Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Riga, Riga, the place I want to be

Riga Tony

I don't get many opportunities to travel far. Little things like earning a living and raising family are rarely compatible with spending days away in exotic locations. So with so few opportunities, I have to choose my trips carefully.

My local  camera club (Melbourne Photographic) have couple of trips every year, one in the UK and one abroad. Normally I I manage to resist these, but this years trip was to the Latvian capital Riga and I just had to go

Truth is that i am a huge Scandophile. I have been lucky enough to travel to most of the Scandinavian countries and even spent sometime living in Stockholm. It is an area of the world I feel very comfortable in and I love the culture and the  people. The Baltic states however were an area that I never had the opportunity to visit, but had always wanted to since the end of the cold war.

So that's how I found myself on a Ryanair jet winging our way over the Baltic with 9 other club photographers determined to spend two days exploring the city, drinking some beer and taking some photos (Although not necessarily at the same time or in that order )

This is my blog of that trip

Doing the research

The first questions when you plan to go to an area to take some photographs in, is where to  go and what to take?

In the absence of local knowledge you have to resort to guide books and the internet and sites such as  500px and Flickr are useful here. Guidebooks can also provide some guidance, However both of these tend to veer to the touristy location, where a million shots have already been taken. Generally I like to forgo those sort of areas, but it makes it even more challenging to find interesting places. In fact I found Google street view as good as anything allowing me to virtually explore.

Most of the photographs were centered on the city center area and its surfeit of period architecture. Stunning as this was, more intriguing and attractive to me was the less developed area area to the South of the city centered on  the large market area.

Also just as promising  was the views over the Daugava river, with its plethora of bridges and the more modern developments on its eastern bank.

Fortunately our club organizer had done well and booked a hotel central to the city and easy access to the all these area. So research over, the next question was what camera equipment to take.

Packing Light

This would be the first time I had taken my new Fuji X-T2 on a trip. To be honest I am  still on a learning curve with this camera and it would be its first true test to see if I made the right choice as my new camera.

One of the reasons I had bought the X-T2 was that I wanted a camera with DSLR capabilities but without the weight and size. Because we were taking only hold luggage I was restricted to how much kit I could take. Still I managed to pack a 10-24, 18-55 and a 55-200 lens plus a 35 mm and a 8mm Samyang fisheye into my camera bag, which covered most situations and focal lengths.

I was also foregoing my usual camera rucksack by getting a Tenba DNA 15 messenger camera bag for the trip. I cannot praise this bag enough, being large enough to fit all my kit, and plenty of pockets to put various bits and pieces. It also proved comfortable when pounding the streets but easy to access when required.

One bone of contention was tripods. Our trip organizer had specifically asked Ryanair about whether tripods were allowed in the plane. They stated that tripods were not allowed as separate carry on items or in carry on luggage and would only be allowed as hold luggage. This left me in a quandary since I really wanted to take a tripod to take night shots, but I wasn't going to pay £25 each way for the privilege of putting it in the hold. Nor did I want to risk my tripod being confiscated at security. In the end I bought a Amazon special to put in my bag on the basis that if I lost it, it would be no loss. In the event, it sailed through security at both ends without a hitch. The tripod however proved fiddly and not easy to setup. Still what do you expect for a tenner.

Riga seeker

Travel to Riga is pretty simple. I was expecting Riga airport to be a small one terminal affair, but actually it is quite large and modern, and only about 20 minutes taxi ride from the city center.

From the UK, Riga is served by Ryanair (tagline - UK's most uncomfortable airline) and takes about 2 and half hours during which you are given of opportunity to buy the scratch cards the airline staff constantly try to hoist on to you (its all for charity you know).

So after a 4:30 a.m start, 2 and half hours in the air, I found myself and my compatriots in Riga itself. So what about the city itself

Giga Riga 

Riga  reminds me of another city I love, Prague. Like Prague it also suffers from that unique British export, stag parties. However going mid week in Spring meant we would miss the worst of these excesses, although I am not sure what it would be like in summer. There is some local colours you want to avoid.

Riga is a also a city going through renewal. Some of the excesses of cold war architecture is now being replace with modern buildings. However the city is still full of classic Baltic buildings, fantastic art nouveau buildings butt against decaying building on narrow cobbled streets.

