New images from Thailand online

Over the Christmas/New Year period I revisited Thailand. Since my first time in 2004, the country has changed considerably. Especially the beaches have reached a level of development which make it difficult to find some unspoilt places. So I spent most of the time in the North and in Bangkok.

Blind female monk at Bangkok´s Wat Chana Songkram

Blind female monk at Bangkok´s Wat Chana Songkram

For the first time I visited the old Thai capitals of Ayutthaya and Sukothai. While Sukothai was the Siam capital in the 12th and 13th centuries, Ayutthaya took over in the 14th and remained the Southeast-Asian powerhouse until the 18th century. Old Sukothai is well preserved but only few ruins remain of Ayutthaya. Both locations are truly impressive and well worth a visit. The new images can be found in the new Ayutthaya and Sukothai gallery.

Overgrown Buddha in Ayutthaya

Overgrown Buddha in Ayutthaya

Another worthwhile place to visit in the North of Thailand is the Bo Sang parasol factory where you can see dozens of workers hand-produce parasols and fans of various sizes. All images from the Bo Sang parasol factory can be found in the new Thai People & Culture gallery.

Finished parasols at Bo Sang

Finished parasols at Bo Sang

I also like Thailand for its friendly people, good food and of course the pretty Buddhist temples. Compared to Christian churches they are rather colourful with sometimes mystical designs. One exception to the colourfulness is the Silver Temple in Chiang Rai which is a recent design, all in sparkling white plaster.

The Silver Temple in Chiang Rai

The Silver Temple in Chiang Rai

Thailand is also a place with a rich flora and fauna. One last place I can recommend when you are in Northern Thailand is the Mae Rim orchid farm which also has a butterfly house with some truly impressive species. These additions can be found in the Thailand Plants & Animals gallery.

Giant butterfly at the Mae Rim orchid farm

Giant 30cm wingspan butterfly at the Mae Rim orchid farm

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Collection of new images from Germany

I finally got round to work on some photos I had taken all on a couple of trips through Southern Germany over the past 18 months. Some are from the small town of Gengenbach in the Black Forest where I re-visited the annual Christmas market. Every year the town hosts a selection of pretty little stalls selling local food produce and handicraft, all set against the backdrop of a medieval Black Forest town, decorated in hundreds of lights. The new additions from Gengenbach can be found in the Black Forest gallery.

Gengenbach Christmas Market

Selling cheese and sausages at the Gengenbach Christmas Market

Another set of images date from a short trip I undertook to Heidelberg in the summer of 2013. Heidelberg is famous for its well preserved old town with many baroque style buildings and some much older ones dating as far back as Roman times. It is also the town with the oldest university in Germany and is located in a narrow valley of the Neckar River, surrounded by a pleasant landscape of forested hills. Not surprisingly, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Germany with nearly 4 million visitors each year. The images have been uploaded to the new Heidelberg album.

Heidelberg

Heidelberg viewed from across the Neckar River with the castle in the background

Other images were added from a trip I made to the Bavarian Alps in the summer of 2014. The towns I visited include Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Berchtesgaden/Königssee and the famous Neuschwanstein castle, although I was not very lucky with the weather for that last one. The Bavarian Alps essentially consist of 2 to 3 rows of mountains (Austrians would maybe call them hills) running parallel along the German-Austrian border, with one of the prettiest places arguably being the Berchtesgaden National Park.

Königssee

View of the Königssee (king´s lake) and the Berchtesgaden National Park

It is also Germany’s deep south, so it is fairly conservative, catholic, full of tradition, good food, and of course lots of Lederhosen. To view all new images from Bavaria you can visit the new album on the Bavarian Alps.

Man in Lederhosen

Man in traditional Lederhosen in Garmisch-Partenkirchen

From Bavaria I cut across towards France on a route that took me past Lake Constance, Europe’s second largest freshwater lake, located in the German-Swiss-Austrian triangle. I had already visited the main towns around the lake (Constance, Meersburg and Lindau) on a previous trip, so this time I decided to stop over at the open air museum at Unteruhldingen. Already in the 1920s did the local fishermen discover foundations of some old settlements covered in a thick layer of mud in the lake bed. With time, an open air museum was created where these neolithic stilt houses have been reconstructed based on archaeological evidence. Since 2011 it is a UNESCO cultural world heritage site and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. You can view the new images in the Lake Constance gallery.

