Category Archives: Travel
To day is hoi. So I guess that makes it holi-day. I wasn’t there to celebrate Holi. I was there to photography other people celebrating Hoil. Trying to avoid being sprayed with permanent carcinogenic dye and powered paint would have been futile.
Some people seamed to end up with perfectly symmetrical complimentary colours making them wonderful photographic subjects. The locals however decided that dark green was my colour so I very soon began to look like the incredible hulk. Very fetching.
It seamed obvious that the best shots were to be obtained from in front of the crowed, from within the crowd or above the crowd. I however found myself behind the crowd.
I faced an interesting dilemma. I had decided to use a 50mm lens for its flexibility, but if I was going to get good shots I was going to have to get ‘stuck in’. Getting stuck in would have risked the camera getting wet.
The majority of other photographers had been sensible and were shooting from withing side plastic bags. I however was not. Instead I relied on my cat like reactions.
If powder came my way I pointed the lens down and cupped the lens with my palm. If water came my way I span around using my back as a shield and stooped bringing my arms in to afford as much protection as possible.
Having to be careful, meant that the amount of high energy action shots I could take was fairly limited, but I have yet to see the results of my efforts. Ideally i would have liked the 70-200 f2.8 and an ultra wide.
After 3 hrs I became weary and decided that I wished to return to the guest house to shower. However the crowd was blocking the road and I couldn’t get the scooter through so I was stuck.
Eventually after waiting for what seamed like an eternity I decided to run the gauntlet. The locals took great pleasure I showering the scooter with permanent dark blue and purple dye, which I have just discovered has bonded with the white paintwork and cannot be removed. I have yet to find out whether the scooter owner will try and fine me. I’m not sure how I can be held accountable to other people vandalizing the scooter with permanent dye, but I’m sure I’ll find out.
After arriving at Hampi I set off to find my guest house. I checked the sat nav and to my disappointment it read 45 mins walk away. Ouch. I couldn’t get a tuk tuk as I only had 50r in change.
I did enquire as to the cost but I was advised by someone I can only describe as a ‘wanker’ that it 600 rupees but I should pay in dollars as locals use rupees, tourist pay in dollars.
So I said fuck it and walked. It might have been ‘a bit’ unsensible considering the heat, the distance, and the weight I was carrying, but it wasn’t ‘very’ unsensible because I had water, suncream and a sat nav
Anyway as i waked through Hampi I was blown away by its beauty. I have got into the habit of expecting to be disappointed, but in truth all of the reviews of Hampi’s beauty don’t prepare you for the reality. It is a true paradise.
Upon reaching my guest house I discovered that I’m staying in a mud hut with a bambo roof. This isn’t a bad thing but it has an authenticity and character to it. I could probably do with out the cockroaches though. I still have a month before I need to get to kolkata, so I pretty much immediately decided to extend my stay from 4 nights to 7.
Time to do some landscape photography and chill in a place in India that IS actually nice. Well blow me
I’m going to need to hire a scooter to sus out this place. Turns out that although the guest house is 35 mins walk from the town, its only about 5 minutes walk from the prime photo locations that I’m going to be want to be visiting at dawn. So everything all worked out in the end. Bloody hell
It turns out that Hampi is a chilled out place. It has to be because of the heat. Apparently the thing to do is get stuff out of the way in the morning, hide away from the heat between 1pm and 4pm then get more shit done in the late afternoon, early evening. Suits me.
At some point today I decided to do some high altitude landscapes from the innocuously named ‘sunset point’, or more accurately Mathanga hill. From the name sunset point I imagined (which was obviously my first mistake as its the expectations thing again a gentle road to the top, with american teenagers making out in 60′s automobiles.
I had to take the scooter from my guest house to the local town, park up, hop across the river on the boulders. Climb the steps, go through the market and then look for the big fuck off pile of rocks. By this point I was beginning to think that I had miscalculated time. I reckoned it’d take me about 45 mins to get to the top and there was about 30 mins of sun left.
So I flagged down a tuk tuk and said “take me to the top of that” I thought I was getting a great deal at 50 rupees. However I he drove me to the bottom of the steps which took about 60 secs. I guess he saved me about 5 mins walk. Oh well I paid him his money and set off.
The steps were huge curbs of granite which had been wedged in place. They were not flat, not equally spaced and not easy to climb. And as for me and my imaginary roads, ha!
I raced up the steps stopping every 5 minutes for a water break and mini heart attack. As I got higher and higher something inside of me suddenly reminded me “I don’t like heights.” This hasn’t been a problem for a while, I had almost begun to think that my fear was cured, but oh no.
Eventually I got to within about 10-20 meters of the summit and noticed that the steps stopped. Instead the was one huge boulder right on the edge of a huge drop that someone had kindly etched out some shallow foot holes. I think my words to myself were ” you godda be fucking kinding right?”
