Uncornered Market » panoramic photography http://uncorneredmarket.com travel wide, live deep Sun, 20 Apr 2014 18:28:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.3 Itsukushima Shinto Shrine on Miyajima Island, Japan [360-Degree Panorama]http://uncorneredmarket.com/itsukushima-shrine-miyajima-japan-panorama/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/itsukushima-shrine-miyajima-japan-panorama/#comments Thu, 03 Apr 2014 09:51:43 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=14338 By Audrey Scott

Miyajima, a sacred island in Japan. So sacred in fact that its famous Itsukushima Shinto Shrine (now a UNESCO site) was designed very cleverly 500 years ago. You see, the raised boards provided a way for pilgrims to visit the island without actually touching sacred land directly. The purity of the island was kept in […]

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By Audrey Scott

Miyajima, a sacred island in Japan. So sacred in fact that its famous Itsukushima Shinto Shrine (now a UNESCO site) was designed very cleverly 500 years ago. You see, the raised boards provided a way for pilgrims to visit the island without actually touching sacred land directly. The purity of the island was kept in check for hundreds of years. (Another feature of the design is that it look like the shrine is floating on water during high tide, which is pretty cool.)

Once at the shrine we gazed out over the water to the famous “floating” vermillion Torii (gate), only to find scaffolding and construction work obscuring the iconic structure. Disappointment.

But then something began happening in front of us – a traditional Japanese wedding, complete with a Bugaku Court Dance. The main dancer, dressed in heavy, colorful cloth with a wooden mask obscuring the face, was deliberate with every single movement, even the slightest. tai chi precision brought to dance. We later learned that this dance has been performed, with this same precision, in Japan for over 1,200 years. I can imagine.

I’ll trade you a missed photo opportunity of a torii for this – watching the dancer and the excitement on the face of the perfectly coiffed Japanese bride – any day. It was an experience we would keep with us and remember for much longer.

Open the panorama to full screen and take a spin around the outside of Itsukushima Shrine. Although the Bugaku dancer is gone, you can see the wedding party in the distance coming from their staged photo shoot (some things are universal). And if you look closely, you can see the torii out in the distance, all covered up. Maybe next time we’ll get to see it in all its vermillion glory.

Panorama: Itsukushima Shinto Shrine – Miyajima Island, Japan

panorama directions

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Prague Astronomical Clock [360-Degree Panorama]http://uncorneredmarket.com/prague-astronomical-clock-panorama/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/prague-astronomical-clock-panorama/#comments Tue, 18 Feb 2014 09:56:27 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=14344 By Audrey Scott

As the top of the hour nears in Prague, crowds gather in front of the Astronomical Clock on Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town Square) and wait for the show to begin — all in a ritual that’s happened almost daily for six hundred years of the clock’s life. The first attention goes to the twelve apostles […]

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By Audrey Scott

As the top of the hour nears in Prague, crowds gather in front of the Astronomical Clock on Staroměstské náměstí (Old Town Square) and wait for the show to begin — all in a ritual that’s happened almost daily for six hundred years of the clock’s life.

The first attention goes to the twelve apostles that emerge from the little window at the top. They go around in a circle as if to bless the hour. One level down in the zodiac section of the clock the skeleton rings the bell to measure our lifetime, indicating that we have one less hour of life. Around the skeleton, other figures representing the sins of vanity, greed and extravagance shake their heads, a humorous indication that they are not ready to go, ready to die.

But our personal favorite part of the Prague astronomical clock show occurs at the very end.

(SPOILERS) The golden rooster, who presides over the whole thing from his his roost, finishes off the show with a mighty crow. A new hour is upon us, providing hope, and for the crowd below, a moment of levity and laughter.

Not a bad way to start the hour.

But Prague’s Old Town Square is much more than its Astronomical Clock. Open up the panorama below to take in the atmosphere in and around the Old Town Hall, with Tyn Church in the distance and an almost-too-perfect melange of medieval buildings all around you.

