Tag Archives: photography

Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photowalk – In Ollantaytambo

Well, it is that time of the year again, Scott Kelby is hosting his third annual Worldwide Photowalk. It is  a huge event and last year it was the largest global social event for photographers worldwide…. I was a walk leader last year in Johannesburg and this year I applied to be a leader in Ollantaytambo and I have been give permission to lead the walk here, in Peru,  so if there are any photographers who are going to be in Ollantaytambo on the 24th July, join the walk here with us….

If you arent in Ollantaytambo and you are keen to do the Photowalk, go to www.worldwidephotowalk.com and check to see if there is a walk in your area, if you want to join the Ollantaytambo walk, then click here. Below are some photos I took on the walk last year in Johannesburg city centre…to see the Flickr group of some of the photos that were taken on the day, click here..

Below is the press release from Scott Kelby about the walk.

TAMPA, FL – June 1, 2010 – On Saturday, July 24, 2010, the whole world will be walking again with Scott Kelby, president of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) and #1 bestselling computer and technology book author, in the Third Annual Worldwide Photo Walk™.

Scott Kelby’s Worldwide Photo Walk is the world’s largest global social photography event in the history of photography itself. It takes place on the same day around the world where photographers of all walks of life and skill levels gather together, usually in downtown areas to socialize, learn new tips from each other, and explore their corner of the world through photography.

“In 2008, we had 241 walks,” said Scott Kelby, founder of NAPP, editor-in-chief of Photoshop User magazine, and president of Kelby Media Group. “Last year, we had over 900 walks with over 32,000 photographers participating. We did the math… your average photographer will take upwards of 300 photos during a photo walk. That means that nearly 10 million pictures were taken in that one single day that may never had happened otherwise. I think that’s pretty cool and we all can’t wait to see what happens this year.”

There is no fee to participate but pre-registration is required. Just go to the Worldwide Photo Walk site, find a walk near you, and join in on the fun. If there is no Photo Walk in your area feel free to register to lead a walk of your own.

Anyone can participate too. All you need is a camera. It doesn’t even matter what kind of camera either. People have showed up with disposables in the past, had a blast, and left with a new appreciation for photography.

Kelby credits the success and popularity of the event to the social aspect of photography the world over. “Photography is usually viewed as a solitary activity, but the truth of the matter is that people love to shoot together, compare notes and just have fun with photography,” said Kelby. “The Worldwide Photo Walk is a social phenomenon. I’ve had group leaders contact me to tell me that they’ve turned their walk into a monthly event. Other people tell me that they’ve made friends at the very first Photo Walk that they’ve kept to this day. It’s the joy of shooting with friends, new and old that makes this event so special.”

The social aspect of this event has also transcended into the online world of social networks as well. Participants in the Worldwide Photo Walk post updates to Twitter before, during and after the event under the #WWPW hash tag, they share their pictures on Flickr (view pictures from last year’s Flickr group), and get updates from NAPP via its Facebook page.

In addition to enjoying a day of photography with other like-minded individuals, participants may also be eligible to win prizes from the Worldwide Photo Walk’s sponsors if their photo is chosen as the best photo of the day by their walk leader. Each winning walk photo is then entered into a global competition where Scott Kelby picks the single “best photo” of the event along with 10 runners-up. Full details are available at: http://worldwidephotowalk.com/

Scott Kelby’s Third Annual Worldwide Photo Walk is sponsored by NAPP, Adobe, Adorama, Peachpit, Mpix, Wacom, and Kelby Training.

