Missing the Beach - When the Weather Turns Cold

It's been rather chilly outside lately and my thoughts are drawn to the memories of Spain and beach, hot sun and waves.. I have been slowly going through some more photos from our April trip to Spain (I did bring a couple of thousand of them back, after all...) and I thought I'd share some of the images of the beautiful Mediterranean Sea and the beach in Almerimar, where we've spent some time enjoying the sun, waves and pebbles, not mentioning a beautiful sunset. So here they are, with my hope that they'll warm all of us up just a bit ;D.  Enjoy! Kasia


Goodbye Spain....

Our last day in Spain was spent driving.  It is a 6 hour drive from Almerimar to Madrid, and on the way we were planning to stop in Granada to see the famous Alhambra Palace and it's gardens.  That part of the trip did not go so well.  We didn't realize at the time, that if you want to get in you should be buying tickets online well in advance, as there are ques stretching for miles.  Also our GPS unit decided to take us right through the center of Granada.  After getting lost, because a lot streets were closed due to construction, and narrowly avoiding collisions with abundant motorcyclists and scooter-ists on the streets, we finally arrived.  Like I said above, the amount of tourists was staggering, so of course we did not get in.  So we decided to go for a little walk outside of the Palace walls.  It's quite impressive, the Palace, even from the outside.  Here are some images from that walk. Few words on the Fuji X-Pro 1, to add.  The shooting conditions were not ideal.  High, late morning sun, and beautiful blue skies, with out a cloud, and Fuji did remarkably very very well.  Auto focus was spot on, and the biggest plus... carrying a small camera with small lenses, and knowing that I have the same control over images as I would get from a much bigger an heavier DSLR system.  Knowing and trusting, this little mirror less wonder, and using it on our trip in Spain was a pure, unadulterated, pleasure!

After leaving Granada, and finding a much easier wayout , then we came in, we headed to Madrid.  After returning the car at the airport and catching a taxi to the hotel, we barely had some time to go for a little walk around.  It gave me an opportunity to try the Fuji X-Pro 1 at night.  So of course high ISO, since I did not bring a tripod.  Color me impressed.  The images came out clean crisp, and surprisingly I did not have problems with the auto focus at all.  Another big point for Fuji.  After our little walk we go ready for bed, since we were catching a flight in the early morning to start another leg of our vacation.... Scotland.  Here are some night street images from Madrid.  Enjoy!

Welcome to Almerimar

It was a beautiful, though very windy first morning in Almerimar.  The rising sun has painted surrounding buildings in a lovely light and I figured it's a great picture opportunity, especially with the lovely clouds creating a very nice back drop for the surrounding buildings ;)

We were to meet our friends: Chris and Sandra, who made Almerimar their home for late breakfast and have a look around the town and head to the beach. The wind was quite strong and we were sure we would see some waves.

I must have  taken over a 100 pictures during just this outing alone. I have found out that, as usual, timing is everything and it takes a lot of tries to catch the best splash :). After a lengthily walk we've decided to head back for some food - it was getting close to siesta and the kids were getting tired as well..

After some food and a little rest, in the early evening we have returned to the wind breaker. The wind have not diminished and the waves became even more interesting, spraying us with salty water even from  quite a distance. This has produced an unexpected result of creating a filter on my lens. Made for some interesting light effects.  The world around us was covered in a haze made of sea water ripped away from the waves by a very strong wind. The sun was about to set and added a golden glow to everything... Just lovely!

I was a bit concerned about possible damage to my camera and tried to protect it as much as possible. The last thing you need, while away from home is to break your equipment... One thing is for sure. I was very happy I've had a long lens with me and could take close ups of those waves from a safe distance. An angry sea is noting to laugh about!


Spain Day 2, Spanish Sunset and more Fuji X-Pro1

I wanted to try the 18mm Fuji lens on a Spanish landscape.  I mean that's the main reason I took a wide angle lens all the way to Spain.  On the drive to Almerimar from Madrid, I did not have a lot of opportunities to take pictures, as I was dodging crazy spanish drivers, and trying hard not to fall down the mountains on their narrow roads.  It definitely something to get used to.  To do a little more driving training we decided to visit some of the little villages, that snuggle the mountains of Sierra Nevada.  Let me tell you,  there are some streets that you can barely squeeze your car through, or get stuck on a one way dead end street.  A bit nerve racking, but the views are just spectacular.  They soothe your rattled nerves, the blood pressure goes down, your breathing slows, and you smile.  Maybe that's why the Spanish are so laid back, friendly and smiling?

