Behind The Lens: Italy’s Cinque Terre

Behind The Lens: Italy’s Cinque Terre

Behind The Lens

Behind The Lens: Italy’s Cinque Terre

“Cinque Terre” The charming seaside village of Manarola, Cinque Terre National Park, Italy. Canon EOS 5D Mark III, Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM Lens @ 26mm, 30 seconds @ f/10, ISO 200.

Cinque Terre is a strand of five charming and colorful seaside villages along the dramatic Italian Riviera coastline. Colorfully-painted houses cling perilously to the sea cliffs while vineyards grace the steep, terraced landscape just above the town. One of Cinque Terre’s most scenic and photogenic villages is Manarola and I visited there in 2015 for some coastal photography Italian Style!.

My strategy for this image was to execute it during the twilight hour where the ambient blues would create a dramatic color temperature contrast with the warm lights of the village, once they were turned on. The house colors were decidedly muted during the day and I wanted this photo to really pop. Twilight was definitely the right time. Even though there were no clouds top help create some drama, the deep blues in the sky were colorful enough for me. Choosing twilight also allowed me to employ a long shutter speed (30 seconds) without having to add any neutral density filters. The long exposure smoothed out the waves and created a sweet yellow reflective glow on the water.

When traveling, I love taking along the Canon EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM zoom lens, which is light, sharp, and versatile (and not to mention, relatively inexpensive) and I chose a focal length of 26mm with this lens, which was plenty wide to allow comfortable negative space along the top and the bottom. 

Even though I am happy with the result, I am already looking forward to my next visit to Manarola and Cinque Terre!

Cinque Terre can be licensed or purchased as a print here.

Creative Vision Newsletter




Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. 


Photo Equipment: What’s In The Bag?

Photo Equipment: What’s In The Bag?

Gear Reviews

Photo Equipment: What’s In The Bag?

It’s the most frequently-asked question and perhaps the least important. “What’s in the bag?”

I say it’s the least important since it’s usually the first (and easiest) avenue beginning photographers take to try and improve their photography work. They believe that better and more expensive gear will create a better photographer but more often than not, it only leads to disappointment. A better investment would be in time – time spent practicing their technique and honing their personal vision. Still, photo equipment is not unimportant either. if you’re not convinced, just try doing photography without it!

So with that said, let’s have a look into my photo bag (all links to Amazon):

Photo Equipment

Camera Bag: One of several MindShift Gear bags, depending on the trip or assignment. Moose Peterson MP-1 V2.0, FirstLight 40L, or Backlight Elite 45L

Currently, my favorite photo backpack is the MindShift Backlight Elite 45L Camera Backpack. Just Superb in every way!

In addition to the actual bag that I choose for a particular trip, the contents in the bag also depend on where I am going, what I will be shooting, how remote the area, and how much hiking there will be. Here is some of my basic photo equipment:

Canon EOS R5
Canon EOS R

Canon RF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM
Canon RF 15-35mm F2.8 L IS USM

Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Lens with Internal 1.4x Extender
Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM (when weight is an issue or for bird-in-flight images)
Canon EF 11-24mm f/4L USM

Canon Extender EF 1.4X III
Canon Drop-in Filter Mount Adapter EF-EOS R
Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite Flash (2)
MagMod 2 Basic Flash Modifier Kit
Lee Filter Holder with polarizing filter
Breakthrough Photography’s ND Filters (no color cast)
Really Right Stuff TVC-24L Tripod
Really Right Stuff TQC-14 Tripod
Really Right Stuff BH40 ball head (2)
Really Right Stuff BH35 ball head

Wimberley WH-200 Gimbal Head II
Lexar digital media
Mac Book Pro 15.4″ Computer with Retina Display, Touch Bar, 2.9GHz Intel Core i7 Quad Core…
LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt USB-C 4TB Portable Hard Drive

* Post includes affiliate link*

Creative Vision Newsletter




Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. 


The Desolate Beauty of Greenland

The Desolate Beauty of Greenland

Bucket List

The Desolate Beauty of Greenland

A Place Like No Other may be an overused bit of hyperbole found on every other Trip Advisor or Lonely Planet article you read (I mean, how many places like no other can there be?), but when describing a country and experience like Greenland, it’s actually true.

