See what Ewen has been up to lately with pictures from recent photographic adventures, commissions and editorial...
Once a year I go to Bhutan and marvel at the peacefulness of a nation. Mountains and monks are just the beginning. Softly softly we explore the charms of the Thunder Dragon. It's a lovely place to enjoy your inner peace and gain a little wisdom.
I've spent a bit of time this month shooting things that shoot things. In particular some lovely old Leica cameras at Melbourne's Camera Exchange. The highlight of the month was macarons in New Caledonia, but I can't show you those pics as they're still a secret until they appear in print. Take my word for it, they were delicious and photogenic.
Outback and Beyond
This year June was so busy I still haven't got the photos onto my website yet. We had our annual Australian Outback tour in the lovely new Cessna Conquest II, and even got a chance to do a little air-to-air photography over the Flinders Ranges. I also put together a big feature for Digital Photography mag on what makes the Flinders so charming for photographers.
Kings & The Lady
One of my favourite places to be in the world is North East Victoria, because the people are as lovely as the food & wine. King Valley was on my list for May 2013, a chilly time of year but still beautiful. We caught the last few golden leaves on the vines, on the trees and on the ground. May was also when I had a chance to review the Hasselblad H5D, bringing it together with the charming Lady Penrhyn, a 1944 built De Havilland Dragon Rapide DH89a.
Last Look at China
A decade of travel and photography in China has come to it's completion for me and my tours. The Silk Road became my final photography adventure for this country, at least for the time being. The world is an ever changing place and it's time for me to put time into other destinations, some closer to home and some further along the road less travelled.
Nepal with Ian
Ian Rolfe is a landscape photographer who has never been to Nepal, until now. Together we lead a group of rather lovely people around some of my favourite sights and highlights of Nepal. The wilds of the Annapurnas, star tails with chortern, sadus in the smoke, markets in Kathmandu and artistis of the Newar caste. Nepal rocks, and so does travelling with Ian.
This will prove one of my most memorable journeys. Reindeer and Sami of Sweden were wonderful, but even better with the companionship of photographer Fredrik Broman. If you ever get a chance to join his Aurora Safari Camp in northern Sweden, I highly reccomend it. It's peachy. We finished this journey with some serenely slow landscapes on the islands of Lofoten in Norway. Fab food and inspiring scenery.
Me and Myanmar
What could make two weeks in Myanmar even better? Great company and miles of smiles. Sincere thanks to the lovely travellers who made every post a winner as we wandered the lakes, temples, markets, ruins and ox trails of this wonderful country. SO many great photos, but so many good times. You guys rock.
Three of my favie places in the world are Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. The people and food are just fabulous, and it turns out that a few lovely hotels only make the overall experience that much better. For photographers the riches of South-East Asia are varied, but the temples, monks and market fresh mornings by the Mekong are definite highlights.
Back to Bhutan
Getting back to Bhutan this year was very exciting for me. I've only been to Bhutan a few times but I feel it's one place where my style of photography works nicely. Go slow, get closer, look for the light. Our group of travellers were equally special, a mix of young and fascinating plus a few familiar faces. Special thanks though to my friend Paul Wager, who ended up being indespensible as I hobbled about on a broken toe. Go slow took on a whole new level this year :)
My annual journey in China has been a foundation of the photo tours since 2005, and this year I ran the classic Beijing/Xian/Guilin/Shanghai route for the last time. I had some lovely people to share it with and enjoyed my photographs immensely. Every year I take some review gear over and explore familiar territory through new eyes, and this year I stepped back from the professional gear and shot with a Canon 5D MkII with the new Tamron 24-70 lens. You can see a preview of the Digital Photography article below complete with some pretty pics from China.
Coast with the Most
I've been a fan of the Kimberley region ever since John Dyer got me up there to experience the treasures of Faraway Bay, but I've always wondered what it might be like to cruise the coastline instead of just flying in. Thanks to RM Williams I had a chance to photograph the Kimberley Quest II and a thousand kilometres of magnificent coatline. Reefs, crocs, mangroves and archipelagos. I love it, some of Australia's most magnificent scenery.
Whale of a time
My most recent love is the Great Barrier Reef, and while I'll never be the next Darren Jew I am lucky enough to put together some editorial on the Dwarf Minke Whales and the amazing people who are working to better understand their behaviour. These curious creatures take an interest in us humans, and if you dangle off the end of a drift line with a snorkel the whales will come and check you out. Awesome stuff.
