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A recent article I wrote over at CaptureLandscapes about how I used image averaging and time blending to create my photo Desert Nights stirred some discussion. Particularly the time blending technique was topic of the comments I received.

An opinion was that time blending is nothing other than compositing. But I think there’s an important distinction to make between the two and that time blending should remain a term of its own.

Let me elaborate a bit: Compositing is the combining of visual elements from separate sources into single images, often to create the illusion that all those elements are parts of the same scene [Wikipedia]. That’s how most people understand it. In landscape photography it’s sometimes used to put dramatic skies into photos that were photographed when there wasn’t much going on in the sky at all. You can see tons of such composites on Instagram these days and in my opinion those images deceive the viewer, if they are not labeled as composites.

I don’t do such composites and rather come back to a scene and photograph it until the conditions are right. And if I never get those conditions or don’t have the chance to revisit, I’m ok with that. It’s important to sometimes fail in your photo endeavors in order to cherish those moments, when everything comes together as planned, even more.

With this description of what many understand under the term compositing you might begin to understand why I’d like to distinguish time blending from it. Technically both share similar traits, but the motivation behind the two, in my opinion, is often different. I use time blending as a tool to capture the atmosphere of a scene, if doing so with a single photo is not possible.

For example, when it’s too dark to capture enough detail in the foreground, as it was the case with the photo Desert Nights or with the photo of Praia da Marinha. When taking night photos I either have to bring along special equipment or, since I don’t have it, be creative and use other ways to capture what I experience.

As I would use bracketing to capture the complete dynamic range of a scene during sunrise or sunset, I use time blending to capture all the details of a scene in front of me. The only difference is that I do so over an extended period of time. But it’s still about capturing what I see and experience when taking those photos.

I have to admit though that the line between time blending and compositing is a bit blurry. In Desert Nights I was using it as a tool to work around the technical limitations of my camera equipment. But in the past I have also used it a bit more creatively.

For the image above I took photos of the Heidelberg Castle over a period of one hour around sunset and later combined the light of sunset with the city lights. My motivation was to capture what this particular evening at this viewpoint looked like and show the complete transition of sunset into blue hour. This would normally require motion pictures, but I used time blending in an attempt to capture it in one photo. This certainly goes more into the direction of compositing.

In the end though compositing, time blending, exposure blending and photography are all just art. There will always be different opinions about what’s still photography and what’s rather digital art and there’s really no right and wrong here.

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In the final part of my Photographing Morocco series I show you Casablanca and Fes.

Casablanca was our first stop after Essaouira – just a layover on our way to Fes. And I have to be honest here: Casablanca is not the most beautiful city. For Moroccan standards it’s a bit boring, without the charm we found in Marrakech and Essaouira. But that’s just my very superficial impression, which I got from only one day in the city.

Yet Casablanca is still worth staying for one night. And that’s because of the Hassan II Mosque. This building was the reason I wanted to visit Casablanca and it’s very impressive. Even without a spectacular sunrise I was able to come away with a portfolio photo, just because of the intricate architecture and the dimensions of the building.

Hassan II Mosque
Equipment: Canon EOS 5DSR | Canon 16-35mm f/4 IS
Exif: f/9,5 | 21mm | ISO 100 | 10s + Focus Stacking

As I explain in the video below, if you want to photograph it, you should do so in the morning when there are nearly no people around. Due to the security you have to be a bit secretive with your tripod, if you plan to photograph from the plaza as I did. There are other photo spots though, which are to the east and west of the mosque along the coast. Those offer dramatic views with the sea in the foreground.

Photographing Morocco - Casablanca and Fes - YouTube

After my photo shoot and a guided tour of the interior of the mosque we took the train from Casa Voyageurs to Fes. If you want to travel through the northern part of Morocco, the train is a very good option.

Normally it is sufficient to buy tickets a few days in advance. But I wanted to be on the safe side with my planning and book the tickets before our travels. Yet unfortunately foreign credit cards were not supported by ONCF. The solution was going through a third party, in our case Marrakech Tickets. In the end we payed a bit more, but it was still quite affordable. I also found their service and the communication very good.

