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Top 10 Great Destinations for Amateur Photographers

Your skills in capturing images will not be upgraded unless you consider versatility. If you keep on concentrating on shooting pictures at the same kind of place, you may no longer be challenged. You will not be able to go beyond what you can already do. Do you ever wonder why photographers travel the world? It is because the earth has tons to offer if you want to improve your photography skills.

Many amateurs do not get to learn the value of color balance, lenses, and speed unless they encounter a different object or scene to take a picture of. Relatively, if you want your photos to tell stories, you cannot settle for the standard configuration alone. Moreover, if you can captivate your audience’s attention, you should give them a sense of diversity.

To help you begin your journey in professional photography, here are destinations that matches your amateur skills well.

Beautiful shot of the Colosseum at night
Photo by David Iliff

Rome, Italy. Italy is known for being rich in history, feudal families, liberal groups, and warfare. This implies that you can capture tons of stories just by visiting the country. Rome is not only home to fascinating churches or ruins, you will get more than a cultural heritage in the city. You will never fall short of sport to take images of in the city.

According to professional photographers, you can spend long years in the place, but still find yourself incomplete with shots given its pack of fascinating sceneries.

White Sands, New Mexico. If you are from the United States, this is the place to be if you are not available for an out-of-the-country tour. This may be cliché for some, but it has always been considerable to take a shot of the desert glow. The best time to capture the area is when the sun sets and a full moon rises.

Ladakh, India. Many photographers have visited this area due to its incredible barren moonscape. According to accounts, this region located in a north-western part of Indian is more than 10,000 feet from the ground surface. You will not only enjoy taking shots of this scenery but anticipate spotting an endangered snow leopard.

The Zanskar River is used to transport anything between villages of the area. It must be noted that from October to May, the roads are all closed.

Dubai skyline.
Photo by Nepenthes

Dubai. Amateurs often think of historical cities or towns to capture when practicing their skills when they can do the same with urbanized countries. Dubai is known for its significant development, and taking shots of its buildings will already do you great. You can consider taking a shot of its growing city to its vast deserts. Capturing the city from your office or hotel can already do the trick.

Santorini, Greece. You will find this place in South Aegean Sea. Many consider the spot as one of the most romantic locations in the world. Most tourists wait for the light spectacle to dip below the horizon of the sea as the sun sets. No matter how basic it may sound, artists worldwide have always dreamt of capturing the magical place. Seeing the place for yourself will be a fulfilling experience.

Patagonia, Chile-Argentina. The area is composed of most of the southern parts of Chile and Argentina. You can also call it as the American wild west of South America. Deserts, mountains, grasslands, snow-capped peaks, and buttes are all found in the place. Take note that the location is even more scenic given its fjords, penguins, and other notable wildlife animals.

Tekapo, New Zealand. The travel community has flocked thist country since the Lord of the Rings movie came into existence. Although the country is small by size, there are too many places to take advantage of to practice your photography skills. Lake Tekapo is one proof as it allows you to gaze at the stars and capture the mesmerizing Milky Way.

Haleakala National Park, Hawaii. Overnight stays in the area are allowed given you have obtained a permit for camping. The best image you can capture in this area is the astral scene. You will get a clear shot of its seas and skies for the place has almost zero light pollution.

Angkor Wat and Budhist Monks
Photo by Sam Garza

Angkor Wat, Cambodia. You can begin taking pictures of Siem Reap and Angkor Temple Complex and fulfill your delight. To make your experience even more ideal, you should wait for spots of sunrise to fade away. From this point on, you will witness various colors lingering at the top of temple spires, which are only perfect for a shot.

The Kimberly, Australia. This place gives you an opportunity to witness an untouched landscape. Take time to capture vast marine parks, ancient mountains, and bizarre nature only this site can offer.

Improving your photography skills can be done without having to confine yourself in a studio. Pair your training with an exploration of the world, which is the best subject of photography.


Main Featured Image: Tso Moriri Lake, Korzok, Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, India Photo by Prabhu B

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Top 10 Surfing Beaches in Brazil for Active Tourists

Brazil occupies 50 percent of South America’s east coast. By size, it is the fifth largest country in the region. Since then, Brazil has become a place to visit if you are looking for quiet beaches and powerful waves. Sports enthusiasts commend Brazilian beaches for having excellent swell consistency and various waves.

