Photo Essays

Welcome to my 10,000 inspirations.
These collections are hand picked favourites taken on commissions, tours and holidays.

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Taung To
Inle Lake / Myanmar
35 images

A handful of tourists make it this far south on Lake Inle for the Taung To Market, but mostly it's a chance for locals from the hills to come down and stock up on produce and textiles. I got a chance to write about this part of the Shan District for National Geographic Traveller last year, and shar a few photos. I only wish I had the whole magazine instead of a few spreads. My favourite treat at the market was the sweet milk tea and freshly fried roti bread. Delicious!

Inle Weaving
Lotus Weavers / Myanmar
37 images

It's hard graft making a living on the shallow waters of Inle Lake. There's very little nutrients in the water and even less timber on hand to build homes. Life on the lake is hard. The weavers of Inle have managed not merely to cultivate skill in their craft but adapt a local resource to suit. Very fine fibres are extracted from the stems of Lotus plants and worked into thread.

Stars on the water
Inle Lake / Myanmar
43 images

Early mornings are beautifully still on Inle Lake, with the sun taking a little extra time to clear the nearby hills. Fishermen come out as soon as the mist has cleared, armed with nets or cages. Rays of the sun reflect off the ripples like stars. In the middle of Lake Inle is a teak temple famous for jumping cats, and the shallow shoreline is hidden by miles of "floating gardens". Inle is kinda neat.

Agrarian Love
Hobart / Tasmania
40 images

More than just a cooking school, The Agrarian Kitchen is an inspiration to change your life. Rodney and Severine grow their food, milk the goats and live a sustainable existence in the hills outside of Hobart. Chestnut trees. Pigs. Asparagus. Loganberries. Pears. There's so much depth to their story that a short introduction will always fall short by miles. Checkout their website and do your best to get a booking on one of their cooking schools. Or join myself and Iron Chef Shellie for next years Food Photography Workshop in Hobart, featuring the Agrarian Kitchen and all that makes Tasmaina wonderful.

Jökulsárlón / Iceland
18 images

Chunks of glaciers are tipped onto a small bay near the coast, and on the whim of winds and storms they make their way out to sea only to be thrown back onto the black beaches by ocean waves. Jökulsárlón is a truly bizarre and amazing place to visit. You never know how many bergs will be landed on the shore, or if the winds will drag them all away. The blue colour comes from the old ice trapped inside the glacier for millenia, contrasting with the deep dark tones of volcanic black sands.

Macau Streets
Macau SAR
31 images

A few hundred years of Portuguese rule has done little to divert the deep rooted Chinese traditions of Macau. The casinos have a more potent presence than the colonial architecture or cuisine. It's the wanton soups, dim sum and morning markets that most caught my eye in these islands.

Great Ocean Photos
Shipwreck Coast / Victoria
33 images

Waterfalls and rugged coastline. A few of us headed for The Otways and Great Ocean Road to spend a few days shooting the sunsets and chasing koalas. Just for fun. Even on the darkest and most grey of cloudy days the last light on the Shipwreck Coast often throws up a blast of colour for the final few minutes. And those cloudy days are great for visiting places like Hopetoun Falls.

Icelandic Winter
Snow Ice Water / Iceland
35 images

Waterfalls are a big part of the attraction when visiting Iceland. They have a few stunning locations that challenge and inspire. Gullfoss and Godafoss are magnificent, but so are the subtle moments when travelling with a camera in the Icelandic Winter.

Icelandic Horse
29 images

I love their crazy hair and short legs, their curious nature and indifference to the snow. The Icelandic Horse is a pure genetic line that has remained free of disease and cross breeding for centuries. Any horses that leave the country are not allowed to return, in order to keep them pure.

Packing Prosecco
Oxley / Victoria
84 images

Under the shade of river gums the Forges gather horses. Some are for riding, some are for loading up. Packing a horse was something of an art form in days gone by. You can even get a piano packed onto horses if you have to! Learning to pack a horse need not begin with a grand piano, so why not start with another local treasure in King Valley - Prosecco. Bottles of bubbles add a little pleasure to the task of learning to pack your horse.

Streets of Yangon
Yangon / Myanmar
34 images

Take a short walk through the historic streets of Yangon, formerly known as Rangoon as named by the British. Modern times are coming to Myanmar, slowly. Life is changing and many of the old relics from colonial past are slated for an update. For now the city still holds it's charm, and photographic appeal.

Pagoda of Peace
Yangon / Myanmar
35 images

Shwe Dagon is a sanctuary of calm in the chaos of Yangon. Years ago I met a monk at this temple, a man who convinced me that tourism can lead to change in his country. So far his prediction have proved right. I enjoy sharing my insights into Myanmar with photographers, and I enjoy the gentle neature of the people. Above all, Shwe Dagon Pagoda is a place of peacefulness, where prayers are offered in kindness to others.

Tea Time in Myanmar
Inle / Myanmar
58 images

There are two things they grow in the hills of Inle, food and tea. Follow this photographic journey from the market stalls through to the tea plantations. Tea leves, sweetened condensed milk, roti bread, curries and fried vegetables. Always served with a smile.