In Fes we just had to take a taxi from the train station to Fes al Bali, which is the oldest part of Fes and contains the medina. Our very beautiful hotel* was located just outside the old city wall.

We spent two full days in Fes and explored a lot of the medina, which is a bit like a maze. But to my surprise the GPS of my self-phone worked quite well, so we never got lost.

Besides photographing the blue gate, which you saw in the video, I also explored the viewpoints north of the medina. The Marinid Tombs offered a very good view. But while I was up there on the first evening I noticed some ruins a little closer to the city wall. As it turned out those are the best location to photograph sunset.

Fes
Equipment: Canon EOS 5DSR | Canon 70-200mm f/4 IS
Exif: f/9,5 | 180mm | ISO 100 | 1/8s

To finish this article and also the series, I want to give some final tips for visiting Fes, because it was different to the other cities we had visited so far.

One thing I noticed was that as soon as it got dark in the evening, all tourists vanished from the medina. Only near the blue gate, where you find many restaurants, it remained busy. As we tried to walk through the medina one evening, from the green gate in the east towards the blue gate in the west, we found this a very annoying undertaking. Because, being the only tourists, everybody wanted to show us something, tell us where to go, that this or that way is the wrong one, that this street is closed, that we should come to this restaurant around the corner… You get the picture.

From there on we always took a taxi in the evening and avoided the medina. A taxi is just around 15 – 20 dirham from the green to the blue gate, if they use a meter.

And here is another tip, which I think you could extend to all cities we visited in Morocco. If you want to get a taxi and it has a meter, this is the cheapest option. If they don’t have a meter, they’ll usually ask for around twice the regular price. You can try to bargain, but often this doesn’t work. Either there’s no other taxi around, so you have no other option. Or all drivers you find in an area have agreed on a price and none of them will offer you a cheaper fare. This is what you’ll experience at the Marrakech train station for example.

This can be annoying, if you are on a budget. But I wouldn’t let my travels be ruined by a few additional dollars spent for taxis. Being a taxi driver in Morocco is hard enough I would imagine, so I’d rather try to save money elsewhere.

Now, since we are at the end, I hope you found this Morocco series interesting and, if you have additional questions, feel free to leave a comment under my video over at Youtube. I plan to do a little Q&A video soon.

* This is a Booking.com Affiliate Link. If you use it to make a booking, I’ll get a little commission from Booking.com

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After two wonderful days in the desert we continued our tour with Wild Morocco and drove through the vast Iriqui Lake, which could easily have been a setting for Mad Max Fury Road. Then we went past an impressive, jagged mountain range until after nearly two hours of off-road driving we went back into civilization.

But before we began this day long drive towards Ait Ben Haddou I undertook one last morning hike into the dunes. There’s nothing more tranquil than a night in the desert. And there are also few other places where you can see that many stars.

So this morning I got up at 5:30am and half an hour later I stood on top of one of the highest dunes near our camp. At that time the Milky Way rose in the east and began its journey across the night sky. With sunrise still two hours away it was still dark enough to clearly see its core. In the photo I took that morning you can also see Venus, which was the brightest object in the sky.

Desert Nights
Equipment: Canon EOS 5DSR | Canon 16-35mm f/4 IS
Exif: f/4 + f/9,5 | 16mm + 20mm | ISO 6400 + ISO 100 | 15s + 0.7s Image Averaging + Focus Stacking

I sat there a little longer, waiting for the sun to illuminate the dunes, before I went back to our camp for a delicious breakfast.

After that we were off to Ait Ben Haddou where we spent the evening. This place has been a setting for many Hollywood movies and for this reason it’s very touristic. But around sunset the Kasbah wasn’t busy anymore and we were able to explore the narrow alleyways in relative silence. You’ll see some footage of that in the video below.

Photographing Morocco - Desert to the Coast - YouTube

The next day we crossed the Atlas Mountains and drove past Marrakech towards the coast. Our next stop was Essaouira, where we had booked four nights in the wonderful Riad Dar Maya*.