About NAPP
The National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) is a dynamic trade association and the world’s leading resource for Adobe® Photoshop®, Photoshop® Lightroom®, and photography training, news, and education. An award-winning team of Photoshop and photography experts, authors, consultants, and trainers lead the association – keeping its members on the cutting edge of Photoshop, Lightroom, and photography techniques and technology. With more than 71,000 members in 106 countries, NAPP is the largest digital imaging and graphics association worldwide. Visit http://www.photoshopuser.com for more information

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Ushuaia – Antarctica’s waiting room

Ushuaia has been our home for the last few days. We have had to stay longer than expected because of our trip to Antarctica. In the process we have been really just relaxing and as a result, both Francis and I have been a bit sick with a cough and a sore throat, basically a head cold. The weather here hasn’t been helping much either, in the morning, you can go out and it will be sunny and warmish (Ushuaia never really gets very warm, it is a sub polar climate…) and within 20 minutes, the clouds descend over the mountains and it will be drizzling a fine icy rain. When the clouds lift, you notice that there is more snow on the mountains and then the wind blows off the snowy mountains into the city, can be a bit nippy then…Having said all that, Ushuaia is set in a beautiful setting. The city is down on the harbour and once you go three streets up you begin to climb some steep stairs as the mountains are literally just out of town, they are huge and beautiful and can be seen from anywhere in the city. So, this has been our home for the past few days and will be until the 8th Feb (only 4 days away) when we leave for the White Continent.

Ushuaia Harbour

Two nights ago the clouds lifted for a few hours and Ushuaia revealed her true beauty, so I quickly put on my camera backpack and went out and caught some of the last light of the evening. It was fun and I had a photography buddy with me. We met a Canadian couple in El Calafate called Paul and Sandra and they were coming down to Ushuaia too, so we got here before them and we booked some place in the hostel we were staying for them. Paul is a keen photographer and shoots weddings in Canada and was very keen to get some shots too. So, the light looked good and Paul and I went out and captured some of it.

From the boardwalk

The images you see in this post are the ones done on that evening, the big ship you see in the harbour is a cruise ship, the ship we will be going to Antarctica on will be smaller than that and we are going on an expedition trip. The cruise ships go down to Antarctica too, but they generally don’t to landings i.e. they don’t take the passengers onto the actual continent. Expedition ships do anything up to 3 landings a day and because they are smaller, they can fit into tighter spaces than the big cruise ships. So we are off soon, the countdown is on!!

Harbour Scene
Creative shot of the sunset at the end of the world!

Land of the Ice Giants

Panoramic of Perito Moreno

El Calafate is home to the National Park of the glaciers. Located just 80km out of El Calafate, this park is home to 47 glaciers, but only  3 of them are accessible, either by boat or land. The most famous of these glaciers is the Perito Moreno glacier. We were driven up there by bus and went into the park. When we arrived, it was raining, so we couldn’t get onto the mountainside to see the glacier, but when we did, we could not believe our eyes. This may sound contrived, but the sight of that glacier was the most amazing and spectacular natural phenomenon I have ever seen.

Full length of Perito Moreno
Perito Moreno - HDR shot
Francis as we enter the walkway to Perito Moreno
Big Blue

The Perito Moreno glacier is 30 km long and in total is 250km square of ice and rock. The front face of the glacier is 5km long and on average it is 74m tall (above the water) To say that it is majestic is a gross understatement, this glacier is nothing short of breathtaking. Firstly, when you stand in front of it, you realise that it is not static, it groans and creaks, sometimes it sounds like rolling thunder as it heaves forward. The glacier is constantly moving, but it is not noticeable, but you can hear it. Every now and then you hear a loud crack, similar to a gunshot, as it moves…occasionally pieces of ice from the front wall will fall off, this is called calving. Calving happens on a regular basis, but it is totally unpredictable, so you will be looking in one direction and hear shouts from the other direction, you swing around quickly and will see only the last pieces as they fall into the water below. It is spectacular to see it, there is a sharp crack, a deep rumble and then a roar as a piece of ice, the size of a few small houses, comes crashing into the water. I managed to catch one calving, you can see the pic with the 3 shots of it happening.We spent a few hours just looking at the glacier and it was mesmerizing, it was as if you couldn’t stop looking.

