Overseeing Prague

Not surprisingly, Prague Castle was on my list of places to visit. However I shall admit, climbing the hill towards the Castle and seeing a vast area of Prague full of charming European architecture left me slightly unwilling to explore the grounds further. This was the view after leaving Golden Lane.

prague view

prague view

After visiting, I was compelled to come back here at nightfall. Initially the plan was to get a view at the previous location, but after visiting the Loreta and going back towards the city, this view was peeking out through a small stairwell and upon descending it surely did not dissappoint. It was truly beautiful watching blue hour descend, it is the perfect time for night time photography. You can see the Zizkov tower in the center.

prague

This was towards the left of the view above, in the center is Petrin Hill & Observation Tower.

prague

The view of the tower up close.

all prague4

These photographs were taken with the Joby GorillaPod SLR-ZOOM. It is a perfect companion for travelling to carry around especially as I did not bring my tripod on this trip. Some of the photographs were taken along slopes and this little gadget kept everything steady. I was initially apprehensive about it’s feasibility for shots, but I was pleasantly surprised.

Low Level Views of Malindi

I arrived in Malindi after a gruelling 13 hour coach trip, one which was supposed to be direct from Nairobi to Malindi but which instead passed through Mombasa. Apart from the excruciating heat and the prominent fact that I had no where better to be, it was actually a great experience passing through highways, the main one being the A109 Mombasa Road and seeing giraffes and zebras towards the main road. Also along the way were a number of shanty houses seemingly located in the middle of nowhere. I wished at some points that I was a documentarian, so I could have then the excuse of visiting these small places, learning their way of life and documenting it. There were a lot of things along the way where it simply wasn’t possible to capture.

Like in Mombasa, I managed to find a higher place where I was able to capture the architecture of Malindi. I could imagine this location would be great for a couple of night shots due to the lack of light pollution in the town. These pictures from above are a great way to compare it to its neighbouring coastal town, Mombasa here and it is apparent there is both unfinished construction sites and similar architecture although Malindi has significantly more colourful buildings and smaller houses.

malindi town kenya

malindi town kenya

Mombasa Old Town

Height reveals a lot about a city, and gives you a newfound appreciation and understanding about what the city is really like. I happened upon chance at a two Mombasa Hotels and took a detour to the upper floors to get a view of the city. I expected it to be somewhat like Nairobi, but the city shares architectural designs with its neighbouring coastal town Malindi, of which I shall also post city views from. I shall note the hotels these were taken at were not located in the usual tourist districts but in Old Town. Through these photographs you can see the face of both newfound and halted constructionism and the influence of Arab architecture.

While these photographs do show quite an ‘old’ view of Mombasa, I would recommend roaming the streets of the Old Town, it is what I’d describe as charming with washed buildings and arrays of small shops and markets. Unfortunately, my stay in Mombasa was brief, but I’d got to experience some of the charm that its narrow streets had to offer.

mombasa old town

mombasa old town

mombasa old town

mombasa old town

Bamburi Beach

A visit to a coastal town in Kenya wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the local beach. Bamburi Beach is one of the more tourist oriented beaches where a number of resorts are located. On the day that I visited, I call it luck that not only was it raining prior to arriving but the wind was relentless. This did mean that there was a distinct lack of people at the beach, which I call to be quite fortunate. However dreary the picture I painted is, it made for an alternative approach to sunny beach photographs and influenced my post processing to play up and reflect the moody atmosphere.

One of the perks of the wind, was that it made the traditional cloths called ‘Kitenge’ blow horizontally.

bamburi beach batiks mombasa

Portraiture photographs are a rarity for me, but I am trying to vary the shots that I do take and I felt that this small trickle of a waterfall was great for a bit of experimentation. It soon dried up after around an hour after I took this photograph.

bamburi beach waterfall

I found it rather surprising that there were a number of small shops located on the beach strip and which I have to add were open, despite the weather.

bamburi beach mombasa shacks

I felt compelled to take the more traditional beach photograph, because quite honestly I could have stayed here all day despite the rough weather.

bamburi beach mombasa

I have been travelling recently, hence the lack of posts as of late. I have been to Mombasa as shown in this post and another coastal town called Malindi. Currently I am writing this from Prague, from which I will edit photographs to upload. I will be arranging my posts in chronological order when I am back in London.

Hurlingham Mosque – Islamic Architecture

Islamic architecture is prevalent in the majority of Mosques and the Hurlingham Mosque is no exception. This Mosque, as the name suggests is located in Hurlingham, Nairobi. It is also known as Masjid Rahma. The size of the Mosque is quite grand, yet elegant in its design which compelled me to take photographs.

This photograph was taken just before sunset, so I decided to play up the purple tones in the sky. This was taken at quite a low angle so I could get a large portion of the Mosque in.

Technical Info: Nikon D3100, Nikon 18-1055mm @ 18mm, f/5.6, 1/125sec, ISO 100

It may be counterintuitive to use long exposure photography with indoor architecture, but the intricate woodwork created a fusion of light and shadows across the wall that I felt would be better suited to a longer exposure, not to mention the lights were switched off so I needed to allow more light for the photograph to be well exposed. In order to stabilize the camera and take this shot, I put it on a chair.

hurlingham mosque ladies

Technical Info: Nikon D3100, Nikon 18-105mm @ 18mm, f/3.5, 2 second exposure, ISO 100

After Before Friday Forum Week 17

Stacy Fischer hosts a weekly After Before Friday Forum at her blog Visual Venturing where she highlights the capabilities of post processing. My submission for this week is a picture of Nairobi city center, taken at the top of Uhuru Park. The day was a rather cloudy one and the photograph I took lacked in colour somewhat, but the appearance of many clouds meant that it was a great photograph for processing.

I initially opened the photograph in Adobe Camera Raw, below is the original.
Technical Settings: Nikon D3100 with Nikon 18-105mm lens @ 25mm, f/8, 1/200s, ISO 100

abfriday-before-0

The original photograph was slightly on the warm side, which doesn’t bode well for the ominious cloud effect I had wanted. Therefore, I changed the settings to reflect a coolor tone and to bring out the details in both the sky and the buildings, this meant I darkened the image a lot.

Setings Used:
Temperature: 5250
Tint: 0
Exposure: -1.00 (to bring out the detail)
Fill Light: 30
Blacks: 30
Brightness: +50
Contrast: +40
Clarity: +20
Vibrance: +30
Saturation: 0

abfriday-before-1

Next I added a graduated filter, covering the bottom part of the image where the city buildings are. This was so I could brighten up that specific area while leaving the sky unaltered.

Settings Used:
Exposure: + 1.00
Brightness: +39
Contrast: +30
Saturation: +20
Clarity: +50
Sharpness: +20

abfriday-final

The sky I felt could be a tad darker so I added another graduated filter, this time from the top down.

Settings Used:
Exposure: -0.50
Brightness: -10

abfriday-3

After the editing was complete in Adobe Camera Raw, I opened the image in Adobe Photoshop using the ‘Open Object’ button on the bottom. The final touch was sharpening the image and using a curves tool as you can see below.

abfriday-4

The final image:

uhuru park from the top

A big thanks to Stacy, who has kept this forum running for the last 17 weeks! To see everyone’s submission head over to her blog post here, which should be up shortly.