Neolithic stilt houses on the shores of Lake Constance

Neolithic stilt houses on the shores of Lake Constance

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New images from Provence …

and the Lac Sainte Croix have been added to the France Côte d’Azur & Provence Gallery.

Lac Sainte Croix

Lac Sainte Croix

Being a man-made lake, used for hydro-electric power generation, the Lac Sainte Croix is about 40 years old and attracts a considerable amount of holiday makers, largely due to the vibrant turquoise colour of its water and the charming villages on the lake shore. The turquoise colour is caused by the suspended rock flour and other glacial sediments.

Panorama of the village Moustiers Sainte Marie on the Lac Sainte Croix

Panorama of the village Moustiers Sainte Marie on the Lac Sainte Croix

On the eastern end of the lake is the spectacular Gorge du Verdon canyon. With up to 700m in depth and a length of 25km the Verdon canyon is one of the biggest in Europe and a popular destination for kayakers and canoeists.

The Gorge du Verdon

The Gorge du Verdon

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A short trip to Belgium …

Last week I went on a short trip to Belgium, visiting the cities of Ghent and Bruges with a quick stop-over in the Belgian capital of Brussels.

Houses on the market square in Bruges

Houses on the market square in Bruges

In the Middle Ages, both Ghent and Bruges were rich merchant cities trading mainly in textiles and their wealth can still be seen today in the almost completely preserved medieval architecture of the time.

Houses in Ghent

Houses in Ghent

Delicatessen market in Ghent

Delicatessen market in Ghent

By the end of the 13th century, Ghent was the second largest city in Europe (after Paris) and became the birthplace of Emperor Karl V. Today it is home to a sizeable student population which makes it a lively city with a pleasant atmosphere and many bars and restaurants, including a very good food market.

Bruges is a bit calmer than Ghent. It is a popular place for Belgians to retire and the peace and quiet is only disturbed by large amounts of tourists which tend to descend on the city especially during summer and autumn weekends. Bruges makes for a pleasant 3-4 hour stroll along various canals lined with beautifully preserved merchant houses from the economic heyday of the city.

Enjoying the quiet life in Bruges

Enjoying the quiet life in Bruges

All new images can be seen in the Belgium Gallery.

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Palau Güell

After almost 5 years of living in Barcelona, this morning I finally paid a visit to the Palau Güell. It is one of the lesser known Gaudí buildings in Barcelona and does not receive quite as much attention by visitors as the more famous La Pedrera or of course La Sagrada Familia.

Pillars with mushroom-shaped capitals feature in the stables of Palau Güell

Pillars with mushroom-shaped capitals feature in the stables of Palau Güell

In 1885, Antoni Gaudí received the commission to design Palau Güell as a private residence for the Güell family, a rich industrialist family with several other properties in Barcelona (e.g. the famous Park Güell). The building was designated as a cultural World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1985 and has only recently been fully restored and re-opened for visitors.

Central Hall of Palau Güell

Looking up in the Central Hall of Palau Güell

The building itself gives off a slightly sinister atmosphere due its sheer massiveness, the choise of materials such as wrought iron and dark stone and the general lack of light in the interior rooms. However, once you reach the roof terrace, Gaudí returns to his usual playfulness with  20 sculptured chimneys, decorated with the typical broken tile shards, and in their centre the main spire of the dome that crowns the central hall.

Sculpted chimneys on the roof terrace of Palau Güell

Sculpted chimneys on the roof terrace of Palau Güell

The building is worth a visit also because it represents the only example of domestic architecture which Gaudí brought to completion and which did not undergo major changes.

New photos have been added to the Barcelona Gaudí gallery and can be found by searching for Palau Güell.

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New images from the French Riviera

After spending a couple of days on the French Riviera on the Côte d’Azur, there are some new additions to the Côte d’Azur & Provence gallery including Nice, the small and charming village of Èze and the occasional image from Monaco.

The village of Eze

The village of Eze

While Nice still feels a little like it is struggling with a slow but steady decline from its heyday in the 1960’s, it still is a stunningly beautiful city and the pebbly beach and turquoise waters add to the charm of this Mediterranean jewel.

Nice panorama

Nice panorama

The city’s architecture is reminiscent of its past when it formed part of the Italian kingdoms, sometimes in league with Genoa and on other occasions siding with Pisa. Only by the middle of the 19th century did the city eventually fall to France.

House in the old town in Nice

House in the old town in Nice

To view the entire gallery please visit the Côte d’Azur & Provence gallery.