Plenty of crumbling buildings to see, mixed in with the better preserved versions

Like Prague, Riga is a city where its recent, sometimes tragic, history still echoes in the streets and monuments. For me however the is what makes cities like Riga so intriguing.

The main tourist attraction is the town center and its plethora of narrow streets with old buildings . While the architecture is fantastic, you can get distracted taking images of these and miss some of the details at your feet. As beautiful as it was I think the center was, photographically at least, my least interesting part of the town because there are just so many carvings of half naked women you can take.

Instead more interesting were the parts of town which was not so pristine such as  the less developed south of the city or the Moscow district (Maskavas Forštate) which was delineated bordered by the huge central market.

A toy Russian orthodox church taken from the Academy of science

Stalins Birthday Cake

The Moscow district is more gritty than the main town, but in that it makes it somewhat more interesting. Even the architectural monstrosity that is the Latvia academy of sciences tower (or "Stalin's birthday cake" as it is dismissively called by the locals) has a sort of beauty in its discordance (plus the 15th floor makes an excellent viewing platform).

However for me the standout area is the central market.

I love markets and have a tendency to gravitate to them since they tend to be a great place to see 'real' people close up. However even compared to other markets, Riga central market is pretty special.

Its sheer size, variety and ambiance makes it stand out. It is truly the hub of the city where all parts of the society meet. The buildings themselves are pretty impressive to. Built from old Zeppelin hangers, the great arches loom over the stalls. Each shed houses a different market, but it is the fish market that stands out, with virtually anything that swims being sold there, some still flapping.

The market extends from the arched sheds throughout the square

Travel round Riga is quite easy. Riga has an excellent public transport system consisting of buses and trams. To be honest though, Riga is not a big city and most of it can be easily traveled by foot.

A River View

For 2 days we were blessed with those fantastic arctic blue skies. Most Scandinavian cities seem to paint there buildings in a palette of yellows and oranges, and when you see how well they complement against the deep blues of clear Baltic day, you can understand why.

The lack of cloud and time of year meant that temperatures rarely budged above 0C during the day and dropped well below freezing at night. While this may sound cold, the lack of wind meant that it always felt comfortable throughout the day.

It also meant  that at night the river and surrounding water froze, resulting lovely soft reflections in the early morning to those of us willing to rise at 6 a.m. in the blue hour (generally only me).

Early mornings were probably the time I felt most at home, following the river and crisscrossing over the two major bridges road bridges that bisect Riga . It was here that I found my best views of the city, with the low sun coming up over the old town and bathing all the buildings and sky in a soft orange glow.


Nativity of Christ, orthodox church

One of things that stands out in Riga, is the churches. Whether it is the spire of St Peters Lutheran church, or the gilded domes of the the nativity of Christ Russian orthodox cathedral; they stencil the Riga skyline.

By the far most impressive is the  Russian orthodox cathedral with great golden domes making you feel you had mistakenly gone father east than you intended.  Inside is stunning too, however this is very much a  working church and you are forbidden from taking photos inside. Despite this it is worth popping in to see it.

the synagogue

It is also worth visiting the  small synagogue hidden down Peitavas iela. Pre-war surviving synagogues are rare in this part of the world, with most being destroyed during the German occupation. This one survival was due to its close proximity to other buildings, meaning a fire here would result in a large part of Riga being devastated . The synagogue is not big, but it is worth a few minutes of your time and the 3 euros entrance fee. Men have to wear some sort of headgear while in there, or get provided with a temporary headgear in the form of a Jewish kippot

It is hard not to contrasts this with the ruins of the synagogue in the Moscow quarter which was burnt down with the 400 men, women and children still inside. Today all that exists of that is the foundations and a memorial listing the 400 victims.

The memorial to those burnt in the synagogue fire

In search of Latvian knowledge

Many of the museums in Latvia were closed or under refurbishment, such as the Art Nouveau museum on Alberta Iela, which was a pity since apparently it has a great staircase (Photographers love circular staircases. Want to attract photographers? Put up a great staircase) .

We did spend a short while at the train museum which is situated next to the National libaray. Despite my ambivalence for most things railway related, it was a fun half an hour diversion, walking among its collection of Soviet and Russian rolling stock. I would of liked to have gone to the Aero park, situated by the airport, with its plethora of Cold War Russian aviation.  However it  is only open on weekend, so I had to satisfy myself with a brief glimpse of it from the airport concourse.