According to surfers, both beginners and professionals can enjoy surfing in Brazil given that you have tons of options to choose from.

To give you some good choices, to begin with, here are the top 10 surfing beaches in Brazil:

Barra da Tijuca Beach in Rio de Janeiro
Photo by Andre V Ruas

Barra da Tijuca. This is found at the eastern part of Rio de Janeiro. Compared to other surfing beaches, this area is known for its high-end condominiums and hotels as its background. There are many spots where you can conveniently surf alone in the beach. Most of the time, the areaa near condos can be crowded. Every morning, you can anticipate waves reaching up to 2 meters.

Ipanema. Apparently, this city houses most of the famous beaches in the country. Aside from its scenic views, you will find its high waves perfect match for your sports. Beginners, intermediate surfers, and professionals can practice in this area. Notably, the beach starts at around two feet, which is ideal if you are starting to learn the activity. If you have been surfing for years, most likely, you will be in awe of Ipanema’s 12 feet waves.

You should visit this area if you want to upgrade your skills. Whether you’re looking for massive waves or mild swells, you got it both in Ipanema.

Macumba Curve. You will find it around 12 km from Rio’s center which is why this beach is crowded most of the time. You will love the place’s right and left swells. Surfers of all levels will find it enjoyable to practice their skills in Macumba Curve. Nonetheless, you are advised to be cautious of sandbars for it may have some shallow water depending on the position of tides.

In case you find it tiring to surf throughout the day, you will also find this place a must-visit for delicious local meals and refreshing beverages.

Copacabana. This is among famous beaches of Brazil ideal for surfing. It is popular due to its right-hand point break and main beach break. When the swell is right, you can reach 300 meters. Major swells develop in the beach to its large headland to the south.

Arpoador. You will find this in eastern Rio de Janeiro. Many consider this as the birthplace of surfing in the country. Relatively, you will locate it in the east end of Ipanema. This beach has a signature great rock background. Both beginners and experienced surfers can enjoy their sports in the area.

Throughout the 12 months of the year, you will enjoy its left-hand beach break. Lefts can also reach up to 3 meters. However, take note that Arpoador is crowded due to the hassle-free access to the beach. To avoid this, you may consider surfing at night. Do not worry since Arpoador is lit at night for everyone to enjoy a sunless dip.

Posto 1 Beach. This beach is lovable if you are looking for thick barrels or waves. In other words, beginners may not find the area suitable. Advanced or intermediate surfers, on the other hand, will consider this beach a paradise. Local bodyboarders regulate the break, but you will certainly earn tons of rides when you need to.

Buzios Scenery
Photo by Mario Roberto Duran Ortiz

Geriba. This is Búzios’ most famous beach. You will find wealthy people enjoying their summer in this place. You can select from a variety of surf spots on this beach. It is best for its south to east swell and northeast wind.

Engenhoca. The beach could be found in the north-east part of Brazil. If you are opting for any level or size of wave, this place is the spot to visit. You get beach break, left, right, smooth waves, point break, paddling channel and long waves in the area. The superior consistency of waters can be experienced between September and March.

Slow currents in the beach make it considerable for beginners. From the parking lot, the ocean is highly accessible. You simply have to pass through a forest for 20 minutes to reach the waters.

Joatinga. Fantastic surfing experience is offered by this beach located in a small neighborhood. If you hate storming a beach with crowds, this is a place to isolate yourself in. Waves of the beach begin at approximately waist level. Anticipate the swells to hold up to six feet. Beginners and intermediates will find the beach considerable since basics and upgrades in skills can be learned in its waters.

Fernando de Noronha. Others declare this place as the best surfing beach the country can offer. It is filled with beach breaks. You can surf in the waters throughout the year. However, November through March are the months when the North Atlantic winter swells, giving you the best waves.

Itacaré. Many claim that you will no longer leave this place once you surfed on its beach. It has powerful beach breaks by the coast. This is also a party paradise with tons of surfers around to get eacquaindt with.

