Vasimant Know your people Fri, 29 Jan 2021 04:28:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Best Techniques for Perfecting Your Desert Photography Fri, 29 Jan 2021 04:28:53 +0000

Desert landscapes include an exciting variety of plants animals and geology. They are the perfect location for landscape and nature photographers.

This article is full of tips and techniques to help you take stunning desert pictures.

Prepare ahead for Desert Conditions

A safe and rewarding trip to the desert starts with careful preparation. The first thing is to choose the right time to visit based on your temperature.

Valley national park is a popular desert location for landscape photographers. But it also holds the record as the recorded temperature on the planet at 134° Fahrenheit (57° Celsius).

In this temperature is often in the very comfortable 70° Fahrenheit range (20° Celsius). So timing is essential when planning a visit to the desert.

Depending on the time of your visit consider several items for safety and comfort:

  • A hat to shield you from the sun.
  • Several bottles of water.
  • Sunglasses and sunscreen.
  • A GPS (phones don’t work in many remote locations).
  • A scarf to cover your neck.
  • A long sleeve shirt to block out the sun.
  • Pants with zip on/off leggings.
  • Quality hiking boots.

Essential Gear for Desert Photography

Desert photography is similar to landscape photography. You have to pack the equipment you are sure you will need.

This can include:

  • Lenses ranging from wide-angle to telephoto.
  • A tripod.
  • Cable release.
  • Filters like a polariser or graduated neutral density.
  • A focus loupe.
  • A flash unit if you want to add light.
  • Extra batteries.
  • Extra SD cards.
  • A multi-tool.

And make sure you have a garbage bag with you!

Many desert plant species have adapted mechanisms in the form of needles. In some locations the ground is littered with them. Camera care is important and setting your bag on the ground or in the sand can create problems later. It is better to place it on the garbage bag.

Choosing Lenses for Desert Photography

Wondering what lens you’ll need is a valid question. My opinion is “whatever you can carry.”  If you need to keep in check limit your lens choice to fewer lenses with greater coverage. I carry a 16-35mm, 28-70mm, and 80-200mm as my three main lenses and they all get used.

The desert landscape consists of endless sand and sky. It’s natural to want to capture it all in one frame with a wide-angle lens. While there are plenty of subjects where this lens is a perfect choice consider using a telephoto lens as well.

Remember a wide-angle lens makes the foreground appear larger. A telephoto brings the distant background closer to the viewer by zooming in.

I captured the photo below at Bad water in Valley. The wide-angle lens emphasises the foreground while minimizing the background. This is an excellent strategy for scenes that have interesting foregrounds and dull backgrounds.

A telephoto lens is also valuable when you observe a subject far away. Here the foreground is not interesting so it’s best left out while zooming in on a specific area. Captured in Valley this detail shot of distant hills needed a 300mm lens. It was the best way to get close enough and leave out the surroundings.

Tips for Fantastic Flower Photography Fri, 29 Jan 2021 04:19:31 +0000

Spring is a gorgeous season to go out and make new beautiful photos. It’s all about colors and lots of daylight. What could be better for a photographer than digging into flower photography and green grass that can be captured through the lens?

In this article, we have collected the best tips for flower photography that will come in handy for both a newbie and a Pro.

After reading this guide, you’ll get some new spring photography ideas; get a better grip on what angle to choose, and what techniques to keep in mind before clicking the shutter.

Tips for Improving Your Flower Photography

1. Get Prepared

First things first, you need to get all your gear together, choose a proper lens, and other equipment that you may need out in the fields. Flowers are a great subject to try macro photography. If you have a macro lens, it will be a great option.

If you don’t have a macro lens, don’t worry, any lens from 50mm to 200mm will work.

After the lens and cameras, you will also need a tripod. This piece of equipment will improve your work by leaps and bounds. Of course, it’s not very comfortable to carry a tripod around, but your flower photography is worth it.

2 Find the Focal Point

For any photography genre, you need to draw the eyes of the viewer on your subject. You don’t need to set it in the centre, but somewhere closer to the frame. Use the rule of thirds to place your flower (or your subject) on the ‘lines’.

