Hiking Tour – Bielerhöhe – Saarbrücker Hütte (2538m)

This year we stayed again (like in 2013) in the Silvrettahaus near the Silvretta reservoir. We arrived at Friday, the weather was perfect and we were looking forward to our hiking day on saturday.

We started from the Bielerhöhe and walked via Madlenerhaus and Tschiffernella to the Saarbrücker Hütte. It was a beautiful trail in a rocky landscape. In the higher regions most parts of the trail were covered with snow but it wasn’t a problem so far. After 2.5 hours we reached the Saarbrücker Hütte. It is the highest alpine hut in the Silvretta. From there you have a beautiful view of the Gross Litzner (3109m), the Gross Seehorn (3122m) and the Litzner glacier. And we were also lucky because we were told on the next day the hut would close for four months.

For our way back we planned to take the route via Litznersattel, Verhupftäli and the Klostertal. But after some discussions concerning the snow we decided to take the road back to the Bielerhöhe. As last year, we had to change our tour again due to the snow. Maybe next time we schedule our trip a few weeks earlier.

All in all it was about a 5 hours walk with 890 elevation gain.

A photo sphere of the Saarbrücker Hütte and the mountains:  -> Photo Sphere Saarbrücker Hütte


Hiking Tour – Gamp – Malbun – Augstenberg (2359m) – Pfälzerhütte – Nenzinger Himmel

This year (22.8) we started from the Berghaus Mattajoch where we stayed the first night and had a delicious evening meal.

The next morning we walked via the Mattajoch to Malbun (Liechtenstein), then to Sareis and Sareiserjoch and from there to the Augstenberg (this trail is officially known as the Fürstin-Gina-Weg). The last part of the trail to the peak was very foggy and so unfortunately we couldn’t see any panorama of the beautiful surrounding.

From the Augstenberg we went to our next lodge, the Pfälzer Hütte. We stayed there over night and had again a hefty evening meal. The plan was to climb the Naafkopf the next morning before going down to the Nenzinger Himmel.

But the next morning there was a surprise waiting for us…..SNOW. So we just had breakfast and went back to the Nenzinger Himmel :-).

10 Day Scotland Road Trip

Hiking Tour – Bielerhöhe – Radschulter (2697m) – Radsattel – Wiesbadner Hütte

This was our yearly 2-day hiking tour. We started from the Silvretta-Haus (were we stayed 2 nights) at about 10 a.m. and hiked straight to the Radschulter. The trail begins easy but  the last slope was very steep and was already covered with snow.

On top of the shoulder we made a small break. The plan was to climb to the summit of “Hohes Rad” but due to the snowy conditions we decided to skip that part.  The next segment was a easy walk to the Radsattel and from there to the Wiesbadner Hütte. After two more hours we were back at the Silvretta Stausee.

All in all in took us about 7 hours with a few breaks and one longer stop at the Wiesbadner Hütte. From there you have a very nice view of the glacial scenery around the Piz Buin which is really impressive!

4. Fairway Golf Charity 2013

The Fairway Golf Charity is a non profit organisation which raises money with a yearly golf tournament in Gams.
It supports various different social projects. In 2013 for example these were  “Freude herrscht” , “Autismushilfe Ostschweiz” and “Stiftung Sternschnuppe“.

Because I was not familiar with golf photography I summarized a few tips which could be helpful:

  • Avoid any noise. This even means to select the AI Servo mode for focusing to avoid the bleeps of the camera.
  • Freeze the action. Best is to use Tv mode and a fast shutter speed of a minimum 1/500 (also 1/2000 or 1/2500 are common). Shoot in continuous mode.
  • Take at least one wide angle and a supertelelens with you. I go with the EF 300mm,  EF 70-200mm f/2.8mm and the EF 16-35 f/2.8L.
  • Take a monopod with you. Not only to stabilize but also because its tiring to hold these heavy lenses the whole day
  • Try to shoot in the golden hours. That means early and late when the sun is low.
  • Try to find shots with a clean background
  • For close-ups use a shallow depth of field (f/2.8)
  • Take pictures that show emotions of the players

Well, that was the theory. The day of the tournament was very long (8am to 11pm). We started at about 8 am with a short briefing and discussed which part of the course each of us has to cover. We were a group of four photographers and concerning the size of a 18 hole golf course I would say that four is a good number to cover everything without the need to hurry constantly from one spot to the next.

After the players arrived and  a warm up at the driving range we made a group picture of the 105 participants and at 11 am the tournament started. Each flight in the tournament was between 4 and 5 people (a flight is a term for a group of golfers within a tournament with roughly the same skill level). With 21 flights we were prepared for a 5 to 6 hour tournament.