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Winner of 2013 World Press Photo awards has been cleared of fraud claims

An interesting discussion has arisen about the winning photograph of the 2013 World  Press Photo awards. The winning image by Swedish photographer Paul Hansen showed two young casualties of an Israeli attack on Gaza being carried through the streets by their families.

Winning photograph of the 2012 World Press Photo awards by Swedish photographer Paul Hansen

Winning photograph of the 2013 World Press Photo awards by photographer Paul Hansen

Almost immediately after the announcement of the winning photograph, criticism emerged, insinuating that the image may have been manipulated beyond the usual industry standard. Blog posts even called the image a “fake”, claiming that it had been “spliced together” from 3 different photographs.

A separate analysis by independent experts has now confirmed the authenticity of the image, clearing the photographer of all accusations of forgery.

I find this discussion and particularly the comments on some of the blogs regarding this topic quite fascinating. The underlying question that seems to arise over and over again is:

What constitutes undue image manipulation and what is legitimate?

This question is of course philosophical to some extent as everything from the image capture, to the image display or printing constitutes, in itself, a form of image manipulation. If you consider how different the same scene can look, depending on whether it was captured with a cheap pocket camera, an expensive DSLR (of whatever brand and colour configuration), or whether it was exposed on film (which then needs to be developed and scanned), or maybe even converted to black and white because your newspaper does not appear in colour, you will realise that no image is free from manipulation. Every image is subjective. It is subject to the equipment used to capture it, to the photographer’s choice of the aperture/exposure time combination, to the equipment used for developing and scanning it (in the case of film), and of course to the medium it is published in. Considering all this, I find it difficult to get excited about a photographer having brightened the shadows or darkened the highlights here and there.

This practise, which is also known as dodging and burning, is the bread and butter of photography dating back to the first photographs being developed and printed in the dark rooms of the 19th century. Back then, the dodging and burning was done in a more analogue fashion by shading or overexposing certain parts of the print, depending on the image characteristics. This is necessary because photographic film and also digital sensors, do not cover the same dynamic range as the human eye. Our pupil can adjust its size to the light conditions which is why we can step into a very dark narrow street and still see all the details in the dark street and the bright sunlit sky (apparently at the same time). Anyone who has taken a photograph of a dark street with a bit of blue sky in it will know that if the street is exposed correctly, the sky will typically be burnt into some boring white haze, giving the appearance of a grey overcast day although it may have been sunny. This is illustrated with the two images below.

Interiour courtyard of the Convento de las Dueñas in Salamanca before reducing exposure in the sky

Interior courtyard of the Convento de las Dueñas in Salamanca (Spain) before reducing exposure of the sky. In order to correctly expose the shaded walkway along the columns, the sky has been overexposed. In this “original” image, the sky therefore looks grey, giving the impression of an overcast day.

Interiour courtyard of the Convento de las Dueñas in Salamanca after reducing exposure of the sky

The same image as above, but with the highlights recovered (reducing the exposure by 1.8 stops). Only now does it become obvious that the day was indeed nice and sunny and the mood in the photograph has changed considerably. Some people would consider this image a “fake”. I would consider it bringing the image closer to (my subjective recollection of) reality.

With the advent of digital photography, and in particular the RAW file format, cameras can now capture about +/- 3 stops more than what is actually seen on the screen. This means that in the post processing of your images, you can shift the exposure in all – or parts – of the image to recover some of the burnt out or underexposed areas. To me this is more like restoring the image to a more accurate representation of reality (whatever that may be in my or any photographer’s subjective opinion) rather than a manipulation thereof. If we return to the two images above, I am essentially restoring the blue colour to the sky as the non-processed image would give the false impression of a grey overcast day.

According to an interview with Paul Hansen, the photographer of the price-winning image, this is exactly what he did. He created 3 copies of the same RAW file and blended them together. One copy would be highly underexposed (to bring out the sky and those parts of the houses that are in direct sunlight), the second one may be the image how the camera took it, and the third one a highly overexposed version to bring out the shadows. All this can be done from the information contained in the original RAW file as it stores +/- 3  stops on either end. The result is what is typically known as an HDR, or high dynamic range image. In my opinion, anyone who considers this an illegitimate image manipulation or even a “forgery”, as was written in some places, has very little knowledge of photography.

