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A Modern Idiot's guide
to..
Photography

Photography is a pursuit of an ever shifting reality, an attempt to capture the quantum connection between photographer and subject, where both are bound in a web of space-time and photons, paused for eternity.

Travel photography can be especially rewarding as it documents the photographer's own personal journey to understand this world and the life contained within it. That mental journey is an integral part of the connections that are made at that magical moment when finger and shutter button become one.

We've all been set on an irreversible path in a universe that although often awesome and complex at first glance, can render us speechless with it's simple, raw beauty.  

Everyone undertakes this journey whether they physically go anywhere or not, but it's certainly more fun, exciting and rewarding to get outside your comfort zone and shake off your prejudices by hauling your butt over a few continents.

Images here are presented in no particular chronological order. Each has a note of the year/location and a short description of the context & story behind the image. If you get even a fraction of the enjoyment from viewing them as I did from capturing them, I'll count that as a win.

More images will be added as time allows.

All images dated 2006 were shot on a Samsung WB550 compact, while all those from 2009 to 2016

were taken on a Lumix FMC-FZ38. These are, by today's standards - crap cameras - so hopefully this will encourage those with budget gear to shoot regardless.  Sometimes the subjects are so compelling that resolution/sensor size becomes completely irrelevant, however you will notice the lower resolution of those cameras in the full-size pop-ups.

Most people nowadays have technology 20x better on their phones alone, so the mantra with photography really is the same as it's ever been: f8 and be there..

You must shoot, shoot, shoot!  Practice makes perfect.

Photography literally means 'drawing with light', so if a subject or scene looks rubbish to you through the lens because the light is wrong, it will make for a rubbish photo. It really is as simple as that in the long run.

 

There will be content added to explain in easily understood terms the basic aspects of taking a good photo, although there are a myriad of good sources for this everywhere on the web already, such as this one:

Cambridge in Colour - Photography Tutorials & Learning Community

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Street-Food Vendors - Gujarat, India - 2006

 

Not many western travellers make it to Gujarat which is a shame as there are some stunning mountain-top temple sites to visit

as well as better-known spots such as Ghandi's ashram.

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Alhambra Blue - Granada, Spain - 2015

It's difficult to take an non-generic picture of the stunning love letter to Granada that is the Alhambra.

I know because I have many, but beautiful as they are, I like the subtlety of this shot. 

If there's only one palace fortress you visit in Europe, make it this one. 

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El Granadino - Granada, Spain - 2014

This could almost be a studio shot of someone's pet; it's actually the most gorgeous stray cat

sitting on the white bonnet/hood of a car, who was more than happy to pose with his bad-boy face on.  

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Girl skipping - Lamu, Kenya - 2010

Lamu is a small Kenyan island close to the border with Somalia, famous for its massive, beautifully-crafted hardwood doors, donkey sanctuary and abodes of rich westerners, whom Somali pirates promptly started kidnapping about a year after this picture was taken. I'm not rich but still, timing is everything.

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Fishermen - Malindi, Kenya - 2010

Super old school, these fishermen were found further south on Kenya's muslim coast in a town called Malindi. The fish were delicious and, as a side-note, I've never been treated with more respect and kindness as a traveller than when in muslim-majority areas: always being offered free food, drink and friendly conversation.

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Iron Man Dragonfly - Embalse de San Clemente, Huéscar/Castril, Spain - 2014

Dragonflies. They're funky.

You'll find lots of them in the flooded valley reservoir of San Clemente, which is itself stunning.

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Pipes - City of London, England - 2017

Pipes. Who doesn't love big metal pipes?  This is one view of the Lloyds building that sits just opposite

the Gherkin, near Leadenhall Market..

   

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Window Cleaner's Paradise - City of London, England - 2017

London is full of interesting modern buildings that define it's young, high-rise skyline, and the Gherkin was

one of the very first to appear. It became an icon almost instantly and never fails to please with its patterns

and shades of green. This spot in the City is full of industrial architectural beauty.

   

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Leadenhall Market - City of London, England - 2017

It would be remiss of me not to include Leadenhall, which has been the site of a market for over 2,000 years.