Way Outback and Loving It
One of the best photographic experiences of a lifetime. A private plane, an awesome tour leader and a small band of dedicated photographers to explore the Australian Outback. In fact we travelled from coast to coast, starting in Melbourne, traversing the Red Centre, shooting wildlife in the Top End, visiting the Tiwis and shooting day and night in ther Kimberley. I love this trip.
Digital Photography - The Wedding Edition
I don't shoot weddings, but I have learned great respect for those who do. I followed a husband and wife team from Whitepoint Photography on a full day of wedding action to document their work for DP magazine. It re-affirmed my choice to steer clear of the wedding market and enhanced my appreciation for how hard you have to work to do the job well. It takes a lot of experience and skill to do justice to someone's special day.
Rural City and Country Life
I've flitted about the margins of Wangaratta for well over a decade, visiting nearby wine regions and sampling the gourmet offerings in the King Valley and beyond. This time I got lucky and scored a commission for 10 days worth of shooting the lifestyle and tempatations of Wangaratta and surrounds. When can I come back please?
Highs and Lows in Nepal
I still cant believe more photographers don't know about Nepal and what it has to offer. Perhaps people still think you need to be a trekking fanatic to get any decent photos, or perhaps it has fallen off the radar for the average photographic traveller. Either way they're missing out, because this is one of the greatest places on earth to immerse yourself in culture. The diversity, warmth and richness of people in Nepal is something truly rare.
The Great Barrier Reef
After four decades of circling the sun I still had not been to the Great Barrier Reef. A few gazillion Japanese has seen it, most people who ride my train line had seen it and for sure about other travel photographer I know has taken photos out there too. So when the chance came along to write up a feature on the reef, in conjunction with a new BBC documentary, I didn't need to be asked twice.
Digital Photography - The Magazine
My highlight for 2011 was not a destination or journey, but a magazine. I've been lucky enough to work with a fabulous team at Digital Photography magazine in Australia, in a role that is both inspiring and challenging. December was spent catching up on a slew of feature articles, and shooting some new frames for the mag. Even if you don't subscribe to the print edition, you can get a taste of these features on my website...
Ancient Ways in South-East Asia
Every year we come back to Thailand, Laos and Cambodia to seek new life and light for photographers. This year the ancient charms of Angkor Wat definitely made an impresison on me, but so did the remote villages near Luang Prabang.
One of the most exceptional events a photographer can participate in. The professional development and fine art emphasis in Paris for this annual event is remarkable. Inspiring too. It can also be daunting.
Bhutan - The Kingdom in the Sky
The monks are lovely, the culture is unique and the photography is inspiring. The open spaces of Bhutan are a real treasure after all these years travelling in Asia, and I always love a country with more temples than politicians. Monks are abundant here, and they dance too.
China - Photography tour with Leica
It's still amazing to me how much I enjoy being in China and exploring the photographic treasures of the country. I have a sensational guide, so that really makes all the difference. I love the food, the places and the hidden secrets that my fellow travellers never expect. And I love 'Chicken and Rice' :) This year I took along a Leica M9-P instead of my usual Canon gear. An interesting experience for a lazy shooter who loves his autofocus.
BIFB - The Elephant Camp
The Ballarat International Foto Biennale is the setting for my most recent exhibition, The Elephant Camp. Images taken from the Golden Triangle Elephant Camp in late last year are on display at Gallery 806. The collection also won the Fringe Prize, a suitable accolade for such majestic creatures that too often find themselves on the fringe of modern cultures.
Russia - Arctic Far East
I have always wanted to photograph the polar bears and finally I got a chance thanks to Heritage Expeditions. I joined their adventure cruise through the Bering Strait, shooting Puffins and Guillemots along the way, and then trundled across the beaches and tundra of Wrangel Island in search of the bear. We found them, lots of them!
Australia - Heading Outback
The more I spend time in the Australian Outback the more I want to go back. This month I enjoyed a chat with Grenville Turner at an Alice Springs cafe, and I can see why he left Sydney for the Red Centre. Grenville shared some tips on shooting west of Alice, and the photos show the proof of his wisdom. After that I headed up to Arnhemland to enjoy Max Davidson's hospitality, then Bullo River to go flying with Franz Ranacher, and finally across to Broome to enjoy sky-high views of the Dampier Peninsula.
