It’s time to add another city to my top 5 photography spots list, and today it’s Amsterdam. As Amsterdam is very much about the canals, the places I will mention here are mostly on them, and really capture the look of the city center. There are specific popular spots with photographers, but they are a bit harder to find if you don’t know the location, as the canals are similar around the area, and it’s hard to identify certain spots from just the photos. So as always, I will be including the GPS locations, to make you search easier :)

I will include more than 5 spots this time (keeping the name for consistency :)), and I will also include two spots in Zaandam. Zaandam is a smaller city near Amsterdam (I’m not sure if its like a city part of Amsterdam or not), that you can reach within minutes by train. It includes some great photo spots, which you really have to check out :) As some spot are further away, I will also try to include simple directions how to get there.

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1. At the canals (spot 1)

This is probably the most popular spot for photographers. Each time I was there I seen at least few with tripods around. Still as it’s not easy to find (I got questions about it :) ), check out the exact location from GPS. It’s also one of the few spots, where all the lights on the bridge work, so you will get a nice reflection in the water. This spot looks great from both sides of the bridge, so don’t forget to look at both :)

Top Photography Spots - Amsterdam
Top Photography Spots - Amsterdam

2. At the canals (spot 2)

One more, different spot at the canals (there are many). This one is different, as you can get down onto this small docking platform, to get a view from closer to the water. It just creates the best reflections in the water, either way you look.

Top Photography Spots - Amsterdam
Top Photography Spots - Amsterdam

3. Near Nemo

The Nemo science museum on it’s own looks great, but in this area I mostly take different photos. There are two things here. First if you have a longer lens, you can get a nice view of the center, with the Church of Saint Nicholas. Secondly, the two pedestrian bridges are great for shots. And when you done here, you can just walk towards the train station from here, to get even more great locations. Or you can walk to the Montelbaans tower, which is also very close.

Top Photography Spots - Amsterdam
Top Photography Spots - Amsterdam

4. In the center

There are many places to take photos in the center, but this one you should visit. There are two views here, one is right in the middle (see GPS location), from where you get this great reflection (but only in the evenings and in the morning, at other times the boats come by too often). The second one is from the nearby bridge where you see the reflection from a bit different angle.

Top Photography Spots - Amsterdam
Top Photography Spots - Amsterdam

5. I Amsterdam sign / Rijksmuseum

This spot is just so busy all the time. You always see people getting photos with the sign, climbing on it and just being in the way :) So for best photos, go here for the sunrise. You should have it for your self for few minutes then. I prefer to use a long lens, 100mm or more and just stand at the end of the pool here, to get nice reflection of the Rijksmuseum in the background. Btw. the pool changes over the year, sometimes it’s empty, sometimes there are tulips in it, sometimes a statue.

Also, don’t forget to check out the Rijksmuseum, and also the great looking passage through it, as it open all the time.

Top Photography Spots - Amsterdam
Top Photography Spots - Amsterdam

6. Zaanse Schans

While one is in Netherlands, one of course should get some photos of the windmills. And the best spot for that is the Zaanse Schans. This is a small, very beautiful village not far away, with quite a few windmills and nice spots to view them from. You will have to take a train from the Amsterdam Central station to get here. There is one every few minutes and you have to get out at the Koog-Zaandijk stop and then walk few minutes to get to the Zaanse Schans area. There you can just explore as much as you want :)

Top Photography Spots - Amsterdam
Top Photography Spots - Amsterdam

7. Inntel Hotel Zaandam

If you like strange architecture, as I do, you should definitively also check out the Inntel Hotel in Zaandam. It’s quite easy to get there, just take a train from Amsterdam Central, and get out at the Zaandam stop. There is a train going there every few minutes, and it’s only few stops. The hotel is right next to the train station, and the area is quite empty in the evening. Only each time a train arrives, you have people passing by, but you can take photos in between :)

8. Skylounge

The Skylounge is not a typical spot that I would recommend. But as Amsterdam is quite flat, there is quite a lack of higher up spots with a nice view. The Skylounge is a bar on top of the Hilton Hotel in the city center. It has an outdoor terrace, where you can sit down, have a drink and take few shots :). The entrance is free, you just have to walk into the hotel, and take the elevator to the 11th floor. Not really a place for tripods, but you should be able to take few nice shots handheld. I did not get the best shot while I was there, so I will have to return. So here is one, just to show you the view :)

9. A’DAM Lookout

The A’DAM Lookout is a recently opened lookout/restaurant tower in the Amsterdam. It’s probably the highest point you can get to in the city. The view is nice, but there are few problems. You will need a very long lens as the tower if further away from the center, and secondly, the lookout area uses fences to prevent you from falling, with only few holes to put a camera through. I was not even able to place a tripod so, that I could use a wider lens. You just can’t place it close enough. Still, if you have a long lens, or you just want a nice view of the city, it’s worth the visit. Also, when you are in the elevator, have your phone or camera ready, look up and record :)

To get here, you have to go to the main train station, walk through it to the pier, and take the free ferry to Buiksloterweg (there is one every few minutes).