Greenland, the largest island in the world not considered its own continent, is a place of raw natural beauty and desolation. Steep, craggy mountains, titanic icebergs of sparking blue adrift on the sea and in the fjords, some of the largest glaciers in the world, tidy and colorful Inuit fishing villages, the aurora borealis, and the list goes on.

Eastern Greenland is one of the loneliest places on the planet. Along its 13,000-mile coastline of sparse, rocky mountains and hulking glaciers, there are only two small towns and five settlements in total. There are no roads connecting these remote outposts (all travel is via helicopter, boat, or dog sled in winter) and life for the residents has remained relatively unchanged over the past hundred years. Hunting and fishing are the main source of the culture’s food and sustenance.

The primary natural element in Greenland is ice. It’s everywhere. Aside from rock – there are no trees and very little soil along the coastline – ice is what you see in almost nearly direction. In the area near Tasiilaq, the town where I stayed while on the eastern coastline, there are dozens of giant outlet glaciers from the immense Greenland ice field creeping their way down rocky canyons to the fjords, sounds, and sea. Thousands of icebergs, some the size of office buildings, litter the water’s surface in varying hues of blue and silver, scattering sunlight in a dazzling display.

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer is the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.


The Coastal Brown Bears of Alaska

The Coastal Brown Bears of Alaska

Bucket List

The Coastal Brown Bears of Alaska

I just finished up a fantastic photo tour in Alaska’s gorgeous Lake Clark National Park and Preserve last week. With the incomparable Silver Salmon Creek Lodge as our gracious hosts, we all found the access to the majestic coastal brown bears to be unequaled anywhere in the world. We had a variety of weather – sun, rain, and fog – and an unending variety of world-class wildlife opportunities with enormous bears. Bears fishing, playing, foraging, and lots of interaction between sows and cubs. And rarely did we ever need a lens longer than 400mm!

Here are just a few of the many hundreds of photos from the trip. All photos were captured with a Canon 5D Mark IV and Canon EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4X Lens. Enjoy!

Coastal brown bears stalk the shores of Cook Inlet, Lake Clark National Park, Alaska

This brown bear sow took a unique, laid back approach to fishing. Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Two young cubs follow their mom through a sedge meadow, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Foggy coastal weather helped create this ethereal wildlife image, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

This alert sow stands guard over cubs, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

Brown bear cub, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A tender moment between a mom and her cub, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

A coastal brown bear munches on some tasty grass, Lake Clark National Park and Preserve, Alaska.

For the best wildlife photography techniques, be sure to check out my new book available on Amazon, Wildlife Photography: From First Principles to Professional Results.

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer is the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than 1.2 million followers across social media platforms. He leads photography tours and workshops all over the world and is a high-demand keynote speaker. For more great information on new images, book projects, public appearances, photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Richard’s Email Newsletter.

Travel Photography: It’s The Destination, Stupid!

Travel Photography: It’s The Destination, Stupid!

Short Essays

Travel Photography: It’s The Destination, Stupid!

As a photographer, chances are you’ve thought about doing some traveling if you haven’t done so already. The journey might start as a simple weekend getaway after a few rough days at the office. It might be an extended road trip through several states and time zones, car packed with camera and lenses, the wind in your hair, the sun on your face, nothing but freedom and the open road stretching out to the horizon. Over time, these journeys might involve airplanes, travel agents, passports, guides, and epic expeditions to the other side of the planet. Photographers are particularly vulnerable to the lure of the exotic.

You might live within eyesight of a premier national park with hundreds of square miles of mountain wilderness, waterfalls, charismatic wildlife, pristine beaches, wildflowers in the spring, blazing foliage in the fall – hey, this is the cosmic photo destination we’re talking about after all – and you would still feel as if you were missing out on something else somewhere else. It would be far too easy to dismiss this urge as a naive grass-is-always-greener impulse since the grass might really be greener on the other side of the proverbial fence. Maybe the grass over there isn’t even green at all, but a different hue you’ve never seen or even considered. Or perhaps it’s wild and untamed, unlike the neatly manicured turf in your tidy neighborhood with which you’re accustomed. Then again – sticking with the working metaphor here – maybe it’s not really about the grass at all but the journey in getting there.

