Bâtiment des Forces Motrices Geneva, Switzerland

It was freezing cold and the snow had begun to fall again. I guess you don’t have much to complain about when you go to Geneva Switzerland in January. It was my last night and my last opportunity on this trip to get a photo of Bâtiment des Forces Motrices … I had to go, despite the weather.

The former hydroelectric power plant on Le Rhone caught my attention when I first arrived. It has a stately sort of appearance, one from those bygone eras I love so. It’s now a concert venue and this very night while I was pelted with sleet and show, shivering outside, The Chamber Orchestra of Geneva played Mozart to warm music lovers.

Outside I struggled to keep the water off my lens and a bevy of drunken Swiss youth loitered all to close for my liking given how dark it was on the bridge where I took this photo. I feared what I captured this night was unusable and it took me almost two years to revisit what I had done that night in January 2013, but like I learn again and again with travel…leave your expectations behind and embrace what comes.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 20 January, 2013
  • Focal length: 23mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Location: 46° 12.262′ 0″ N 6° 8.3207′ 0″ E
  • Shutter speed: 25s
  • Title: Bâtiment des Forces Motrices Geneva, Switzerland

Noir Scene at the Vienna Oper House Cafe

On Alert

Traveling all over the world, you have to be alert! Some people are up to no good. Fortunately I have only had two odd experiences that didn’t escalate into something more serious. One was in Buenos Aires, the other was in Vienna. The only time someone has tried to pick my pocket was in the heart of Vienna! Luckily she was a TERRIBLE pick. Her first attempt was an announcement she was interested in my wallet (which was in my front pocket) and not the back pocket she tried to retrieve it from.

The big problem, was she must have decided I was worth the trouble because she kept following me. I was never in any danger in the crowded tourist streets, so I sat down on a bench. She likewise sat down across the street and started begging for money, and watching me out of the corner of her eye. I stared straight back at her! She finally realized I was on to her and let me be. Anytime you travel, you need to be prepared. This particular situation for more comical/sad than anything, but you never know when things might get more serious. I recommend a great book called The Gift of Fear. The world in general is pretty safe, but always listen to your gut and stay safe!

Noir World

It’s no secret I love Noir. Literally meaning black in French, the term Film Noir has been used to describe mostly crime drama’s and have had a number of notable hits including one of my favorite Orson Wells films, The Third Man. I couldn’t help but conjure up gritty black and white fantasies as I wandered the streets of Vienna. My only regret was that the streets weren’t a glistening with a never seen rain. Somehow that would have made the night perfect…along with the running of hard soled shoes across the inky wet desolate cobblestone streets as I was chased into the sewers…but I digress.

Photo Technical Info

Overlooking Hong Kong from VIctoria Peak on a Clear Night

The Weather is Unavoidable

When you fly halfway around the world for a photo, the least the location can do is cooperate when it comes to the weather! Truth be told, I have been extremely lucky the past few years (knock on wood!!!). Whether it was January in Geneva Switzerland or the constantly fantastic weather in Hawaii…most of the time I have at least a few good days of mostly sunny (with some pretty cloudiness) weather. Our first trip to Hong Kong was an exception and we kept putting off Victoria Peak because of the blanket of clouds. We chose well as our last night was a clear as it got!

Returning to Capture What I Missed

Sometimes I end up going to a place I have been before. The secret of cheap travel (are you ready for this revelation?) is to go where the fares are inexpensive, not necessarily where you WANT to go. If the fares take you to Milan, Italy two times this year, then just take the train to Venice. If you missed a clear Victoria Peak shot on your first try in Hong Kong…maybe the second try will pan out!

