I didn’t know Tilgate Park in Crawley existed until Amy and Jemma suggested it as the location for their pre-wedding shoot. Full of families on holiday, at first it didn’t seem ideal, but the varied locations and the reasonable weather made it the perfect choice for climbing trees, hiding behind statues and enjoying the spring flowers …. here are the results.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted images which is not to say I haven’t been making them! We recently travelled by car through Virginia and West Virginia, popping into Tennessee for a couple of days. Unfortunately the snow prevented us driving the Skyline Drive – giving me a good excuse to return to this beautiful part of the world. A mixed bag of experiences are reflected in the images and I have also continued to experiment with post-processing treatments.
I have just updated my website and after many days of toil it’s live!
There’s a lot of great advice about how to present yourself online and as we’re all “out there” in one way or another, it seems almost impossible to differentiate oneself from everyone else. For my part, I just want to share my love and experience of photography and that means showing a variety of different genres and styles. I haven’t dedicated myself to one aspect of photography, there’s too much to enjoy to limit myself, but I hope I’m not “master of none”. I continually work on improving my skills and love learning new ones.
Photography is such a creative and satisfying pursuit – it brings me in contact with many different people and places and there’s such joy to be found in those experiences. It also keeps me off the streets (so to speak!), engages me wholly and even contributes to my income – what’s not to like!?
Do visit the site – if only to justify my aching neck and incipient RSI! I’m still not sure if the content is quite correct yet, so any feedback is always welcome. Thanks!
With great enthusiasm I arrived in Brixton all geared up for a flash course, only to discover I’d got the date wrong. Frustrating indeed (not to mention incredibly stupid) but at least the actual date is in the future and therefore I could return and attend. It was raining though … and pretty miserable. However, I was in London, camera in hand and an expensive return ticket in pocket – I didn’t plan on wasting my money by heading home.
I instead I wandered fairly aimlessly, dodging rain showers and photographing puddles, windows and advertising hoardings. Much to the amusement of the throngs of tourists sharing the damp and dirty pavements … I ended up with a motley collection of images, some below, that reminded me that there’s always scope for photography, even if the results are somewhat superficial reflections of my day out!
Junkanoo parades happen all over the Bahamas on Boxing Day and New Year’s Day and one of the most exciting Junkanoos is in Nassau. This is the second opportunity I’ve had to watch and photograph the parade – it’s the most colourful, noisy, joyful and chaotic fun imaginable – and real celebration of creativity and stamina!! The parades start around midnight and continue till the next day – we caught most of the parade a few streets away from Bay Street which was absolutely packed with people. Our location was shadier, making photography easier, and was lined with local people singing and dancing. Some too were sleeping after a night of partying!
The most spectacular participants are the Valley Boys, who were in first place last year and I expect will be again this year. Their theme was China, I am guessing because China has invested billions of dollars in the form of a luxury hotel and resort complex which is still under construction. Even the Bahamian Prime Minister was dressed as a Chinaman!
Some close-up portraits show the intricacy of the constumes and make-up.
Visiting this temple in Kathmandu is not for the fainthearted. Sitting on the banks of the River Bagmati, close to Kathmandu airport, it is Nepal’s holiest Hindu temple. Tourists mingle with mourners, Sadhus (some “weekend” Sadhus and some the “real thing”) and exceedingly persistent hawkers of jewellery, marigolds, offerings and souvenirs. Funeral pyres are built along the river and the bereaved, some wailing and sobbing, some more sombre follow their deceased and pray while the bodies burn. It is extraordinarily intimate to watch yet the riverbank is filled with onlookers who are simply visiting as part of their holiday in Nepal.
Everyone takes photographs. At first it feels a little uncomfortable and certainly we are using longer lenses to put some distance between the cermonies and the camera, but after a while it becomes so compelling to watch that you almost forget these are funerals you are observing. I had a sense that the grandeur of the setting and the crowds watching add an element of drama for the mourners; it’s certainly very theatrical and so different from the restrained grief we’re used to seeing in the UK.