I firmly decided that I was going no further. After a few minutes rest I realized why I was not letting myself proceed. It wasn’t the fear of hights, it was that I was weak at the knees with exertion, dehydrated, shaking with fear and had a huge camera bag.
So not proceeding at the point was completely rational, not irrational. Eventually my heart rate slowed down. I drank some water ,had a breather and thought “fuck it”
There were no hand holds, no rails , no nothing. So I did it. very slowly and very shakily.
I reached to top and i’d loved to say I felt exhilarated and like a hero for challenging my fear.
The truth is that I felt so sick with fear that I wanted to vomit. I tried to take photos but I couldn’t hold the camera straight because my hands were shaking so much.
I couldn’t relax at the top and calm down because I knew that I had to go through it again but in reverse.
I took a few photos and hung around to just before sunset, but didn’t stay for it to completely go down. It felt more of a survival priority to have more light on my decent then to watch another pretty sun set.
I descended on my bum shaking like a leaf. The two kids that had been selling water on the summit offered to help me which was nice of them, but I needed to do it on my own.
Needless to say i survived. All I had to do to get home was a cross the river again but in the dark which was fun (not). Luckily I had a torch. An then drive the scooter for kilometers of stony sand track in the complete dark avoiding other vehicles, which usually would have terrified me in its own right if I wasn’t so fecking relief not to be stuck on a boulder hill in the dark!
Today after Holi I decided to risk another sunset point. This time it was the one at Anjanhalli.
What is it they say about assumptions? Well I assumed that sunset points on Google maps meant at least they had a path leading too them.
I asked some random guy where the path was and he burst out laughing saying “You make your own path”
Bloody hell not again. So this cluster of huge boulders was rather smaller than the last one so I was less afraid of the height, but I wasn’t about to set of into the Hampi boulderscape with out a least a trail to follow.
So eventually I found what looked like it could possible be a trail and followed it. Got lost, started again, found another trail which seamed more promising. Eventually I got to what I thought was the top.
As sunset approached more and more people appeared. In hindsight I should have just waited at the car park for people to turn up and followed them. Ah well we live and learn.
I also realized that these young energetic people that obviously weren’t phased by heights one jot were higher up then me. There was another level up.
It couldn’t be that hard could it? Technically it probably wasn’t that difficult but it did involved jumping from one fuck off massive boulder to another fuck off massive boulder with a deadly drop between them.
The gaps were only a meter i reckon, but a meter starts to look a lot bigger depending on the size of the drop. The worse thing was that cursed voice in my head “what if my back foot slips as Im pushing off to jump?”. As i made this jump I started feeling scared and sick again and just said to myself “no, no, no more heights, enough is enough”
The chasm, jump looked even more scary on the way back because you were jumping a ‘v’ shape and the sides were steeper on the return. As I thought about doing it I felt myself beginning to panic, and started to believe that I could not do it, At that moment I just did it, because I had realized that thought was my enemy.
The journey down was a lot easier than the decent because I had others to follow. From now on I’m staying low down, unless there’s a road, a path, steps or a helpful Sherpa.
Today Tristán White and Sharon payed me a flying visit at my guest house in Sanapur. I went with them to see some cave paintings. After this we parted company. They are on their way back to Goa and then home. I am on my lonesome again. Thanks again you guys for keeping me company in Jaipur, Jodhpur, Anjuna and Hampi.
On my way back from Anegundi I stop of to climb up to Anja matha temple (Hanuman temple)
I remember someone saying “575 steps, I’m not doing that”. My internal dialogue however was saying “575 steps, steps?, its got steps!!! ”
It really wasn’t too hard, but then again I adopted the intelligent mature persons method of climbing the steps . I.e a 30 second break every 50 steps and a 1 minute break every 100 steps. Its not like it was a race of anything.
The view was just breath taking, awe inspiring, beautiful and magical. Yes, all of them. Its worth the over description. Luckily for me someone had put little cement walkaways in between the boulders, so I didn’t have to worry about jumping chasms or heights on this one.
I hung around long enough for golden hour but I couldn’t be bothered with the sunset. I think I’m all sunsetted out after the last two days.
Jodhpur actually seams like quite a pleasant friendly place though to be honest I’m not sure whether its India that has changed or me. A handy hint some one gave me last night is that when a kid asks for you to take their photo, say yes, that’ll be 10 rupees. I tried it a couple of times and I ended up with a pied piper following of children after me, some of the onlookers laughing and winking. I’ve love to leave it there as the end to a nice story, but unfortunately the kids being rather excitable ended up surrounding me and grabbing and pulling at me which was a bit full on. I ended up legging it. The next time I got asked for “just one photo”. I just said I’d run out of film lol
Here are some photos
So I’ve arrived at Agra and the best thing about Agra is there is not Deli. There is less pollution, a little less honking and less annoying tuk tuk drivers. A cow walked towards me and I tried to stroke its head but unfortunately it tried stick me with its horns so I won’t be making that mistake again.