One place I specifically wanted to see was the Latvian museum of photography on Marstalu iela.

Latvia has quite a long history of photography, with a number of prominent photographers coming from Latvia such as Phillipe Halsman. It was also where the Minox set of miniature cameras, so beloved of 1960's spy movies, were developed. The museum was fun, despite the best attempts of the staff who seemed continually surprised that anyone actually wanted to visit. Our group may not of helped ourselves here by making extensive use re-created Victorian era photo studio to take impromptu photos of each other in period clothing.

A photographic club in action

At last a chance to play with Fuji's Sepia mode

Another place I really wanted to visit was the national Latvian Library. This building stands out on the west bank of the river like a giant upturned silver boat. Inside is a wonderful  monument to the values that Latvians places on their language and the importance placed on books in general. Coming from a country where libraries are increasingly seen as a unsupportable luxury, I can only applaud the Latvians values and priorities.

It is as equally impressive inside. Photography is not restricted and as long as you hand in coats and camera bags at the luggage kiosk and lockers, you can roam the floors taking photos to your hearts content. We spent a good hour and a half playing around with our cameras taking shots of the (you guessed it) staircases among other things (according to one of our number, the toilets are equally impressive, a pleasure I managed to miss)

Inside the library looking up

Yes you guessed it, a staircase

People of Riga

When going to a city you will always want to have a go at street photography. However peoples attitude to being photographed varies from nationality to nationality. Some like being photographed, while other nationalities range from camera shy, to actively hostile.

It may be due to the recent past when cameras were seen as an instrument of state repression, but we found that generally Latvians do not like being photographed. Some, if they see you, they will put their hand in front of their face. So you have to be a bit more sneaky if you want to get some candid shots. I must admit it is not a skill I'm very good at, and I need to work on my ability to define a narrative when taking these sort of shots

The Russia House

When visiting a country as a tourist, it is easy to miss some of the undercurrents going on at the time. I was aware of the issue of the Russian Latvian population who after independence found themselves as non-citizens. Two places brought this to stark reality. Firstly was the orthodox church. This always had a different atmosphere to the rest of Riga, and to be honest it sometimes felt disparate and hostile to the rest of the city.

The 2nd place was the Russian embassy. The embassy is placed on probably the most expensive part of Riga dubbed embassy row. While we were in Riga, a fire had ripped through a Russian shopping mall, killing 64 people, 41 of which were children. When we passed the embassy, there was a steady stream of people laying flowers and other memorials. Of course this could of been just a population sympathizing with a neighboring country on their loss. However with Putin's increasing attempts to subvert nations by playing on Russian nationhood, I couldn't help feeling that this was more to do with a estranged population re-iterating its separation from Latvia generally

Riga Mortis

So how do I feel about Riga and the trip. First lets say, that I really enjoyed the city and I can thoroughly recommend it as a photographic short break. The people were generally very welcoming and friendly. The city itself is easy to get around, with plenty of interesting nooks and crannies, plus the river provides great views of the city. The standard of accommodation is good and food is not to outrageously priced (I recommend trying the Black Balsam drink at least once which is Vodka and herbs. Think alcoholic cough medicine )

My biggest disappointment however was me.I thought I had prepared well for the trip, but when I got there I quickly ran out of ideas and started taking regressing to the touristy shots that I generally hate. Basically I rushed around taking anything rather than trying to work out the story I wanted to tell, and finding shots to fit that narrative.

If I had the chance to go again, I would limit my time in the main town and spend more time in places like the Moscow district, or head over the bridge to Āgenskalns, where the older wooden buildings can be found. Another place I missed, which I now wish I had taken time to explore was Miera iela, Riga's bohemian center with its wooded graveyards.

Still maybe I am being a little hard on myself.  It just goes to show how difficult it is to capture a new city in photographs in 2 days.

On the plus side, it does give me an incentive to go back

P.S. Despite my extensive research, one website I wish I had seen before I had gone out is this one ( It provides a great insight into the baltic states, plus some good photographic ideas 

3 spires
The Old and New

The war memorial

Ice fishing

Standing guard

The statues in Riga were not shy

Add caption


Saturday, 7 April 2018

What makes a great photographer?