I want to remind you about the rule of thirds ; it proposes that the image should be divided into nine equal parts by two horizontal and two vertical lines. This way, the essential elements of your photo should be placed on these lines or their intersections.

For example, when you shoot a field of flowers, the skyline should be set on a lower or upper horizontal line, just like on the image below.

3. Highlight Your Subject

Flowers that are the subject of your shot should be your focus. Make sure you removed everything that could distract the clear view of the item from the foreground and background. There are numerous ways to get rid of distractions, such as:

  • crop the photo;
  • move the distractions or yourself;
  • make the depth of field more narrow (wider aperture will decrease the depth of field);
  • move the subject (but it’s not a very good method, because in this case, you need to pick the flowers and take it elsewhere).

4. Live View is Your Best Friend when Photographing Flowers

Live view is in flower photography and allows you to compose the picture and where to position critical element. However, you can use the live view mode only with a tripod. Otherwise, your image will turn out blurry.

Adjust the camera position if necessary, achieve the composition you want, and then go to the manual mode and click the shutter. This technique is useful for your macro and close-up images.

5. Go Big

Sometimes you can get a better image when you look at the big picture. Most photographers shoot flowers on macro and lose the opportunity to get a fantastic landscape shot. Maybe you can focus not on a single flower, but a whole field.

You can get so attentive to the details that you forget to take a step back and see the whole picture. After you make a few close-up shots, take a wide-angle lens and see the full scene.

6. Don’t Forget About Lighting.

Usually, you shoot flowers outside where perfect daylight does the entire job for you. You don’t need any specific lighting equipment, however, outside conditions could be unpredictable, and you might need a reflector or a diffuser. They can give you natural, diffused light on the areas of your photo that are in the shadow.

The beauty of the flowers can be captured with backlight. Stand right in front of the sun and let the light illuminate the bulb from the back. It allows creating a stunning glowing effect for a flower.

7. Make Abstract Image

Contrasting colours and textures of nature can help you to take a few stunning abstract shots. Don’t be afraid to experiment with this photography genre.

The beauty of the flowers can be captured with backlight. Stand right in front of the sun and let the light illuminate the bulb from the back. It allows creating a stunning glowing effect for a flower.

8. Make Abstract Image

Contrasting colours and textures of nature can help you to take a few stunning abstract shots. Don’t be afraid to experiment with this photography genre.

8 Tips for Mastering Your Portrait Photography Fri, 29 Jan 2021 04:16:17 +0000

Becoming a master of portrait photography takes lots of patience and practice. It’s likely there you are making with your portraits that hold them back from excellence. In this article, I will walk through eight tips to instantly boost your portrait photography game and take it to the next level.

Adapt to the available light

Light is one of the most important elements to keep in mind when taking portraits – specifically how the light looks on your subject’s face. Proper lighting, or lack thereof, can make or break your image. Direct the person you are photographing to turn their head towards the main light source, whether it’s a street lamp or the sun. If you’re having them look towards the sun, tell them to look in a direction that won’t cause them to squint or be unpleasant for them. You don’t want people going blind on your shoot, right?

While the golden hour is a fabulous time to photograph portraits, you won’t always have the luxury of perfect lighting thanks to the whims of Mother Nature. In these situations, you need to adapt to the available light to maximize your portrait opportunities.

Keep in mind, there is no such thing as bad light. It can all be used to your advantage if you know what you’re doing. Here are some basic tips for different natural lighting scenarios:

Harsh sunlight – have your subject stand in the shade to provide even lighting across their face.

Golden hour – have your subject face the sun to give a nice glow on their face or put the sun behind them to get some halo lighting.

Cloudy day – you will pretty much be good to shoot anywhere since the clouds will naturally diffuse the sun and provide flattering, even light on your subject’s face.

Night time/low light – look for a street light or other light source that can provide good lighting on your subject’s face.