A’DAM Lookout
A’DAM Lookout

10. Keukenhof

If you are in Amsterdam between the end of March and the end of May, and you catch good weather, you should definitively visit also the Keukenhof gardens. This is a very unique garden full of tulips. It quite busy but also very beautiful. The easiest way to get there, is to go to the Shiphol airport and take a designated bus that goes from there. It take around an hour to get from the city here, so plan accordingly. You can check out Keukenhof website for specifics.

Keukenhof
Keukenhof

Thats all for this list, don’t forget to check out all the other ones :)

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Cesky Krumlov is a wonderful place for a photographer to visit. Many great views of the city, all within a few minutes walking distance from each other. So in this list, lets look at the spots I liked the most while being there.

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1. Viewing platform near the castle

This platform gives you just the best view of the city center. It’s especially great for when you are trying to take a panorama shot. There is one problem with this location though, that it is closed at night. So you can get there from around 7 in the morning to sometime in the afternoon (I don’t remember there being opening times written on the door). The entry is free, and of course you can use your tripod there.

Cesky Krumlov, Czech republic
Cesky Krumlov, Czech republic

2. Viewing platform in the city

This spot will be probably the first you visit as is right at the entrance to the center of the city. It gives a very nice view of the castle, and from what I have seen, they don’t close the gate to this place even at night. Be ready for it to be quite filled with tourists.

Cesky Krumlov, Czech republic

3. Over the staircase (Nad Schody) street

A really adequately named street, as to get there you have to go up the stairs from the city center. The view of the city, and especially of the cathedral in the middle is nice from here, just have a higher tripod, as there are bushes here and there in the way.

Morning in Cesky Krumlov

4. Parking area

Right when you are entering the center of the city, you will see a small parking area on the right side, that looks like its private and off limits. But it isn’t. Just go there, and you will even find benches under the trees. It gives another very nice view of the castle and the rivers bend.

Cesky Krumlov, Czech republic

5. Cloak bridge

Another very nice view of the city center, with one big problem. The problem are the very strong flood lights that you get right in your face. So if you want to get a photo from here, either do it during the day, or do as I did, include more of the bridge. Like this you will hide from the lights.

Cesky Krumlov, Czech republic

All these spots are very close to each other, and you can actually create a path between them, going from the 4th, through the 2nd, 5th, 1st and end on the 3rd.
Cesky Krumlov, Czech republic
The whole path is only around 2km.

Thats all for this list, don’t forget to check out all the other ones :)

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Same as by Paris, I would call this more a list of nice locations, and a real Top spots list will require more visits to London (hopefully soon :) ). So for now, here is a temporary list.

To see all my photos from London, look into the London Category
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Tower bridge

Of course this was my first destination, and probably is for most people. Taking photos on the bridge is great, just in the area around the bridge, don’t be surprise if you get stopped by security guards. I was twice in a mater of minutes :) I would really suggest having a small tabletop tripod and a clamp as a backup, just so you can get the shots you want.

Passing red buses
Colorful Tower Bridge

City hall area

This area is really close to the Tower bridge, and also give a great view of it. Again there is a big chance that you may be stopped by security guards (if you use a tripod) in this area, but that haven’t happened to me. Again a tabletop tripod could be real help in this area.

London City hall
In the Matrix

Westminster bridge

Surprisingly no security guards here, and a really nice view of the bridge and from the bridge. Also great spot for early morning, if you want to get a passing buss in from of the Westminster palace.

Big Ben
Morning bus

London Eye

Another spot where you should be prepared for security guards or police to stop you (that is a recurring theme in London, btw.). Still the view of the London Eye is great and the lights on the nearby trees are there all the time.

The London Eye
The London Eye in the morning

Leadenhall Market

As all the other spots are outdoor, I’m including one that is indoor. The market is only partially indoor, but the architecture is just stunning and looks wonderful. It’s a little harder to find in the middle of a very modern area, but really worth it.

Leadenhall Market In London

 
There are of course many more (Canary wharf, Piccadilly circus, Westminster cathedral….), and I hope to update this list again
 
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To learn how I edit my photos, feel free to check out my video tutorial series Master exposure blending.
Master exposure blending

Before I went to Dubai, I had few questions about them, especially about tripod use, so I hope that this list will still helps some of you, who plan to go there. So expect no surprising spots here :). Will need few more visits to get to those.

I will stick to places that are freely accessible in this list. You can also see all my photos from Dubai here.

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As I revisited Dubai recently, there will be few updates and new spots here, as some of the original ones are no longer accessible, or even existing.

