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Ramdom Thoughts After a Month in Japan

Brendan van Son+Posted By on Apr 16, 2018 |

I was nervously excited about Japan. It was the combination of the sheer weight of the fact that this was my first ever travel destination (20 years ago). In many ways, going to Japan as a kid was my “coming of age” party. It changed me. On one hand, I was worried that it wasn’t going to live up to expectations or memories. But, on the other hand, it was the most outwardly excited I’ve been about a destination since, perhaps, Lesotho.

In turn, Japan hasn’t disappointed. As a result, I feel like I need a place to regurgitate my thoughts; process them. And, hopefully make sense of them. From the best ramen in Japan to answering the age old question of “why is there only one hand dryer in Japanese toilets?”, these are my thoughts after a month here.

Japan, Mount Fuji

A Month in Japan – Things I Love

There’s a lot to love about Japan. But, the things that I love about being here are actually quite a bit different to what I expected them to be. I found myself surprised by the things I found myself appreciating and loving. This is the list.

The Quiet

When you see the stereotypical images of Japan, you often see crowds – people in white gloves pushing people into the trains. And, generally, those crowds are associated with things like noise, traffic jams, and chaos. However, right away upon arrival in Tokyo, the thing that absolutely shocked me was the quiet. We were walking down the main road in Shinjuku – lots of other people out and about – and it was almost dead quiet. No cars honking, no loud engines, no people talking, and it was just quiet. In fact, it almost felt like the conversation we had going was a couple tones too loud, and we were just chatting.

Over the month in Japan, the quiet continued to shock me. Along with the lack of traffic, and quiet streets in the busiest parts of Tokyo, most of the country just has this peaceful quiet to it. I really appreciated it.

Shibuya Crossing

The most chaotic street in Japan. Most are NOT like this.

The Food

If you follow my YouTube channel, you might know of my love of sushi. But, beyond sushi, I’m not really in tuned with the Japanese cuisine. From my visit here as a 13 year old on school exchange, I remember everything having a bit of a fishy taste. And, despite loving raw fish, I’m not really a fan of “fishy” flavoured cooked fish. However, I have quickly found a love for basically all types of Japanese food. From the ramen, to the barbeque, to, yes, the sushi, I’ve loved it.

Ramen chef in Kamikawa, Hokkaido

Ramen chef in Kamikawa, Hokkaido

The Kindness

I stated a while ago that Filipinos are the friendliest people in the world. And while I still think that’s true, I think that Japanese people are the most kind.

Japanese people, are the also the busiest people in the world. However, that wont stop them even for a second to drop everything and help someone out. It really is amazing. Maybe a simple example, but down in the foot bath hot springs in Noboribetsu, we didn’t have a towel to dry our feet. A Japanese couple we didn’t even know just walked up and handed us a towel and said “keep it”. Over this month in Japan we’ve been given towels, snacks, tissues, etc. And beyond the “gifts” we’ve been given sheer kindness and respect.

Kamikawa, Japan

My long lost “mom”. In Kamikawa, Japan.

The Convenience

Fun fact about me: I hate eating and sleeping. I find them both to be wastes of time. I mean, I love food. But, I hate the time it takes to eat. In Japan, since they are the busiest people in the world, everything is convenient. There are vending machines, 7-11s, and places to get quick, but also high quality, food everywhere.

And, even the restaurants are quick. Never would you go to a ramen place and it take more than 15 minutes to get your food and eat. I love it.

And, of course, the food isn’t the only thing that works quickly. The people, the trains, the streets, everything works meticulously and efficiently.

Mount Fuji

Believe it or not, as this photo was exposing, I walked 50m to a vending machine to get a hot coffee.

The Melding of Nature and Human World

Again, getting back to stereotypes. There are so many images of Japan just being this massive urban sprawl. However, the reality of it is that there is a really nice melding of the two. In fact, even Tokyo – which is obviously a mega-city – has plenty of green spaces for the people to retreat to. And, outside the cities, there are lots of natural getaways. As a nature-lover who can get easily worn down by the heaviness of cities, I didn’t feel weighed down at all in Japan.

Hijemi Castle

Hijemi Castle. Definitely a highlight of Japan.

The Photo Locations

Japan has some of the best photo locations in the world. And, I’m working on putting together a list of the best photography locations in Japan, but for now let me just say that this list could be 100x larger.