Give directions to your subject

Let’s face it, most people are not confident or even comfortable being in front of the camera. Providing gentle directions to the person you are photographing can help them relax. Keep your directions simple and positive. If you don’t know any poses, focus on one thing to improve each shoot. Perhaps you ask your subject to lift their chin to provide a more flattering view of their face. A little positive direction goes a long way.

Find a clean background that contrasts with the subject

Backgrounds are extremely important in creating pleasing portraits. The key role of the background is to provide context to the environment the person is occupying and make them stand out. Finding a clean background that provides contrast with your subject is crucial.

Some things to be mindful of:

Branches, poles or other objects may look like they are growing out of your subject’s head, depending on where they are in the image. Try to frame the shot so that your subject’s head is distanced from distracting elements.

Try to find colors or tones that either complement or contrast your subject’s skin tones and clothing.

Focus on the dominant eye

This is particularly important if you’re shooting with shallow depth of field. Be sure to focus on the dominant eye of your subject, the one that is closest to the lens. If the dominant eye is out of focus, your photo will end up looking slightly off. This can ruin an otherwise good portrait.

Keep your lines straight

Crooked horizon lines can give your portraits a weird look, so make sure to keep those lines straight. The same goes for environmental elements like doors and the edges of buildings. If these types of lines aren’t straight, it can give your portraits a tilted look that isn’t flattering. Of course, you can straighten important lines in post-production, but this will involve cropping, which may ruin the composition. Focus on getting it right in camera.

Tips for Making Natural Light Portraits Fri, 29 Jan 2021 04:13:41 +0000

Natural light portraits are honestly one of my favourites, they have this extra feel that studio portraits don’t. Compared to studio portraits, they are much easier – you don’t need to learn all the lighting techniques. They are also much cheaper, you don’t need to buy any strobes, flashes, or light modifiers such as soft boxes beauty dishes. Studio portraits are really fun but they are much more difficult than doing natural light portraits.

Starting off, making portraits with natural light is a first great step. It will enable you to work on your composition, your communication with your model, and help you build your confidence. Then you can decide whether or not you want to invest in studio equipment.

Camera gear and settings

There are some simple tips and tricks to get the most out of your portraits with natural light. But let’s start with camera settings and camera gear first.

Shoot in manual mode

The ideal situation is to have total control over your settings, so I would highly recommend using manual mode. I recently wrote an article about using manual mode, so you can go check it out here; How to Use Manual Mode to Make Artistic Choices for Your Photography.

Shutter speed

You need a minimum shutter speed of around 1/100th of a second (or faster). This is very important as it helps you avoid blurry images as your model will be in constant movement most of the time.

Aperture and blurring the background

To get a soft background blur, you want to use the largest aperture possible – around f/4 works but the ideal would be f/1.8. If you want a larger aperture than f/1.8 the lenses can become quite pricey.

If you don’t have that kind of lens, you can still get nice results but separation (space) between the model and the background is needed. This really helps to drag the viewer’s attention to the model and avoid any unnecessary distractions. If you want to show the background behind your model then use a smaller aperture. I have an article on how to achieve background blur, I speak about bokeh in more detail there.

What lens to use?

If you are using a long (telephoto) lens then a large aperture isn’t as critical because you will automatically have some background blur separation. Long lenses are the best for portraits because they compress the subject to background very nicely. Avoid wide angles lenses because they distort the subject’s face and amplify features like the nose or the forehead. Try to use lenses with a minimum focal length of 50mm with a full frame sensor and 35 mm with an APS cropped sensor.


For the ISO, choose the lowest possible option taking in consideration that your shutter speed must be 1/100th of a second or higher. Using the light meter in your camera, you can get a fast shutter speed by adjusting your ISO if the lighting conditions are low. But, knowing that you will be using a larger aperture as well, that shouldn’t be a big problem.

Tips For Doing Stunning Urban Landscape Photography Fri, 29 Jan 2021 04:09:57 +0000

As a photographer, when you hear the word landscape your mind will most likely conjure up images of lush valleys, looming mountains, and majestic, sweeping vistas. With good reason, as the natural world can be a place of staggering beauty. But done well, a different type of landscape photography, the urban landscape, can produce shots that are equally as compelling as anything Mother Nature can throw your way.