The Riad was located right inside the medina and I spent many hours walking around the various streets, looking for scenes to photograph. What I liked about Essaouira was the relaxed atmosphere. It’s much less hectic than the medina or Marrakech or Fes and the streets are also not that narrow, which gives you more room to breathe.

Another thing that is very characteristic of Essaouira are the countless cats. Everywhere you go you’ll find some drowsy cat sleeping on a bench, a wall or right in the middle of a shop, which is quite cute.

Then there is the little harbor with the adjacent fish market. This is the place from which you get the best view of the city. The last evening I climbed on one of the walls there and took some long time exposures during blue hour. With the dark sky above this looked very dramatic, even without the best weather conditions.

Essaouira
Equipment: Canon EOS 5DSR | Canon 70-200mm
Exif: f/4 IS | f9,5 | 100mm | ISO 200 | 6s

Then it was time to pack up once more and head off to our next destination, Fes, which was maybe the most interesting place we visited in Morocco. But this story has to wait until the next article.

* This is a Booking.com Affiliate Link. If you use it to make a booking, I’ll get a little commission from Booking.com

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I just released my newest Start2Finish post processing tutorial. This time I show you my complete workflow for editing night images. The aim here is to create moody photos that look like night but still show enough details in the landscape to intrigue the viewer.

To achieve this I had to make a few changes to my normal photo editing workflow. Especially the blending required a lot more effort in order to marry the night sky and the landscape in a way that looks convincing.

In the short video below you get a quick overview of what’s covered in the tutorial, which in total is nearly two hours long. If you decide to buy the tutorial, you can use the discount code mibreit-fb to get 20% off the purchase. This discount is active till Apr. 7th 2019 and is valid for all my tutorials.

Complete Workflow for processing Night Photos - Introduction - YouTube
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For a long time it has been a dream of mine to visit and photograph the desert. While we travelled through Peru a few years ago we already went to a desert landscape near Ica. But despite the enormous dunes, this didn’t feel like a real desert. There was too much tourism and noise there.

On a recent trip to Morocco I once again had the chance to visit the desert. And not just any desert. With Wild Morocco we did a tour to the Erg Chigaga, which is part of the Sahara, the largest hot desert in the world.

But before we started our tour, we first explored the Medina of Marrakech for two days. And this was different to any experience I’ve had during my years of travel so far. I have been to crowded and busy cities in the past, especially in Asia. But the bustle of Marrakech and also the other moroccan cities we visited was different.

For one thing it was nearly impossible to take photos, especially with my large Canon 5DsR. Many people don’t want to be photographed, which I can totally understand. But even if I tried to just photograph some buildings or do a general cityscape photo, the looks I got were not very friendly most of the time.

Another thing, which is quite annoying, is that, even if you know where you are going – GPS on my self-phone worked pretty well – people will try to show you the way somewhere. It doesn’t matter, if you want to go there or not. There are always some youths trying to convince you that you have to turn left or right or that you cannot go there, that this or that is closed and so on. The funny thing is that nobody of them had just the slightest idea where we were actually headed.

Once I learned to ignore these folks I could enjoy all the new impressions I got while exploring the Medina. It’s like a huge mall full of colorful and shiny goods. And eventually I even found a view where I could take a photo of the city and even see the Atlas Mountains in the distance.

Marrakech
Equipment: Canon EOS 5DSR | Canon 70-200mm f/4 IS | Kase K8 Polarizer
Exif: f/9,5 | 116mm | ISO 100 | 1/20s

But it was still good to leave Marrakech on our third morning and head over the Atlas Mountains towards the Draa Valley. There we had a wonderful stay in the Hara Oasis lodge*. This place of silence was the perfect contrast to the city.

In terms of photography though I had some problems finding a good photo spot for sunset. When photographing with a wide angle lens, which is what I tried to do, it’s important to also have some interesting foreground in the frame. Otherwise the photos will often lack depth and interest. And this was exactly what I was struggling with.