There are a handful of really iconic photo spots in Japan. However, what most people don’t realize is that there is just an endless number of photogenic places in this country. We only spent time on Honsu and Hokkaido, but I’m sure one could spend years here exploring other spots totally worthy of photos. Moreover, places like Tokyo and Kyoto have their hot-spots for photography, but you can really make beautiful pictures on nearly any street. It is that visually spectacular.

Bamboo forest, Japan

Maybe the most iconic photo spot in Japan.

The Toilets

Look, it’s not just the fact that most of the toilets play music as you poo. It’s not just that they have a spraying clean feature – which, by the way, should be used everywhere else in the world. But, it’s the fact that many of the toilets use grey water to flush in a really genius way. Some of the toilets have a fresh water basin on the top that pours water when you flush. That way, you can wash your hands there. Then, that grey water is used to flush the toilet on the next turn. It’s a very clever, though subtle, way of using grey water.

Hitachi Seaside Park

I don’t have a picture of a toilet, so here’s Hitachi Seaside Park instead.

Videos from Japan?

Before I jump into the things I didn’t really understand, I wanted to share my videos from Japan.
Below is an embedded playlist of those videos.

A Month in Japan – Things I Don’t Understand

Of course, few countries in the world go without having things I don’t understand. Actually, none do. In fact, on the scale of things I don’t understand, Japan factors pretty well. Especially since the stereotypes here will tell you that there’s a lot that will confuse you.

Lack of Garbage Bins

There are vending machines everywhere. Which means that, in theory, people are buying these drinks. However, they must be packing their rubbish home with them because there are no garbage bins anywhere! I once walked a solid half hour with an empty coffee can before finding somewhere to put it.

And, the most amazing part is that there’s no =litter anywhere. I feel like basically anywhere else on the planet, with this few garbage bins, the litter would coat the streets.

Harajuku, Japan

So many people. So few bins.

Lack of Hand Dryers

In the bathrooms, there might be 2 or their might be 20 sinks. But no matter how many, there is likely only one hand dryer. Do Japanese people have magically drying hands? How is it that so many people manage to use the toilets, but no one needs the dryer?

Snow monkey

This monkey came out of the hot springs, and didn’t even have a hand dryer. The audacity.

Bikes on Sidewalks

One thing that surprised me was that there are very few cars on the roads in Japan. After a month in Japan, I started to come to the realization that this was just the norm. But, what I also found to be the norm was people riding their bikes on the sidewalks. Even more amazingly, there are usually bike lanes on the roads and very little traffic to get in the way of cyclists.

So, as a pedestrian, you find yourself constant dodging bikes while walking.

Hokanji, Japan

Again, no picture of the bikes. But, believe me, they were there.

Coffee Shops Closed in the Morning

I’m trying to ween myself off of coffee, but it’s not really working. It was made slightly easier in Japan in that none of the coffee shops are open in the morning. The norm seems to be 10am. Are Japanese people naturally wired, and morning people? How does this country function without morning brew? Of course, the lack of coffee shops is made easier because of the the fresh coffee at the convenience stores and canned coffee in the vending machines.

Kyoto, Japan

When you wake up at 4am to go take pictures like this, there should be coffee.

What’s Next?

Japan has been amazing. And, a month travelling here just isn’t enough. Hopefully, I’ll be back next year.

As for now, I still have the “photography spots of Japan” article coming soon. But, in real life, I’m headed towards South America.

Best Photography Locations in Arizona

Brendan van Son+Posted By on Apr 8, 2018 |

Arizona is such a brilliant state to be a photographer. There are just endless locations to take pictures and work on your photography. Especially if you’re a landscape photographer. I’ve now spent about a month every year for the past couple years exploring Arizona and shooting images at different places, and returning to some as well. These have been my favourite.

A quick note, too. This list is not an “everything” list. These are just the locations I’ve gone out and shot (and liked). Over the years, I’ll be updating this list with new locations I discover. Moreover, if you’ve spent time in Arizona shooting photography and you have a location that you’ve shot that’s not on the list. Please, comment below with the locations – or, better yet, a photo.

Havasu Falls, Arizona

Best Locations in Arizona for Photography

These locations are listed in no particular order. And, as mentioned, these aren’t the only places to shoot. Check out the comment section below for the user-sourced locations as well.

