m24instudio: Blog https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog en-us mamunhumayun (m24instudio) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:28:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:28:00 GMT https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-12/u575840208-o242137524-50.jpg m24instudio: Blog https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog 120 80 Update https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/2/update It's been a long time since I have written on my blog. The main reason being that 'life' was the main reason. It's not that I didn't have anything to write about but I was focused on finishing my film which I had spent the last three years making. But that said it's time to get back to updating my blog.

I will be writing about my film in upcoming blogs so be on the lookout for it.

During the time I've been making my film and working, also been filming little time lapses here and there and editing short travel clips from my past travels. So over the coming year I will be publishing and writing about those on the blog.

So to start of with, here is a time lapse I filmed just last week

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(m24instudio) 2018 blog m24instudio update https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2018/2/update Sat, 03 Feb 2018 13:39:34 GMT
Mount Koya https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/11/mt-koya There are some things when travelling that you can do on the spur of the moment, you've heard the saying about travelling that 'just go where the wind takes you'. Well that may work well in some instances but not all. As much as I love to travel and wake up and just explore, at times a little planning does go a long way and actually enhances your time and experience of travelling.

First off, I had seen a photo taken in Mt Koya online and it was really that photo that made me want to see this place. It looked other-worldly, majestic, from a time not of this planet. I researched online to see exactly where Mt Koya is located and if it was easy to get to. Frankly, no is the answer regarding if it's easy to get to. As it took me nearly 3hrs taking 3 trains, a cable car and then a bus. To some people reading this, you're probably thinking that's nothing, but what adds to the journey is the challenge in reaching the area. It also didn't help the fact that I was travelling solo and had 4 bags with me (mostly camera gear). But I wasn't deterred and the great folks at InsideJapan Tours made sure my journey there would go smoothly (it did!).

Mount Koya was originally a monastery built away from Kyoto. It is now a city with over 100 temples along with universities dedicated to religious studies. More so, it is a very important meditation place for many pilgrims from all over the world. Not forgetting that it is the start and end point of the 88 temples of Shikoku’s pilgrimage.

Arriving in Mount Koya, I instantly knew I would fall in love with the place, my image of Japan is mostly that of the bright lights of neo-Tokyo. In Mount Koya you knew you were in the Japan of old, a time of the past that is present. Seeing temple buildings that to my senses they were steeped in history. More so life seemed way slower pace compared to the hustle and bustle of Tokyo, just the act of being there was amazing.

I stayed at Ekoin Temple for 2 nights. Most people opt for 1 night, but I would suggest 2 nights to get most out of your time in Mount Koya. Plus you've spent so much time getting there, it would be a shame to leave the next day. I was surprised by my room, very simple and sparse but in a good way. Now before I go on, when it comes to hotel rooms etc, I just want a place to rest, I'm not too hung up about if the room has a fridge, tv, internet etc or if the wallpaper is at least from circa 2005. I enjoyed the fact that monks would come in and make my bed. I found this interaction culturally important as it forced me to make conversations with them and find out more about them.

Speaking of which, the monk that was assigned to my room, his name was Yuta and he would also serve me my breakfast and dinner. Through our conversations I found out that he actually lived in Manchester (UK) for 6 months and I was impressed by his grasp of the English Language. He told me that as part of their training to become monks, they are offered to experience living elsewhere for 6 months to see how others live as to make them better understand the world as a whole. I got on so well with him that as I gave him a gift which was a small photo book of my photos which he took with a smile.

One of the highlights for me staying at Ekoin Temple was the chance to attend the morning prayers and the Goma fire ceremony which was an experience I will never forget. I would urge you to do the same, get up early, be ready and participate. Check out my vlogs to see what I experienced and to give you a sense of what to expect.

The food offering was something else, I'm not a foodie or food connoisseur but the breakfasts and dinners that were made and delivered to my room was just exquisite and tasted amazing on my dull palate that was my tongue. Also the food served at Ekoin is Syojin Ryori (Buddhist vegetarian cuisine).

The second highlight for me was Okunoin cemetery which is a 5 minute walk from the temple. It is also from Ekoin Temple that you can do night tour of the cemetery. One of the monks will take you on a walking tour explaining the history of the cemetery along with interesting facts.  The cemetery is lined with great tall ceder trees and on either side of the paths are shrines, some small, some large, but walking through Okunion cemetery which is the largest in the country with  estimated 200,000 graves, but a site which is sacred to the Shingon School of Buddhism, being where the mausoleum of the sect’s founder, Kukai or Kobo-Daishi, is located and where he is said to lie in eternal meditation. The cemetery, together with the mausoleum at the end of a 2 kilometre walk through the cemetery is in fact a pilgrimage site for Shingon Buddhism, one of the mainstream schools of Buddhism in Japan.

 

Check out my daily travel vlogs from my time here in Mount Koya

 

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(m24instudio) Mt Koya travel Okunoin cemetery m24instudio Japan m24instudio mt koya mt koya https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/11/mt-koya Tue, 15 Nov 2016 11:52:00 GMT
Nara & Byodo-In https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/11/nara-byodo-in

Nara

The lasting image I have from my first visit to Nara back on 2005 is the massive Big Buddha Statue at Todaiji. For me it was so imposing, looking up and having to lean back when you were up close to it. It was also majestic to look at. The fact you can't see clearly or properly when you're walking towards it, it's not only when you climb the steps and step over into the temple. It's here that when your eyes adjust, you seem to see something appearing out of the shadows and then bam! your eyes finally see it, you will be amazed.

Todaiji's main hall, the Daibutsuden (Big Buddha Hall) is the world's largest wooden building, despite the fact that the present reconstruction of 1692 is only two-thirds of the original temple hall's size. I had to get my head around that! It's one impressive piece of engineering. To visit and see the Daibutsuden Hall, it will cost you 500yen , well worth it and you won't be disappointed! It's something to behold seeing this giant structure up close and personal, it truly does make you feel small.

When approaching Todaiji stands the Nandaimon Gate. It's a large wooden gate watched over by two statues. Representing the Nio Guardian Kings, the statues are designated national treasures together with the gate itself.

The other thing that people should know about Nara is of course, the wildlife, especially the deer which roam the Nara Park which is opposite Todaiji. As a public service announcement, these deer are wild. Though they may look tame and cute, you will notice signs around the park warning visitors that the deer are wild and to take care. The deer will gravitate towards you as they think you will give them shika senbei, special crackers for deer that are sold for around 150 yen.

You could easily spend a whole day in Nara, exploring the smaller temple halls around Todaiji complex but if you are pressed for time, then half day will be just as fine.

Check out my 4K timelapse I filmed on my visit to Nara below.

 

Byodo-In

On the back of the 10 yen coin is the Phoenix Hall in Byodo-Inn. Like with many architectural gems located in Japan, this is also regarded as being Japan's most beautiful building. That becomes a problem when travelling in Japan, just when you thought you found the most amazing building another one will surpass it, but bottom line is the country is full of awe inspiring buildings.

Byodo-In Temple is located in Uji which is you can get to on the JR Nara line. So if your coming back from visiting Nara, I would suggest you stop off at Uji to take in Byodo-In temple which is only a 10-15 minute from the station and is clearly sign posted.

Byodo-In was also suggested to me by InsideJapan Tours who organised my trip to Japan and I'm glad I took it on board. It costs 600yen to enter the temple grounds and the museum. If you wanted to view inside the Phoenix Hall, then an additional 300yen can be bought from inside the grounds.

When I visited, there was a school load of children admiring the temple. First thing you should do when you pay your entry ticket is to take the left hand path around the lotus pond and just admire the full view of the temple, see how its reflected in the pond. Its pretty amazing. It's from here that if you happen to have a 10yen coin in your pocket then you might want to compare it with the actual viewpoint. As its this view of the Phoenix Hall being shown on the coin.

Check out my photos

Check out my daily vlog below of my visit to Nara and Byodo-In.

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(m24instudio) Kyoto Travel Nara & Byodo-In m24instudio Japan https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/11/nara-byodo-in Sun, 06 Nov 2016 15:17:00 GMT
Kyoto https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/11/kyoto Kyoto Factoid: The home of the Emperor is considered the capital. So between 794 and 1868, the Emperor resided in Heian-Kyo, which is now modern day Kyoto. After 1868, the capital was moved to Tokyo.

So much has been written about Kyoto and its temples. A stark contrast to the dizzying neon lights of Tokyo, a city that seems to be the opposite of the capital. It's refreshing that such a city exists. If your planning to visit Japan, no doubt you will visit both Tokyo and Kyoto, its a must anyhow. You will see the difference between the two. Things in Kyoto are taken in a more relaxed manner than Tokyo, the only semblance you will see is in Kyoto Station during rush hour or when trains pull up. The hordes of people somehow make the station come alive.

The other interesting thing I didn't know about Kyoto, it largely escaped Word War 2 bombs because it was not included in the American invasion plans. There were talks of dropping the Nagasaki bomb on it, but the Secretary of War vetoed the idea, and so the Imperial City of Kyoto has more pre-war buildings than most other Japanese cities taken together.

Here are some facts about Kyoto in no particular order

  • Easily reached from Tokyo in about 3hrs via the bullet train

  • It is part of the Kinki region which includes Osaka and Kobe

  • It has several hundred Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines, a castle , three palaces, beautiful parks and gardens

  • Most outstanding monuments according to people are the Imperial Palace, Nijo Castle and Katsura Imperial Villa

  • The Heian Jingu though only erected in 1895 to commemorate the 1,100th anniversary of the founding of Kyoto is the most impressive being based on the old Imperial Palace.

  • The Yasaka Shrine founded in the 7th Century is dedicated to Susa-no-wo, the patron deity of Kyoto.

  • It is regarded that some of the Kyoto's Buddhist's temples are considered to be the finest in all of Japan.

  • Ryoanji, founded in the 15th Century, famous for its rock garden, designed by Soami under Zen inspiration. 

  • The Kyomizu-dera, which was founded about 800 but with present buildings mostly of the 17th century, offers a panoramic view of the city.

  • The original name of Kyoto was Heiankyo meaning Capital of Peace.

For my 2012 trip to Kyoto, I stayed in the Ryokan Shimizu, which as a 5 minute walk from Kyoto Station. For my 2016 trip to Kyoto, I stayed in the Yoshimizu Ryokan which is located in the woods at the top of Maruyama-koen Park, surrounded by by maple and bamboo trees, its a perfect spot to come back to to chill and relax.

Saiho-Ji-Temple (Kokedera Moss Temple)

I had come across this temple through photos I had seen online and read a few articles about it. What I wasn't aware of,  was that you can't just turn up and see it, but rather you had to make a reservation to visit. The way you do this is to send your request by postal mail to the temple with your name, how many of you will be attending, name and adress of the main group contact, the proposed date of when you want to visit, and not forgetting a self stamped addressed envelope or postcard. It's recommended that you do it at least 7 days before your visit, but I would advise to do it a few months (if you can, that's what I did). 

The temple address is: 
Saihoji Temple 
56 Jingatani-
cho, Matsuo 
Nishikyo-
ku, Kyoto, 615-8286, Japan

The admission fee of 3000 yen per person is paid at the time of the visit.

If you live in Japan, you can obtain a special return postcard called an ofuku hagaki is available from the post office for exactly these purposes. But if your an overseas visitor (like me) you have a few options. One being using an international reply coupon which can be found in most post offices around the world.  Second you can use this site  who can take care of the difficult reservation process for you. They charge at time of writing 2200yen on top of the 3000yen you will have to pay at time of visit. The third option which I used was I asked my travel agent to organise it for me. The lovely people at InsideJapan Tours organised my whole Japan trip and also took care of reservations at Saiho-Ji Temple for me.

Before you actually get access to the gardens, visitors are taken in where they pay their entrance fee and are seated at one of many low writing desks. A monk would then lead into the room in sutra chanting and its only then the copying begins. The whole process takes up to an hour. For those not able to sit down, they do have chairs available. If all this sounds challanging such as writing for an hour, its not! Copying the sutra is relatively easy, as a tracing of the Japanese characters is given to guide those without knowledge of Japanese calligraphy. I found the whole process really therapeutic . When a visitor is done copying the sutra they take it to the alter, offer a prayer and its only then that you are allowed into the moss garden. It's one thing to see it in photos and hear people talk about it, but its something else seeing it in person. Such a magnificent sight. I'd seen some impressive Japanese gardens but this one was something else. It was like stepping into a magical world. I knew it to be real as your eye would notice gardeners tending to the gardens, other than that, as your walking through, you seem to loose yourself in it. 

Chion-in Temple

Chion-in is the head temple of the Jodo sect of Japanese Buddhism, which has millions of followers and is one the the most popular Buddhist sects in Japan.  You will see from a distance that the temple is pretty grand in design and when you get closer, it only magnifies how grand it is. When entering through the san-mon gate, pause to reflect to skills needed to build this amazing gate,  seeing the complex joinery is somewhat amazing. 

For those wanting to visit, please be aware that Chionin's main hall, the Miedo Hall, is undergoing  a major renovation work that fully started in 2012 and will most likely last until March 2019. During the renovation works, the hall is covered by a large scaffolding structure and closed to visitors. The Honen Shoin Mido Hall is used for the main ceremonies, instead. So do bear this in mind if you are planning to visit

 

Kinkakuji

Kinkakuji aka The Golden Pavillion is one of those temples in which you have to see it to believe it with your own eyes. The top two floors of the temple is completely covered in gold leaf and if you manage to visit on a nice day, with blue skies and rolling clouds, what you will see is something truly stunning! The temple is built overlooking a pond which adds to the visual impact of it.

The temple was the retirement villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and after his death it became a Zen temple. The temple itself is the only building left of the villa as it has been burned down several times through its history. The present temple was rebuilt in 1955.

 

Ryoanji

Meaning Peaceful Dragon Temple is a World Heritage Site. Famously known for its Zen garden which to anyone seeing it first time round, a simple gravel and rock arrangement. But that arrangement is meant to inspire peace and contemplation.

The garden is thought to be dated from the late 1400's. It is one of the most notable examples of the dry-garden style. People say it is the highest expression of Zen art and teachings and perhaps the single if not the greatest masterpiece of Japanese culture. No one knows who laid out this simple garden, or precisely when and that's the allure of this garden. The Zen garden has an arrangement of 15 rocks resting on white gravel, surrounded by low walls. The rocks are placed so that when looking at the garden from any angle, only 14 are visible. In the Buddhist world, the number 15 means 'completeness'. So in essence you must have total view of the garden to make it a meaningful experience, but this is not possible. To most people looking at the garden and the layout of the rocks, its not hardly impressive, even from a technical standpoint but rather its through minimalism that inspires contemplation and introspection and that's the real draw to this Zen rock garden. To really enjoy it, its best to go early in the mornings before the crowds start appearing.

 

Arashiyama

If its from 1 day or 3 days you have when in Kyoto, going to visit Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is a must! It's one of the most photographed sights in the whole city, you can spend all day here snapping away but that's not what makes it an amazing place to visit. No photo can capture the feeling of standing amongst the bamboo groves. If you can get there early (and I mean early before the droves of visitors that will come after 8am) then you will have the chance to experience something unique and wonderful and that is this sense of otherness unlike that of any other forest you know of. Hearing the wind move through the groves, look up and you'll be enchanted into a dream like state by virtue of you moving from side to side with the motion of the bamboo in the wind. It's best you just see the following photos to get an idea of what I'm talking about!

 

Kiyomizudera Temple

The name Kiyomizudera means 'Pure Water Temple'. When I first visited back in 2005, it blew me away. The wooden stage that juts out from the main hall 13 meters above the hillside is something to see. It's like looking back in time. The stage gives visitors some great views of not just Kyoto but maple and cherry trees below it.

The other outstanding fact I learnt was that the main hall along with the stage was built without the use of nails which houses the temples primary object of worship. That being a small statue of the 11 faced, thousand armed Kannon.

 

Fushimi Inari-taisha

Famed  for its thousands of vermillion torii gates. The gates hedge a network of trails behind the main temple buildings which lead into the forest of the sacred Mount Inari which is roughly 230 meters above the shrine grounds. 

Foxes are thought to be Inari's messengers, which gives arise to the many fox statues across the grounds. Whilst the main reason for many tourists to visit the shrine is because of the torii gates and mountain trails, people tend to overlook the shrine building themselves. It's worth walking around the grounds to explore these buildings

If you have any questions about Kyoto, please get in touch!, also check out my daily vlogs from my time in Kyoto, this will give you a better feel for this amazing city!

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(m24instudio) kyoto blog kyoto travel blog m24instudio kyoto blog https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/11/kyoto Fri, 04 Nov 2016 10:55:23 GMT
Mitaki & Miyajima https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/mitaki-Miyajima Mitaki - dera Temple

It was a wise decision to spend two days in Hiroshima, not only to see the sights and explore but to also give you space to go further afield. For my second day I knew I would be going to Miyajima to see the sunset, but didn't know what to do for the first half of of the day. As with last minute decisions, I googled to see what else was of interest of me and I came across Mitaki-dera Temple, and was only a 20 min train journey. The other thing I read online was that hardly anyone visits this temple, I had seen a few pictures of it and at first wasn't that blown away by it to be honest but that would change when I eventually got there. Getting there is pretty straight forward, taking the train 2 stops from Hiroshima Station to Mitaki JR Station. From here its roughly a 20 minute walk up a steep hill (which you can see in this vlog)

The Shingnon Buddhist temple here dates back to the year 800 and situated in the forested valley of Mitaki-yama. The name comes from the 3 waterfalls within its grounds. The draw and charm of Mitaki for me was its atmosphere, so calm and peaceful and I for most portions of my time there, had the place pretty much to myself. As you make your way through the temple complex , going over the moss covered stones, out of your corner of your eye you notice at first the odd one jizo statues in their bright red caps and bibs but then you realise there are hundreds all over the temple complex. With the waterfalls around, you are surrounded by a lot of greenery, as you delve deeper into the grounds, you will notice that the trees seem more magnificent than the previous one. You can easily spend a whole day here and not even notice the time passing. It's that enchanting it was amazing. 

Miyajima Island

After coming back from Mitaki, I had a few hours to go back to the hotel, this gave me time to charge my camera batteries and relax before heading back out again.

The main attraction of Myaijima being the red shrine gate of Itsukushima-jinja which is standing out in the sea . I wanted to go there for sunset, as we al l know sunsets are pretty cool when your travelling. The other thing people don't tell you about Miyajima Island is the wildlife and by that I mean the deer that roam freely. To be more specific they are Sika Deer, and are sacred animals in Japan. In the ancient times, they were worshipped as messengers of the Gods.

The deer seem very calm but can be mischievous as some will follow you and if your bag is open, they will pounce and try and grab anything that is in there, and also snatch any food you may have in your hands, so you have been warned.

Sometimes you can't help taking a thousand photos of something you've already seen in photos and magazines but when you're here, you just do it instinctively, snapping away at the giant red tori gate. It's quite and overpowering feeling.

The shinto shrine Itsukushima-jinga that the red tori gate belongs to it also a marvel to see and explore. The constructions of the shrine is that of like a pier. The reason for this is that the island has a holy status and as such commoners were not allowed to actually step on the island and had to make the approach to the shrine thought the floating gate by boat.

If you do have the time, then stay for sunset, grab a spot and just sit there looking out. It can get crowded with people vying for the best spot but you will be rewarded with one of the best sunsets you will ever see. You just don't want it to end. It is that magical!

Check out my daily vlog when I visited Mitaki and Miyajima

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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(m24instudio) Mitaki & Miyajima m24instudio mitaki m24instudio miyajima https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/mitaki-Miyajima Fri, 14 Oct 2016 15:29:28 GMT
Hiroshima https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/hiroshima

I was determined to visit Hiroshima on this visit to Japan. I felt bad that I didn’t create the opportunity on my previous visits to Japan. I stayed there for 2 nights, I read in most places that you can do it in 1 day but to truly feel how great the city is, you should opt to stay at least 2 nights. The hotel I stayed in was the Dorny Inn Hiroshima which was a 10 minute walk from the Atomic Bomb Memorial Museum and Peace Park which also has the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. It's a very moving experience to be there and I spent both evenings sitting by the Motoyasu River and gathering my thoughts with the bombed scarred Atomic Dome in the distance. It's also nice to see other people of all ages sitting by the river, a reminder that even though the past was horrific the city and its people have picked themselves up and its thriving with small bars and restaurants that lined the streets, it was really nice and ended up having a late dinner in one of them thinking why don't more people come here.

Another thing I loved about Hiroshima was taking the trams around the city. A stark change from metro trains in Tokyo and it allowed me to slow things down and appreciate the city more.

Whatever seems to happen in the world, whether its wars, people fighting  each other, there is a deep feeling that we can work together to create a better future for generations to come. Sitting here watching across the river is a symbol of hope, not just for opposing sides but also for individuals who have struggle's in their lives. It's hard to describe the emotions that go through your mind when you reflect on what has gone before you and what will come after you

 

Check out my daily vlog I did in Hiroshima

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(m24instudio) Hiroshima m24instudio m24instudio Japan https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/hiroshima Thu, 13 Oct 2016 11:38:34 GMT
Nikko https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/nikko If you have 5 days to spend in Tokyo, then I would suggest spending on of those days visiting Nikko. Two hours north of Tokyo taking the Shinkansen and JR Nikko line which includes a transfer at Utsunomiya. It's easy to get to and if you are lost, just ask the station staff who will be happy to guide you to the right train and track.

I had seen photos of Nikko in the past and they looked impressive and wanted to get some of my own. Nikko is famous for the Nikko Toshogu Shrine and from the photos it looked stunning.

On my visit it was raining all day but that didn’t deter me nor the other visitors who were there, so remember to be prepared and bring waterproofs or at least an umbrella as it was non-stop rain when I was there. It actually added to the atmosphere and made it feel like being in ancient Japan.

 

Check out my vlog about visiting Nikko to give you more of what is was like

Get 25% of my Japan photos using coupon code 'japan25'

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(m24instudio) Nikko travel m24instudio Nikko m24instudio Nikko blog https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/nikko Fri, 07 Oct 2016 21:57:00 GMT
Tokyo https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/tokyo I had 4 days in Tokyo and as much as I would have liked to stay longer I knew 4 days would be enough. This being my third time visiting but ask anyone and most would always would’ve liked to stay that much longer in the city. There is a lot to do and see in Tokyo and you will need way over 4 days to cram it all in (if that’s your style). My advice would be to focus on a few areas and then dedicate 2 visits per day and actually spend more time in each area of interest. It’s easy to whizz around the city and ticking of your checklist of things to see and do according to your travel guide. To truly experience Tokyo, it’s all about slowing down. I know this sounds crazy in the metropolis that is Tokyo. But trust me by slowing down, you will soon feel the beat and rhythm of the Tokyo and it’s a wonderful thing to feel. On this trip I visited the following over the course of the 4 days that I was there as well as other places. (If your thinking I could've done more, you are probably right but I was out here in Japan and this Tokyo portion filming scenes for my 2nd film that is currently in production, so my free time was limited due to this fact.)

  • Asakusa
  • Meji Shrine
  • Shibuya
  • Shinjuku
  • Ueno Park
  • Nikko* (this was a day trip from Tokyo to Nikko, I will write about this in a separate blog)

A great travel tip I would advise you to do if visiting Japan is to rent Pocket Wi-Fi, it will be a lifesaver, and on most rental Pocket Wi-Fi units you can connect more than one device. The 4G network speeds are pretty consistent and the speeds you get are usually faster than the ones you normally get in hotels. I did a lot of travelling on this trip and it was great to check train times, emailing hotels and also watching tv shows on my bullet train journeys between cities.

You’ve probably read all there is to know about Tokyo but if you do have questions, then please do get in contact with me via email or leave a comment down below. Reason I say this is because I’m going to show you what makes Tokyo amazing through the power of photography as images can help shape and change the way you think about a place and even make you book a plane ticket and visit.

 

Sensoji Temple

Also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple located in Asakua. Depending which way you enter, you will most likely visit through Nakamise, a street which is over 200 meters long with shops that sell Japanese souvenirs to snacks. Sensoji Temple is one of the most popular temples in Tokyo as well as it being colourful. If you can try see it at night as well as during the day as its pretty magical.

 

Meji Shrine

The shrine is adjacent to Yoyogi Park and both make up a large forested area within Tokyo which is amazing considering how densely populated the city is. The spacious shrine grounds offer a great respite from the hustle and bustle of this amazing city and great for relaxing walks.

