Recently I took a mixed group of diplomats, aid workers and tourists on a hiking trip to Kosovo‘s most remote region, Dragash. Not only is the area the focus of my upcoming first guidebook (The Mountains of Dragash, Kosovo: Hiking and Nature Tourism Guide) but is now the area where I’m working for the United Nations to develop a rural tourism strategy for the Municipality.

How to Take Stunning Travel Photos With your Iphone

The trip and guidebook are secondary to my true secret, how I use the Iphone to take amazing photos. OK, OK, I think they are amazing anyway. While I’m also guilty of lugging around a proper camera, many of my most beautiful shots come from my easy to pocket Iphone.

I use a photographic technique (is it a technique if it is an app?) called High Dynamic Range (HDR) which takes photos at varying light levels and merges them together. The effects can be stunning and with a simple App called TrueHDR ($1.99) all the processing work is done for you. Of course you still need to frame, pick beautiful views, and keep a steady hand. Dragash, Kosovo really is this beautiful, but with a little help it’s possible to draw out the wild beauty of the area even further.

Enjoy the photo essay and leave your best travel photography tip in the comments below.

Camping in Brod Kosovo

Our beautiful camp site at the base of a 2 river canyon system


Dragash Kosovo Canyon


Hiking in Dragash Backcountry

hiking through river gorge brod dragash


beautiful combination of green vegitation and brown rocks


Hidden Valley near Brod Dragash


Watercolor HDR photo of rocky nature


HDR image of Mount Koritnik Dragash Kosovo


rays of sunlight HDR photo dragash kosovo


Mount Cule in the Distance


Rose Hip Dragash Kosovo


Mountain Canyon Dragash Kosovo


Solitary Nature HDR photo


Rocks and mountain grass

Exploring Dragash Kosovo

 The hiking guide will be available soon, and for FREE! Check back soon for details.

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28 Responses to “Dragash Kosovo Backcountry HDR Photo Trip”

  1. Todd, nice set of photos. It’s amazing how good these devices are these days! Is there an e-book version?

  2. It’s amazing what these devices can do now, beats lugging a full gear bag around?

  3. MaryNo Gravatar says:

    Wow these pictures turned out great! I definitely need to consider taking pictures from an iPhone on future trips. I think the iPhone 4S especially has a great camera on it which is most definitely comparable to traditional cameras today!
    Mary´s recent [type] ..GLOBAL CUISINE: Frozen Pisco Sour (Peru)

  4. Thanks Todd! One can hardly believe these photos are taken from a phone. I got this app for my Android and is very cool.

  5. looks beautiful country, I’d like to make it there some time. When the kids are a bit bigger I think we’ll make it over there and do a bit of camping.

    red chilli photography´s recent [type] ..Brett Harkness Photography Training

  6. Mark WiensNo Gravatar says:

    Killer photo Todd – makes me want to visit Dragash. I love the HDR vibrancy of the clouds and the sunlight coming through – amazing that you took them with your iPhone!
    Mark Wiens´s recent [type] ..Photo Essay: Ancient Chinese Village Near Yangshuo, China

  7. RAyjNo Gravatar says:

    I just love taking pictures with anything that I have, with my phone or my fave camera. Most of my subjects are like this one, landscapes and people. Love to capture the best possible image I can have especially getting the right angle and lighting.

    Check this out:
    Bird box cameras

  8. It’s amazing what you can do with such a small device.
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica´s recent [type] ..My Possessions: What I Chose to Keep

  9. robinNo Gravatar says:

    The quality is impressive – of course it helps that you have an eye. I don’t have an iphone but this was interesting :)
    robin´s recent [type] ..The Castle, the Eagle and the Lake.

  10. these pics are really just fabulous i really love them a lot so nice work done by you and thank you for posting these pics

  11. In just a few days, iPhone photography will be even better – or at least clearer. We definitely underuse our iPhone when it comes to photos.
    Caanan @ No Vacation Required´s recent [type] ..Overcome Your Fear of Cruising

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hey Caanan, yeah I know! But with a 3GS and a minimalistic tendency (read I’m cheap) I don’t think I’ll be upgrading anytime soon. I have really started using my Iphone as my “advanced blogging” techniques. I use it to upload and engage my readers on facebook and twitter the most. Takes just a few seconds but really helps give readers the feeling that they are along for the ride with you. Oh, and NO i won’t get over my fear of cruising, unless it is on a sailboat, filled with booze and cruising down the Dalmatian coast with good friends :)

  12. No iPhone and no photo tips because I am trying to figure out how to take better pictures!

    These are fabulous! I especially liked the second way. Thanks for sharing.
    Debbie Beardsley @ European Travelista´s recent [type] ..Salzburg and My First Opera

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Debbie, thanks. I’m not sure what you mean by “second way” but I hope you can see that taking great photos is not always dependent on the most expensive camera. There are always ways to take nice, engaging photos.

  13. JennaNo Gravatar says:

    What a beautiful area!
    This is a great photography tip. I have an old iphone, so it doesn’t take very good pictures. I enjoy Instagram a lot just because it’s fun to play around with pictures.

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jenna, my Iphone is a 3GS (maybe I should have said that), so not the most recent but still decent. I think the main thing here is using the digital apps to enhance the poor (compared to real cameras) lens of the Iphone. As you can see you don’t get reality as much as a water colored version of it. Great for expressing a specific feeling.

  14. MichaelNo Gravatar says:

    WOW! If this is from an iPhone, they’re great! Unfortunately, I don’t have one. Have to satisfy myself with a Canon point and shoot.
    Michael´s recent [type] ..Easy Hiking Is Adventure For Beginners

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Yup, they are all from my Iphone. I also use a sony point and shoot and between the two I rarely have to dust of my SLR and try to remember how to use it properly :)

  15. Beautiful photos. Know you have spent a lot of time in Kosovo (well, you live there most of the time) and am interested in the hiking and outdoor activities. Thanks for sharing the photos!
    Jeremy Branham´s recent [type] ..A Sacramento history lesson in Old Sacramento

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Jeremy, thanks. I’m trying to get as much hiking and camping in before winters settles in and I start craving the tropical beaches again.

  16. Wow, the photo of the clouds (with sunlight streaming out) is beautiful! I really suck at taking photos with my iPhone, but I’ve just started getting into HDR with my DSLR camera.
    Technosyncratic Travel Blog´s recent [type] ..The Mediterranean Beauty of Malta

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Well, it is not too hard with the app I mentioned. The more I am out sniffing out stories the more I have come to rely on my Iphone for nice pictures. It is also great for uploading easily to facebook to update readers without having to overrun my blog with necessary picture posts. But after all these came out so well I just couldn’t help myself.

  17. SophieNo Gravatar says:

    Very good results these. I have a Nokia 8 that has a nice camera as well – but it seems you can play more with the iPhone one, apps and all. Must get one…
    Sophie´s recent [type] ..St Moritz in September

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks Sophie. I have an DSLR and a cyber shot (which I use most of the time due to lightness). Add in the Iphone and I can walk away from most trips with a nice variety of shots.

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