The tips were helpful, especially the AI Servo mode was very important. Not only because of the noise but more because of the need to constantly refocus during the movement of the player (for example during the tee-off). If the sky is cloudy it’s best to use higher ISO values to make sure the shutter speeds are high enough. “Freezing” the action was also a good hint to keep in mind.

For the next tournament I consider to take a flash with me (for group pictures) and maybe a second body to switch quickly between two lenses. But that also means a heavier backpack to carry the whole day 🙂

Macau Casinos by Night

Macau is – as Hongkong – a special administrative region of the Republic of China. It has its own legal system, police force and even monetary system. You can get there by Ferry very fast (it takes about 70 minutes).

In 1962 the gambling industry started under a government-issued monopoly license. This monopoly ended in 2002 and several casino operators from Las Vegas entered the market. The first was the Sands Macao in 2004 and after that the Wynn Macau in 2006. Later giant buildings like The Venetian, the MGM Grand Macau and the Galaxy Cotai Megaresort followed.

Gambling revenue has made Macau the world’s top casino market, surpassing Las Vegas.

At night the city really comes to life with all the colors and lights.

Macau City Walk

If you go to Macau you mainly go for the Casinos and the gambling. However there are a few other things to do and see. For example the Ruins of St. Paul are very famous and are officially enlisted as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Historic Centre of Macau. The church was destroyed by a fire in 1835, today the Ruins consist only of the southern stone facade (17th-century) and the crypts of the Jesuits.

The culture, food and architecture is a mixture of Chinese and Portuguese. There a lot of historic streets, places and buildings which you can visit easily by a unhurried walk.

Skyline Hong Kong by Night

The skyline of Hong Kong is one of the worlds most impressive one and some say it is even the best one with the surrounding mountains and the Victoria Harbour. There is no other city with more buildings higher than 150m and in no other city live and work more people above the 14th floor.

Some of the famous buildings are the International Commerce Center (484m), The Center with its night-time multi-colored neon light show , the HSBC Building or the Central Plaza with its triangular top.

The images were taken from the Kowloon side so we faced Hong Kong Island from the front. There is another famous point to shoot the skyline and this is on The Peak. From there you have the back of the skyline but because of the height this view is also very impressive. I will post these pictures in a later article.

The weather was not that good this evening and there was almost no clear sky. But after the long exposure I used I have to say the clouds on the images look very interesting. One can see the movement and change of direction as they bend round the high structures.

Lei Yue Mun, Hong Kong

Lei Yue Mun is a small village located at the east gate of Victoria Harbour. It is famous for its seafood market and restaurants. The combination of fresh seafood and restaurants able to cook the food immediately was a winning tactic.

In 1992, the First Lei Yue Mun Seafood Festival was jointly organized by several seafood restaurants, and its success has made it an annual event.

Nan Lian Garden and Chi Lin Nunnery

The Nan Lian Garden is situated at Diamond Hill and is easy accessible by the MTR. Right beside is the Chi Lin Nunnery and you can do both on a half day trip.

The garden is built in the Tang Dynasty style (618 AD to 907 AD). Hills, rocks, ponds, plants and trees are arranged according to the Tang style and rules. It is a tranquil place surrounded by skyscrapers and roads.

The Chi Lin Nunnery is a Buddhist temple complex and also built in the Tang Dynasty style. It was built without any iron nails and uses special interlocking systems cut into the wood to hold everything in place.

There is no entry fee and a must-see if you visit Hong Kong.


Kowloon Markets

To see a few different markets in Kowloon we used the “Kowloon Market & Hong Kong History” Walk from the TripAdvisor App. This way it was very easy to navigate through the various streets.

The markets are also known as “The Fab Five” and consist of The Ladies Market, Fa Yuen Street, Goldfish Street, Bird Market and the Flower Market. But the side streets and areas like Nelson Street (which I liked best) are also very exciting. We spent quite some time there to browse and take pictures of this local market life.

Fort Kochi, Kerala

The last two days we spent in Fort Kochi in the Brunton Boatyard Hotel. Fort Kochi is a region in the city of Kochi.

We visited the St. Francis Church which is the oldest European Church in India. The body of Vasco da Gama (he discovered the sea route from Europe to India) was originally buried in this church.

Kochi was a fishing village and you can see a lot of Chinese Fishing Nets near the shore. They are shore operated lift nets. They are mostly found in the state of Kerala.

Huge mechanical contrivances hold out horizontal nets of 20 m or more across. Each structure is at least 10 m high and comprises a cantilever with an outstretched net suspended over the sea and large stones suspended from ropes as counterweights at the other end. Each installation is operated by a team of up to six fishermen. (Wikipedia)

And of course there are always a lot of birds near the nets to catch the fish before the fisherman gets it’s hand on them.