 

Shibuya

If there is one image of Tokyo that people know of or will see in travel magazines or through friend’s photos that have visited, it will be that of Shibuya Crossing! Shibuya is also the centre for youth fashion and the surrounding streets are the source of many of Japan’s fashion and entertainment trends. 

 

Shinjuku

I booked a photography tour one evening as I never had done one before in my life. Plus I really wanted another photographers perspective who does what I do but lives in Tokyo. Things didn't go to plan as in my haste to catch the train I got on the wrong one and ended up in Shinagawa when I should've got Shinjuku. The tour company which organised this Inside Japan Tours managed to phone me whilst I was making way to Shinjuku to make sure I was on my way and informed the photo tour guide that I would be late. Luckily I was only 10 minutes late to meet my photo tour guide, and after navigating the maze that is Shinjuku Station we made our way out. He took me to some nice spots around the station and within walking distance and we spent an hour photographing and talking about our love of Japan in general.

 

Ueno Park

A large public park right next to Ueno Station. The park boasts many museums and also home to Japan’s first zoological garden. Not forgetting that Ueno Park is a great spot to see witness the Cherry blossoms as it has over 1000 cherry trees that lines its central pathway. Like Meiji Shrine, the park is a nice spot to relax away from the frantic pace that you will see in Tokyo. 

 

If you want to get a better insight into my time in Tokyo, check my daily vlogs below that I made there purely to give people an insight of what Tokyo is like and to for me to have a record of my time there not just through photography but daily vlogging.

 

Get 25% of my Japan photos using coupon code 'japan25'

Check out my other travel photos 

So subscribe to my channel to get updates of my videos and future projects

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(m24instudio) m24instudio tokyo blog tokyo blog https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/tokyo Tue, 04 Oct 2016 21:57:00 GMT
Japan, it changes you https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/japan-it-changes-you I had 40 minutes before I had to board my flight to Japan and had realised that Chance the Rapper's new mix tape 'Colouring Book' had been released. My only problem was to find a stable Wi-Fi connection in Heathrow Airport and download it before I got on the plane.

Why I am saying this? Well most travel trips I do seem to have a soundtrack to it, not by choice but through circumstance. We all listen to music when we travel (well I hope so, helps pass the time). It's through the confluence of travelling and the things you do there that music seems to provide a sense of glue to it all.

Let's go back a few weeks. I'm fan of Chance the Rapper's music and like many fans around the world, was waiting patiently for him to release his latest mix tape though no official release date was announced. The week of May 9th I was getting my gear ready for my trip to Japan, it was announced that the album would drop on May 12th 2016 in the US. I was working out time differences in my head and thought I won't be able to get it as I'll be making my way to the airport on May 13th. So come May 13th , I'm sitting in departures, going through some paperwork and checking my camera gear and decided to check if the mix tape had come out. I had 40 minutes before I had to board my flight and looking at me on my laptop screen was the download link! I knew then that this mix tape would be my soundtrack to this trip.

Right, back the trip.

This was my third visit back to Japan, a country in which totally enchanted me when I first visited in 2005 and back then I said that I will always come back to Japan time and time again. There is that saying you should always visit new countries and not go back to the same one again and again. My answer to that is simple, do what makes you happy.

The two main reasons why Japan for me is amazing and so enchanting is first the culture and second is the stunning temples and shrines it has to offer. Of course there are loads more reasons such as:

  • the amazing landscapes

  • How clean the country is

  • compared to my western upbringing, how wonderfully weird it can be

  • The transport! Compared to the UK, its so efficient

  • the food is amazing (even though I'm not a foodie)

  • It's one of the safest countries I've visited on my travels the past decade.

  • The people are just awesome

  • oh and the Bullet Train!

There are loads more but think you get the idea. But unless you've been to Japan its hard to describe the feelings of emotion one gets when trying to explain why its such an amazing place.

Sorry to keep taking you back in the past, but back in 2005 when I first visited, the visit was sort of a sensual overload in my brain. It was hard to process what I had seen, experienced and done. It didn't help that this visit was part of my round the world trip so after Japan I was flying to Australia. But the good thing was that I kept a diary and took photos and video to remind me. If your wondering what my music soundtrack for that trip was, well it was 'Details' by Frou Frou. It's an album I still listen to this day.

Everything I wondered about Japan prior to my 2005 visit was not only realised but was superseded. Watching Anime shows, film and documentaries about Japan only satiated my curiosity as to what this weird wonderful place is but more so I wanted to be out of my comfort zone, I wanted to be tested where I couldn't rely on what my upbringing had taught me. Japan forces you to look within to pluck up courage, whether its asking for directions, getting a bus ticket, navigating the many exits that a train station will have. Or trying weird and wonderfully colourful food it has to offer. It goes far beyond your normal level. In a way I like to discomfort it gives me, the clash of cultures. On the whole Asia is where culture shock is definitely abound compared to my western upbringing.

Having visited 3 times now, things are easier thanks to smartphones and your greatest friend that you'll ever have in Japan, and that is Wi-Fi! Even the trains now will tell you what stop your at in English. Even with all this help, I still get in awe being there.

Japan is one of the few places where I truly felt safe, I mean everywhere. I'm from London, and like most major cities around the world, it can be safe, but whether your actually FEEL SAFE is another matter. In Japan the sense of caution vanished, I wasn't paranoid about my camera bag being taken, being pick-pocketed or even robbed.

You must've heard about how great the customer service is in Japan? Hearing 'Irashiamase' was something that made me smile, the warm greeting that was voiced every time I entered a store in Japan, actually any store in Japan! From small convenience stores, big brand stores, restaurants and hotels. Unlike shops in UK and the US, the shop staff managed to balance not to be so intrusive such so I hated the shopping experience but managed to give me their undivided attention.

The other thing I love about Japan is the expressive creative freedom that the younger generations seem to radiate. Each day when walking the streets exploring, I would notice the youth of Japan expressing their creative wears from dressing up as cosplay characters, goth inspired, to wearing Victorian era clothing, this was just amazing to see, they just went about their day, there was no other groups sneering at them nor mocking them. It was a cohesive community where you can live the way you want to, that was something pretty special to see in Japan.

If your wondering what the photo at the top of this post is about, well it's the very first photo I took in Japan in 2005. Taken roughly 20 mins after landing in Tokyo, just outside Narita Airport waiting for the Airport Limousine bus.

I should add the other reason why Japan means a lot to me on a personal level, is prior to the trip me and my friend decided to pack our jobs in and make the decision to travel the world. We made a list of places we really wanted to visit and Japan was 2nd on my list behind seeing the Redwoods. I at first was hesitant because of the unknowns, what do I do about my bills, my temping work etc. Then he just told me he booked the tickets and we we're going. It was then my fate was sealed. In life we need someone or something to push us forward into the unknown, to help us face our fears and jump into the new. Japan for its intent and purposes at the time for me ticked all those boxes and has given me the confidence in pursing my dreams and aspirations. 

I am just being honest here, as a photographer, it can get to you trying to be creative all the time. There are long periods where you just don't want to pick up the camera nor even edit your photos and that is actually fine. For me, travelling in a way re-energises me, feeds my creativity and gives the added boost that I need. But it's Japan where I feel it the most, its a cerebral experience and it washes over me and I feel truly great. Every time I see the photos I've taken of Japan, they always give a small boost of energy, and I think that's what photos should do, they should make you feel something in someway.

Over the next few blogs I will try and attempt to show you why I love Japan and hopefully you will visit this wonderful country full of contrasts, it truly is like a country like no other and why it stays on top of many people's travel bucket list!

Get 25% of my Japan photos using coupon code 'japan25'

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(m24instudio) Japan, it changes you Why I love Japan m24instudio Japan https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/10/japan-it-changes-you Sat, 01 Oct 2016 21:57:00 GMT
Travel Friends, probably the best people you'll ever know! https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/9/travel-friends-probably-the-best-friends-youll-ever-know  

The notion that throughout your life you only have a handful of friends that you can rely on, to help you out, shoulder to cry, have fun, or just to be there is a fascinating concept. The need to form friendships or connections need not be that of lifelong promises.

When you’re travelling, be it on your own or with friends, you’re never stationary, always moving, so when meeting new people you’re not that bothered if they’re going to be great friends or not.

I’ve always been a proponent of travelling being the best education one can get. It forces you out of your comfort zone, forces you to looking within to see out worldly into the new. The people you meet on your travels offer a different form of friendship. They might not be there to help you out, or there to listen to your woes or even be invited to your wedding (mind you, I was invited to a wedding of a person I’d met travelling just 18 months prior, more on that later). They were there when you experienced the most amazing sunset together, they were there when you ventured into the jungles to seek out lost temples, partied on the beach till the sun came up! That weird moment when you add a new friend on Facebook then out of nowhere it suggests a dozen more. This doesn’t happen with travel friends who are literally from the other side of the world. They don’t know you or your embarrassing past or about what happened at the famed party like your lifelong friends do. In a way travel friends offer a clean slate on which you can offer friendship completely free of expectations, you can in a way be yourself without being judged. This manoeuvres into being exposed to people from all walks of life with different views on life and having different life experiences. This can be an overwhelming at first but is always a beautiful moment. There is nothing wrong with wanting a new audience to tell your story to, especially if you’ve told the story over and over again to your friends who now don’t show the enthusiasm as they once did. But with travel friends, you can share that story and many more as they won’t be put to sleep by it because they are a new audience. That’s a nice feeling.

We seem to be obsessed trying to be someone or something, trying to ‘fit in’, be a certain type of person. This after a while makes you feel trapped. Your friends having a set idea of how you act in their brain. Whereas travel friends don’t actually know you at all. You are free to be ‘you’. You are not bound to hide the ‘inner self’. You can be whoever you want to be and your travel friends won’t see it as weird. The friendships at home are made up of small things that over time develop into long-term friendship and will eventually mould into what we call ‘normal life’, not to say nothing is wrong with being normal, but with travel friends you are welding something from the outset which can lead to a cerebral connection. The places and adventures you experience with travel friends is so far removed from your ‘normal life’, that it’s elevated to another place. You are on this amazing adventure, making and creating amazing memories, together. That’s where it matters. Your friendship with your travel friends is completely divergent to the ones you have at home and in a way that makes it more special and singular. I don’t think people who travel go on the basis to make friends but when they do you end up with connections that rate highly and will always remain somewhat special in their hearts, mind and soul. That wasn’t my intention when I started travelling. I wanted to explore the world, see different cultures, experience things I had only learnt from a school text book. But you will eventually meet people along the way, whether it’s for a fleeting moment or a moment that you will know, alter you in a small way.

I first went travelling back in 2005 and the people I’d met along my way around the world, I am still in contact with to this day. Thanks to the internet and social media, the fact that we all live on different parts of the planet we are all still connected.  Which brings to me to when I did tour in Cambodia in 2013, a country that I wanted to visit mainly to see and explore the temples and its history.  You never really know how well you’re going to get on with your fellow travellers whom you meet on tour. But this notion dissipated very quickly. I met and made some amazing friends on that tour, the impact of which has altered my outlook, and that is a powerful feeling. On that tour I became very close to a group from Australia and the Netherlands. We all bonded and had an amazing time. So amazing was the connection that a year later I was invited to the wedding of the person I had met in Cambodia. That is a very special thing to have happened. I was at first taken aback, then was awash with emotions of what travelling has enabled in all of us, this sense of awe and wonderment in meeting strangers who become travel friends, the intense connections we form which are unlike those formed with your best friend from school or even work.

Best of all, you don't feel this sense of despondent guilt when parting ways with your travel friends. You get their email, connect through the various social networks and promise them a room to stay when they're next in town

So what are you waiting for, there is a whole world to be explored! Amazing experiences to be had and the most amazing connections yet to be made!

 

Check out my first film I made about the wonders of our planet
 
For my travel videos, please head to http://vimeo.com/m24instudio

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(m24instudio) friends friendships m24instudio travel https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/9/travel-friends-probably-the-best-friends-youll-ever-know Fri, 16 Sep 2016 07:37:08 GMT
Rolling Clouds over Smith Square - 4K Timelapse https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/9/return-to-editingrolling-clouds-over-smith-square As camera technology gets smaller and better (though not always necessarily a good thing) It does open up opportunities to creatives everywhere. Capturing things from new vantage points, from angles never before tried but now with all tech being small enough to take in your bag, purse or wallet, the possibilities are endless.  

I attached my small action camera to the roof of a building to film a time-lapse of the clouds rolling over London.

For my travel videos, please head to http://vimeo.com/m24instudio

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(m24instudio) 4k Smith Square timelapse timelapses travel https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/9/return-to-editingrolling-clouds-over-smith-square Thu, 08 Sep 2016 10:54:03 GMT
m24instudio wedding photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/9/m24instudio-wedding-photography As well as travelling to take photos, what enables me to travel and to pursue my love of photography is in part thanks for my wedding clients who hire me to capture their special day. I've been fortunate to have photographed many weddings, having been flown out to India and Lake Como in Italy.

Just to showcase a small sample, I've selected a few weddings I've photographed over the years.

If you interested in working with me regarding your wedding, advice or just want to chat, then please drop me an email on weddings@m24instudio.com

 

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(m24instudio) m24instudio wedding m24instudio wedding photography wedding photography wedding photos https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/9/m24instudio-wedding-photography Mon, 05 Sep 2016 21:57:00 GMT
Visiting Europe's largest Infrastructure Project https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/visiting-europes-largest-infrastructure-project First some facts about Crossrail

  • Construction began on May 15 2009 at Canary Wharf
  • Tunnelling began in May 2012
  • The route will  run over 100km from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through new tunnels under central London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east
  • 10,000 people are working on the project, with some 400 apprentices at peak rate
  • Two tunnel machines used, called Elizabeth and Victoria respectively, each weighing 1,000 tonnes, 150 meters long and about 7 meters in diameter.
  • Roughly 4.5 million tonnes of excavated material from the tunnels has been and still being shipped to Wallasea Island in Essex where it is being used to create a new 1,500 acre RSPB nature reserve.
  • Liverpool Street is one of the 10 new Crossrail stations being built in central and south east London.
  • Total cost is estimated to be £14.8 billion.

It’s from Liverpool Street Station that I ventured into or rather down to see the immense construction project taking shape. I was taken aback by the vast scale of the work. It’s one thing seeing it on the news and papers but to actually see it and walk in the tunnels. That’s when you truly appreciate the scale and immensity of the construction taking place. All this whilst no more than 20-30 meters above your head, London is going about its daily business, people unware of what happening beneath their feet. Not forgetting also other tube lines that cut through London, the margin of error in making sure Crossrail didn’t impact those lines as well as London above is feat of engineering not seen.

Having seen the process of this infrastructure project take shape and understanding the challenges, I am looking forward to seeing it completed and passengers enjoying the improved transport links.

In my limited time I took the following photos and filmed a time-lapse of my visit there.

Time-lapse
You can also see this timelapse in 4K over at Youtube , just follow this link - http://bit.ly/1t8CbbV
 
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(m24instudio) Construction Crossrail Liverpool Street Timelapse m24instudio m24instudio photography photography travel photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2016/6/visiting-europes-largest-infrastructure-project Wed, 08 Jun 2016 12:30:54 GMT
Sunset at Genovesa - Galapagos https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/sunset-at-genovesa---galapagos

Sunset on the island of Genovesa in the Galapagos

Being on a boat has its benefits; the joy of witnessing sunsets and sunrises across the open sea is quite soothing for the mind and body. This particular sunset I filmed was even more special as it was my birthday. There’s seem to be some magical pull when seeing a sunset, almost spiritual in its movement, you seem all but transfixed on the golden disc. Yet it’s due to this very golden disc that your are alive.

To find about more about the Galapagos, visit my blog post about my time visiting the Galapagos

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(m24instudio) Galapagos Islands Sunset Sunset at Genovesa inspire m24instudio travel photography travel video wanderlust https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/8/sunset-at-genovesa---galapagos Wed, 12 Aug 2015 08:10:59 GMT
m24instudio photo story - Image number _MG_1044 https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/5/m24instudio-photo-story---image-number-_mg_1044 When you look in the mirror, do you ever ponder what came before you, do you think of the closeness you have with your fellow primates. We humans tend to think we are the greater species, but we also fail to grasp the power we as humans possess. I took this photo in Taronga Zoo in Sydney, for me it was enchanting. I was transfixed on what I was seeing, looking into the eyes and the eyes looking back at me, felt somewhat connected to this being, this primate. The human like qualities, the closeness, and the essence of humanity looking at each other. What’s even more striking is that we humans are about 98 percent identical on a genetic level to gorillas. It’s hard not to be in awe of such striking similarities that we both have. The soul is somewhat moved. Leader’s talk of a world where they are joined in unity for the greater good of mankind, but in reality the world we occupy is divided and fractured, due to no fault but our own, we humans caused this. I want this photo to remind people of where we came from but more importantly where we are heading. I could have easily said I took this in the wild forests of Uganda but I didn't, I took this in a Zoo in a country in which Gorillas aren't indigenous there. The world is an amazing place, if only we allowed it to stay that way.

I’ve taken thousands of photos and there are some that truly move me and affect me on a level unlike any other. This is one such photo

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px and Tumblr

Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

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(m24instudio) Gorilla Humanity Image number _MG_1044 Soul Taronga Zoo human m24instudio primate https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/5/m24instudio-photo-story---image-number-_mg_1044 Thu, 14 May 2015 10:06:31 GMT
Bangladesh Portraits https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/4/bangladesh-portraits Taking portraits isn’t my strong point when it comes to photography. I’ll admit that because I hardly taken them and it’s not something I think of when picking up my camera. But as in life, one should not dissuade from doing it because you don’t think you can pull it off or trying to follow the acute ‘how to take portraits photos like pros’ route. Rather take portraits how YOU WANT TO TAKE THEM. That’s how I approached it.

They say a portrait should tell a story, and that story should relate to the person in the photo.  But it’s impossible to tell a story of a person in one photo due to the innate nature of humans in that we are too complex to sum up in one image.

The following sets of portraits were taken between 2008 and 2015 when I visited Bangladesh. During the visits I took time to photograph the people that were around me and to capture something special about what makes them unique.

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500pxVimeo and Tumblr

Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

Check out my other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

If you have any questions, email me on info@m24instudio.com 

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(m24instudio) Bangladesh Bangladesh Portraits Portrait Photography humanity m24instudio portraits https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/4/bangladesh-portraits Mon, 27 Apr 2015 12:53:37 GMT
St Martins Island https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/4/st-martins-island

Comparing safety of transport of one country to another soon becomes irrelevant as you some how accept it is the way it is. This notion is pretty scary to have when you know that accidents are common in the countries river network with overcrowding and lack of health and safety on boats.

St Martins Island is about 9km from Cox's Bazar. My cousin sorted out a day trip to visit which included a bus ride to a port/pier onto which we would embark on a boat that would eventually take us there. Arriving at the port/pier, it wasn't made very clear which boat was for us as there was 3 boats moored.

First off the ships didn't give me that much confidence and when I looked at the amount of people getting, I was at first hesitant that it would stay afloat! Once people were all on board, the ship made its way to St Martin's Island. The journey time was roughly 2 hours and with the that time and to ease my mind about the ship, me and my cousin went to the top deck to take some photos and to see the landscape with views of the Teknaf Hills on one side and Myanmar on the other. I always find its extraordinary to see another country from across a river.

The few hours I'd spent on the island I enjoyed. 

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(m24instudio) Asia Bangladesh St Martins Island m24instudio travel https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/4/st-martins-island Wed, 01 Apr 2015 08:33:48 GMT
Cox's Bazar https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/coxs-bazar

It’s an 8hr bus ride to get to Cox’s Bazar from Sylhet changing at Chittagong. I’d never been and went with my cousin. The only thing I knew about Cox’s Bazaar was that it has the world’s longest beach, well to be more accurate the world’s longest uninterrupted natural sandy beach, a 125km unbroken beach at that.

I knew that it wouldn’t be National Express type service but was pleasantly surprised by the coach, all big reclining seats and very comfortable. The journey too Chittagong was shall I say speedy. Comparing to the coach journeys I’ve experienced elsewhere on my travels, it seemed the driver was in a hurry to get to Chittagong. There was a lot of swerving at high speed and to be honest wearing the seat belt didn’t bring me any consolation for road safety. That said we did get to Chittagong in time and had a 40 minute wait for the next coach that would take us onto Cox’s Bazaar.

My fears for a much ‘safer’ driver was quickly dashed from Chittagong to Cox’s Bazar, but having survived the first leg of the journey, wasn’t that bothered. Arrived early morning in Cox’s Bazaar and the hotel we booked was a short walk from the bus stop. We checked in, freshened up and made our way out to get the lay of the land.

We headed to the beach and it was vast. Walking towards the water, I was quickly approached by 2 men who were keen to see what I camera I had round my neck. Cox’s Bazar is on the most visited tourist destinations in Bangladesh and it has sprouted a boom in the tourist photography trade, where you get your photos taken at the beach and delivered to you the next day. I noticed a few young photographers on the beach. Once they see you step on the sand, they all clamour to ask to take your photo as a souvenir.

There weren’t many people on the beach at the time but as time passed more and more people just appeared. Maybe because I was focused in getting my photos I just didn’t notice the people. After a while I’d notice groups of children that seemed to be from schools on a day trip, families, couples, and groups of friends enjoying themselves on the beach. It was somewhat nice to see and witness it all while the sun was basking.  

That evening we visited the Cox’s Bazar markets. Vibrant as markets can be but clearly aimed at the tourists. My cousin took the opportunity to see if he could find a decent pair slippers and whilst browsing tried on some sunglasses. He didn’t buy anything in the end. Even though my time at Cox’s Bazar was short, I could see the potential of it being a great tourist destination with focus on building up the infrastructure, better transport links and more hotels as the people here are waiting to show it all off to those who come.

20 years ago Cox’s Bazar was largely a quiet beach town which only locals and other Bangladeshis would visit as a weekend getaway or short family trips. During that time there have been dozens of buildings from hotels, apartment blocks to restaurants. Even on the beach itself there are loads of shops selling souvenirs, toys and fast food. There has been concern from environmentalists that buildings and planning procedures have been obtain illegally and if something isn’t done sooner than rather, then the unrivalled beauty of Cox’s Bazar will be lost. Coupled with this is the ever increasing numbers of visitors which is also having an impact not on just the beach but also on the marine environment. It’s said the ever increasing number of tourists take sea coral home as gifts and this has spurned local traders and locals to collect coral from St Martin’s Island nearby.     

Tourism hasn’t been a top priority for Bangladesh over the past decades but amid economic uncertainty, I think tourism could pave the way to offer a perfect opportunity to diversify its revenue base and change its image to the rest of the world. That will be the challenge for the government, the need to promote development without hurting local ecology. I think promoting and marketing sustainable tourism will pay great dividends and attract tourists from all around the world to Bangladesh and make it a top destination for travellers.

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500pxVimeo and Tumblr

Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

Check out my other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

If you have any questions, email me on info@m24instudio.com  

 

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(m24instudio) Bangladesh Bangladesh travel Coxs Bazar longest beach m24instudio https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/coxs-bazar Tue, 17 Mar 2015 09:28:12 GMT
Jaflong https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/jaflong

It was a 1hr 30 min car trip to visit Jaflong from Sylhet. Had my camera gear packed and loaded in the boot and off we went. If you haven’t been to Sylhet, to roads can be somewhat hit and miss. With half completed roads, and potholes everywhere, enjoying the ride is an understatement. That said there are portions which are smooth and carefree.  I managed to sleep through most of the journey, and those that know me, know that I can sleep through most things, so the constant roller coaster ride through potholes, humps, bumps etc didn’t affect me one bit.

Upon arrival I was woken up by my driver to say that we have arrived, my first thoughts looking out the window was have we just pulled up inside a mining operation. Both sides of the roads were filled with boulders of all sizes, trucks ferrying them to and fro. Also on the sides of the roads was workman breaking down these boulders with strong hard labour, followed by people carrying them on their backs. As the car traversed its way through the maze that was a road, I could see food stalls and shops.

Once parked up, we took a short walk. At first I was thinking this isn’t the Jaflong people were talking about. It was meant to be a tourist spot, but from what I was seeing, it felt like a mining town. Walking along, it slowly dawned on me as I approached a cliff edge that it from there I was to see something. Before me was a vista like that of old Constable Paintings. I was told by my driver that the ‘river was low for the season, but you get the idea’. I can see why people are drawn to it. You could see the mountains and forests on either side of the river. It was pretty amazing sight to see. As I slowly panned, I made out boats, trucks, and people on the river side washing. It was a weird wonderful confluence of the old and new.