You know. It’s the journey, not the destination?

Or perhaps not. You see, I personally consider that sentiment as just another feel-good, pop-culture pseudo-profundity that’s too quickly taken at face value. For the weary traveler, the journey – despite the cheery saccharin-laced romanticism it conjures – actually sucks. If I could close my eyes, snap my fingers, and magically teleport myself to the destination while skipping the whole journey thing, I’d be as happy as a sot in a river of gin. I’m guessing whoever penned this particular piece of bumper sticker philosophy never had their precious little journey take them through a major 21st-century airport on a hot Friday afternoon. And yes, I do realize the phrase is a derivative of Emerson’s and a well-intentioned metaphor for how to experience life. Okay, fine. But all too often, it’s used literally as marketing propaganda by slick travel agencies and meretricious cruise operators. I, for one, am tired of the so-called virtues of the journey. There, I said it.

I do find it ironic that the most blissful photogenic destinations in the world require traveling through Hell on Earth to get there: over-crowded airports, canceled and delayed flights, missed connections, lost luggage, checked bag fees, lines at the check-in counter, security, passport control and customs, surly customer service representatives, invasive TSA agents, full-body x-rays and pat-downs, no liquids or gelsremove your shoes, cramped airplanes seats with little legroom, and truly tasteless airline cuisine are just some of the indignities to be endured to get to where we’re going. And I’ve not even mentioned the repulsive edifices themselves. The English writer and humorist Douglas Adams mused that no language has ever produced the phrase pretty as an airport.

But the agony and pulverizing boredom of travel soon fade from memory once the journey is over and the destination is reached. So why do we bother to make the journey anyway? I suppose everyone has their reasons: capturing and seeing something new, exploration, adventure, enlightenment, exotic cultures and food, and running from the law – just to name a few. And while all the preceding could apply to me too – aside from the running from the law part – I ought to mention that it also happens to be my job. I haven’t quite mastered the delicate art of keeping a straight face while explaining to friends and loved ones that I’m “going to work” as I pack my bags for some far-flung, exotic photography excursion. I should get some credit, however, for at least not employing the smug “but somebody’s gotta do it” rejoinder or something to that effect.

And while I understand “getting away from it all” is one justification for travel, it’s one that’s never quite resonated with me. I just don’t see my life or work as anything from which I need, or want, to escape. But travel does take me away from everything easy and familiar while razing the personal comfort zone to which I – and all of us – try to cling desperately. I like that. I sometimes absolutely need that. Travel writer Freyda Stark observed, “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the most pleasant sensations in the world,” and I could not agree more. When applied to photography, these strange new places and experiences act as powerful catalysts to help get my creative juices going and force me to see things differently. After all, if I’ve never seen something before, what other choice do I have?

Then there are the places and experiences that are simply too beautiful for words, which is fortunate enough since we photographers are paid to create photos where mere words alone are inadequate. The first time I laid eyes on the southern Andes of Patagonia or the aurora borealis over the night skies of Greenland, or a herd of mammoth elephants marching ceremoniously across the African plains, my sympathetic nervous system pulsed into overdrive and delivered a dose of chill bumps over my arms and upper torso, making the hair stand up straight on the back of my neck. The very best part of this feeling was that in each instance, I never saw it coming. Each and every time was like a thunderbolt from the blue. That’s why I do what I do. That’s why I travel.

And If I don’t screw things up too badly, I might even create something beautiful or meaningful that allows my audience to participate in this new experience with me. Or I could forget to remove the lens cap, and everyone will just have to take my word for it. At any rate, if I don’t make the journey, it will have never happened for any of us. So, the journey is indeed necessary after all, if not a necessary evil. But with the right attitude – and a good set of noise-canceling headphones – the journey itself might not be so intolerable after all. Just don’t let anyone tell you it’s not about the destination.

AHMEDABAD, INDIA – OCTOBER 2016

Creative Vision Newsletter




Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. 