It appears that I made a big mistake in not sorting out all my train tickets and guesthouses before arriving. It’s a nice idea to make things up as you go but the reality is that buying train tickets is such a pain I should’ve sorted out beforehand. I arrived at the train station I shared a taxi with another traveler, when I got my guesthouse I realised that I needed to go back to station the next day in order to buy a ticket before they ran out. I agreed a price of Rs.100 with the tuk tuk driver but when i got to the station he demanded 300 and he was very angry started waving his fists at me and shouting which wasn’t pleasant.
Later I decided to get a tuk tuk around the other side of the river to see the Taj Mahal. There is a road that takes you to the river which is free but it had been cordoned off and soldiers placed there to stop anybody looking at the Taj Mahal without paying. So I had to pay 200 Rupees to get a glimpse of the Taj Mahal through a barbed wire fence. So I took images to reflect my frustration.
I originally set up my camera on a tripod but I got told by security that was not allowd so I took it down. When I tried to leave the security wouldn’t let me and try to fine me for having a tripod, so I legged through the gate and dived into a waiting tuk tuk.
I’m not really interested in following the tourists and just shooting buildings like the Taj Mahal and Agra fort so I spend most the time here shooting in the Bazaars. Here are my favorites.
The full shoot can be seen on flickr
I’ve been in India four days now so I guess its time to update.
I was due to catch a tram at 15:00 on Wednesday to get to the coach station but the trams had been delayed because of a royal visit. This ment that I had to get a bus into town instead and lug my heavy backpack all the way across the city. It wasn’t too bad in the end as I have packed lighter than last time.
Once that little glitch was out of the way it was plain sailing from then on in.
I did feel a bit of a numpty on the flight. I began to second guess whether we were arriving at 11:40 in the morning or 11:40 at night as the planes shutters were open but the sky remained dark as we approached India.
I later learned that I was in a modern plane with auto tinting windows to help with the sleep wake cycle. Who knew.
My guest house is the Smyle Inn, Main bazaar, Paharganj. Its pretty basic. Not the best I’ve ever stayed in, but not the worse. I would’t stay here again.
I’ve spent most of my time so far shooting the markets in Old Delhi. To be honest its pretty horrible here.
The air is acidic and burns your eyes and throat. Its so very very noisy with the incessant car horn beeping. The streets smell of piss. You cant go anywhere without being hassled by taxi drivers and tuk tuk drivers. People will try and help you but they will all expect paying for it.
A gang tried to stop me entering New Delhi train station so They could fleece me no doubt. I just pushed past them. You’ve definitely got to have your wits about you. All in all its a pretty horrible place. Delhi is a noisy smelly crazy chaotic shit hole. If I had my way I’d avoid ever coming back here but unfortunately I need to return to fly home. That’s a way off for now though, but when it happens I may treat myself to staying in a nicer area.
Here are my favorite shots for now.
For quite some time now i’ve been enthralled by the image ‘Chasing the Dragon’ by Scott Wilson.I always liked the idea of having a go myself but was put off by the idea of travelling all the way to spain specifically for a seascape shoot.
Then one day I was sitting at my computer at work thinking about taking a photograpy holiday when a travelzoo email came in with £40 return flights to Bilbao with easyjet. I took it a s sign and decided to go for it.
In the end it took me 12.5 hours to get to Sopelana. A tram to the National Express coach station, a coach to stanstead, a flight to Bilbao Airport, a bus to bilbao, a metro ride to Sopelana and finally half hour walk to Hotel Goizalde.
I had set off at midnight on Friday night and arrived at 12:30 at the Hotel. After sorting out my hotel room and having a beer in the sun i decided to set off for barrika. I walked along the BI-2122 and it took me 30-45 mins to get to Barrika.
I used the first trip as a reconisanse mission. The sky was overcast and the tide was out, so there wasn’t much going on for me photographically. I ended up visiting the location five times in my stay, four times at sunset and once at dawn.
On the dawn trip the sky was nice, but the tide was in, so I didn’t get much I was happy with. For the second and third sunset shoots, the tide was going out as the sun was setting which was ok, but on my final day at Barrika the tide started to go out after sunset which would give me the combination of light and water that I was after.
These are my favourate shots of the trip.
The most valuable lesson I learned on the trip was ‘keep checking your filters for sea spray’. I’m pretty disapointed that one of my best images is ruined by water droplets on the filter. A number of others have been saved but only after substantial cloning work in photoshop.
In terms of general advice when shooting Barriak seascapes,
1) Arrive early to get your spot. Its a popular shooting location.