Horseshoe Bend

This is one of the most photographed locations in America. And, while most people misquote it as The Grand Canyon, it’s actually not. That being said, it is the Colorado River below, and, well, it is pretty grand.

Horseshoe Bend is nerve-wracking if you’re afraid of heights. It’s high, there’s no ledge or barrier, it’s often really windy, and to get the best shot you need to be right on the edge.

It is an extremely busy location, though. Especially in the summer months, don’t expect to have this to yourself. It will be packed, there will be other tripods, and you will have to jostle a bit for location. But, the nice thing about Horseshoe Bend is that it is a big area to shoot from. So, with some patience, lots of people can get shots that look like there’s no one else around.

Best Time of Day: Sunrise. It’s quieter. Also, an underrated star photography location.
Best time of Year: Summer is busy, winter is quieter although beware of weather. The fall is most likely to bring rain. Also, avoid Chinese New Year dates as it gets intense with all the Chinese tourists.


Horseshoe Bend, Arizona


Antelope Canyon

There is bad news for photographers at Antelope Canyon. As of 2018, Ken’s Tours – which used to run the photography tour in Lower Antelope Canyon – is no longer running those trips. Thus, no more tripods in Lower Antelope Canyon. The reasoning I was given was because the photographers take up too much time and space in the canyon. It seems they’d prefer to just churn people through. I get it from a financial standpoint. However, I also think photographers would pay a fortune to get some time alone in the canyon. And, it’s a bit of a kick in the face to the photographers whose images really are what made this place so popular. But, it’s also nice that anyone can still visit without paying a fortune.

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

Lower Antelope Canyon

The good news is that there is a photography alternative to Lower Antelope Canyon: Canyon X. Canyon X is awesome. And, the best part is you’re likely to have it alone. When we went, there was only 1 other person in our group. And, according to the land owner, there were only 7 people in the canyon all day. There’s a video below with our experience in the Canyon.

Canyon X, Arizona

Canyon X, also awesome!

Best Time of Day: Whereas most photography is best done at sunrise or sunset, the canyons are best done midday when there’s some light in the canyon. That’s where you have the potential of getting a light ray or two.
Best time of Year: Personally, I think March is ideal. In January you’ll have the lightest crowds, but March you’ll still have small crowds but the light does hit the bottom of parts of the canyon by then.

Location (for Canyon X):

Monument Valley

This is not only one of the most classic photography locations in Arizona, but the whole of the United States. And one of the coolest things about this photo spot is that while there is one obvious shot, there are dozens of ways to shoot it. And, you usually get fairly nice desert sunsets and fantastic clear skies at night which means you can usually shoot sunrise, sunset, and stars here.

Monument Valley, Arizona

Under the stars

Moreover, while I’m only showing you the classic view point of Monument Valley, there are obviously dozens of locations you can shoot in the area. It’s a fantastic area for photography. If you’re lucky, you can ever catch wild horses racing through the fields. It’s just a wonderful place all around, and a great place to be a picture maker.

Monument Valley, Arizona

A killer sunset!

Best Time of Day: Anytime.
Best Time of Year: In Winter you won’t get the crowds (as long as you don’t hit Chinese New Years). However, it can be cold. March seems like a sweet spot. The summer can be tough. It’s busy, and it’s hot!


Grand Canyon South Rim

I’ve never had the fortune to photograph the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, and I’ve only been to the South Rim twice – getting washed out by a blizzard once. But, the Grand Canyon might be the most challenging photo location I’ve been. It’s not that it doesn’t live up to expectations or anything though; it’s that it does! And, it’s really hard to capture the scale and size of it.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

The Grand Canyon from Yavapi Point

There are lots of spots to shoot the Grand Canyon from. They are all fairly similar with small difference. So, honestly, you kind of have to wander along the rim stopping at the various view points and scouting the type of image you want. That said, I had a ocuple favourites. I liked Lipan Point the most, but didn’t get to shoot it. I did shoot Navajo Point, which was great. Also, The Desert View Watchtower is underrated. Yavapai Point is one of the most popular spots, but I thought it was only OK. I think it’s just popular because it’s closest to the village.

