These images were taken for a report on the Belalp, Valais, Switzerland region for Wintersport Magazine #16 (Nederlandse Ski Vereniging). Hanging under a paraglider at a few hundred feet height in one of the most stunning regions of Switzerland is a treat unimaginable. If you love heights this is something really worth doing – Life’s good!
My most viewed photo of 2009 has got to be this Armin van Buuren wallpaper with a steady 10.000 photoviews since I posted it in early March. So, here it is in laptop wallpaper format now as well (16:9 that is) plus a few other ones of the world’s number one DJ. Enjoy!
Thank you for reading my blog in such large numbers the last couple of years, recently I past 500.000 pageviews on my site in 4 years and the Flickr photohosting took well over half a million views, in 2009 alone!
So, I´d like to wish everybody all the best for 2010 and please enjoy the holidays.
Just a lot of photo’s to enjoy from the “Plazas of Barcelona” article for ANWB Reizen magazine. Full gallery here or start the slideshow.
Placa Catalunya, the massive square in downtown Barcelona. Filled with shoppers, people on their way from and to work and zillions of pigeons and touristst feeding them.
This has got to be my favorite square in the town: St. Maria del Mar. The church is amazing but the square is empty and boring… that is: until a wedding starts and usually one doesn’t have to wait long for that to happen.
The market of Santa Catarina is built on the old ruins of a monastery of XIII century and is a great place for photo’s like this couple having lunch.
The Parade del Gigantes also starts and finishes at this amazing Placa de St. Maria del Mar, famous for it’s Church and plentyful weddings.
Placa Virreine is a good place to chill and get some coffee as these elder people show.
In the June issue of ANWB REIZEN (Travel) a ten-page article on the best squares of Barcelona with some nice blow-up images. The opening spread is one of my favorite images from last year, one thet I really had to crawl into the crowd to get: the wedding ceremony with all the rice. Next week I hope to find some time to upload all the images from this shoot, one of my favorite ones by far as I really tried to get up close and personal with my subjects.
Text: Femke van Welsenes
Photography: Fotograferen.net (except the nightshot of the fountain).
Due to the setting up a completely new interface for Fotograferen.net I’ve been lacking in my “Views of the World” postings. Sorry about that, but I’ll try to keep it a monthly affair from now on.
This months view is a truly classic: the Victoria Falls [Google Earth] as seen from Zimbabwe and Zambia. For several magazines and newspapers I have covered “The Route of the African Sun” in the 2005: a route between three of Sun Internationals greatest hotels in the Southern part of Africa. The final one on our route was the Royal Livingstone, a stunning five star hotel at the edge of the Victoria Falls in Zambia. With Zebras and Monkeys playfully surrounding your private hotelroom this is truly one of the most spectacular places to relax. Sipping good wines at the veranda while the sun sets, the African wildlife surrounds you with its noises and the water of the great Zambezi river floats underneath to a certain drop just hundreds of meters away.
However, the only right view is from the Zimbabwe side ,not an easy undertaking with all the horrible problems created by its dictator Robert Mugabe. We managed to get a (quite expensive) taxi-driver who proved his worth right after reaching the border facilities. We were through in minutes in what would have taken us an hour or more if we hadn’t have had him. A lot of money later (the Visa was ridiculously expensive too) we were finally there: Zimbabwe and a stone’s throw away from the falls. Not before spending way too much money again at the entrance to the falls we were finally allowed in and boy was it worth it!
Despite the gruelling 45 plus degree weather (exactly 24 hours later I was on the tarmac on Heathrow at minus 5!) the site was too stunning not too walk around for a long time. And even though it was very much dry-season for the falls, it was still an amazing sight to have experienced!
Finally, three high-res panoramic images to enjoy: The entrance of the falls.
One doesn’t stumble into little islands very often. Certainly not tropical ones, but some time ago I had the pleasure of actually doing so. On route while doing a major feature on Caribbean Island Hopping (which later won me this award) we had a stop in Saba [check in Google Earth], a tiny speck of green in a huge ocean of stunning blue.
It’s a little known island which is great because not too many visitors actually manage to get there. It’s so small, the Tourism Office usually knows exactly how many tourists are on the island at any given time. Very tiny indeed then, which makes it a fantastic place to beat the crowds while still being able to do some decent exploring.
Besides being a very small, the way to get there is quite unusual as too. Saba sports the smallest commercial airstrip in the world and at a length of a mere 400 meters it’s a sight to behold! Landing, while sitting behind an open cockpit of a Twin Otter [Youtube, 250.000 views in one year], is quite something as the only space to build the strip was a stretch of lava at the far end of the island. Yes, Saba is volcanic and that is also one of the main attractions: Mt.Scenery, an old volcanic dome which makes for a fantastic climb.