The major city lends images a vitality that can’t be found anywhere else. There are so much movement and life in the urban environment, and the best city shots capture that buzzing vibrancy.

Shooting urban landscapes also has plenty of practical advantages too. Every type of photography is all about the light, and that is one thing cities never run out of. You can shoot in the artificial glow of the metropolis long after you’d have been forced to pack up your kit and make your way home from a day in the countryside.

Couple that with the fact that, for the most part, cities are a lot more accessible for the majority of us, and shooting urban landscapes is the ideal activity for photographers during those long winter months.

So here are our top tips for getting the most out of your time pounding the sidewalks.


You wouldn’t embark on a traditional landscape photography outing by jumping in the car, heading for the hills and hoping for the best. Likewise, the success of an urban landscape shoot depends largely on how well you plan.

Your home town

Even if you’re off to capture the town or city you grew up in, putting in the effort to do a little research up front usually pays dividends.

For example, when I wanted to get a shot from high up, overlooking my hometown of London, I didn’t foresee any problems in finding a suitable viewpoint. However, after a little digging, I learned that while London isn’t lacking in tall buildings offering amazing views, the number you can actually gain access to, that are also well suited for photography, can be counted on the fingers of one hand.

The vast majority are either restricted entry or in the case of The Shard (seen at the top of this article), cursed with a viewing gallery shrouded with ultra-reflective windows. A few minutes directed me to a lesser-known church tower on the banks of the Thames with unrestricted views downriver, saving me hours of fruitless searching.

Visiting another city

If you’re visiting a city for the first time, it’s a good idea to spend a little longer familiarizing yourself with the place before you go. Drawing up a shot list of the locations you want to photograph is a good idea as well.

But all that being said, don’t make yourself a slave to it. Few things are more exciting or rewarding in photography than allowing yourself the freedom to meander through a new landscape, get a little lost, and allow whatever happens to happen.
One word of warning: depending on your location, be sure you know where you can and cannot shoot. Many places these days are understandably sensitive about strangers waving cameras around. If in doubt, ask.

How to Use the Golden Ratio in Photography Thu, 17 Dec 2020 04:58:26 +0000

You can find the golden ratio everywhere in nature, from a nautilus shell to the waves of the ocean. Even parts of the human body and our DNA follow the golden ratio.

By using the golden ratio, you can create a photo that is more pleasing to the eye in a natural way.

What Is the Golden Ratio?

The golden ratio is a composition guide. Some people call it the Fibonacci spiral, golden spiral, phi grid, divine proportion, or the golden mean.

It helps to lead the viewer through the entire photo. The composition will be more pleasing and balanced for the human eye.

The golden ratio existed well before the modern camera’s birth. When the Egyptians built their pyramids, they used the golden ratio. Famous art pieces such as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper are also following the rules of the golden ratio.

But it does not stem from painting techniques. The golden ration comes from mathematics. The Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci came up with the idea when he arranged a series of numbers.

Following the sequence of his numbers can create an aesthetically pleasing art composition.

Don’t let mathematics scare you off though! You don’t need to apply any numerical calculations to use this technique.

The golden ratio is 1.618 to 1, and it is based on the spirals seen in nature from to ocean waves.

Even if you dislike maths, this concept can change your composition from good to excellent.

There are several ways to use the golden ratio. The Phi Grid and the Fibonacci Spiral are the most common ones applied in photography.

The Phi Grid

The Phi Grid is another way of considering proportion in photography. It looks like the Rule of Thirds, but you are not dividing the frame into equal thirds. The grid consists of a 1:0.618:1 ratio instead of the usual 1:1:1. The centre lines are closer to each other.

Using this method means that your subject is located a bit more central.

This way, your composition will be more unique and draw the viewer’s attention quickly to your subject.

The Fibonacci Spiral

The Fibonacci or golden spiral is built from squares that are based on the Fibonacci numbers. The length of every square is a Fibonacci number.

Imagine placing the squares within a frame. If you draw arcs from opposite corners of each square, you will end up with a curve resembling the shape of a spiral. This is a pattern that appears everywhere in nature and resembles the shell of a nautilus.