Grand Canyon, Arizona

From Navajo Point

Best Time of Day: Sunrise or sunset. In my opinion, it looks best with the sun just below the horizon as the light is softer.
Best time of Year: Any time of year can be magic. Fall is wonderful. But, winter is fantastic as long as you don’t get stuck in a blizzard. If you get fresh snow, though, it can be absolutely unreal.

Location (of Navajo Point):


When I first went to Havasupai some 6 years ago it was still fairly unknown. Nowadays, it’s one of the most popular hikes in all of the US. In fact, the campsite and lodge in Supai are often fully booked 6-7 months in advance and are generally full from mid-March all the way to October. The way around it? Go in Winter. I’ve been 3 times (all in January), and each time I’m basically by myself (usually there are 2 or 3 other people about).

See the Vlog below on my most recent experience.

In Havasupai, there are loads of places to shoot. Of course, Havasu Falls is the most popular place. But there’s also Mooney Falls, Navajo Falls, and Beaver Falls which is much farther in (and I’ve not made it there yet). You could spend days here. And, at minimum you’ll want one full day.

Havasu Falls, Arizona

Best Time of Day: You can shoot this area any time of day or night. It’s that good.
Best time of Year: I think January is best, but be prepared for the cold.

Location (of Havasu Falls):

Red Rock Crossing, Sedona

Oh, Sedona. This is Wiley Coyote territory. It seriously looks like it’s straight out of a cartoon. And, of all the locations in the Sedona area, few are quite as impressive as Red Rock Crossing. Best of all, you’ll likely have this location all to yourself as it sits within a state park.

Red Rock Crossing, Arizona

A really old photo. I need to re-shoot this spot.

Best Time of Day: Sunset. At sunset the rocks get lit by the last bit of sun.
Best time of Year: Any time of year is good. In the winter, you can get interesting “fall” looking colours in the trees.


Devil’s Bridge, Sedona

This is the most “instagrammed” place in Sedona, for sure. In fact, some of the gift shops have T-shirts that say “I survived the devil’s bridge”. In reality, it’s not as scary as it looks. But, it does make for a great photo location, especially if you can manage to get it to yourself for a minute. It’s a never-ending stream of people here. It is busy.

Devil's Bridge, Arizona

I’ve never been at sunrise, and that might seem like a solution. However, the light comes in here at sunset behind you and creates a nice glow. So, it’s almost necessary. Also, as you’d be hiking a bit blind if it were your first time here, it might be best to head up for sunset instead.

Best Time of Day: Sunset
Best time of Year: Mid-week, any time of year. It’s always going to be busy.


Salt River

Near Phoenix, there are actually a lot of cool places for photography. However, I haven’t really spent much time shooting them. Can you blame me? There are so many other epic places to shoot in the state!

I went on a meet up to go check out Salt River and I actually loved the location. It’s such a cool place for photography. Apparently, there are some wild horses that roam around there too – though I didn’t see any. The spot itself is really cool. Head to the tubing put-in for the best spot.

Salt River, Arizona

Best Time of Day: Sunset. The mountains get a nice bit of alpenglow.
Best time of Year: Any time of year works. But, the water will be lower and more rocks exposed in the Winter.


Saguaro National Park

This is actually such a cool location. But, again, it’s one of those spots you can only be in from sunrise to sunset. That said, there is a bit of leeway on that, and I managed to shoot here until about 20 minutes after the sun went down. There are countless spots you can shoot from here. It’s pointless for me to point you to an exact spot as there are thousands of shots to be had here.

Saguaro National Park, Arizona

Best Time of Day: Sunset.
Best time of Year: If you can be here for the blooms on the cactus, it is beautiful!


Other places I’ve yet to visit

There are so many other spots in Arizona to shoot. Honestly, I’m not sure there’s a state in the US I’d rather be a photographer than Arizona. I have a list of places I still need to get to – such as Canon de Chelly, and Grand Canyon North Rim – but there are also so many places I’ve still not discovered. Moreover, there are some spots I need to return to and re-shoot. As I mentioned, there’s just an endless amount of spots.

This list will be updated each time I return to Arizona. Be sure to check the comment section for some crowd-sourced locations.

What Are Your Favourite Spots?

If you’ve got some favourite spots, please share them in the comment section.

Photography Workshops?

I run 6-12 travel photography workshops a year. And while I don’t have anything planned in Arizona at the moment, be sure to check out the workshops and tours page for the destinations up in the coming year.

