I have totally fallen in love with Nashville! They call it the Music City and I love music. Nashville is obviously the heart of country music. But there so much more. Music streams from every bar and restaurant in the city. Bands playing the honky-tonks on Nashville’s Broadway compete for your attention day and night. Sometimes they even play too loud to have a normal conversation over dinner. But they add to the atmosphere of the city. It is cool to stroll up and down Broadway on a Saturday night, look at the party people, have a drink and listen to the bands wailing under the bright neon lights of the all the bars they play.
There’s more than just waterfalls in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. In fact it is probably more known for its wildlife. The park is home to coyotes, deer, turkeys, elk and most notably for the approximately 1600 black bears that live in those mountains. We had the chances to meet 2 of them. Kinda cool to watch a bear climb up a tree to feed.
And it is also known for its scenic views of the mountains, often covered in a little haze—hence the name Smoky Mountians—that gives the Smokies a beautiful blue glow on sunny days. And even on overcast days, when the sky is dark and gloomy, the views are magnificent.
I could have spent at least a few more days in the Smokies enjoying the views, the hikes and the wildlife. But we had a few more plans, so I guess I will have to save that for another year.
Great Smoky Mountain National Park, on the border between North Carolina and Tennessee encompasses 2114km2 making it one of the biggest national parks in the US. It is home to about 1600 black bears which everyone wants to see. It is also known for its many waterfalls. Too many to visit in just 3 days. We picked Grotto Falls and Lynn Camp Prong Cascades to hike to.
Lynn Camp Prong Cascades is just a short hike but to get a good shot, you need to climb some rocks and dangle over the river.
You reach Grotto Falls after a steep 2km hike; you need to climb 585 feet. If you’re untrained like me, it is quite the climb. But it is well worthwhile. A person can actually pass behind the Grotto Falls. And you can setup for a pretty cool photo behind the falls.
But, you know, there is cool little falls all over the park. Often they are just off the paved road. We came across this very photogenic fall driving along the Little River on our way to Cades Cove. To be honest, I may just like this little unnamed fall the best.
When the weather is nice, Stone Mountain Park is a great place to be and to make some photographs.
At the heart of the park, there is gigantic quartz monzonite dome of about 251 m above the surrounding area. On its north face, there is a bas-relief that depicts three Confederate figures during the American Civil War: Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and Jefferson Davis. It is said to be the largest bas-relief in the world.
But scenes around the park are awesome too. I set up for a long exposure at their covered bridge and the old gristmill at the park.
And while I was working on the long exposure photos, my buddy Luc shot this amazing photo of the lake at Stone Mountain Park.
We arrived in Atlanta, GA with no issues. Smooth fight with Delta.
At CNN we goofed around, posing as news anchors. They wouldn’t have us though. We lacked relevant experience apparently.
Visiting Coca-Cola World is just a lot of fun: trying to unravel the secret recipe of Coca-Cola. And I think I know what it is. When you see all the promo materials Coke produced over time, I think the true secret to their success is being a famous household name.
As I pack my bags to leave for a trip to Tennessee for nothing but good food, a lot of booze, country music and time to shoot some photos, I have made a little Spotify playlist that will make them long drives over country roads a party.
There’s so much great music originating from Tennessee: blues, rock’n’roll, a bit of folk and a whole lot of country. I know for sure I will have a blast while I’m out there. YES! I will go visit the Grand Ole Opry!
I love Antwerp! It’s one of my favorite cities in the world. And that’s because it has a perfect mix old and new architecture, it has cool bars and nice restaurants. And it has cool museums. The MAS, Museum aan de Stroom, is one of those. Opened 2011, amidst some controversy about the design, it stands 10 stories high in an area of the city that is in full expansion. And from its rooftop you’ll have a great view over Antwerp.
Why are so many people picking on the quality of iPhone photos, and of any smartphone for that matter? Everybody says the photos are just not good enough for print or to show them on large format. Well, let’s talk about that for a minute…
I bought my 1st digital camera back in 2001. I took it with me on vacation to Hawaii and shot this photo of the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor with it.
The Olympus E-10 that I had back then, had a 3.7 megapixel sensor. Compact Flash cards cost a fortune. So I shot in what was called HiRes JPEG on that trip to get the most out of my memory card. Effectively, this photo is 1600 x 1200 pixels (that is a mere 1.83 megapixel).
This photo is hanging on a wall in my office, printed at 60cm x 40cm (23.6″ x 15.7″) behind plexiglass. After 15 years, I still love it. And I can promise you I will not take it down from my office wall anytime soon.
If you look real close at the print, it is grainy and a little soft. The people on deck of the USS Arizona Memorial are nothing more than multi-colored blobs. And you can see some grain in the clouds too. But when you look at it from the right viewing distance, it is a stunning photo that brings back quite a few memories.
Now consider this: my iPhone 7 has a 12MP camera, plenty of memory, shoots RAW and I can edit my photos in Lightroom Mobile right on my phone. So why should it produce photos that are inferior to that 15 year old photo I like so much?
Well, it doesn’t! The other day, I was in Antwerp attempting a long exposure shot of the new Port House, the Antwep Port Authority HQ designed by architect Zaha Hadid.
While waiting on the sun to set, I flipped out my iPhone and shot and edited this photo of the building in Lightroom Mobile. On my iPhone! Guess what? It holds up to that 15 year old photo of the USS Arizona Memorial. And if that one was good enough to print at 60cm x 40cm, the iPhone photo should be good enough for print too.
The Port House are the new headquarters of the Antwerp Port Authority and is a very popular subject for photographers these days. The building is a fusion a modern design by Architect Zaha Hadid sitting on top of an old firehouse by architect Emiel Van Averbeke. So why not have a go at it myself?
When it comes to editing photos on my iPhone, Snapseed is one of my favorites. It was conceived developed by Nik Software and after Google acquired Nik Software, Google continues to develop it.
I love the versatility of Snapseed: you can apply on of many Instagram-like filters to give your photo a specific look or you can decide to use the more Photoshop-like tools to get the most out of your photo. Photographers have been using Snapseed for years. As have I.
I love the individual controls of Snapseed. I will use it’s features Tune Image, Details and Brush a lot. All of them are done on a separate layer which still can be change after you apply them. So you can always undo or tune your edits. True non-destructive editing in a sense.
Snapseed has a couple of cool looking frames to put around your photos too.
The combination of shooting RAW on your iPhone with Camera+ and editing in Snapseed is second to none. I have largely switches to doing it all in Adobe Lightroom Mobile. But that is because I am a heavy LR users. Snapseed however is my backup solution.