Dave's Photo & Travelblogue

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

Hue Imperial City

Nguyễn Phúc Ánh took control of Vietnam in 1802 and named himself Emperor. Of course, like every great man with great ambitions and hundreds of concubines, he needed a palace in his capital city! Within the Imperial City was the Purple Forbidden City, where only the Emperor’s family was allowed.

Unfortunately it was mostly destroyed during the American bombing that followed the Communists’ takeover of Hue in 1968. What can you do?

Imperial City, Hue

Here’s a short video showing a few areas of the Imperial City. Gardens with locusts/loud insects, koi ponds with hungry fish, restored (and some not-yet-restored) buildings. Oh, and I threw in a night timelapse of Hue from the top of the Romantic Hotel – you can see the city lights coming on as the clouds tower high.

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The imposing Citadel guarding one entrance to the Imperial City:

Hue Imperial City Citadel Gates

The walls themselves are guarded by a dragon. Vietnamese do love their dragons, I’d say more than any other Asian culture I’ve visited!

Hue Imperial City Dragon

I’ll leave you with one final (gold plated?) dragon guarding what look to be some Imperial living areas. Don’t mess with the Emperor!

Hue Imperial City perspective

Posted 5 years, 7 months ago at 5:30 pm.

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Da Nang Music Festival

When walking around Da Nang looking for a restaurant, we happened upon a music festival. With a restaurant across the street. Which had a free table on the upstairs balcony overlooking the festival+river. Nikon D7000 timelapse awesomeness!

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I used a mini-tripod with the Nikon D7000 and (if I remember) around a 4 second exposure, taking a photo every 5 seconds. Between the motion of the lights, the people, and the cars, it makes for a cool scene.

Da Nang, Vietnam Music Festival

Anyone have some cool crowd timelapses to share? Link ’em in the comments section!

Posted 5 years, 7 months ago at 4:19 pm.

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Vietnamese Spring Rolls

I took a cooking course at the Sapa Boutique Hotel in Sapa, Vietnam – here was the result of one dish!

Vietnamese Fried Spring Rolls

These tasty fried spring rolls were made with a chicken & vegetables filling, wrapped in rice paper, dipped in egg and bread crumbs, and then deep fried. One of the best spring rolls we had on the trip!

For those making your own deep-fried Vietnamese spring rolls, here’s a short how-to video showing you how to roll the filling in the rice paper:

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Posted 5 years, 7 months ago at 2:50 pm.

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Phu Quoc, Vietnam

I’m just back from a 3w trip to Vietnam. Let me tell you, Vietnam is the country of adventure! It seems relatively safe, if you manage to avoid the touts, cheats, and duplicitous taxis/motorbikes.

The final stop on my journey was Phu Quoc island in the ocean off the southwest tip of Vietnam. As it had been a long and stressful trip (avoid night trains!!), this last stop was just for relaxing on the beach. The choice was Bo Resort with their long private beach.

Bo Resort Beach

It’s a bit more pricey than some other resorts, but in my opinion worth it (we paid $64/night with breakfast for a bungalow for 2). The grounds of Bo Resort are well kept, the beach is much cleaner than most areas of Vietnam (only some trash washes up from the ocean), and it’s a nearly deserted private beach belonging to the resort. There’s a limited number of guests allowed, around 40. During my timelapse videos (several hours), only 2 dogs and 4 people crossed the frame.

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(filmed with a Nikon D7000 and some filters like the Tiffen Variable ND and a circular polarizer to get 5s+ long shutter speeds in full sunlight)

One note about Bo Resort: the bungalows are open (think geckos and mosquito netting) and have no A/C. If this really bothers you, think twice. But if you’re there in a cooler season (temps *below* 30C at night), the lack of A/C wouldn’t be a big issue. When I was there it was HOT.

The Bo Resort restaurant is a bit pricey ($4-8 for most entrees which is a LOT for Vietnam), but it’s very high quality ingredients and beautifully prepared in a French-Vietnamese style. Way better than almost everything else I tasted in Vietnam. They clay pot caramelized shrimps were one of the culinary highlights of my 3 week trip.

Here’s a gratuitous distant thunderstorm with stars above the clouds… photography junkies may now start drooling…

Bo-Resort-Thunderstorm

Thanks to Bo Resort for helping to relax a bit at the end of a long adventure vacation!

Posted 5 years, 7 months ago at 2:45 pm.

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Japan in Timelapse

These timelapse videos were made with a Nikon D7000 on Dotonbori Street in Osaka, in a Belgian bar in Kobe, and from the Granvia hotel overlooking Kyoto train station. You get a little flavor of the variety of city life in Japan!