My Travel Photography Gear

Brendan van Son+Posted By on Jan 27, 2018 |

I get a lot of questions about my travel photography gear. Obviously, it’s a subject I should know pretty well – I’ve travelled nomadically for over 8 years now. But, I’ve never exactly had the ideal kit. I’ve always kind of dealt with budget constraints and using old gear. That said, I think my photography kit right now is as dialed in as possible. So, I thought this was the ideal time to post one of these “what’s in my bag” type blog posts.

Note, this is only my still photography gear. I’m not going to include the vlogging equipment. Maybe I’ll post something about that on a later date.

Camera Body/Bodies

Canon 5d mark iv: I’ve been shooting the Canon 5d Mark iv as my main body for a little over a month now. And, I love it. In fact, I think it might be the ideal camera body for travel. I love the touch screen, time-lapse mode, and the dynamic range and ISO handling are great. Sure, I would have liked an articulating LCD, but I’m happy with it.

Sony A6300: Yes, this is mostly my vlog setup. But, I do use it to shoot stills from time to time. It’s a good starter camera, and is actually better quality than the first ever camera I used as a professional travel photographer.


Canon 16-35mm f/4: There’s nothing I like better than a good wide angle lens. This piece of glass and rubber is my pride and joy. I shoot this in all situations: portraits, street, landscape, and even wildlife at times.

Canon 16-35mm f/4 IS

Canon 50mm f/1.4: If I love my 16-35mm, I HATE my 50mm. The reality is that I love the look of 50mm. But, this Canon make is so old I can’t believe they still sell it. I think a 50mm lens is essential to a travel photography kit. Maybe just not this one.

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS mark I: I like this lens. In fact, I use this lens almost as much as my 16-35mm. For travel photography, it’s pretty versatile. You can shoot portraits, wildlife, and it looks lovely when shooting long lens landscape photography.

Rokinon 14mm f/2.8: This is a specialty lens that I use just for astro-photography. It’s manual aperture and manual focus. So, it’s real value is for shooting stars. However, I also use it vlogging from time to time.

Travel Tripods

3 Legged Thing Winston: This is the biggest tripod that 3 Legged Thing makes. And, it’s a beast. But, I love it. It’s sturdy, light, and easy to use. A smaller option might be the “Albert” if you’re looking for something else.

Joby Gorillapod Video: I love my Gorillapod. I use it to shoot timelapse ont he GoPro. But, I also love that it’ll hold my DSLR and 70-200mm lens steady if I need it to. These types of tripods might be the most underrated types of photography gear.

Specialty Photography Gear

GoPro Hero 5 Black: I use my GoPro on a daily basis. And, yes, I use it more for video than stills. But, it’s still very helpful for stills. Especially underwater and in places I don’t want to risk losing my big camera equipment.

Mavic Pro: It’s amazing how far drones have come. The Mavic is small enough you can stuff it away in your bag and hardly notice you have it. And while people know drones mostly for their video capabilities; drones are incredible photo tools. Nothing quite compares to a great drone shot.



6 & 10 Stop ND: I use both a Lee Little Stopper and a Big Stopper. Honestly, I think I could survive with just the 6-stop (little stopper). But, the 10 stop is handy if I’m shooting in the day time.

Grad ND Filters: I have 4 grad NDs, all of which I use almost every shoot: 4-stop medium grad, 2-stop soft grad, 3-stop soft grad, and 3-stop hard grad. If you had to buy 1 and only 1 grad, the 3-stop medium grad (which I don’t have) is a great multi-use filter.

And, no, I don’t use polarizers. Although, I’m starting to think of adding one to my kit.



Naneu Outlander: This has been my camera bag for about 6 years. It’s great. I love that it’s big enough for hiking, but still small enough for carry-on in a pinch. It’s a great product and I’m surprised more people don’t use them.

Manfrotto Mover-50: Well my Naneu bag has kind of now started to sit at the bottom of my suitcase unless I’m hiking, the Mover-50 has become my every day and travel bag. I like it. I just wish it had better padding on the back. I can sometimes feel the gear on my back. Seems like a big oversight in design.


Travel photographers have the biggest challenge saving their files. And, yes, I back up online. But, usually my photos go through at least one external memory device on their way through my workflow.

