Ijen Crater | Java Indonesia

During our family stay in Bali I made a 2 day trip to Ijen crater that is situated on the eastern Java. I took a public bus from Denpasar to Gilimanuk port and than sailed on a ferry to Java Ketapanag ferry port. My first plan was to hire a bike, drive to the starting parking place, freeze for 6 hours and then go to the mountain by myself. Nevertheless I was approached by some local guys with very affordable group tour in the port, and went for it. It was a mistake the company was called Febry tours and homestay, you rather avoid them.

The adventure started at midnight when we were picked up from our homestay in Banyuwangi. We drove one hour to the starting parking place. As it was Saturday, the track was full of people. All of the tours take you to the crater at around 2-3 am in order to see the so called blue flame, which is a result of a chemical reaction of sulphur at the bottom of the crater. Unfortunately on our day the conditions were not optimal and we haven’t seen it. The smell of the sulphur is very strong and I couldn’t have made it without a gas mask.

You cannot see a sunrise on the top of the crater as it is hidden by a mountain. but once the sun rays start to hit the turquoise lake, the whole picture gains on colour and the views are magnificent. Looking down into the crater, I turned right and made a walk on the rim of the crater, the landscape is very unique. As I start returning I fund out that my guide is gone. I hurry up to the parking place only to realise that the car is gone. This is the main reason why to avoid a tour. I later realised that all tours start to decent at round 7.30 and actually missing the best part of the whole trip, namely when the whole caldera is lit by the sun and plays incredible colours. If I would go next time I would just hire a motorbike as planed have a good sleep in the nearby village Licin and start at around 4 am to be at the top at around 6am. This way you would avoid the crowds going up and also have the volcano for yourself as the tours are gone at 7.30 - 8.00.

Here are some interesting facts from Wikipedia: “Ijen volcano has a one-kilometre-wide turquoise-coloured acidic crater lake. The lake is the site of a labour-intensive sulfur mining operation, in which sulfur-laden baskets are carried by hand from the crater floor. The work is paid well considering the cost of living in the area, but is very onerous. Workers earn around Rp 50,000–75,000 ($5.50–$8.30) per day and once out of the crater, still need to carry their loads of sulfur chunks about three kilometers to the nearby Paltuding Valley to get paid

The lake is recognised as the largest highly acidic crater lake in the world. It is also a source for the river Banyupahit, resulting in highly acidic and metal-enriched river water which has a significant detrimental effect on the downstream river ecosystem.”

Surfing | Maspalomas Gran Canaria

I met Pro Surfing school in Maspalomas, situated in the touristic south of Gran Canaria. Firstly I just wanted to borrow a screwdriver for my drone full of sand, but then we started to talk and following pictures are the result. Kevin is originally dutch, but as many he is living his passion on the waves.

Phototip: I did these pictures using an underwater case DiCaPac WP-S5. You can also get its bigger brother DiCaPac WP-S10, but for cameras like Nikon d750, or d800 I would recommend the smaller one, as it fits tighter. If the case is too big you will always have to hold the front lens of the case to the lens of the camera, in order to avoid vignetting or even seeing the case in the picture. I used it with Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED which is my favourite travel lens as it weighs only 385g and reaches up to 35mm. Together with the d750 it fits almost perfectly into the smaller case. I haven't seen any water drops inside the case or on the camera, so I think it holds the word.

During this shoot I found out that I have lots of water drops collecting on the front lens, distracting my pictures. If you wanna avoid it, lick the lens of the case like 5 minutes before going to the water and let it dry. It helped a lot. 

Handling of the camera is of course not so comfortable but with some training you can zoom in and out, adjust aperture, move your focus point and preview the pictures. This was my setup in the water: aperture priority, f8, ISO 100-200 depending on the clouds, and continuous focus mode.

Get flippers, if you can and be ready to spend most of the time in a washing machine :-) And now let's go surfiiiing!

 

Sweden

Our passion for campervanning is growing more and more and after my trip to Ireland our family decided to get on the wheels again and travel south of Sweden in a mobile home. We took the ferry from Rostock to Trelleborg, drove along the east coast to Stockholm, visited the big lakes in the middle and returned via the west coast back. Our favorite part was the second largest swedish island Öland. We enjoyed the vast space and solitude. Due to everyman's right, great infrastructure and swedish hospitality it is a perfect camping destination.

Unfortunately we also experienced a robbery.  While having a couple shoot in Goteborg  someone smashed the front window in our mobile home and stole all our precious eblongings. We were told by the guy who exchanged our glass, that he has such cases 3 times a day. Especially in summer there are gangs coming outside of Sweden and are specifically looking for cars with international plates, they call it hunting season. Autoalarm also does not help all the time, as the thieves firstly crack the glass on the sides with a screwdriver and then slowly remove the window (see the picture at the end of the gallery). So just be careful and do not leave any precious things in you car anywhere. It is also not recommended to sleep alongside highways, where autostrada pirates are attacking. I do not want spread fear or bad mood, just be cautious and protect your belongings while traveling everywhere.

And here our robbed car.

London

London

Sometimes I just save pictures on my laptop and forget about them. It's sweet, it is like the chocolate you hid and then suddenly found out :-) This is what also happened with these street photography pictures made in London while attending the workshop of Ross Harvey in August last year. Most of them were taken in Camden Town, the quirky, artistic area of London. I felt like at home :-)