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Hae Deshaies
I am an RF Engineer by profession, I do design and development on 5G network at Nokia, prior I have done various jobs in marketing, maintenance and education. I
How To Take Great Travel Photos!I love photography - it's definitely one of my passions... as is travel, of course! But how do you get amazing photos of the places you visit? How many times have you been somewhere stunningly beautiful but when you've looked at your photos back home, it just doesn't look anywhere near as fabulous as it did in real life? If this has happened to you, read on for my best travel photography tips... Always have your camera/phone to hand! It sounds obvious, but if you don't, you could miss a great photo opportunity! [caption id=attachment_3480 align=aligncenter width=761] There were lots of photo opportunities whilst boring round the souks of Marrakech, Morocco [/caption] Learn to shoot on manual If you're using anything other than a phone to take photos, you need to learn to shoot in manual mode to give you more control. Your camera has a limited range if left to its own devices so you need to tweak the settings to get the best photo you can. You can make some corrections later, but it is quicker and easier to take the best shot you can get in the first place. So, read your camera's manual or, even better, book on a photography course. [caption id=attachment_3901 align=aligncenter width=760] Shooting on manual gives you much more control over your shots[/caption] Pay attention to composition The key to a great photo is great composition. Think about where everything is positioned in the shot and ask yourself if that is the best layout. Could you move slightly to get a better angle, for example? What about breaking the rule of thirds (where you split your shot into three and position the focal point off-centre)? [caption id=attachment_3897 align=aligncenter width=756] Don't be afraid to take photos from unusual angles[/caption] Think about the point of your shot What are you trying to capture? A beautiful landscape? A striking building? People? Atmosphere? Decide what the main feature is then compose the rest of the shot around it. And don't put yourself in EVERY shot - people know what you look like and would probably prefer to see where you've been! [caption id=attachment_3900 align=aligncenter width=744] I love the shape of the roof of the Winter Gardens in Sheffield[/caption] Get the lighting right The right light can make or break a shot. If the light is not good, can you come back later when it may be better? Think about the golden hours of photography - shortly after sunrise and just before sunset - as these times provide the most flattering light. Nighttime shots can look really effective, but you need to get your camera settings right. [caption id=attachment_3895 align=aligncenter width=583] I took various shots of Radio City in NYC but this is the one that I felt worked best[/caption] Tell a story Take photos that capture what is going on around you. Capture a moment that speaks to you... and that will speak to others too! Really look around you for interesting shots... you just never know what you might spot. [caption id=attachment_3894 align=aligncenter width=629] You can tell how content Freya is in this shot without even seeing her face![/caption] Be original Try not to take the same shots that every other tourist takes! Look for different views of your travels that are unique to you... try taking close-ups or spontaneous shots that capture the mood of a place. [caption id=attachment_3892 align=aligncenter width=775] I loved these brightly coloured spices in Marrakech, Morocco[/caption] Taking great travel photos (or any type of photos) is often a matter of trial and error - the more you experiment, the better your final results will be! So don't be afraid to try lots of different approaches! Do you like photography or do you have any great tips for budding travel photographers? Let me know int he comments below... Happy Snapping! Kate
Boat Charter Komodo: Exploring Kalong IslandWhen you embark on an adventure to Komodo National Park you probably only expecting Komodo to be the only unique creature that you might find on land. But there’s a small island located near the border of Komodo National Park called Kalong Island. Usually, when you went with Boat Charter Komodo, they will take you there for a short trip before entering Komodo Island. Visiting Kalong Island via Boat Charter Komodo is the simplest way Kalong in the Javanese language means Bat. You might already guess why the island is called that by now, but yeah… the reason Is that there’s a large population of bats inhabiting this island. Other than bats, there’s also a group of dangerous animals like snakes roaming the island. Therefore, going to this island by yourself is certainly not safe. That’s why you will need a guide while traveling the island, and the cost for one day can reach IDR 3 million. Considering there’s not much to explore on the island, it’s really not worth spending that much on one day. So alternatively you can join a trip with boat charter Komodo and the fee for the guide is already included in the package, it’s more convenient that way and you can also guarantee to get a professional guide. What’s