SanDisk SSD 512GB: I love this SSD. It’s fast enough that I can edit right off of it without slowing down my processing. I tend to tend from here. I don’t know how I lived and worked without this product before.

Lacie HDD 2tb: I actually have 2 HHDs as well. And, they are basically just bricks in my bag where I dump backed up JPEGs and exported vlogs.


For editing on the go, I use my Dell XPS 15. I absolutely love the laptop. I rarely see lag time, and really love the functionality. I just wished that they would move the camera so it didn’t film straight up my nose as I try to live broadcast.

And, no, I’ll never use a Wacom Tablet. I think they’re ridiculous overkill.

Your Gear?

What does your travel photography gear include? Or, what gear related questions do you have for me? Leave them in the comments, and I’ll get to them!

What’s Next?

As always, stick to my travel photography channel for the latest. But, I’m going to try to publish more often here. Be on the lookout for an update of my blog post on the best places to photograph The Golden Gate Bridge.

Best Places to Photograph the Golden Gate Bridge

Brendan van Son+Posted By on Jan 29, 2018 |

After a second trip to San Francisco, I feel like this list of the best places to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge is a bit more complete. Still, there are just endless places to take pictures of the iconic view. Honestly, I think I could spend a year photographing the Golden Gate Bridge and still not cover all the places to shoot it. Moreover, there are places that are better for photography different types of year. For example, the fog in San Francisco rolls through the bay in the summer months. So, if that’s the shot you want, don’t bother coming in the winter. That said, there are endless locations to take pictures of the bridge. No matter the time of year or date.

Best Places to Photograph the Golden Gate Bridge

These locations were spread out over 2 different visits to San Francisco over 4 years. So, the experiences were different. These are all the locations I shot; and some others I know of that I didn’t shoot.

Hawk Hill

Over in Marin Headlands, this is a local favourite location to take pictures of the Golden Gate Bridge from. You get high enough that if there’s fog you might get the bridge poking through the top. It can be epic.

Myself, I got stuck and had to shoot my pictures before getting to Hawk Hill. The road to the view point was closed because of the government shutdown, and I had to walk. I settled for a location about 500m before the hilltop. And, to be honest, I kind of got there a little late for the blue light. But, I still got this image.

Golden Gate Bridge

It turned out to be a blessing in disguise that I didn’t get all the way to Hawk Point as the vantage point had the sunrise right over bridge. And, the light was amazing.

Golden Gate Bridge

Baker Beach

This is a pretty traditional spot for photography of the Golden Gate Bridge. But, the location is actually better as an epic beach hang out than it is a photo spot.

There really are only one or two compositions to be made from this area. But, if you can, get closer up onto some of the rocks towards Marshall’s Beach for some better compositions.

Golden Gate Bridge

Fort Baker

This location was surprisingly good. Across the bay from San Francisco, this park has lots of parking – which is one of the challenges of some of the other locations. And there is a pretty clean view of the bridge which makes it nice for some portraits. I got some cool shots of @Alajode there.

Golden Gate Bridge

Model = @alajode

But, the real gold of this location is the low vantage point if you walk towards the bridge. There was some beautiful green algae on the rocks and the bright green really contrasted the red of the bridge nicely. There were really only one or two compositions to be had down here, but it was pretty stellar. It was also a challenge to get my tripod down without getting hammered by waves, but it was worth it. I imagine, had I gotten better light, this place could be an epic place for sunset.

Golden Gate Bridge

Battery Spencer

This is likely the most typical postcard photo of the Golden Gate Bridge. The location atop an old military battery offers nice clean views of the bridge. It also gives you the opportunity to put the San Francisco skyline in the back of your Golden Gate Bridge photos. From what I saw, this was the favourite spot for tourists to come and get that classic image of the bridge and city. There is only a very minimal amount of parking available up near the battery, so you might need to be patient when coming here. There actually weren’t a lot of photographers up shooting with us, but there was a constant stream of tourists.
The Golden Gate Bridge

Presidio Park

Presidio Park is essentially on the opposite side of the bay from Battery Spencer. The views are fairly similar except for the fact that you have a nice green backdrop to the images of the Golden Gate Bridge from here rather than the city light as is the case from the other side. I actually preferred photographing this side to Battery Spencer because there were far more compositions available for photos here. There were nice rocks down on the beaches below, you could shoot straight onto the bridge, and I even found a couple giant Cedar trees that I used to frame the bridge within. I think it’s a unique image, and that’s hard to do in San Francisco. So, I’m proud of it.Golden Gate Bridge, Presidio Park

Marshall’s Beach

On my first visit to San Francisco, this was my favourite location. But, I didn’t get good light. It was bland in the sky, and there was this nasty haze on everything too. But, the rocky foreground and wild seas here can make for some perfect long exposure photography. In fact, even if I’ve never gotten great photos of it, this might be my favourite place to photograph the Golden Gate Bridge.

