Boats on Sanur Beach

Sanur is considered the original upmarket tourist destination on the Indonesian island of Bali, and remains a photographically spectacular place today.

The long beach looks over towards Nusa Penida island (which can be seen in the background of this image).

I only had a couple of days in Bali on this trip as I was visiting for a seminar, so didn’t have the flexibility to shoot at the times that would have better suited. That said, I did enjoy the chance to explore the beach, and really liked the traditional fishing boats all along.

The challenge here was isolating the subject. The beaches are busy, and there is a lot going on. I managed to isolate the image nicely and using a polariser I reduced the glare of the mid-morning sun.

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Waking Up in Positano

Wakin Up in Positano by Des Paroz on 500px.com

After a successful shoot in the blue hour from the eastern overlook of Positano, I decided to go back to the same location for sunrise photos the next morning.

The early backlighting from the sun behind cast a really nice light over the township, lighting the surrounding mountains up with a beautiful golden hue, and bringing out the details in the various pastel coloured buildings built up and down the town’s hills.

This differentials of colours were accentuated with the use of a Lee Filters GND filter and polarising filter, with some slight enhancement done in my favourite photo editing software, Luminar.

Lesson here, even when you have a good shot from a location don’t be afraid to go back at different times to really explore the location and the image possibilities.

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  1. As a matter of interest, this is the 100th image I’ve posted to 500px. 

Atrani by Night

Atrani by Night by Des Paroz on 500px.com

One of the many gorgeous townships on Italy’s Amalfi Coast is Atrani, a village literally 10 minutes by foot from Amalfi.

Atrani is a pretty town cutting into another gap in the coastal mountain range, quickly rising up from sea level to the heights above.

Our day trip to Amalfi and Atrani (from our base at Positano) was literally from morning until about 6:30pm. With the early sunset in our low season visit this was actually plenty of time.

After arriving in Amalfi we walked straight to Atrani to find a shooting spot1. We found this spot, and then walked back to Amalfi for a visit to the Basilica, some lunch2 and a visit to the paper mill. We then walked back to Atrani to shoot sunset and blue hour, before walking back once more to Amalfi to catch the bus.

So we had a pleasant day of exploration, and getting the scouting out of the way early, using tools like The Photographer’s Ephemeris to plan sun angles, meant we could relax and take our time.

Travel photography is about exploring, but it is also about relaxing. Good planning and preparation allows you to do both!

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  1. Part of the inspiration to shoot Atrani came from Elia Locardi’s Photographing the World Part 3. We could not shoot from the same spot he did, as it was from his accommodation. I was pretty happy with what we found. 
  2. Had lunch at a great Japanese fusion restaurant called Shabu. Recommend it highly! 

Positano Sunrise

Positano Sunrise by Des Paroz on 500px.com

Apart from the lack of crowds, one of the distinctive things about low season in Positano is that the days are quite short.

As the late, great photographer, Galen Rowell, once said:

“You only get one sunrise and one sunset a day, and you only get so many days on the planet. A good photographer does the math and doesn’t waste either.”

But it does make it easier when the sunrises and sunsets are at pleasant hours of the day. There are no excuses!

Standing on the western end of the main Positano beach, you look eastward down the Amalfi Coast to catch the sunrise. The clouds only accentuate the beautiful colours of the sky in the sunrise.

A 3 stop GND and a relatively slow shutter speed meant that a tripod was an important part of ensuring a sharp image.

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Sunset Silhouette

Sunset Silhouette by Des Paroz on 500px.com

I like a good silhouette, but find this type of photography to be challenging. I think that’s because there needs to be a healthy balance between light and shadow (balanced light), strong features, colour and negative space.

After making some sunset photos on the beach during our first evening in the beautiful Amalfi Coast town of Positano, I noticed this group of people down towards the water’s edge. I moved to frame the main group with the sea behind them, and with the strong orange colours in the background.

I then waited to get some interesting poses, taking multiple exposures as the group moved around and enjoyed the beach.

In the off season (we visited late November) there are few crowds, so finding enough people while leaving plenty of negative space wasn’t too challenging. Had there been larger crowds I would have to have framed the image differently.

The strong contrast between light and dark was still a factor, even after sunset, so I made use of a 2 stop GND to manage the colour balance.

With this the shutter speed was still quite fast at 1/50th, so getting a sharp exposure wasn’t too challenging. The use of tripod still helped.

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East from Positano

East from Positano by Des Paroz on 500px.com

The classic view of Positano is from the outlook at the eastern end of the township, near the Sponda bus-stop. This view is very oft the first stop for photographers visiting Positano1.

This is exactly why its a good idea to sometimes shoot the opposite view, so after watching Elia Locardi‘s Photographing the World part 3 I decided to set out to find the overlook Elia used for an alternative blue hour location.

This location looks eastward, so I shot it at both sunrise and sunset. Interestingly I really found the location to be better suited to sunset, perhaps a bit surprising, but the blue hour from this location was quite spectacular.

For me, the clear blue sky in this image works beautifully with the lights of the town. Visiting Positano in the low season had many advantages, but there were far fewer lights coming on. Its possible that in high season there might actually be too much ambient light, so it would be interesting to see a comparison.