The curve flows through the frame and leads your eye around the picture.

You should place the area with the most details in the smallest box of the coil. This does not have to be in one of the corners. It can be anywhere in the frame. Some say that the face of the Mona Lisa is also placed within that crucial area.

Try to position the rest of the subject within the curve too. This will lead the eye of the viewer through the image in a natural way.

Even if you use different composition guidelines, the subjects’ position is very similar.

The golden ratio encourages photographers to consider not only where the subject is. It also matters where you place everything else in the picture.

How to Capture Great Photos in Low Light Thu, 17 Dec 2020 04:57:06 +0000

Shooting low light photography can be incredibly. It requires you to use new skills that go beyond your camera’s Auto Mode.

Sounds intimidating, But don’t worry. We’ll show you the camera settings, extra gear, and techniques you need to capture great photos in the dark.

Types of Low Light


These are the dark areas you’ll find in the daytime. Shadows created by large buildings or trees can be down to -2 stops of light than the well-lit areas.

Low Light

After sunset, areas may still be visible, yet too dark to capture.


This is when only the brightest objects are visible at night-time.

Use a Slow Shutter Speed for Low Light Photos

So how do you shoot in low light? It all starts with shutter speed, which helps determines the amount of time light can enter the camera. The lower your setting, the more light will come into your sensor.

But a slow shutter speed also causes motion blur, especially without a tripod.

So how do you take with a sharp photo with low light?

As a rule of thumb, the average person can take a sharp, blur-free image by setting the speed to a fraction of the focal length.

For example, to take a photo at 30mm, you would set the shutter speed to 1/30 of a second. Any slower and motion blur is likely to occur.

It’s worth noting that this rule is only relevant to full-frame cameras. If you use the same 30mm lens on a crop sensor, you’ll need to use 1/45th of a second instead of 1/30th due to your sensor’s crop factor.

Image Stabilization Allows You to Drop Your Shutter Speed Down

When it’s dark, sometimes 1/30th or 1/40th of a second wouldn’t suffice to capture correctly exposed pictures. But at the same time, going any slower also causes motion blur.

So how do you solve this issue when hand holding a camera? The answer is ‘image stabilization‘.

Even third-party manufacturers make lenses that reduce camera shake. Not all lenses have this feature, but most kit lenses come with it.

Image stabilization is so effective that it can allow up to 4.5 stops of compensation. In other words, it lets you shoot at 1/15th of a second or lower without motion blur.

This impressive feature works best in conditions with visible light.

Find ways to stabilize Your Camera Without a Tripod

If you are capturing a low-lit scene and do not have a tripod, a few methods help keep your images well exposed and sharp.

One is to stabilize your camera by using your camera strap around your neck. Making it taught allows you to minimize camera shake.

To add additional stability, you can also rest your back against a wall. Doing so eliminates even the slightest movement you make while shooting.

But the best solution is to set your camera on a table or a ledge to ensure it doesn’t move while you’re taking photos.

These techniques work best in low light conditions.

Use a Tripod for Shutter Speeds Lower Than 1/60

The techniques I showed you on how to avoid motion blur when shooting handheld aren’t foolproof. Even a slight camera shake from your hands can ruin our shot.

So if you don’t want to take any chances, just use a tripod. And always bring it any time you want to shoot some low light photography.

A Practical Guide to Shooting Star Photography Thu, 17 Dec 2020 04:53:06 +0000

Night photography can lead to some amazing images. But photographing stars can be tricky.

In this article, we will cover the different types of star photography and the gear you might need. We’ll cover camera settings, finding a location, and setting up your shot.

We use some specialised terms when talking about astro photography. Check out our complete astro photography glossary for the most common terms.

Let’s get started with a list of gear you’ll need Then, we’ll talk about a few of the most popular subjects in astro photography: star trails, the Milky Way, and deep space objects. Finally, we’ll give you some general shooting and compositional advice for photographing the night skies.

