Thursday, 13 December 2012

Italy, Venice - Then & Now - Part 2

This is Part 2 in our Venice "Then & Now"series of photos. To see Part 1, which explains more about this project either scroll down or visit -

This image is titled "Rio delle Meraviglie" which is in the Dorsoduro sestiere of Venice. We're not sure where this comes from as every indication shows that this is actually "Rio di San Trovaso". As mentioned in our previous post, we researched the locations of all the images in the "Ricordo di Venezia" book and we found this particular location as one of the most difficult to locate even though the description below describes a "Palace" as being on the right! The Meraviglie on the image & the Meravegie on the back of the image really baffled us. In the end it ended up being not far from the Accademia Bridge. 

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Italy, Venice - Then & Now - Part 1

Earlier this year we were fossicking through a small bookshop in the suburb that we live in. The owner specialises in old books and we spent quite a few hours there. We were about to leave with a handful of old travel guides when the owner suggested that we have a look at another box that he had out the back. In this box we found several small old books called "Ricordo di Venezia" & Ricordo di  Napoli". Well, we really wouldn't call them books, they're more like ornate versions of a concertina postcard book (without being postcards!!). Strangely there is no details whatsoever mentioning a date or publisher of these books, however with some research we believe the Venice book is circa 1930 (mind you, we are not sure how old some of the actual photos are). Each image has text in 4 languages (Italian, French, English & German), so they were obviously produced as a souvenir item for travellers. Funny enough, all of the locals we met in both Venice & Naples had never seen them and were fascinated by these books which led to quite a few doors being opened for us in our quest. 

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Montenegro, Kotor

Wow, time flies!. Just realised that our last blog post was back in August. We had planned to loyally keep the blog up to date while we were in Europe for 6 weeks but after shooting images all day & every day for 6 weeks, downloading images every night, intermittent wi-fi connections, and just because we were buggered (tired, knackered, exhausted) - it didn't happen. :-(
Kotor old-town at dusk

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Vietnam - Part 2

Exactly 1 year after our first visit to Vietnam in 1994 we returned to find a rapidly changing country. Since the lifting of the trade embargo by the US government the previous year there was a noticeable change in a number of construction projects commencing in Saigon. Many international hotels were being planned in anticipation of the increase in tourism that was about to engulf the country. Our favourite hotel, the Majestic, a famous drinking hole for journalists during the war years, with its magnificent French Colonial architecture and the run-down interior was closed and being renovated. 

Friday, 13 July 2012

Vietnam - Part 1

View over Saigon, 1994

This post is based on panoramic images taken during our first visit to Vietnam in 1994.

Paul has had a fascination with Indochinese history for many years and was itching to visit Vietnam. We planned to travel in the south half of the country on this trip for 6 weeks. The first half was spent in Ho Chi Minh City (still called Saigon by the locals) and the Mekong Delta area and in the remaining weeks, we travelled from Ho Chi Minh City to Hue via Dal Lat. We made all the arrangements ourselves via FAX (yes, you could do all of this yourself without the internet, email and travel agents!!). We hired our own mini-van, guide & driver for a ridiculously low cost and headed into the Delta. This way we could stop wherever & whenever we liked without inconveniencing others. We visited Mytho, Cantho, Rach Gia, Ha Tien, Chau Doc, & Vinh Long before arriving back in Ho Chi Minh City several weeks later.

Monday, 25 June 2012

Turkey, Istanbul

Istanbul has to be one of our favourite cities to visit in Europe. The city and the country has a special bond with Paul as he spent 8 weeks traversing the country back in the 80's. 
Although Istanbul is now well trodden with tourism it is still easy to get lost in the maze of streets and away from the hordes of tourists. The majority of tourist sites in the city are located in the area close to the 'Blue' & 'Aya Sophia' Mosques making it easy to do it all on foot. 