Rubies in Prosecco
Iron Chef Shellie / Melbourne
40 images

It all started with Prosecco. It usually does. 2013 was the year of bubbles for me, a year filled with jaunts to King Valley to shoot photos and drink in the fine times amongst the vines. A year of indulgence matched only by lovely people. Christmas naturally becomes a celebration of the whole year, so with the help of Shellie we concocted a sweet treat that looks back over 2013 and pulls it all together. Prosecco and Rubies, complimented with light and bright flavours of Asia. Melbourne is where east loves west, where ginger and lime sit on the table with fine Italian bubbles. It all makes sense once you dip in and taste.

There's a bonus PDF to download via Iron Chef Shellie as well. It's pretty, it's useful, it's a keeper! See the link after the photos.

Mekong Dusk
Luang Prabang / Laos
36 images

My favourite place in South-East Asia, a city on the banks of the Mekong that shines like a candle cupped in your hands. At night that's what it feels like, dimly lit by incandescent globes while street stalls grill fish and serve soup. As the sun fades on the Mekong the people who draw life from it dive into the water and wash, or drift across it by ferry to head home. Mekong. Life. Laos.

Mystics of Muktinath
Thorong La / Nepal
49 images

With the snowy glaciers of Thorong La looming above Muktinath, this little town is a welcome sight for trekkers on the Annapurna Trail. It's also a unique place for photographers to visit for Himalayan scenery and a glimpse of culture through the centuries.

Matcha Macarons
Melbourne / Australia
23 images

Green tea flavoured anything will get my attention, but when I first encountered these delicate little treats I was seriously impressed. Beautifully designed and executed by Pierrick Boyer, the subtle nature of matcha flavour works wonderfully with the fragile form of the macaron. Hidden within is a drop of rasberry to give just enough contrast to the tea. With the help of some seriously lovely food bloggers we did a photo shoot, and presented below is the evolution of that process.

Steps to Kagbeni
Annapurnas / Nepal
37 images

This is my favourite town in Nepal, a little enclave of culture at the foot of the Mustang Kingdom. Once it was a remote outpost along the windhorse trail, but today it's where we stop for yak cheese and real coffee. For photographers, Kagbeni is a true gem that shoots well from any angle.

Tangbi to Jakar
Central Bhutan
31 images

A landscape of powerful rivers, silent mountains and sacred temples. Central Bhutan is a long drive from the cities of Paro and Thimphu, a winding route that hugs the valleys. But a beautiful drive. You get a sense of the wilderness that is Bhutan, a taste of the forests and a glimpse of life in the Himalayas.

Tamshing Phala Choepa
Bumthang / Bhutan
58 images

Softly softly, like a snow leopard hiding in the Himalayas. The quiet temple of Tamshing rests peacefully all year, until the annual festival. Rustling with colour and kindness, the locals crowd inside to celebrate the monks, the chams, the blessings. It's festive, unpredictable and vibrant.

Dal Zotto and Kings
King Valley / Victoria
31 images

One of the great treasures of rural Australia is the heritage of Italian migrants that lies hidden in North-East Victoria. It's not just food and wine, it's generations of traditional lifestyles and lovely people. This is where you find outstanding Prosecco. Dal Zotto is also where you can enjoy food equal to the wines. When can I go back please?

King Island in Winter
King Island / Australia
47 images

A wild island full of delicious treats and enthralling coastline. Oceanic winds bring wild weather in the winter, but in between the clouds the low sun bathes King Island in brilliant light. In the space of just 3 days I journeyed the island with Ian Rolfe and got a taste of why he keeps coming back. Great people, great scenery and a luxurious peace and quiet for photographers.

Paris Reflections
Paris / France
93 images

This set of images is pure indulgence. Paris in winter is divine. I wasn't even planning to take my camera out on the street, it was a genuine holiday after all. Then I got a little crazy. C'est la vie. C'est lovely.

Market Road
Pokhara Valley / Nepal
32 images

This collection follows the produce from terraced fields through to the wholesale markets of Kathmandu. Traditional farming methods are still used today all over the Pokhara Valley and Kathmandu Valleys. Entire villages head into the fields when it's time to harvest, or when it's time to sew their crops.

Smoke and Sadus
Pashupatinath / Kathmandu
28 images

Every year a flock of pilgrims and holy men descend on the Hindu temple of Pashupati in the city of Kathmandu. Their colours and characters fill the usually quiet courtyards of the temple. Smoke fills the air from burning logs used to boil cups of tea and stay warm. On their path to spiritual heights the Sadus and Babas also smoke a little weed, and for the day of Shivaratri the laws that prohibit marujuana in Nepal are relaxed.

Lofoten in Blue
Lofoten Islands / Norway
24 images

These shots were taken over a couple days in mid-February, mostly taking advantage of the overcast conditions on Norway's Lofoten Islands but sometimes embracing the bursts of sunshine that greet the morning. Villages such as Hamnoy have the lovely red fishing cabins, while Sakrisoya prefer orange. Lofoten is lovely.

Lapland Winter Market
Jokkmokk / Swedish Lapland
29 images

Once a year the Sami people of Swedish Lapland gather to trade reindeer furs, race reindeer on the lake and share a meal of smoked char or reindeer stew. This photo essay is from the 408th Winter Market held in Jokkmokk, just inside the Arctic Circle. Yum and fun.

