Photoblog: Autumn Leaves

Autumn comes as a shock sometimes. One week it’s summer, the next it’s gone. The air turns a certain kind of cold that carries on it a feeling of change and a natural sense of foreboding. Leaves begin to wither from their branches and litter the floor, a familiar rustling accompanies the whisper of the wind.

But each season carries a certain beauty, and autumn is no exception.

Its beauty is unique, a wild contrast to the vibrancy of spring, to the warmth of sunlight washing over the world again as landscapes explode with blossom.

Instead it brings a transformation of a different kind as greens turn to deep reds and subtle browns. A necessary decay.

It’s a reassuring comfort that the cycle of nature is constant, that seasons come and go, bad weather turns to good, after storms come calm.

Autumn is a time for reflection and forethought, to embrace the constant change.

So wrap up warm and go outside.

Take a moment, and enjoy the autumn palette.

img_2510img_2519img_2648img_2433img_2453img_2455img_2516img_2492P1110099

Advertisements

35mm Photo Blog – London

Take a stroll through central London and it’s hard not to be struck by the layers of history that straddle the banks of the Thames. From Christopher Wren’s masterpiece at St.Paul’s Cathedral to the neo-futurist monolith of Renzo Piano’s The Shard, history and modernity sit side by side along a river that’s breathed life into the city for thousands of years.

Twenty-first century Londoners bustle through the iconic beheamoth of a city as a constant stream of tourists and visitors criss-cross the river on bridges old and new.

Taken with a Canon AE-1 with 35mm film.

_14_0041
The Millennium Footbridge & St. Paul’s Cathedral
_15_0040
Southwark Cathedral
__2_0053
An street performer entertains a crowd of shoppers and tourists at Covent Garden
__3_0052
The Thames stretching off towards Westminster
__5_0050
Temple Station
_11_0044
Across the Thames to the Tate Modern
_10_0045
Blackfriars Rail Bridge and the remains of the previous bridge alongside
__4_0051
Somerset House
_12_0043
Sturgeon fish sculpture on the base of the old street lamps on the Victoria Embankment dating back to 1870
__9_0046
Victoria Embankment
_13_0042
St. Pauls seen from White Lion Hill

 

 

 

Photo Blog: Cordillera Huayhuash, Peruvian Andes

The Cordillera Huayhuash, a 30km long mountain range in Peru’s high Andean region of Ancash. The rugged landscape and it’s wild and unpredictable weather conditions is crowned by the high snow covered peaks of Yerupaja, Siula Grande, Jirishanca Yerupaja Chico and Rasac, all of which reach skywards at altitudes of over 6,000m, making it the second highest mountain range in the tropics.

Each year trekkers come in groups, or alone to complete the unforgiving 160km circuit of the range, where altitudes rarely dip below 4,000m. The tough but rewarding trek follows trails and small segments of old Inca road over high pass after high pass, through an Andean wilderness where condors soar high along the ridges and peaks in search of carrion, and wild horses graze in small herds.

Unlike the its much larger sibling to the north, the Cordillera Blanca, the Huayhuash range is not a national park. Small farming communities live among the many grass covered valleys, tending to livestock put out to pasture during the drier seasons and providing occasional supplies and refreshments to the trekkers and climbers that pass through the land.

A wide valley on the western edge of the Cordillera Huayhuash
A wide valley on the western edge of the Cordillera Huayhuash.
Donkeys make their way up a high pass
Donkeys make their way up a high pass.
Crisaldo takes a siesta next to his horse. When I spoke to him he seemed sad. It turned out that a few weeks before several of his friends had died in an avalanche while fixing ropes for their clients on Alpamayo. Crisaldo was part of the team sent to recover their bodies.
Crisaldo takes a siesta next to his horse. When I spoke to him he seemed sad. It turned out that a few weeks before several of his friends had died in an avalanche while fixing ropes for their clients on Alpamayo. Crisaldo was part of the team sent to recover the bodies. The job of horseman for a small group of trekkers was a break for him.
A train of donkeys makes it's way across a high valley
A train of donkeys makes it’s way across a high valley.
Wild horses roam the valleys of the Cordillera Huayhuash.
An early morning view of Yerupaja, at 6,635m it's the highest mountain in the range.
An early morning view of Yerupaja, at 6,635m it’s the highest mountain in the range.
Laguna Carhuacocha
Laguna Carhuacocha.
Yerupaja Chico enshrouded by clouds
Yerupaja Chico enshrouded by clouds.
Francisco, 13 years old. Each day he hikes from his home in the valley up to Siula Punta, one of the highest and most gruelling passes on the circuit, where he sells bottles of Coca-Cola to the trekkers he meets.
Francisco, 13 years old. Each day he hikes from his home in the valley up to Siula Punta, one of the highest and most gruelling passes on the circuit, where he sells bottles of Coca-Cola to the trekkers he meets.
The valley below Siula Punta
The valley below Siula Punta.
The northern edge of the range
The northern edge of the range.
A shepherd tending his flock
A shepherd tending his flock.
Laguna Siula
Laguna Siula.
A pair of wild horses graze above the frozen ground one morning
A pair of wild horses graze on frozen ground in the early morning.
Quebrada Atuscancha on the eastern edge of the range
Quebrada Atuscancha on the eastern edge of the range.
Jagged peaks on the western ridges of the range
Jagged peaks on the western ridges.
“Trekking alone with no donkeys, gringo?” asked the old lady carrying firewood, “you’re loco!”
David appeared from nowhere to guide me through a field full of rather aggressive looking cattle.
David appeared from nowhere to guide me through a field full of rather aggressive looking cattle. “What are you doing out here?” I asked him, “Riding my horse, watching the cows,” he replied.
The old lady at Laguna Juraucocha. She hobbled around the camping ground selling beer and soft drinks to climbers and trekkers while begging for medicine for her bad hip.
The old lady at Laguna Juraucocha. She hobbled around the camping ground selling beer and soft drinks to climbers and trekkers while begging for medicine for her bad hip.
Jirishanca
Jirishanca.