At the top / Burj Khalifa

Of course I have to include this one. It’s so unique to be able to be so high up. The view is just great. But there are few things one has to prepare for.

First of all, buy your ticket at least two weeks before online. Without it you either wont get up at all, or you will have to pay for the much pricier ticket on the spot. They also sell only specific number of tickets for a certain time, so they can get sold out very quickly. I would suggest doing a sunrise instead of sunset. You get up much quicker, and it’s cheaper. The number of people is smaller, but they will stay around more, so grab a window, and wait for the sun by it.

Secondly, be prepared for a airport stile security check. They have no problems with camera gear or tripods, but they suggest you don’t take a big bag with you. I had a camera, 5 lenses and a tripod with me, and they only wanted to look inside the bag. There were no issues.

Thirdly, get a Lenskirt or something to cover your camera. The slits in the wall, that were available before, are still there, but not there is a metal railing in the middle of them. None of my lenses would fit through. The only solution was to take photos through the glass. Also the flooring is not the best there, and every time someone walks by, your tripod will shake. So get ready for that.

Very high up
Through the glass wall

Dubai Marina

Of course the second place has to be the Dubai marina. If one likes photos of skyscrapers, it a must. It’s the best late at night and early in the morning, where you meet almost no one there. The security guards here are really annoying, and they will stop you randomly around the marina. You can see them riding around with small golf carts. They will not bother you on the bridges in the area or if you use a clamp (strangely).

Also get yourself an ND filter. The daytime photos looks so much better from there as long exposures.

Filled with neon lights
Marina reflection

Palm Jumeirah

They should have something like this in every city. A great place to get a nice photo of the cityscape. From one side you get a great view of Dubai Marina, from the other of the Burj Al Arab. Just take a longer lens with you, as it’s a little further away. There is also a new walkway around the perimeter of the marina, so while you can’t get easily to the rocks anymore, you get a nice stable platform to shot from, quite close to the water.

Dubai marina skyscrapers
Landmarks in the night

Business bay

The original spot I shared here is still accessible, but not longer worth it. The new constructed building now block the view of the Burj Khalifa, so it does not looks so nice. But the whole business bay changed a lot in the last years, and you can get some great skyline views in the area anyway.

Under the bridge
So many contructions

Jumeira Public beach

The original spot I shared here does not even exist anymore. The progress in Dubai is just so fast. Instead, I would suggest a different spot (the name of the beach is the same, as it’s all called the same :)), one next to the Burj Al Arab. You can get a really nice sunset here.

Moonrise over Dubai
Shining tower

 

Under Burj Khalifa

You will need a wider lens to get a nice shot here, as the tower is just so high, but its worth it. If you go to close to the tower, be ready for security guards. I was stopped even a bit further (close to the opera) but there I was only informed that video is not permitted, but no problem with photos. Who knows why. I don’t.

Burj Khalifa
Burj Khalifa

 
There of course are many, many, many more spots, and I hope I revisit Dubai as soon as possible, to get many more shots.
 
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Ok, maybe not the top 5, as I will have to revisit Paris few times to find the very best spots. But as I got question about some good spots, here are my favorite ones from my last visit. You can think of these, as the must visit spots :).

To see all my photos from Paris, check out the Paris category on this blog

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Tour Montparnasse

One of the must visit spots in Paris. The view is wonderfull, the place is photographer friendly and you can stay there as long as you want. Just go there early, if you want to have a nice spot to view the sunset :)

Paris
Golden sunset

Top of the Eiffel tower

Another spot you have to visit. Go there early, find the best spot and don’t move until you get a great photo :). The view is just stunning. They also allow for tripods, but be ready that you will be checked almost like on an airport.

View from the top
Perfect sunset in Paris

La Defense Business district

Another spot with a great view, even if it does not give you so many different compositions. Looks to be very popular by Paris photographers, but not so know by others. If you go ther, just look for the stairs, and you will see it. Also the surrounding area give so many great photo opportunities, just look around.

La Defense Business district
Midnight Drivers

Notre Damme

Inside and on top of Notre Damme are both great spots, but as did not go inside during my stay, I suggest the spot I been to, the bridge behind the cathedral, and also the spot beneath the bridge.

Notre Dame de Paris
The moment before the storm

Arc de Triomphe

And spot number 5, Arc de Triomphe. If you can, don’t forget to go up. I was not able to, due to weather, but also from ground it looks great. Don’t forget to get yourself a nice ND filter, so you can blur all the traffic, and be careful when standing in the middle of the road, so you don’t get hit by a car. I suggest going to the opposing side, where the amount of people is smaller, with less traffic (shown on the map).

Traffic at the Arc De Triomphe
Blue hour at the Arc De Triomphe

There are of course many more great spots in Paris. The Louvre, area around the Eiffel tower, Trocadero, Pont des Arts, Alexander bridge and many many more. But I was not able to visit all, so that’s something to be added next time :)

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