to see in Kalong Island? Kalong Island is surrounded by mangrove forests, and the bats can be seen on the trees during daylight shielding themselves from the heat of the sun. But do we come all the way here just to see bats hiding in the trees? Of course not. Well, there are some bats that already flying around at noon but the real attraction begins after sundown, at around 6 PM. By that time, you can hear faintly the bats are making a screeching sound to communicate with each other. And after a while, hundreds of them start flying from the trees into the skies. These bats are flying towards Flores island, where there are lots of fruit trees and plantation to get food, and then into the Komodo Island. You can enjoy the sight of this unique phenomenon near the shores or in the boat. You can even request the captain to adjust the boat to get a better view. I mean, where else can you see a swarm of bats flying in the sky while enjoying your drinks right? More Komodo Travelling Tips: 17 essential items for your awesome Komodo Liveaboard trip Komodo Cruises Labuan Bajo: What to Pack on a Liveaboard Green Travelling with Komodo Cruises Labuan Bajo Other activities to Do with Boat Charter Komodo Aside from its population of bats, this island also has a good snorkeling and diving spots. Like Manta Point, there are population of jellyfish in the area. Although not as beautiful as other diving spots, the sight of jellyfish swimming through the coals can truly be a sight to behold. So, what are you waiting for? Witness yourself the magnificent Kalong Island and make your holiday something to remember! Contact Boat Charter Komodo nearby and prepare to meet these flying creatures dancing through the night sky!
My 2019 in Review... And 62 Book ReviewsThis year was a big year for me, both personally and professionally, but also one of the most difficult. Here’s a pro tip of life advice: know that when following up something insanely successful, no matter how well your next thing does, it will never feel like it was enough. I launched Everything is Fucked: A Book About Hope on May 15th. A lot went into it. In fact, I probably overdid it on many dimensions because of my insecurity with following up on The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. My editor once told me that good writing can be summed up in one phrase, “Stop trying so hard.” He said the role of an editor is to tell the author when they’re overdoing it. I probably overdid it in places. It’s a more challenging book—probably more challenging than it needed to be. In hindsight, I think I had a bit of a chip on my shoulder. After the success of Subtle Art, I felt this weird itch to prove that I could write a much more intellectual book than just a run-of-the-mill, fun self-help stuff. I still think the book turned out great, but looking back, I probably could have chilled a bit on some of the sections. When it came to launching the thing, I also went a bit overboard. I did 27 speaking events in six different countries. In hindsight, that was probably about 10-12 too many. I physically and mentally destroyed myself traveling. And while speaking and meeting fans were really cool, it probably wasn’t worth doing as many events as I did. All that effort and stress looks somewhat silly in hindsight because what I eventually discovered was that my expectations were so warped, I was going to feel disappointment no matter what happened. The book sold over half a million copies in six months, spent 14 weeks on the NYTimes Bestseller list (including debuting at #1). It was #1 in six different countries. Yet, because of the size of the shadow cast by Subtle Art, it all somehow felt meager and unworthy. I had a mini-breakdown in early June and then quickly managed to get over myself. I feel fine about it now. I’m a young author. I will have 20-30 books in my career. Just learn from this one and move on. Going into 2020, I feel better than I have in a long time—mentally, emotionally and physically. I’ve got an Audible Original Audiobook about relationships coming out in a few months, and work on Will Smith’s autobiography continues to go well (even if it’s slow). Look for that in 2021. In the meantime, I’ve redoubled my efforts to the website. You’ve probably noticed me being more active around here lately. That’s because for the first time since 2017, I actually have time to dedicate to it. It feels good to be back. No matter what I do and how successful it is, this is still my home. My Favorite Books of 2019 But the books… Every year, I list each book I read that year. I write reviews for my favorites and give 1-2 sentences summarizing how I felt about all of the others. You can also find the round-ups for my reading in 2018 and 2017. This year I read 62 books. 56 were nonfiction and six were fiction. Of the 56 nonfiction, a whopping 22 were either biographies or memoirs. I focused on these because I’m currently working on Will Smith’s autobiography/memoir. In total, I read 19,054 pages (far fewer than the past two years), averaging 52 pages per day, and 307 pages per book. I also started and abandoned nine other books (which, you’ll remember, I encourage you to do). I am pleased to announce that, after having been bothered for years by readers, I made an effort this year to read more female authors. In 2019, a full half of the books I read were written by women. Yes, even here we can find equality. What I learned from the effort was… well, not much actually. A good book is still a good book. And a bad book is still a bad one. Anyway, I’m glad I put the effort in, but it didn’t really offer any large realizations. However, I did update my reading recommendation list with more female authors—something I’ve been yelled at to do for years now. OK, on with it. My top five books that I read in 2019 were the following: This Life: Secular Faith and Spiritual Freedom by Martin Hägglund, Exhalation: Stories by Ted Chiang, Three Women by Lisa Taddeo, Behind …
