada. The 140 mile road links two of the most beautiful national parks in Canada: Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. The road runs parallel to the Continental Divide. The natural attractions along the route include glaciers, waterfalls, icefields, canyons and too many lakes and mountains to count. Many of these attractions are a short walk or drive off of the parkway. This image is of Herbert Lake, just north of Lake Louise. It is literally 20 feet from the road. There is no better time to shoot the lake than at sunrise. The lake is usually abandoned that early in the morning and the peace and tranquility lends itself to become one with nature.
Sometimes the best time to shoot is after a rainstorm when the sun has come out. Not only is there a great sheen to things but often there are large puddles that offer great opportunities for reflection. This image is a prime example of this. Taken near the waterfront on Boston Harbor, it offers a different point of view of Boston's skyline. I also thought that the concrete offered a natural texture to the image.
The Icefields Parkway connecting Banff National Park and Jaspar National Park in Alberta, Canada is probably my favorite road to take photos. That's saying a lot as it beats out California Highway 1, the Alaskan Highway, Montana's Going to the Sun Road and Arizona's Apache Trail. It is probably the combination of pristine mountain lakes, beautiful glaciers and towering mountains that makes it my favorite. I am often asked how far I had to hike to reach some of these lakes and my answer sometimes surprises them -- very little. Of course, there are some lakes that hiking boots and a long hike are required, but many are just a short distance from the highway. The lake in this image, Herbert Lake, is a prime example. I literally had to walk about 20 feet to set up my tripod, wait for the golden hour glow (in this case just past dawn) and shoot the shot. The biggest variable for photographers is the light which can never be predicted. I was lucky this morning to get some great light.
So what are your favorite roads to photograph? If I don't have them on my "to visit" list, I will be sure to add them.
Many people travel to the Canadian Rockies in western Alberta to experience the wonderful national parks, namely Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. Traveling north on the Icefields Parkway (which connects the two national parks), there is a fabulous side trip (or even overnight stay) that many do not know about or visit, namely Yoho National Park in British Columbia. To reach Yoho, take Route 1 west just north of Lake Louise from Alberta into British Columbia. Not knowing what to expect, we came upon Emerald Lake and were blown away by Yoho’s largest lake. We spent the afternoon there having lunch and strolling around the lake. As you can see, the beautiful emerald water is to die for. Definitely a place to spend more time on on our next visit.
Just a quick post and run today. This is the mirror that sits outside the famous Monte Carlo Casino in Monaco. I thought I would just give a quick set of random facts (courtesy of Wikipedia) about the casino. - The citizens of Monaco are forbidden to enter the gaming rooms of the casino. - Aristotle Onassis had a controlling stake in the Monte Carlo Casino until he was forced out by Rainier III - The Monte Carlo methods, a class of random sampling algorithms, were named for the casino. - The route of the Monaco Grand Prix (the Circuit de Monaco) goes past the casino. - Monte Carlo and its casino were the location for a number of James Bond movies - A beer in the casino costs the equivalent of $29
Have a great weekend everyone!
For those who have followed me for a while, you can't help but notice that one of my favorite places to visit and shoot is Banff National Park. I would go there every year if my wife would agree to it but she has her own bucket list of places to visit and, of course, they are places that I want to visit too. That doesn't stop me from remembering the serenity I feel every time I set foot near one of the park's great lakes like this one -- Lake Louise. Lake Louise is turquoise colored and is located about 45 minutes from the town of Banff. The lake is surrounded by numerous snow-capped mountains and the head of the Victoria Glacier as can be seen in this image. It is also home to a five-star resort hotel, the Chateau Lake Louise -- very expensive but worth it. It is so easy to wake up before dawn, grab your gear and be pretty much alone as the sunrise hits the peaks of the surrounding mountains and the head of the glacier.
New England's famed foliage is the subject of today's image as we revisit Echo Lake located near Conway, New Hampshire. This image was taken just after dawn and shows the beautiful light and color that was there in all of it's glory for the 20+ photographers that were at the lake. The water was still and the fall foliage was reaching its peak. I decided to shoot a bracketed series so I could make sure that the beauty of the sky and the foliage came through the image. As you can see, Echo Lake is a wonderful location to capture the beauty of the New England's fall season.