I made my way down to the river bank. As I took photos the people seemed nonchalant. While I was taking photos, a few young men looked curious and seemed to shadow me as I walked along. It was only when I actually looked at them and found out that they too were photographers and were intrigued as to why I was there. I explained I’m just visiting and taking photos for a project. I asked them why they do photography and they explained that people in love come here; partners on vacation, ‘people will wear their nice clothes and come here to get their photos done here in beautiful Jaflong’. I could see why!

Jaflong is located in the Gowainghat Upazila of Sylhet District and situated at the border of Bangladesh and the Indian state of Meghalaya. It’s nestled at the foot of the Khasia-Jainta hills, which is stunningly beautiful. Behind this greatness lies a disturbing ecological disaster that will ruin the landscape and change it beyond recognition. It’s stone mining in the area.

Stone mining has become one of the leading industries for the small community here in Jaflong. During the monsoon season, the river currents wash down rocks and pebbles from India into the Jaflong area. At dawn every day, hundreds of little boats with labourers enter the Piyain River with buckets and spades collecting the stones that will be ground up and sold to create concrete. The mining is extremely harmful to both the workers and the environment as stone mining creates air pollution, noise pollution, destroys the unique landscape and exploits laborer's  . The miners work incredibly hard working with bare hands. The industry is unregulated, the labourers receive no legal nor health benefits and the stone crushing machinery creates hazardous clouds of dust. It is estimated that more than 2,000 women work the stone mines and they receive less pay than their male workers. Many women raise their families near the mines and struggle to make ends meet and provide for their children with their low daily wages.

I witnessed the sheer hard work these workers do and when I was filming one mine, I was told to stop by someone who’d seem to be instructing the workers who had noticed me filming. I duly obliged and had enough footage recorded.

I talked to a local worker and he told me that the stones that come from the riverbed in India are decreasing in volume and that some workers are already taking the risk of going into the no-man’s land in the Indo-Bangla border to mine stones.

Time was made to visit the tea gardens surrounding Jaflong which are beautiful to see amongst the rolling hills and quite a sight. To see the tea leaves and even taste a variety by local market stalls beside the tea gardens.  

It was an amazing experience to visit Jaflong and a reminder of economic prosperity to the detriment to the environment, the divisional split between those who work to feed their children, to those who seek profit and to those who want to preserve Jaflong and to regain the paradise.

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500pxVimeo and Tumblr

Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

Check out my other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

If you have any questions, email me on info@m24instudio.com  

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(m24instudio) Bangladesh Jaflong Stone Mining Sylhet m24instudio m24instudio travel https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/3/jaflong Wed, 04 Mar 2015 22:08:16 GMT
Mauna Kea https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/2/Hawaii

Photos have a genuine power to inspire, change and provide a sense of wonderment to a person or to people all at once. Taking photos over the past decade has given me the most immeasurable thirst for adventure and exploration on this rock called Earth.

For the first time in 10 years, these photos are being shown together. I’ve shown one or two over the years but not like this. These photos are for me the best I’ve taken. I've travelled to some amazing places on this planet but the reason why these selection of photos for me are the best and will never be bettered is purely because for me they capture the essence of exploration and adventure, the intangible desire to explore, challenge the boundaries of what we know and where we have been and ultimately where we are heading. Every time I look back at them, I get re-energised, I feel truly alive.

Sometimes you need what I call ‘constants’ in life, key markers in which you can look back on to see how far you've travelled, not necessarily in the literal sense but emotionally, psychologically, and mentally. These selection of photos are my ‘constants’ and one of the most powerful.

It’s hard to describe the feelings that went through my mind witnessing the sun setting above the clouds. To say it was an awe-inspiring experience is an understatement. Standing there was an achievement of sorts, notwithstanding that I was still able to breathe. Mauna Kea is one of the only places in the world where you can drive from sea level to 14,000 feet in about 2 hours, so altitude sickness is a high possibility. There's 40% less oxygen than at sea level at Mauna Kea. I certainly felt it but we made stops on our ascent to acclimatise. It’s weird breathing thinner air, we were told to move and walk slowly, don’t rush. That was the mantra as told by our guide.

Hawaii was the midway point on my round the world trip back in 2005, it was the destination for which I would relax for a week as the previous 2 months was just non-stop travelling around Japan, Australia and New Zealand. I’d been taking photos since Japan, but nothing would prepare me for Mauna Kea. Having only spent 3 days on Waikiki, and on our way out of our hotel, we hastily decided that Waikiki was boring, well I got bored of it and we headed to the hotel travel rep and within 20 mins had booked 4 days on the Big Island.

I loved everything about the Big Island and I felt more relaxed. Being surrounded by wild landscapes was a breath of fresh air. It was on the very first day that we went for a walk to get our bearings from the hotel and came across a tour company offering visits to Mauna Kea and the only day they did was on the second to last day of our visit. After deliberating for all of 2 mins, plumped up payment from my card and paid for the tour. That being sorted, we headed to a nice ocean view restaurant and ordered chips, and chicken burger with pineapple.

These photos offer a deep personal reflection on not just me, but on life and the whole universe. A universe with some estimated 100 million black holes in our galaxy in which time itself doesn’t exist. Yet time is something we as humans celebrate as well as something we denounce. The world isn’t perfect and there is a lot of sorrow and heartache that takes place on this planet. When you think about it, this lonely speck’ is full of amazement. All around, there is life, with boundless variations of colour, all weird and coming in wonderful shapes and sizes. We humans, while capable of the most atrocious crimes also have the infinite capacity to do good. The technological innovations, the knowledge in the sciences and the wide canvas of the arts never cease to surprise me and every one of us, every day. As a photographer, I use my camera as a tool for exploration, as an instrument to evoke change and ultimately to connect us all, as images speak the same language, when it comes to taking photos and using the moving image, there are no barriers.

We all live in the vast cosmological black but if you look around, there is also the light. We are the very stuff of the cosmos. The atoms that were born from exploding stars, billions of years ago. We came to be out of the confluence of matter and energy to realize ourselves and to know what surrounds us. A quote by Professor Brian Cox saying ‘we are the cosmos made conscious and life is the means by which the universe understands itself’ sums it up.

In the vast cosmic darkness on other planets, other life exists, all made of the same atoms we are made of and like us, they too are searching, searching for answers. The yearning to look to the stars is the same no matter what planet you're on.

We really only know a handful of people on this pale blue dot that we call home.

We that all said, it still can feel lonely when we know that the only thing that is certain is the emptiness at the end of our existence. We rarely talk about it or address it but does linger in our minds from time to time. From the moment your born, time starts ticking.

Over the years, some have said to me how can I live without believing in a God, heaven or hell. How empty I must feel and sad I had no one to look up to or pray to. Religion was an ideology that went through my mind. I’m not religious and lost faith with it when my dad died over 20 years ago. I believe in myself and ultimately I'm in control of where my life is heading. Proof of this was happening right there and then. But actually, for all my apprehension caused by the void, I truly feel more alive than most people I know. Done things which most will never do in their lifetime. I’m alive and lucky that, in all the magnitude of space, a place that we can barely grasp, I'm committed with the privilege of exploring and seeking adventure, and meeting the people I love. A wondrous chain of events shaped our lives and made all of us meet in the vastness of this cosmos. This through travelling all over the world. That's truly amazing, suffice to say its pure awesomeness!

We live in a world where as much as we talk of global peace, inherent democracy that works for all, we as humans will never achieve such heights of fancy. History has shown us to be greedy, selfish, murderers and stupid but more importantly that we as a species like all others have flaws in which are not easy to talk away or hide and ultimately unless something happens, the only thing that is killing us is ourselves. The planet will survive just fine without us and has done in the past.

We forget we are lucky. How happy we should be, even if things don't work out as we want in life. This is a tall ask in this day and age, in that we should put aside our hate and sadness. Instead, we should be conscious of what we have and embrace the brief moments and time we share, the universal supernovas of genuine love and care that permeates throughout the planet with the light of a million Gods. Life, is going to be fine and to finish on a favorite quote of mine by Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment'.

 

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500pxVimeo and Tumblr

Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

Check out my other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

If you have any questions, email me on info@m24instudio.com  

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(m24instudio) Hawaii Mauna Kea best photos ever dream hope inspiration m24instudio m24instudio Hawaii m24instudio mauna kea m24instudio photography travel https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/2/Hawaii Mon, 16 Feb 2015 19:45:47 GMT
Visit to see the 12 Apostles https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/1/visit-to-see-the-12-apostles I was in two minds as to whether to visit the 12 Apostles. One half of my brain was saying no due to the time I had, and that it would be a disappointment as I hadn’t planned nor researched it properly. The other side of the brain was saying, you've come all this way and its literally just there (well a 4 hour drive) . You’d never know when you’ll have the opportunity again. This battle went on for a few hours in my head and decided to book a day trip with Bunyip tours. Made sure my batteries were charged for both my cameras and memory cards at the ready.

I was picked up at my hotel by the tour minivan, me being the second pick, zig-zagging across central Melbourne picking up the rest, we were on our way on the Sunset Great Ocean Road tour. First stop was on the tour was the a visit to the Cape Otway Lighthouse. It is Australia’s oldest surviving lighthouse. Spent about 30 minutes, some of the tour group ventured down to the viewing platform overlooking the coast. The wind was slightly on the strong side but the views were amazing. Next stop was a stop to see the Great Ocean Road Memorial Arch. A tribute to the World War One serviceman who built the Great Ocean Road. The present arch is actually the third built to replace the second one which was destroyed in the Ash bushfires of February 1983. Those that wanted to in our group had their photo taken with the famed Arch in the background. Once all the photos were taken on mobiles, pocket cameras, we all were on our way to the next stop on this tour which was the rainforests of the Otway Ranges. Spent roughly 30 minutes walking amongst giant tree ferns and lush plant life. The Otways receieve Victorias highest rainfall, so its no surprise to see this temperate rain forest flourish, hence it being lush.

Next stop was Lord Ard Gorge which is famed for the survival of two young people Eva Carmichael as a passenger and Tom Pearce as crew on 31st May 1878 on the ship called Lord Ard an iron-hulled clipper ship that was sailing between England and Melbourne. Walked around the cliff top to enjoy the stunning views even though it was windy.

It was now getting to around 7.30pm and being on the sunset tour, we all hopped back on the tour van and headed to see the 12 Apostles, giant rock formations located within Port Campbell National Park. To be honest as we were parking up, seeing the sunset was not going to happen due to it being cloudy and grey. But the sun did poke through now and again. Felt like it was teasing us, having come all this way! Nature doesn't guarantee anything, that’s what I've  learnt in 10 years of travelling around the planet.

Seeing the 12 Apostles was impressive to say the least, even though the light was rubbish, I did manage to get some good shots that I’m more than happy with. Even though you can't guarantee  good weather, the first time you lay your eyes on them is pretty spectacular.

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px, Vimeo and Tumblr

Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

Check out my other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

If you have any questions, email me on info@m24instudio.com  

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(m24instudio) 12 Apostles Melbourne m24instudio m24instudio photography travel travel photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/1/visit-to-see-the-12-apostles Thu, 08 Jan 2015 08:42:31 GMT
Visiting Melbourne https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/1/visiting-melbourne Hadn’t occurred to me to visit Melbourne the times I’d visit Sydney. This being my third time visiting, I'd decided I'd better make a visit, Decision made easier as I had friends  who lived there. Another reason was that a few people kept banging on about Melbourne. Saying it’s different to Sydney, you’d like, it has a different vibe etc.

Upon arrival, a friend of 20 years picked me up from the airport and took me on a quick tour of the city. He and his wife we're in love with the city having moved from Brisbane. He pointing out that drink and food is way cheaper, plus the people are friendlier and its way better than Brisbane and Sydney full stop. Saying all this and I hadn't even left the airport!

I had landed on Melbourne Cup day, so most things were shut but also saw people making their way to the races and also to local pubs to celebrate this crazy day where literally the whole city shuts down and makes way for the one of the greatest horse racing events in the world.

That evening, met up with another friend who drove me to St Kilda to see the beach huts, we walked along the beach, trying to photograph the beach huts without people in the background. Basically we were being selfish in wanting the whole beach to ourselves, eventually time played its part and we did have the beach to ourselves but only because the sun was going down and it was getting windy and cold. We also went down to the Princess Pier Port Melbourne for sunset. The colours in the sky were amazing and spent about 20 minutes taking photos. It just wasn't  me on the pier, there were a few others taking photos of the stunning skies. It was one of those contemplative  moments where for that few moments you realise where you are, what your doing and where your heading. I've had too many moments like on my travels over the years.

On my second day in Melbourne I decided to take a day trip to the 12 Apostles. At first I wasn’t sure I wanted to go as I was only going to be in Melbourne for a few days and wanted to catch up with friends. But after some goading via whatsapp by friends, decided to do it. I've written about this in another blog post with more photos but just to give you an idea of what I saw, see the photo below.

Third day in Melbourne was spent with a friend whom I hadn't seen for over 18 months since we met in Cambodia. Truth be told I was a bit worried as I hadn’t seen her in over 18 months and what would I say, what would she say, all these things go through your mind. But it was all for nothing as when we met, it like no time had passed at all. Another virtue of travelling and making great friendships that last. We chilled for a bit at Federation Square, visited the Eureka Skydeck, walked along Hosier Lane to see the vibrant graffiti, followed by a film at the IMAX at Melbourne Museum followed by dinner. I had no plans to travel in 2014 as I wanted to take some time away from travelling and just have time to relax and process the photos I had taken over the years, but one thing I realised was that the friends you make on your travels is worth the journey. Having spent the whole day with my friend, it dawned on me that distance is really no barrier to the power of true friendship and was glad I made the journey.

My last day in Melbourne was doing my usual ritual of checking all my gear over a gazillion times. Seems my OCD on checking my stuff when travelling has never let up since 2005, its pretty much stayed the same level. Spent the morning doing some last minute shopping and then getting a cab to my friends apartment whom picked me up from the airport when I first landed. Spent the whole afternoon relaxing, talking about life, how far we’ve come and to top it all off, he busted out the Christmas play we both starred in which was filmed by his grandma from way back in 1992 during our time at middle school. Never had I had so much jokes and smiles whilst watching a younger version of ourselves and many friends past and present on TV.

 

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px, Vimeo and Tumblr

Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

Check out my other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

If you have any questions, email me on info@m24instudio.com  

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(m24instudio) Melbourne adventure m24instudio m24instudio blog, travel travel blog visiting Melbourne wanderlust https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/1/visiting-melbourne Tue, 06 Jan 2015 09:08:12 GMT
Sculpture by the Sea - Bondi https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/11/sculpture-by-the-sea---bondi I hadn’t heard of the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition before and this was my third time in Sydney. It was only when my friend recommended that I go and make a day of it. The day was warm, bright and would get hot. So with my camera in my bag, I made my way to see and experience the 18th Annual Sculpture by the Sea exhibition in Bondi.

Getting there took two buses from Kingsford, one to get me to Bondi Junction and another to get to Bondi, a fairly easy task. Plus at Bondi Junction there were ample signs telling people which stops to get the bus to the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition. One stop had a very long queue but with foresight they were running buses frequently with the drivers being very helpful and at times patient with the large draw of tourists.

I found the exhibition weird, wonderful, strange, bizarre, random and amazing all at the same time. It’s the diversity of the art that makes the exhibition work so well. Also that it’s by the sea is a massive draw and a great day out for all, it was amazing to see people of all ages appreciate, talk about it and of course taking lots of photos. The hot weather helped, with the sun beating down, some of the brightly coloured sculptress stood out and those with metallic like surfaces and finishing glistened.

Below are photos I took and description (at bottom of photo) of the sculptures are taken from the official catalogue. All photos taken on Canon 5Dmk2 with lens 24-105 f/4 L IS.

Artist: Will Maguire

Title: big man

Statement: confident and content in the knowledge that he is big and he is man

 

Artist: Tetsuro Yamasaki

Title: metamorphosis – to the sky

Statement: the work was created with iron whilst imagining how man must have been surprised and exited when he discovered iron

 

Artist: Takahiro Hirata

Title: dark knight shine 2014

Statement:  In Japan, an arrow is a talisman that shoots and protects against evil spirits. The work envisages a shining arrow which breaks through darkness 

 

Artist: Janaki Lele

Title: look who’s here

Statement:  The work explores animal forms, nature and architecture through paper. The technique and subject matter kindles curiosity and amusement

 

Artist: Ian Swift  

Title: the boat pool

Statement:  From the South Coast to Newcastle, ocean pools were largely made by families wanting a safe place to swim. Could it happen now?

 

Artist: Kerrie Argent  

Title: overconsumption

Statement:  We are threatened by the mountains of floating rubbish. Five great garbage patches, more every day

 

Artist: Koichi Ogino  

Title: pink granite

Statement:  We live on earth having nothing to do with a lot of other people. To help each other, we need to be considerate of our neighbourhood and be at peace with the world

 

Artist: Cave Urban  

Title: save our souls

Statement:  Just as the flash of a lighthouse is a welcome sign of hope, safe harbour and humanity, it may warm the uninvited to stay clear of a hostile shore

 

Artist: Ayako Saito

Title: morning star

Statement:  This open structure with its suspended shapes is like a morning start, hovering in the sky 

 

Artist: Braddon Snape

Title: nothin’ but sky

Statement:  The work beckons one to immerse themselves, to funnel and focus their view of the expansive Australian sky, in a moment of isolation  

 

Artist: George Andric

Title: sisyphus

Statement:  The artist strives to find some sense of order that is independent of the world that presents itself – which at times can be deceptive and illusory 

 

Artist: Melissa McElhone

Title: vessels of destiny

Statement:  The vessels are inspired by journey and its resulting life changes 

 

Artist: Jock Clutterbuck

Title: oceania cartouche

Statement:  Based on the oceanic tradition of sand drawings in Vanuatu, an ancient fabric of tribal calligraphy spread amongst the people of the region and still practised today

 

Artist: Stephen King

Title: the folly (2012)

Statement:  Wood is good

 

Artist: Michael Le Grand

Title: headrest

 

Artist: David Cerny

Title: babies three pieces

 

Artist: Harrie Fasher

Title: which was forwards?

Statement: A double headed rocking horse is a humorous look at our different approaches to life. Pulling in opposing directions, one end gallops into the future whilst the other proceeds with control and power 

 

Artist: Wang Shugang

Title: man playing with birds (2012)

Statement: The work explores the relationship between man and nature. It combines the traditional material of bronze with the traditional arts language  of realistic representation 

 

Artist: Greger Stahlgren

Title: stone baskets

Statement: Inspired by things seen in nature, different materials, traditional craftsmanship and classical architecture. All materials can be reshaped 

 

Artist: Julie Donnelly

Title: sentinals

Statement: Emerging from underground the Sentinals navigate the residue of the past and create identities. They span time and space.

 

 Artist: Thomas Qualye

Title: comenavadrink and waddayalookinat

Statement: Inspired by people I grew up with. People who lived in excess, drank heavily and spoke with one word sentences   

 

Artist: Neon

Title: house of mirrors

Statement:  The work re-defines the architecture of the common beach hut. It is camouflaged into its surroundings with an interior that accentuates key views of the outside world   

 

Artist: Philip Spelman

Title: redtrumpet redtable

 

Artist: Koichi Ishino

Title: wind stone – the threshold of consciousness

Statement:  It takes you from once place into another, and when you are about to start something new, you are also on a threshold  

 

Artist: Brad Jackson

Title: wanderers

Statement:  The wanderers are a passing family group of travelling orbs. Their origin, destination and intentions remain unknown  

 

Artist: Andrew Hankin

Title: we’re fryin out here

Statement:  The work asks us to stop and think about the damaging effects of the sun, and the need to ‘cook’ ourselves at the beach  

 

Artist: Alejandro Propato

Title: permanent sunrise

Statement:  This installation is dedicated to the sunrise at Bondi. It is ephemeral but we can imagine that its beauty could be forever  

Check out my short travel film, that I shot over 4 years across amazing locations around the planet

To view the video on Vimeo please click here 

To view it on YouTube please click here

 

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px, Vimeo and Tumblr

Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

Check out my other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

If you have any questions, email me on info@m24instudio.com  

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(m24instudio) Bondi Bondi photography Sculpture by the Sea Sculpture by the Sea Bondi art m24instudio travel photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/11/sculpture-by-the-sea---bondi Tue, 18 Nov 2014 10:11:20 GMT
m24instudio - 'untitled film' https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/10/m24instudio---untitled-film Whatever your interpretation, whatever your emotions evoked, whatever the meaning perceived, you are encouraged to allow the imagery and audio to become a soundtrack to the freedom of letting go and the beauty of holding on. (Please make sure the sound is ON and volume is up)

For best viewing experience, please view this in HD over at YouTube. Follow the link - http://bit.ly/1sSbQa3

Background Information

When I first started out doing photography and in doing so, wanting to do travel photography, I knew that somewhere down the line I would venture into film. How and when, that I did not know nor did I plan.

 

Back in 2010 I bought the 5Dmk2 as I had planned to go the Galapagos. Going all that way just to take photographs was not enough for me. I wanted to capture some footage whilst I was there, mainly to show people how amazing it was. So it was then that I started filming on most of my travels since then. Still photography was and is my passion and drive. I love it. Early on when using the 5Dmk2, I had to be consciously thinking about film, switching the settings so that I could record. My mind is always in photo mode and instinctive, but not so for when it came to filming.

 

As an artist, creative, photographer or filmmaker, you sacrifice a lot in terms of achieving your goals, whether it’s through working multiple jobs, not going out, working long hours, not having time for your friends, family or even loved ones. It’s the struggle that many go through. But there will be a time when all of the pain, stress and financial cost makes it worth it. For me, it’s been, some could say a 10 year wait, multiple trips to some amazing places on this planet that culminates in something that is only 5 minutes long. Ultimately I’m never going to stop this journey, been on it for 10 years and wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve learn’t to slow things down a bit more, take things slowly, not the rapid pace when I first started out, but that insatiable appetite to explore the new, seek the untouched has always been inside of me and that will never slow down.


I’ve said that travelling is the best education one can get, you learn more about yourself and the space you occupy than anything else. To go out there, to travel to new places, experience cultures, stepping outside of your comfort zone, that’s when your learn, that is when you educate yourself. It can be a scary experience but its having that fear that drives me to do what I do.

 

Initial Idea

My initial idea stemmed from films by Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson, the duo behind the Baraka and Samsara and those films to me are just amazing. The first time I watched ‘Baraka’ I was totally floored, never seen anything like it, then came along ‘Samsara’ the was totally blown away with the visuals, the richness in content and both are powerful pieces of cinema, that not only moved me but also questioned by place on the planet. Its rare for films to do that. Every time I watch these films, its a sensory overload, but one which calmly enables you to process what you're seeing.

I originally storyboarded an idea that I would film on a trip to America where I would film on both the East and West Coast. I also searched online for places to film and working out logistics in how I would do it. It was not until I started shooting my planned shots that I realised that it didn’t feel right, the dots were not connecting for me. It was filming in Humboldt Redwood National Park that the idea of trying to achieve something far bigger in scope that I decided that I would incorporate footage that I had previously filmed in other countries over the previous years into what you see now. Once the idea was settled, I carried on capturing my planned shots and continued to film more scenes that wasn’t planned as I didn’t know if and when I would get the opportunity again.

 

Post Work


I chose 10-15 clips from the countries I wanted in the film and put them all on a hard drive and gave it to Jim. The premise was simple. He didn’t want to know what the clips were about or what they showed. I gave a brief overview of what I wanted out of the film and what I was trying to achieve.. I’ve never worked like this before and it was a gamble but at the same time it was refreshing. To give utmost trust in an editor to cut my film. I have met Jim through work in which I worked under him on another short in which he was Director of Photography and I was the cameraman. I didn’t know what to expect in how Jim would edit the clips, but it all worked out in the end.


Colour grading was done by Michael Gibson (www.michaelgibson.cc). I always wanted my film to be colour graded but I personally didn’t have enough knowledge to pull it off. Jim got in contact with Michael and he accepted the job and I am thankful he did. He did an amazing job, even explaining why he graded the way he did. Even though I did not sit down with him to colour grade, just seeing the graded footage, I learnt a lot in terms of how saturation, hues, shadows etc can change the feel and look of the image and the impact it that can have on the viewer.