Monday, 4 June 2012

Tunisia, Tunis

Leather Masks in Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia
Leather Masks at Sidi Bou Said
We were fortunate to visit Tunisia on two separate occasions just prior to the December 2010 events that resulted in the downfall of the Ben Ali dictatorship. As we had been to Libya before their revolution we thought that the problems may have been caused by us however we have never been to Egypt so we now sleep well at nights knowing that revolutions were not following us around. :-)

Monday, 28 May 2012

Kiribati, Kiritimati

Bonefishing in Kiritimati, Kiribati
A couple of posts ago we featured the island of Tarawa so thought it appropriate to do a post on Kiritimati island which is also part of Kiribati. As mentioned in our previous post, Tarawa & Kiritimati are separated by 3,300 kilometers of Pacific Ocean and can only be reached by a weekly flight from Nadi in Fiji or Honolulu in Hawaii. The Air Pacific flight usually lands here en route to Honolulu and stops again in Kiritimati on its return to Nadi. Most of the tourists who visit this remote island are sports fisherman who come for the world-class bonefishing (similar to flyfishing without the river) and the occasional yacht, cruise ship & surfer. The accommodation on the island is simple but comfortable and the food & hospitality of the locals is fantastic.

Friday, 25 May 2012


Talava Arches, Niue
Niue (pronounced New-ay) is a tiny  South Pacific island located 2,400 kilometers (1,500 miles) north-east of New Zealand. The land area is just 260 sq. kilometers and is known as "The Rock" to the approximately 1,400 inhabitants. Surprisingly there is quite a lot to see and do on Niue, especially if you love reef walking, cavingbiking, diving, golfing, whale watching or even if you just want to chill out.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Kiribati, Tarawa

Father son carrying a fishing net, Biketawa - Kiribati
This image was taken on Biketawa Islet in North Tarawa, Kiribati (ki-ri-bas). The father & son are heading off fishing. We especially like the expression on the fathers face, it really makes the shot. We were fortunate, as you can imagine in such a remote place, that they came by and offered us some foreground interest to liven up an otherwise dull image. It was pure luck that they wore great contrasting colours !! We chose a wide aperture to soften the background to draw attention to the subjects. Purists would say "to improve this shot you should have positioned the subjects further to the right in the frame", however most travel photography images are taken quickly and on the spur of the moment. We literally ran until we were in range to capture this image before they disappeared. Sometime you just need to get the shot and not worry too much about 'the rules' in photography. Always use 'the rules' as a guide but don't worry too much about breaking them.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Italy, Taormina

HDR image of alleyway in Taormina, Sicily - Italy
Made in Sicily
This is an HDR shot that we took in Taormina while shooting images for our Cruising the Mediterranean series of pictorial souvenir books.

Taormina is located on the east coast of Sicily and is about halfway between the towns of Messina & Catania. The town is perched on a hillside overlooking the Ionian Sea and is about a 45 minute drive to Mt Etna, Europe's largest active volcano.

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Fiji Islands, Taveuni

Fiji Waterfall, Taveuni - Fiji

This is one of Paul's favourite Fiji images. It was taken on the island of Taveuni in Fiji with the Fuji G617 Panoramic Camera. The waterfall is located on the east coast of Taveuni, known as the Garden Island, and can only be reached by a 90 minute hike along the Lavena Coastal Walk. We were lucky on the day that we took this as the weather was overcast with the occasional shower making the image low contrast allowing heaps of detail. Many people swim in the surprisingly icy waters to the waterfalls (there's actually another waterfall slightly to the left but out of shot). Most people go to the more popular Bouma Falls which are not far away so you may get the place to yourself. We hired a guide in Lavena who not only carried the tripod but who also constantly ran off into the bushes or climbed coconut trees to provide us with a different fruit each time. 

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Greece - Santorini

HDR image of a Blue door, Santorini - Greece
We love doors!!. Everywhere we seem to travel we always come back with heaps of doors and other abstract shots. You have probably noticed this on our website. We think that doors, especially weathered and unusual doors give a destination a lot of character. The doors in this post were all take on the island of Santorini in the Greek Islands. We have been there many times over the years as if drawn there by some huge magnet. A visit to the village of Oia has to be on every travellers "bucket list" but don't forget to visit other villages on the island such as Pyrgos where you can get spectacular views over Santorini's interior. Make sure you also visit the volcanic islands of Nea Kameni & Palea Kameni offering spectacular views looking back at Fira, the main town of Santorini.

These single images have been tonemapped using HDR software Photomatix Pro, they have also been sharpened with Nik Sharpener Pro 3.0. We used the 'structure slider' to add some more texture to the doors and to highlight the wood grain.