St Peter’s

St Peter's

This seems to be quite a classic view of Rome…and though it didn’t feel like I had seen this view many times before my trip there, I have certainly seen it crop up a lot in the past month. I guess it’s always been popular, just not that recognisable to me before now.

Either way, St Peter’s Basilica is certainly a wonderful building and, like St Paul’s when in London, was something I found myself drawn to whenever I was out taking photos…attempting to get a glimpse of it or a nice composite with the dome in view.

For now you get a lovely sunset shot…the magnificent colours of which has been drowned out due to the use of long exposure…

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Moroccan Macaque

Moroccan Macaque

What better way to start off the new year than with a monkey.

While in Marrakech over Christmas I took a day trip out to the Cascades d’Ouzoud in the middle Atlas mountains. As the name suggests, the main attraction there was a lovely set of waterfalls, so it was a bonus when I saw the macaques who were lounging around, happily being fed by visitors.

As with those at the Jigokudani monkey park in Japan, they can be tricky to photograph sometimes due to their constant movement and the level of zoom/f-stop being used, but was happy to get at least this one which I thought came out rather nicely.

Hope everyone had a nice New Year’s night.

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Ben Youssef Madrasa

Ben Youssef Madrasa

On my fourth and final trip into the souks of Marrakech I visited the former college of Ben Youssef Madrasa. I was very pleased by the fact I was able to navigate directly to it without having to reference a map or guide for directions. Though the souks seem to be a complete maze I was starting to get comfortable with navigating around the old town from a few of the main entrances and think I could quite quickly get used to how it all works. This didn’t stop me from being bothered by people attempting to get me to go to the tanneries, of course…and I lost count of how many times I was told some route was closed…when it wasn’t.

The college itself had a few nice features to grab photos of, though as always ‘another time’ would have led to a better chance to grab some snaps, ideally with less people of course, but also there is a sunken pool in the main court which had no water in it during my visit, which was a shame.

As I was taking a photo of this chamber a few people walked in front of me oblivious to the fact I was taking photos. However in this instance I didn’t mind so much as the girl you see here added to the image in many ways, and you can’t see her mother who is having her photo taken by the girl.

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Ta Prohm in the Angkor Wat complex is a fascinating place. Though you may not recognise it by name, you have no doubt seen images of the temples overrun by nature which is reclaiming the land that was built upon many years ago; roots wind their way through stone, and trees grow carelessly within, around and on top of the man-made structures.

As I wandered around I found I found it quite difficult to capture the grandeur of the location and represent what I was seeing with what I was catching on the camera, and so I decided I needed to stop trying to focus on the bigger picture. Instead I switched out the 14mm for the 70-200mm and decided I would walk around attempting to find details instead.

I found myself in a stone corridor which was quite aesthetic, and which a few other people were taking selfies of each other in. Resisting the urge to switch back to my wider lens my eyes eventually found this leaf suspended in a web in part of a doorway. I climbed up a few pieces of stone at the end of the corridor until I was at the same level as the leaf, and zoomed in fully to 200mm to shoot it from afar.

It’s good sometimes just to take a step back and focus on the little things.

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The Trevi Fountain in Rome is quite magnificent, and was luckily one of the iconic sights in the eternal city which had completed the work it was having done to it and so was unimpeded by scaffold or hoarding (the same cannot be said for the Colosseum, or the Pantheon, or the Spanish Steps, or countless other locations).

Arriving here in the early hours of a Monday morning I was confident that I would have the location to myself, those working in Rome would be unlikely to stop and admire, and those who are visiting are generally sound asleep in their respective hotels during those early hours. I was happy to indeed have the location to myself, with a few street cleaners and one or two other people only turning up around 7am – all of which stayed behind my camera…which I thought was rather kind of them.

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The Pantheon

The Pantheon

I found the Pantheon to be quite unassuming from the outside. Sure, it looked quite nice sitting there by the Piazza della Rotonda, a nice fountain in the front and an annoying piece of scaffold on the left hand side (story of my trip).

However, it’s a little like the TARDIS. I step inside what seemed to be a smallish structure and I am faced with a wide open space and an awe inspiring dome high above me, with light flowing through to add to the impression of vastness. On a better day I could imagine a beautiful beam of sunlight coming through, like a tractor beam from a spaceship ready to whisk someone away to the stars as we see in various sci-fi movies.

Well played, Rome, well played.

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I find the heat debilitating.

I would much rather be out and about in a cold environment than a hot one, especially when it comes to photography. Of course there is that perfect heat where you can wander around effortlessly; not too warm that carrying all of your camera gear leads to you melting in a pool of sweat, and not so cold that you have to do on the spot exercise while waiting for a 30 second exposure to complete. If that perfect temperature isn’t available however, I would prefer to fall on the side of the cold.

This is why my trip around part of Asia earlier this year was a difficult one for me. Even at night the humidity was pretty bad, and by day I had to decide on seeing as much as I could around various cities or napping in the hotels/apartments under the glorious air-conditioning. Indoor shooting was another possibility, as long as they had air-con.

I do love to nap. Therefore, after getting up for sunrise and spending as long as I could bear to outside, lounging around in the hotel for a while certainly won out a lot of times, hopefully mustering up enough energy to get back outside for the sunset.

At the time, it always feels like the best thing to do, but I do often look back and feel like I missed an opportunity by not spending every possible moment exploring.

So anyway, this shot was obviously taken at night time, and I was probably stood in a pool of sweat while I was taking it. Lovely looking towers though.

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