Dave's Photo & Travelblogue

Photo shoots. World travel advice. Tips on Munich & environs.

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Toytown Photo Walk – October

I met up with the Toytown photo club and walked around Munich in the dark for a few hours. Here are a few shots I managed without any tripod.

f2 Cafe

I was going for a different angle on this red-lit mannequin.


Shooting from the hip in the dark at f/2…

From the hip

Eisbach surfers! I played with the strobe effect of my Nikon D90’s built-in flash. Next time I’ll bring a tripod and my SB600, turn down the ISO, and pump up the flash. That should blow out the orange highlights from the d*mn sodium vapor lights. I am too lazy for flash gels and a white card, heh.

Eisbach Surfing - Strobe Effect

That’s all for today!

Posted 8 years ago.


iPhone HDR

For those who have an iPhone, you can check out the pro-HDR app my friend Joe recommends. I was so impressed by his photo (considering it’s from a mobile phone) that I’ll share it here:

Idaho State Capitol - iPhone HDR

The Idaho State Capitol looks pretty nice in HDR! Notice the great color in the bright puffy-clouds sky, while maintaining good brightness and color on the partly-shaded building and foreground.

I’m just waiting to see what the big camera makers some up with. In my last post I predicted we’d see built in High Dynamic Range on a pro-sumer or pro camera within a few years. Maybe when mobile phones are already producing results like this, Nikon will step up to the plate on the D90 replacement or D700 replacement. Please!

Posted 8 years, 1 month ago.


HDR Photography in Cambodia

So, I’ve finally processed a few of the High Dynamic Range photo sequences that I took on the RTW trip. Here are a few from Cambodia, which you can also see (in higher resolution) on my Flickr page.

This is probably my favorite of the final prints, taken from the third floor of the Angkor Spirit Palace hotel in Siem Reap where I was staying. The benefit of HDR is that you can see detail in both the bright and dark areas of the final “composite” picture.

Cambodia Sunset over Rice Paddies

Here’s an interesting shot of an approaching storm, which killed the sunset I was waiting for at this temple. Unfortunately the software I have isn’t good at aligning images, and has no manual feature. So they didn’t line up perfectly, something you can see in some of the edges where light meets dark (but only in the higher res versions on Flickr). Either way, the scene is great – everything from rain, to black clouds, to blue sky!

Angkor Storm - Badly Aligned

Finally I’ll close up with another photo from the rice paddies sunset over Siem Reap. There was actually someone burning brush over behind the trees, that’s why there’s an area with smoke rising.

Cambodia Sunset 2 over Rice Paddies

There will be a lot more HDR photos coming, as I go through the Camera RAW images that I took all throughout the RTW adventure. Stay tuned!

Posted 8 years, 2 months ago.

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The Finest Peruvian Restaurant

I dined out in style on Monday night in the Miraflores district of Peru. A fellow blogger recommended Astrid y Gaston, so I gave it a try – and was not disappointed! My bill wasn’t cheap (about $55 USD), but considering the gourmet feast I had, it’s 1/2 or 1/3 the price of a similar meal in the States or in Europe.

First course: potato bread, spicy pepper bread, cheese bread, chocolate bread, plain white bread (already eaten), and some cheesy tomato pepper sticks. With butter, pesto, salt, and olive oil! Now that’s a lot of bread for one person. A few types I only sampled, and I must say, the spicy pepper bread was the best.

Bread at Astrid y Gaston

Complimentary appetizer, because I didn’t order one (was saving room for dessert): a shot of something starchy with green foam, a fried thing whose contents I don’t remember, and a sweet potato chip with tuna tartare.

Appetizer at Astrid y Gaston

I went with a mixed Peruvian shellfish main course. Lots of delightful flavors that mixed well together. I believe the green foam is cilantro-flavored… how does one do that?

Mixed shellfish at Astrid y Gaston

Finally, dessert: a fruit souffle with coconut crisp on the side, and a Pisco (similar to grappa).


Normally, I would say a tasty dessert like this would be the grand finale to a fantastic meal. However, the chefs weren’t done yet! They presented this artsy set of drawers, loaded with several small confections which shot my taste buds out of the stratosphere and into low-earth-orbit.


In closing, I’ll just say: I love this kind of unique culinary experience. But I can’t really justify spending $100+ on a meal. So if you want to taste real, high-end gourmet food and not break your wallet, visit Astrid y Gaston in Miraflores. Make sure to reserve in advance in case they fill up. You won’t regret it, and it will be an experience you’ll never forget.