Perito Moreno Calving

The next day we went on a boat trip to see Glacier Spegazzini and Glacier Upsala and then to see Perito Moreno, from the water level. This too was completely amazing. We came up close to an iceberg in Lake Argentino, there are plenty of them floating around, and lots of amazing sights to see.

Up close with an Iceberg in Lake Argentino
Francis view the iceberg
Up close to the Blue Giant
The Blue Giant, from a distance...

Glaciers Spegazzini’s front wall is over 100m tall above the water, but not as wide as Perito Moreno, but still impressive. We could not get close to the front wall of Upsala Glacier. In recent time, because of the increasing temperatures, Upsala is calving much more often and when it calves, the whole front wall comes off. This is now happening once ever 20 days or so, therefore the bay in front of it is packed with icebergs and pieces of ice. This debris is 3km long, so the closest we could get to Upsala was 3km away.

Glacier Spegazinni - full front wall

By far, the trip to the glaciers was the highlight of our trip so far, these Ice Giants are something quite spectacular and no photo can do them justice, to see, hear and almost feel them is what makes a visit to them so worthwhile…a once in a lifetime experience.

Chacra Millalen – Organic farm

Sunset at Millalen

So, let me be honest, the idea of working on an organic farm for 2 weeks wasnt necessarily high on my list. There were a few things that concerned me, one was, the lack of meat on the menu for that time. Other than that, I wasnt overly concerned. By the end of our time there, it was really quite special to have spent so much time in such a beautiful place. Yes it was a farm, a working organic farm, and we learned so much. Our day basically went as follows:

07:30 – Wake up

08:00 Breakfast – consisting of homemade bread, Jam, Oatmeal and Te Negro (Black tea)

09:00 Work assignments handed out and that could range from weeding the beds in the veggie garden (a large veggie garden) to picking raspberries, cleaning certain areas, making adobe bricks etc etc

09:10 – 13:00 Work!

13:00 Lunch – always a hot cooked meal which could comprise of lentils, potatoe bake, veggie stew, millet casserole and so on, sometime with rice and other accompaniments

14:00 – 16:00 – Siesta time, literally

16:00 – 20:00 Work

20:30 – Dinner time

230:00 Bed Time

Raspberry pickings
Peas picked by Francis

Pickings for the last half hour

We were only working half day on the farm, so generally after lunch we had time off, so we relaxed, read our books, typed up blogs, edited photos etc.

The farm, as I said, is a working farm and so it generates income off the produce. A lot of the fruit is made into jams or preserves and sold in the local town up the road called El Bolson. The nearest town is El Hoyo, but it really is very small, so not much of a market there. Most of the tourists end up in El Bolson and that is where a lot of the produce is sold. The veggies and fruit really is very good and very fresh and of course all natural, so no chemicals or pesticides have been used in growing the produce.

We were on the farm with about 10 other volunteers, 5 of them were from the USA andthe rest were from France. This made for many interesting chats as the French group could not speak much English apart from one of the girls, Lena, who was actually very fluent, more fluent than she let us know. Then the USA group, all girls, were mostly out of college and travelling for the next few months before they returned to the US.

We had a lot of fun and laughter, two of the French guys were highly talented musicians, Nico was a really good guitarist, so good that he could listen to a song one or two times and begin to pluck it out on a guitar. Antoine made music with just about anything, he turned pots into drums, PVC pipes into Didgeridoos and he had a mouth organ which he played with great aplomb. It was really amazing to be sitting around after dinner listening to an informal jam session that they would strike up…

The scenery at Chacra Millalen really stole the show. The farm is surrounded by beautiful rugged peaks that seem to push up effortlessly from the valley. In the distance are snow capped mountains and just beyond that the border with Chile. The valley is green and lush and is home to a lot of cherry, raspberry and strawberry farming, so it really is a great place to have a farm. Also, there are plenty of horses in the area, we would be walking down the country road and two horses, by themselves, would amble by along the road…really rural, but very very pretty.