It would be naive to assume that only a completely unprocessed image would be able to provide an accurate representation of reality. Already the decision of what the photographer chooses to include in the frame and what to omit can lead to a distortion of reality without the need for any image processing. Anyone who has fallen for the nice glossy images of apparently pristine and secluded beaches in travel catalogues will know what I mean. Admittedly, the image in question was not from a travel catalogue but a press photograph and different standards apply (and rightly so). Nevertheless, by adjusting image brightness and/or exposure, one can hardly accuse the photographer of forgery as the main subject of the image remained unchanged and the events leading up to the image are undisputed.

I guess the only conclusion to draw from this discussion is that no photograph can represent “reality” to 100%, especially if we define “reality” as the way a scene would present itself to an in situ human observer (a Palestinian will probably see a different reality in the price-winning image compared to an Israeli). The interpretation of an image always depends on the context and background within the mind of the observer. So one single image can represent several different truths without having to be manipulated in any way. Of course we need to be able to place a certain amount of trust both in the photographer and the magazine or newspaper where it appears. Different media outlets have varying standards and so do photographers and our trust may be misplaced sometimes. It is therefore always good advice to consult different sources (main stream and alternative) to find some approximation of your very own version of the truth.

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The modern face of Barcelona

Most visitors coming to Barcelona have several items on their must-see list, such as the Gaudí buildings and parks, the Picasso museum, La Rambla, and maybe even Camp Nou, Europe’s largest football stadium. Very rarely do people come to Barcelona with the intention to see some of its more modern aspects, such as the prime examples of contemporary architecture which are springing up all over the city. If you are looking for some good “off-the-beaten-track” sightseeing, far from the crowds of the Gótico or Park Güell, this might be just the thing for you. Especially in the districts of Poblenou/Diagonal Mar but also along the water front and even dotted throughout the Gótico you can find some good examples of the city’s more modern face.

The first wave of modern architecture came with the Barcelona Olympics in 1992. Especially the buildings along the Olympic Port date from this period and include famous architects such as Gehry and Skidmore, Owing & Merill who created the Arts Hotel and adjacent whale sculpture.

Barcelona Arts Hotel with whale sculpture

Barcelona Arts Hotel with whale sculpture

Several years after the Olympic boom, there was a second wave of modernisation in an effort to breathe fresh life into a by then rather derelict part of town: the Forum. Architects Herzog and de Meuron created the Forum building which now houses the Museum of Natural History (Museu Blau).

Barcelona Natural History Museum (Museu Blau)

Barcelona Natural History Museum (Museu Blau)

Skylight in the Barcelona Natural History Museum (Museu Blau)

Skylight in the Barcelona Natural History Museum (Museu Blau)

Barcelona Natural History Museum (Museu Blau)

Facade of the Barcelona Natural History Museum (Museu Blau)

At the tip of the Forum, stands another modern icon of the city: an impressive 10,500 m2 array of solar panels (the largest urban solar structure in Europe by the way). Today the Forum is mainly used to host large music events such as the annual Primavera Sound Festival. As a result, the area is mostly deserted which makes for a nice getaway from the crowded city centre.

Large array of solar panels in the Barcelona Forum

Large array of solar panels in the Barcelona Forum

More recently, the suburb of Poblenou (literally “New Village”) has seen a medium sized construction boom. During the Industrial Revolution, Poblenou was a local centre for industry and manufacture. As a result, the district mainly consisted of factories and warehouses accompanied by working class residential buildings. After decades of neglect and decay, and with in some areas almost 40% vacant buildings, a new ambitious plan has been drawn up to transform the suburb into a modern technology park. As a result, the new 22@District in Poblenou showcases some prime examples of contemporary architecture, including the MediaTIC Building by architects from Cloud 9 led by Enric Ruiz-Geli. As an example for sustainable architecture, this building is particularly interesting as its facade is covered with inflatable bubbles which help to regulate the lighting and temperature and lead to a 20% reduction in heating and cooling costs.

Facade of the MediaTIC Building in Poblenou

Facade of the MediaTIC Building in Poblenou

Facade of the MediaTIC Building in Poblenou

Facade of the MediaTIC Building in Poblenou

Another example for sustainable architecture is the CMT headquarters building by Battle & Roig Architects (2010) where the self-shading facade leads to a much reduced energy bill during the hot summer months.