Nom Nom Noumea
New Caledonia / Nouvelle Caledonie
29 images

Patrick Morand and his magnificent macarons are the inspiration for this collection. More famous for his chocolates but the intensity of flavour and consistency of form make these macarons special. Patrick's modest little shop in Noumea is a treasure trove of sweet treats. A few extra sweets from the Gourmet Workshop (boulangerie & patisserie) in Faubourg Blanchot rounds out this collection of pics.

Dragon Rapide DH89A
Lady Penrhyn / Australia
27 images

Three decades of restoration work has brought this Dehavilland DH89A Dragon Rapide back to her former glory. Maurice Rolfe is the man behind the machine, whose dedication and skill now sees this 1944 built aircraft finally ready to fly again.

Labrang Tashikyil
Xiahe / China
42 images

One of the great monasteries of Tibetan China, once home to over 2000 monks and a sacred place of learning. Labrang Tashikyil is a cluster of temples, prayer halls, residences and shrines. The monks here are very friendly, a little cheeky and very devoted to their Yellow-Sect traditions.

Last Night in Xian
Xi'an / China
34 images

I wasn't actually there last night, but it was my last night. After a decade of travelling across China in search of yummy food and pretty pictures this journey may have been my last on tour. Inspired by the delicious culinary journeys of great chefs who have also visited Xi'An I share my last night in the delightful chaos of the Muslim Quarter.

Tuyuguo of Turpan
Turpan / China
33 images

Tuyugou Canyon is hidden on the back roads of the Flaming Mountains, a dramatic range of hills that rise out of the desert near Turpan. Originally a 5th century village, built from mud and timber, it is one of the many towns near Turpan that grow grapes and mulberrys and is the location of Xojam Maxar.

Market Moods
Kashgar / China
36 images

In the far west of China, where the Silk Route meets the hills of Kashmir, the city of Kashgar has been a trading mecca for centuries. On my last visit to Kashgar I imagined what it might be like to overlay the language of modern stock markets onto the traditional buying and selling of livestock that dominates this bazaar.

Daylesford Delicious
Victoria / Australia
47 images

Indulgence is the theme for a long weekend in country Victoria, surrounded by some of the best produce in the state. Fine dining, great wines and lovely company. Indulgence meets inspiration as we spend the long weekend photographing dishes and ingredients, at the farm and in the kitchen.

Lovely Bits of Leica
Melbourne / Australia
25 images

A few lovely old Leica cameras, mostly old but one of them new, as shared by the crazy lads at The Camera Exchange. Thanks to John and Paul.

Home Valley Station
Kimberleys / Western Australia
27 images

Each year we fly into HV8 and spend a few days chasing sunsets and Boabs. Where the Gibb River glides past the Cockburn Ranges we wait for the last light of the day, shooting the red ridges of the distant ranges as they reflect off the water. Kununurra and surrounds are known for their massive Boab Trees, and Home Valley is no exception.

Kimberleys / Western Australia
27 images

This is my favourite National Park in Australia. The landscapes offer immense inspiration and opportunity for photographers, the bird life is diverse and full of song, while the flora carpets the earth with a subtle range of hues. This year we skipped the usual Purnululu sunset shoot in favour of helicopters. Yay.

Bhutanese Black and White
Bumthang / Bhutan
29 images

This set of images inspired a feature I wrote about letting the experience take precedence over the exposures. The idea is to take your time and experience the moment before you try to capture the moment. It's a technique that gives you greater ability to express something special in your travel photography, but also opens the door to unexpected and wonderful experiences. It's what follows from my three guiding principles... Go Slow, Get Closer, Let the Light Guide You.

Living Amongst The Temples
Bagan / Myanmar / Burma
33 images

The historical treasures of Bagan's ancient ruins provide a backdrop for farmers and villages that struggle to grow crops in the parched landscape. The Irrawaddy rolls past the temples and carries away silt and sand, but in amongst the stonework are goat herds and ox cart, fields of wheat and cheeky children.

Bumthang Bumthang
Bumthang in Bhutan
32 images

Every temple in Bhutan has a festival once a year. Some are big and some are small, but all of them are unique. This year I took my photography tour to Bumthang, one of my favourite parts of the country, and met some lovely novice monks in a very modest temple. Some were cheeky, some were serene and a few were slightly drunk. Together they were wonderful.

Monks of Chimi Lhakhang
Phunakha in Bhutan
17 images

Chimi Lhakhang is the known as the Temple of the Divine Madman. Phallic symbols dominate the entire area let alone the temple, as the founding monk had something of a passion for women. To this day the blessing from monks at Chimi is known to bring good luck to those seeking to have a baby. For our photography tour it just brought us some lovely photos of monks and their traditions.

Pindaya Market
Shan District / Myanmar
36 images

I could spend all day in a market like this, but they usually close before noon. Once a week the people surrounding Pindaya fill the streets and laneways around the old market. It's fresh, vibrant and full of colour. See for yourself.

Postcard from Dhammanyan Gyi
Bagan / Myanmar / Burma
22 images

One of the most unique of the Bagan ruins, but very quiet in the early mornings. Most people see it only at sunset when they climb Shwe San Daw for sunset, it's the massive temple that looks like it was designed by Lego. Inside are some lovely treasures however.

Postcard from Htilominlo
Bagan / Myanmar / Burma
20 images

A classic example of 13th century temple construction in Myanmar, and now a very popular destination for tourists. Inside a series of Buddha statues have been well maintained, and glisten with gold leaf. Outside the vendors work hard to pitch their trinkets to tourists.