Iron enough to make a nail
Lime enough to paint a wall
Water enough to drown a dog
Sulphur enough to stop the fleas
Potash enough to wash a shirt
Gold enough to buy a bean
Silver enough to coat a pin
Lead enough to ballast a bird
Phosphor enough to light the town
Poison enough to kill a cow
You have
Iron enough to make a nail
And lime enough to paint a wall
But that just isn't enough to make you a man

The making of a man -Terry Prachett

In astrophysics  there is a famous equation which is used to estimate the number of communicating civilizations in the cosmos, or more simply put, the odds of finding intelligent life in the universe.

The Drake equation  is simply a set of terms that when multiplied together generates a probability value. Its beauty, apart from its simplicity is that it is a game anyone can play. You just have to decide a value for each of the terms based on your feelings, experience, and prejudice. Multiply them together and you have your figure. However the real power is that it allows you to delegate relative values or importance to the outcome.

All well and good you are saying, but what the hell has that to do with photography?

Well after a recent tweet, I wondered whether there is a similar equation which can define the probability of becoming successful in photography?

So I have come up with the Duck equation and I believe these are the components that go to make up becoming a great photographer. All you have to decide is the relative value or weighting of each one.

The equation is as follows

and the terms are defined as these


You can't be a successful photographer unless you take photos. In theory you could be successful if you are a agoraphobic locked in windowless cell but it is unlikely. The more and varied places you go and take photos the higher the probability is that you will get better shots


We all hear those stories of people who pick up a camera for the 1st time and instantly become be new Ansel Adams. It may well happen, but for the vast majority becoming good at something requires practice and practice requires repetition, review and continual feedback. This is not a story many want to hear, and would prefer to believe that they can be that instant genius, but even if you are lucky enough to be that person it does not mean that practice cannot take you to another level


Some believe that great photographers just turn up on a location take some shots and go home. In my experience one of the things that distinguishes a great photographer is the effort they go to to get that shot. That effort may take the form of camping on rain-sodden hill side after a 5 hour hike and staying there for a week, just waiting for that perfect condition to appear. They may then do this continually for years until they achieve until they have the photo they want. Something to mull over when you are in your bed at 6 a.m. with the sheets over head because it looks a little damp outside


There is an image of a photographer as a lone wolf, heading into the wilderness, assiduously guarding their secret techniques and locations. In practice most photographers rely on others for feedback, inspiration and moral support.  Not only that but successful networking  makes it easier to be noticed, allows you to publicise your work. Their is a belief again that a great photographer just gets noticed, when in fact they spend years building up their connections and accumulating photography credits.


Yes, a photographer needs a camera. The importance of the quality of that camera is one of the more contentious debates you can have. Some will argue that you cannot achieve you full potential unless you have the best of everything, while other will point to great photographers who just use old but trusted kit.


Awareness is the value of being not only aware of you surroundings and the  photographic opportunities they present, but also the potential of your taken raw photo. Put two photographers in the  same location and one will make better use of the location than the other. Similarly some recognize the potential in a shot that others will disregard. In short its the ability to frame a narrative from a scene or see something in a image others have missed


Organization is the discipline that goes with the art. Have you planned where you will go? Do you know where your kit is? If some wants one of your photos as a print, can you locate it? Organization feels like the antithesis  of art, but the best photographers combine both these aspects of their work.


Ahh,  the L word. How much does luck play in becoming a great photographer? Not as much as many believe I feel. It is to easy a crutch to fall back on when someone else creates a great image from a location you were also at. Also there is still the correlation between luck, effort  and practice. However luck may still be a factor when the elements combine to allow you to capture that once in a lifetime shot. Yes luck is there, however unlike the other components it is something you have little control over, so it is best just to accept it happens and move on.


You have the best kit, practice continually and have given up your day job to concentrate exclusively on becoming a kick ass photographer and it is still not happening for you. You may just have to face facts that have no talent for photography. Talent is the X factor in photography. It separates the true greats from the journeyman pro. It cannot be bought, acquired or learnt and some have it in boatloads and some less so. However that does not mean that you cannot become a great photographer even if your talents are more limited by your compatriots, it just means you will need to compensate more with greater effort and practice.

So these are my components and I would love to know whether you agree/disagree and whether there is anything else you would add/take away. The other question is what th relative weighting you would place on each component. Is luck more important Talent, equipment the equaliser of effort? I have my one thoughts but that ultimately is something you need to decide.