CMT headquartes in the 22@District in Poblenou

CMT headquartes in the 22@District in Poblenou

This list is of course far from complete. Other examples include the Marenostrum Tower, the Imagina Building, the RTVE Corporate Building, la Illa de la Llum, the P99, the Disseny Hub Barcelona, the Spiral Tower, and of course the Agbar Tower which make the 22@District in Barcelona well worth the detour from the more traditional sights in the city centre.

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New Google image search leads to drastic reduction in site referrals

Earlier this year, Google changed the way its image search works. While you only used to get thumbnail previews of the original image Google now displays the full size image in its search results, essentially making it unnecessary for the user to click through to the main page where the original image is hosted. While this may enhance the user experience, it is essentially a breach of copyright (see previous blog post) and resulted in a large decrease in referral traffic from Google to photographic sites (including Chocolate Fish Photos).  According to an industry wide survey, the average number of referrals from Google’s image search dropped by anything from 60-80% depending on the proportion of image content of the site. For Chocolate Fish Photos, which is more than 80% image based, the drop has been of the order of 70%.

google-referal-stats-figure

Comparing the daily Google referral traffic to www.chocolate-fish.net for the months of April 2012/2013.


It is interesting to note how the drop is not uniform, however. The table below illustrates how the drop only occurred in those countries which have already implemented the new Google image search. In Germany and France, where pending copyright issues have prevented its introduction so far, the referral traffic is up by 150 and 50% respectively. Based on these figures, it is likely that the effect of the new Google image search is actually much higher than 70%.

google-referal-stats

Google referral traffic to www.chocolate-fish.net from different countries. All countries where the new image search has been implemented show a strong decline in referrals. Only Germany and France where the old thumbnail-only image search is used, shows the opposite trend with a referral increase of 150 and 50% respectively.

While I cannot speak for other sites, the Google referral traffic used to constitute about 35% of the total unique visits to the Chocolate Fish Photos site. A reduction of up to 80% in referrals has thus a considerable impact on our total visitor throughput to the site.

While Chocolate Fish Photos is a small and independent photography site and does not display any on-site advertising, some photography sites also try to boost their income by displaying ads on their pages. As Google now keeps the users within the Google search pages all the time, the impact on advertising revenue for such sites must be considerable. One more blow to an already struggling photography industry.

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Photographers in Germany go to court over new Google image search

Google recently changed the way its “image search” works. Previously, the search results would display only a small thumbnail of the original image. In order to see the full size image, the user had to click on the thumbnail which would take them to the website containing the original photograph. This is no longer the case. The new image search displays the image in its full size within the context of the Google search pages. The result is that users no longer visit the photographer’s website but spend more time within the Google context, thereby maximising their exposure to and Google’s profit from its own advertising.

Freelens, the professional body of German photographers and photo journalists, argues that this practice is in violation of basic authorship and copyright laws. Images cannot be used (i.e. displayed) in their full size without the author’s (photographer’s) permission. It is also in direct violation of a ruling by Germany’s highest court which expressly stated that search engines may only display copyrighted images in their search results as size-reduced thumbnails but not as full size images. Freelens therefore sent Google a request to desist from such practices. The request went unanswered and now court action has been initiated. Freelens stated that it was “alarming how little respect Google showed towards elementary rights of authorship and copyright”. “It cannot be that photographers are degraded to mere content providers for Google.” Yahoo, another mayor search provider, has already responded and provided a “cease-and-desist declaration” reverting their image search to the original thumbnail-only version. It will be interesting to see how this case develops…

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A trip to the Spanish heartland: Castile

During the Easter weekend, I travelled through Castile which includes the autonomous regions of Castilla y Léon and Castilla la Mancha, the traditional heartlands and geographic centre of Spain. With Castile being as far from the sea as you can get in Spain, it doesn’t attract nearly as many visitors as its Mediterranean counterparts of Catalonia, Valencia, or Andalusia. Nevertheless, its many cultural and historical treasures make it a definite must-see on any trip to Spain.

My journey first took me to the historic city of Segovia, famous for its large Roman Aqueduct which is one of the best preserved Roman structures on the entire Iberian peninsula and listed as a UNESCO cultural world heritage site.

The Roman Aqueduct in Segovia

The Roman Aqueduct in Segovia

Segovia is also home to the Alcázar (the royal castle and residence to some of the Castilian kings as far back as the 12th century) and a massive cathedral which is considered to be a particularly fine example of the local Gothic style as it was among the last cathedrals to be built in this style in Spain.