Camera Settings for Star Photography

Camera settings vary depending on the type of night sky photography. Let’s start with settings that are similar across different types of star photography.

Shoot in Manual mode. You’ll need to be able to change aperture, shutter speed, and ISO independently.

Set your camera to manual focus. It is usually too dark for auto focus to work for star photography. Later in the article, we’ll show you a couple of different ways to focus on the stars.

Shoot in RAW format. Post-processing is essential to making the most of star photography. Gather as much information as possible in a RAW file.

Many photographers suggest turning off the internal stabilisation when putting your camera on a tripod. But not all photographers agree.

Turning on your camera’s noise reduction is also a debated setting. This feature reduces the noise created by using a high ISO. The camera takes a completely black photo and merges it with your image. Unfortunately, this doubles the exposure time. If you set your shutter speed for 30 seconds, your camera will take 60 seconds to process the image. Many photographers prefer to use other noise reduction techniques in post-processing.

  • Digital Camera with good ISO performance – We’ll be talking more about the importance of ISO later in the article. ISO performance is especially important when photographing the Milky Way. As ISO on new versions of digital cameras improve, so does the ability to make star images.
  • A sturdy tripod – Camera shake will show in the long exposures needed to capture star photos.
  • A fast lens with an aperture of at least f 2.8 – A lens with a narrow aperture captures less light. The wider you can open the aperture of your lens, the more light hits the sensor. Lenses for photographing the night sky often have apertures of f 1.4, f 1.8, f 2.0, or f 2.8.
  • Condensation Prevention Lens Heater – Cool night weather conditions can create condensation on the front of the lens. This heater warms the lens and prevents water condensation.

Star Trails

Star trails are the easiest type of starry night photography you can do. As the earth rotates, stars appear to move. Star trail photography captures this movement by using long exposure settings. The photographic technique is like photographing light trails created by moving vehicles. But there are a few extra steps to photographing star trails that we’ll go through in a minute.

For star trails, we recommend taking a series of long exposure photos over about an hour. The stars will move enough in an hour to create a nice circular movement. But you can’t leave your shutter open for this length of time. A 60-minute exposure will blow out your image.

Travel Guide to Toulouse, France Thu, 17 Dec 2020 04:51:25 +0000

Deciding that France is the country that is your next destination shouldn’t be difficult. Filled with abundances of charm, culture, colours and cuisine there are always tons of things to choose from. Paris has the romance and Bordeaux has its wineries but there is one place that has often been overlooked until now, France’s fourth largest city: Toulouse.

About Toulouse

Toulouse is situated in the country’s south on the Garonne River, a short trip away from the Spanish border and neighbouring minnows Andorra. Notoriously used as a stopover city, in particular for business travellers, tourism is on the rise in Toulouse and the city is finally getting the recognition it has long yearned for.

From Basilicas to Spaceships and the Capitole to Cassoulet, Toulouse is a city of contrasts making it ideal for a city break. Due to many of the buildings constructed with the pink-clay coloured bricks, Toulouse is also dubbed as La Ville Rose (The Pink City).

The city is easily accessible within Western Europe and flights only last about two hours.

Here’s why Toulouse should be your next city break destination.

Wandering made easy

Wandering through the centre of Toulouse is fairly easy. The centre point is Capitole de Toulouse. Steeped it is said the bishop of Toulouse, Saint Saturnin was martyred here. The Capitole was also the centre of the Toulouse riots in the late 1500’s.

Today, the Capitole houses many works of Renaissance art. It is used as a city hall, a wedding venue (Toulousains marry for free) and also houses theatre and opera companies.

Preserved heritage

As you’ll soon notice Toulouse is a pretty place with the colourful buildings down Rue d’Alsace a prime example. The city’s preserved cultural sites include buildings such as the Saint Sernin Basilica and Church of Jacobins.

All within walking distance of each other, the century-old architecture adds that element to the city, making it one for the cultural cats. Saint Sernin, from the 11th century, is the largest Roman church in Europe and since the turn of the century is an UNESCO World Heritage.