Marari Beach, Alappuzha

After the house boat trip we stayed two nights in the Marari Beach Resort which is also part of the cgh earth group. It was an excellent resort and we were lucky to get a private pool villa.

From the hotel you can book a lot of different tours to Alappuzha and nearby attractions. We visited Alappuzha to see how carpets are made from coconut fibers and to watch traditional gold smiths while they were melting tiny gold pieces together. Good to see that these traditional crafts still exist.

Houseboat and Backwaters in Kerala

If you stay in Kerala near the Vembanadu Lake you have to rent a house boat. Best thing is to book a full day with a night on the boat.

We started our journey directly from the Coconut Lagoon and made our way through the backwaters until evening. We had dinner on the boat near the town Puthanagadi and also stayed during the night there. The food was excellent and our crew very friendly and supportive.

Check out the new campaign images and the new website of the Kerala Great Backwaters.

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Coconut Lagoon, Kumarakom

The Coconut Lagoon is a very nice place to stay. You can reach it only by boat and it is a vast region where the hotel is naturally integrated. It is also part of the “cgh earth group” like the other hotels we stayed in. There are several isolated bungalows (like in Spice Village) and you have a perfect view of the sunset over the Vembanad lake. You can book a bird watching tour in the morning or rent a kajak to explore the backwaters.

People of Gudalur (Cumbum Valley, Tamil Nadu)

Gudalur is a panchayat town in Theni district in the state of Tamil Nadu. We went there for half a day and started a trip from Thekkady (Spice Village)  to Gudalur.

Although it is very close to Kerala, Tamil Nadu is very different in climate, nature and the people. You can see a lot of agriculture there from Mangos, Red Chilly, Rice,..and even grapes.

Prices are half of that in Kerala and so a lot of people go for shopping to Tamil Nadu. The towns looked less developed and people seemed to be poorer than in Kerala but still they were very friendly and happy to see some foreigners.

Periyar Lake Boat Trip

The Periyar lake is an artificial lake. It is the reservoir of the famous century old Mullai Periyar dam. During the boat journey you can see not only wild animals but also the remains of old trees in the lake. Thekkady is the home to a large number of rare birds, which can be found in these trees.

The lake is kept very clean and it is a nice experience to take this boat trip. The forest people care about this region and Thekkady itself was declared “plastic free” in September 2011. “Tourists visiting Thekkady, please keep in mind that you cannot carry plastic bags to Thekkady.”

I definitely recommend the 1,5 hour boat journey to everyone who visits the Periyar Sanctuary. We chose the trip during lunch time because we had some other activities in the morning, but now I must say that the trips early in the morning or late in the afternoon are better for spotting animals. Never the less we were lucky and saw bisons, wild hogs and even a elephant.

Nature Walk in the Periyar Tiger Reserve

In the morning we went for a three hour nature walk in the Periyar Tiger Reserve which is very close to the place we stayed (Spice Village). Periyar Tiger Reserve (PTR) is situated in the Cardamom Hills and Pandalam Hills of the Southern Western Ghats of India.

The reserve is huge – about 925 square kilometers – and so spotting elephants or other bigger animals is not a sure thing. We had luck and saw some bisons, beautiful insects and birds. It was a great experience and our guide always explained the different kinds of plants and animals.

Champakulam Moolam Boat Race

The Champakulam Boat Race takes place every year at the Champakulam Lake in Alappuzha, Kerala. It is the most popular and oldest snake boat race of Kerala and the start of many races during June and October. It is held on the River Pampa in Champakulam village of Alappuzha district on the Moolam day (Mool Nakshatra). Before the boat race, a procession is held every year in memory of the installation of the idol of Lord Shri Krishna.

The snake boats are very long boats with a length of about 30 meters or more. They have a raised prow which give them their name- ‘Snake Boats.’ When more than 100 oarsmen make the long snake boat cut the waves of the river and speed through the water to leave the other racing boats behind, thousands and lakhs of people standing at the river bank can literally feel the adrenalin rush in their bodies!

We stayed at the Triveny River Palace and had from the hotel’s garden a nice view of the finishing line of the race. We had full service of the hotel and the garden was less crowded than the opposite side of the river as you can see in the pictures.

Medieval Old Town of the City of Rhodes

It is a fantastic place and no wonder that it has been declared a World Heritage Site.

There are so many details and all photographers will like the authenticity of the city. Of course there are many tourist but there are still a lot of unexplored back alleys with nice restaurants and little shops.