A Photographers Holiday in Wales

I was thrilled when my family and me planned to have our summer holiday in the Brecon Beacons and after that in Exmoor. We booked to cottages, quite remotely and as we say in German „In der Pampa“ which translates to „If you are in the Shire, living in Bagend, you still have to travel another three miles into nowhere, then you are „in the Pampa““.

Map-Scouting the area it became clear quite quickly that this would be about waterfalls and mountains. In that actually was real.

Our first outing was a small round (my family and me driving some miles and then have a walk) in the valley of the Caerfanell river, called the Blaen-y-Glyn waterfalls. I was positively surprised how many opportunities where there to shoot along the river, not only waterfalls.

Blaen-y-glyn is being reached through a jungle like forest.
Very Old Tree
Wall and Tree

This area is quite busy with other sports being done, like canyoning. To have the chance to take pictures in solitude, it is good to be early. Overcast days are preferable.

Four Waterfalls Walk

Another very popular place is the location of the Four Waterfalls Walk, an even more occupied location, here it is absolutely recommended to be early (or late) to avoid the peak times.

Sgwd y Pannwr
(what you do not see: to the right there were two dozen visitors preparing to take a bath in the pond)
Sgwd y Pannwr

With the small shortcoming that the places can become pretty overrun, the scenery is incredible beautiful and you get “a lot for your walking” in this area. It is by far no “secret location”, but still it allows one to explore your personal view and hone your waterfall skills.

Up the Mountains

Another interesting feature of the Brecon Beacons are the mountains, of course. At least – as the water falls down somewhere – there must be some heights to explore and enjoy the view in the distance. For most tourists, this would be Pen-y-Fan, the highest peak in the Brecons. For us, it was our “House Mountain”, the Pen-y-Big, where the ascent started right behind our doorsteps (and a circular walk was possible …)

Starting the tour, you first come across a scenery right from Lord of the Rings where the Nazgul would come right riding down towards you.

Right from the Shire …

Not “… up, up, up the stairs …” we went, but more like Kate “Running up that Hill” we would have a hefty 300m ascent towards the peak of Pen-y-Big, but rewarded with lovely views into the land …

Sunset over Brecon Beacons
From Pen y Big
From Pen y Big

But here are actually small secret locations that you have for yourself most of the time. Like a little cascade, by far not that huge or jaw dropping as the four waterfalls, but still quite nice.


Great Photo Spots in Northern England

My family visits the English Islands quite regularly – for my wife ist is actually „coming come“. We have been to Cornwall, Dorset, Wales (North), the Lake District, Scotland and Northumbria. It has always been an amazing experience with great landscapes and plenty of opportunities to follow the passion of photography.

After the pandemic, we had the chance to return just last year, travelling to the Lake District first and then spend another week at the coast of Northumbria.

In the Lake District we stayed near Ullswater Lake, a place already very well suited for nice pictures of a sunrise and tranquil reflections. But not only Ullswater is a good place to start, so is Buttermere Lake and all the other lakes around.

Early Morning at Ullswater
Some rocks add a nice depth to the picture
Buttermere Reflection
Brothers Waters
Blea Tarn

But not only the lakes are a great spot to make photographs, so is also the country, with high hills, plenty of water flowing and waterfalls all over the place.

The upper part of Airy Falls
Water Falls at Stanley Ghyll (near Boot)

Not far from the Lake District, just about a 2hrs ride by car, a very different landscape unfolds near Bamburgh in Northumberland. Her it is more the seaside with tides and lots of great light that makes the day.

Sunrise Farn Islands
Dunstaburgh Castle During Sunrise
Moon behind Bamburgh Castle

Overall, if one is looking for great opportunities to take exciting landscape pictures, Northern England offers an abundance of opportunities.

Mind Shift Rotation 180

I have been using the Mind Shift Rotation Backpack for two years now and I have to say that I am very impressed. This backpack allows me to have significantly better access to my camera without making compromises in terms of comfort and long distance hiking.
Being out with the kids very often, I can carry my gear, get to my camera quickly without dismounting the whole backpack and still have some room left for cookies and other bribery stuff you need to keep the little ones in the mood for just another shot. It has some clever solutions for tripod transportation, compartments for the small stuff and is an overall well designed piece of equipment.
In terms of usability – this one is the most used of my camera bags. It makes me make more photographs and gives quicker access to the camera, especially when you are hiking and need to carry more than just your equipment.

Blea Tarn

Blea Tarn is a small lake, located in the English Lake District. It is situated high up between the mountains, on a kind of pass.  The location can easily be reached by car, and offers interesting opportunities for early morning shots, especially from the southern shore of the lake, looking north. 

Under perfect conditions, the lake would show cristal clear reflections and the peaks would be illuminated by the rising sun. If you then have interesting cloud formations in the sky, there should be nothing left to as for a perfect shot.

Here are however some monochrome interpretations of this location 

The Magic of The Print

The displays of our Computers and TVs have gone through an incredible evolution. In recent years, we have been confronted with advanced technology to present our work – tablets with high resolution displays as colourful, sharp and shiny as we could wish for. 

I remember – years ago – when I bought my first digital camera and asked the vendor, if the resolution would be sufficient to compete with my work that I have done on slides at that time. The reply was: 

Sure- but how would you like to present that resolution?

There was no equipment available to do that. The TV sets or beamers of that time simply could not compete with the capability of slide projectors. 