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/8
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 25 May, 2014
  • Focal length: 16mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Shutter speed: 6s
  • Title: Overlooking Hong Kong from VIctoria Peak on a Clear Night

Waibaidu Bridge Shanghai China

Wandering in the Dark

I arrived in Shanghai after a 16 hour flight and made it to the hotel around 4pm in the afternoon. I took one of the fastest commuter trains in the world from the airport. We traveled at over 300km/hour…this is the slower speed they run the train. I was exhausted, but I left the comfort of my hotel to venture to the Bund the first night to wander alone in the dark with 1000 strangers.

Today’s Photo – With a bit of Soul Searching

I have been thinking quite a bit today about pushing myself. The constant moving has taken a physical toll on me lately, but every time I process a new photo it makes me recall the journey. I recall how alive travel makes me feel and how I find glimpses of childlike wonder on the road; a wonder I once though forever lost. There is something out there I am searching for, I know not what, but my soul has seen glimpses, even in the most usual of subjects.

Photo Technical Info

Wet Cobblestones in Geneva


I have long loved Brassai. A Hungarian photographer who came to prominence in Paris between World War I and II. He has taken some of my favorite photos of the City of Light by night. Interestingly some of my favorite photographs are of the wet streets of Paris. These are simple, but there is a sensual and mysterious love they seem to express to me.

Wet Stones

I can’t ever seem to get away from the depth contained in ancient wet cobblestone streets. They have been around for thousands of years and will be for thousands more if God willing, Europe doesn’t adopt the American love of asphalt and concrete; such impermanent material. The history of these old cities has slowly been chiseled into their face. They reflect it in the mist, if you just look.

Evening Lanterns at Senso-ji Temple

A Mass of People

Senso-ji Temple is a wonderfully interesting place. You see the Tokyo Sky Tree off in the distance…the most modern of Tokyo. At the same time you are standing at a Temple site older than Tokyo itself. It is an odd reality, but one that fits Tokyo perfectly. There are always a large number of people at the site, even after it closes. I spent my time there eating the best bean buns I have ever had and taking photos up to try and keep the people out of my shots. I really enjoyed these lanterns.

Pudong at Night

Night Walking

Walking at night is easy in Asia since we Westerner’s land with a 12 hour out-of-whackness built in to our circadian rhythms. Today’s photo is of Pudong, a very new area of Shanghai. So new there is a gif created about the last 26 years of development … it is stunning. I particularly liked the raided pedestrian walkway above the street that went all over by my hotel, the mall, by Oriental-Pearl-Tower, etc.

Pudong Gif

Monument to the People’s Heroes


My first night in Shanghai was spent wandering The Bund’s promenade with tons of other people. It’s a wonderful space to walk and take in a spectacular view of Pudong (where I was staying). You see the subject of today’s photo walking up and down the length of The Bund. It sits on a point which aids in its visibility. I had no idea at the time what it was for, but I got the idea walking around. The circular wall surrounding the tower is sunk below the Earth and its quite a wonderful experience because the sounds of Shanghai fade abruptly away. I really loved Shanghai…for many reasons, it wasn’t at all what I expected which is one of the things I love most about travel.

Big Ben and Parliament

LOOK Kids…

When I go places there are a few shots I know I want to get. This one of Westminster Bridge, Big Ben and Parliament was one of those. I took tons of shots, but you almost can’t argue with just after the sun goes down and blue hour gets to moving. There is a dynamic stature to the light. I shot a bit, Pamela and I went to dinner and I can back for this beauty!

Kerry Park Overlook Seattle


I have been a fan of Brooke Shaden’s work for some time. If you are not familiar with her, absolutely check our her work as it is a bit dark, dreamlike and always wonderfully imaginative. Last week she taught a Creative Live course oddly enough in Seattle (pictured in the photo below). I was lucky to get to catch a little of her teaching online and it got me to thinking about (among other things) textures. I rarely use them to enhance what is going on in my images and I don’t know why. They seem to be all the rage and I love the boost of interesting they add to a flat image so long as the texture is added to enhance what is going on in the photo, not just used in a cool Instagram way. What do you think about textures and did anyone else see Brook’s class? This was created from a single image.