Today we are headed back to the Canadian Rockies to visit the smallest and least famous national park in Alberta, namely Waterton National Park. Given it's location in southern Alberta, it is often the forgotten park when compared to Canada's national parks to north (Banff & Jasper) and the famous U.S. Glacier National Park that abuts Waterton. There is a real relaxed atmosphere to the park that serves as the perfect place to view spectacular scenery, wildlife and enjoy recreational activities. This image is of Cameron Lake which is located at the end of the Akamina Parkway. Cameron is a hidden gem and has some great trails for hiking or you can rent canoes, kayaks and paddle boats. Even though we visited in August, you can see that the mountain face still had snow with numerous small waterfalls tumbling into the lake. The lake was deserted and I had the pick of perspectives.
Back from an unplanned week away from the blog. Been a busy week and I am glad to be back. Today's image is of the Chateau Lake Louise located on the lake of the same name in Banff National Park. The original Chateau was gradually built from the end of the 19th to the beginning of the 20th century by the Canadian Pacific Railway. The hotel is not an inexpensive one but if you are going to splurge on any hotel in Alberta, this is the one to do it. The hotel sits on one end of the emerald waters of the spectacular lake and is perhaps the most picturesque hotel in the Canadian Rockies. The view from the hotel is the beautiful Victoria glacier that hangs suspended above the frigid waters.
This photo of the hotel was taken a little after dawn from the dock across the lake. The morning was still and the lake was glass-like.
On a very frigid day (about 2 degrees) in Manhattan, the sun was shining and the air was crisp. Every few blocks we would run into a store or a building lobby just to warm up. As I left one of these "shelters", I happened to look up and saw this wonderful reflection in the building across the street. The scene had a lot of contrast so I decided to hand hold a five bracketed burst and hope that the reflection of the building would come out okay. The dynamic range in this image is where HDR really shines, even without a tripod.
Back from my vacation to the warm climate, or so I thought. Our first few days in Florida, the temperature was in the low to high 30's, almost as cold as it was in Connecticut. Fortunately, the weather warmed up significantly into the high 70s and low 80's for the balance of the week. I have lots of photos to look at so stay tuned for them. Today's post takes us to Waterton Lakes National Park in southern Alberta. The park borders Glacier National Park in Montana and the combined two parks are known as the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. Waterton was Canada's fourth national park, formed in 1895 and named after Waterton Lake, in turn after the naturalist and conservationist Charles Waterton. The lake is composed of two bodies of water, connected by a shallow channel known locally as the Bosphorus. The lower part of the lake is known as Lower Waterton Lake and is located in Alberta and the upper part of the lake is known as Upper Waterton Lake and is located in Montana. It is pretty confusing as the lower part of the lake is north of the upper part.
Regardless of it's name, the lake is simply a beautiful part of the Rockies especially on a perfect morning like this one where the water is smooth as glass and perfectly reflect the rugged mountains.
Echo Lake is a state park located mear Conway, New Hampshire and is the scene of this fall foliage image. In 1943, the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests joined with the state to raise funds to buy Echo Lake, protecting it from commercial development. Echo Lake is open to the public for swimming, canoeing, kayaking and picnicking. There was no one to be seen when we got there before dawn. As the 20+ photographers in our group quickly set up their tripods and cameras, I am sure that there was no part of the lake that wasn't captured that morning. The water was still and the fall foliage was reaching its peak. I wanted to capture the reflections in the lake and was intrigued by the small dock with it's sign "No Private Boats". I started to wonder what a public boat was in contrast to a private boat.
Today, we return to Lake Louise in the heart of Banff National Park and Lake Louise. The boathouse on the lake is located very close to the hotel (Chateau Lake Louise) so you can roll out of bed, walk out of the room and be set up in minutes (my way of shooting). I almost had the whole lake to myself as there were few photographers to be seen. The morning was very still and the water was like glass. The boathouse is cast in shadows in the early morning and is a subject better suited for the evening sun. That being said, I thoroughly enjoyed the serenity and the scene.