We were staying in Thamel which is the main tourist centre of Kathmandu for a few days either side of travelling into the mountains. Trekkers, tourists, hikers and backpackers flock there making one of the busiest, bustling places I’ve visited. It’s an onslaught of sensory overload, with stallholders calling you, the constant sound of horns as vehicles squeeze past the rickshaws (whose drivers are demanding you take a ride) and the sound of music from the shops and cafes that line the streets. It’s a case of dicing with death as you manoeuvre yourself between the competing vehicles. Exciting but sometimes exhausting.
The city is colourful, dusty and in November, still hot. You can smell coffee, street food, exhaust fumes, flowers and other, less legal substances! You can buy almost anything in Thamel; from cashmere and baby yak hair scarves and shawls, every type of trekking gear, handmade paper, mandalas, paintings and all the ususal tourist tat. There are also beautiful ancient buildings, Buddhist and Hindu temples and stupas, markets and occasionally, if you step away from the chaos, quiet squares where the noise mysteriously evaporates and meditation is possible.
This post considers the quiet hours before the madness starts. One morning I wandered about the area speaking to rickshaw drivers, garbage collectors and people setting up their stalls. It was cool and peaceful and so different! The rickshaw drivers look gloomy but they were actually very friendly and willing to be photographed although to be fair they also expected me to take a ride!
Receiving a tika at the Muktinath Temple during the festival of Dasain was messy but felt good! There are many dieties worshipped in Nepal and festivals are celebrated throughout the year. Dasain occurs during November before the full moon and has many different aspects; particularly important are family get togethers and people travel from all parts of the world to be reunited with family and their community. The temple is beautiful, set on the hillside, many steep steps up from the town. The temple is important to both Buddhists, who call it Chumig Gyatsa (hundreds waters) and Hindus to whom it is the second most holy site in Nepal. It has a sense of peacefulness that belies its rugged setting and offers astounding views of the mountains.
There are hundreds of bells as you walk towards the temple which are rung by the Hindu worshippers as they pass by and momentos and photographs of loved ones pinned and placed around trees. There are prayer wheels and a shrine to Lord Vishnu situated in the centre. As one of the holiest Hindu shrines in the world, the temple also features 108 spouts of icy water, gushing through the open mouths of bulls’ heads. Hindu pilgrims run beneath each spout to cleanse themselves before entering the shrine. We saw other rtituals but I have to confess I don’t know what we were watching – it was fascinating though. The people there were unfazed by visitors with cameras even as they performed their holy rites, but I chose not to enter the shrine itself, feeling that should remain a private moment.
What a mad round of travel, catching up and having fun recently! It’s a great way to introduce my mind and body to the dark days of winter. So many people are affected by the dreariness of the short days and forbidding skies in the UK and a shot of crisp mountain air and sunshine was very refreshing.
I’m topping up the sunlight with a SAD lamp on my computer desk and look forward to some more travel to the sunshine later this month. Meantime I am aware I’ve been neglecting my images from Nepal. I am slowly working through them, recalling the glorious trip and experimenting with various treatments. Here is a selection of images from our journey from Marpha into Kagbeni. Located in the Lower Mustang area of Nepal at 2,750 metres, it is a fascinating village nestling in the valley of the Kali Gandaki river. It was a bumpy but picturesque ride in dusty jeeps, stopping off to enjoy the scenery and walk through small villages.
Nepal is an astonishingly beautiful country to visit and a photographer’s paradise. Bhaktapur is a UNESCO World Heritage site, the name roughly translates as “City of Devotees”. A melange of pottery, rice growing, tourism, temples and ancient monuments, it was once the capital of Nepal. Newari art abounds and with patience and kindness the local people are open and friendly despite being wary of the snap and run tourists. The group I travelled with was led by Travel Photographer Ewen Bell; well travelled, knowledgeable and willing to share his expertise. He shared not only his love of travel photography with us but his delight in finding good coffee at high altitudes and the wonders of apple pancakes …!