Working with these two has made me realise the importance of editing and colour grading, both of which I want to learn more of as I develop my skills as a filmmaker and hopefully work together on potential future projects.


I would get rough edits every few weeks from Jim and I would review the footage and ask for subtle changes until I was happy with it. In all there were about 5 edits (I think?) Each one better than the last, tweaked and more slightly refined.

 

It was a pleasure working with both Jim and Michael, between them they have great knowledge in their respective fields and I would definately work with them again on future projects. But more importantly working with an editor and colour grader has taught me how important they are to the film making process and getting them on board early on will not only improve you as a filmmaker but make the final product as close as to what you had in your mind which is where all ideas come from.


Jim Robinson - Email: jamesrobinsonmedia@gmail.com

Web:http://jimrobinsonmedia.foliohd.com/


Michael Gibson - Web: www.michaelgibson.cc

Gear Used

Camera: Canon 5Dmk2


Lenses used:

Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS

Canon EF 8-15mm f/4 L USM Fisheye

Canon EF 15mm f/2.8 Fisheye

Canon EF 14mm f/2.8 L II USM


Edelkrone Slider

Giottos Vitruvian Tripod

Manfrotto 501 fluid head

 

Personal Note

 

On a more personal note there will always be a void in my life that will never be filled and that is that my dad isn’t alive to see what I’ve done. 20 years is a long time to see it pass by. Growing up and just getting on with life. Whether he’d be happy or not with me pursuing this crazy life of taking photos and travelling, one wishes he could see this short film. But the past is the past and I live in the present, whatever the future holds, I’ll deal with it as it happens, that said, its been the most immense journey thus far, and I did it on my own well 98% on my own, the other 2% with a little help from select friends.


To my friends who are now parents, your are the fuel to keep the fire inside your children burning bright. Allow them to dream, be there for when they are lost, be there for when they are found. Be the inspiration to allow them to pursue their dreams. No one said that that it would be easy but life never is.

 

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px, Vimeo and Tumblr

Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

Subscribe to my Youtube channel to get updates of my videos and future projects

Check out my other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

 

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(m24instudio) exploration inspiration m24instudio m24instudio film travel travel film https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/10/m24instudio---untitled-film Fri, 31 Oct 2014 20:26:02 GMT
My youtube channel is live! https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/9/my-youtube-channel-is-live Finally got around to sorting my YouTube channel which you can see here. At the moment there is only one channel and that’s for teaser trailers for upcoming projects I’m currently working. The teasers should give you a feel for future projects. I will have other channels as well with more videos but taking this one step at a time. Making videos can be hard work. Plus I'm busy editing videos that I've shot over the past few years. So far I’m enjoying the ride and have a much deeper understanding of what editors do in this industry and how important they are in the storytelling process .

So subscribe to my channel to get updates of my videos and future projects

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px, Vimeo and Tumblr

Check out my other blog posts

Mamun Humayun
www.m24instudio.com

 

 

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(m24instudio) m24instudio m24instudio travel travel youtube https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/9/my-youtube-channel-is-live Fri, 12 Sep 2014 09:15:00 GMT
don’t let the dream be extinguished https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/8/dreamstosinpire To all those who are lost, stuck or scared, I speak to you, I speak to those who want, can and will…

It’s hard at times not to think of our potential. I grew up and was educated, the early years were great, and being told you can do and achieve anything you want was liberating. As a young child that notion of freedom opens one’s eyes to the endless possibilities of what lies ahead. But as I progressed through the education system, slowly limits were placed; my educators who sought out the best for me now had to juggle what my dreams were and what I was actually capable of. As a child you think differently and you see the world in a way unlike any other. Then as I progressed through the system, those dreams I had as child were mere memories but great memories at that. It wasn't until in my early adult hood that I harked back to my dreams and now doing things which I thought not possible. It’s a fine line thinking you can do anything in the world, but that’s just it, that fine line are people who tell you that you shouldn't do it, that fine line are the doubters who place fear in your mind and soul, it’s that fine line that separates you from achieving your dreams no matter how extraordinary or out of this world it will be. To parents, educators, I implore you to allow your children and students to dream big and harness the power of those dreams to enable them to live it, in any capacity possible. I was not giving the chance but I still turned out all right, not all will have this chance, but everyone has the right from birth to dream, don’t let the dream be extinguished before the fire in them burns out too soon.

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px, Vimeo and Tumblr

Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

Subscribe to my Youtube channel to get updates of my videos and future projects

Check out my other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

If you have any questions, email me on info@m24instudio.com

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(m24instudio) creativity dreams education excellence hope inspire learning m24instudio never stop exploring never stop learning travel https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/8/dreamstosinpire Fri, 08 Aug 2014 08:12:54 GMT
Galapagos in 5 minutes https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/8/galapagos-in-5-minutes

Hard to believe I went in 2011 and yet it feels like yesterday. The power of destinations we travel to have this hold on us. The memories we form in our minds, the experiences we shared with other like-minded travellers, but also the actual destination that lends itself to what was an life changing experience for me.

You can read it about it all here

Read my interview I did with Detour Destinations about my experiences at the Galapagos here http://bit.ly/Js1Y7N

To see my photos from this amazing trip, head over to https://www.flickr.com/photos/moon24/sets/72157625758754443

To see my videos that I shot out there, then please head over to https://vimeo.com/album/1593075

Prints from my trip to the Galapagos are available to purchase from http://www.m24instudiophotography.com/p134219154

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px, Vimeo and Tumblr

Subscribe to my Youtube channel to get updates of my videos and future projects

Check out my other blog posts

Mamun Humayun
www.m24instudio.com

 

 

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(m24instudio) Galapagos m24instudio m24instudio Galapagos nature travel travels wildlife https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/8/galapagos-in-5-minutes Tue, 05 Aug 2014 09:27:53 GMT
Galapagos - The Life and Soul https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/7/galapagos---the-life-and-energy I’ve previously talked in length about my time at the Galapagos (you can read that post here http://bit.ly/1jR7MbU ), and showed a few photos to give you an idea of what it’s like. This post is dedicated to what I deem to be the life and soul of the islands, the sole reason why I came here and why many others are drawn to it.

To find about more about the Galapagos, visit my blog post about my time visiting the Galapagos . If your thinking of going yourself then email me and I'll gladly help you, but be rest assured a trip to the Galapagos will truly change your life!

For my travel videos, please head to http://vimeo.com/m24instudio

Check out my other travel photos 

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px, Vimeo and Tumblr

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(m24instudio) Galapagos m24instudio m24instudio travel photography travel travel photography wildlife photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/7/galapagos---the-life-and-energy Fri, 25 Jul 2014 11:42:28 GMT
Forest Man - Jadav Payeng https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/7/forest-man This is amazing, I came across this story in an Gizmodo article and my first thought was, 'that's impressive'.

Jadav Payeng has to date single handedly planted a forest larger than Central Park NYC. His forest has transformed what was once a barren wasteland, into a lush oasis in which tigers, elephants and wildlife now thrive. This is his incredible story and just goes to show his passion and determinism in protecting our planet.

Short film that William Douglas McMaster made about Jadav Payeng here entitled ‘Forest Man'

Here are links to more articles about this remarkable man

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/stoi/deep-focus/The-man-who-made-a-forest/articleshow/12488584.cms

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/03/indian-man-jadav-molai-pa_n_1399930.html

http://www.sanctuaryasia.com/magazines/features/191-features/9122-the-strange-obsession-of-jadav-payeng.html

 

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(m24instudio) Forest Man India Jadav Payeng Molai Forest conversation environment inspire https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/7/forest-man Thu, 17 Jul 2014 12:11:23 GMT
London 20.06.12 https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/7/london-20-06-12 Photos I took whilst I was working in Westminster. Its surprising how close within walking distance places are in London. I walked to Victoria to meet up with a friend and was greeted by cranes and building work, this is due to the Victoria Station upgrade works which should all be complete by winter 2018

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px and Tumblr

Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

Check out my other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

If you have any questions, then feel free to email me on info@m24instudio.com

 
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(m24instudio) City London London Victoria Street Photography m24instudio m24instudio photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/7/london-20-06-12 Mon, 07 Jul 2014 14:30:00 GMT
m24instudio wedding - Sam & Tom https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/7/m24instudio-wedding---sam-tom This beautiful wedding took place in Beaconsfield, with the ceremony taking place at St Mary & All Saints Church. 

Tom initially contacted me regarding wedding photography and upon our first initial meeting with him and his fiancé Sam, it was evident that these two were very much in love. They were very relaxed in what they wanted which made my job easier but also allowed me to capture their day without pressure. As the day unfolded, I just snapped away. It also helped that the weather was great on the day, the sun out, blue skies which pretty much made the whole day that much more memorable.

Below is a selection of photos from their wedding.

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px and Tumblr

Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

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Got questions, looking for a wedding photographer? then get in contact via email info@m24instudio.com

 
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(m24instudio) Sam & Tom love m24instudio m24instudio photo', 'wedding photography', m24instudio wedding photography wedding https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/7/m24instudio-wedding---sam-tom Fri, 04 Jul 2014 09:01:55 GMT
#Love https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/7/-love  

 

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(m24instudio) happiness happy love m24instudio together https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/7/-love Tue, 01 Jul 2014 22:01:45 GMT
Temples, Temples, Beautiful Cambodia https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/6/temples-temples-beautiful-cambodia Looking through my photos, it’s tempting to go back to experience it all again. Guess that’s what travelling does to you.  Below are more photos of the temples I visited and photographed in Cambodia, an extraordinary country in which I met some pretty extraordinary people. You can read all about my trip here . Enjoy the photos and let me know your thoughts!

Bayon Temple

 

Pre Rup

 

Banteay Srei

 

Ankgor

Check out my short travel film, that I shot over 4 years across amazing locations around the planet

To view the video on Vimeo please click here 

To view it on YouTube please click here 

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px, Vimeo and Tumblr

Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

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If you have any questions, email me on info@m24instudio.com

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(m24instudio) Angkor Wat Asia Banteay Srei Bayon Temple Cambodia Cambodia Temples Pre Rup temple Temple Temples m24instudio m24instudio photography m24instudio travel sunset sunsets travel travel photography wanderlust https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/6/temples-temples-beautiful-cambodia Thu, 19 Jun 2014 12:32:29 GMT
The Majestic Galapagos Tortoise https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/6/the-majestic-galapagos-tortoise

I will always remember the moment I set eyes on a Galapagos Giant Tortoise. Having read about them in books, seen them on numerous nature shows, nothing really sets you up for a close encounter with one. I confess my heart was somewhat in a more bouncy beat and the sense of trepidation of actually seeing one, right there, in front of you and then finally to see one in the wild, in my head I was thinking ‘truly breathtakingly beautiful’, in real life I was speechless, somewhat like a child seeing something wonderful for the first time. In awe and motionless, just standing there and watching. The short video you just watched was me trying to capture all those emotions and show how these creatures in a new light. Truth be told, this video still makes takes me right back to when I filmed it and opens the memories of my time at the Galapagos.

To find about more about the Galapagos, visit my blog post about my time visiting the Galapagos

For my travel videos, please head to http://vimeo.com/m24instudio

Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world 

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px, Vimeo and Tumblr

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(m24instudio) Galapagos Galapagos Wildlife Majestic Galapagos Tortoise Tortoise Turtle m24instudio nature wildlife filming https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/6/the-majestic-galapagos-tortoise Thu, 12 Jun 2014 20:35:01 GMT
S-21 - Tuol Sleng https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/6/s-21TuolSleng There’s a somewhat disturbing scene in the 1997 film ‘Event Horizon’ in which we see a video log of  the crew going insane and mutilating each other.  It’s graphic and horrific although it only lasts a few seconds. My first thought was that, that’s nasty, which led me onto  the thought, that’s some pretty far-fetched flight of fancy to come from someone’s mind, after all this is a film. Someone must off come up with that scene, story boarded it, wrote it down and then it was filmed for inclusion in the film.

Why am I talking about this in relation to S-21, because those scenes in the film although fictional for Hollywood purposes mirror similar horrors that took place in Cambodia. The torture system at Tuol Sleng was designed to make prisoners confess to whatever crimes they were charged with by their captors. Prisoners were routinely beaten and tortured with electric shocks, the use of searing hot metal instruments and hanging were deployed, as well as through the use of various other devices. Some prisoners were cut with knives or suffocated with plastic bags. Other methods for generating confessions included pulling out fingernails while pouring alcohol on the wounds, holding prisoners’ heads under water, and the use of the waterboarding technique was used. Some prisoners were even experimented on, by draining all their blood whilst alive and being disembowelled alive to see how long a prisoner would survive.

I knew going to Cambodia would include a visit to the ‘Killing Fields’. I first knew about it from my brother who talked about Roland Joffe film ‘The Killing Fields’. I had watched it when I was younger and thought nothing of it until I learnt more about the history in school albeit briefly. To hear stories and see a film is one thing but to actually visit the prison and the actual killing fields, it hits home the horror and sadness. I was angry because we as people allowed it to happen, horrified due to what was inflicted on young children, women and men, the barbaric tortuous methods deployed. It made me think of how far we really have come in this day and age.

Walking through Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, which is the former sight of a high school and was used as the notorious Security Prison (S21) is a sobering feeling. To walk through hallways and rooms it’s hard to realize as many as 20,000 prisoners were killed, mutilated and raped. Tuol Sleng was one of about 150 execution centres that were dotted all around the country. I didn’t feel right, but that’s what’s needed, you need to be jolted from your comfort zone, you need to see, feel and hear with your own senses to truly grasp what happened. It’s not easy and it never will be, but doing this has undoubtedly made me appreciate the fragility of the human consciousness. It's not easy to be there. To walk on the blood stained floors, to look eerily into the cells and listen to the silence, to feel the course brick work of the walls on the skin of your fingers, it’s quite chilling and makes you question what makes you ‘you’.

A prison in some sense but more like a real world version of hell, reading and listening to accounts of those who survived , stories of women who would literally throw themselves off the side to kill themselves as that was better than being repeatedly raped.

It’s heart wrenching to live in a world where humans can do such atrocious crimes against humanity. To commit, to facilitate pain and murder is something we as a global populace have to accept. No amount of talking about it saying its wrong, world leaders condemning from their ivory towers will ever change that. Fundamentally it seems we as humans are flawed and we are not meant to be perfect. But saying this, there is some light in humanity, the briefest of moments that shine and gives us hope. Ultimately we have a choice and it's up to us to choose which way we go.

We as a society should remember and learn from the past and going forward understand ourselves a bit more. History has told us that we should learn from the past and create a better future? But if atrocities keep happening, the question we need to ask ourselves is why do we keep letting it happen?

There is a quote that resonates with me here regarding my visit and that was by Stanley Kubrick in which he said 'However vast the darkness, we must supply our own light'

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px, Vimeo and Tumblr

Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

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(m24instudio) Cambodia Killing Fields S21 Tuol Sleng human nature humanity m24instudio torture travel war https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/6/s-21TuolSleng Fri, 06 Jun 2014 09:06:36 GMT
m24instudio portraits - Mila https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/5/mila The following photos are from a family portrait session I did for a friend of mine. The reason for this shoot was new addition to their family, there new baby daughter, Mila. 2 years ago I was invited to photograph their first addition to the family, Amaya. It was nice to be asked to come back. As with most children who reach the age of two and the term ‘terrible two’s’, Amaya was not in the faintest interested in getting photos done. To keep her interested I gave her my G10 and a few lens hoods to keep her occupied and even asked her to take some photos with it, it seemed to have done the trick albeit long enough for me get some photos done.

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px and Tumblr

Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

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If you have any questions, email me on info@m24instudio.com

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(m24instudio) baby photography black and white family portraits m24instudio m24instudio photography mila photographs portrait https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/5/mila Sun, 25 May 2014 09:00:00 GMT
My photo chosen to appear in a NYC Pop up gallery with Crated.com https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/5/my-photo-chosen-to-appear-in-nyc-pop-up-gallery-with-crated-com There is a new art gallery website Crated.com that went live yesterday. Crated are launching with a kick-off gallery event in the center of the art world - Soho, New York City. Art from Karim Rashid, DevNGosha, and Dan Rubin can be seen alongside hundreds of emerging artists from Crated in a huge display of photography, digital art, and paintings. Art will be on display both digitally and in print for purchase.

One of my images was included for their launch event in New York at the Soho Arthouse, 138 Sullivan Street, NY 10012

I'm honored  to have my photograph on display in New York and it made my day when I got the email from the Crated team!

Check out my Crated gallery

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(m24instudio) Crated GetCrated m24instudio photography travel photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/5/my-photo-chosen-to-appear-in-nyc-pop-up-gallery-with-crated-com Wed, 21 May 2014 08:46:08 GMT
London 19th May 2013 https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/5/london-19th-may-2013 In a previous post I talked about the sun’s influence and what joy it can bring, especially to London UK, where its not known for great weather. But today was a good day, the sun was out, and it was hot, well hot relative to our standards here in London. I’ve yet to still photograph London properly, but today I had my Canon G10 with me and took the opportunity to take a few photos around Westminster, and with the sun out along with some famous landmarks

Connect with me on Facebook , Twitter , Flickr , Instagram , 500px and Tumblr

While you are here, check my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

Check out my other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

If you have any questions, then feel free to email me on info@m24instudio.com

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(m24instudio) Big Ben City photography Houses of Parliament London London City Parliament Westminster m24instudio m24instudio photography street photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/5/london-19th-may-2013 Mon, 19 May 2014 19:34:02 GMT
m24instudio wedding - Kate & John https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/5/m24instudio-wedding---kate-john Months prior to this wedding I had a very brief chat with the groom who said ‘I’m getting married and its at London Zoo and are you available’. My first reaction was to say ‘congratulations and yes and did you say London Zoo?’

So skip forward to the day of the wedding of Kate and John, the sun was out, although there were threats of rain, in the end the sun won out. I had been to London Zoo countless times when I was younger and have taken my nephew when he was 3 years old, but to photograph a wedding was going to be something else.

The wedding took place in the beautiful Grade II listed Mappin Pavillion next to the Outback enclosure. The decor was great, simple and elegant. Both Kate and John looked amazing and they were up for anything which enabled me to capture some truly emotive moments from their day. I truly enjoyed photographing this wedding, the couple, their family, their friends and of course the venue which was London Zoo which made the whole day even more memorable.

If have any questions or you're looking for a wedding photographer, then please contact me via email on info@m24instudio.com

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px and Tumblr

While you are here, check my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

Check out my other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

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(m24instudio) London Zoo inspire love m24instudio wedding mappin pavillion wedding wedding photography weddings https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/5/m24instudio-wedding---kate-john Sat, 17 May 2014 21:51:41 GMT
Land Iguana - Galapagos https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/5/land-iguana---galapagos

Land Iguana 

Whilst walking on Santa Fe Island I came across this fellow and decided to nestle low and film the feast the iguana was having eating a cactus. Land Iguana’s primarily eat cactus fruits, though they do eat other fruits and insects. For water, they will drink from small puddles but as it does not rain that often on the islands; most of the water they need stems from their diet.

Below are more photos that I took on Santa Fe

To find about more about the Galapagos, visit my blog post about my time visiting the Galapagos

For my travel videos, please head to http://vimeo.com/m24instudio

Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world 

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(m24instudio) Galapagos Galapagos Wildlife Iguana Land Iguana m24instudio m24instudio travel wildlife https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/5/land-iguana---galapagos Thu, 08 May 2014 14:37:02 GMT
m24instudio photo story - Image number _MG_0781 https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/m24instudio-photo-story---image-number-_mg_0781 In life we make choices, and the hardest choices are the ones we make for ourselves. It’s hard and difficult because there are always people in your life that you consider when making those choices. If they were not in the frame then decisions would be easy but life rarely plays that card unless you’re squeezed into that position.

The following photo captures not just a moment in time but captures all that went before it up until that point and what came afterwards. It’s powerful, emotive and moving for me because I personally know the two people in the photo, I know what choices they made and the consequences of those choices they made would have not on just them but those they love close to them. It captures a spirit of togetherness, powerful sense of unity and an abounding amount of love.

Having gone travelling the previous 2 years before the photo was taken and finally setting up a new life in Sydney, Australia, they came back home for a few weeks and with them their daughter who was 10 months old whom some would be seeing for the first time.

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Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

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(m24instudio) Hope Image number _MG_0781 Inspiration Inspire Love Unity m24instudio m24instudio photo story https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/m24instudio-photo-story---image-number-_mg_0781 Mon, 28 Apr 2014 09:14:37 GMT
Cambodia https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/cambodia In February 2013 I went to Cambodia on a two week tour, the following post is what I got up to along with photos to show you what is was all about, hope you enjoy it!

Day 1 - Bangkok

After a 12hr flight from London, going through the mandatory airport process of passport checks, collecting bags, I hopped into a taxi to take me into Bangkok. It was evening and I was tired and was just looking forward to getting something to eat and some rest. I flew in a day early before my tour started, just so to get my bearings. The hotel I checked into was also the one the tour would start from which is a good idea for those doing tours, it just makes things easier and provides less hassle. I for one don’t want to be in a hotel in the other side of town when the tour starts in another hotel.

Day 2 - Bangkok

Had to check out and check in again. Checked the news board to see what time the tour group would be meeting, once that was noted, headed out into the city, went to Wat Phra Kaew for a few hours. It was a hot day. That afternoon was back at the hotel and was given my new room key, so dumped my bags in there and noticed a fellow travelers bag in the room. Made my way to the reception area for the meet-up. Our tour leader Kevin seemed an eccentric character on first impressions. He herded us all into the restaurant where we all spent an hour hearing what we’re going to do. This time also allowed us to introduce each other to the group. Daunting when its just you amongst strangers. Within a short time, we formed connections that would later define friendships. On Kevin’s suggestion, we all went to dinner that evening, after dinner Kev took us to Khoasan Road, vibrant, loud, in your face, an experience.

Day 3 - Battambang

Early morning departure, those who did, had breakfast, then we boarded our minivan to the border at Poipet in which we crossed by foot through immigration. It didn't  take long but once everyone was cleared, we all casually crossed the border into Cambodia. We got onto another minivan and carried on our journey to Battambang which took about 2 hours. Once checked into our hotel and freshened up, we all made our way to ride the Bamboo train.  Run by a six horse power engine, these makeshift improvised rail vehicles are made out of bamboo where a small mat is placed for sitting down. Being so low to the ground and running up to speeds of 50 kilometres an hour, you really feel as though you're humming along the old rickety tracks, you’ll definitely feel it in your hips. It’s fast and to the western world highly dangerous, but it sure is great fun to ride it.

Day 3-5 - Siem Reap

These 3 days were amazing. Once checked in, we all had a few hours to chill, some decided to do their washing, some rested up and some just relaxing by the pool. Over the course of these days, we had fun, explored, did a cookery class but least not forgot, visit the mighty impressive Angkor Wat. Enough of me warbling, here’s the photos to explain it all!

Day 6 - Kampong Cham

Travelled to the 3rd largest city in Cambodia. Arrived slightly earlier than scheduled. Options available to us was to meet for lunch and then afterwards either take a boat cruise or hire bikes to ride across the Bamboo Bridge which spanned the Mekong River.The majority choose the bike ride. The bridge is a solid bamboo structure built on Koh Paen Island across the Mekong. On the other side are Cham and Khmer villages, entirely mounted on stilts. The bamboo bridge can withstand  heavy loads such as trucks. The bridge is washed away as the river rises in the wet season, and access to the island is only possible by boat, but it is rebuilt again every dry season. At first you feel apprehensive cycling but the nerves soon fade away. We visited some temples on Koh Paen Island and even stopped to have fresh mango. There was a slight accident with one member of our group on the bike. The bike chain snapped and he fell off with cuts to his knee, arms and elbow. It wasn’t serious though did look painful. So word of warning, just be careful when riding. That evening we enjoyed a local dinner. We were all guests to a beautiful family who cooked for us. It was pretty amazing, to be invited into a strangers house then then to be offered food. It’s times like these that make you wonder the wonderment of humanity. Everyone enjoyed themselves and with the two hammocks in the room, some of us decided to make use of them for a post food nap to the amusement of the others.