2) Take enough water, it can take quite a few hours to get ‘the shot’
3) Keep checking for seas spray!
4) Rather obvously, try and get the tripod legs on rock rather than in the sand.
5) Take waterproof boots and trousers or prepare to get wet
Hope you like my shots. I wonder if I’ll return there one day. Its a fantastic location.
So, I’m sitting there on my PC and Facebook says “A year a go to day you were drinking cocktails by the pool in Thailand”. Well thanks for reminding me Facebook. Its dark and cold and I’m stuck at work and you remind me of my 4 months travelling Asia, thanks a bunch.
Then I think to myself. I could go away. I could get a cheap flight to Marrakesh and bugger off for a week. So thats exactly what I did.
Originally skyscanner had flights for £17 each way but I’m sure that site is set to artificially inflate the prices if you show any interest. The first time you visit they were £17, then they jump up to £47. I decided to book a return flight, but funnily enough just as I’d purchased the outward flight from easyjest, the return flight using Ryan air jumped from £7.50 to £107. What a con.
So I cancelled the booking of the return flight and just booked it directly through EasyJet. I had to pay an extra £20 each way for hold luggage but in the end I got a return flight for £135. Not too bad I guess.
I then sorted out the Nation express coach to Gatwick. That cost £40 Return.
The riad was run my a lovely French couple that bent over backwards to help me.
It was a real shame that there were no other guests staying there when I arrived as I ended up getting pretty lonely.
The location of the riad had its good side and bad side. The good thing was that it was very close
Jemaa el Fna and access to the souks. The downside is that every time you left the riad to get food or water you got hassled by all the street vendors.
To be honest I think I suffered from culture shock. I admit I hated Marrakesh. You always had to be on your guard.
As a tourist you are seen as a commodity to be drained of wealth. Everybody wants their share.
The moment I left the safety of the riad I felt like I was in a pit with so many ravenous dogs tearing at my flesh.
Each time I grabbed my camera and went out side the street vendors tried to get their hooks into me.
I resented that these people were draining the energy from me that I needed to do my work.
I didn’t come to Marrakesh for a holiday. I visited Marrakesh to shoot stock photography, push me outside my comfort zone and get some sunlight before the impending Xmas gloom.
So everyday I got up and went out to shoot the souks and the streets. And everyday I was exposed the the hustles and cons of the people of Marrakesh. No doubt the experience was character building but I have come away hating that place. I would not advise anybody to visit .Its a truly horrible place where everyone is simply after your money. ‘Disingenuous’ is the word that springs to mind.
I’ve never felt so unsafe in my life before. I had a man drive his motorbike at me to try and force me into his shop, another man tried to get me lost in a labyrinth. Youths constantly hassling you to buy drugs, people spitting at your feet, people left right and centre trying to con, hustle and extort money out of you. I felt like an injured fish in the middle of a feeding frenzy.
Despite all this I forced myself to work. I took many photos of the souks but very few shots of people. Most People In Marrakesh don’t like having their photo taken, and of those who do, most want paying!
I’m glad I’ve had the experience, but now that I’ve done it, I really wouldn’t want to go back.
These five videos record my experiences as they happen during my weeks stay in Marrakesh.
In November of 2014 after having saved for two years, I headed of to south east Asia to spend four months living my dream. Rather then get up every morning and and head off to the office to my SEO job, I would be getting up at the crack of dawn and living and breathing photography, my true passion.
The original images were uploaded to my blog and Facebook and Flickr in full colour. I have now had time to go through all of my street images and create black and white versions which I believe are far superior. I hope you enjoy them
The night before we flew back to Thailand we decided to go to Rumah Api a Malaysian Punk music venue in the Ampang District. Our Guest house was at Imbi which was about 5-10 mins walk from Pudu station. It took about 20 or so minutes to get from Pudu to Ampang and then only about 3 mins further walk to the venue.
When we arrived we were confronted by a sight which surprised me, a large gathering of black skinheads. I have always thought of skin heads as Nazis or fascists, so to see Malaysian Skinheads was a bit of a surprise. I have since been informed that the skinhead movement was never originally racist at is core and at some point was hijacked by the far right.
The bands playing on the night were:”The Bois, The Pub, homerun, Street Rebels, W.A.R, Milittan, Berantakan, class war, revolter, and on liberty”
I really enjoyed the gig. The venue was extremely hot, but the atmosphere and the energy was fantastic. It was lovely to so many joyful people obviously loving their music and throwing themselves around like maniacs.
I always feel threatened when attending similar gigs in The UK, but that probably has more to do with me, than the gigs.
I think the low amount of alcohol present probably added to the more chilled atmosphere.
I found the photography extremely challenging due to the low light and fast moving subjects, but I think I got some interesting shots.