A Local's Guide to 10 Days in Sri LankaTucked away in South Asia and surrounded by the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is a majestic island nation that travellers must visit at least once in their lifetime. It boasts of calming tropical weather, jaw-dropping adventures and diverse attractions that will keep you wanting more. It is an ideal holiday destination renowned among backpackers, solo travellers, and honeymooners alike. You can relax and unwind on its sandy beaches, or partake in thrilling activities in the mountains. Its old-heritage monuments and colonial remnants will speak of its centuries-old history. The good thing about travelling Sri Lanka is that you can experience its varied attractions within a short time frame. This 10 Days in Sri Lanka Itinerary will help you capture the best of the island by taking you through its prominent attractions. If you are wondering how to get around Sri Lanka, I have included some useful tips below and throughout the itinerary. When travelling long distances, for example, I advise you to opt for train rides whenever possible because you can easily purchase tickets and they are cheap. Also, tuktuks are the most convenient way to visit different places and areas in each city. They are reasonably priced and offer a fun riding experience. But, make sure you get a good bargain and don’t overpay! When it comes to accommodation, Sri Lanka has a fair share of motels, lodges, resorts and hotels for a range of prices. I recommend you choose places that are most comfortable for you and that is within your travel budget as it will help you save money when travelling.
Paris France day trip to the Chateau de VersaillesYou have probably waited a lifetime to take the perfect trip to Paris and we all know that life sometimes makes us take a different path from which we originally intended. Life may have caught up to you and you just never made the time to go, but it's time to stop making excuses! Now is the perfect time to visit Paris in France and no visit to Paris is complete without a day trip to the Château de Versailles and Les Jardins du Château de Versailles. How to get there In order to get to Versailles, you will need to take one of the RER trains out of Paris. RER trains service the suburbs around Paris. The Metro lines service within the confines of the city of Paris. The way you can tell the difference between the Metro lines and the RER lines is that the Metro lines are numbered (1-14) and the RER lines are lettered (A-E). The line you will most likely need to take out of Paris is RER Line C. At the time this blog post was written, RER C was indicated by the color yellow and the letter C. You can purchase your tickets when you get to Paris in any Metro station, but I had the Paris Museum Pass and purchased a 3-day transportation ticket with the pass. I only did this so that I had the ticket before I arrived in Paris. Now that I've been to Paris a few times, I just purchase my tickets upon arrival. I’ve included a downloadable map of the RER C line from Parisbytrain.com. Most likely you’ll be getting on the RER C line at the Orsay Museum (it will say Musee d’Orsay on the map) or Champ de Mars which is by the Eiffel Tower but you can get on the line at any point noted on the map. You just want to make sure that RER C train you get on says Versailles Château-Rive Gauche as the end of the line. If the electronic sign on the front or side of the train says Pontoise then you will need to get off at Champ de Mars station and switch to the train that says Versailles Château-Rive Gauche. So to simplify it, get on the RER C line at any point. If the sign on the train says Versailles Château-Rive Gauche then you're good to go. Otherwise, take the train going toward Pontoise until you get to Champ de Mars then get off, do not leave the underground, and wait for the next RER C train that is going toward Versailles Château-Rive Gauche. Download the map and it will all make sense. You can also read my last post about navigating the Paris metro underground stations and download the app in that post to help make your travels by train much simpler. FYI: Versailles Château-Rive Gauche station is about eight or nine stops from Champ de Mars and should be about a 45-minute ride. Paris is very similar to many other metropolitan cities when it comes to train transport. The further outside the city you go, the more expensive the ticket ride is. Versailles Château-Rive Gauche station is in zone five. The majority of rides around Paris are in zones one and two. The ride out to Versailles may cost about 15 € round trip unless you have a pre-paid ticket like I did with the Paris Museum Pass. This video might also help.