Day 7 Kratie

On day 7 it was a 7 hour drive from the North West to the North East of the country passing through villages, rural landscapes before we eventually arriving at Kratie on the banks of the famed Mekong River . We all headed to Kampi and on arrival made our way down the banks to spend the afternoon chilling and relaxing and enjoy the moment. Most of us dipped into the very fast currents of the Mekong and some including myself spent some time basking in the heat of the sun whilst being cooled by the water. Later on we all headed out to a big waterway with local boatman to try and spot the endangered Irrawaddy Freshwater Dolphin. As we waited patiently the Dolphins would tease us ever so warmly, only giving us glimpses of them before vanishing. I didn’t manage to photograph them but as a consolation did capture the golden sun in the late afternoon as well as attempts of the group trying to photograph these wonderful creatures.

 

Day 8-9 Phnom Penh

Spent 2 days in the capital. Upon arrival, we all went out on a Cyclo Tour of the city, each having their own Cyclo driver. Our drivers were sourced through the Cyclo Centre, an NGO that was set up in 2004 that provides micro-finance, health programs, language lessons and cyclo workshops for the drivers. It was pretty amazing to experience the city whilst sitting in front of the cyclo, watching traffic pass by, early on it was a bit unnerving but the nerves soon disappeared and I got into my stride of taking some great photos from a great vantage point. In the evening we all visited the famed FFC Club for light eats and drinks. The Foreign Correspondents Club is on the second floor of an old French Colonial building which is somewhat popular with ex-pats  and tourists alike. The open balcony gave us views of the river front whilst slowly sipping the evening away and using the time to get to know my fellow travellers a bit more and reflect on the trip to date. On the second day we made our way to visit the Killing Fields and Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. You can read about my visit here

Day 10 - Kampot

A short 2 hour drive eastwards along the coast to Kampot and the world renowned Kampot peppers. We visited Phnom Vor Farm to see these famous peppers first hand and some even tried it and others bought some to take home. Like the days before us, it was hot and we all made light of it all, some of us even danced around plantation. A brief history lesson regarding Kampot pepper in that it has been cultivated in Cambodia for more than a 1000 years. The first known document account is from the Chinese emissary Zhou Daguan in his reports of his visit to Angkor in 1296. Forward onto the French colonisation of Indochina in the 1800’s, this brought Kampot Pepper to the dining tables of the West for the first time and its stayed with us since.

On our way back we made a stop to visit the Phnom Chhnork Cave Temple along a very dusty road, so dusty our driver stopped to buy us dust masks.  As soon as we arrived children surrounded our tuk tuks and like tourist police, they offered to guide us to the Cave temple for a small fee. Infectious group of children they were, ever so inquisitive asking a hundred questions. Walking up to the Cave was still dusty. I kept worrying about my sensor and lenses on my camera, followed by the immense dust on my trousers. Sounds childish thinking about it now but then it was a concern for me, the dust on the sensor and lenses that is. The temple is a Hindu cave temple, and only accessible by climbing stone steps up rock faces which some may find difficult as there is no safety measures in place, so word of warning so those who are more safety inclined but that said if you're up for a little adventure and small spaces its an experience to be had.

The most memorable moment of the day was yet to come, on our way back to our hotel, we stopped just before the sun was setting at the Kampot salt fields. Seeing the sun setting was beyond stunning, the colours changing and we all collectively stood there admiring it all and for me it was a realisation that this trip would soon end but also of the friends I’ve made along the way, a truly epic moment and a gift from Cambodia.

Day 11-12 - Sihanoukville

For me this would be the last two days I would have with an amazing group of people whom were now my friends. It’s sort of bittersweet knowing that the journey would end but I didn’t want it to end, like the fire in all of us who travel, I wanted it to shine bright and last forever, to keep the happy smiles, the laughter, the jokes the sense of unity going! We were just getting used being around each other, being more and more comfortable with everyone, slowly being ourselves without the worry of what they would think. But all good things always come to an end.

We were in Sihanoukville, the beachside town with a coastline bedecked with sandy beaches and picture perfect tropical islands fringed with coconut trees swaying ever so effortlessly. Somewhat fitting end to a near 2 weeks of adventure, discovery and wonderment. We all took a stroll down to the beach to grab a bite to eat, the hotel was about a 10 min walk away. On these last two days we went to an island to soak up the sun, swim, relax, play games, the things you do when you in the sun, with water around you and your with friends. We also splintered off into our little groups to explore, some cycling to other beaches, and on the last day we all had the last meal (well for me anyhow) on the beach with the open seas behind us. It was pretty memorable. Kevin had bought some fireworks for us to let off once the sun went down, you had children coming round ever so often offering to sell them. To the westerner these looked pretty dangerous, I mean I’m pretty sure you could lose an eye if it wasn’t pointed in the right direction. Actually one flew over my head whilst I was trying photograph them. The thing is when your with great company you tend you let yourself go a little, you learn to embrace the differences that world cultures offer and above you learn to use common sense. That night we hit a few clubs with what was left of us and we danced the night away until we couldn’t stand and we slowly headed back to our hotel at 2am or so.

To sum up the time I had in Cambodia ...throughout life, you meet people who will leave an indelible footprint in your psyche, sometimes you meet them in a group, like I did on my amazing journey through Cambodia. They each in turn enable you to see things and do things you never thought possible and they open your eyes to the wonderful world we live in. A year on and I am still in contact with the friends I made on that tour, just goes to show the power of allowing yourself to let go and embrace the new and unknown 

Travelling is an amazing experience, its the greatest education one can get and adds more value to you as a person than anything else possible, live free, love life, go explore and see the world! 

If your wanting to see more photos of the temples in and around Angkor then head here 

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px, Vimeo and Tumblr

Subscribe to my Youtube channel to get updates of my videos and future projects

Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world. The photos in this blog post are available under license, if your interested, please email me on info@m24instudio.com

Check out my other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

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(m24instudio) Angkor Angkor Wat Cambodia Inspire South East Asia South East Asia Travel Temples m24instudio m24instudio cambodia blog post m24instudio photography, photography travel wanderlust https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/cambodia Mon, 21 Apr 2014 18:08:58 GMT
m24instudio wedding - Zalak & Harshil https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/m24instudio-wedding---zalak-harshil Back in November 2013 I was on a plane to Mumbai and from there I would make my way to Navsari to photograph my friend’s wedding. It’s nice photographing international weddings, bonus is that you get to travel overseas to do it, but it does have drawbacks such as the gear you take. Some take everything and some take only what they need. I side with the latter and took only what I needed. It’s two-fold when deciding but for me, it was easy as I approached my gear needs as if I were travelling to a country to photograph. Also when it comes to flying, airlines are strict on weight for bags, thankfully I had my ThinkTank Airport Commuter Backpack which is now my choice of travel camera bag. It packs a punch in what you can fit in! And you can fit in a lot.

It was my first time going to India and although it is on my list of countries to visit I wasn’t expecting it to visit so soon but when a chance to photograph a wedding in India crops up, its difficult to say no. I landed at night and after collecting my bag, headed outside to meet my driver who would drive me to Navsari. It was a 7 hour drive of which I slept most of it. Arriving early the next morning to the apartment where I would be staying which so happens to be where the groom (my friend) and his family were staying.

The one thing that was good and bad at the same time was the weather! It was hot, really hot, talking 35-42 degrees celsius on the day of the wedding. To some people thats great, even amazing and you're probably thinking what’s to moan about. Photographing in these temperatures is difficult at times, with the lack of ways to keep you cool, you sweat a lot.  It wasn’t just me who felt hot but also the locals, for them to say its hot then you know its hot! But that said I worked with it and didn’t let it impact the photos I was getting. So below are the photos I captured of that day, and what a day it was!

I had an amazing time, full of love, fun , laughter and of course a great wedding, the late night banter that would last well into the early hours, the hosts were gracious housing me, feeding me and making me feel like one of their own and remembering this was my first time in India and it sure was a memorable one!

I keep saying , travelling is an amazing experience, its the greatest education one can get and adds more value to you as a person than anything else possible, live free, love life, go explore and see the world!

If have any questions or you're looking for a wedding photographer, then please contact me via email on info@m24instudio.com

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px and Tumblr

Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

Check out my other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

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(m24instudio) India Navsari Zalak & Harshil m24instudio m24instudio photography travel blog wedding wedding photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/m24instudio-wedding---zalak-harshil Tue, 08 Apr 2014 10:46:15 GMT
Sensory Sense Exhibition https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/sensory-sense-exhibition I was invited to photograph a private view of Becky Lyddon recent work at the Frame Gallery in Southwark entitled ‘Sensory Sense’. An exhibition aiming to create better awareness and understanding of the autistic sensory world for Autism Awareness month.

The exhibition  runs from 2nd - 28th April 2014 at Frame Gallery, Southwark, SE1 0UH so please do check it out!

For more information please head the Sensory Spectacle website for more information

Below are photos to show you what its all about

Photo of Bekky Lyddon and Jon Adams

Below a photo of Jon Adams with two of his works. Jon works in a wide range of media to explore the 'hidden or layered' playing with perceptions of what is normal or what is inaccessible  

The installation below is 'Lolas World' - a mirrored installation giving the viewer the opportunity to see their surroundings how someone with a visual processing disorder may be seeing

The installation  below is 'Being Ben' a head box focused on communicating how it may feel to have an auditory processing disorder.

This installation below is 'Cristina', 2012, Vestibular Processing. Cristina is based on the 'classic' austistic rock. Rocking is also referred to as stimming, a repetitive movement that helps to calm the sensory system. Cristina encourages you to experience how this movement may calm and stimulate your senses

Remember the exhibition  runs from 2nd - 28th April 2014 at Frame Gallery, Southwark, SE1 0UH so please do check it out!

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px and Tumblr

Please check my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

Check out my other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

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(m24instudio) Austim Frame Gallary Sensory Sense m24instudio photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/4/sensory-sense-exhibition Fri, 04 Apr 2014 10:23:10 GMT
m24instudio photo story - Image number _MG_1334 https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/m24instudio-photo-story---image-number-_mg_1334 The first time I photographed the Golden Gate Bridge was back in 2005, back then I was on my last leg of my round the world trip with my friend. San Francisco was our last stop before we headed home back to London. Its always hard to shake those feelings of your first time, the first time you visited a new place, and to this day that trip back in 2005 I remember like it was yesterday. Back then I was using a Canon 10D and had a couple of 256mb CF cards and one lens which was the Canon 35-135mm f4-5.6. The photo of the bridge in 2005 was taken from Battery Spencer, Marin County. The photo below was taken from the Aquatic Park just off Beach Street in 2013 and this time round I had my 5Dmk2 coupled with  Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS and taken in the early evening. Truth be told my settings were not set when I took the shot, but when I viewed on the LCD screen I was happy. I didn’t bother re-taking the shot as it took me back to 2005 when I first took my photo of the bridge. This time round, I just loved the light. A photo for me not only captures a time in space for me but also captures the memories and feelings, its all locked up in that one shot.

Travelling is an amazing experience, its the greatest education one can get and adds more value to you as a person than anything else possible, live free, love life, go explore and see the world!

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px, Vimeo and Tumblr

Subscribe to my Youtube channel to get updates of my videos and future projects

Please check my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

Check out my other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

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(m24instudio) Golden Gate Golden Gate Bridge San Francisco SanFran m24instudio m24instudio photo story m24instudio photography travel photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/m24instudio-photo-story---image-number-_mg_1334 Thu, 27 Mar 2014 10:07:00 GMT
Morning cycle into London https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/morning-cycle-into-london I cycle into London on days which I can. I cycle from what people call the suburbs, but for everyone else, its zone 5 on the London Underground map or north west London. I cycle to Westminster, a journey of roughly 12 miles each way. I leave early as it takes me about an hour to get in and will take about an 1hr 30min to cycle back home. Cycling in the morning is good, hardly no traffic, clear roads, it can be cold and brisk but I get over that fairly quickly into my ride. The photos below I took on my phone which for those who are interested is a Nexus 5. All the photos below, I stopped, made sure I was safe and took the photos from the pavement. The photos were processed through Photoshop Express on android. Its about 40 minutes into my cycle that I notice the sun rising over the city and its always nice to feel the warmth of the sun when I’m cycling. Hope you enjoy the photos!

Connect with me on Facebook , Twitter , Flickr , Instagram , 500px and Tumblr

Please check my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

Check out my other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

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(m24instudio) London London city Nexus 5 photos Sunrise in London m24instudio m24instudio photography sunrise travelling to work https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/morning-cycle-into-london Wed, 19 Mar 2014 13:16:33 GMT
m24instudio photo story - Image number _MG_1956 https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/m24instudio-photo-story---image-number-_mg_1956 Born and raised in London does have its quirks. Growing up in London, the thing that has always been accepted is the weather. Mostly it rains, it can get windy and at times very cold, but its not always sunny, so when moments of warmth does cover London, the whole capital comes alive, the people are more happier, you sense a change in mood and for some makes work even bearable. The Sun is a powerful object to which we as humans owe our life to. But its the simplest act of seeing its rays shine across the horizon, feeling its warm glow on our face that makes us smile. I can attest to seeing the sun rise and set in some pretty amazing locations on this planet, but truth be told, doesn’t really matter where you see it, it just makes you happy. This photo I took early in the morning near my home. You can find beauty everywhere.

Travelling is an amazing experience, its the greatest education one can get and adds more value to you as a person than anything else possible, live free, love life, go explore and see the world!

Connect with me on Facebook , Twitter , Flickr , Instagram , 500px and Tumblr

Please check my collection of photos that I've taken across the world

Check out my other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

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(m24instudio) London Sunrise m24instudio m24instudio photo story sunrise photography travel blog travel photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/m24instudio-photo-story---image-number-_mg_1956 Sat, 15 Mar 2014 12:18:17 GMT
The Window Seat https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/majestic-views-of-our-planet Frank White, a space philosopher and writer coined the phrase ‘The Overview Effect’, referring to the experience of seeing first hand the planet Earth from space, which when you think about it in relation to the known universe is understood to be a small fragile ball of life, somewhat floating in the void and protected and nourished through a thin veil of atmosphere. I find this notion personally extraordinary. Frank White interviewed astronauts and from space, the astronauts tell us boundaries between countries vanish, the conflicts that divide us as humans become less important and more importantly the need to create a society with the collective will the protect this ‘pale blue dot’.

The window seat on the plane is desired by many. It offers a view onto the world unlike any other (unless you’re a pilot or an astronaut). The views helps bide time whether you’re going or coming back home, but more so they offer the spectacular vistas of our planet. I’ve always said from the air its a pure view devoid of any politics, religion and borders. From the air you just see one breath taking sight of natural beauty that speaks on so many levels. In ways, it’s somewhat spiritual and life affirming, to see and feel that you are somehow apart of this world. Similarly I compare to ‘The Overview Effect’, granted I’m not in space to see the world as a whole, but from the high vantage point I sense the fragility of our planet but also I am in awe in the utmost beauty the planet has to offer us, the humans who inhabit it.

Here are a selection of photos I’ve taken over the years on my travels.

Below are quotes from airlines about the photos

'Those are some amazing photo's!' - Air Canada Rouge

'Wow, that is an amazing set of photos! - Heathrow Airport

'Those are definitely some impressive views!' - KLM

'Thank you for sharing those wonderful pictures' - Air Canada

'Those shots are amazing' - American Airlines

'Very nice images you have captured there!' - Virgin Australia

Check out my short travel film, that I shot over 4 years across amazing locations around the planet

To view the video on Vimeo please click here 

To view it on YouTube please click here 

Subscribe to my Youtube channel to get updates of my videos and future projects

Check out my collection of photos that I've taken across the world. The photos in this blog post are available under license, if your interested, please email me on info@m24instudio.com

Check out my other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px, Vimeo and Tumblr

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(m24instudio) Earth Photos from airplanes Planet Earth The Overview Effect air travel m24instudio m24instudio travel m24instudio travel photography travel travel blog travel photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/majestic-views-of-our-planet Sat, 08 Mar 2014 21:35:55 GMT
m24instudio wedding - Irene & Aaron https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/m24instudio-wedding---irene-aaron The wedding of Irene and Aaron which took place in an amazing venue called the George Vaults, a 14th century vault which was in the basement underneath a bar in Rochester. The set up was great too, very intimate and lit with candles and floor lights that added to the lovely atmosphere. After the ceremony I took the couple to take photos in the high street and take pictures outside Rochester Cathedral and Castle as the venue is opposite those two sites.

Below is a selection of photos to show their day

 

Magnet Street wrote an article about Irene and Aaron's wedding on their site along with my photos, check it out here http://www.magnetstreet.com/wedding-blog/real-uk-wedding-irene-aaron

Beyond Black & White talked about Irene and Aaron's wedding on their site along with my photos, check it out here http://www.beyondblackwhite.com/irene-and-aarons-blissful-uk-union/

Connect with me on Facebook , Flickr , Instagram , Twitter , 500px and Tumblr

Got questions, looking for a wedding photographer? then get in contact via email info@m24instudio.com

Check out my other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

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(m24instudio) Georges Vault Irene & Aaron Irene & Aaron wedding Rochester m24instudio m24instudio weddings photography wedding wedding photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/3/m24instudio-wedding---irene-aaron Tue, 04 Mar 2014 11:05:34 GMT
LGA Annual Parliamentary Reception 2014 https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/2/lga-annual-parliamentary-reception-2014 Something different to my usual travel photography blog post. I was hired by the Local Government Association to photograph their Annual Parliamentary Reception which took place in The Terrace Lounge in the Houses of Parliament. Of the members of Parliament I recognised who attended were Eric Pickles, Graham Allen, Baroness Margaret Eaton, Hilary Benn and Brandon Lewis.

Below is a selection of photos that I took

These photos are available under license, please get in touch with me on info@m24instudio.com

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Check out my other travel photos and my other blog posts

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(m24instudio) LGA LGA Annual Parliamentary Reception 2014 Parliament The Terrace Lounge event photography m24instudio m24instudio photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/2/lga-annual-parliamentary-reception-2014 Thu, 27 Feb 2014 19:33:13 GMT
Giant Galapagos Tortoise https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/2/giant-galapagos-tortoise

Giant Galapagos Tortoise

After spending some time visiting The Charles Darwin Research Station (CDRS) Located on Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz Island. I walked around to visit and see conservation in action. I just wanted to see the Giant Galapagos Tortoise. The feeling of seeing one with your own eyes in something I will never forgot, I filmed this short piece to give people a sense of what I felt.

The main aims of the CDRS is to conduct scientific research and environmental education for conservation.  It was also here I saw Lonesome George, a symbol for conservation efforts in the Galapagos Islands and the world.

Below are more photos taken by me from my visit

Nothing prepares you when you first lay sight of these magnificent creatures. For me it was looking into a lost world. Seeing these animals were humbling and somewhat stirs your soul in what natural beauty the world has to offer. Truly breathtaking  and inspiring 

To find about more about the Galapagos, visit my blog post about my time visiting the Galapagos

For my travel videos, please head to http://vimeo.com/m24instudio

Check out my other travel photos and other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px and Tumblr

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(m24instudio) Galapagos Giant Galapagos Tortoise inspire m24instudio m24instudio travel videos nature travel travel blog wildlife https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/2/giant-galapagos-tortoise Sat, 22 Feb 2014 20:55:05 GMT
Pond of Life - Galapagos https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/2/pond-of-life---galapagos

Pond of life - Galapagos

Nothing prepares you; well nothing prepared me when I was witnessed with my own eyes the Giant Galapagos Tortoise. I’ve seen them on TV nature shows and in magazines, but to actually see one in person, to see a living; breathing and majestic animal was a humbling experience. 

At first I thought we were making our way through the island to get onto our boats, but this epic adventure literally started once we boarded the bus from the airport and we made our way to see the famed Giant Galapagos Tortoise in a reserve that has helped with boosting their numbers on the island. As we were walking I couldn't see anything, just green fields, with bushes and trees, and then out of nowhere, what seemed like a scene out of Jurassic Park, we came across a pond

To find about more about the Galapagos, visit my blog post about my time visiting the Galapagos

For my travel videos, please head to http://vimeo.com/m24instudio

Check out my travel photos other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

Connect with me on Facebook,  Twitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px and Tumblr

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(m24instudio) Galapagos Galapagos Tortoise Galapagos wildlife m24instudio m24instudio Galapagos m24instudio travel m24instudio travel blog pond of life travel blog wildlife https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/2/pond-of-life---galapagos Wed, 19 Feb 2014 10:27:23 GMT
Peru - Inca Trail https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/2/peru---inca-trail Always on the list to tick off! Many have done it and raved about it. The Inca Trail is 40km long and on average takes 4 days. The distance spread over the days is easy to manage and roughly equates to 6 hours of walking per day with the added notion that you walk at your own pace. It’s not technically a difficult walk though there are three high passes and a steep climb on the second day, so a good level of fitness is required.

Day 1

Early morning start, a 30min bus ride to the start of the Inca Trail at km82 of the railway line. I made the unfortunate mistake of consuming 1kg of chewy sweets the night before and I looked worse for wear, my friend saying I looked somewhat on death’s knoll, it didn’t help that our guide questioned my fitness, saying to my friend ‘he ok, he doesn’t look like he will make it’. Lesson learned here is don’t stuff your face with food the night before a long, 4 day trek! Everyone was pretty stoked, our group were of all ages, the youngest being 11yrs old to the oldest being 78yrs.

Photo below: The start of the trail, a steady stream of intrepid hikers. This is where we got our passport checked, its important that you have your passport otherwise you won't allowed to go, a photocopy will not be accepted. It's here I got a souvenir passport stamp, after all who wouldn't want one in their passport!

Photo below: With the passport checked, the only thing stopping you and the start of the trail is this bridge. A nice way to start the adventure, this is it, from here onwards, upwards and downwards.

Photo below: The landscape is stunning and to think I was going to see this for the next few days was a nice feeling. This photo was taken relatively early on, just few hundred metres from the bridge. We would walk for a few hours and took a short rest and then carried on walking. 

Photo below: Our first stop for some lunch. We had porters who carried our tents and food and they would race ahead to make sure camp was set in time for when we arrived, such amazing people to be with. Again the landscape was breathtaking.  

Photo below: At our first camp after 6 hours of walking , it was nice to relax and actually get into the spirit of camping with my fellow travellers.

Day 2

I was told and read about that day 2 of this trek would be the toughest. At first I dismissed the notion, after all, I’d survived day 1 relatively easily. So I was ready to rock. It’s these times when you really should heed the advice and listen to others who have done it before you. We left camp at 6am and it was a solid 4 hours of climbing and going up.

Photo below: Just when you think you've reached the top, a look round the corner reveals that you're legs aren't going to rest that easy. It's not a race, so my advice is to walk at your own pace, a pace your comfortable with.

Photo below: About 800 meters away from seeing Warmiwañusqa also known as Dead Women’s Pass, which is the highest point of the trail. It took me about an hour to reach the pass. Being so close and seeing it, but with the altitude and needing to find strength in my legs and mind to push me upwards and forwards it was painstaking. Physical fitness, however, is no indicator of susceptibility to altitude sickness which affects everyone differently and its not to be skimmed over as symptoms include headaches, dizziness, feeling weak and short of breath, nausea, insomnia and constipation or diarrhoea. I can attest to feeling weak and short of breath in the last hundred meters of reaching the pass.

Photo below: Looking down Dead Women's Pass, if you look closely you can see climbers dotted along the path.

Photo below: On our way from from Warmiwañusqa, took a brief stop and to take in the view of the mountains and of course take some photos.

Photo below: It had started to rain and carried on raining till we reached into the Valley of the Pacamayo River where we camped up. The views from here were breath-taking, seeing the valleys and mountains was awe-inspiring.

Photo below: Every 20 minutes or so, these rolling clouds would just glide by camp, at first it seemed eerie then the more it happened you become mesmerized by it.


Day 3

Waking up to the fresh mountain air then realising that it was still chilly was a knock to the body. With everyone ready, there were other trekkers dotted around the area, so it was a staggered flow of trekkers going in groups often 30 mins apart. 

Photo below: To give a sense of scale, can you notice the climbers on the bottom left hand corner of this photo?

Photo below: We went through an Inca tunnel in the mountain, at first it looked like a small opening and not for those who were claustrophobic. Once through, we came to the third pass at 3,700m and laid eyes on the magnificent Vilcabamba mountain range was in view along with the cloud forest. 

Photo below: The magnificent Vilcabamba mountain range.

Photo below: Before we got to our camp we visited the Phuyupatamarca ruins. This ruin contains terraces, a serpentine vantage point, and an intricate series of ceremonial baths connected by water channels.