Digital Photography - Aussie Edition
The next edition of Digital Photography Magazine is all about Australian Travel, and has a nice red rock on the cover from my recent journey Outback. I love the rock, as most photographers do. The red dust and wide open landscapes of the Outback are genuinely addictive, so I'm going back again before the month is out. And then again after that too. I love it out there!
Outback Adventure - Travels in the Dash8
This flying trip of the outback was something different for me, with a faster and bigger aircraft, two lovely pilots to get us up and about and some new destinations to explore through the lens. It's taken nearly as long to process all the images from this journey as it took to complete the journey itself.
Myanmar - Monks in Maroon
I have waited a long time for a chance to visit Myanmar, the country formerly known as Burma, and while it was fleeting in the extreme I did have the pleasure to spend a few hours talking to some monks. Their message was clear - "Please come and visit, see our country for yourselves, but travel with the locals instead of with the big package tours."
Nepal - Mountains and Mystics
The people of Nepal are very special. With 20 ethnic groups in one small country, the influence of Hinduism from the south, embracing Buddhism from the Tibetan north, and hundreds of wonderful villages nestled into the Himalayas and Annapurnas. The scenery is magical, the Sadus are mystical and the mountains are magnificent.
Vietnam - Brochure for Peregrine Adventures
Many years ago I did a brochure shoot for Peregrine Adventures in Vietnam, so it's nice to see so many of those photos turning up in print after all this time. The cover shot is mine, the double page spread inside the cover is mine plus another 15 or more shots through the document. Was a nice surprise when I saw the brochure in a travel agent!
East Antarctica - The Long Way Down
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.
Elephants in Thailand - Golden Triangle
There's a unique program running in the far north of Thailand where over 30 elephants are being supported by a couple of five-star resorts. This is a whole new definition on responsible travel, and the message is simple. You want to make a positive impact through travel, then spend a few dollars in the process.
Ancient Kingdoms - Laos, Cambodia, Thailand
We follow the trail of kingdoms in South-East Asia, some long gone and others still strong. Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Luang Prabang and Angkor are our destinations. Monks, Mekong and magnificent temples. This is our most comfortable and culinary indulgent photo tour yet.
Nowa Nowa Photo Photo
Smoke and Bubbles, no troubles! Photography for Artists is my new workshop experience in the rural setting of East Gippsland, and what a treat. Wombats and wallabies, rosellas and wrens, kookaburras and curajongs. And lots of lovely photos with the help of local artist Gary Yelen and the infinite creativity of the Nowa Nowa community.
Barwon Heads - Tourism Victoria
Shooting images for tourist boards can be a challenge. Usually the locations they most need images for are not the most scenic spots, the budgets are nearly non-existant and a lot of procedures have to be satisfied before a shoot gets fully commissioned anyway. The villages project with Tourism Victoria finally reached our final town, Barwon Heads, and we were rewarded with some great weather, lovely people and gorgeous girls to add a summer feel to the collection.
Covers from France
I still get excited about cover shots, be they in an adventure travel brochure, the travel section of a tardy Murdoch tabloid or the wonderfully rewarding Backpacker Essentials. The magazine is put out by YHA and frankly it's got one of the best mix of information and inspiration of any regular mag in the country. This quarter the cover features a very talented travel writer, Shaney Hudson, who helped make my travel in France that little bit more rewarding too. Thanks Shaney, Karena, Janet and all the backpackers who stay at YHA.
China Photography Tour
Every year we wander around China and every year it's a fabulous 14 days. This time we had some new surprises and wonderful assistance. We got some great sunsets in Guilin, clear skies over Beijing and a cracker sunrise in Xitang.
Chateaux and Champagne - Travels in France
Well not exactly Champagne but close enough. Certainly a lot of chateaux and their gardens, plus medieval villages and cycling through vineyards and dining on delicious cuisine. I like France and only wish I could see the country in all it's seasons. For now we have a taste of summer, in rural France...
A Bit of Red - Outback Photo Tour
The first time we ran this tour it was the best in photo tour I've ever done, and maybe the best in the world. And guess what, it still is! Here's a few shots from Australia's Outback with all the rich colours of the desert in bloom...
Somewhere in Guizhou
Few parts of China are as remote and remarkable as Guizhou. This province is becoming better known inside China and in the west, but still holds immense charms for the photographer. I spent two weeks with four fellow photographers exploring the route from Chengdu to Guilin, and the first images are ready to share online...