Elephants of Chiang Dao
Northern Thailand
22 images

Caring for elephants is no trivial issue in Thailand. Some camps treat their elephants better than others, and one of my favourites is in the north of Thailand at Chiang Dao. About an hour past Chiang Mai, this little camp gets far fewer visitors every day but enough to keep the elephants well fed and happy. There are good and bad aspects to elephant camps of any kind, but they're better than letting these majestic creatures starve on the streets.

Tamarind and Tomato
Luang Prabang in Laos
30 images

Tamarind is the name of my favourite restaurant in Luang Prabang. This is where I first came to learn about smokey eggplant jeeow and the best lemongrass and ginger cooler in Laos. Additional treats such as the lemongrass chicken and fish amok sealed the deal. Every now and then they run cooking classes out on the edge of town, starting with a trip to market. Yummy.

Foodies in Nepal
Tea and Beans in Nepal
34 images

This set is inspired by Dani Venn, who happened to mention the words 'food photography' but was likely refering to something a little more delicious than photos of dal bhat at a truck stop. But the food of Nepal is beautiful in its own way. Apple pancakes in the Annapurnas is still my favourite dish.

Far from the Temples
32 images

This photo essay was taken during my 2012 photo tour, a collection of landscapes, people and details that remind me of the Druk culture. Some images are evocative of my favourite moments during that two weeks, others connect with memories across all my journeys in Bhutan. There's more to this country than just temples and monks.

Trongsa to Dochula
Central Bhutan
35 images

Once the centre of power in the Kingdom of Bhutan, Trongsa Dzong is now a stopping point for travellers heading east. And a beautiful stop at that. Once you clear the thin air of Dochula and Yotongla the high fields of Central Bhutan offer an immense sense of space, with very few villages hidden in the mountains.

Kimberley Coast
Sailing the Kimberley Coast
59 images

Thanks to all the crew and passengers on our Adventure Quest out of Broome in August. This is truly one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and even better with a blend of adventure and luxury offered by the crew of Kimberley Quest II. Love your work guys.

Kimberley Quest II
Sailing the Kimberley Coast
50 images

Thanks to all the crew and passengers on our Adventure Quest out of Broome in August. This is truly one of the most beautiful places on the planet, and even better with a blend of adventure and luxury offered by the crew of Kimberley Quest II. Love your work guys.

Oxley and Beyond
Central Victoria - Australia
39 images

The King Valley is just a little bit charming. Bubbly prosecco and stinky cheeses dominate the offerings here, but horse training and windmills still hint at the farming traditions that have kept the region on the map. Autum is my favourite time in year in Oxley, and beyond.

Dishing it with Dani
Melbourne Australia
25 images

Cooking up some yummy photos with Dani Venn and getting paid for it? I'll take that gig. Putting together a series of images for culinary inspiration is actually much harder than it looks, but with a creative cook in the kitchen like Dani it's not only delicious but delightful. Turns out the key to lovely food photography is to start with lovely food!

The Flower House
Women Lead in Kathmandu
25 images

These girls are part of a project to encourage the women of Nepal to expand their horizons and take more positive roles as leaders of their community. Women Lead is a local NGO that runs programs for select girls to foster their awareness beyond the school curriculum. We did a photo shoot with the 2012 gals with the objective of putting a face to the project.

The Low Road
Valleys and Villages in Nepal
42 images

Scenes from the 2012 photography tour in Nepal, featuring the Newari towns and a few favourite locations in Kathmandu city. Nepal is a paradise for photographers, it's not just for trekkers!

Photographers and Mountains
Annapurnas in Nepal
43 images

Scenes from the 2012 photography tour in Nepal, featuring the thin air of the Annapurnas. Nepal is a paradise for photographers, it's not just for trekkers! We take jeeps along the key sections, fly in small aircraft to reach the airstrip at Jomsom, and enjoy slow walks through pretty towns in between. And the apple pancakes are awesome!

Lake Geneva / Switzerland
59 images

Castles and Chardonne are what you can expect to find on the shore sof Lake Geneva. French influences with Swiss culture to make the Lavaux region a playground for the wealthy. Just a short train ride from European captials, the Lavaux region is equally a pleasure for passing travellers.

Ratchatewi Street Art
Bangkok / Thailand
30 images

Street art in the district of Ratchatewi was my inspiration for this photo essay. Graffiti on the walls of partially demolished buildings, and in the laneways of the neighbourhood just a few feet from a busy khlong. This is what I love about Bangkok, it's a living city with a dynamic and evolving culture.

Buddha Thai
Thailand - Chiang Mai
30 images

Today I was asked to dig up an image of the Buddha from Thailand for a magazine. As I rummaged through some RAW files from recent trips I got a little nostalgic. The people of Thailand enjoy their Buddha in golden tones and magnificent temples.

Outback and White
Australian Outback
40 images

The colours of the Outback are usually pretty subtle, a landscape washed of nutrients over millions of years. This trip I got a craving for B&W instead, inspired by the winter sunshine and endless textures of the land. Most of all the people of the Outback inspire me, from the Tiwis to the Tanami.

Snow Safari
Sorbyn / Swedish Lapland
31 images

A modest but lovely safari camp in the snow has been created by the locals of Sorbyn. Guests sleep in a modern adaption of the traditional lavvo, with a wood fired stove inside that keeps you warm from the sub-zero temperatures outside. A team of dogs arrive with excitement, on their part and ours. Snow shoes, smoked reindeer and lingon berry juice round out the day.