The solution presented itself the next morning when I decided to take some photos with the long lens instead. Now I was able to focus on just the important parts of the landscape, its different layers and the beautiful morning light, as it crept over the mountains.

Hara Oasis
Equipment: Canon EOS 5DSR | Canon 70-200mm f/4 IS | Kase 0.6 hard GND
Exif: f/9,5 | 135mm | ISO 100 | 1/20s + Bracketing

The following day we had another long drive past Zagora and Mhamid into the desert. After two hours of off-road driving, which I was glad I didn’t have to do myself, we finally arrived at the beautiful Camp Al Koutban. To get there you really need a guide who knows his way through the dunes.

Once at the camp we didn’t waste much time and with two hours to spare until sunset we started our hike towards one of the largest dunes in the Erg. After 45 minutes we crested the top of dune. It really was worth all the driving of the previous days and the hike. Such views were what I had dreamt of when I planned my trip to Morocco and finally I could photograph them.

Sahara Glow : Prints Available
Equipment: Canon EOS 5DSR | Canon 70-200mm f/4 IS
Exif: f/9,5 | 144mm | ISO 100 | 1/90s + Bracketing

The way back to our camp in the dark was a bit tricky, but thankfully the GPS on my phone worked. So we just had to walk in the direction of the markers, which I had set in Google Maps in advance. After a great dinner with typical Moroccon food – the best we had during our trip – it was time for our first night in our cozy Berber tent.

The next morning I got up two hours before sunrise and once again found my way to the summit of the great dune. The wind of the night had cleared all footprints off the ridges and it was finally time to get out the wide lens.

Sea of Sand
Equipment: Canon EOS 5DSR | Canon 16-35mm f/4 IS | Kase 0.6 hard GND + 0.6 soft GND
Exif: f/9,5 | 30mm | ISO 100 | 1/15s and multiple exposures for focus stacking

Besides taking all the photos I also recorded a Vlog, in which I show some behind the scenes footage and also more places we visited. So lean back and enjoy some impressions from Marrakech and some desert moods.

Photographing Morocco - Marrakech to the Desert - YouTube

* This is a Booking.com Affiliate Link. If you use it to make a booking, I’ll get a little commission from Booking.com

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In recent weeks we had lots of snow here in Germany. A lot more than in the years past. So I decided to follow along with a plan I have had for some time now: Photographing the winterly landscapes on top of the Große Arber mountain.

I had already scouted the area a few weeks ago when we had the first snow. It already looked fantastic.

But back then I didn’t have snowshoes. This made getting to some areas very hard as the snow was more than knee deep. I knew that, if I got the chance to return, I wouldn’t do so without the right equipment again.

So I did my research on snowshoes and found that the decision wasn’t as easy as I had hoped. The price range goes from around 60 Euros to 400 Euros and I really had to think about the terrain I would use those shoes in – not only on the Große Arber but also in the coming years. The cheapest shoes where those with an aluminum frame and since I didn’t want to spend too much money I first thought to buy those.

But such snowshoes are not made for walking in steep terrain, since they don’t have any spikes on the sides. So traversing a steep slope as I would have to do at the Große Arber would have been tricky.

In the end I still bought a cheap snowshoe option made by Alpidex*. Those are made of some sturdy plastic and they have sharp spikes all around.

And I don’t regret the decision. This time I didn’t have to worry about getting stuck in the snow and could walk around freely. This was a lot of fun and I was able to get to some areas where the trees were completely frozen.

During all of this the snowshoes held up nicely. What didn’t work so well in the cold was my Gopro. I had brought two fully loaded batteries and after less than 20 minutes of filming those were already drained.

Fortunately I was able to warm them up during lunch and could later squeeze out some more video as I went down into the forest beneath the Große Arber. Down there it was a lot harder to find a good scene to photograph, but eventually I was successful as you can see in the video below.

Photographing Winter Wonderland - Großer Arber Germany - YouTube

I hope that the photos and the video motivate you to get out and explore, even if it’s cold and grey outside. That’s just the right time to take some different photos, which every portfolio also needs. And as always, be mindful of the nature around you and leave only footprints.