It's a well-worn pilgrimage destination for Harry Potter fans and more broadly by foodies everywhere.

There is an extraordinary amount of history, myth and legend packed into this beautiful space, which you can read about here: Leadenhall Market » Heritage

   

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Albino - Vejer de la Frontera, Spain - 2013

This albino horse was being shown at the féria of Vejer, in Cádiz province.

I liked it better in monochrome. Horses are majestic creatures that I still find intimidating.

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Boy in Mist - Agra, India - 2006

After shooting the Taj the day before, I got up early and headed over the river to get some alternative shots.

This figure just appeared out of nowhere.

This is one of a few times I wished I'd had something better than a compact to shoot on for that trip.

Just means I'll have to go back and re-shoot everything one day. What a shame!

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Family for Scale - Agra, India - 2006

The Taj Mahal is built on a scale that's difficult to really appreciate until you've seen it in person, especially when you realise how much detail and intricacy there is within all the engravings and inlays.

It's just astounding, and this picture doesn't do it justice either. 

Can you imagine if the full plan was realised - an identical Taj in Black marble on the opposite side of the river.

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Mantis - Valéncia, Spain - 2013

If you ever have the chance to have a large mantis on your hand, try it - it's unnerving!

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Classroom - Central Province, Kenya - 2010

The kids learning here are from an extremely impoverished part of Kenya.

Everything they have here is either donated or made from scratch, and sometimes both.

It can be difficult to come away positively from a volunteer gig in countries like Kenya, as there is so much corruption within the charitable organisations themselves.

If you are thinking of donating to a charity/NGO, please do lots of research first so you can be sure your money will actually reach the people it should be supporting!

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Bloody Sunset - Alicante, Spain - 2013

This is from the top of the Castillo de Santa Bárbara, Alicante's old stronghold.

I was only going to go up once while I was there so was stoked to get such rich colours.

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Road to Huesa - Jaén, Spain - 2016

Spain is the most mountainous country in Europe, with 259 peaks above 500m.
As well as the traditional snowy peaks of the Sierra Nevada, there are countless ranges spread all
over the interior that create a tapestry of sublime textures and rich colours almost everywhere you look.
This image and the one below were stitched together from drone stills so aren't as detailed as I'd like.

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Olivos - Jaén, Spain - 2016

Jaén until fairly recently produced nearly 90% of the world's olive supply.
The superior marketing of the Italians has stolen a lot of Spain's thunder when it comes to the
perception of who is truly King of the Olives, but the truth of the matter is that much Italian-branded
olive oil is produced from blends of fruit grown in Spain. Aside from tourism, olives drive the economy of
southern Spain, with almonds playing an increasingly strong role thanks to the
increased demand for dairy-alternative products. Some farmers are choosing to plant avocadoes in recent 
years too thanks to consistently strong global demand.
The Spanish word for the fruit (aceituna) is different from that used for the tree - olivo - and comes from the
Hebrew root, thanks to the original imports from the Middle East by the Romans. 
Other traditional cash crops that we think of as being inherently Spanish such as oranges were first
planted in Spain by the Moors, alongside other fruits such as black figs and pomegranates that have
since faded in terms of commercial importance.  

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Alhambra - Granada, Spain - 2013

We can't mention the Moors without reminding ourselves once again of the raw beauty
encapsulated in the exterior of the Alhambra. It is an edifice that, like the Taj Mahal, which was
built by the same culture, never fails to take your breath away every time you look at it.
I was lucky enough to live in the Albaicín for a period and got to look at this every day for months,
something I will always be thankful for. 

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Alhambra Interior Detail 1 - Granada, Spain - 2016

As if the outside wasn't pretty enough, the artistry and workmanship of the interiors is something else.
It's almost impossible to fathom the amount of work that was poured into this building,
levels of detail that even eclipses that of the Taj Mahal. That petty tyrant Queen Isobella wanted to destroy this as she did so many other beautiful Moorish legacies in Granada, but thankfully was talked out of it. 

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Alhambra Interior Arches - Granada, Spain - 2016