Stay Classy Wangaratta
Lovely lifestyles in Central Victoria
44 images

The Rural City of Wangaratta recently decided it was time to update their image library, and in the process it definitely updated my image of the town as well. So many lovely people, so much lovely food, plus the charms of nearby regions such as Milawa, Oxley and Glenrowan. Wine and sunshine were the main themes, with a little cycling and scenery thrown into the mix. Wangaratta is not a bad place to live at all.

Stay Tasty Wangaratta
Fine Times in Central Victoria
38 images

Food and wine in country Victoria just keeps getting better and better. Wangaratta is getting its fair share of the goodies too, with great cuisine and wine lists at restaurants like Rinaldo's and Watermarc. It's just Milawa, Bright and Beechworth serving up the fine times.

Tigers and Nuns
36 images

Paro is where the western world meets the Kingdom of Bhutan, and is the departure point for travellers after exploring lands to the east. One final challenge greets us however, the ascent to Tigers Nest. A remarkable temple clings to the side of a rock, ironically intended to provide solitude and isolation from the outside world. Now the entire world comes here to see it.

Tsechu at Tamshing
Central Bhutan
34 images

Tamshing is a small temple in the central Bhutanese region of Bumthang. This is a small temple with just a handful of monks, but each year the community gathers to celebrate the spirit and traditions of Bhutan. Cham dances are performed during the Tamshing Tsechu over the course of three days, with monks dressing in the black-hat and other cham costumes.

Khamu Village
Laos - Luang Prabang
27 images

The Khamu people are one of poorest minorities in Laos. You find them in remote places, the kind of places you need an elephant to reach. Or a boat. Paul Wager is a local photographer in Luang Prabang and he helped me access one of these villages with camera in hand.

Middle Kingdom
China - Travels with Leica
54 images

Every year I make a special trip to China with a group of photographers to share what I love about the country. Every year the journey is unique, never the same as before and never to be the same again. This year I borrowed a Leica M9-P as my camera companion for the trip, which was both challenging and enlightening. I discovered a whole new respect for professionals who choose the M format.

Phobjikha Valley
Bhutan - Gangtey Valley
33 images

This valley lies at an altitude of 2800m, too high to grow rice but a happy climate for the Black-necked Cranes who visit every year from Tibet. Potatoes are the crop of trade in Phobjokha. Most rural settings you'll see when visiting Bhutan have a sense of abundance, but no here. Phobjikha Valley is sparse and dramatic, a narrow thread of green hidden by the mountains near Pele La.

Angkor for Photographers
Cambodia - Siem Reap
37 images

Photographers who visit the temples of Angkor are inevitably inspired to see the ruins and jungle through the cast of Black & White. The medium invokes a feeling of time long past that rests comfortably with the subject material. Places like Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm loose their depth, detail and warmth when presented in colour.

Nepal - Tharu People
29 images

Come and meet the people who live in and around the Chitwan National Park in Nepal. On one side of the river are rice fields, and the other is pure jungle. Tigers still roam for the forests, although I never saw more than their paw prints. I did see plenty of other wildlife in Chitwan, including Rhinos and Elephants, but I loved the Tharu people outside the park too.

Wrangel Island
Russia - Chukchi Sea
47 images

This small island in the Chukchi Sea is best known for it's remarkable concentration of Polar Bears. When the ice melts the bears need a safe haven to wait out the summer. The bears may be hungry during these months but the foxes and owls are not, because they have the Lemmings. In fact the entire ecology of the island is driven by these little creatures and their ability to survive in the Arctic tundra.

Puffins and Polar Bears
Russia - Chukotka
41 images

The north eastern tip of Russia is known as Chukotka, and it's a very long way from Moscow. Rugged cliffs along the Chukchi Sea are a haven for Puffins, and the long seasons of ice are a haven for Polar Bears. I joined the expedition ship Professor Kromov to get close to the wildlife. Sort of close. Bears are dangerous, Puffins are aloof, and indigenous hunters have made most wildlife in the region very shy of human activity. This region is a genuine challenge for photographers.

People of the Drum
Zhaoxing - Guizhou
31 images

Held high in the tops of ornate towers, the Dong people built skin covered drums as places of spiritual worship. Under Chairman Mao the drums were destroyed, but their spirit lives on. Know recognised as the most beautiful singers in China, it is with great irony that the drums remain silent.

Portraits of Xijiang
Xijiang - Guizhou
41 images

The ethnic minorities of Guizhou have a simple recipe for enjoying the holidays. Drink enough rice wine to drown a chicken, kill a pig and cook it for your friends, and round up the meanest water buffalo in the village and let them fight it out. In between the chaos and cheers a few fine dances are put on display by the prettiest girls in town.

Wild in Arnhem
Australia - Mt Borradaile
46 images

Most people visit Davidson's Safari Camp for the indigenous rock art, and no wonder. It's one of the most intimate and impressive ways to experience tens of thousands of years of indigenous culture in Australia. But the natural history is equally impressive at Mount Borradaile. Rare grasshoppers, immense diversity of flowers and magnificent wetlands combine to provide a unique enviornment for spotting wildlife. Where the stone country meets the wetlands a unique experience awaits.