That was years ago, today the answer to my question would certainly have been a different one. We now have those tools. Like me, I am writing this blogpost on an iPad mini. I can switch to my Lightroom mobile app and go through my lates favourite pictur s with ease and speed. I can even include them in this post with just some clicks and you – assuming you have an equally advanced tool and screen available – could be part of the show. 

With this technology, there seems to be no (logic) need for prints anymore to share your pictures. 

And yet – I have the strong need to print my work and have the pictures shown and displayed in a frame. Why is that?

The print – once it is mounted to the wall – unfolds the magic of its own. I find myself looking at those prints quite often and longer than I do on my iPad. They are always there, like friends reminding me of the process that as required to get them there in the first place. They have a different presence in my life than their virtual brothers and sisters. It is their physicality that makes them special. 

The texture of the paper, their size, their tonality, the way we explore them. They resonate much stronger once they are printed. than they would on the computer screen. 

This is why I believe I will never stop printing. This magic is by far too seductive, especially when you get a whole body of work together, mounted on a wall like a small exhibition.  Prints are simply beautiful. 

What Cameras are About

I have used several cameras in the past decades. My first one was a Pentax Spotmatic, which I got passed on from my father, followed by a Yashika. I then bought the EOS 100 as first camera by my own money, got into digital with the EOS 30D, followed by the 50D and then the 5DM2. All of those cameras convinced me in particular because of their ergonomic setup. They were tools that just could be used in a very intuitive way – at least for me. I never got used to the Nikon interface. There have been several compact cameras as well, but that’s another story. 

Now, it seems I have come full circle, using the Fuji X-T1, which – though it is a completely different animal – reminds me a lot of my old Spotmatic. This camera made me get away from my full frame 5D Mark II – which is a good camera, no doubt about that – but the X-T1 just feels to be the better tool for me. The results are absolutely satisfying to me. 

But what matters most is that the shooting experience is wonderful. It just feels right. And maybe that is what using cameras is about: not so much the specifications, but they way they feel. From that perspective, cameras are indeed to a certain extend custom made things. The whole discussion if Sony is better than Canon or some Nikon is obsolete.  

You have to find your camera. Like Harry Potter had to find his wand. 

It doesn’t matter that much what the specs are, but what the camera feels like for you. And maybe that is the reason why we should support local camera stores much more. How would you check the overall camera look and feel if you cannot take it into you hand and feel what it is doing? 

You could also say that the online stores are stealing something from you, that the estimated saving of money never can compensate for: The chance to choose the right tool right away.  

And this is what cameras are about: being the right tool for you. Being and extension of yourself and to some way also an expression of yourself. Like a craftsman or a painter chooses his hammer or his pencil, the photographer chooses his camera. Not for what the company promises, but for what it is to her or him. 

Love Your Pictures

  • Spend time with them, because they say a lot about who you are and why you made them in the first place.
  • Learn from them, because they not only show what you like, but also show to you what you would like to improve. They are pictures, but also like mirrors to guide you a little further.
  • Joy comes while making them and joy comes by looking at them and learn from them. While they grow, you grow.
  • It is all more about yourself and what you enjoy while making them
  • You develop with them, and their successors develop with you. Like in a story, things are not set but evolve. If you don’t let them evolve, you stagnate.
  • You do not develop pictures, but yourself. They come from you, not your camera and not the computer. They come from you. If you want to make other pictures, you have to become another you.
  • You have to let go as well. If you stick with the old stuff, you hinder yourself to try new things and develop yourself. Like all art, this is about yourself as much about what you create
  • If you become afraid, that’s a good sign. There is no development if there is nothing at stake.
  • Love your pictures. Spend time with them, because then you spend time with yourself.

Sony World Photo Award 2016

I have just uploaded my images to participate in the Sony World Photo Award 2016. Easy enough, as participation is free. This is a good start in the photography year 2016 – I am already curious what is to come this year, what we will see and which pictures I will get done.
I have done two series as entries: one for landscape and one for still life.

Here are the landscape candidates:

Monochrome Sky
Monochrome Sky

Monochrome Sky
Monochrome Sky

Feather Clouds
Feather Clouds

Feather Clouds
Feather Clouds

Feather Clouds
Feather Clouds

Cloud Patterns
Cloud Patterns


And here are the Still Life category entries:

Forged by The Sea
Forged by The Sea


Painted by the Sea
Painted by the Sea



There are many reasons to be grateful for the past twelve month. Thinking about 365 amazing days, far beyond anything that the average human being can expect on this planet, I can only be thankful for the life I am allowed to experience.

My family and me, we have plenty to eat and drink – and that is not only water and bread.

We have shelter, and a good one.

We have friends. Good ones. We laugh together – a lot.

Our kids (both girls) can go to school or the kindergarten. They can choose what they want to do or become. They are taught to read and write.

We discuss luxury problems, most of the time (What to eat? What to do for the weekend? Where to go for the next holiday? – that kind of “problem”).

We are healthy. More or less, nothing too serious. To get appropriate time for exercise is our biggest challenge. What kind of problem is this?

We have jobs. Jobs that make sense. Not always easy ones, but they are fun, at least most of the time. Challenging and not boring. We make enough money with one job, so there is time to see our kids grow up. Nothing to complain about here.

Thank you

That is the only thing one could say being allowed to live a life like that on this planet. There are so many people who do not have this luxury, who do not know what to do next or what tomorrow may bring. People who experience war, destruction and death – something I pray my kids will never have to experience.

I am grateful for the year that is about to come to an end. Grateful that my only trouble is how and when to see Star Wars …

Here is some recent work …

McWay Falls
McWay Falls


The Needle
The Needle