Inside Segovia Cathedral

Main organ inside Segovia Cathedral

After a brief stop-over in Ávila, which is renowned for having a completely preserved city wall encircling the entire old town, I arrived in Salamanca, about 2 hours West of Madrid. Salamanca is a city which has history oozing out of every nook and cranny. It feels like it was built with the sole purpose to impress a sense of grandeur onto the visitor. Wherever you turn, there is another towering cathedral, a Gothic convent, a grand square, or medieval palace. The entire old town is listed as a UNESCO world heritage site and includes a magnificent Plaza Mayor (main square) and the city´s university which is the oldest in Spain and the second oldest in the Western World after Bologna in Italy.

The Plaza Mayor (main square) in Salamanca

The Plaza Mayor (main square) in Salamanca

With it being the Easter weekend, the cities in Spain are trying to outdo each other by putting on spectacular religious processions which can last hours and involve corporal mortification or something that is not too far off like a few dozen men having to carry religious displays that can weigh over a ton. While the processions in Salamanca are not as festive as in Andalusia nor as solemn as in neighbouring Valladolid, the entire city seemed to be caught in a mood of religious devotion.

Religious procession during Semana Santa (Easter) in Salamanca

Religious procession during Semana Santa (Easter) in Salamanca

My final stop on the trip was Toledo, a smug little town just 1 hour to the South of Madrid. While Salamanca impresses with its grandeur and the many towering Gothic churches and palaces, Toledo’s charm lies in its small alleyways, its concentration of local artists and craftsmen including its patissiers who produce the famous Toledo marzipan. Add to this a spectacular location in a u-shaped meander of the Tajo river and your feel like you never want to leave again.

Toledo city panorama with river Tajo

Toledo city panorama with river Tajo

Another intriguing aspect of Toledo are its old synagogues, in particular the Ibn Shushan Synagogue. What makes this synagogue remarkable is that its style and architecture were completely preserved over the centuries, despite its conversion into a Catholic church in the early 15th century (being renamed Santa María la Blanca in the process) and despite its builders having been expelled from the country by royal edict in 1492. It is therefore not only one of the few remaining synagogues in Spain itself but considered one of the oldest synagogues still standing in all of Europe. Ironically it is now owned and operated as a tourist attraction by the Catholic Church.

The Santa Maria la Blanca synagogue in Toledo

The Santa Maria la Blanca synagogue in Toledo

Like many countries in Europe, Spain boasts a large degree of diversity in a relatively small area. If you are planning to visit Spain, make sure you pencil in some time to visit its cultural and historic heartland, the central plateau which was once the kingdom of Castile.

To view the entire collection of photos please visit the Castile gallery.

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World Press Photo awards 2013

From a total of 100,000 entries, the winners of the World Press Photo awards 2013 have been announced in Amsterdam. There are some truly amazing images to be seen both among the winners and the various runner-ups. One of my personal favourites is the winner of the “sports action – singles” category:

The winner of the “Sports Action Single” category by phogographer Wei Seng Chen.

The winner of the “Sports Action Single” category by phogographer Wei Seng Chen.

The image shows a jockey clutching to the tails of two bulls tearing across a rice field during Pacu Jawi, a traditional bull race which marks the end of harvest season in Batu Sangkar, West Sumatra, Indonesia. The image bursts with energy, motion, life … truly impressive. Also the photos in the other categories are striking. You can check them out on the World Press Photo awards website.

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New Paris Gallery online

New Photos have been added to the Chocolate Fish Photos archives. They include images from some of the most well known landmarks of Paris, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Notre Dame cathedral, and the Arc de Triomphe.
The images can be found in the new Paris Gallery.

Paris Eiffel Tower at night

Paris Eiffel Tower at night

Notre Dame Cathedral

Notre Dame Cathedral

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Barcelona in winter …

… is nice. Especially the balmy days with lots of sunshine provide a welcome respite for travellers from colder climates. So far, the average daytime temperatures have ranged from 12° to 20°C this winter. The city is less crowded and especially the small beach towns to the North and South hardly see any tourists this time of year.  There are some new photos available from Barcelona and the beach town of Sitges about 30 minutes South of Barcelona. They can be found in the Barcelona, Barcelona Gaudí, and Catalonia albums.

Epiphany celebrations in Sitges near Barcelona

Epiphany procession in Sitges near Barcelona

Casa Batló

Casa Batló by Antoni Gaudí is one of the major tourist attractions in Barcelona

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