* This is an Amazon Affiliate Link. If you use it to buy something, I’ll get a little commission from Amazon

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In the last article about my travels around the world I showed you the incredible landscapes of Tongariro National Park. After my early morning hike to photograph Mount Ngauruhoe we continued our journey with a drive towards Rotorua.

Rotorua

Rotorua is very popular for the geothermal activity in the area. Geysers such as the Wai-O-Tapu are the main attractions and we also couldn’t resist a visit. I have to admit that the colors and the smell alike were really impressive at the main thermal pool.

Wai-O-Tapu
Equipment: Canon EOS 5DSR | Canon 16-35mm f/4 IS | Lee 0.6 Hard GND + Lee 0.9 ND
Exif: f/16 | 16mm | ISO 100 | 0.3s – added some motion blur to sky

Another remarkable thing about Rotorua are the various hot springs. Even our caravan park had several pools that were fed by such a spring. And this was a great treat after all the hikes I had done the previous days in Tongariro National Park.

But what I liked the most about Rotorua were the beautiful Redwoods. Various trails span the forest area and although they are not as mighty as the Redwoods in California, they are still impressive.

In the end though, my favorite photo was not of the huge trees themselves. Instead I found this little pond with rotting branches submerged in it and it immediately caught my attention because of its shimmering blue color.

Decay
Equipment: Canon EOS 5DSR | Canon 70-200mm f/4 IS
Exif: 70mm | ISO 100 | 1s multiple exposures for focus stacking

Three Sisters

There were two more locations on my list for this trip to New Zealand. And although Coromandel would have been closer to Rotorua, we went down towards New Plymouth first because of the tides.

We spent two days at a caravan park near Mokau, which was just a 15 minute drive north of the famous Three Sisters beach. This particular beach can only be reached around low tide.

And on our second evening low tide coincided perfectly with sunset. I stayed there nearly till the end of civil twilight, which was when the sky began to glow one last time. I then took my photo of the day and afterwards had to hurry, because the tide had already turned.

Three Sisters
Equipment: Canon EOS 5DSR | Canon 16-35mm f/4 IS | Lee 0.6 Hard GND + Lee 0.6 Soft GND
Exif: f/11 | 19mm | ISO 100 | 3s – 42s multiple exposures for focus stacking and exposure blending

Coromandel

Of all the places we visited in New Zealand, Coromandel was the most crowded aside from the Tongariro Crossing on our hiking day. It’s just crazy how Hahei had changed since the last time I was there.

Back then there were only few people down at Cathedral Cove. This time the place was packed and even after sunset and long before sunrise there were many people, a lot of them camping down at the coast. Hahei itself now has huge parking areas on several meadows outside town, with a shuttle connecting them to the small parking lot at Cathedral Cove.

During the two days we spent in the area, unfortunately I didn’t have the necessary light to take a photo of Cathedral Cove, which would stand out. So I left nearly empty handed, just with a few snapshots and went up towards Whangapoua.

We had visited New Chums beach already on our first visit to New Zealand. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches on the North Island I’d say. But, same as Cathedral Cove, it also gets more and more attention these days. Thanks to its size though, there’s still enough space and it does not feel as crowded as the beaches around Hahei yet.

New Chums Overlook
Equipment: Canon EOS 5DSR | Canon 16-35mm f/4 IS | Lee 0.6 Soft GND
Exif: f/9,5 | 16mm | ISO 100 | 1/125s

On this visit I climbed up to a fantastic viewpoint overlooking the beach. It’s quite steep and in parts a little sketchy but, if you are careful, it’s no problem to get up and down safe.

Originally I had planned to stay up there for sunset, but decided against it because after all I wasn’t travelling alone. There’s always balance needed between the pursuit of photography and the joys of travelling itself. And that evening we had a beautiful campsite right at the beach in Whangapoua where we cooked our dinner and enjoyed the evening.

Also, I didn’t want to risk a twisted ankle the day before our hike up to the Pinnacles, where we had reserved two spots in the Pinnacles hut. This hike was the true highlight of our visit to the Coromandel peninsula.

