Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Late autumn brings with it a certain melancholy. Nature is going into the deep sleep and the days just keep getting shorter and shorter. Especially for people at work, it seems as if the days only consist of nights. While I fully enjoy winter as a season, I still like to linger in the beauty that is autumn.

That's why I chose to venture out again into nature, and search for signs that autumn is still in the air. And what better place to do this then the mountains.

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From afar there seems to be much color left in the landscape.

Coming up closer a different sight greets me. The once vibrant colors are giving way into the darkness.

But bursts of leaves that won't give up are also to be found.

We still have nice days here in south Bosnia and Herzegovina.

There is some solace in knowing that winter greens will stay throughout the winter months.

Soon, it will be sights like this next one, that will spread through the lands.

Thank you all for stopping by.

What does the transition of the seasons look like in your town?

Monday, November 24, 2014

I get a lot of comments saying that people like to go on a photographic journey with me. Also, I get often asked how I take these travel photos that seemingly take you along. It's not easy when you are out and about. Especially on your vacations if you happen to visit places that get stormed by tourists. You want to come back home with images that make people who see them want to visit that place themselves.

You don't want to be one of the many, that takes the same shot from the same place over and over, that makes the obvious choice when it comes to framing etc. There are a couple of tips I go by when I'm on my travels, that seem to work out for me.

Today I'm sharing my 10 Tips for taking better Travel Photos. As with all rules or tips: make them your own and have creative freedom.

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1. Choosing the right lens for your Camera

This is the first thing you need to take care of. You don't want to travel with your whole gear and dismount lenses all the time. I usually go with a wide lens (like the Canon 28-200mm f/3.5-5.6) that takes care of landscapes and cityscapes for me, and then my trusted Canon 50mm f/1.8 for close-ups and various other shots.

2. Work locals and visitors into your Travel Photos

This is an easy tip to remember. Don't shoot monuments, buildings, cathedrals and other sights just by themselves. Try to work in the people that visit these places. I agree, it's nice to have a shot of the building itself, but take comparison shots and you will notice, how much better your images are with people in them.

3. Know What to Shoot

This is where research comes in. I'm a big believer in planing your vacation and spots that you want to visit before you arive. I don't want the local tourist guide taking me along. I want to experience the place by myself. Search on the internet what other people have been shooting in that particular spot you want to visit and go from there. Often times, the best destinations are found that way.

4. What to shoot on Bad Days

So here's the thing. You had your vacation all planed out, and then rain starts falling or the sky is overcast and your images won't turn out that good. Don't you dare to pack up your photo gear! There are so many things to shoot on those days. Try close-ups for example. Details that otherwise would go unnoticed. Like walls, streets, street displays, interior shots.

But then again, if the clouds that are rolling in are dramatic, go and shoot those landscapes. There can be a lot of beauty with a sky like that!

5. The Magic Time of day for Travel Photos

If you want that great shot of the city you are visiting, try shooting at dusk. Just about 30 minutes after the sun has set often gives the best light to create a dreamy travel photo.

6. Shoot at Night

Often, you go out and shoot tourist attractions all day, and then you come into your hotel room to get ready for dinner and leave your camera in the room, because you think you have taken enough photos for that day. This is where you might be wrong. The city transforms at night, and often times, it's the darkness that yields the best travel photos. This is especially true if you visit a city during the holidays, and everything is lit up. But other times too, exploring the night can be very charming.

7. Get the "Famous Views" Out of the Way

If you travel to a famous destination, get the shots of the most famous landmarks out of the way first. These are the photos everyone expects you to take (and on one hand you should actually make). So make your way through the landmarks and get those shots, so that you can have more time to take the more unique shots.

8. Shoot the Food

Take a look at any travel blog or magazine, and you will encounter food shots as well. And why wouldn't you. Some places are known because of the food. There are two tips for shooting food. Use a very shallow depth of field (the 50mm f/1.8 comes in very handy here), and use lots of natural light. Simply place your plate next to a window with light and shoot away. The 50mm can handle low light great and you can get away without a tripod. Or shoot food that is in displays and out in the city. It's a good thing to have in your travel photo collection.

9. Don't use flash, and shoot RAW

This might be a personal preference (but then all of these are). Don't use flash when taking your travel photos. Rather get the 50mm f/1.8 lens that is super in low light and shoot with a high ISO number. Also if you are using a dslr, shoot in RAW, this gives you so much more control later on (but it also takes space away on your camera, so keep that in mind). I travel with my laptop and usually transfer the shots from camera to a hard drive to keep them safe.