You do not have to stick to a single surfing place when you can travel to Brazil and experience different beach breaks to challenge your sports skills.


Main Featured Photo: Itacaré, Bahia – Brazil – Photo by Katita Alves

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A first Hyatt in Iraq

Hyatt Regency Photo: Copyright(C) Hyatt Development Inc.
Hyatt Regency
Photo: Copyright(C) Hyatt Development Inc.
Hyatt is set to become the first international renowned hotel chain to open a luxury establishment in Iraq. The news comes as the war-torn nation fights its way back to stability. A sign of this newfound prosperity is the fact that the new Hyatt Regency Sulaymaniyah will not fall short of the Hyatt brand name tradition, neither on features or grandiose.

This magnificent new development will be equipped with 210 guestrooms, an all-day open restaurant, over 17,500 square feet (1,660 square meters) of meetings space for corporate events.

As you may expect, the hotel will offer a complete quality of life infrastructure including a fitness center, five spa rooms, and 3 swimming pools.

The Hyatt Regency Sulaymaniyah will be the single hotel in Hawary Shar Park, a 240 acres leisure and entertainment park currently under development. The new region will also offer a shopping mall, a golf course and zoological gardens. Sulaymaniyah is located at 210 miles northeast of Baghdad.

Collage of Sulaymaniyah photos.  Photo: Diyar Se / Wikimedia Commons
Collage of Sulaymaniyah photos.
Photo: Diyar Se / Wikimedia Commons

“Bringing the Hyatt brand to Iraq is one of the most exciting projects we have in development. Kurdistan is a stable and prosperous area of Iraq, and as a result, the economy is growing and demand for lodging accommodations is rising,” said Peter Norman, senior vice president, real estate and development, for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. “There is great potential for growth in Iraq and throughout the Middle East, and we look forward to introducing the Hyatt brand to guests visiting the region. Hyatt Regency Sulaymaniyah will offer a full range of services, amenities and dining options to meet the needs of both business and leisure travelers.”

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Hotel lobby named after Leona Helmsley’s dog

Most of us have only due bills named after us. Though The Queen of the Palace Hotel, or “The Queen of Mean” to some, probably paid some heavy duty bills during her lifetime, her little dog, Trouble, never needed to be concerned with the collectors.

In fact, her former little rich friend just got paid a tribute by the New York Palace Hotel crew: a bar named after him. Now when you head over to the Palace, you will enjoy a nice time at Trouble’s Trust.

For those who haven’t met him yet, Trouble was Helmsley’s relatively unknown dog until her death in 2007 at 87 years old, when it was widely reported that he, the dog, had inherited $12 million dollars making it the richest four legged being on this planet. Trouble passed away in 2011, just 4 years after his human.

The inheritanced was not too bad – but it was nothing compared to the riches left behind by Leona, whose estate is worth U$ 8 billion in today’s money. Still, Helmsley was no stranger to trouble(with a t), having faced jail for tax evasion in the late 1980’s, as you can see on the following not-so-flattering mugshot.

Cheers Mrs. Helmsley!
A smile from Mrs. Helmsley!

No troubles for Trouble as he’s now immortal at The Palace Hotel. If you happen to be anywhere near, then by all means stop by Trouble’s Trust and enjoy your favorite boutique cocktail.

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Hotel Ginebra in Barcelona

A few months ago I got word from two good friends that they had settled in Barcelona. I met Alfred and Yvonne in a trip to Europe some 15 years back and it’s always great to hear from them again.

I’m glad to report that they’ve opened a brand new hotel in Barcelona, at Plaza Catalunya. I have to say I really like what I’ve seen because I know they’ve invested heart and soul into making it great for their guests.

Room at Hotel Ginebra Barcelona

I’d like to introduce you to Barcelona’s brand new Hotel Ginebra at Plaza Catalunya!

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The world’s 10 tallest hotels

In many cultures and professions being tall has always been something to be proud of. Beauty pageants require their applicants to reach a certain height limit, for instance. In basketball, we better have a height of 6 feet or above or you’ll be called “shorty”!

Photo: @lileepod  at Flickr
Photo: @lileepod at Flickr