Chacra Millalen Snowfall
Chacra Millalen Snowfall
Mountain at Millalen

The owners of the farm we also such lovely people, Fabio (who didnt speak any English unfortunately) had a lovely open and smily face and was always joking and making people laugh, Josephine who is fluent in English, Swiss, German, French and Spanish is always in control of what is happening in her garden. Every afternoon, she would walk through the garden with her clipoard and make notes of what needs to be done next.

Overall we had a great time at the farm, and learnt a lot about how things get done on an organic farm, a good experience and as always, great new friendships were made..

The cooking team of that evening
My sweetie in her gum boots
Hmmm, nice gum boots

Some images from Chacra Millalen

We had a really good time at Chacra Millalen. The setting was absolutely beautiful, we were surrounded on three sides by some amazing mountains each of which was 2km high or taller. On our first night there, snow fell on the mountains overnight, so here are some of the images I captured on the days after that.

Chacra Millalen Snowfall
Chacra Millalen Snowfall
Mountain at Millalen
Sunset at Millalen

Bosque Arrayanes and Isla Victoria

Bariloche has some amazing attractions and if the weather is good,  you have to get out there and see them. Bariloche’s climate can change rapidly in a day from being reasonably warm and calm in the morning to winds so strong in the afternoon that the lake is whipped up into sea sized waves and the foreboding clouds all but cover the surrounding mountains. So, when we saw it was going to be a good day we opted to go on a boat trip on the lake and visit Bosque de Arrayanes (Forest of Arrayanes) and Isla Victoria (Victoria Island) We set off and caught the bus to the jetty where the boat leaves from, which is set in one of the most picturesque areas in Bariloche. It is so picturesque that Bariloche’s premier hotel, Llao Llao Hotel perches on a nearby hill overlooking the mountains and lake, absolutely stunning…

Boat Ride on the lake

When we booked out boat trip, there were two choices of boat, we could have booked on the modern catamaran or the older schooner type boat. We opted for the older boat, it had much more character and from what we could understand, had been running these trips since the 1940’s. The boat was beautiful, it was a true old maiden of the sea (or lake) she was brassed up and shiny and pretty much in excellent condition. She was slow, but you were able to really take in your surroundings while she took you to the destination.

Docked on the lakeside

The boat trip is beautiful, the lake water is amazingly blue and clear and you are completely surrounded by huge snow capped mountains, in the lake are the small islands which are covered in pine forests and we couldn’t help thinking of Canada. The boat trip was so reminiscent of taking the ferry from Victoria to Vancouver that for a minute we had to remind ourselves we were in South America.

Our first stop was Bosque de Arrayanes or Forest of Arrayanes. The Arrayanes is a shrub, although it looks like a tree. It has a reddish brown bark and it grows tall and thick, giving it a fairy tale effect. It is believed that Walt Disney wrote Bambi after visiting Bosque Arrayanes, being inspired by its absolute beauty and uniqueness. The forest is a natural forest and is unique to Bariloche, these bushes and forests don’t occur anywhere else in the world. It was amazing to spend some time walking through the forest. The park is protected, so you walk on a raised wooden deck and it is serene and inviting. We only were able to spend 45 minutes in the forest but we could have spent much more time there.

Bosque Arrayanes
Bosque Walkway

Next stop was Victoria Island. This is a large island in the middle of Lago Nahuel Huapi (Lake Nahuel Huapi) and has a few walking trails, a restaurant and a hotel on it. It is a large island, but very natural and very beautiful too. We got off and spent almost 3 hours on the island. We were a bit disappointed to not be able to do 2 of the 3 walks as they were closed off for some repairs or something, so we walked the only open route. This route took us through the natural pine forests and along the peninsula of the island which gave some great views of the surrounding islands and the lake. We then were back on our boat, really tired by now, and back to Bariloche. We had a long day, but stopped off at a coffee shop for something to eat and that is where we met Walter, Deborah and Matteo. We became instant friends and in fact, they live in Seattle in the USA, Walter is Argentinian and Deborah is American. They were on holiday in Bariloche and were having something to eat. So we chatted for a while and then swopped email addresses and said goodbye and hoped to visit them in Seattle one day. The next day we got an email from them inviting us to dinner with them and Walters family at their holiday place. So, we went, but that is a story for the next blog…