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZwUmTXr12DI&w=560&h=315] I also wrote some travel tips in a previous post on how to navigate the Paris underground metro stations if you need more help. If you’ve never ridden on a train before or used public transportation, the process can be a little confusing but once you get on the right train, it’s smooth sailing. What to do at Château de Versailles Once you get to Versailles Château-Rive Gauche station, you can take one of the buses to the actual Château or just walk. The entrance fee to the palace and the gardens were included in our Paris Museum Pass but you can buy tickets. If you purchase tickets through the previous link, just type in Versailles in the search bar and you'll find the Versailles entrance with audio tour ticket. I suggest buying tickets in advance but you can also purchase tickets once you arrive. **TIP: The estate is closed on Mondays. This may also be true to some of the other attractions you’d like to visit around Paris. Be advised that certain museums are closed on different days of the normal work week. Also be aware that there are free days for visitors on certain Sundays throughout the year.*** The palace at Versailles was home to many of the royal family of France for almost a century until the beginning of the French Revolution. The chateau is a symbol of the ancient regime of absolute monarchy by a ruling family that came to an end after the monarchy was overthrown due to the French Revolution. It is a representation of how the French nobility and aristocracy lived prior to the period and the palace, as well as the gardens, are well maintained even though the reign of the monarchy has not existed for several hundred years. The main focal points throughout the palace are the Hall of Mirrorsthe Royal Opera Housethe King’s state apartmentsMarie Antoinette’s private chambersthe apartments of the King’s mistressesthe Dauphin and Dauphine’s roomsall of the art galleries It may help to listen to an audio guide or read about all the history of the rooms that you’re traveling through or you can just look and marvel at the beauty of the signs of French nobility. My sister and I relied a bit on the offline audio tours from Rick Steves as we traveled through Europe. You can download the app For iOS For Android and download the tours you need as you go and then delete them after you’ve visited the attraction to save memory on your phone. The audio tours by Rick Steves are great because since they can be used offline. You don’t have to use data while accessing them and they’re free. If you're looking for the Versailles Audio Tour that is for iOS, click the link to download. For Android, you can download the tour directly into the app once you download the app. I have also included a small list of items that will help you make the most of your trip, keep your energy levels up, and keep your devices and batteries charged. Thoughts and tips regarding the Château and Gardens After making my way through the palace and all of the key rooms, I will say that I was not exactly overwhelmed with emotions by the palace. There were some nice tapestries and well-kept antiques, but nothing really made me gasp for air. What actually knocked my socks off was Les Jardins du Château de Versailles or the gardens. I felt like the palace was small in comparison to the sprawling gardens. The gardens are huge and I encourage getting a map so that you can manage to make your way back to the palace without getting lost. If you time it right, you may even get to experience the sights and sound of the fountain shows around the gardens. I really just loved how there was a surprise around almost every corner while walking around the large hedges. You may be surprised when you come upon the numerous fountains, rare plants, one-of-a-kind sculptures, and expertly cut hedges throughout and it will seem like you’re walking through a maze at many points (hence why the map may be needed). The gardens are the perfect place to take Instagram photos or even have a professional photo shoot. FYI: There is free Wi-Fi in places just in case you really need to stay connected. Also, if you have certain bulky items you’re carrying, there is a left luggage area to drop these items off so you can enjoy the splendors of the chateau without lugging around a heavy bag. As you might expect, the palace is kept in remarkable shape and all of the fabrics and decorum from the period are pristine. If you would like to read more about each of the rooms within the palace, you can find out more and make a list of places you must see. (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); Overall, I felt the Chateau of Versailles was a great way to get out of the city of Paris and see something a little different and experience a little more of the history of France from an outsider looking in. I would plan for at least 3 hours here if you’re looking to take your time and get the full experience. They do have a train that goes around the chateau if you’re looking to speed things up a bit if you’re limited on time. If you are looking for a few other activities, train tickets, and rail passes while in Paris you can find out more in the link below