10. Shoot your Travel Photos from High Vantage Points

The average visitor or tourist will take their photos from the ground level, and won't bother with looking for a higher point. But I like to look out for spots where I can take shoots from a high vantage point. This gets you more professional looking images, that immediately take you in. Also you can cover a much bigger space that way.

I hope that I could help with these. As I said, have freedom and explore. I'm sure there are lots of other things that are great to do, but these here usually work for me.

Do you have any tips or tricks when it comes to travel photos?

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The weekend is always a great time for baking, but when it comes to these Chocolate Chip Cookies, there will always be an excuse to make them. I call these Starbucks Chocolate Chip Cookies, simply because they are almost identical to those big, thick and chewy cookies you get in Starbucks (only these are fresh and homemade).

These cookies are intensely chewy and practically melt in your mouth. I present you the recipe as I have it, only in the images that follow you will notice that I added some nuts too, which are not in the original recipe. Scroll down for the complete recipe.

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The combination of white and brown sugar is what makes these so chewy. Use dark or light muscavado sugar here.

As I said, I added nuts into these, so they were a bit different then the written recipe. You can try this out and add anything you like (for example dry fruits).

The base dough can make you excellent plain cookies. If you don't want chocolate inside you can leave it out, and bake them plain.

This amount of cookie dough makes about bigger 12-14 cookies.

Starbucks Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

  • 150 gr. (1 and 1/4 sticks) soft unsalted butter
  • 125 gr. (2/3 cup) soft light brown sugar
  • 100 gr. (1/2) sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg fridge-cold
  • 1 egg yolk fridge-cold
  • 300 gr. (2 cups) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 300 gr. (10 ounces) milk chocolate morsels or chips

  • Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F. Line a baking sheet with baking parchment.
  • Melt the butter and let it cool a bit. Put the brown and white sugars into a bowl, pour the slightly cooled, melted butter over them and beat together.
  • Beat in the vanilla, the cold egg and cold egg yolk until your mixture is light and creamy.
  • Slowly mix in the flour and bicarbonate of soda until just blended, then fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Scoop the cookie dough with an ¼ cup measure or a 60 ml round icecream scoop and drop onto the prepared baking sheet, plopping the cookies down about 8 cm / 3 inches apart. You will need to make these in 2 batches, keeping the bowl of cookie dough in the fridge between batches.
  • Bake for 15–17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks, to let them cool completely. Don't worry if they come out as if they are about to fall apart, they will firm up as they cool.
  • Store your baked cookies in a tight zip lock bag. That way they will stay chewy for a long time.

I hope that you will make these and enjoy them.

What is your favorite type of sweet treat?

Friday, November 21, 2014

There is a certain simplicity but also dramatic vibe in black and white imagery. Maybe it's the lack of color, maybe it's the fact that these type of images are more open to interpretation then others. There so much you can do with light and shadow, that just wouldn't work in a color image.

So for today, we are visiting some places around the world, and taking a different look at them through these black and white images.

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1. The Old Bridge, Mostar

The Old Bridge in Mostar is a common photo subject for tourists and locals here in Mostar. Taking a look at the familiar scene in black and white somehow transforms you back into the past, as if the sight is from another era.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Kovaci is the main cemetery for soldiers from the Bosnian Army who were killed during the aggression against Bosnia and Herzegovina (April 1992 - December 1995). The majority of the people buried here were killed during the siege of Sarajevo.

Besides that, the cemetery today is a war memorial and houses a small war museum right next to it.

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Around the main site, you will find very old gravestones, dating back to the 16th century.

The hills around the city of Sarajevo host many muslim cemeteries where victims of the siege are buried.

It was a tragic time in our history, now dating almost 20 years back since it ended. Much happier sights can be seen in Sarajevo, when you follow the streets down the hills where the cemetery is located. After a 5 minute walk, you will enter the old town of Sarajevo, called Bascarsija. But more on that another time.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Today we are taking it easy. When the cold autumn days get that one bit too grey and rainy, I yearn for the comfort and relaxation of the green from nature. So for today I chose to post 15 relaxing nature images that I have collected over the years. If you are stressed or simply in need for some relaxation, I truly hope that these will do the trick.

Feel free to share the beauty of nature in this post with others (share buttons are below).

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1. Golden fields

2. Little White and Yellow Dots

3. The Calm from Within

4. Ruby in the Sky

5. The Grandness of Nature

6. Fruits of the Season

7. In the Orchard

8. Solitude

9. The Busy Stream

10. Overlooking

11. As the cold closes in

12. Plump and ripe

13. In the Mountains


14. Arrival

 15. Piercing the Green

Thank you all for stopping by! I wish you a relaxed day.

Let me know in the comments below, which sight from nature you liked the most!

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