Disembarking

Bariloche – The Switzerland of Argentina

We arrived in Bariloche and were amazed at its incredible beauty. After being in the semi – desert area of Mendoza, Bariloche was the complete opposite. Officially known as San Carlos de Bariloche, it is a true gem in the Patagonia region of South America. It is a magnificent region and the town itself is nestled into the mountainside overlooking Lago Nahuel Huapi (Lake Nahuel Huapi) This lake is so big, that it actually looks like the sea, but of course it isn’t, it is fresh, clean and very clear mountain water. The lake itself is 529km square, so it’s a large lake and has been measured as 438m deep, but no sign of Nessie here, maybe it would have to be Jorge. Bariloche has an interesting history and even some Nazis were found to be hiding here as recently as 1995, so its an interesting place. The town is clean and the air is fresh. Right now, its summer, but its not warm (just ask Francis) and if the wind blows, woohoo, it is really cold. The wind blows off the mountains and across the lake and up into the town, if you happen to be in the crossfire when it hits the town, you freeze, good practice for Canada….

The buildings here in Bariloche seem to be influenced by European Alpine villages and look very much like Swiss or Austrian log homes. In many ways, Bariloche reminds us of Canada, on the west coast with the high mountains, huge lakes and stunning alpine scenery.

Civic Centre in Downtown Bariloche
Swiss Home in Bariloche
Swiss Influence

So, to make sure could see the view properly, Francis and I went up Cerro Otto, or Mount Otto. We had to go up via cableway, so once again Francis had to face her fear of heights and this one was quite steep and high. Once at the top though, the view was amazing. You could see a 360 degree view of the whole town and surrounding mountains. The larger mountains are still snow capped, but in winter, the whole area would be white and snow covered. We spent an hour at the top (there is a revolving restaurant there too) and then came down.

Cable Car
Francis taking in the view
View from Cerro Otto
Surrounding Mountains - Cerro Otto

Bariloche is famous for its chocolate. There is a chocolate shop literally on ever block of the main streets and each one of them MAKES their own chocolate. No Cadburys here…only hand made stuff. So we visited the chocolate museum and it was really fantastic to see how it gets made, we wanted to buy some there, but it was really expensive. We walked a bit further down the road and went into another shop and you could see them making it there too, so we watched, caved in and bought some there, a little cheaper, but wow, really tasty stuff and very fresh. The amazing thing is, every chocolate shop is full of people, the Argentinians certainly have a sweet tooth and so each chocolate shop seems to be really busy. So we bought our first chocolate and we were hooked, each day since, we now go for a choccie run at about 4pm in the afternoon.

Chocolate Museum
Chocolate Mixer
Cherries dipped in Chocolate

Also, on this same evening, we went to dinner at a local couchsurfer called Julie (pronounced Hoo – lee) She made a traditional Asado (similar to a braai) for us and prepared us some food. It was great, the meat, of course, was amazing. Argentinian beef is really good and she was a very interesting person. She is a scientist and is involved in researching the wildlife in Baricloche…so she was very interesting company to say the least.

Julie and Francis
Asado - yes, thats meat..

After dinner we headed back to our Hosteria, but here is the interesting thing. We walked down about 500m of dirt road from her house at about 11:15pm and then got to a main road where we stood for about 10 minutes and waited for a bus back to town. We then got on that bus and were dropped off safely in town about 20 meters from out Hosteria. It is incredible to think that we could never attempt this in SA and that the infrastructure here works so well…buses here, even in a small place like Bariloche, run until midnight. The next day, we went out on a boat trip, but that will be my next post, so keep on looking…should go up soon.