Camp was set at Winay Wayna, which also had a visitors centre, selling much needed food and snacks for people as well as hot showers, but on this occasion, the hot water wasn’t working so those who wanted to be fresh, made do with a 5 minute cold shower.

Day 4

At last, what I’ve been waiting for, the whole purpose of this trip, the 3 days spent hiking up and down mountains, through rain, sun and sweat whilst taking photos along the way. It was an earlier wake up than before as we wanted to catch the sunrise, so we set out before dawn to the Intipunku (sun gate) for sunrise. Being up in the cloud forest, you felt you were in another world, the change in scenery you see along the inca trail, from heat, rain and to cloud forests. Felt like getting values worth. Upon reaching the final steps at the sun gate, it was still cloudy with no signs of it disappearing. After the brief climb to the top, I was greeted with a sea of cloud with the odd hill peak coming through. Somewhere in there was Machu Picchu, as the sun slowly rose, it started to poke very small holes in the cloud, and as it was a tease show the might ruins was slowly unravelling itself to me. Never in its entirety but mere flashes. Our guide said it’s best to make a move to the site as he said we would be waiting here for ages to see it in full. So we took the 30min walk down and experienced this great UNESCO World Heritage Site

Photo below: Waiting for the clouds to disappear  and the sun to rise.

Photo below: You could just make out in the bottom right of this photo the ruins coming out through the clouds

Photo below: I always wanted to capture Machu Picchu differently to how its used being captured. I wanted to capture the essence of discovery of the ruins, then sense of adventure and in a way that you've just stumbled across it. So when I was making my way down to the ruins, I walked past this opening in which through the trees Machu Picchu was framed perfectly for me and so took the photo and is my photo of Machu Picchu.

 

What I packed for the trail?

This list below is what I had in my backpack for the Inca Trail;

  • Sleeping bag - mine was a 3 season one, you can hire them in Cusco before the trek, I would advise to take your own so you know what your getting.
  • Poncho - I bought one in Cusco for $2 and worth every penny. When it rained it kept me and my bag dry apart from my feet.
  • Cap - sunburn will happen while a sunstroke can ruin it all.
  • Insect Repellent - you will come across bugs that fly around, better to be safe.
  • Toiletries - it goes without saying but don't bring the whole bathroom cabinet!
  • Water bottle -obvious really!
  • Torch - a good torch, not only for trying to locate your stuff in your tent and getting changed, but for making what could potentially be dicey trips to the toilet in the dark. 
  • Mp3 player - you always need music, for those times when your about to give up and cry!
  • Rain cover for bag - this was mainly to protect my camera more than anything.
  • Sun cream - don’t be fooled; at high altitude the sun can be strong, even when it doesn’t feel particularly hot.

Camera wise, I took my 5D mk1 along with 4 batteries and 4 8gb CF cards and one lens which was the 24-105.

Clothing

  • Light rain jacket
  • Had zip off trousers
  • Base layer
  • Mid layer
  • Shirt
  • Walking shoes (mine specifically were Merrell Chameleon)
  • Thermal socks

I would advise on several layers of clothing as you will come across a wide range of temperatures, with layering you can easily control your temperature. 

Give your porters, cooks and guides a generous tip plus clothes and items that you don't need – as you’ll discover, they do an amazing job and really deserve it! 

Enjoy the Inca Trail!

 

If you liked this post, then please check out my post on 'Travel Experiences that changed my life'

If you have any questions about the trek or other questions, then feel free to email me on info@m24instudio.com

Check out my other travel photos here http://www.m24instudiophotography.com

For my travel videos, please head to http://vimeo.com/m24instudio other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px and Tumblr

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(m24instudio) Inca Trail Inca Trail in Peru Peru South America adventure hiking m24instudio m24instudio photography m24instudio travel blog machu picchu travel travel blog travel photography trekking https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/2/peru---inca-trail Wed, 12 Feb 2014 12:00:45 GMT
m24instudio wedding - Daveena & Rishi Registry https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/2/m24instudio-wedding---daveena-rishi-registry I was chosen to photograph the wedding registry of Daveen and Rishi. Their wedding took place at Islington Town Hall. They were such a lovely couple to photograph and very at ease which made my job of capturing the day as it unfolded. I will be publishing photos from their wedding in a few weeks. Here are some photos from their day.

 

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px and Tumblr

Check out my other blog posts

If you have any questions or you're looking for a wedding photographer, then please contact via email on info@m24instudio.com

 

 

 

 

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(m24instudio) Daveena & Rishi Registry m24instudio photography m24instudio weddings wedding photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/2/m24instudio-wedding---daveena-rishi-registry Sun, 09 Feb 2014 21:17:52 GMT
Travel Experiences that changed my life https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/1/test I’ve read many ‘travel experiences to change your life’ articles over the years and I agree with them all. When I first travelled, I didn’t come across these articles or lists (as I wasn’t thinking about travelling but just wanted to do it) but if I did, no doubt it would’ve spurred me even more to do it. Reading these now after travelling and continuing to do so, it always generates a warm buzz inside me and a sense of achievement and wonderment, and of course makes me want to travel even more!

So below are my travel experiences that changed me life and maybe will change yours...

It's not all about what's on land….

I’ve only snorkelled but haven’t dived into the wide open seas. The only times I’ve snorkelled was in Australia whilst visiting the Great Barrier Reef and in and around the Galapagos. It’s amazing what we don’t see when riding the waves. I wasn’t that interested in snorkelling the Great Barrier Reef, I wanted to go, just so I could say I’ve been there, but glad I got my shorts wet. The abundance of wildlife in the sea is pretty phenomenal as it was in the Galapagos. It’s like being on another planet, a sea of creatures and animals which would look alien if they were on land but in the water they fit in. The key thing that I learnt and was drilled into my head (particularly in the Galapagos) was not to touch anything and be respectful and keep your distance from marine species, after all you are in their home. Your horizons are truly expanded when gliding through the ocean, its a somewhat ethereal feeling. It's strange to think when gliding through the vast ocean that your on Earth. We take it for granted to travel to new places and experience new terrains on land, but to think there is a whole other world beneath the waves and the startling fact we know more about the moon and space than we do about our oceans.

Eat something completely different

Live away from your comfort zone, try new and wonderful delicacies you only read about but now are in the moment to try it! For me it was trying spiders in Cambodia. When I was first offered them early on in my trip, I flatly refused, but afterwards I regretted the decision but thankfully I had an extended stay in Cambodia and got round to trying it. What did it taste like; well it was crunchy and not as bad as one might think. Also when I was in Navsari, India, I was taken to try these curried omelettes from a market street vendor and they were delicious and tasted great. You shouldn’t be afraid to try new things, but don’t go crazy and try everything; we are all built differently so your stomach tolerances will differ. If in doubt then don’t eat it but try to keep an open mind.

Don’t be a tourist

It’s easy to book hotels for ease and comfort, but for truly great experiences, try home-stays , teaching, take a cookery lesson or better yet learn the local language rather than speaking English. I’ve tried home-stays  and its an experience to be had and always humbling. In Japan I stayed with a amazing old couple who treated me like their own and even showed me traditional way of life in how the Japanese live. In India, I was treated to home cooked food, amazing tastes and smells would come from the kitchen. It’s always nice to give some token gift in return, for me, I took photos and gave them to my hosts and they were very grateful. The point of all this is to engage deeper into the culture of where you are, and by gasping at all the opportunities available to you, you will take and learn a lot from your travels than tan and a passport stamp to say you've  been there. It’s about cultivating memories and experiences that will truly stay with you as you grow older.

 

Help Conservation of a species by seeing it first-hand 

It’s easy to pop to your local zoo to see amazing animal species, but to truly appreciate the wonders of wildlife and nature, you need to see it first-hand . That’s what I did in the Galapagos.. Call it Eco-tourism, wildlife tourism or whatever and there will be detractors to it, but ‘tourism is a mixed blessing for the Galapagos but the fact is, if there was not tourism to the islands and the local people did not get any income from it, there would be nothing left there now. It would be all gone. It is the lesson of conservation around the world that unless the people who live in such places, whose land they feel belongs to them, are on the side of conservation, you’re doomed’ (Source: Galapagos Islands Need Tourism To Survive) . You can read more about my experience and time visiting the Galapagos here http://bit.ly/1jR7MbU

 

Go off the grid

Sometimes we live in such a connected world, its hard to realize a world without the internet, mobile phones and even electricity. It’s sometimes a good shock to the system to go off the grid, experience something truly remarkable. When I was younger and visited Bangladesh with my family, we spent half the time in my father's village which had no electricity, but as the years went on, electricity arrived in the village and changed everything. I spent a week in the Amazon Rain forest , in Sacha Lodge. A 2hr canoe ride up the Napo river and a further 30 min walk to the lodge through the forest. Truly remarkable to be in the jungle, hearing it come alive with sounds and sights which amaze the senses. These moments gives you time to reflect and ponder without distractions. As much as you want to update your facebook status or tweet that amazing sunrise, just remember why you went all that way in the first place. Granted I took these photos when I should've been just experiencing it, being a photographer, its my job to capture moments to help and inspire others.

 

Road Trip

A road trip can be of any length, it shouldn’t be pre-described or ordained by travel purists as a defined length, anyway back to it, just you, the car and a thirst for adventure. The thought of putting everything you need in the boot of your car and driving off to whatever destination taking your fancy. My road trips have consisted of going from London to Birmingham in the rain, stopping off at service stations to grab a bite to eat and getting back on the road, also going from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and to the Grand Canyon in the sunny climes through deserts, and San Francisco to Humboldt Redwood National Park. I’ve taken many wrong turns and ended up in places I didn’t know existed, but its the notion of throwing caution to the wind and see where the journey takes you, along with what characters you meet along the way, it's these moments that will provide a lifetime worth of stories to tell family and friends. The photo below was taken when driving through Sequoia National Park in a red Mustang, I stuck my camera out of the car window and snapped a few photos.

 

Travel Alone

Most of my travels around the world had been with very close friends but there comes a time when they will not be available. Travelling alone can be scary, thrilling, liberating, empowering, travelling on your own is all of these things and more. I traveled solo to Japan, Cambodia and Indonesia. You learn a lot about who you are and you’ll be surprised about your own ability to step up to the mark, but above all you will meet more people than ever. On my trip to Cambodia I met an amazing group of people who on day 1 were merely strangers but by the end ended up being the most amazing friends. Wondrous things happen when you travel. The bonds formed with strangers when traveling is unlike no other.

 

Stand on top of the world

To stand and watch clouds wisp by below you is something to behold, to witness the sun going down on the horizon above the clouds and looking out into the yonder and feeling literally and metaphorically on top of the world. I experienced this on Mauna kea (4,270m) in Hawaii. There are many other options to stand on top of the world such as climbing a mountain for example Australia's Mount Kosciuszko (2,228m) or even Kilimanjaro (5,895m) in Tanzania. There will be few moments in travel that will make you feel this good or stay with you for a long time, I still cite the sunset I saw at Mauna Kea as one the most memorable things I’ve seen in my travels. Word of advice regarding any of these is altitude sickness, it affects people differently, allow time to climb slowly to allow acclimatization. On Mauna kea there is 40% less oxygen than at sea level and also 40% less air pressure and I noticed it, it tires you out, so take things slowly and always listen to your guide. You don’t want to be gasping for oxygen through a tube whilst lying flat on a stretcher whilst missing the most spectacular sunrise or sunset.

 

Overland Travel

Travelling overland enables one to take a long slow look at the world. It’s easy to take a plane and just fly, covering vast distances. In doing so, you miss out on the things you don’t see. I’ve travelled overland from Cairns to Sydney in Australia, Auckland to Christchurch in New Zealand and around Cambodia. These were small group tours I did, some where in coach and some in a small minivan. Travelling overland, like travelling solo enables you into yourself, to see what you're capable of, whether you can cope with confined spaces with strangers also dealing with your company and hardships as well as that of strangers. This is prime opportunity to search your own soul and sometimes being in the company of strangers it can help more so than family and friends as you free of restrictions and free to be ‘you’ without anyone having any preconceptions of you.

 

Visit a travel Icon

It’s easy to forget that in the hectic lives we lead that the world doesn't revolve around you, to feel insignificant in this world, there’s no greater appreciation than standing among the planets great natural or man made structures. Travel icons still have this magical ability to astound and confound you when you see it with your own eyes, even though you may’ve seen it on TV, magazines and countless photographs, but to see it with your own eyes is an enhancing experience. I’ve seen a few on my travels and the ones that stand out for me is Machu Picchu, after trekking for 3 days in non-stop rain and to stand there and it to appear out of the rolling dense fog was an rewarding experience, also getting up early to catch the sunrise at Angkor, standing there in darkness with only a torch and when the sun started to slowly rise, revealing the stunning temple complex. Lastly seeing the sunset at Borobudur in Indonesia was life enhancing. Its these moments that will put the petty worries into perspective. On a side note, you won’t be able to escape the crowds but with the internet you can easily research the quietest times to visit or pay a little extra for a behind the scenes tour which I did in Cambodia to experience the temples of Angkor without the crowds and in my own time.

 

Have you space encroached by big things

When I spent 2 days sailing in Australia, purely by chance 2 whales swam with us, a mother and her calf. It was an extraordinary sight, the baby whale would casually poke its head through the water and swim around the boat. Here I was in the open sea with other people on our boat and to see these majestic creatures was amazing. I quickly rushed back to my bunk to grab my camera and managed to grab a few frames. It’s quite intimidating to see such large creatures in such close proximity, to see their eyes, you somehow see something powerful looking back at you, it can be unnerving at first but its actually awe-inspiring. Another living thing that I stood amongst was the giant Californian Redwoods, these gentle giants standing some 360ft. It’s other worldly to have your space surrounded by things unimaginable until you physically see them, its only then that you gain a sense of scope and scale in relation to you as a human, it's these moments that make you humble.

Travelling is an amazing experience, its the greatest education one can get and adds more value to you as a person than anything else possible, live free, love life, go explore and see the world!

So what you waiting for, go and explore!

If your still pondering, thinking, then watch this short film I made about the world we live in!

m24instudio

To view the video on Vimeo please click here 

To view it on YouTube please click here 

If you liked reading this post, please check out my post on the Inca Trail in Peru

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Check out my other travel photos other blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

For my travel videos, please head to http://vimeo.com/m24instudio

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px, Vimeo and Tumblr

If you have any questions, email me on info@m24instudio.com

 

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(m24instudio) Solo travel be free life experience m24instudio m24instudio travel m24instudio travel blog m24instudio travel photography travel blog travel experiences travel photography wanderlust https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/1/test Wed, 29 Jan 2014 14:54:40 GMT
Seeing in 2014 in Chicago https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/1/seeing-in-2014-in-chicago I flew out end of December 2013 to see in the New Year in Chicago with my sister and nephew.

My first time in Chicago and the Chicago I knew came from shows like E.R and the fact that Michael Bay practically destroyed half the city up in his Transformer’s film.  A city I that was on my list of US places to visit, and frankly I liked it more than New York (though willing to give New York one more go..they say third times the charm)

The cold in London is nothing compared with the cold in Chicago and the cold didn’t really hit until I was standing outside the airport waiting for a taxi to take me my hotel. Once all checked in, me and nephew went out in the evening to get a bite to eat. I took the following photo as it started to snow. It was nice to see the lights on the trees as traffic rolled on by, and felt different from being on the streets in New York.

I’m so used the the Christmas lights in London with its branding, so it was refreshing to see the lights here, simple, even elegant in the way they were wrapped round the tree branches. More likely that I'm so used Christmas in London that I've become somewhat immune to the circus that it entails so it was refreshing to experience it somewhere different.

For the fireworks, we all headed to the Navy Pier to see in 2014, that night it was very cold with some light snow. There was a stream of people making their way to the pier, walking slowly across the snow paved streets and roads. The pier was packed by the time we got there and we nearly missed the fireworks as we got stuck in the tunnel getting out, but eventually found a spot to see in the 2014! The photo below I took a few minutes before the fireworks started. Once the fireworks started, it was cheers all around and people congratulated each other, strangers seeing in 2014 all together. The next couple of days was spent walking around the city and shopping. Walking to Millennium Park to see the ‘Bean’. A note on the cold weather. I noticed that my camera (5Dmk2) operated fine but on start up, there was a slightly longer delay, also due to the extreme cold weather my batteries wore down more, but that was to be expected. I didn’t get any ice build up nor did any of my lenses get fogged up due to my camera going back and forth from being in a warm hotel room to extreme cold day to day.

Here are some more photos I took, enjoy!

Check out my other travel photos here and my blog posts for inspiration, advice, tips or for just general reading!

For my travel videos, please head to http://vimeo.com/m24instudio 

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px and Tumblr

If you have any questions, then feel free to email me on info@m24instudio.com

 

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(m24instudio) Chicago Chicago travel Seeing in 2014 in Chicago m24instudio m24instudio travel blog travel travel blog travel photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/1/seeing-in-2014-in-chicago Tue, 14 Jan 2014 14:07:30 GMT
m24instudio wedding - Heidi & Matt, the reception https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/1/m24instudio-wedding---heidi-matt-the-reception Weddings are amazing events to photograph, but they can be at times formal and at times can be difficult to capture people's true emotions. This is due to the fact the it can all be a daze and people are in their own bubble watching everything go by, so that's why I love wedding receptions, an event where the couple can relax, family and friends able to be themselves and enjoy the wonderful day. Here are some photos from Heidi & Matt's reception which took place at The Mercer Restaurant in London.

To see photos from Heidi & Matt's wedding please read my blog post http://www.m24instudiophotography.com/blog/2013/12/m24instudio-wedding---heidi-matt

To see more examples of my work please head to http://www.m24instudio.com/wedding-collections/

Connect with me on FacebookTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px and Tumblr

If have any questions or you're looking for a wedding photographer, then please contact me via email on info@m24instudio.com

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(m24instudio) Heidi & Matt love m24instudio wedding photography', 'm24instudio wedding photography', wedding https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/1/m24instudio-wedding---heidi-matt-the-reception Sat, 11 Jan 2014 16:45:27 GMT
Looking back at 2013 https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/1/looking-back-at-2013 I wrote this as I flew over the Atlantic on my way to Chicago (end of December 2013) to see in 2014

Looking back at 2013, I cannot think but to smile at where I've been and what I've done. This year is only rivalled by two others and that was 2005 and 2011. Not to pick a favourite as each of these years were special and provided me with such life and energy that it's hard to contemplate choosing. 

2005 was the year that I travelled round the globe with a friend. A journey that would become a defining chapter in both of our lives, a journey of adventure, laughter but above all exploration, not just in the literal sense but also the metaphorical.

2011 was the year in which I embarked on a trip that would change my life in ways I had not imagined, a trip like no other. This trip was to the enchanted isles, the most magnificent place, the Galapagos. I could wax lyrical about it here but I've written about it separately here http://bit.ly/1jR7MbU

Back to 2013, it started off to my travels to Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia all in one trip.  The basis for this trip was primarily to visit Angkor Wat and the surrounding temples. In my research for this, another more extraordinary temple came up and it was Borobudur in Indonesia, I had vaguely heard about it and further research cemented the notion that this was also to be added onto this trip as I had to experience and witness this temple complex with my own eyes. The photos that I had seen already online we're truly breath-taking and the photos took me to another plane of thought. For Cambodia the trip was booked in two parts. The first part being part of an adventures tour and the latter was a private tour around the Angkor complex to allow me time to photograph it without the hordes of tourists getting in my way of the shot. My reasons for doing a tour stemmed from the amazing time me and my friend had back in 2005 when we did tours in Australia and New Zealand , meeting new people, making new friends, experiencing new cultures with like-minded people, this is what makes travelling great. On this trip though I would be going on my own. The people I met on my Cambodia trip were amazing and they really made my time a memorable one. Travelling, I do it because I truly love it and it's been the most rewarding experience I've felt. I have always told people the virtues of travelling and I can only speak for myself but more so speak from my experience of travelling for over 8 years around the wonderful planet we call Earth. It is full of stunning beauty, amazing cultures, and the most extraordinary inhabitants.

What made my experience in Cambodia most memorable was not the destination itself, though it did play a part, but it was the people I met along the way. People who on day 1 were merely strangers to me and over the course of a few days they became amazing friends. Usually it’s the fear of the unknown that stops you doing something. But here, we all had one thing in common which was we loved to travel and explore new lands and places, that was the commonalty that held us together as a group. They made my trip so much more, it was full of love, laughter, sadness but above all an amazing adventure that we all went on and shared together. These are the memories I will hold closely and fondly recite from time to time as I embrace the future.

My sole reason for visiting Indonesia was to visit Borobudur and nothing else, I wasn't interesting in Bali or the beaches, and I had never been so guided in my quest to visit a place and one place at that. I'm glad I did as it was truly magnificent and more so than Angkor, it's difficult to use words to describe the feeling when standing there watching the sunrise and sunset, if there was one word it would be humbling.

The next trip I would take would be to America but more specifically New York, San Francisco and Toronto (in that order). On this trip I went with another friend, one whom I will be eternally grateful for as she drove me great lengths in which to achieve my lifelong ambition to see and witness natures gentle giants, the Californian Redwoods. Those who know me well understand my love for these trees, a desire to walk amongst them, stand with them and just to be their presence was a long held desire since a young child. No such place other than the Galapagos has had a hold on me, it's mesmerising. I had seen giant sequoias in the past but it was always the giant Redwoods that entranced me. My first true glimpse of these was back in 2005 at Muir Woods and it was fleeting but enough to satiate my mind and a vow that I would be back; it just took me 8 years!  

I also visited Yosemite, a place so jaw dropping, beautiful and majestic. I spent a few days here filming and photographing the landscape and taking it all in.

My next travel destination which was a mere 2 months after my America visit, this took me to a country which I wanted to visited under different circumstances but this one was even more amazing . It was for my friend’s wedding in India. A direct flight to Mumbai and from there I and my friend would travel by car 6 hours north to Navsari where the wedding took place. I had an amazing time, even managed to photograph parts of the wedding. My friend’s family out there were even more amazing, putting us up and cooking us food, taking us around the town it was amazing hospitality! Those 7 days in Navsari were on par with the fun I had with the friends I made out in Cambodia. 

And now brings me onto my final trip, as I write these words somewhere over the Atlantic on my way to Chicago, a city which I've heard great things about, a city in which I'm looking forward to photograph and a city in which I will see in 2014!

I haven't set any firm travel plans for 2014 but I am already researching possible destinations. Truth be said, I've done my fair share of travelling, and granted I've seen wondrous things, but in that time I haven't had time to sit down and relax, take it all in, soak up the photos that I've taken. It sometime takes me years to appreciate where I've been and it doesn't happen straight away. It's a rush to my senses, and only time will help that. The reason why I've been going at it, is because I don't know when I will ever get the chance to, plus when opportunities rises, I've taken them, and its these 'risks' that has enabled me to travel the world, film and photograph it.

Moreover I will publishing more photos from my travels over the past years and writing more about them, I want to inspire people to live their dreams, be driven by ambition and although it may look and sound easy from where I stand, it's been hard work but the rewards are worth it! The world we live in changes and moves fast, it's up to you as to how far willing you’re going to go along for the ride. Ultimately, do what makes YOU HAPPY! Only you know what works, ignore the crowd, be your own, create your own, do your own. I can only speak from my experience and that's to follow your passion, it's ok to break the rules, it's ok to be wrong, it's ok to make mistakes, it's ok to laugh, it's ok to cry and if you don't try then you won't know...you are amazing and don't let anyone else tell you otherwise!

Life only happens once, so go out there and live it!

 

m24instudio

 

 

 

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(m24instudio) 2013 inspire m24instudio travel https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/1/looking-back-at-2013 Sun, 05 Jan 2014 15:53:12 GMT
m24instudio wedding - Heidi & Matt https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/m24instudio-wedding---heidi-matt At the start of December 2013, to be more specific December 7th 2013, I photographed the wedding of Heidi and Matt. They had contacted me earlier on in the year to photograph their day. Their wedding took place in central London at St Helen's Church Off Bishopsgate.  

Here are some photos from their beautiful wedding.

To see more examples of my work please head to http://www.m24instudio.com/wedding-collections/

If have any questions or you're looking for a wedding photographer, then please contact me via email on info@m24instudio.com

Connect with me on Facebook , Tumblr , 500px , Twitter , Flickr and Instagram

 

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(m24instudio) heidi & Matt love m24instudio m24instudio wedding wedding photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/m24instudio-wedding---heidi-matt Sun, 29 Dec 2013 19:45:00 GMT
The Galapagos https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/the-galapagos The Seed

People make statements and grand statements at that. When we make them, they make sense to us, but rarely do we foresee the impact they will have. Of course we can’t see into the future, but that doesn’t stop us.