35mm Photo Blog – Marrakech & Atlas Mountains

When I visited Marrakech in November last year I expected a sun drenched North African city with a bustling and vibrant atmosphere.

I was wrong about the first part. It rained. Heavily. In fact Morocco experienced its heaviest spell of rain in over fifty years. Apart from one dry day which I spent in the Atlas Mountains, it rained the whole week. During the downpours the famous square of Jemaa El Fna cleared of people as the snake charmers, wrestlers, teeth pullers and other tourist traps ran for cover while orange juice vendors looked on in disbelief.

The rain, at times seeming relentless, gave way occasionally to drench the city and the surrounding Berber villages in the high Atlas Mountains with the warmth of the African sun. It was in these moments that I took a 1970’s Canon camera and a few rolls of film out to wander through the labyrinth of the Medina, among the thousands of souks.

The people of Marrakech tried to carry on about their businesses, hawking goods or ferrying stock among the narrow streets. But the city seemed quiet, subdued even, as the dark alleyways filled with puddles and shop owners huddled together in doorways, awaiting the next downpour of rain. In the old koranic school of the Merdersa Ben Youssef, the shallow pool of the beautiful tiled courtyard splattered with raindrops.

Up in the Berber village of Ait Amer, below the snow capped peaks of the Atlas Mountains, villagers enjoyed cups of sweet mint tea in the warmth of the returning sun.

The main square of Jemaa El Fna
The main square of Jemaa El Fna
A rain soaked alleyway in the Medina.
A rain soaked alleyway in the Medina
A subdued street in the Medina.
Street in the Medina
A rain sloshed alleyway in the Medina.
A rain sloshed alleyway in the Medina
A cart heads across the Jemaa El Fna square towards the covered souks.
A cart heads across the Jemaa El Fna square towards the covered souks
Donkeys pull and old men push as the hive of activity among the covered streets of the souks carries on for the workers.
Donkeys pull and old men push as the hive of activity among the covered streets of the souks
Two shop keepers huddle together in among the lantern workshops of the souks.
Two shop keepers huddle by a doorway in a lantern workshop near the heart of the souks
Rain drops fall into the pool of the Medersa Ben Youssef
Rain drops fall into the pool of the Medersa Ben Youssef
The Berber village of Ait Amer in the Atlas Mountains above Marrakech.
The Berber village of Ait Amer in the Atlas Mountains above Marrakech
Washing dries on a line as the snowy Atlas Mountains loom over Ait Amer.
Washing dries on a line as the snowy Atlas Mountains loom over Ait Amer
A small village sits on top of a hill in the valley below Ait Amer.
A few houses sit on top of a hill in below Ait Amer
Mint tea being prepared in the traditional way in Ait Amer.
Mint tea being prepared in the traditional way in Ait Amer
The pouring of mint tea is always performed with style.
The pouring of mint tea is always performed with style
The old man of a Berber household sits down for tea on his rooftop in Ait Amer in the high Atlas.
The old man of a Berber household sits down for tea on his rooftop in Ait Amer in the high Atlas

35mm Photo Blog – Drifting in the Caribbean

January 2015, the Caribbean Sea. I spent a week as a guest of the Thomson Dream and its crew as it sailed on its Mayan Treasures cruise. Seven days aboard a floating bubble of existence, as it moved from port to port from Montego Bay in Jamaica, to Honduras, Belize and Mexico.

Captain Terje Ulset and his six hundred strong crew and staff worked tirelessly to keep the fifteen hundred, mainly British, retirees, honeymooners, holiday makers and one guest blogger safe and happy on this 55 tonne floating hotel.

I took my old Canon AE-1 film camera and some grainy black & white rolls of film to capture some of the life on board.

The Thomson Dream, moored at the cruise port of Costa Maya on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula
The Thomson Dream, moored at the cruise port of Costa Maya on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
Passengers enjoy the onboard pool
Passengers enjoy the onboard pool.
Sun beds in high demand on a day at sea
Sun beds in high demand on a day at sea.
The pool deck.
The pool deck.
Old lady tabbing it on deck 11.
Old lady tabbing it on deck 11.
A passenger from Yorkshire takes in the horizon of the Caribbean Sea.
A passenger from Yorkshire takes in the horizon of the Caribbean Sea.
A passenger soaks up the last bit of sun of the day at the aft of the ship
 Soaking up the last bit of sun of the day at the aft of the ship.
The crew of the Thomson Dream come from all over the world. From Philippino waiters to Romanian engineers.
The crew of the Thomson Dream come from all over the world. From Filipino waiters to Romanian engineers.
Norwegian Captain, Terje Ulset takes a moment to relax on the Bridge, in his very serious job of being responsible for every last one of the 2100 souls onboard.
Norwegian Captain, Terje Ulset takes a moment to relax on his Bridge, in his very serious job of being responsible for every last one of the 2100 souls onboard.
The Captain's Bridge
The Captain’s Bridge.
Moored in the port of Montego Bay in Jamaica
Moored back in the port of Montego Bay in Jamaica.
The view from my porthole on one of the lower decks.
The view from my porthole on one of the lower decks.