Saturday, 30 December 2017

Last Post of 2017 - Mondays

One thing that I tried to do this year is participate in the twitter Monday competitions, #Wexmondays, #Sharemondays and #fsprintmondays

My success has been mixed.

In March I was fortunate to win #Sharemondays with the above image.

The prize was to judge the next week competition. This may sound more of a burden than a prize, but I was and am honored to do that. While the responsibility was heavy, I did actually enjoy sorting through the images. It also helped me define my thoughts on what is a great photograph (and at the same time the realization that its only a judges opinion) 

The same photo also scraped onto the #Wexmondays shortlist, putting me for the 1st time on the leader-board.

Here I go I thought and re-doubled my efforts to enter when I could every week. In the end, no other image got on the shortlist and  I missed the top slot by a measly 750 points. Sigh, so close :) (Many congratulations to Neil Burnell for winning, but you know I was robbed :) )

 Fsprintmondays for whatever reason decided to ignore my images...boooo!

Strange thing is, reviewing my entries to all competitions, a lot of them now appear contrived and if i had the chance again I would not enter them today. 

There are  number of reasons for this. The fact the image has to be taken the week before, means that part time photographers like me, are always under pressure to process the images taken on the Saturday and Sunday, filter them and choose the best. Often it was 11:50p.m on Monday that I had to bite the bullet and decide on which of the 5 or 6 image contenders I would to choose.  If I had a few more days to decide, no doubt the image would of been a different one, but hey, thats the rules of the game.

The bigger issue was that after my early success, I started trying to game the competition and choose images that i thought would suit the judges, rather than the ones I liked most. This is an easy trap to fall into, and if there is one thing I have learned from the experience,  it is to photograph for yourself, not others. True, the results may well be the same, but in the end at least you can say that you liked them.

So in the end, yes it was an effort and burden, but ultimately fun.

It also has kept me taking and processing photos.
It has made me look at other images and think about photographs and what distinguishes a good photo from a great photo.
It has giving me some great ideas on taking images.
It helped me discover some fantastic photographers.  
It also allowed me, for a brief instance, to share the same air as many photographers I admire and respect.

Even if this is my high point in photography, the final point is one I will cherish for years to come.

Saturday, 23 December 2017

Advent 14 - Flow

I have lived for a large period of my life on or around the Peak district.

When I lived in Manchester the dark peak was basically on my doorstep. When I moved further south, the white peaks became my playground. While not perhaps as instantly photogenic as the lakes, its darkness and varied landscapes  make it harder, but in some ways more rewarding to get a good image out of it.

As my interest in photography has grown I have found myself trying to find more days to go into the peak district and explore some of the more less well known areas.

Despite believing I knew the peak district well, for some reason the area around Padley gorge  escaped my notice, until I went on a photo trip with Verity Milligan and Rich Jones. Now it almost always my goto place when I am not feeling adventurous, providing a unique combination of rock formations, heathland, views and waterfalls. Basically everything a landscape photographer could want.

So when I managed to wangle a 24 hour pass from my nearest and dearest in November, it was of course the 1st place I headed for.

However the challenge is to find a photo which has not been taken before in such a heavily frequented spot. There is the obvious shots of milky water on the water falls

But the truth is, these have all been done before and better.

I was taken by the rock formations and although the sunrise never really arrived, i got this  shot which I was happy with as the sun poked around the top of the rock

However this one intrigued me more. It is just 3 spindly silver birches. However their isolation in the rugged landscape spoke to me in a way more than just another waterfall.

However the shot i really liked was this one which I call 'flow'

It basically consisted of me throwing piles of leaves into a fast flowing part of the stream and then  taking a 10th second exposure. However to me it symbolizes the movement and flow of the stream more than a milky photograph. Its very ambiguity and vibrancy also appeals to me more than a realistic but static representation of a landscape.

Friday, 22 December 2017

Advent 13 - People

I like to think I will try my hand at most photography, but probably the one i fear the most is people photography.

While i'm quite happy to try and catch a candid photo of someone with a zoom lens, the idea of coming up to a stranger and asking to take their phot is something very alien and un-British (after all I haven't been formally introduced :))

It is some thing that every year I hope to conquer as I sit in awe as people show me images they have taken at Steam punk fairs and other similar events, but so far I have never built up the courage to do

The one class of people I have less of an issue with taking photos of children, but of course that raises other issues. In the UK, there has grown up a culture of suspicion of anyone with a camera around children and of course this needs to be treated with respect, however ill founded . On the other hand I find friends and family are generally happy with me taking photos of their loved ones especially as more than happy in sharing the results with them.