I once said the following

‘…..back from the Enchanted Isles aka ‘The Galapagos Islands’…it has been an immense, powerful experience and has forever left an indelible footprint on what makes me who I am…’

A few years ago, I made the executive decision that I wanted to be out of the country on my 30th birthday.  I didn’t want to be in pub or bar somewhere watching people get pissed and inebriated. I wanted to be somewhere other than London. Having travelled the globe, I knew there were still a few places on the planet left for me to go.  The prerequisite for this trip was that;

  • ·         It had to be amazing

  • ·         It had to be memorable

  • ·         I had to come back with amazing photos to share with the world

  • ·         I had to be at the destination on my actual birthday, not in transit

  • ·         It had to be an ‘experience’

With those guidelines in place there were only two places I had in mind, either Antarctica or somewhere along the Trans-Siberian Railway.

When looking into Antarctica, I found a few trips that were of interest and researched them further, emailing travel companies to get more information. Eventually due to escalating costs and logistics, this expedition concept was shelved. The idea of doing the Trans-Siberian stemmed from the adventure of ‘the journey’. Travelling nearly 6000 miles on a train and having the ability to step off at any stop and stay in remote towns and villages sounded very appealing to the adventurer in me. Many people take to the skies to cover huge distances. When I’m in a plane travelling over land, I always wonder what it’s like ‘down there’, the people, the smell, the food, the culture. You don’t get to sense that from the air.

Having decided on the Trans-Siberian, the research into the trip began costs, time, etc. the general checklist I do when planning big trips. Early on, the trip got me buzzing with excitement.  Being a photographer, I was thinking of all the photos I’d come back with from the towns I would visit, the idea alone was powerful. Not only photographs but the HD footage I would capture.  This was only possible because I had already decided that I would upgrade my camera especially. That meant the cost of this trip was going to be big … there was no denying that!

I managed to book a place on a free talk about the trans-Siberian journey at Pushkin House, the Russian cultural centre in London. Actually talking to the travel company I’d be going with and seeing photos and video of the trip, asking questions made me feel more at ease and now fired up. As I wanted to go in January, the average temperature for the journey would be roughly -15 to -20 from Moscow to Beijing. My initial thought was ‘damn, that’s cold!’, but then the creative side of my brain kicked in and I started thinking about the photos, the white and at times desolate landscapes that would be captured.

…..I’d read much about the Trans-Siberian and had bought a few books on the subject. Just the sheer adventure of travelling roughly 6,000 miles by train sounded pretty awesome. To my friends, travelling on a train was not a trip they deemed worthy of the word ‘holiday’, but that was them … not me.

The other issue with this trip was the notion of the climate. The temperature was going to be -15 to -20 all the way to Beijing, and that’s cold even by British standards. A few window shopping trips to the likes of Snow+Rock, Cotswold, Blacks etc. and online browsing scoping out winter gear proved that I’d be spending a lot just to keep me warm, and that’s before I’d even booked the trip!

Even though I’d already chosen the travel company, it didn’t stop me comparing the package to what other companies were offering.  I wanted to make sure they were value for money, and overall no one company was trying to sell the holiday at an extortionate premium. My advice if you’re looking to plan this trip or indeed any other is always research the travel companies offering the trip. Phone them; ask them questions until you’re completely satisfied that they will be the right company for you.

I wasn’t going alone on this trip, I was going with my friend, but as he lived in another country, I paid him a visit to discuss the trip in more detail

The Reason

I would like to point out a few years prior to me turning 30, I spoke to my friend about wanting to be away on my 30th, so he knew what to expect.  Much of the planning thus far was only possible thanks to the wonderful world of emails, Skype, msn messenger and Google talk. Though we’d set our sights on the Trans-Sib, we hadn’t actually physically sat down to talk it all through face to face.  Going to see him also gave me the chance to escape London life and get away from the hustle and bustle of city zombies.

After dinner, we all sat down in the living room to chillax, and discuss the trip. That evening would be the turning point and would change everything.

As we were sitting, talking about the Trans-Siberian, the topic changed to the photographic aspect being the primary reason for the trip. The trip was in part to celebrate my 30th but also to push my photography on a personal level with the added advantage of filming in HD for the very first time. As we sat there talking about the trip and the excitement of travelling by train, my friend joked that I was a real ‘train nerd’ due to my fascination with the Japanese Bullet Train which we rode on 5 years prior.  He was right, Wweergghhhhh.  We then talked about the photography aspect of the journey and the types of shots I would get, the cold, snow-capped mountain-scapes, the remote villages, shots of a desolate landscape. The HD footage that I would film, it was an immense feeling. He in passing mentioned that I’d already got some fantastic landscape shots from our travels to Peru when we did the Inca Trail and also from a trip to Iceland.  I really couldn’t argue with him, and slowly doubt crept in. If I really wanted to push my photography then I would need to go somewhere truly unique or do something truly amazing, and whilst we were discussing the subject a voice said ‘What about the Galapagos Islands?’. Looking back, this was when the seed was sown.

The Galapagos was not in our list of possible destinations and had never even occurred to us as a possible destination. The thought of wildlife photography and the appeal of taking photos there was now growing. I’d never done any wildlife photography before, and I was literally throwing myself into the deep end. Over the years I had read many photography articles with the overall consensus being that a photographer should choose a specialism and work solely in that field.  I always believed that school of thought was restrictive, as it does not allow one to be truly creative in their photography and approach. So with the rule book thrown out (truth be told, I’d never actually owned a copy!) … it was settled

Choosing the tour operator

Whilst searching for a good tour operator for the trip, I knew early on that this was also going to be expensive.  I didn’t mind too much though, as trips to the Galapagos being costly were a good way of minimising the impact of tourism on the unique wildlife and fauna. We came across many companies offering the trip, but although they had the same itinerary, some were charging a few thousand more for what was an identical itinerary. The main difference what the type/size of boat, and the length of the sail around the islands. There were two options a 3/4 and a 7/8 day boat tour. Straight away without hesitation we went for the 7/8 day tour.  Were we going all that way just for a few days? …that idea didn’t fly with me. If I was going to be in the most unique place on the planet, I was going to maximise my time there not just for my photography but also to have some time to appreciate what it meant to be in the Enchanted Isles.

When it comes to travel, people have various levels of comfort. Some like to travel in style and have all the creature comforts, while others are happy travelling to their chosen destination by whatever means necessary, so long as they get there. That’s the way it is now, choice at all levels, the decision is up to the consumer. 

Ok, back to choosing the tour operator. To cut this story short we went with Llama Travel, a company which we had used previously for our visit to Peru & the Inca Trail. Llama Travel was great (just to add I am not being paid by Llama Travel for talking them up).  From start to finish, they take care of everything.  They have representatives waiting for you at the airport to take you to your hotel, give your tour details, explain how everything is going to work etc.  To top it off, their price was also amazing. They offer like for like tours in South America at a price that makes other tour operators look like they’re majorly overcharging. For example when we went to Peru, another company was charging an extra £1200 for essentially the same tour, even staying in the same hotels! So it’s best to always shop around. For this trip Llama was charging £1000 less than rival tour operators. It isn’t about going for the cheapest but rather the fairest price for what you want, not just for you but also the community you visit.

With the deposit paid and confirmed, the trip would take place 6 months later; I would embark on an adventure that would forever change me and my outlook on this planet.

Check out Llama Travel for amazing trips in South America www.llamatravel.com

14th January 2011

The night before we were to head out to Galapagos, I did my ritual gear checking over and over again. Counting everything, making sure I had all the lenses, batteries, cables etc. I ran them off against a checklist. The hotel was near the airport and you would hear airplanes landing and taking off, the hotel was overlooking a football field with the hillside of Quito in the distance.

The next morning, we were picked up by the travel rep and taken to the airport. When going to Galapagos from Quito, there is a separate area for you to check your luggage.  Once all the formalities were done, and we had got our tickets, we went through to departures and waited for our flight.

I’ve always said this to people but for some reason I don’t get the giddy rush of excitement when traveling to new places anymore. It’s a sad thing to say but it’s true. Since travelling around the world in 2005, the excitement associated with going to the airport, checking in, passport control, boarding the plane etc. has evaporated. Saying that, there was a ‘sense’ of where I was going, and that it was going to somehow change me. How much it would change me, I didn’t know.   The departure board updated, and we were ready.  We quickly passed through the ticket desk and walked onto the tarmac, the sound of the plane engines was overwhelming, as was the distinct smell of jet fuel. We all meandered through the set path outlined on the tarmac, guiding us round parked planes and keeping us clear of moving ones. Once round the terminal building, I saw the plane that was going to take me to the Galapagos.

After my nap, I woke up to the sounds of the food cart being moved down the aisles, with the air stewards giving out light snacks. I looked out and saw the vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean. The shimmering reflection of the sun’s light on the ocean surface. I didn’t know what to feel, but something was slowly happening to me, I couldn’t place it, but I knew it was happening.

The captain told us we were 10-15 minutes from landing and instructed us to sit and fasten our seat belts, and he told the crew to check doors and then follow suit. We then heard the strange mechanical noise of the airplane wing flaps being extended, and after a short while the sounds of the wheels being deployed, and then the feeling of the plane going into a gentle descent. I looked out the window and didn’t see any islands. I was looking for some glimpse of the ‘Enchanted Isles’, but as the plane veered right all I could see was the sky.

As the plane was approaching, I saw land, well more specifically, waves crashing onto land. Once the wheels touched down and slowly came to taxi speed, I knew we were somewhere pretty special. An iguana was walking along the tarmac and heading for a trolley cart on the tarmac. It was heading for shade. I’ve never seen anything like it, it was so bizarre yet so cool. Another thing that I had noticed was the terminal building and straight away it reminded me of Kona International Airport on the Big Island; it looked like an out building, a big shed of sorts. Once the plane came to a standstill, what appeared to be jets of gas came out through the air vents over the cabins; it looked like white mist. We were told by cabin crew, this was to kill any bacteria in the air, and with that the cabin staff sprayed inside the overhead lockers as well. All this was to prevent contamination and the influx of foreign viruses that might have a devastating impact on the islands and kill off the indigenous species. This carried on for a good 10 minutes.

Getting off the plane to be hit with the cool warm breeze was soothing to the skin, but it still hadn’t hit me that we were on the Galapagos. After going through customs and getting my bags checked, we were met by our guide William who helped us with our bags and made sure we got onto the right bus. With the bags loaded, we were off.

15th January 2011

…With the windows down, the summery breezy air going through the bus, I sat there just looking out, seeing what looked like a desolate landscape going by, the gentle hills and slopes covered in light shrubbery. I didn’t know what to think at this point. Should I be excited, happy, amazed, I just didn’t know, but what I did know was that what I was doing was big, I was sure of it.

The bus didn’t seem to be going fast, but that was probably because we were going down long straight roads with a landscape that had no discernible markers. Of course there’s always the ground to look at, but if all you’re seeing is the same type of ground, your mind plays tricks on you. Off in the distant I saw what looked like distant mountain ranges, but in fact they were hills.

It was wonderful to see the landscape go by, I had my ThinkTank camera bag by my side, I didn’t go for my camera, though I placed my hand firmly on the bag, and was slowing tapping with my fingers, as if i was waiting for the right moment to photograph, I didn’t want to ruin the experience of being somewhere wonderful, I just wanted my eyes and mind to soak it all up and to prepare myself for what was to come.

William stood up and said in about 15 mins we’ll be visiting the National Park Tortoise Reserve. It was slowly dawning on me that this was really happening (after a short while the bus made a right turn and we were not on paved roads anymore but on gravel and mud. It was shortly after going down this road that the bus slowly came to a halt, and this was the moment when it all hit home. At first I couldn’t see why we had stopped. Eventually I made my way to the front with some of the other passengers, and it was then I laid my eyes on a Giant Galapagos Tortoise sitting in the middle of the road.  William told us that they have right of way and we would have to wait until it crossed the road, so the engine was turned off and we all just stared. This is when I took my first photo of these gentle animals, so serene with a majestic quality about them.

…..William told us that the tortoises had the right of way, and in no way could humans move or touch them. There was no room for the bus to go round so the driver switched of the engine and it was like an old western stalemate. Who would make the first move? Everyone on the bus was amazed, our emotions were high on the sight of our first tortoise, we were like children on a school trip, it was that kind of feeling. Trying to jostle with each other so we could take a good photograph

After about 10 minutes, the tortoise moved out of the way. We carried on down the beaten path. Looking outside the window, all you could see was lush vegetation, hills, and trees. 

The bus stopped and William said to get ready, and reminded us to bring our cameras. While everyone had their camera ready in no time, I was thinking what gear I should take with me, by the time I decided on the lens, everyone apart from me was already outside, after a quick few seconds, I was ready to go with my canon 5dmk2 in hand.

William told us a few ground rules before we went in the reserve. The first was to not touch the animals, second was not to feed them anything, and the third was to follow him around the reserve and not to deviate from the path. He also mentioned sunscreen due to the strong rays from the sun. After the talk we made our way, and I looked over to my right across the fields to see if I could see any. Within a few seconds, I caught glimpses of the tops of their shells. It was as though the tortoises were taunting me. I knew they were there, but they didn’t want me to see them. As we walked we all had our ‘woah’ moment. To see a Giant Galapagos Tortoise in front of us was unreal. It was big, it was huge. It’s one thing seeing these creatures on TV and another seeing it in real life, in its natural habitat. It was just slowly eating grass. It was beautiful to see.

Walking round the reserve was at times just overwhelming for me. To think I was actually there and not dreaming, I was actually there with my camera; to see & smell what was around me … it was a pretty crazy feeling. What at first I thought was a rare sight was now becoming the norm, to see these magnificent creatures, a group there, another over there it was immense. As we were walking around, I had the sense of ‘Jurassic Park’, seeing these Giant Tortoises surrounded by trees, grass and vegetation, I was expecting to see some rustling of the leaves from the bush nearby and suddenly see a small yet nimble dinosaur run past. There was an air of history, a sense that time had stood still here for thousands if not millions of years. We walked past more Giant Tortoises and up a slow banking path; you couldn’t really see what was ahead.  William was talking about the vegetation and then we came across something I could only describe as ‘the pool of life’. A pool which had roughly 8 Giant Galapagos Tortoises just chilling out in the water and another 3-4 around the edge. Seeing the shells pop out of the pool, some drinking the water (albeit sipping), slowly bowing their heads just below the surface of the water. It was amazing to see and experience. 

…being completely immersed in another world and having the thought in my mind that any moment another fantastical creature will slowly reveal itself from the surrounding bushes. I’d noticed noises and ruffles of sound from bushes and after a while you hone your hearing and sight and realize it’s another Giant Galapagos Tortoise chilling out. Walking around the park, seeing the rolling hills and the other Tortoises’ slowly going about their daily routine was just magnificent to witness.

Our short time was up, but it seemed like we were there for a few hours.  This goes to show that you can slow down time when you’re experiencing something that will change your life. William rallied us all back to the bus.  It took a while.  Our group was somewhat dispersed, as we were all trying to take in what we were seeing in our own way and wanted to hold onto the special moment.

Next stop was the Charles Darwin Research Station.   This is a biological research station that conducts scientific research and promotes environmental education for conservation.  First though we made our way to the marina to get onto our boat, the Galapagos Voyager.  This would be my home for the next 8 days.

We were waiting at the marina with everyone else and more people who were waiting to be picked up by their tour operators. Looking out to sea, there was a slew of boats of all sizes, and in the distance there were cruise ships which were anchored in deep water. I couldn’t really see our boat. The radio crackled and William told us to get ready, our bags were already on board … all that was left were the passengers.

It was a tight squeeze, there were about 9 of us on the panga as it swerved and cut through the waves. It was hot and it felt great. As we went past boats, we slowed down and then we saw her, the Galapagos Voyager, she would be the one who would take us around the Galapagos.

We were greeted by the crew who all looked sharp and dressed in their uniform.  They welcomed us warmly and had drinks waiting for us, after a brief introduction we were given our keys to our rooms and told to be ready in about 1 hour as we would be heading back to Puerto Ayora for our afternoon visit to the Charles Darwin Research Station.

As the coach pulled up near the entrance, we all got off and made our way in. I noticed a few buildings dotted around, but we didn’t go into them…. we headed to the enclosures.. After seeing the Giant Galapagos Tortoises beforehand, I was anxious to see them again. William took us around and explained the breeding program the CDRS were doing and how it had been a difficult process.  This was particularly true for their most famous resident ‘Lonesome George’, who was the last known individual of the Pinta Island tortoise species.

As we walked around the enclosures seeing other animals such as the land iguana’s we were told by William to meet by the pier for the trip back to the boat.

‘Lonesome George’
Knowing his history, it was humbling to see both George and the efforts made by the park rangers to find another like him. To think he was alone for all that time on Pinta, just going about his daily business without a care in the world. Doing what he does day in day out. It somehow puts life in perspective.

Our boat ‘Galapagos Voyager’ was great. It had all the things that I wanted on the trip. It wasn’t too extravagant nor was it sub-standard, it was just right. Each cabin had en-suite showers with hot water. From the brochure it was difficult to gauge the size of the cabins, and the photos didn’t help either as the perspective didn’t give anything away. However I was really surprised by the size of the cabin, it was more than ample for my needs, and even had electricity sockets to charge the armada of batteries that I had brought with me.

16th January 2011

Another day … well it was 16th Jan to be precise…early wake up call. Had breakfast and got my gear ready and we all jumped in the panga for the ride to Plaza Sur, which from a distance looked like some alien world.  Patches of red vegetation and cactus trees standing tall, it just didn’t seem right, but it was there.

Upon landing, we came across a family of seals of all ages, some playful and some just chilling on the rocks. This was my first encounter with seals, and wild ones at that. It was weird yet wonderful at the same time. Slowly walking past them and stopping once in a while to take photos and capture footage on my camera we all converged on an open piece of rock where William talked about guidelines.  These were (in his words) follow me, do not touch the animals, never wander off the path we’re walking, and his key point … was that we stayed together as a group.  This last point was for safety and safety was a key issue for William during our time on the Galapagos Islands. To our left were a pair of Swallow-tailed Gulls beside a cactus, further up from them, was a pair of iguanas motionless, just getting some heat from the sun. We all slowly followed William; I was towards the back taking photos.  As I walked slowly I made sure I wasn’t too far away from the group. The landscape was weird … Strange cactus’s amongst a desert landscape … but in the middle of ocean. The days of thinking cactus’s only grew in desert was wiped swiftly from my brain. But this was a desert of sorts, very hostile with the midday sun beating down and without sun tan lotion, you’d be in some serious trouble.  William would always talk about staying protected, it may be beautiful but the sun is also dangerous he would warn us. 

This was the first real taste of island wildlife in the Galapagos, standing on the rocky cliffs, all you see is ocean, the vast expanse of the pacific and look the other direction, you’d see another island. It was at times surreal and I had to keep thinking, ‘I’m really here.   This is the Galapagos’. It was one of those pinch yourself moments in case you woke up from a crazy beautiful dream. I would go on to have more of these moments as this trip progressed.

Our afternoon excursion was to Santa Fe to see some land iguanas. It was here I took a photo of one eating a cactus. You wouldn’t think that an iguana would touch a cactus, let alone eat one.  However here, in front of me nature has through natural selection enabled this iguana to eat cactus’s. This was mind blowing. You see these nature documentaries talking about evolution and natural selection, but to see it in the wild, with your own eyes, is mind-blowing.

We headed back to our boat due to the sun being at its most extreme, the heat was strong, the rays burning. Once on the boat we all had time to relax, some went to sleep. William said that we could go snorkelling if we wanted, and to meet him at the back of the boat in an hour if we were interested.  The hour passed and I took the chance to snorkel.  First I had to get a wetsuit in my size, and then I actually had to get the thing on!  There was only about 5 of us snorkelling as we headed out on the panga into the blue waters of the Galapagos. I’ve swam before, not just in a pool but in the open seas, but this felt different, as I put on my fins and adjusted my snorkel, I just went in, the blue waters bubbling around me and then seeing the underneath the water, the coral, the fishes and the colours, it was amazing. It was then that I accidentally let go of my snorkel, luckily it was tethered to my mask, but I didn’t realise, so had to get back on board the panga to sort it all out. I went back in again, the water was cold at first but with the beating sun you didn’t notice it nor worry about. 

In the evenings when the sun went down, we would all gather for dinner followed by a brief talk by William about the next day, what we would be doing, what we would be seeing and he would give us the general overview as not to give too much away.

17th January 2011

For some reason you wake up early without looking at your watch.  The crew tap on the doors to let you know that breakfast will be served in 30mins. To wake up and see the expanse of sea scattered with islands, is something I will forever remember. It’s something I’ll never tire of seeing in my mind and again through my photography and films. Today was 17th Jan and the excursion for this morning was to visit the island of Espanola and in particular Punta Suaraz. Like past adventures, to come to these islands and step upon the rocks and see new wildlife, the likes of which most people have and never will see up close, was humbling.

The panga slowed down before approaching the landing, there was another boat ahead of us dropping of another load of visitors. It dawned on me when seeing them get off, that somehow we had all made the same choices and decision to travel here, to the Galapagos. Every one of us was drawn here for some reason, destined to visit these aptly named ‘Enchanted Isles’.

Once off, we slowly made our way to a small beach, which had sea lions, iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs around and about. There seemed to be a small audience of tourists admiring and taking photos of a family of sea lions who were gleefully playing just on the water’s edge. William gathered us all and we began following him along the path and he again reiterated the importance of staying together, not to touch the animals and to not stray off the path. As we made our way, he began talking about the plants and answering questions that arose by our group. As we were walking, William pointed out a Blue Footed Boobie. It was a male.  As we walked further, we came across a mother and a young Boobie, it looked cute with its white afro hair. The mother was just keeping an eye on the chick.  As we casually walked by, neither of them even flinched.  They were just going about their business, even though there were people walking past. I took a few photos and managed to film them but there were other people doing the same, so I grabbed what I could and caught up with the group. We came across an opening which leads to a rocky beach with the ocean waves crashing. We slowly made our way across, closely following William staying clear of the nests which needed to be protected. By now the heat was tough, the sun’s onslaught is something which I have never experienced in my life, it felt ferocious at times.

We climbed over rocks and slowly made it above the beach. We could hear the waves crashing and hissing and decided to take a break. We sat overlooking the pacific, just taking it all in. The view was just breath-taking, to see as far as the eye could see, the ocean, the waves.  It was then we noticed what appeared to be small red creatures moving over the rocks.  It took a few moments for us to realise that these red things were in fact Sally lightfoot crabs. It was truly immense, seeing all of this. I think William knew we would all be blown away by this vista, so he chose this spot deliberately. To hear the sounds of the waves crashing over the rocks was immense, the sort of loudness you’re not scared of, it was pulsating with every wave. To see the huge spray when the water was forced into the cracks and pushed through, up into the air was something to see. I watched it happen at least two dozen times and never got tired.

Sitting there admiring the view, a few of us walked further on but always in sight of William, one of the group noticed a group of iguana’s perched on a rock, just bathing themselves in the sun, heating their bodies up. In the air above us was a Galapagos Hawk, gliding past and using the thermals to keep itself aloft. Again, amazing to see. After our respite, William told us it’s time to move on, and we made our way into the land away from the seas. We came across an area which was a nesting ground and saw some Waved Albatross chicks. They seemed to be in clusters, a few families at least, tending to their young.

By now the sun was directly above us and it was hot. Even with my cap and long sleeves, it was becoming unbearable. We made our way back to the beach quickly, and boarded our panga and headed back to our boat for some lunch. After lunch, the crew asked if anyone wanted to go snorkelling and a few of us took the offer up. We got our wetsuits on and headed out on the panga.  We were about a mile away from the boat and in waters where we were told that there was an array of marvellous wildlife under the waves. With my snorkelling gear on I was told the water was warm, so I jumped in. At first, it was cold but with the sun overhead, that soon changed. Dropping your head into the ocean and seeing life underneath the waves was beautiful. The last time I felt like this was when I went snorkelling in the Great Barrier Reef. Here in the Galapagos, after your eyes adjusted, you could see immense shoals of fish, so vivid in colour, all passing by one after the other. It was then I started to feel dizzy and nearly lost my balance in the open water. I managed to swim to the panga and climb aboard. Whilst I rested on the panga, the rest of the group finished off their snorkel. Shortly afterwards we went back to the boat where I had a shower and took some paracetamol. The afternoon visit was to Gardner Bay where there was a beach covered with sea lions. I stayed on the boat and rested while the rest of the group went.