Still in Nepal
After nearly six weeks of travel and photography in Nepal I finally returned home and enjoyed a day of sleep before posting some new images online...
Photography Tour in Nepal
Our very first photography tour in Nepal has been an extraordinary adventure filled with lovely faces, marvellous places and some high-altitude light to inspire the camera. We also visited the lowlands jungles in Chitwan, and roamed throiugh the Kathmandu Valley...
Sea to Summit - Tourism Victoria
You never look closely enough at your own backyard but that's exactly what the lovely folks at Tourism Victoria have asked me to do. Our latest journeys around the villages of Victoria took in Olinda in the Dandenongs and then Sorrento down the peninsula.
Penguins and Friends - Heritage Expeditions
Macquarie Island is a remarkable and remote island hidden away in the Southern Ocean, the crowning jewel of the Sub-Antarctic Islands. Penguins, Albatross, Seals and Sea Lions are everywhere. It was a dream of mine for decades to visit this island, and as a bonus I got a chance to visit a few others along the way...
From Rutherglen to Queenscliff - Tourism Victoria
There's no doubt that commission shoots are hard work with tight deadlines, challenging locations and no control over the fickle Victorian weather. But sometiems a little pressure adds to your experience. While my journalist colleagues were writing notes for the story, I was shooting stills to accompany the words.
Ancient Kingdoms of South-East Asia
This is easily one of the least adventurous but most rewarding trips for a travel photographer. Thailand, Laos and Cambodia are the backdrops for sensational photographic inspiration. Temples, monks and mayhem everywhere we go. Fabulous food. I love this part of the world.
Kham Tibet - Sichuan and Yunnan
Very rarely I get a chance to travel without a brief. No client to specify a shoot list, no commissioned story to guide my attention and no itinerary to lead me from start to finish. This October I spent a couple of weeks learning the charms of public bus travel in the far western counties of Sichuan province. I met some charming Tibetans, crazy monks and finally got a chance to shoot the MeiLi Snow Mountains...
China Photography Tour - Grasshopper Adventures
China is in the middle of great change but is still a haven for photographers and travellers. I look forward to the China photography tour each year for many reasons - the food, the friends and the fabulous photos. There's a double edge to China for me, because it's so familiar that you can overlook its treasures. Taking a fresh group of people every year gives me a fresh insight however.
Daylesford Spa Country - Tourism Victoria
I have really enjoyed seeing more of my own state this year, from the Goldfields to Ovens Valley and the Great Ocean Road. This week I had a commissioned shoot in Daylesford, Kyneton and surrounds to gather images of the winter warmth on offer. We visited lambs and piglets, met lovely locals and reviewed a range of boutique accommodation centres. And for four days it either rained or was fogged in, which turns out to have a certain charm for photographers...
Hong Kong Treasures - Five Star Treats
At the end of working on a new manuscript I took a little time out to photograph some treasures in Hong Kong. This is one of my favourite cities, but all the better when you get to sample some luscious bars, sizzling cuisine and savour the street life. Thanks to Small Luxury Hotels and Virgin Atlantic for the chance to travel and shoot...
Photography for Travellers - New Editions
I first started this book for our the photo tours in Asia. The collective knowledge of my experience on the road distilled into a compilation of images and words. It is written to accompany your journey with the camera, on and off the road. It's not a technical manual, rather "Photography for Travellers" offers practical philosophies for photographic journeys...
Outback Flying Photo Tour - Air Adventure Australia
This has to be the best photo tour ever. A private plane hopping across the outback, landing at cattle stations and remote airstrips to explore the very best of Australian landscapes, wildlife and wilderness. We spotted rock wallabies in Wilpena Pound, walked the length of Kings Canyon, saw the sunrise over Purnululu, toured the Kimberley Coast by boat, shot Uluru from almost every angle, joined stockmen for a sunset river crossing at the Cockburn Ranges and went wild with the wetlands of the Mary River...
I have to admit I just cant say no to a trip in Borneo. I loved seeing the jungles and islands of this beautiful region, so the chance to pop over and shoot some new places around Kota Kinabalu was impossible to resist. After all, you never know what treasures you might find that could be ideal for the next photo tour in Borneo...
I only had a few days to shoot this story, but it turned out to be a sensational few days. We visited three of the top chefs from Victoria's north-east and followed them from restaurant to farm gate in search of yummy produce. Autumn is filled with colour around the town of Bright, but in some very unexpected ways...