Church of Jacobins, home to the relics of philosopher and theologian Thomas Aquinas, has had many uses over the years including being influential in the creation of the first University in Toulouse and more recently used as an army barrack during the French Revolution.

The future is here

Whilst the Gothic wonders of the past are clearly earmarked across the centre of the city, there’s plenty of innovation happening on its out skirts. Toulouse has a large aviation industry with Aeroscopia Museum being home to the Airbus and also including the famous Concorde. With a timeline of aviation and air crafts of all sizes at hand Aeroscopia is fascinating for most.

Going one step further and into orbit, Cité de l’Espace is a park museum all about human interventions in space. This includes the life-sized model of spaceship Ariane 5 and Mir Space Station. Within the museum, learn about how it’s like to live in space, along with many interactive exhibits and activities to go with including Sputnik Earth’s first artificial satellite!

Both museums are located beside Toulouse airport and are reached via metro and tram services.

Delicious Culinary Scene

Toulouse is full of quirky and yet the most famed dish here is the Cassoulet and no one does it better than at Emily. If you are unsure, friendly waiters can recommend great dishes.

Top ice rinks from around the world Thu, 17 Dec 2020 04:46:00 +0000

It may be chilly outside, but don’t get too comfy on your sofas just yet. What better way to celebrate the seasonal changes than by drawing figures of eight on ice? So dig out your earmuffs, a sturdy pair of gloves and get your skates on.

Rideau Canal Skateway, Ottawa, Canada

The Rideau Canal Skateway in Ottawa stays open from January to roughly mid March once the ice achieves a minimum thickness of 30 centimetres (12 inches). It is the world’s largest naturally frozen rink according to the Guinness World Records. It stretches 7.8 kilometers and runs through the heart of the city on the Rideau Canal — a world.

It’s a scenic route that begins by the Parliament buildings and ends at Dows Lake. Along the way are rest areas with places to eat and drink. For the kids there is a snow playground and the Snowflake castle.

Entry is free and you can rent skates on the Canal (there are also skate sharpening booths). You can also rent bright red sleighs and push those who can’t skate themselves.

PS: Sports fans should get there for the The Winterlude. This is an annual event that lasts for three weeks and will be taking place from February 2 to 19 next year. Ice sculptures pop up, triathlons and hockey matches take place as well as some devilishly good skating demos.

Wiener Eistraum ice rink, Vienna, Austria

This Wiener Eistraum ice rink (which means Ice Dream) sits in front of the Rathaus (city town hall) in Rathausplatz in the Innere Stadt district. The rink, open from now, is huge – a hefty 8000sqm – the size of a football pitch. What makes this rink special is the ice skating routes that snake their way quaintly through the park and trees, linking to two smaller rinks. One rink is reserved for children and those with a nervous disposition. Penguin supports for children are free to use. When not skating, browse the local food fayre for sale from surrounding wooden stalls.

Patinoire Accorhotels Arena, Paris

This huge indoor three-year-old ice rink is located in the Arena in the basement of Bercy multisport and concerts venue. The entrance is via Quai de Bercy under the new pedestrian bridge around the building. It’s pretty big at 56 metres (1840 feet) long, big enough for 500 skaters at any one time.

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland, London

The Hyde Park Winter Wonderland is an event that lasts for six weeks of winter festivities and it’s all free to access. The Magical Ice Kingdom is double last year’s size and offers snow and ice sculptures galore.

It also comprises the UK’s largest outdoor rink stretching over 1,600m2 with the park’s picturesque Victorian Bandstand at its heart. It is illuminated with with over 100,000 lights and where live music is played all day and night.

Entry is from £9.50 and £8.50 for kids and includes skate hire. Each session lasts around 50 minutes so get there well in time to get ready.

And if that is not heady enough, you can gaze at the action from above from the iconic Observation Wheel that illuminates the skyline.

Rockefeller Ice Rink & Central Park Ice Rink, New York

This ice rink is a major feature of the Rockefeller centre, but it wasn’t always ice. The Sunken Plaza, as the area was originally called, was lushly landscaped and with high-end. But not many bothered to go down the stairs leading from the Channel Gardens.