Hint #1: And if the crowds around the clock get to be too much for you, head up to the rooftop terrace of U Prince for a cocktail (better than their food, wine, or beer options) to take in the scene from above.

Panorama: Prague Astronomical Clock on Old Town Square

panorama directions

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Sunrise Towers: Torres del Paine National Park, Chile [360-Degree Panorama]http://uncorneredmarket.com/torres-del-paine-panorama/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/torres-del-paine-panorama/#comments Wed, 05 Feb 2014 13:35:04 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=14436 By Audrey Scott

Our alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 4:30AM. We were huddled together trying to stay warm against the freezing temperatures of the night in a rented tent that wasn’t quite meant for people of Dan’s height. The temptation to turn off the alarm and roll over instead of heading out into the frigid […]

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By Audrey Scott

Our alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 4:30AM. We were huddled together trying to stay warm against the freezing temperatures of the night in a rented tent that wasn’t quite meant for people of Dan’s height. The temptation to turn off the alarm and roll over instead of heading out into the frigid pitch of pre-dawn was difficult to resist. Under these circumstances, there’s always a danger that each waits for the other to make the first move.

It was the final morning of our trek in Torres del Paine National Park, Chile. The previous five days, we’d survived wind storms that forced us to cling to mountainside shrubs. I’d suffered a mysterious spider bite that made my eye look like I just emerged from a heavyweight boxing match.

We were worn. No pain, no gain, they say. Fortunately, we’d been rewarded with mind-opening landscapes and trekking camaraderie that more than made up for it all.

And this morning’s trek would cap off six days’ effort with a sunrise view of the namesake towers, the Torres del Paine.

I don’t recall which one of us made the first move, but we motivated one another to pile on layers of clothes, switch on the headlamps and hit the trail. The weather didn’t appear promising. There were ominous clouds that suggested coming rain, but we hoped it could all change in the couple of hours it would take to reach the towers.

Open the panorama to full screen to see what we found when we reached the towers. Early morning wake up calls can be painful, but usually they’re totally worth it.

Panorama: The Torres (Towers) at Sunrise – Torres del Paine National Park, Chile

panorama directions

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Antarctica, The Lemaire Channel [360-Degree Panorama]http://uncorneredmarket.com/antarctica-lemaire-channel-panorama/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/antarctica-lemaire-channel-panorama/#comments Thu, 23 Jan 2014 15:14:50 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=14353 By Daniel Noll

We were on our way north, making the long return journey from south of the Antarctic Circle to our final destination in Ushuaia, Argentina. The captain announced that we would soon be going through the Lemaire Channel, a narrow passage strait in northern Antarctica framed by steep cliffs and icebergs. Everyone aboard ship was invited […]

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By Daniel Noll

We were on our way north, making the long return journey from south of the Antarctic Circle to our final destination in Ushuaia, Argentina. The captain announced that we would soon be going through the Lemaire Channel, a narrow passage strait in northern Antarctica framed by steep cliffs and icebergs.

Everyone aboard ship was invited on deck and to the bridge to appreciate the view. One of the benefits of our vessel, the G Adventures MS Expedition, was an “open bridge” policy that allowed, within reason and safety, visits with the captain and his crew during our journey. Once on the bridge, we took in the instrument panel, complete with various monitors, scopes and blinking bits. It didn’t take long to determine that the instruments indicated there was a lot more to the icebergs underwater than above the surface. The captain’s face, fixed in concentration, confirmed our suspicions.

Once in the Lemaire Channel, we went out to the top deck to take in a healthy dose of fresh, crisp air for the full Antarctic sensory experience. To appreciate beauty requires some comprehension of the seen and unseen.

Open the panorama and take a spin around the front deck of the MS Expedition as it carves its way through Antarctica.