The Golden Gate Bridge

This recent trip, I wanted to get to Marshall’s Beach again. But, unfortunately, my luck and time just didn’t match up. That said, I did pop over to have another look at it after shooting at Baker Beach, and it’s still stunning. In fact, after the light was gone I used this location to make a bit of hero photo. I think it works. But, I’d love to get back with the light is better.

Golden Gate Bridge

Crissy Beach

I actually tied to get photos of the Golden Gate Bridge from a place called “The Wave Organ”. But, the location was just way too far away from the bridge. So, I shot some landscape photography before walking back to the car.

But, just before getting back to the car, I realized there were some really nice long lens shots of the bridge from the east side of the park. I grabbed this still of the bridge in the very last light of the day.

Golden Gate Bridge

However, it looked like if you got to the west side of the park there would be even better compositions. However, it did also look crowded up that way. I guess, add this to my list of locations I need to get back and shoot again in the future.

Other places to Shoot the Bridge

There are so many places for photography of The Golden Gate Bridge. This list is simply my experience. I’ve listed a couple other locations that people have mentioned below. However, if you have other cool photo spots of the bridge, please mention them in the comments and I’ll add them. Better yet, drop a photo example with it!

Fisherman’s Wharf

Down at the wharf, there are a couple places that might be interesting to photograph the bridge. It’s a bit off in the distance, but using things like the piers and sea breakers might make for some interesting images.

The Bridge Itself

Of course, you can go onto the bridge itself. From there, you’re going to have to contend with traffic, but there are certainly some opportunities to create interesting images there as well. Driving, Golden Gate Bridge

What’s Next on the Travel Photography Blog

I’m going to try to put together more of these “best places for photography” blog posts. I think the next of this series will be “The Best Places for Photography in Arizona”. As for real time, I’m continuing a California road trip right now. You can follow along with the series on my photography YouTube Channel.

Afterwards, I’m leaving the US for Wales. It should be fun!

Best Job in The World! I’m Hiring…

Brendan van Son+Posted By on Feb 16, 2018 |

I have the best job in the world. So, I guess that whoever I take on for this project will have the 2nd best job in the world. And, I think I’m a pretty good boss. In fact, I think that in this situation, I’ll be more like a mentor than a boss, anyways.

Rather than explain everything in word form here, I have a video below that explains this project and how it all came about. You’ll find a bit of detail and some of the process below as well.

World’s Best Job

As I outlined in the video, the world’s best job thing is a project I pitched to Trover. They liked the idea, and they asked to kind of do a trial period for it. So, we decided to run it on my next independent project which is taking place in Japan in March and early April. It’s short notice, but that’s kind of how this lifestyle is anyways, so it works.

In short, the project is simple: the successful applicant will come with me to Japan for 3 weeks and help shoot video and photo footage. They’ll also have other duties like modelling, being on camera, assistant’s work, and other things.

In return, the applicant will receive $1000usd compensation as well as all their expenses (including flights up to $1000) paid for during the trip. Full T&Cs can be found here.

What’s Trover?

Trover is an app/website that is extremely helpful to photographers. It helps you “discover” photo-worthy locations near your current location – or, in places you’re heading.

The role that Trover is playing in this project, is sponsor. They asked me to pitch them some ways that they could get more involved in the travel photography community we’re building, and I lent the idea of running a bit of a scholarship program which would allow me to give back to the community in the form or jobs, clinics, workshops, etc. Hopefully, this is the first of a long partnership.

Golden Gate Bridge

What are the Dates?

The dates are not yet 100% confirmed, but will likely be the 3 weeks from March 18 – April 8th, 2018.

What are the Requirements?