West of Alice
Australia - West MacDonnell Ranges
41 images

You'll need more than a camera to photograph this part of the Australian Outback. A 4WD is a big help, plus a little desire to get out and walk. Mostly you need time, and after one short week of driving west of Alice Springs I wished I had a month. There's more than rocks and sand out here, rather a rich collection of landscapes where Ghost Gums and watering holes are joined by the Milky Way each night.

Mini Skirt Miao
China - Guizhou
35 images

In Vietnam they are known as the H'Mong, and China the Miao. From one edge of Asia to the remote reaches of Guizhou this ethnic group have adopted local customs to form unique sub-groups. The Mini-Skirt Miao of the Da'Tang township in Guizhou are fast becoming famous. They dance, smile and habitually offer guests copious amounts of rice wine. These traditional dances are usually seen at harvest time or the welcome to spring, and are a genuine celebration.

Bucket of Frogs
17 images

The Melbourne Museum was once a place for preserved artefacts and stuffed animals, but not any more. The Live Exhibits people have frogs on display, lots of little ones that hop, climb, leap, dig and swim. They're cute as buttons, really cute amphibious buttons. I needed to review a bunch of macro photography gear, so bring on the frogs.

The Red Heart
Australia - Uluru - Kata Tjutu
30 images

Formerly known as Ayers Rock the dramatic rise of Uluru from the desert landscape is something that has to be seen to appreciate. And for goodness sake there's no need to climb the rock to enjoy it. As beautiful as the rock might be to photograph, no photo can do justice to the experience. This is a place that has energy, you feel it. Surrounding the monolith is a precious landscape of red sands, desert flowers and wild creatures. Little wonder that Uluru is a place of great significance to the indigenous people of the region.

Landing in Broome
31 images

They say in Broome you can shake a tree and at least three pilots will fall out. They are everywhere up here, and even the fella who dropped off my hire car was a pilot waiting for a chance to clock up some air-time. I get pretty exceited about small aircraft aviation in Australia, and places like Broome are great examples of why. Helicopters, light aircraft, commercial props and jets all share the downtown strip. Once on the ground you're minutes from the hotel and once in the air you're minutes from some of Australia's best coastal scenery.

Golden Triangle
Thailand - Chiang Rai
29 images

In the very far north of Thailand, where the Mekong meets Laos and Burma, the Golden Triangle Elephant Camp provides a better life for over 30 elephants. It's not enough to care for the elephants though, here they also care for the mahouts who own them and the families who rely on the income. Five-star resorts at Anantara and Four Seasons help keep the camp going and keep the elephants working.

Northern Sulawesi
Manado and the Lembah Straits
27 images

Most divers who visit North Sulawesi head for Manado, focusing on the wall-dives around Bunaken National Park and the remarkable biodiversity of the Celebes Sea. Two hours from Manado the Lembeh Straits provides a different style of underwater exploration, with fewer divers in the water, plenty of fish and the added bonus of muck diving through the volcanic black sands. Throw in a really good resort with genuine five-star standards and you have a unique destination for pleasure above and below the water.

Inside Kenya
Kenya - Masai Mara
32 images

Travellers flock to Africa to bag their Big Five, but spare a moment for the little ones too. Cheetah cubs being taught the lessons of life by their mother was the highlight of my journey, but children living in mud huts and carving souvenirs for a living was equally memorable.

Bay of Bengal
Myanmar - Ngwe Saung
29 images

This patch of the Bay of Bengal is about 160kms from Yangon, or about 6 hours in one of the better Burmese buses. Tourism is still young here, with basic elephant camps hiding in the nearby forests and luxury developments starting to claim the beaches. Fishing villages still thrive however, and kids play soccer on the beach at sunset. This is not what we usually expect when we think of Burma.

Shwe Dagon Paya
Myanmar - Yangon
23 images

On a cloudless afternoon the sunset turns orange and the magnificent golden chedi of Shwe Dagon changes colours from yellow to gold to pink. Parasols on the tips of spires muffle the last rays of sunlight. Yangon's shining pinnacle is not just the Shwe Dagon Paya itself but hundreds of shrines, intricate statues of Buddha and a village of prayer halls that cover the hill-top in gold and white. Shwe Dagon is a sanctuary from the concrete and steel of the city below, a peaceful place where monks and residents offer blessings to images of the Buddha.

Pilgrims Trail
Nepal - Muktinath
38 images

One of the holiest places on earth for Hindus and the site of centuries of Buddhist devotion, Muktinath is better known to western travellers as the first town of civilization at the end of weeks of trekking through the Annapurnas. In spring the snow recedes to expose hidden chorterns and mountains covered with prayer flags.

Lower Mustang
Nepal - Annapurnas
29 images

The Mustang Kingdom was one of the last wild frontiers, a forbidding place barely livable for tbe hardiest of mountain goats. Yet here the Tibetan people continue to live as they have for centuries, practising rich Buddhist traditions and greeting each new spring with joy. When spring arrives in the Annapurnas and the skies turn clear the peaks of Nilgiri, Dhaulagiri and Tukuche are visible in the distance. Mustang is where Tibet meets Nepal.