In the last image, my kids had a lot of fun, because they could be in a bar, with adults.  An actual bar, where people drink.... alcohol!  I wonder if the kids are  going to become an alcoholics now.... And it was quite a place, with walls filled with pictures of past bull fighters, and newspaper clippings.  Great atmosphere.  I managed to "steal" some images with the Fuji.  I guess I didn't have to be sneaky about taking pictures.  Most people are used to tourists snapping away.  Since my Spanish consists of a couple of words, which probably would not help if I was told not to take pictures, I rather refrained from doing to much.  I guess that's why I compensated this with outside images of the Spanish country side.

At the end of the day, we decided that it would be great to catch a Spanish Sunset.  The wind has died down considerably, so we went down to the beach.  The kids had a lot of fun chasing and running away from the waves, getting soaked in the process, but that's being a kid, right?  Me and my wife concentrated on the picture taking :)  So the whole day spent with Fuji X-Pro1 and a 18mm Fuji lens.  Any regrets?  None what so ever.  Just at times I wished that it was a little wider, but not often.  The camera performed admirably and it was a pleasure to carry around.  Light and portable.  It made me focus more on the scenery outside, instead of wishing I could go home and take the load off.  Here are some images from the sunset I captured on the beach in Almerimar.  Enjoy!

First day in Spain with my Fuji X-Pro1

Our vacation time has come and gone, in a flash.  My wonderful wife and partner, in this photographic journey, already started showing off our pictures from the vacation in Spain.  I decided that this vacation will be a great opportunity to test out the new Fuji X-Pro1.  For the first time I did not take any other camera.  At first I was a little worried that I have made a mistake, by not taking the heavy dSLRs, and their lenses, but after a couple of first shots with the Fuji and I knew I was right!

We arrived in Almerimar, a lovely little town on the south of Spain, on a very windy day.  We got settled into the apartment and decided to go out for a walk around town, and maybe to get some food as well.

After food and drink and brilliant company of our old friends, we headed out to see the town.  It's not hard to get to the beach from anywhere in Almerimar, and that's what we did.  Because of very strong winds, the waves on the Mediterranean were higher and bigger than I ever saw them, when I visited almost 5 years ago.  Definitely a photographic opportunity.  Fuji X-Pro 1 was performing very well.  I was very happy that I brought it along.  It was light to carry and so much fun to use.  I think Fuji hit a home run with that one.

After being blown around by the wind we decided to head back to the apartment.  This also provided some shooting opportunities to test the Fuji, again.  It is an amazing camera, that's all I'm going to say about it.


Jasper - Day 3

Last day of a wonderful vacation, we decided to drive down to the Columbia Icefields. On the way there we stopped at Athabasca Falls. We did not encounter any wildlife along the way, but the scenery was absolutely spectacular.

Since we were playing proper tourists we decided to go full tilt and take the ride to the glacier.  Unfortunately it is a short trip, and there were millions of people.  So image wise it was a crap shoot.  I guess you pay the price when you are a tourist.

So this was a tiring, but absolutely wonderful vacation.  It just made me realize how much I love the mountains.  I will have to go back there sooner than once a year.  Will have to make the time.

Jasper - Day 2

The second day of vacation did not wake up happy.  The sky was full of clouds, promising rain again, but being intrepid explorers we started our day with the decision to check the Jasper Gondola.  On the way there we met a few natives. Unfortunately Whistler mountain, which is the top station of the Jasper Gondola, was enveloped in low clouds.  So we decided to finally visit Maligne Canyon.

We passed it on numerous occasions, but for some reason we never turned in.  Always going to Maligne Lake and then stoping for longer hike around the Medicine Lake.  On the way to those lakes we were greeted by a nice family of black bears.  They were very kind, and cooperative, even though there were about 10 cars and a tour bus parked near by.