  • Entrants will have to create a video application.
  • They will need to submit a portfolio in the form of a list on Trover.
  • Must be over the age of 18.
  • Must have appropriate camera gear.
  • Should have video editing skills.
  • Will need to be the holder of a passport from a visa-free country for Japan.
  • Major assets are hyperlapse skills, and drone piloting skills.

How to Apply

  1. You’ll need to download the application here.
  2. Once you’ve completed all the steps send the filled application to brendanvanson at gmail dot com.
  3. Application deadline is March 1, 2018.
  4. I will not reply to everyone who submits an application, but I will be contacting 3-4 people for a quick skype interview.
  5. Successful applicant will be announced publicly March 8th.


If you have any questions, please don’t email me.

Instead, leave the comments in the comment section below. Chances are, if you have a question, someone else has the same one.



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Hello world!

Hi, it’s Mark Anthony and this is my new website. Stay tuned… I’ll have great things to share!

For starters, here’s an article I think you’ll enjoy…

It’s called: “Make the Leap to Home Business Success

Make the Leap to Home Business Success

If you are going to build a successful home business, you need 3 “intangibles.” These are things that must come from WITHIN you.

===> Intangible 1 <===

First, you must have a strong WHY.

Why must you make a home business work? What’s driving you? What is it that you CAN’T have in your life anymore and/or what is it that you absolutely MUST HAVE now?

For me, I couldn’t stand working 12+ hours a day anymore and missing the experience of my children growing up. I also absolutely HAD TO HAVE the freedom of being able to control my life and finances through a little box that I could carry with me anywhere in the world and not be tied to anyone’s time pressures or demands but my own. That was my carrot and my stick. I felt a great pain deep in my gut of missing out on my children’s lives and the incredible freedom that succeeding in this business would provide for me. I found my why. You MUST find yours.

===> Intangible 2 <===

You must BELIEVE that it is possible.

If you don’t believe that it’s POSSIBLE for you to succeed in a home business or make your living on the Internet, you won’t. It’s that simple.

For me, figuring out that it was possible was just a matter of realizing that many other people were ALREADY making great money with a home business online. If they could do it, I could too. It would just be a matter of figuring out what those people were doing and then adapting it to my situation.

There is no shortage of undeniable PROOF that people (millions of them) are making money online in many different ways. Just get online and do some research and you’ll find countless testimonials and stories of REAL PEOPLE making real money on the Internet. Or head to your local bookstore and you’ll find the same documented evidence of this fact. Truth is, it’s getting easier and easier to start and succeed in a home based business. This is primarily because of the Internet and affiliate marketing.

I’ve always said that “affiliate marketing” is the job of the future. In the “old” days, you had to go to a potential employer, apply for the position and hope for the best. Now you can simply go to any company you want, fill out their affiliate application and start work immediately. Affiliates are the new working class. Believe me, making money with affiliate programs or making your living on the Internet is WAY MORE than possible. It is pretty much (or will be soon enough) unavoidable now. Affiliate marketing is the “job” of the future that’s here TODAY.

===> Intangible 3 <===

You must be willing to MAKE THE LEAP.

Ready, FIRE, then aim… This is the operating philosophy you MUST adopt to succeed with an Internet home business.

That’s backwards for most people who like to aim before they fire. The fact is the Internet is a moving target… The only thing constant about it is change. You need to stop analyzing the game and simply jump into it. You can’t learn from the outside… You have to be IN THE RING to truly understand it.

The lesson here is that you will never really be READY to start a home based business. You simply have to start one. This is what I call “Making the Leap.”

The good news is that the cost of failure on the Internet is very small. In the “brick and mortar” world you need to evaluate things very carefully before you decide to open up a business. It’s almost always necessary to invest thousands of dollars to get an offline business off the ground. However, on the Internet you can often start a successful business for less than $100. In fact, Plug-In Profit Site is a really good example of this.

You simply need get IN THE GAME… Each moment that you stay “out there,” you’re wasting valuable time that you could be learning and skills necessary to become a successful affiliate marketer. In fact, if you’re not in the game yet, you’re ALREADY behind the times. Come on… You can do it! Make the leap to becoming a successful home based business owner today!

About the author: Stone Evans was a washed up restaurant worker desperately searching for a way to save his family when he discovered the internet and affiliate marketing… 24 months later he finally cracked the code and started earning over $10,000 per month. Now the same system that saved him is available to you here >>

Home Business Ideas and Opportunities

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