Sri Lanka Belongs On Every Photographer’s Bucket List

Sri Lanka Belongs On Every Photographer’s Bucket List

Bucket List

Sri Lanka Belongs On Every Photographer’s Bucket List

The Island Marco Polo believed to be the “Most Beautiful Island in the World” is a true Tropical Paradise.

At the tender age of 24, Marco Polo was dispatched by Kublai Khan, Emporer of China, to the island now known as Sri Lanka, to receive the tooth of the Buddha, one of the holiest relics in Buddhism. That quest was ultimately unsuccessful but he did leave with a newfound respect and admiration for the tropical island. Marco, no slouch in the travel department, declared Sri Lanka as “Undoubtedly, the finest island of its size in all the world.”

Sri Lanka offers some of the best historic and cultural photography (the ancient cities of Anuradhapura, Kandy, and Polonnaruwa boast of five UNESCO World Heritage Sites), wildlife safaris that rival many itineraries in eastern Africa, and some of the most stunning tropical beaches in the world for the landscape shooters. There are tea plantations in the misty mountain highlands (a train ride through the tea country is a once-in-a-lifetime experience), colorful fishing villages and open markets, and much more. Many of these vastly different photography opportunities can be experienced within the same day. After a closer look, it’s easy to see why Sri Lanka should rank high on any travel photographer’s bucket list.

Wildlife and Nature

The wildlife of Sri Lanka is as varied as the general photographic opportunities. 12 percent of the country’s land is protected as wildlife and conservation sanctuaries so that many generations to come can enjoy encounters with nature and wildlife on the island. More than 400 species of birds live here as well as leopards, elephants, deer, monkeys, and prolific marine life such as whales and sea turtles, Yala and Minneriya National Parks are two highlights for wildlife and nature photographers.

Sri Lanka is also home to inland mountains with dozens of photogenic waterfalls and some of the most picture-perfect tropical beaches in the world. The seaside village of Tangalle in the southern part of the island is one of my favorite places for sunrises over the Indian Ocean and photographing sea turtles.

Sri Lanka and the Cultural Triangle

In 1972, the people discarded the country’s old name of Ceylon and officially introduced the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka to the world. In Sinhala, the language spoken by the majority of the people, Sri means “blessed” while Lanka is the name of the island. In Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle located in the country’s mid-section, there sits a host of ancient monuments, Buddhist temples, and historical royal cities that once served as the center of early Sinhalese people and civilization. The points of this geographic triangle are comprised of the hill capital of Kandy, Anuradhapura – a rich collection of archaeological and architectural wonders, and Polonnaruwa. This rich cultural area also contains the spectacular rock fortress of Sigiriya and the cave monastery of Dambulla (my favorite cultural location for photography).

 

People

A trip to Sri Lanka focuses not only on the cultural, historical, and the natural attributes of this stunning country, but also the beautiful people who live and work here. In all my travels, I have rarely met as many open, friendly, and cooperative photography subjects (on two feet anyway). On a train ride through the high-country tea plantations I met and photographed dozens of outgoing, friendly people in small villages, working the tea fields in the mist shrouded mountains.

Gray langur monkeys (Semnopithecus entellus) in Polonnaruwa, Sri Lanka. In addition to the prolific monkeys, Polonnaruwa is home to ruins of a ancient city and was claimed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.

Sunrise over the Indian Ocean, in Tangalle, southern Sri Lanka. Tangalle is just one of the many world-class tropical beaches in Sri Lanka  that affords some amazing sunrises and sunsets.

Hunnasgiriya waterfall (Hunnas Falls) in Sri Lanka’s lush and beautiful mountain highlands.

Richard Bernabe is a professional photographer specializing in travel, wildlife, and nature as well as an author of books, magazine articles, and travel essays published world-wide. Richard is a global influencer in the fields of photography, travel, and wildlife conservation with more than one million followers on social media platforms. He leads several photography tours and workshops all over the world and is invited to speak to photography and conservation groups all across the globe. For more great information on new images, gear reviews, book projects, and photography workshops and tours, Sign Up For Our Newsletter.