Panorama: MS Expedition Passes Through the Lemaire Channel in Antarctica

panorama directions

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G Adventures tours to Antarctica

The Antarctica tour we took with G Adventures was paid for by us and went south of the Antarctic Circle. We highlight this feature as most tours to Antarctica do not go this far south. If you plan to book this or another tour with G Adventures, please consider starting the process by clicking on the ad to the left. The price stays the same to you and we earn a small commission. Thank you!

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How to Enjoy a Namib Desert Sunset [360-Degree Panorama]http://uncorneredmarket.com/namibia-desert-sundowner-panorama/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/namibia-desert-sundowner-panorama/#respond Fri, 10 Jan 2014 17:47:51 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=14327 By Daniel Noll

When late afternoon falls and the day comes to a close in Southern Namibia, a ritual begins: the sundowner. Prepare yourself by four-wheeling it to an overlook, high perch, or just about anywhere you can catch the sunset bathe the vastness of the Namibian desert landscape. Then wait. Particularly if you are the guest of […]

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By Daniel Noll

When late afternoon falls and the day comes to a close in Southern Namibia, a ritual begins: the sundowner.

Prepare yourself by four-wheeling it to an overlook, high perch, or just about anywhere you can catch the sunset bathe the vastness of the Namibian desert landscape.

Then wait. Particularly if you are the guest of a discerning guide, your patience comes paired with a gin & tonic in one hand and a few bits of biltong (salted, dried meat) in the other. Simple and mildly decadent.

As the sun sets over the petrified dunes in the Namib desert, the colors turn to deep, bright reds and pinks as if by water color brush. But it’s just after the sun dips below the horizon that the performance really begins, winding along the color wheel to a finish where the desert blushes in twilight afterglow.

The Namibian sundowner. Simple in name and concept. Yet beyond enjoyment, it’s an opportunity to observe, to let Mother Nature wash over you in color, and to absorb it all in appreciation.

It’s something you’ll come to look forward to each evening while carving your way through the reaches of the Namibian desert. Open the panorama below to full screen to see why.

Panorama: Sundowner in the Namib Desert

panorama directions

Disclosure: We were in Namibia as speakers for the Adventure Travel World Summit. Our transport and pre-summit tour was provided to us as part of our speaking arrangement. As always, the opinions expressed here are entirely our own.

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Thinking Cycles of Renewal: Sunset Puja in Udaipur, India [360-Degree Panorama]http://uncorneredmarket.com/sunset-puja-udaipur-india-panorama/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/sunset-puja-udaipur-india-panorama/#comments Fri, 03 Jan 2014 10:55:47 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=14299 By Audrey Scott

The sun sets on another day in Udaipur, India. People gather at the lake’s edge to watch the day wind to an end and to take part in evening puja (prayers). This ritual, a daily cycle, elegantly pays reverence and homage to one day while preparing for the next. As we move from reflecting on […]

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By Audrey Scott

The sun sets on another day in Udaipur, India. People gather at the lake’s edge to watch the day wind to an end and to take part in evening puja (prayers). This ritual, a daily cycle, elegantly pays reverence and homage to one day while preparing for the next.

As we move from reflecting on and closing out the past year to engaging in the new one, I thought of this ritual and scene from the beautiful city of Udaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan.

Colorful, peaceful and connected to the rhythm of the days, the years, and life.

Open up the panorama to full screen to see for yourself.

Panorama: Evening Puja (Prayers) at Lake Pichola, Udaipur – Rajasthan, India

panorama directions

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German Christmas Market in Augsburg Old Town [360-Degree Panorama]http://uncorneredmarket.com/german-christmas-market-augsburg-panorama/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/german-christmas-market-augsburg-panorama/#comments Thu, 19 Dec 2013 21:21:36 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=14159 By Audrey Scott

We edged toward the end of our road trip visit to friends and Christmas markets in the southern German regions of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. Our stomachs were full from days of Christmas market comfort foods, “fest” foods like spätzle, bratwurst, schupfnudeln and maultaschen. We’d performed our research to determine which Christmas market served up the […]

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By Audrey Scott

We edged toward the end of our road trip visit to friends and Christmas markets in the southern German regions of Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria. Our stomachs were full from days of Christmas market comfort foods, “fest” foods like spätzle, bratwurst, schupfnudeln and maultaschen.