Wow, what a long strange week it has been. Not sure how much national press was given to it, but here in New England we got hit with a storm 8 days ago. It was a typical northeaster that dropped up to 18 inches of snow. What wasn't typical was that it was October and the foliage had not yet fallen. The unusually heavy snow weighed down on the leaves and caused a massive number of trees to fall. The end result was a massive power failure that affected over a million homes. What made in even more challenging was that huge areas were 100% out which resulted in no available food or gas. We lost power on October 29th and were only restored Saturday night. Seven days of no electricity, limited gas, no heat and no hot water. We are still without internet and TV, but that seems insignificant now as there are thousands still without power.
This event has given me a new perspective on how much we take for granted and rely on power. It also gives me a new perspective on what others have gone through with the recent hurricanes and floods in CT. We only lost power and still have our homes to go back to. Victims of the recent flood and hurricane haven't been as lucky.
This image is from my recent photography workshop and is of Echo Lake in New Hampshire. I hope to have the internet back soon and will be back to posting.
This image is of Hartford's semi-famous Boat Building with the Travelers Tower in the background. Hartford, often referred to as the "insurance capital of the world", is also the capital of Connecticut. You may not be able to tell, but the Boat Building is actually a two-sided building that looks like a football from above. Built in 1963, it was the world's first two-sided building. The building is located on Constitution Plaza adjacent to the Connecticut River immediately to the east. When approaching from the east, the building looks like a sail of a boat that is docked against its moorings. The building itself has a lot of meaning for me as I moved to Hartford from the Philadelphia area for a job in 1992. I worked in that building on and off for about 10 years. I shot this image during Scott Kelby's "Worldwide Photowalk". I was drawn to the contrast between the glass of the building with it's refections against the more traditional Travelers Tower.
The Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park is one of the most beautiful roads in the world. The three hour drive (only if you don't stop) from the town of Banff to Jasper traverses through the Canadian Rockies. It is famous for it's scenic mountains and lakes. About an hour and fifteen minutes north of the town of Banff lies Bow Lake. The northern shore of Bow Lake is the location of a great old lodge, the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge. It is a family owned lodge and it's history can be found here. When we first pulled into the lodge's parking lot, we saw the rugged mountains reflected in the water. I immediately got my camera and shot quite a number of images, this being one of them. Every angle produced a beautiful composition. This image is just a very small slice of what you will find along the Icefields Parkway. I haven't been back there in a number of years but I still dream of my next trip to Num-Ti-Jah Lodge.
As I had mentioned in my post last Wednesday, my son and I were scouting New England lighthouses to find locations for his upcoming movie. We drove to our hotel in Edgecomb, Maine which is located close to the Pemaquid Peninsula. The next morning, we headed about 30 minutes from Edgecomb to the tip of the peninsula where the Pemaquid Point Lighthouse is located. The lighthouse is situated on top of a huge rocky promontory with dramatic views in every direction. The surrounding rocks have deep ridges caused by the perpetual pounding waves of the ocean. The lighthouse was commissioned by John Quincy Adams in 1827. Today, visitors can visit the lighthouse and museum. If you climb down one side of the rock promontory, there is a small collection of water where you can see a reflection of the lighthouse. On this morning, it was quite windy causing non-stop ripples in the water. It was a waiting game and the wind never totally stopped blowing to get the glass-like refection I was hoping for. After a while, the wind died down a little for a minute or two and I snapped this shot.
The Canadian Rockies are filled with spectacular lakes, mountains and scenery. Whenever I visit Banff National Park, I make sure I get to the "Valley of the Ten Peaks" to shoot at Moraine Lake. The lake is glacially fed and when it is full, reflects a blue shade. There are boats available at the lake and there are numerous hiking trails. Early in the day it is extremely serene and you can feel one with nature. This particular morning, the sun was hitting the opposite shore resulting in a wonderful reflection. While I like to have clouds in my images to add depth and interest, I think that the beauty of the lake and its surrounding mountains speak for itself.