Below Jomsom
Nepal - Annapurnas
26 images

Jomsom is an outpost town with an airstrip. From sunrise to late morning the planes hop between Pokhara and Jomsom, ferrying trekkers and pilgrims on their way to points high in the mountains. At an altitude of 2800m the air is thin and the apple brandy is heavy. The Thakali caste who dominate in these parts are skilled not only at making apple brandy, but apple pancakes and all kinds of apple pies. Enjoy it while you can, as the apples don't grow 1000m higher up the hill.

Journey to Jokkmokk
Sweden - Norrbotten
32 images

In the far north of Sweden the indigenous Sami people have traded their reindeer-sleigh for snow mobiles. Mostly. They still have a close connection to the wilderness, the snow and a few thousand reindeer in the forest. Every spring when the skies turn blue the Sami people get together to share some fun and friendship. The snow is deep and the lakes are frozen, perfect conditions for ice-fishing.

Kayaks and Cabins
Sweden - Lulea
34 images

In the far north of Sweden the glacial ice melts in summer and flows through a network of forests, rivers and lakes, The resulting wonderland of wilderness provides the perfect setting for kayaks, cabins and a taste of Swedish sauna.

Chaos in Kathmandu
Nepal - Kathmandu Valley
46 images

Kathmandu is not a small town yet it still retains its unique character. A blend of Buddhism and Hindu devotion taints the daily life of residents, for the better. If all you see if Kathmandu are the souvenir filled streets of Thamel, then you haven't seen Kathmandu yet. The temples, holy men, smiling vendors and crazy taxi drivers are essential to the vibrance and persistance of the city. This town posses a different kind of beautiful.

Newari Villages
Nepal - Kathmandu Valley
37 images

The Newari Caste are the artisans of Nepal, creating pottery and woodwork that appeases the eye. Small villages in the Kathmandu Valley are filled with talented Newari people and their crafts. It's not all about souvenirs either, it's just a way of life.

Ducking About Dordogne
France - Dordogne
41 images

Getting lost in the lanes and discovering a foie gras farm off the map is one of life's great joys. Dordogne is just brimming with lovely towns. Some are very small with a chapel and a few dozen houses surrounding, others are large with a pedestrian old town to help preserve the architecture. All of them have at least one if not a dozen chateaux to add a touch of elegance and grandeur to the location. Many towns are built on the apex of dramatic cliffs, hills or mountains which adds to their photogenic nature.

The Gardens of Villandry
France - Loire Valley
22 images

In the Loire Valley of France I found a garden that threw inspiration at me like a shower of rose petals. The formal gardens at Chateau de Villandry are magnificent examples of how the ruling class of France combined their artistic flare and desire for fresh produce in the kitchen. It's also a world of its own for visiting photographers.

Cycling Alsace
Where France meets Germany
30 images

Vineyards and forest trails make the country side between Strasberg and Kaysersberg a charming setting for getting outdoors. These images were taken for a media shoot, so not only was the scenery fabulous but I had some wonderful companions to fill the frame too. A little bit of sunshine goes a long way in Alsace.

Caravans of Laos
Laos - Hongsa
46 images

Once known as the land of a million elephants the kingdom of Laos is still home to over 1,000 of these majestic creatures. Half are domesticated for working in the forests, and some are friendly enough to help travellers instead of loggers. A week with the elephants is the best way to slowly explore the forests and the villages within.

Luang Prabang
Laos - Monks on the Mekong
28 images

The spiritual capital of Laos is home to thousands of monks, hundreds of temples and an endless supply of beautiful sunsets. Life along the Mekong comes to a gentle halt at the town of Luang Prabang, and when it comes time to leave we're all reluctant to move on.

Great Ocean Road
Australia - The Shipwreck Coast
28 images

Landscape photographers travel the world to spend a week on the Great Ocean Road. The coastline has a westerly vista that lights up on sunset. Even on cloudy afternoons the sun usually finds a gap somewhere in the horizon to burst through. Throw in the rainforests and a few cuddly Koalas and you have a complete adventure for the photographer.

Pride of the Murray
Australia - Steamboats at the Port of Echuca
18 images

There was a time when steamboats plied the Murray River to carry produce and timber on their way to Melbourne and Adelaide. Today it's mainly tourists that get carried about, but they still do it in style. These majestic boats add a touch of class to the rugged landscape of the Murray as they disappear around the bend, just plumes of steam or the high pitched whistle rising above the river gums.

Antarctic Ice
East Antarctica - The Long Way Down
19 images

26 days on the Professor Kromov and most of them at sea being tossed about the Southern Ocean. On the way down we visit The Snares, Auckland Islands and spend a few days at Macquarie Island. Soooo many penguins. Then we hit the ice in Antarctica, and the ice is so nice. Adelie Penguins pop up everywhere to say hello and whales lurk between the bergs.

Adelies In The Snow
Adorable Adelies of Commonweatlh Bay
27 images

26 days on the Professor Kromov and most of them at sea being tossed about the Southern Ocean. Eventually we hit the ice in Antarctica, and with it come the penguins. Sometimes they travel solo, often they roam in packs. Always they are sensationally cute, tiny little characters facing the harsh conditions of Antarctica. Adelies are my favourites, without a doubt.

Little Bits of Outback
Australia - Very small colours on a very large canvas
33 images

The Australian Outback is bristling with detail, gorgeously rich bits of detail. My first exhibition of work was of leaves and dirt photographed on a road trip to Alice Springs, and I've never lost sight of how the little details in life are what make all the difference. Get closer.