Personally: I really love how fast you can eat peanuts and drink beer at one frame every 5 seconds. (Cheers, Alan!)

Try to spot a giant crab, a Belgian monk (?), a snow squall, a Shinkansen bullet train, and an elevator dancing to the beat of my background music.

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When you are shooting a timelapse indoors, do try not to set the camera on your food+drinks table. But sometimes you have no choice… hehe. Here’s Kyoto train station at dusk…

Kyoto Train Station at Night

Posted 5 years, 8 months ago at 8:41 pm.

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Tenerife Sunsets

Here are a few sunset timelapses and other scenes from Tenerife’s west and north coasts. Tenerife is a beautiful island if you avoid the super-touristy parts. Enjoy!

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Taken with a Nikon D7000 using the built-in intervalometer, and an 18-200mm VR lens.

Tenerife Sunset

Posted 18 years ago at 8:30 am.

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Las Vegas Nights

These are not the lights of Las Vegas, Nevada… but rather a different kind of lights in the tiny town of Las Vegas, Tenerife. I set up my Nikon D7000 and tried out some Milky Way star trail timelapse sequences. By pure chance, one of the nights happened to be the 2011 Geminids meteor shower! Lots of Sternschnuppe made it onto my 30s-exposure photos.

See how many shooting stars you can count. Can you find Venus, the Pleiades, and the Andromeda galaxy? I recommend 1080 full HD on Youtube to give your peepers the best resolution possible!

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As I’ve been doing a lot of timelapse stuff lately, here are

Dave’s TOP 10 Night Timelapse Tips

  • Make sure nothing annoying is moving in your photo, like trees that cover a large portion of the frame.
  • Avoid super bright lights being in the shot, they can create lens flare at long exposure.
  • Beware of battery life. Even my D7000 (one of the longest battery-life cameras) lasts under 400 shots at ISO 2000 and 30s exposure.
  • If possible, choose a location without motion detector lights. Unfortunately I couldn’t do that in this video, so I minimized the amount of scenery that was hit by the light.
  • Watch out for the moon. If it comes up during a night timelapse it will wash out all the stars.
  • Use a steady tripod and put it somewhere it won’t be disturbed by wind gusts, pets, or other people while you (hopefully) sleep.
  • Make sure to set a fixed (manual) focus, and don’t let the camera autofocus during the shoot. I use Live View on a bright star or very distant house light for the initial focus.
  • Keep the aperture constant to avoid changes in depth of field during the shoot.
  • Use manual exposure mode and fine-tune the ISO and shutter open time with some test shots. Of course you’ll want to set the widest aperture of your lens.
  • Last but not least: Check the weather report and pick a day free of clouds! Forecast should be 0% chance of rain unless you want a wet camera.

Tenerife Night Sky

Posted 5 years, 11 months ago at 7:20 pm.

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Mount Olympus Timelapse

In my post about hiking Mount Olympus in Greece, I promised a short timelapse & documentary video (Nikon D7000 + Canon pocket cam, try to guess which clips are which camera). Here it is…

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I’d love to go back to Olympus and spend more time there. Lots of other trails, huts, and peaks looked good. Unfortunately we had quite a limited amount of time – so we just headed for the highest peaks, Mytikas and Skolio!

Mount Olympus, Greece

Posted 6 years, 1 month ago at 11:04 pm.

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Timelapse Sunsets in Greece

On a recent trip to Greece, I tried out timelapse photography on my Nikon D7000 D-SLR. With about 500 photos you can get a great 20 second sunset sequence in 24p! Taken in Athens and on Aegina island. Here’s a shot of the setup I used:

Aegina Sunset Timelapse Setup

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With my Intel-Atom-powered Asus Eee PC along, I was able to check out the results directly after each timelapse shoot. I used free software (Virtualdub with the deflicker plugin) to compile the single shots into a video. This quick feedback enabled me to fine-tune my techniques on the fly and get increasingly better timelapse videos each day.

I foresee a lot of changes in cameras during the next 5-10 years. Higher-end models will have (real, quality) HDR functions integrated. The sequential photo setting now used for timelapses will integrate the photos automatically into a video in the camera, including exposure adjustment to avoid flicker. This is going to need a more powerful, yet still low-power processor built into the camera.

Let’s see what happens as cameras + processors improve. One thing is for sure, technology isn’t slowing down yet!

Posted 6 years, 1 month ago at 10:53 pm.

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