First we walked through some beautiful forest, crossing several small streams along the way. At a steady pace we climbed up the mountain until after less than two hours we reached the hut. The hut was still more than 100 meters of elevation beneath the Pinnacles peak but already provided beautiful views.

The ultimate view though is from the top of the Pinnacles and to get up there we had to climb some more stairs and ladders. This part of the hike is quite open and we were fully exposed to the wind, which picked up more an more as we went. In parts it was hard to stay on our feet.

The winds I experienced up at the top of the Pinnacles were the strongest I ever felt during a hike. The gusts were more than 100kph – due to some weather sites – and I had to be very careful to not get blown off the rocks. Taking a photo with tripod and DSLR during sunset was nearly impossible. I tried hiding behind a huge rock and using high ISOs and fast shutter speeds. But none of the photos I took turned out as I had hoped.

So I returned the next morning before sunrise, hoping for calmer conditions. But it was equally bad and despite the beautiful light I had to admit defeat and just took a photo with the Gopro. Then I sat on the rocks for a few more minutes, watching the sun briefly peek through the clouds, before I descended towards the hut and later to our campervan.

Later that day we drove to Auckland, spent another night at a campsite outside the city before flying to Hong Kong the following day.

All in all New Zealand gave us great memories once more. I was also able to capture several photos, which after two years now, I still consider some of my favorites of all time.

There were also photographical challenges again. Not all plans worked out and I had to abandon several of my photo ideas. But, as always, what stays after the first disappointment at not getting the photo, is the memory of having visited beautiful landscapes, of having put in the work, of the miles hiked and of the freedom I always feel when travelling.

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This November I had planned to flee the cold, grey weather in Germany and head down to Malta for a few days. In November you usually still get above 20°C there and looking at photos of the island it seemed to be a very sunny place.

But as I arrived I was greeted by storm and rain. Not exactly what I had hoped for. The good thing though: it was indeed still around 20°C, which, for late November, was quite nice. But what about photography? Many of the photos I wanted to take required some colorful light in the sky and also some sun.

It’s true that after storm and rain I often got the best light in the past. But for this to happen the storm had to stop, which for the first two days it never really did.

I still used the time to scout and explore. I found Valletta to be the perfect place to look for subjects that also worked in rainy conditions. And I even got lucky as the sun peeked through the clouds for a few seconds when I was photographing the roofs of Valletta.

Without the light it also looked nice, but when the sun bathed some of the buildings in golden light this created the perfect contrast to the dark sky above.

The last two days I also got some sun. I ventured out to explore some of the coastlines of Malta. But not before taking another photo of Valletta’s skyline. I went to Manoel Island, which since one year had opened its gates for the public again.

Of the rest of the island I found the Dingli Cliffs and Gnejna bay the most beautiful locations. The Dingli coast is excellent for hiking and also provides various spectacular viewpoints. And Gnejna bay with its fortress like limestone structure is the perfect sunset location.

Only the light wasn’t always in my favour. But as you can see in the video, I got some keepers out of this trip.

Photographing Malta - Bad Weather and Photography - YouTube

As the video shows, even when the weather is not ideal for photography, it’s possible to take some good photos. The important thing is to know, which subjects work under which weather conditions, and to pursue those.

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Hong Kong is an exciting city to explore and photograph. I had visited Hong Kong for a few days during my travels around the world already. Back then I was there in January and I didn’t see the sun once. Thus, photography wise it wasn’t a very productive trip.

Ever since I had wanted to get back and give it another try. And because I had to fly over Hong Kong after visiting Vietnam, this was the perfect opportunity. And it was great coming back.

While I love to visit new places, it also feels great to return to a country or city and to already know your way around. It can feel a bit like coming home after an extended period of travels.

As during my last visit I was staying on Hong Kong Island, which has a very high photo spot density. But before I could start exploring and photographing Hong Kong, I first had to wait out a super typhoon, which was about to hit the city the day after my arrival.

