Blog - Travel

An Unexpected Request
26th November 2017
When we travel to different countries, I always endeavor to respect their culture and wishes. I feel that as foreigners in their country we are ambassadors and, and such, our behavior reflects upon us and our country.

But there are times when I wonder about their requests.

Not too long ago while traveling in Switzerland, we had lunch in a small cafe then decided to walk around and look at the stores. We saw a gallery that was featuring a German artist and decided to go inside. After looking around, we decided to forego going upstairs and headed towards the door. A lady approached us and mentioned that there were more paintings on the above floor. Before we could thank her and say that we were leaving, she asked us to take our backpacks off and carry them in front of us.

What?

She went on to say that, with everything going on in the world, people would feel better if we carried them. While her explanation made no sense to us, we explained to her that we were just leaving anyway, wished them luck with the exhibition and walked out the front door.

While I'm sure she thought her reason made sense, it really didn't to me. We were carrying my camera equipment in our backpacks, which I would have gladly shown her had she asked. I understand that given the times that we live in, seeing what we are carrying would put them at ease...and I have done it before.

The rest of the day, I paid particular attention to people as we strolled by with our backpacks. No one looked warily at us, or shied away. Since we were talking a mixture of German and English, they could easily figure out that we were tourists.

But I do wonder how many other people visiting the gallery - if any - she asked to do the same.
Rain Can Be Your Friend
16th June 2015
There are some advantages to rainy days for photographers. One is that the light is even - no harsh shadows to try to compensate for. Even with the software programs of today, it can sometimes be hard to correct harsh shadows without giving your photos an unrealistic or grainy look.

Another advantage relates to tourist sites: the lack of crowds. We happened to be driving home a couple of weeks ago from the Schwarzwald (Black Forest) region. When driving through Todtnau, your eyes can't help but travel up to one of the most spectacular waterfalls which is easily seen from the road. Driving up the winding road to the waterfall can be challenging though. The parking lot consists of perhaps twenty spots and, when those are full, people park along the side of the road and walk up to the waterfall. I love waterfalls but walking with two heavy backpacks in the heat and juggling for a position to try to photograph the waterfall without a thousand people in the picture is not my idea of fun. The alternative to that is simple:

Go there in the rain...

As I mentioned, we happened to be driving home. As we drove up the winding road, not a car was to be seen. Even the parking lot was empty...totally empty. We parked, put our rubber boots on and walked towards the entrance. The last food stand owner was closing and said "Hallo" as we walked by. I can imagine that he had a good laugh at the tourists walking in the drizzling rain. As we rounded the corner, we could hear the power of the water. The site of the waterfall was incredible. We've been to a few - some natural and some man made. This one ranks towards the top of the list for sheer beauty. And, since it had been raining all day, there was more water than normal.



And we were all alone.

There was a covered hut that protected the camera equipment when the drizzle picked up a bit. While Wolf stayed there, I took the umbrella and balanced it between my shoulder and chin while I shot. I shot the waterfall until the light started to fade. Then I turned around and shot the mountains that were shrouded in the mist. Even with the rain, it couldn't have been a more perfect way to end the day.