Even with 3 drinks (Pisco Sour, Chardonnay, and a straight Pisco) my bill came to $55… easily in the realm of a “once per year” treat to yourself. I might even visit twice a year, if Peru weren’t so d*mn far from Munich!

Posted 8 years, 5 months ago.


10 Amazing HDR Photos of Florida

Fellow photographer Captain Kimo runs a great website & blog about HDR Photography. What is that, you ask? In High Dynamic Range Photography, one uses a tripod to take several photos of the same scene with different exposures, then combines them using special software. The end result has rich color & detail in all areas of the photo, whereas a single photo of the same scene would either have very dark areas or bright, washed-out areas.

Kimo has volunteered to share a selection out of his amazing portfolio… click on any of the photos to jump to a full-res version on Kimo’s website!


When people think of Florida, the first few locations they think of are Miami, Orlando and Key West. But I’m here to tell you, Florida is a big state. It has a lot more to offer than just these typical destinations.

I’m a native Floridian who lives in Palm Beach Gardens. The most beautiful place I know of in Florida is a city just north of here called Jupiter. Jupiter, Florida, isn’t your typical tourist destination. I would not advise this area for anything exciting, but if you want to relax and witness some beautiful beach scenery there’s no place in Florida I would recommend more than Jupiter.

I photograph the beaches of Jupiter often. Below are some of my favorite photographs from Jupiter’s beautiful beaches, parks and landmarks.

1. Blowing Rocks Preserve – Sunrise at the Rocks
2. Blowing Rocks Preserve – Sea Oats at Sunrise
3. Coral Cove Park – Sea Oats at Sunrise
4. Coral Cove Park – Rock at Sunrise
5. Jupiter Lighthouse – Full Moon
6. Jupiter Lighthouse – Sunset
7. Jupiter Inlet – Sunrise on the Pier
8. Jupiter Inlet – Sunrise on the Beach
9. Dubois Park – Dubois Pioneer Home
10. Carlin Park – Beach at Sunrise

For more beautiful photos of Florida, visit my blog at http://CaptainKimo.com

I plan on taking a journey to photograph the entire Florida coast later this year. This is not a small trip. Florida is a peninsula and a very large state, so photographing the entire coast will require months of work. Subscribe to my blog and join me on my journey as I photograph the entire Florida coast in HDR.


About the Author and Photographer: Kim Seng (A.K.A. Captain Kimo)

Kim Seng a photographer who specializes in HDR photography. His blog CaptainKimo.com is dedicated to HDR photography. Some photos on the site are taken from his travels, but most are from his native state of Florida.

Thanks, Kimo! I’m looking forward to more of your HDR photos, and trying a few of my own during my RTW trip.

Posted 8 years, 5 months ago.


Carving up the Glacier

While a volcano melts the glacier in Iceland, carvers are cutting up the Austrian glaciers on raceboards! Here’s Lowcarver this past weekend, riding his Virus snowboard at Hintertux…

Lowcarver at Hintertux

Below is a gallery of the best carving photos from Hintertux (and a couple of a friend who skis). I can’t wait for Carving Masters in just one week at Soelden! Hopefully I’ll get great shots and video of lots of carvers there.

For more on Hintertux, please see this earlier post with info of how to get there.

Photos were taken with a Nikon D90, 18-200mm VR lens, and a circular polarizing filter.


Posted 8 years, 6 months ago.

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What is this Sauce of Death?

Blair’s Death Sauce is one of my favorite hot sauce brands. It’s got real flavor, despite being very hot (which hardly any chili sauce can achieve). The sauces range from warm (Sweet Death) to outrageous (Ultra Death – see YouTube clip) to the hottest food ever: pure capsaicin extract.

I plan to bring a bottle of Death Sauce with me on my round-the-world trip. Which kind should it be? Currently I’ve got these babies sitting around:

Death Sauce Collection 1

I was debating about Salsa de la Muerte (Spanish-speaking export version), After Death, or perhaps Stronger than Death. I don’t want to bring one so hot that no one can do more than taste a drop on a toothpick. Of course, if Blair could comp me a bottle of Golden Death (and could get it into Europe despite the volcano), I’d gladly share the newest member of the family with those I meet around the globe…

Hot Sauce lovers, Chiliheads, lend me your taste buds… which sauce do YOU think I should take around the world with me?

Death Sauce Collection 2

For those interested in how the photos were taken, see the setup below:


The first picture featured here was taken with a red gel on the off-camera strobe with the umbrella. The second was taken without gels. In both cases I used a “puffer” on the camera’s flash to soften the light.

Posted 8 years, 6 months ago.


Surfing in landlocked downtown Munich!