Then, once the winds had subsided, it was time to photograph the streets of Hong Kong. For this I had rented a Canon TS-E 17mm lens. Such a tilt-shift lens is ideal for photographing architecture, as it allows to preserve a straight perspective without the need to tilt the camera. I wanted to use this lens to get a photo of a very special view, which I knew I couldn’t photograph with my 16-35mm lens.

This view is quite popular and it has been photographed many times before. But I didn’t find a photo, which was taken with the camera pointing straight towards the subject. Because of the dimensions of the architecture nearly all the photos I found on the internet were photographed by tilting the camera upwards. This causes the buildings to lean inward in the photo, which I personally don’t like.

As I explain in the video below, taking the photo involved shifting the lens several times to create a huge, 75Mpix Vertorama. The beauty of using a tilt-shift lens to create Vertoramas or Panoramas is that the individual photos will stitch seamlessly without much trouble during post processing.

Photographing Hong Kong - YouTube

In the next video, I show you how I did the stitching for the Vertorama and I also talk about the trouble I had, photographing with the Canon TS-E 17mm lens. Because, other than the behind the scenes video suggests, I didn’t get the photo the first time. Because of an extreme degradation of sharpness towards the edges of the frame once the lens was shifted to the extremes, the photos I took were unusable.

So I had to head back the next evening to get it right and to work around the limitations of the lens.

Photography Fail - Problems I had with the Canon TS-E 17mm Lens - YouTube

As you can see, with such a tilt-shift lens it is possible to create quite unique photos. But there is also a lot of work involved, both in the field as well as during post processing. I personally find the workflow a bit too cumbersome and I will always prefer to use a normal wide angle lens, if possible. But, if the need to use such a tilt-shift lens will arise again in the future, I’m now prepared and know exactly how to use it.

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Our final stop in Vietnam was at the coast near Nha Trang. And to make this a memorable stay I had to do some research to find a stretch of coastline, which wasn’t too crowded yet.

Over the last years Vietnam has experienced a huge increase in visitors and for this reason lots of construction is going on everywhere in the country. And especially at the coast this becomes very apparent. Wherever there is a beach, it seems you have one hotel next to the other and one just has to wonder where this is gonna lead.

One thing that many countries seem to forget is that once the natural environment is destroyed by this construction madness, the stream of visitors will also slowly cease and then all those hotels will stay empty. Because at some point there is nothing unique left, nothing of the things that created the boom in tourism in the first place.

But I guess I, as a traveller, am part of the problem and since I don’t want to stop travelling, one thing I can do is to try to avoid those overly touristic hubs whenever possible.

Ninh Van Bay

For Nha Trang it was quite hard to find a hotel that would provide some remoteness. But a bit north of Nha Trang, in the beautiful Ninh Van Bay such hotels still exist. And one of them is the L’Alyana.

Staying at such an exclusive hotel had been a dream of mine for some time already and in Vietnam this was nearly affordable. But not quite. We had already stretched our budget, so I reached out to the hotel and asked, if they were interested in a collaboration.

And as you might already suspect, they were. And for four days we stayed in one of their beautiful hill top villas. I did some photography and filming for them in exchange for a discount in the package we had booked. And although it was a lot of work to create all the photos we had agreed upon, mostly due to the weather, I had a great time.

I especially enjoyed our accommodation. The villa had an own pool, an outside living room, a huge bathroom and a beautiful bedroom.

What I also love about the L’Alyana is its location. You only get there via the hotel’s own little ferry and there are no other hotels sharing the beach. It’s an oasis not too far from the noise of Nha Trang, whose lights I could see at the horizon at night.

As for the other stops of our journey through Vietnam, I also filmed a behind the scenes Vlog for our stay in Ninh Van Bay. Here I show you some more of the hotel, explain my approach to real estate photography and share some of the resulting photos.

Photographing Vietnam - L'Alyana Ninh Van Bay - YouTube

This concludes our travels through Vietnam. Our next stop was Hong Kong, which will be the topic of the next article.

* This is a Booking.com Affiliate Link. If you use it to make a booking, I’ll get a little commission from Booking.com

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