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 is at once awesome and complex

but often unspeakably beautiful in its simplicity. 

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.

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

Photo

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Gujarati street seller-2 Pshopped.jpg

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.

8. Alhambra Sunset Blue.jpg

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. 

20. El Granadino.jpg

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.  

Girl skipping in Lamu street

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.

Speaking of which, turning a corner I saw this scene and had one chance to capture something usable -

be prepared! 

26. Malindi Fishermen.jpg

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.

Ironman Dragonfly Pshopped.jpg

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

Dragonflies. They're funky.

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

1. Lloyds Bars.jpg

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 (below).

   

7. Leadenhall.jpg

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

   

Albino horse.jpg

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.

21. Boy emerging from mist.jpg

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!

5. Taj Scale.jpg

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.

Mantis Desat pSHOPPED.jpg

Mantis - Valéncia, Spain - 2013

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

Kenyan Classroom.jpg

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!

23. Alicante Sunset.jpg

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 climb it once while I was there so was stoked to get such rich colours.