Eisbach Surfing in Munich

For the surfers I met briefly today at the Eisbach in Munich: the gallery of my best photos is below, after the YouTube video. Val from Killians (hope I remembered your name right), I didn’t find any pics of you – but I can certainly meet up sometime and try to take a few! I live right near the Eisbach. Just leave a comment and I’ll email you.

Photos were taken with a Nikon D90 and the 18-200mm VR lens.

YouTube Preview Image

Go to YouTube to watch the video in HD!

Getting to the Eisbach Surfers’ Wave:


Posted 8 years, 6 months ago.


What’s a gram worth?

As I get ready for my backpacking round-the-world trip, I’ve become very weight-conscious. Okay, backpack weight, not my weight… haha. One important piece of hardware for me is my D-SLR camera, a Nikon D90. Until now I’ve had two lenses: a lightweight 18-55 VR for everyday use, and a 70-300mm VR for zooming and sports.

For the lightest traveling, I decided to simplify to one lens. Several makers have 18-200 lenses but they all have drawbacks; in the end I went with Nikon’s own lens, with the drawback of “highest price” (~$700). For a great summary of the lens, see Ken Rockwell’s review of the Nikon 18-200 VR. After trying out the lens I agree with Ken: it’s well worth the extra cost to avoid the problems with brands like Sigma. See the photo below to compare the size of all three Nikon lenses: 18-55 VR, 18-200 VR, and 70-300 VR.

Nikon Lens Comparison 18-55, 18-200, 70-300

Here are the Nikon lens weight specs, where you can see the advantage of the relatively light Nikon 18-200 VR lens compared to carrying two others. All weights (from my kitchen scale) include a UV filter and lens caps (both ends).

Lens Weight (g) Weight (oz)
Nikon 18-55mm VR 300 10.5
Nikon 18-200mm  VR 628 22
Nikon 70-300mm VR 805 28

The difference is quite a lot when you consider I’d be carrying both the 18-55 and the 70-300 lenses for a total of 1.1 kilos! By choosing just the 18-200, I easily halve that (especially after chopping the 70-300mm lens pouch and lens hood from my packing list). Ultralight travel photography, here I come, with the best Nikon lens for the job!

If you’re interested in purchasing the 18-200mm VR, please consider using this Amazon link: Nikon 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S ED VR II to help support my travels.

Posted 8 years, 6 months ago.

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Who needs pads? This is rugby!

I’d never been to a rugby game before, but decided to check it out when a friend from my German class invited me to see his team play. March 27th, 2010 in Munich:  this was Stusta vs. Stuttgart!

Over the years I’ve sprained ankles and knees playing Ultimate Frisbee. (Ultimate photo gallery here). But I can safely say that rugby is a slightly more contact-oriented sport. Here are a few photos to demonstrate, along with my commentary on the game. Maybe I have some of the rules wrong, so just correct me if I’ve misunderstood something…

Players pile on top of each other until the weight of their bodies causes the ball to pop out from underneath. An unlucky player that was left out of the pile grabs the ball and hopes to be the base for the next pile.

Stusta vs. Stuttgart Rugby

When the ball goes out of bounds, it’s thrown back in, and both teams see who can lift their teammates higher in the air to snag the ball. Again, the winner gets to start the next pile.

Stusta vs. Stuttgart Rugby

Here’s an example of what happens when there aren’t enough players nearby for a pile. Turn the opposing player upside down and shake until he drops the ball.

Stusta vs. Stuttgart Rugby

I’m tied as to the best tackle I caught on film. Was it this one:

Stusta vs. Stuttgart Rugby

Or this one? (due to the angle it almost looks like #14’s left leg is twisted backwards)

Stusta vs. Stuttgart Rugby

By a nice trick of the camera (which often couldn’t focus fast enough, or I didn’t focus the right point)… the only guy looking at the ball is the only guy in sharp focus! (far right side)

Stusta vs. Stuttgart Rugby

One way you can score in rugby is by reaching the end zone. You do this by diving over the line, being sure not to touch the tripwire rigged to the sharks with laser beams on their heads.

Stusta vs. Stuttgart Rugby

One last HIT…

Stusta vs. Stuttgart Rugby

See below for an album with even more photos, where you can also see these choice shots in larger size. Rugby is a lot easier to photograph than Ultimate Frisbee!

If any of the players from Stusta or Stuttgart want one of the shots in a larger size, just leave me a comment, and I’ll email it to you.

Congratulations to Stuttgart, who won the match. But both teams played really well, and I can honestly say it was the best rugby match I’ve ever seen.


Posted 8 years, 6 months ago.


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