It was all about the reindeer. Last year someone told me about the reindeer racing world cup in Arctic Norway and I decided I had to see it. What started as a whim of fantasy to explore the snow filled landscapes of the Scandinavian Arctic turned into a sensational few weeks exploring the Sami culture of Sweden, remote national parks, Norwegian fjords and a few days of reindeer racing that I'll never forget...
Yunnan Research Trip - Grasshopper Adventures
There can be no better way to explore an intimate part of China than with a private driver and a small band of dedicated photographers. We started in Kunming and headed north. This is an amazingly diverse province, with colourful ethnic minorities, beautiful traditional landscapes and yummy culinary indlugences. We finished the trip with a few days in the Kampa Tibet region around Zhongdian, recently renamed Shangri-La by the Chinese government...
New Brochures for GAP dventures
GAP Adventures are one of the world's most interesting small group adventure companies. In recent years I've shot images for their brochures in Africa, Europe and Peru - and it's a treat to see so many of my pics on display across their website and brochures. This year I was lucky enough to have another brochure cover as well...
Regional Victoria - Tourism Victoria
My mission for this month was to shoot as much as I could of regional Victoria. Last month I did my Great Ocean Road trip, so this month I wanted to see if I could dig up a few lesser known icons to fill the image libraries at Tourism Victoria. Canon lent me their new 1DS MkIII for a few months too, which made the travel all the more enjoyable...
Great Ocean Road - Tourism Victoria
It was embarassing to live so close to the Great Ocean Road and yet never have photographed it. Tourism Victoria gave me a hand to plan to a research trip plus I had a few days on the road with talented landscape photographer Mark Gray. He runs his own tours along the Shipwreck Coast too, for people who are dedicated to landscapes...
China Photography Tour - Grasshopper Adventures
This was out 8th time running this tour and it just keeps getting better. The really special treat for our group in this departure was the stunning weather when we hit Guilin. Usually the hazy skies of Southern China give an eerie glow to the limestone karsts of the region, but this time we were treated to a colourful sunset with dappled tones...
Silk Road Photography Tour - Grasshopper Adventures
My whole life I've wanted to travel the Silk Road, and finally it happened. We had the services of a guidebook author to design the trip and set off from Xian to Kashgar to find out what the photographic fuss was about. I ended up putting together my largest photo book ever for this trip, double the usual size and just filled with lovely images...
Angkor Brochure Shoot - RAW Travel
I have travelled in Cambodia a few times but never had a proper chance to make a photographic study of the Angkor region, until now. RAW Travel needed a series of images for their new cycling adventures around the temples, and I needed to research some locations for the Ancient Kingdoms Photo Tour starting in 2009. A perfect match...
China Photography Tour - Grasshopper Adventures
Last year I did a little research in a remote part of the Longji Rice Terraces, and this tour was the first to explore them on the China Photo Tour. It was stunning. Getting up for the early sunrises was not an easy job, but it was worth it. We also got treated to some colorful angles on the iconic Terracotta Warriors...
Some things in life are worth waiting for. I was very fortunate to have a chance to experience the wilderness of Sweden and Finland in the autumn, plus a quick visit to some of the more stylish cities in Scandinavia. This is easily one of my favourite parts of the world, for the wild open spaces and embracing kindness of those who live there...
Nukubati Resort - Select Hotels
I do love the people who manage public relations for Select Hotels, and when they came up with the idea to run a story on their premier Fiji resort I loved them even more. Nukubati is way off the radar - two planes, one 4WD and a boat ride away from the international airport at Nadi. What a journey, but what a location. A pearl amongst coconuts.
Guizhou Research Trip - Grasshopper Adventures
This is a whole new way of travelling, and it's fabulous. With the help of Grasshopper Adventures we arranged a local operator to provide a driver and a van for a group of just 4 people to travel across the remote areas of Guizhou province. It was heaven. We crashed into the May Week celebrations, were forced to drink rice wine and watched an amazing encounter of rural style bull-fighting. But the people were the key, they were wonderful, charming and ever so photogenic...
Queenstown NZ - Select Hotels
I have to admit I had put aside the idea of travelling to New Zealand for many years. When the chance to shoot some alpine scenery around the south island came up I was pretty excited, but doubly so when there was a Harley Davidson thrown into the mix. Photos and bikes are a tough combination, you always end up enjoying one at the sacrifice of the other...