The headache was still there and the paracetamol helped a little. I was annoyed with myself. I’d come all this way and couldn’t go on the excursion to Gardner Bay. Trivial it may sound, but for me, it was truly was one of those moments where you can’t help but think ‘when will I ever come back here again?’ The rational side of my brain kicked in and, deep down my health and well-being is paramount above everything else. That evening, at 7.30 (as always) we had dinner and after that we sat in the lounge and listened to William talk about the next day. He said it would be an early start, so we could see the sunrise.

That evening the skies were clear, and the stars and moon were out.  Just standing on the deck, on calm waters, looking out into the dark blue yonder was a tender moment of reflection. With all that goes on in the world, to look up and see the night sky made me wonder about the scale of things.

18th January 2011

It was a very early morning wake up call.  After quickly getting ready, I made it to the top deck, and in the distant we were graced with Leon Dormido, a sheer walled tuff cone where Boobies and tropic birds nest. It was like seeing Uluru but on water. As the boat slowed, it moved along a semi-circular path,  to our left out on the horizon the sun was slowly waking up and bathing the Leon Dormido in a warm glow, full of the hues of orange and yellow. Just pure bliss to see. There were wisps of clouds in the air, the skies were blue. This was one of this picture moments and I had my camera ready and was taking photos from all angles and filming. It was like when you have one of those dreams of a landscape so ethereal you think it can only ever exist in your imagination.  But here it was … real, and I was seeing it with my own eyes, and sharing it with other like-minded people and the crew. It was magical. As the sun was climbing, we circled it a few times and after we had all had the chance to pick up our mouths from the deck, we made our way downstairs to breakfast.

Today we would be visiting the interpretation centre on San Cristobal, to learn more about the islands and their history. Afterwards we had time in the town for some souvenir shopping and generally relaxing. I took this time to stock up on some batteries (just in case) and sun tan lotion, as I was worried I would get burnt in the searing heat. The excursion today was to visit Loberia for those who wanted to go. I decided to hang around on San Cristobal till the late afternoon.  It was also today that I phoned and wished my sister a very happy birthday, all the way from the Galapagos.

Today we would be visiting the interpretation centre on San Cristobal, to learn more about the islands and their history. Afterwards we had time in the town for some souvenir shopping and generally relaxing. I took this time to stock up on some batteries (just in case) and sun tan lotion, as I was worried I would get burnt in the searing heat. The excursion today was to visit Loberia for those who wanted to go. I decided to hang around on San Cristobal till the late afternoon.  It was also today that I phoned and wished my sister a very happy birthday, all the way from the Galapagos.

In the evenings on the main deck where we would have dinner, we’d watch movies and generally hang out, on the wall at the back next to the bar was a whiteboard on which the crew would draw a daily picture depicting what and where we would visit. It was a nice touch and always made us smile. The artwork was amazing, I was impressed, and it was something to look forward to when you woke up each day.

19th January 2011

To have consistently great breakfast every day was amazing. For someone who doesn’t have breakfast, it was rude not to tuck in; after all it was fresh and damn tasty. Today’s excursion was to Santa Cruz and in particular to Bachas Beach.  We were told by William that it’s on this beach that sea turtles come to lay eggs and we may see some if we were lucky.

So as the boat laid down its anchor in the deep ocean, the ones who wanted to go went out on the panga and straight to the beach. This would be a wet landing as there was no jetty. Looking back out into the ocean we could see the Galapagos Voyager, our boat.  This was a small group this time as a few people wanted to rest back on board.  There was four of us plus William. The first thing I’d noticed was the Sally lightfoot crabs and a few Iguanas perched on the rocks. William casually guided us across the beach and over a small sand dune, to which he noticed sea turtle tracks, everyone was actually excited but that excitement dampened as William said the turtle had already come and gone, but the tracks were still clearly visible. This showed us that nature has its own timetable and doesn’t wait for paying tourists. It was a shame we didn’t see any sea turtles but we had already seen so much it wasn’t too much of a downer.

We followed the turtle tracks and William was explaining to us, how the female comes ashore and makes her way inland, finds a spot and digs a hole so she can lay her eggs. He mentioned that a sea turtle will always come back to the same island to lay her eggs. As we crossed the ridge, about 50ft away was a lagoon and this is where we were told the Flamingos usually hang out.  There were none to be seen though, but William suggested we wait a while to see if any turned up. Whilst we waited, just on the water’s edges were some iguanas, which I filmed and just watched as they stood motionless with their bodies facing the sun. We all knew that seeing flamingos would be a stretch. After about 40 minutes we made our way back to the beach.  It was there we found out that one of our number had fallen ill and had to be taken to the hospital on the main island.  This meant we would be stranded on the beach until they got back. William explained to us what was happening and that everything was going to be fine, the only downside was that we would be on the beach longer than planned. We were worried about our friend but were told he would be fine.   With such assurances, we were on a beach, the sole humans on this island in the pacific ocean for a couple of hours.  I decided to wade through the water and capture the waves on the rocks and some iguanas.  Pelicans gently glided past us, no more than 3ft above the sand. It was magnificent to see. Just watching the wildlife, made the time pass so quickly and as soon as it was over, the panga was on the beach ready to take us back to the boat. We were informed that our fellow traveller would be kept overnight for observations and would join us the next day

After lunch, I sorted my camera gear out and changed the batteries, putting two on charge and taking the rest with me. The afternoon excursion today was a visit to Black Turtle Cove, it was a 10 min ride on the panga across the ocean and once we entered another 10mins to reach the cove. On our way through the mangrove swamps, William was telling us about the wildlife and fauna that grows and exists here. It actually felt like a BBC nature documentary, passing through the mangroves, ducking your head and pushing away branches so we could pass. The waters were calm as we made our way through, slowly turning with paddles so as not to disturb the wildlife; everyone on the boat was looking out intently for any sign of life. William would every now and then ask for the paddles to stop and he would scan his surroundings like a hawk, squint and see if he could see any movement in the mangroves. It was hypnotic to see (https://vimeo.com/27832880), and over time, we would mimic him and in doing so learn how to look for wildlife. As we made our way twisting and turning, we came to a place which seemed like a dead end, and just then underneath the water we saw giant sea turtles swimming. Collectively we all felt a sense of humbleness.   Soon after we saw two sea turtles in a mating embrace swimming. It was one of those ‘wow’ moments. It didn’t stop there; two rays went gliding past followed shortly by some white tipped sharks. William made a point to say that it was rare to see all of these in one excursion.  We must have been ‘the chosen ones’ he quipped.

Later that evening, and like most evenings before, I went out on deck to see the sunset. I’ve seen a few sunsets around the world but here it’s different, it’s special, it adds purpose. Collectively we all felt a sense of humility.. As the light was slowly fading, a lava gull landed and casually walked across the deck. The lava gull is one of the rarest gulls in the world, the entire population lives on the Galapagos Islands and is estimated at 300-400 pairs, so to see one was pretty amazing.   As it was walking back and forth, I also noticed a Frigate bird perched on the railings, I had my 70-200 f2.8 attached and with a steady hand and pose I fired a few shots, followed by filming it (https://vimeo.com/album/1593075/video/29011764) , then I just watched while the sun set.  It was a fantastic feeling with the gentle sway of the boat on the water

20th January 2011

First thing I heard was, ‘Happy Birthday, you’re old’ followed by laughter. So this was the day, my birthday, my 30th and here I was waking up on boat, moored in Darwin Bay, Genovesa Island in the Pacific. That’s something to tell people when you tell them how you celebrated your 30th.

Like days before, we had breakfast to fill our stomachs and got onto the panga and off we went for our morning excursion which was a ride along the sheared wall cliffs, looking out for red footed boobies and seals. The jagged cliff face was covered in bird faeces, almost making it white rather than the dark lava grey colour of the rocks. As we contoured the cliffs, we noticed a pair of seals. They seemed to be sleeping in the shade; in fact they were just resting …. If you looked you’d notice their eyelids move, followed by a few small shuffles. After a few more minutes watching the seals, we turned the panga round and headed to Prince Phillip’s Steps in the southern part of Darwin Bay. The night before we were told by William that we’d be walking along a 1.5km trail on the cliffs and we should expect to see Red Footed Boobies, great frigate birds, Nazca Boobies, Galapagos Storm Petrels, and short eared owls.

We took caution climbing up the steps which were at times steep. We all gathered round William for a brief group talk and then we were on our way, walking past nests and seeing Red Footed Boobies. Someone in the group asked the question as to why they have red feet and William response was that they don’t know, he also remarked that the red and blue footed species of boobies never crossed paths.

I noticed a Red Footed Boobie perched on a branch,  the webs on the feet are more flexible than the other species, because they perch on, and nest in, trees. I was no more than 3 feet away and with all my encounters with wildlife here at the Galapagos, I was just entranced. It’s unlike anything else…this is wildlife that is untamed and has not suffered at the hand of humanity. The wildlife has no fear of us, and thus the interaction is more personable. The wind would slowly move the boobie’s feathers, so every now and then it would stretch its webbed feet to get a greater hold on the branch.  It was truly a magical experience.

As we continued walking, I caught sight of two Nazca Boobies.  They appeared to be checking each other’s feathers making sure they were clean, fit and proper. It put a smile on my face, as it mirrored the sense of love that some of us humans have for one another and here it was, in nature.

https://vimeo.com/album/1593075/video/29561363

Next we came across what seemed like a sea of Galapagos Storm Petrels; William said there was probably a few hundred, flying just by the coastline above the waters. It was hypnotic to see, just following the dark shadows in the air and tracking the huge swarms move was an experience. You see it a lot in nature programmes and may see it in your local park, but out in the pacific, with nature as raw as this, was awesome. While our gaze was fixed on the swarms, William caught sight of a short eared owl through his spotting scope. It was an impressive spot to say the least; the bird was at least 600 ft. away, perched inside a small cave. He quickly gathered us around to see it through the scope as it was rare to see and he was quite happy with the find… I think we were all amazed.

Later on when we got back to the beach, we had some time to ourselves and for those who wanted to there was the option to snorkel.  William decided to snorkel today, it was the first time we had seen this and it was great.  I took this moment to have some time to myself and and walk round the marked path near the beach. It was emotional at times not only because it was my 30th but i was thinking back over what I had achieved up to this point in my life and also where I was heading. I thought about my family and the fact that my dad wasn’t alive, and that he would never know what I’d done and achieved.  He passed away when I was 11. All the emotions were strong, but there was an immeasurable scope of joy and a great sense of achievement, to be standing and looking out at the sun, with sea lions no more than a few feet away and birds flying overhead, it was truly heartfelt and it meant so much to me. It’s moments like these that you truly can’t describe in words.

That evening back on the boat the crew made me a birthday cake. An actual cake …. a sponge cake, with icing. It really took me by surprise but was such a great thing; they all sang Happy Birthday to me in Spanish which is something that I will remember forever.  We all had cake and spent the evening celebrating my birthday. The crew and my fellow travellers were just amazing and to celebrate with me meant a lot, we were merely strangers when we first met but for that evening, we were family.  Before we all went to bed, we met with William to discuss the excursions for the next day. A long cruise to Sullivan Bay to see strange lava formations and lava lizards.

21st January 2011

The sounds of the engines and the slight rocking of the boat made me aware that we were on the move, and had been throughout the night. After breakfast, we all dispersed some going to the top deck to relax on the sun loungers, others to the bow to watch the world go by. It was nearing the end of this magnificent adventure and it felt like we all needed time to ourselves just to take it all in and appreciate what we all did, witnessed and experienced.

As we approached Sullivan Bay, from a distance you could tell it was a strange land, with contrasting colours of sand and dark charcoal with brushes of vibrant green dotted around. It looked surreal, like a strange painting. The boat stopped in deep water and we all climbed aboard the panga for a closer look. We made our way towards the rocky coastline where we saw penguins! Penguins which normally live exclusively in the southern hemisphere, most famously Antarctica. Yet here they were in Galapagos. Just when you thought you knew everything about the enchanted islands, they would show you something new. The Galapagos Penguin is the only penguin that lives north of the equator in the wild.  William told us they can survive due to the cool temperature of the Humboldt Current and cool waters from great depth brought up by the Cromwell Current. Another fact learned was that these were the third smallest species of penguins. As we circled the outcrop of rocks where there were two birds, I managed to grab a few frames, but being on the panga it was difficult to get a clear photo.  It didn’t matter though as just seeing them with my own eyes was amazing. After this we went on land and walked over the lava formations. William said we should keep moving as the excessive heat being generated by the sun was heating the black lava up to ‘beyond hot’.  He told us that if we had arrived a few hours after midday then the rubber on our shoes and sandals would melt. So with that stark warning, we moved swiftly following William over the lava, jumping over cracks and over folds in the rocks. The landscape was ‘alien’ with very little life. It reminded me of the lava fields on the Big Island in Hawaii. Eventually you’d spot small signs of life in this harsh environment.  Small cactii sprouting up between the cracks. The walk eventually went around the lava fields and back to where we started, just in time for lunch. After lunch it was a short sail to Bartolome, where we would climb to the summit and witness that postcard view that I’d seen so many times in my pre-trip research. It was such a great day, blue skies with wisps of clouds, the views from all around were just stunning, it was a visual orgasm. It took about 40 minutes to reach the summit, stopping a few times along the way to catch our breath and take in the view.

At the summit the views were breath-taking, the way the islands were in view surrounded by the water was a sight to behold. As far as the eye could see, lay the majestic constantly changing Galapagos landscape that had formed over the millennia. We spent about an hour just taking it all in, snapping photos, and every couple of minutes just staring out into nature’s wanderlust.  This was the beginning of the end of this life changing trip for me and my fellow travellers whom I shared this once in a lifetime experience with. With our emotions high in the clouds, we all merrily walked down from the summit, talking, laughing and smiling, deep in thought knowing what we’ve all witnessed and seen throughout our time here on these enchanted islands.

After lunch we were on a long sail to Puerto Ayora. A few hours went by and a few went to sleep whilst others were on deck. William quickly rounded those on deck to the bow as the captain had noticed a group of dolphins swimming with the boat. We all rushed and leaned our heads to catch a glimpse and there they were, a pod of dolphins, jumping out of the water and some swimming very close to the boat. It was truly magical and to have been witness to it was amazing. Just when you thought you’d seen most things, the Galapagos would surprise you once again. Everyone was ecstatic.  With the emotions running through us all, we were elevated to a new state of mind.

I decided to stay on the boat that evening; a few went to the island to sample the night life.

22nd January 2011

So today was the final day of this amazing trip and a great 30th, our last excursion was going to be a brief one with a short visit to the Gemelos craters. Twin craters located opposite each other on both sides of the road leading from Puerto Ayora to Baltra, the name is only figurative, they are not real craters. These were created by the collapse of surface material into underground fissures and chambers.

The view was breathtaking with the lush green vegetation everywhere. After spending a few moments at the large sink holes it was time to leave for the airport where we started this great adventure 7 days earlier.

At the airport, we thanked William for everything and for being the best guide anyone could have hoped for.  He had truly made the whole trip memorable, a bitter-sweet  ending to one of life’s great adventures of self-exploration.   We went through passport control and waited in the departure area for our flight back to Ecuador.

 

Conclusion

It’s been 3 years since I went to the Galapagos and yet a day doesn’t go by that I don’t think about what I saw and how amazing it was. I’ve talked at length to people about it, so many times that they get bored of me talking about the same ‘old shit’ every time.  But the mere fact that I still talk about it, must mean that it has somehow changed me, why else would I talk about this trip like no other. I’ve been to many amazing places on this planet but none captured the sense of adventure, the sense of exploration, the sense of knowledge, the sense of discovery better than the Galapagos. A place so vivid in its landscape that you know before you even go there, that you will fall in love with it. It will change your DNA and what makes you ‘you’. There are not many places on the planet that can do this.

From a young age, the nature of planet earth has always been on my mind. Learning about the dinosaurs in primary school, learning about the sciences, going on school trips to the Natural History Museum countless times right through to visiting the Giant Sequoias in California.  All these things strengthened my desire to see the new and experience the wonder of nature.

Growing up and watching countless nature programs on the BBC, one could dream of seeing creatures of such colour and variety in their natural habitat. Seeing the wildlife in the Galapagos was a humbling experience for me. I was raised to believe in religion, but to keep sane, I had to let it go so I could stay on the path that I’m on now. It’s been liberating to say the least.  Being a person of science, and seeing things before me which at times were just jaw dropping, exquisite and majestic, is ….. what life is about. Being there, and going from island to island, you learn much about yourself. Being away from civilization, the hustle and bustle of city life was comforting for me. To have time to think beyond the realms of barriers, boundaries and borders…… this is what the Galapagos did for me..

Being a photographer in the Galapagos was liberating. Years of reading and people telling me what you should and should not do was all washed away. I was free to be me, free to  pursue my photography as I saw fit.  I was doing it for me, and it was a bonus that people liked the resulting photos and videos.  Since then many more people have viewed my photos and videos and I’ve been getting humbling emails from people all over the world. To have brought a sense of joy to a wide variety of people through my work is an amazing feeling.  The notion that we as humans can connect through visual representation, and that these in turn can break down barriers of race, creed and religion is powerful. To connect with people through photos is a wondrous feeling.

The journey to the Enchanted Isles has made me even more aware of cultural subtleties that divide and split people.  It’s made me more aware of the love that we have inside of us, the power it has to enable us to do great things in life and also to help others. But more than that, it has opened my eyes and mind to the wonders of the planet.  Now more so than ever, I wish to travel, to photograph, film and document the places I visit

We live in a world where we want things quickly and instantly, and that’s a shame. I’ve learned to be patient in my life and will take my time with my projects so that they’re only shared when they’re ready to be shown to the world. Admiring the nature of the Galapagos gave me a sense of slowing things down, appreciating those moments a little longer, long enough so that it still lingers in your mind when you hear a piece of music or see a photo.

I will for the rest of my life talk about the Galapagos.  I will show and share my photos and films of it with everyone and anyone, because it is truly a unique place on this planet from which we still have much to learn. Only by doing this, will we learn to appreciate each other.

 

So the Galapagos Islands, it has been an immense, powerful experience and has forever left an indelible footprint on what makes me who I am….

Still unsure to go or want to really get a sense of what's it like? All I ask is 5 minutes of your life to watch this video I filmed! (if you'd like to watch it on Youtube, then head over to my channel to view it or click here )

 

Read my interview I did with Detour Destinations about my experiences at the Galapagos here http://bit.ly/Js1Y7N

To see my photos from this amazing trip, head over to https://www.flickr.com/photos/moon24/sets/72157625758754443

To see my videos that I shot out there, then please head over to https://vimeo.com/album/1593075

Prints from my trip to the Galapagos are available to purchase from http://www.m24instudiophotography.com/p134219154

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500pxVimeo and Tumblr

Check out my other blog posts

Mamun Humayun
www.m24instudio.com

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(m24instudio) Galapagos The Galapagos adventure enchanted isles m24instudio nature travel travel writing wildlife https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/the-galapagos Fri, 27 Dec 2013 23:27:04 GMT
London December 18th 2013 https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/london-december-18th-2013 London is my home, its where I grew up and where I tell people when I'm travelling that it's where I'm from. After years of going to amazing places on this planet, I have yet to actually photograph London, and there are reasons why I haven't done it, plus the fact that I love nature and landscapes, also I'm not a fan of seeing cranes littering the London skyline. But that being said, this evening I decided to make an effort to just shoot the hustle and bustle of London on my way home and as it's Christmas, London sure does look lovely this time of year.

Please check out my other photos from around the world http://www.m24instudiophotography.com

Connect with me on Twitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px and Tumblr

Those on tumblr follow me here http://m24instudio.tumblr.com/

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(m24instudio) London London December 18th 2013 cityscape m24instudio photography street photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/london-december-18th-2013 Wed, 18 Dec 2013 20:13:42 GMT
Lily Teresa Kennard https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/lily-teresa-kennard It had been 7 weeks and I had only seen photos of her on people’s phones and those that were emailed to me. Those I saw online were that of her mum dressing her up in her nicest outfits and posing her on the sofa, bear in mind that Lily is still a baby and oblivious to the antics her mother is putting her through, but what does Lily care, it’s her mother’s love that shines through.

I made a date to visit Lily and her parents, after my travels and jobs in between, I would make the effort to see Lily in person and witness the marvel of what we take for granted, life.

She is so small yet you can see the humanity in her eyes, her soul, and this little thing will grow up to be someone. But at this moment she will rely on the very two people that brought her into this world. It will be up to them to nurture her, keep her safe and guide her and in return Lily will guide her parents to be the best they can at being something which no book nor teacher can ever explain, that of being a mother and father but above all loving parents.

I will be paying Lily a visit in a few months time to see how far she has grown and see how her parents are doing

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(m24instudio) Lily Teresa Kennard m24instudio m24instudio photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/lily-teresa-kennard Mon, 16 Dec 2013 20:05:57 GMT
24 to SAN FRAN https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/24-to-san-fran The second in my '24 to'...series, with photography by @rosycupcakes. As you can probably tell from the title, its San Francisco. Unlike '24 to NYC', the last time I was in San Francisco was back in 2005 and it was fondly remembered not least because it was from here, I visited Yosemite and Muir Woods (more on those in later blogs). 

Since my last visit, not much had changed, and it felt like I'd never left. This time round though, I got to see more of San Francisco and actually spend time with friends. One of which took us to the Mission District where we chilled and hanged out together, we had a great time and hoping that when I go back to America, she will be there to show me the realness of it all. San Francisco carries a different beat to NYC, its like being in two different countries and at one point I thought I was back in London after a taxi ride back to my hotel from Lombard Street. 

Follow @rosycupcakes https://twitter.com/rosycupcakes

To see photos I took, please head to http://www.m24instudiophotography.com/p726169396

Connect with me on Facebook , YoutubeTwitter , Instagram , Flickr , 500px and Tumblr

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(m24instudio) 24 to san fran m24instudio mission district san fran san francisco travel photography wanderlust https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/24-to-san-fran Tue, 10 Dec 2013 16:00:00 GMT
Navsari at Night https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/navsari-at-night Any city looks somewhat beautiful when the sun goes down as the city comes to light. Last week I was in Navsari in the state of Gujarat in India. I was photographing a wedding and in moments I had time to myself, I would go to the roof of the apartment of where I was staying and just gaze out into the city while the sun was setting and eventually see out of the darkness, the street lights come on, the dozens of lights turning on in peoples home and the traffic that would casually weaver through the city.

Here are two photos I took.

To see more travel photos that I have taken, please head over to www.m24instudiophotography.com

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(m24instudio) Navsari at Night india m24instudio m24instudio travel photography navsari travel photography https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/12/navsari-at-night Mon, 02 Dec 2013 21:18:07 GMT
24 to NYC https://m24instudio.zenfolio.com/blog/2013/11/24-to-nyc ‘24 to’… is a new series that I will be doing. I will choose 24 photos from various places that I have travelled to across the globe.

This is ‘24 to NYC’. I visited NYC back in September and spent a week enjoying the city. These particular set of photos were actually shot by @rosycupcakes (whose photos I will be using for 4 blog updates in regards to the '24 to...series') and processed by me. If you want to see more photos follow her, talk to her, ask her (she doesn't bite)

This was my 2nd visit to NYC, the last time was back in 2001, and back then it was what people said of it, the city that never sleeps, the vibrancy, it has heart, character, but it’s the people that make it great. Going back in 2013 suffice to say it’s still got all those qualities. As much as it is appreciated from walking around on ground level and for those who can afford it, helicopter rides over the city, I wish there was a zip line that traversed the city, now that would be a cool way to see and experience the city that never sleeps.

24 to NYC 24 to NYC 24 to NYC 24 to NYC 24 to NYC 24 to NYC 24 to NYC 24 to NYC 24 to NYC 24 to NYC 24 to NYC 24 to NYC 24 to NYC 24 to NYC 24 to NYC   24 to NYC 24 to NYC 24 to NYC 24 to NYC 24 to NYC 24 to NYC 24 to NYC 24 to NYC 24 to NYC

To see my photos of New York, head to my gallery

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