travel photography

Ice Hotel, Sweden.

During my recent trip to Sweden, I visited the famous Ice Hotel. The hotel is made out entirely with natural ice and snow. Since we are on a tight budget, we didn’t stay at the hotel, we went there and joined the guided tour.

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But unfortunately, we are there before the completion of the 2016 Ice Hotel, as they rebuild the hotel each year with different design submitted from designers around the world. The Ice Bar, Ice Church and some of the rooms are not yet ready. We are slightly late for the tour and we need to chase up the tour at the area where they carve all the ice. After that the guided brought us to the rooms and since the tour are too big, we are ask to walk around the room ourself and if a we had any question we can ask the guide ourself.

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The rooms are smaller then I expected, maybe its unfinished, but some of the design are really amazing. It is quite challenging trying to take photographs of all the rooms and there are large amount of tourist during my visit and getting a clean shot of the room means I need to be either faster then the other or wait until the crowed goes to the other room.

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Another challenging factor is the lightning condition in the rooms. I don’t have my tripod with my during the guided tour, and I need a smaller aperture to get everything in the room sharp. I used all kind of methods to be as steady as possible.

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The above design is one of my favorite! I am sorry I forget to note down the designer’s name for the rooms. I think you can get more info from their official website.

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The Snice (a combination of ice and snow) ice to build the hotel has a higher density than snow and therefore is a better insulated and it melts slower. No matter what is the temperature outside, the rooms are always between -3degree to -5degree. ( well thats still very cold ! )

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The idea of getting room designs from all around the world is very interesting! (Maybe I could submit a design next time. 😛 )

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I was very impressed by the cool rooms, but It’s a bit sad that I don’t get the chance to see the famous Ice bar and Ice Church.

 

 

 

Skogafoss, Iceland

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Skogafoss is one of the most crowded tourist attraction in Iceland. But theres a reason for it, it is really beautiful and you can personally get up close to the water fall. You can even climbed up from the side and have the view at where the water falls. The water is very so strong during my visit, creating dense water vapors. It was impossible to get a close to get a good clear shot of the waterfall, you and your camera will get wet almost instantly. So I decided to try to take some photograph from a further place.

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I then changed to my borrowed canon 70-200 f4  L lens to focus on the water flowing down. It was very cloudy that day, as the initial few photographs had a very flat/dull lighting, I decide to stay in the same position and gamble. I guess it was a win for me, as just before my brother rushed me to get back to the car (worrying of not getting to the hostel in time) the sun hits the waterfall from a opening of the clouds. 😀  Now I wish I can print it huge and hang it in my house. (but don’t have one yet 😥 )

Saljalandfoss, Iceland.

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Taking a long exposure photograph on a not-so-stable wooden bridge is hard work, especially when there are loads of tourist walking across it. 😛 But my patience paid off, I got a sharp image after standing there for awhile.

Speeding.

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On my last day in Japan, we stayed in the Genkai Royal Hotel in Japan’s Fukuoka prefecture. I saw a small church beside our hotel’s main building, so I got up early and brought my camera for a walk. It is extremely windy, the sky was packed with clouds. This photo was taken at early morning just before the sun rises, but the clouds are blocking the light, so it is still very dark. So i set my camera for a long exposure shot, and after the shutter open I lit the building up with a couple of bursts from my flashlight/flash gun.

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This photo was taken a bit later when the sky are slightly brighter, so I didn’t use my flash to ‘paint’ the church. 😀

 

 

Sharp!

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This ‘sharp’ looking church is part of the hotel we stayed in. The Kirishima royal hotel in Kyushu,Japan. They do provide wedding services here, together with the hotel and banquette area. I saw some wedding photos examples inside their lifts promoting it.

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I took a photo of the interiors from outside of the building, since it was locked. I guess the church’s glass window combined with my circular polarizing filter created some unique rainbow effect. I think its something called ‘birefringement’. 😀

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I definitely enjoyed the early morning photo session alone. 🙂

 

Aso Farm Village.

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Aso Farm Village is consisting of 450 dome-shaped guest rooms on the site of rich nature of green. It is the accommodations in the Nature which overlook an outer rim of volcanic crater of Aso, and can enjoy seasonal beauty. It is like mysterious village atmosphere which there are brook and pond, the brick bridge and the promenade of the native rock. The round room without the corner lets a heart soften and heals a tired body.

We stayed there for one night after visiting Mt. Aso. It is a unique experience staying there but due to it’s huge land area, you will need to carry all your luggage and walk for quite a long journey if you get the room far away from the entrance.

I woke up early in the morning, it is a very cold and foggy morning. I walked around for quite some time before I found this small lake/pond, so I climbed over the short fence illegally so get down there. I then quickly set up my tripod and start to take photos. Lucky enough, no one saw what I did. 😀

Kumamoto Castle

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For a place packed with tourist, I will always use a neutral density filter. I can get a 30 seconds shutter time, but with that long of a shutter time, people wont avoid your camera, since they don’t know that you are taking photos. I got a few shot of the castle without any people in the frame, but I like this one more, it sort of added some dimensions into my photo. 😀

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This is also the same situation, but unlike them standing there just to hang around, they are standing there to take their own photos. That old couple near to the center of the photo is actually taking a selfie. 😀 Kumamoto castle is a beautiful place to visit, but do remember it is a very touristy place to visit.

Mt.Aso

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This is not a photo of Mt.Aso, this is a photo of the public toilet outside the cable car station that takes you up to the crater. I like their design, but they are not very practical, since each small hut houses only one toilet, and not all of them are functioning. 😀

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This is the Mt.Aso volcano. We are not allowed get up to the crater due to the activeness of the volcano on that day. So as a replacement, our tour guide brought us to a volcano museum nearby. 😦

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The view from the second floor of the museum is actually quite good. Had a good panoramic view of the mountain ranges around the volcano. I didn’t even bothered to watch the video about the volcano they are showing, as I know I don’t have much time there before we are rushed to another location.

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Luckily we are giving some time to walk around that area and do some souvenir shopping. I was kinda rushing around wanting to capture nice photos around that area.

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When the horses’s ‘shift’ ended, they are happily going around and one of them are rolling on the ground, taking a mud bath maybe? 😀

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It was a great experience visitng Mt.Aso, although we didn’t get the chance to get right up to the crater, but nevertheless we enjoyed the nice weather and scenery. 😀