Monday, November 25, 2013

long-exposure photography // torquay surf beach

I have been meaning to try long-exposure photography for a while now, but somehow never got around it. Mostly I was missing the right filters to play around with during daylight!

While being in Germany I purchased my first Neutral Density (ND) filter, which allows you to lower your shutter speed even at a sunny day to e.g. 10 seconds. That means that capturing blurry water, clouds during daytime becomes possible. A ND filter is basically a really dark filter that you attach to your lense - and which makes it almost impossible to take a picture by looking through the viewfinder (as all you will see is darkness). Also, the long exposure naturally demands the use of a tripod.

A couple of weeks ago I brought both filter and my tripod along to a trip down to Torquay surf beach and had a first try. After setting up the camera on the tripod, checking the beach for interesting shots and I started - only to be quite irritated not soon after. Most of the shots I took were blurry, despite the tripod and a wireless remote. I had turned to Manual mode using the manual focus of the lense as I was trying to get the focus right using the LCD screen. I am not really satisfied with how the shots turned out... Next time I will try to lock the auto focus and only attach the ND filter afterwards.

Learning by doing I guess! :)

Have you ever tried long-exposure photogprahy?
Any tips you can pass along to me?  Thanks and have a lovely week!


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

climbing lion's head // cape town

I am still in Cape Town for work and I was lucky enough to have the weekend off to enjoy a bit of the beautiful city. The cablecar up to Table Mountain was closed on Saturday due to strong winds, so my colleagues suggested that we climb up Lion's Head on Sunday morning to enjoy the views from there.

There are four major "peaks" in the vicinity of Cape Town - Devil's Peak, Table Mountain, Lion's Head and Signal Hill. Lion's Head is almost 670m above sea level and (besides Signal Hill to where you can drive), the easiest peak to hike up to. So, Sunday morning 7 am we started our hike from the road leading to Signal Hill up the dusty track towards Lion's Head.

Basically the walking paths wraps around the mountain and you walk up in a large spiral - you have stunning views to each side while walking up. Table Mountain, the 12 Apostles, Camps Bay, Sea Point, Green Point, the city. All passing by while hiking along.

Then it gets a bit rough. The upper part of the peak doesn't have a path, but only rocks to climb up. Sometimes you have to climb a few meters up vertically, with the help of ladders and chains. A bit scary. If you are afraid of heights. As, unfortunately, I am. Just enough.

Its quite a climb up, your legs getting weaker and weaker, the sun burning down, but then.... then you are rewarded by the most stunning views! Oh gosh, the view is fantastic!! Look at the beautiful Table Mountain - no wonder it is one of the new 7 wonders of the new world, it is a stunning sight!!

On the other side, the mountain literally drops into thin air and the city of Cape Town is lying beneath your feet! The suburbs of Green Point and Sea Point open up underneath and the blue ocean is glittering as a backdrop. A-mazing!! I didn't want to, but was "forced" by my colleagues to walk across and stand on a boulder that is sticking out from the peak - don't let the picture fool you!! My smile is almost hysterical and as soon as the picture was taken, I was back on my knees, crawling. My stomach turned, my legs were shaking - oh well, those are the hurdles you have to overcome to get this once-in-your-lifetime shot!! Love it!

If you ever come to Cape Town, make sure to climb Lion's Head. It took us about 3 hours to get up and back down (with a longish cookie break on top) and it looks worst than it actually is. Just make sure to start early in the morning, there is alomost no shade on top and the sun is really strong!

Have you ever been to Cape Town? Isn't it a stunning place? *K

Saturday, November 9, 2013

favorite place // anglesea, victoria

Hello from Cape Town! Yes, I am in South Africa! No need to get jealous though, I am only here for business... I have been in town since Monday, working, fighting jetlag. Now its finally Friday, the sun is out, I can see the Table Mountain from my window and I am looking forward to spend a weekend exploring the city. Hooray!

I also had the time to upload some pictures I took over the last weeks in Australia - with spring being around, we have started regular roadtrips to the coast again. Walks along the beach, surfing, outdoor markets. The sweet life.

Last weekend we drove to Anglesea, a town along the Great Ocean Road. By chance we saw a sign that said something about a nursery and an organic store, so we took a left turn and had a look. Oh boy, I am so glad we did! Not only did we find a great nursery with many local plants and seedling, but we also found this cute, vintage-inspired cafe that sits right next to it. It is so kind my of place - lovely decor, great food and coffee, fresh produce and friendly owners. The tasting platter was delicious and also reasonable priced. We will for sure return during summer!!

Find it here:
McGains Nursery
1 Simmons Court
Anglesea, VIC 3230

Have a lovely weekend, hopefully I get to share some pictures from Cape Town next week!



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

a walk through the valley of waterfalls

While being back in Germany, I also spent some days visiting my old home for 4 years - Bern in Switzerland. One of the things I do miss in Australia are proper mountains. You know that kind of mountains with glaciers, snow and above 2000m high! The highest mountain in Australia is Mount Kosciuszko with staggering 2280m!! Which is okf course, nothing compared the the Alps I have grown to love so much!!

As I didn't have time for a proper hike, me and a couple of friends decided to just head to Lauternbrunnen Valley and take a walk along the scenic route along the valley. Such a great decision! The air was warm, the sun was out and the mountains looked breathtaking as I remembered them!

The Lauterbrunnen Valley is also called the valley of waterfalls, there are over a hundred of them and is one of my most favorite places in Switzerland! It is also the favorite place for basejumpers - we saw (and heard!) a couple of them jumping during our walk! The sound of the parachute opening so close to the ground has heartattack potential!

Even if I am not ready to move to Switzerland (yet), I am already looking forward to explore more of the mountains once we are back! Such a beautiful and peaceful place!

If you need some more Switzerland recommendations, here are my favorite mountain posts:

Hiking around Lake Oeschinen / Wengenmore cows / and about our Australian mountain experience

Enjoy!! *K

Friday, October 11, 2013

oh, home sweet ...

And.... I am back. Two weeks went by in a flash and I am back in Melbourne, suffering from a very nice souvenir from Germany. Actually I am suffering from two - namely a nasty cold I probably caught in Hamburg before departing and a minor major case of homesickness.

I miss my family, my parents and especially my grandmother. I was granted with many beautiful hours that I spent with her during my visit, only making our goodbye hard, oh so hard. I miss her terribly.

I miss my friends - I was lucky to see many of them while traveling through Germany and Switzerland. It was wonderful to see that even after two years of not seeing each other, it was easy to pick up where we left. It almost felt like I had never moved and that makes me very happy.

One of the first things I did after arriving in Frankfurt was to go shopping at our local supermarket. I was in heaven. My dad actually came looking for me inside after I didn't reappear in ages. I was too busy roaming the aisles for long-lost-dearly-missed favorites of mine!!

I had a super busy schedule and I almost never had alone time let alone time for taking photographs. I had all those plans laid out - where to go, what to see, what to photograph. In the end I only spent one afternoon in Frankfurt by myself, waiting for a friend to come and have dinner with me at the great new restaurant Oosten at the banks for the river Main.

Its okay though. I was busy living life and enjoying time with my loved ones. Is there a better excuse for coming home almost empty-handed with only a couple of shots on the camera? I don't think so!!

I snapped some pictures around the old town of Frankfurt, the river, the dome, the cityhall and a great exhibition of Brazilian street art. Would have loved to check it out but, you guessed it, no time :)

For all the expats - isn't it incredible how one needs another vacation after returning visiting home? So busy!!! Definitely doesn't count as a holiday! Ready for the next one! *K

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