This picture was taken of a child of one of my wife's relative on a hot summer day during a fun bubble fest. While it is not perfect (the background could of been clearer), the story it tells in the joy of childhood is written across the face.

Catching fleeting moments like these with the camera is one of the joys of photography and one of reason I enjoy it so. This image is for me the synthesis of summer 2017 and could never be repeated

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Advent 12 - Istria

I my head I have this idea of throwing a few cameras in a backpack and a spare pair of underwear, hitching up at the local airport (2 minutes away in my case), jetting off to some location spending 5 days photographing the sites and selling my award winning images.

In reality I have to rely on fitting my photography around family holidays with all the pressures that entails.

This year we decided to go to Istria, part of northern Croatia.

Why there? well because a) it was cheaper than Italy b) we could get there from our local airport so cutting out the most tedious part of the journey and c) it fitted our brief of being different without being too different.

Apart from that my knowledge of Croatia consisted of 1) it was a former member of the former country of Yugoslavia and b) in recent memory it had been involved in a war

Apart from that the country, people and culture were a total mystery. So after we booked we started a intense internet search campaign to work out what we were going to do when we got there (I know a little late for that).

And here comes the issue with my opening statement.

The best way to get around in a foreign country is hire a car (and generally cheaper than the package tours as well). Therefore I had plans to where we could go. The Plitvice National Park looked stunning, Lake Bled, just over the border in Slovenia was a place I had seen photographed many times and seemed on the map close by. Venice a place on my bucket list was just over the other side of the Adriatic  and was surely somewhere we should visit.

However I always make the same mistake. Living on a cramped island where you can throw a brick in any direction and hit some tourist attraction I had misunderstood the scale. Plitvice was a 5 hour car journey, Bled a similar distance (with the complication of border crossings). Venice could be accessed with a 3 hour catamaran ride. That would give us 2 hours and then 3 hour back. Not my definition of fun.

Not only that, but while competent, I am never totally comfortable driving on the 'wrong' side of the road. even with 3 pairs of eyes on me telling me when i am about to dive to the side of the road i am most comfortable I always feel a pressure to keep my wits about me at all time.

In the end we had to pull our ambitions in and have a limit of two hours driving time. This  meant we
only got to see a small part of what is a vast country.

But what a country it is. Unlike Crete, our other Mediterranean excursion, Croatia is verdant and well developed. We were based on Porec, but the toll road was well built and amazingly from a UK perspective virtually empty allowing us to go up and down the Istrian coast.

Inland, we started hitting these little fortified hill towns, perched on top of rock outcrops. My only complaint was  that Croatia road builders are not keen on laybys or viewing spots meaning that it was never easy to stop and take photographs.  My personal favorite was Grožnjan, a small hill town, taken over by an artistic community. An eclectic mix of new world and old world cultures.


Vintage cameras in Grožnjan. They must of known I was coming...

Hum - apparently the worlds smallest town

However it is the coasts which Istria is famous for. Rovinj is called little Venice and it is easy to see why. A bit touristy for my taste, but the combination of narrow streets set against a blue harbour makes it a stunning location. The only pity was that I could not be there during sunset.


And sunsets are what makes this coast so  remarkable. The sun goes down across the Adriatic sea, and coming from a country where you may get 5 or 6 decent sunsets in a year, I was stunned to find a place you were virtually guaranteed a sunset event each night. In the end my family came quite used to me slinking out of whatever harbour side restaurant we had decided to neat at that night to capture the sunset, together with a small audience staring in silence as 1.989 × 10^27 tonnes of gas again slipped below the horizon.

Another average sunset

I took many photos of that event, but the one I liked most was this one using a tripod to scan across the horizon as the sun went down.

So how do I sum up Istria, from a photographic point of view?

Istria is a bit of a undiscovered country photographically, with most photographers going North to Slovenia or south to Dubrovnik. However there is a lot there and I wish I had the time and the courage to explore further inland. For example, the Ucka mountains were just out of reach and looked interesting and a potential great hiking spot.

And that is the problem with photography on holiday. However much you travel, you only just scratching the surface of a place, leaving you with maybes and what ifs.