At the Medicine lake we went for a little hike on the shores of the lake.  I did manage to get my kids wet in the numerous streams crossing the path around the lake, so we had to make our hike a little short.

On the way back the clouds started to break up, and the sun finally started to show it's face.  So we decided to return to the Jasper Gondola, and try again with the ascend of the Whistler mountain.

We returned to the hotel, a little wet, and very tired, but with huge grins.  Another great day at the Jasper National Park.

Jasper - Day 1

Well it's been almost a month since I posted anything.   A lot of different reason piled up on top of each other.  Finally though I managed to find some time to actually take some, very needed, time off.  So packed up the family, and off we went to the mountains.  I have been there for a long while and I was missing the sight of rugged peaks. The first day we spent mostly in Hinton, which is located about 40Km east of the Jasper National Park entrance.  A good friend told me about the Beaver Walk, located in Hinton.  When we got there it started to drizzle, which very soon turned into a heavy rain.

We got completely soaked.  I guess it was a good test for the cameras, which worked very well all through the rain.  After we got to the hotel, and dried up a little I could not resist going out to see if I can catch a glimpse of the quite spectacular sunset.  I did manage to catch a very nice Mr. Elk who was eating supper at the side of the road.  Completely ignoring 6 or so cars parked on the side of the road, and people snapping pictures of him.  Yes I joined the herd of sheep, but since I had a longer lens I didn't have to fight for space on the side of the road.  This was a great finish to a busy, wet day.


Celebrating End of School!

It is that time of the year, when all the happy kids throw their books in the corner, and say goodbye to school for another couple of months.  I remember that feeling well.  This year though I was asked by a good friend if I could help celebrate this, by taking photos of his daughter graduating grade 9.  Of course his daughter brought a friend along, and here are the results.  Enjoy!

Legoland Part 1

If you never been to Legoland California, then I definitely recommend it.  My kids actually liked it a lot better than Disneyland, even though it's a lot smaller.  It is more interactive, and the area where the major US cities are recreated out of legos, is spectacular.  Here is the first part of Legoland.  Enjoy. Lego zoo

Taj Mahal

Eiffel Tower

New York

New York

Wedding on vacation

I was quite fortunate today, because right in front of our hotel there was a traditional East Indian wedding.  It was quite interesting, since I never really saw one.  Good thing I had a long lens and was able to get a few good shots right from our 15th floor balcony.  Then I run down to take some from the ground level.  Enjoy. Wedding











Vacation Finally

So our vacation has started.   It's promising to be a great time.  Lots of fun and one meeting that will be most exciting (for me that is).  I will post on that later though.  Today I finally was able to test a little camera I got for my older child a while back.  It's just a basic point & shoot, but it has a great feature of being water proof.  So I decided to take it to the hotel pool and try a few shots.  Here are the results.  I would say pretty good for a little simple camera.  Enjoy. Sinking


From Northwest Territories

Here are some more shots from our trip to the Northwest Territories.  The picture above is of a new bridge being built on the Mackenzie River.  Since the beginning crossing the river was done either via the ferry in the summer, or via the ice bridge in winter.  This has always cause some problems specially in spring time, when the ice broke up.  I'm curious if the bridge will be completed for our next trip up north. Highways that go on for ever

There is not a lot of traffic on the roads up north.  Also there is no cellular coverage what so ever.  It really feels isolated, and free.



Franklin Channel Bridge

Sailing on the Great Slave Lake in N.W.T

During our recent visit to Northwest Territories, we had an amazing opportunity to go sailing.  Personally I've never been sailing, but always dreamed of it.  I've never been a fan of speed boats, and the older I get, the more annoying it is to have to listen to the noise of the engine.  So when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped in with both feet. Leaving port on the Great Slave Lake

For those that never been to NWT, Great Slave Lake is huge.  I mean huge.  There are places where you do not see land in any direction.  We never ventured that far, because of limited time, and inherent slowness of a sail boat.  Ah but the beauty, the quiet rustle of wind in the sails, the gently lapping of water agains the hull.  Absolute dream.  Here are some pictures taken from the trip.... there are more to come, so stay tuned.

Sails, skies, and a Canadian flag

House on the lake

Canadian coast guard ship