We’d performed our research to determine which Christmas market served up the best experience, glühwein and all. But — if such a thing exists — had we reached Christmas market saturation point?

Then on our way to Munich I looked down at my trusty old road atlas of Europe that I purchased in Finland fifteen years before. Sure, I had Google maps running on our iPhone, but I’m still a sucker for physical maps and atlases. I looked at the paper and I paused on two stars. Now this road atlas is pretty special. It not only shows the way, but it also suggests places that are either “worth a journey” (two stars) or “worth a detour” (one star). Augsburg, the city just coming up on the autobahn from Stuttgart to Munich, earned two stars.

This must be the place,” we figured as we vested our faith in the map and turned off the highway.

Once we arrived on the Augsburg old town square we realized that, in fact, we had not yet reached Christmas market saturation.

Twilight fell on the square and its rich, colorful bits of Baroque and hints of Bavaria. The atmosphere was neighborly, as if locals had rolled out of their offices to take stock of almonds turning, chestnuts roasting. Kids waited anxiously at their parents’ side as “Joy to the World” hummed over the airwaves. The scene was one of seasonal elegance as 5PM approached at the town hall where the unveiling of yet another window in the town’s shared advent calendar would leave the air pleasantly filled with the ooh and aah innocent joy of small things.

Friends moved closer over mugs of steaming glühwein; the conversation volume grew as late afternoon turned to evening. Handshakes were exchanged. “Servus,” they said in a Bavarian greeting for all time.

This was a town together at Christmas. This was Augsburg.

If you open the panorama up to full screen, perhaps you’ll get a glimpse of why the Augsburg Christmas market turned out to be one of our surprise favorites.

If you’ve visited Christmas markets in Germany, which ones were your favorites?

Panorama: Twilight at the Augsburg Christmas Market -Bavaria, Germany

panorama directions

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Look for Ganesh! Bali Gate in Ubud [360-Degree Panorama]http://uncorneredmarket.com/bali-ubud-ganesh-gate-panorama/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/bali-ubud-ganesh-gate-panorama/#comments Fri, 06 Dec 2013 12:51:11 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=14128 By Audrey Scott

The town of Ubud, Bali. Away from its polished main streets you’ll find little alleyways like this, narrow walkways cast, ditches cut on each side. Because of the tropical climate, plants grow and weeds sprout in just about every corner, crack and crevice. Balinese traditional homes, sprawled in giant courtyards, line the sides. Take a […]

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By Audrey Scott

The town of Ubud, Bali. Away from its polished main streets you’ll find little alleyways like this, narrow walkways cast, ditches cut on each side. Because of the tropical climate, plants grow and weeds sprout in just about every corner, crack and crevice. Balinese traditional homes, sprawled in giant courtyards, line the sides.

Take a stroll, pay close attention, and you may even find an ornate Balinese gate like the one pictured here. Though it looks more like an entrance to a Balinese Hindu temple than a home, it’s “only” a local family courtyard just a few doors down from a home stay where we gathered some rest for two weeks.

Look closer still, and you’ll see Ganesh holding court from inside the gate.

Open up the panorama to full screen and enjoy!