This location was perfect for framing the dome of the church in such a way that it has clear sea behind.

Tracking this location down was a good opportunity to get an insight into the thinking of a photographer like Elia. It was simultaneously a chance to learn scouting techniques, while exploring and being rewarded with a good photo location.

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Six Passengers

Six Passengers by Des Paroz on 500px.com

Famous for its spectacular coastline, seascapes and mountain vistas, life in Positano is literally built around the sea.

The township is a year round magnet for tourists, and the crystal blue seas are a way that many get to and from the area, and are a major part of their enjoyment of it. Swimming, snorkelling, diving, sailing, fishing and other marine tourism are all important.

During the quieter winter months fewer people swim, but there are constant reminders of the role that the seas play in the town’s rhythm of life.

After shooting the vistas of the township each sunrise from different overlooks, I felt the need to do something different. Along with the steps of Positano, I felt that the working sea is an important part of the township’s story.

Image made as the sun began to rise over the headland further east on the Amalfi Coast. A 6 stop GND filter helped to balance out the strong highlights with the dark shadows, as well as providing glassy smoothness to the sea.

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Looking Up from Positano

Looking Up from Positano by Des Paroz on 500px.com

Like the other towns on Italy’s Amalfi Coast, Positano stretches from its beautiful coastline up into the surrounding mountains.

Standing on the beach, the signature dome of the church of Santa Maria Assunta is framed between an enclave in the ridge-line of the mountains. Buildings stretch much of the way up.

This image was made a few minutes after sunset, giving a love even colour across the buildings and hills. A tripod is an important tool in this type of imagery, as the relatively low shutter speed (0.4 of a second) would make a sharp image difficult to achieve if handholding.

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Positano Blue

Positano Blue by Des Paroz on 500px.com

Positano on Italy’s Amalfi Coast is a spectacularly stunning township, rising up from the sea into the heights of the surrounding mountains.

We visited in late Autumn, the low season for tourism, and we loved the fact that we could truly explore the coast, and the whole township without having to battle any crowds whatsoever.

This image was made during the blue hour, shortly after sunset. Being winter sunset was quite early (4:39pm), and the blue ‘hour’ quite short – about half an hour.

This short window meant that we had to scout1 early, then come back and setup early. Even though it was off season, there were some other photographers around and there are limited vantage points due to the cliff edges and narrow footpaths.

Positano is a wonderful place for photographers and non-photographers who want to explore a stunning coastline.

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Photo Posting

I’ve been a bit slack (not the first time) in regularly posting photos. Our recent Italy trip produced a lot of images, and I still have a few more I want to share from our Singapore trip earlier this year. So with some luck there should be some more regular posting of photos.


  1. I intend to do a post on scouting locations while having limited time on a vacation. Without giving too much away I highly recommend Elia Locardi’s Photographing the World Vol 3 for some tips on location scouting. 

Chapel by the Sea

Chapel by the Sea by Des Paroz on 500px.com

The fishing village of Georgiopoulos in Crete was an interesting short photo adventure sortie from Souda Bay, one of our stops on Northern Trident 2015.

About an hour by taxi from Souda Bay, we went to Geogiopoulos for a single reason – to get sunset and blue hour photos of this little chapel that is literally on a little island in the bay, connected by a causeway that apparently can be all but underwater at high tide.

The chapel is the most famous feature of the town, and the night we visited there were a handful of others that made the trek out to the island.

The chapel was certainly a stunning photographic subject, and it was well worth the adventure to get there.

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Phare du Petit Minou

Phare du Petit Minou by Des Paroz on 500px.com

One of the landmarks clearly seen on entering the magnificent port of Brest in France is the lighthouse known as the Phare du Petit Minou.

For mariners of today and days past, lighthouses guide the way to safety around hidden dangers. A lighthouse seen from an appropriate distance can provide comfort, but a lighthouse seen from up close, too late, can bring sheer terror.

The symbolism of lighthouses cuts across many parts of life. There are few paths which have not been trodden by others before us, and in many cases those people left clues about dangers on the path, and routes of best passage. The clues are there for us, and by paying attention we can avoid dangers that others have faced.

This image was created at sunset, which was very late in the evening – around 10:30pm. The image was shot at f/16 with a shutter speed of 2 seconds on ISO 200. Obviously a tripod was the critical piece of equipment to ensure a good, sharp image.

My equipment for this image was my Panasonic Lumix GX–7 with the Olympus 12–40mm f/2.8 PRO lens and my trusty Really Right Stuff tripod.

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Narrabeen Pool

Sydney has a lot of wonderful ocean pools, most of which are photogenic, particularly at sunrise and sunset.

The pool at Narrabeen on the Northern Beaches is perhaps one of the most interesting photographically, and is an extremely worthwhile destination for pre-sunrise photography.

The beautiful light in the morning twilight, coupled with still waters yet to be disturbed by keen swimmers makes this an excellent location.

This image, of course, use HDR techniques to capture the beautiful range of colours visible to the eye, but invisible to most cameras.

This image was created with a Panasonic Lumix GX–7 micro four-thirds camera and an Olympus 9–18mm lens, at the widest range.

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