Going up through the lush green forest of the island one notices that the volcano blocks the moist air from the sea which makes for a lot of clouds and plenty of hillside rain! You need to be lucky to catch a good view because one minute it can be crystal clear, a minute later fog is all you will see. The good thing is that all off the rain makes this stunning island with a green color rarely seen in the Caribbean. Fortunately the inhabitants were smart enough to insist on a rigorous building code: all the houses are tiny cottages built in one style. You won’t find a more pittoresq place in this area easily.
The climb up the volcano isn’t really tough but the heat makes it strenuous during the hour and a half long ascent (1064 steps to be precise). But the higher one gets the more extreme the plantation gets as well: lush trees with huge leaves make you feel like you’re walking in a Jurassic Park setting but then, when you reach the top, the view is just unbelievable. This island is a pure tropical gem in the Caribbean seas, simply stunning and if you’re lucky the skies stay clear long enough to enjoy the view from all sides. Definitely worth the title of a Favorite View of the World!
Rome, it has got to be Europe’s most impressive city (yes, it easily beats Paris or London). There’s hardly a place on earth where you feel more bound to the past then here. Everywhere you look or walk there’s history, simply amazing!
So, while Rome in itself is worth the visit, a trip to the Vatican should be on everyones wishlisit as well, never mind the fact wether you are religious or not.
Click here for super-hires.
One of the, literally, highlights of any visit is climbing the dome of St. Peter’s which rises to a total height of 136.57 m (448.06 ft) from the floor of the basilica to the top of the external cross. It is the tallest dome in the world and to reach the outside balcony one has to climb about a zillion steps (it’s actually 320 from the lift but most people walk all the way which is a serious lot more). Parts take you close to the actual stonework of the dome, all small and crooked to walk. Very cramped and no place for claustrophobic people!
But when you finally reach the top (pick a “quiet” day or peroid in the year, it can be incredibly busy) the view is just stunning and definitely worth a title “Favorite Views of the World”. Enjoy!
A couple of years ago, while doing a series on the Pacific Coast Highway from Vancouver to San Diego, I ended up at the spectacularly beautiful Olympic National Park. As it is the most northwestern part of the country I decided to find the most western tip, which logically is also the most western part of the country as well.
One night at dinner and a nice conversation with some local tourists I was told I just simply had to go and visit Cape Flattery [see in Google Earth] as it is called. So, a day later and a nice drive along forest and bits of coastline I ended up at the border of the Makah Nation Indian reserve. I expected a bit more of an Indian heritage over here but as it turned out it was just a fishing village, slightly run-down but good to find you an oversized cup of coffee and likewise donut.
Cool thing is that this tribe is officially allowed to hunt Whales as part of their heritage. This, obviously, drives conservationists completely mad but I fail to see why this should be a problem. It’s not that they are dragging the Wales by the dozens out of the water.
But, anyway, the road stops and the Cape Flattery Trail begins. A fantastic half hour walk through an amazingly green cold Rain Forest. It’s like walking in the jungle but without the sweltering heat and sounds of very strange birds and animals that you can’t see anyway.
And suddenly you’re there: the most western tip of the US where massive Pacific waves slam into the rockface with a force so brutal the coastline changes constantly. It’s one of those places that is best seen when it’s a bit foggy. Gleaming leaves and damp trees just add to the spectacular views.
And to end this favorite view: a 360 QTVR panorama of Cape Flattery.
As my job as a travel writer/photographer takes me to some incredibly amazing parts of the earth I’ve been playing with the idea to do a sort “best of world views” series. Today part one, which is in no way a ranking but just the first to hit the list. Keep an eye open for more world views soon.
Leaving Italy after a hectic but great 2-day photoshoot for ANWB Wintersport Magazine we decided to leave early and enjoy a scenic drive instead of heading straight for the highway for the 11 hour drive back home to Holland.
Hi-res Dualscreen wallpaper
Just imagine a superb blue-sky day, fresh morning air, the most amazing color of green which stretches to lush mountain bases that reach for greyish white peaks. It doesn’t get any more perfect than that! Add to that a road that winds along straight cliffs and takes you between trees and endless breathtaking views [Google Earth]. Really, the Jaufenpass (which has long been made obsolete by the Brenner Pass) is a great way to kill some time and get your camera rollin’. Good for us because there are now less people using the 2000+ meter crossover.
With 39 kilometers and 20 major turning points is has got to be one of the finest roads in the Alps. If you’re ever near: do spend some time to enjoy it. Oh, and when you do reach the highway again after enjoy the stupidest toll-road payment ever: paying for 200 meters of it. Got to be Italy…