Panorama: Balinese Gate, Cortyard Entrance – Ubud, Bali

panorama directions

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Machu Picchu, A Different Perspective [360-Degree Panorama]http://uncorneredmarket.com/machu-picchu-panorama/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/machu-picchu-panorama/#comments Sun, 24 Nov 2013 16:50:03 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=13883 By Daniel Noll

Whether you’ve been to Machu Picchu or not, chances are that the most common images you’ve seen of it carry a familiar quality about them. Sometimes it takes looking at something iconic from a different perspective, however, to broaden your understanding and appreciation of what it might have taken to create all that’s behind the […]

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By Daniel Noll

Whether you’ve been to Machu Picchu or not, chances are that the most common images you’ve seen of it carry a familiar quality about them. Sometimes it takes looking at something iconic from a different perspective, however, to broaden your understanding and appreciation of what it might have taken to create all that’s behind the icon. And so it is with Machu Picchu in Peru.

Machu Picchu is impressive from just about every view, but the perspective in the panorama below provides a visual on what “perched high on a mountain ridge” really means.

It’s not just the steep terraced steps that you see when you look down in the panorama. It’s the sheer drop after about the fourth step that really registers. Imagine what it must have taken to build such a massive structure on top of this mountain, to carve terraces out of the mountain face, and to trace it in great stone — all over 500 years ago in an age without the aid of machines to move rock and soil.

Incredible, really. And an Incan definition of ingenuity and perseverance.

Open the panorama below to full screen, take a spin around (and down), and see for yourself. It’s not just the beauty of Machu Picchu here, but also the perspective that gives some more insight into what it must have taken to build this great Incan complex amidst sheer cliffs and Andean rocky mountaintops.

Panorama: Machu Picchu, An Alternative View

panorama directions

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Skellig Michael, Ireland [360-Degree Panorama]http://uncorneredmarket.com/skellig-michael-ireland-panorama/ http://uncorneredmarket.com/skellig-michael-ireland-panorama/#comments Thu, 17 Oct 2013 21:42:31 +0000 http://www.uncorneredmarket.com/?p=13999 By Audrey Scott

Off the southwestern corner of Ireland, pitched west of the coast of County Kerry, sit two little islands, one of which has a 600-step stone staircase that appears to wind straight into the sky. Those stairs, it is told, were built by monks who long, long time ago cast themselves away from civilization in order […]

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By Audrey Scott

Off the southwestern corner of Ireland, pitched west of the coast of County Kerry, sit two little islands, one of which has a 600-step stone staircase that appears to wind straight into the sky. Those stairs, it is told, were built by monks who long, long time ago cast themselves away from civilization in order to meditate, study and pray.

This is the island of Skellig Michael.

And we were fortunate enough to see it in a rather unusual state: one of pure, unadulterated sunshine on the most magnificent of Irish autumn days.

In the sixth century, monks retreated to this island eight miles (13km) from what is now the mainland fishing village of Portmagee in order to meditate and devote themselves — unfettered by societal distractions — to their faith. Using the island stone and their own manpower, they built shelters of meticulously stacked rock — in drystone architecture, free of binding agents — into beehive-shaped huts in which they would live and pray, protected from the oft-visiting elements of wind and rain. With larger slabs of rock, they built a steep staircase up and across, from the water’s edge to the island’s highest point.

What makes Skellig Michael particularly exceptional to consider: how monks made this otherwise inhospitable and usually inclement spot their home of faith for more than six hundred years.

Open the panorama below to full screen to see the monastic cemetery and beehive shelters at Skellig Michael on a rare and remarkable cloud-free day.

Panorama: Skellig Michael, Monastic Settlements

panorama directions

How to get to Skellig Michael: Boats leave from the pier at Portmagee at 10 AM when the weather is good. The entire trip takes around four to four and a half hours, with over two hours spent exploring the island. We took our trip with Pat Joe Murphys Sea Cruise (087 2342168). Cost: €50/person

Eating in Portmagee: After getting off the boat, head to The Bridge Bar at The Moorings for a bowl of seafood chowder and a plate of fish and chips the size of Texas. And a Guinness. Exceptionally tasty and well-presented pub fare.

Disclosure: We thank Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland for supporting our trip to Ireland and this road trip around the country. As always, all opinions expressed here are entirely our own.

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