Kimberley Wild
Australia - The Kimberley
42 images

The dry landscape of The Kimberley region in Western Australia is home to great destinations and stoic characters. Home Valley has their horse whisperers, Purnululu has their helicopter pilots, and the resort camp at Faraway Bay has a mad fella named Bruce who built his dream escape near the King George River. The Kimberley is big, but beautiful.

Wats in Chiang Mai
Thailand - Chiang Mai
41 images

Chiang Mai holds a unique place in the history of Thailand, the former city of the Lanna Kingdom. Overlooking the city is the temple of Doi Su Thep, a site chosen when a fabled white elephant carried a relic of the Buddha into the forests. Where the elephant came to rest is where they built the temple.

Bangkok Specials
Thailand - Tuk Tuks and Lotus
24 images

Buddhism is woven into the fabric of Thai culture, a strong and beautiful element that give strength and character to the people and their nation. The lotus flower is a special symbol to Buddhist, a pristine flower that emerges from the muddy depths of still water. It symbolises the journey towards enlightenment as we emerge from Samsara.

Macquarie Island
Paradise for Penguins
33 images

Three days sailing from Hobart the remote outpost of Macquarie Island is a haven for seals and penguins in search of a beach. Royal Penguins number near a million and the majestic King Penguins in the hundreds of thousands. Fewer than 1,000 people are permitted to visit Macquarie each year.

The Albatross
Albatross of the Sub-Antarctic Islands
23 images

The islands south of New Zealand and north of Antarctica provide a unique home for these birds. Remote habitats with few predators plus strong winds that favour their large wing spans make it a happy home. Wandering Albatross have the largest wing-span of any bird, reaching over 3metres, yet smaller albatross in the Mollymawk family are no less charming.

Paris When It Sizzles
Summer by the Seine
47 images

Nothing says Paris like a cheap miniature Eiffel Tower sold by an Algerian hawker or a very bad faux-impressionist painting at a Bastille Flea Market. Nothing says photography in Paris like a roll of black & white film and a cafe au lait. You don't chase photos here, you just sit down with a drink and wait for something interesting to walk by.

Litang in the Sky
China - Tibetan Counties of Western Sichuan
26 images

The town of Litang is not easy to reach. After two days on public buses that rattle along mountain roads, clearing high-passes at 5300m and stopping every few hours to buy more cigarettes, our driver finally pulled into the town of Litang. My guesthouse was named Pokhara Palace, but was not as glamorous as the original in Lhasa. At night the wild dogs roam the streets and bark incessantly. Litang sits at 4100m, and a mile out of town the monastery sits a little higher, casting a paternal watch across the valley. The monks here are known throughout the Tibetan world, because three Dalai Llamas have been schooled here and today they continue to practice sky burials. Litang is where the sky meets the earth, where the wind-horse is carried by the breeze.

Kham Tibet
China - Tibetan Counties of Yunnan
27 images

Zhongdian means the 'middle valley', a place below the snow peaks but above the grassland where the growing season is very short and only half-breed yaks can survive in the meadows. Beijing has renamed the town Shangri-La, the famed oasis in the novel 'The Lost Horizon'. Only they can't say the name in English, so they officially call it Xiangelila. This is a cultural centre for Kham Tibetans, and the towns surrounding the city are rich in the living traditions of the Kham. They drink Yak Butter tea take care of their monasteries.

Llamas in Lares
Peru - The Sacred Valley
25 images

The Lares Trek is the most recent alternative to the Inca Trail, taking in the scenic altitudes north of Olantaytambo. It doesn't walk you into Machu Picchu with dawn views of the Sun Gate, but it does get you amongst the rugged ranges of the Andes to meet remote villagers and their farms. Trekkers can expect all the llamas you could ever want and maybe a few you didn't.

The Silk Route
Uyghur People of Western China
45 images

Spicy lamb and oven cooked bread is not what you expect in China, but as you travel west of Xian the cultural journey takes on a very different flavour. The Silk Route is where Islam meets Buddhism. The western province of Xinjiang is vast and diverse, with Tibetan influences to the south and Uyghur people to the north. Head far enough west and you evetually reach Kashgar, one of the world's truly great trading cities, even in this modern day.

Regal Rajasthan
India - Jaisalmer to Bikaner
50 images

The deserts of Rajasthan or anything but deserted. This is an ocean of colour that teams with life, rich in spiritual and cultural traditions.

The Blue City
India - Jodhpur
38 images

The city of Jodhpur is one of those places in Rajasthan where tourism has not quite caught on. Life inside the blue-washed walls of the old town still runs to a distinctly Indian rhythm. Donkeys share the streets with auto-rickshaws, fresh produce and recycled clothing fills the central market and food stalls line the streets as camels and cars pass by.



Ewen Bell's other website is called "Photography for Travellers", an online guide rich in features both practical and philosophical. Field guides to wonderful locations, insights into techniques plus inspiring idea to help you think differently about the art of photography.

Photography for Travellers

Ewen's guiding principles are simple...
"Go slow. Get closer. Look for the light."


"Photography is about showing other people how to see, to share the beauty of life. It's not a job, it's a lifestyle. We only get one lifetime, one chance to add some light into the world. Photography competitions are mostly silly. Cats are excellent."



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All photography on this site by Ewen Bell