Lalibela is Ethiopia’s answer to Jerusalem. In fact, it is often referred to as “The New Jerusalem” and it even has its’ own “Golgotha.” The legendary town is known for its’ incredible rock hewn churches. It is a place of elaborately dressed deacons and priests and a center for thousands of pilgrims who come during special occasions to recharge their “spiritual batteries.” Lalibela was one of the main reasons that I wanted to come to Ethiopia so badly. Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed.
My dream has finally come true. I’m in Africa! Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to be exact. Well, ok, the Addis Ababa part of it is far from a dream. To me the city seems like one big tragedy of humanity - a strange fuse of colonial and socialist architecture as well as tin-shacks that make up most of the small shops and all the slum dwellings. The city is overwhelming in many different ways - beggars, street hustlers, noise, pollution - a little of everything. Nevertheless, this is Africa! I have wanted to come here since I was a child and now I’m here at last.
I can finally announce my latest e-book. Actually, I almost missed the release, due to my temperamental internet connection here in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The e-book is called “Rabari - Ecounters with the nomadic tribe” and it’s available HERE or by clicking the image at the top of the post.
I'm once again back from another hiatus. I haven't blogged about anything because, well, I haven't done anything very exciting (that is photography related) since I was in Spain. I am however about to embark on what will be an extremely exciting journey for me. I'm off to Ethiopia, a country I'd long dreamed of visiting.
Over one month, no blog posts. I have a good reason... kind of. I’ve been moving around Spain and Portugal. Living life, experiencing things and well, resting. I think without realizing it, I was on the verge of burning out after my Himalayan adventure.
Just under two months in India and my Himalayan adventure has come to an end. As usual, time flew by very quickly and as usual I wish I could stay longer. I am tired though. This trip was intense in so many ways. Riding in the mountains does take a toll on the body and the motorbikes. Both “machines” have cracked chassis from the horrendous (but spectacular) Zanskar road.
Those of you who know me personally know that I recently turned 30. Those who know me even more personally know that shortly after I turn 30, my mum turns 50. Today is that day, it’s my mum’s birthday and as I am currently somewhere far away from the internet or civilization, I have automated this post to wish the person to whom I owe everything a very happy 50th birthday!
The villages of Spiti Valley are ridiculously picturesque. The landscapes, the people’s faces, in some cases, their costumes and in others, the combination of everything, I often feel like I am in a fairytale. It’s hard to believe that such places still exist, but I sure am glad that they do. Dhankar was one of the more fairytale-like villages that we visited and here are some images from there.
A couple of days ago my latest e-book with DPS (Digital Photography School) came out. This one will likely be appreciated by all those who are trying to get their work out there in front of a larger audience, to published and paid.
Building roads in the Indian Himalayas is a challenge.There’s a constant battle between humans and the terrain, which teams up with forces of nature to try to prevent the humans from making their creations or to destroy the roads they’ve already built.
Winding roads with sheer drops to hundreds of meters, huge rocks being exploded to clear those roads, ancient cultures clinging to their timeless ways of living and of course, incredible, awe-inspiring mountains, everywhere you look. This trip of mine to the Himalayas has been as exciting, as adventurous and as creatively satisfactory as I had dreamt and hoped it would be.
While in the Philippines, I somewhat spontaneously decided to go to the Indian Himalayas for my 30th birthday. I’ve jokingly called it an early mid-life crisis. Part of the reason for this trip is to prove to myself that I can ride to Ladakh on a motorcycle, another part is that I just want to live in the moment to the fullest and, of course I have some photographic ideas too.
As travelers we often have certain things we want to do when we visit places. Sometimes it’s just to make a tick on the “to-do” list. Other times, it’s because we really, really want to do those things. Swimming with the whale sharks at Donsol belongs to the latter category. I really, really wanted to do it. I was curious about what it would be like, ever since a friend back in Australia told me that there’s a place in the Philippines where you are almost guaranteed the chance.
Good Friday in the town of Infanta may have very well been the most absurd experience I’ve ever had in all of my travels. Just when I thought I was starting to understand how things “work” here, I was proven otherwise. The documentary photographer part in me was saying “Chill dude, you’ve seen ‘unusual’ rituals before”. But the regular person kept screaming, “This is some craaazy shit!” As the titles suggests, there was indeed blood involved. Just felt obliged to warn you all.
The Philippines are officially going into my books as one of the most beautiful countries I’ve visited, at least as far as breathtaking scenes per square kilometer go, they’re plentiful. The spectacular combination of mountains and water is everywhere and as I might have mentioned a few times, I am truly a sucker for this kind of scenery.
It was as cheesy, loud and quirky as one might expect an “Idol” talent show in a Filipino province to be. There was fist pounding, “reaching for the stars” and all kinds of gestures which were probably learned from Whitney Houston and Mariah Carey concerts. The judges, it appeared were looking for the loudest and most passionate act and so the girl who sang loudest and broke into tears during her performance won.
Every traveler knows how it feels. When you fall in love with a place, you come to appreciate it on so many levels. The natural beauty, the smells, the sounds, the smiles. You’ve connected with the locals, you’ve made friends that will remain close to your heart. It’s sad saying “Good bye”. You don’t know if it’s a “Good bye forever” or a “See you again some time”. You hope it’s the latter. But you never know. If you’ve had your share of travels and good byes, you understand that places and people change. Nothing in life is set, there are no guarantees.
Over the past couple of years I’ve had an increasing number of emails from aspiring travel/documentary photographers from all over the world. The three most common questions I am usually asked go along the lines of ...
As those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook already know, my new eBook is out. It’s called “Captivating Color - A guide to dramatic color photography”. You can get all the details about it at Digital Photography School. For the first week, we’re also giving away my eBook on light “Seeing the Light” for free, so if you’re interested in either one of the eBooks, now’s a good time to get ‘em.
I’ve spent the last three weeks in the small town of San Joaquin on Panay island in the Philippines. Due to my “activities” - the constant waking up in the morning and the fact that swimming in the middle of the sea, while going out with the fishermen can be rather physically demanding (for someone who’s not in the best shape) I’ve been too fatigued to write anything substantial during this time.