I was watching a film on the plane and just had a notion to lift the blind and look out of the window. We were passing over the mountains of western Iran, en route to Abu Dhabi, and I could hardly believe the beautiful sight below. This is my favourite image of 2016.
Almost the end of the trip - David, Jeannette and I eventually got up to the Peak on Hong Kong Island, high above the incredible Hong Kong cityscape. Our hotel was in Kowloon, behind us, but lost amongst the buildings.
This was quite an experience. There's a lot of wall in the Great Wall of China: the section we went to was quiet, without the hordes I'd expected and feared. It was crumbly, overgrown and magnificent - pretty mind-blowing simply to be there.
The little black church at Budir on Iceland's Snaefellsnes peninsula stands between the sea and the only other building for miles around, the fantastic Hotel Budir - which I reckon to be one of the most beautiful places in the world. I stayed there last month for a few days with a couple of other photographers, who both loved the place so much that they both said they'd get married there. (One was already married...but hey! I knew what he meant.)
I organised a trip to Iceland for The Guild of Photographers. It was a great group and we shared an unforgettable experience in this incredible place, where the weather shifted faster than we could believe, and every corner we turned brought us another delight. This was one - this little horse and rider appeared over a low hill and scooted past us so fast, with its strange short gait, peculiar and particular to Icelandic horses. Coming back ten minutes later, the rider looked a bit bemused as he negotiated a beaming group of Guild photographers who couldn't believe their luck!
This image has won first place in the Beauty of Plants category of the International Garden Photographer of the Year competition 2016. It had to be one of my most memorable shoots - I was in New Mexico, USA, and the dunes really are white - they're silica, and cool underfoot even in the 90 degree heat that accompanied the 90mph gusts of the hot winds. The Indians use every part of the yucca plant, which has to grow tall and strong fast to outpace the fast-shifting dunes. This one, spotted when I was about the leave the White Sands National Parkwhen the gates were about to close at sunset. It stood strong with its seed pods empty - it had done it's job.Read More
New Year on the east coast of Skye, in a tiny house 100 yards from the shore of the narrow waters separating Skye from mainland Scotland. Driving north through the high winds and torrential rain of Storm Frank I wondered whether the Skye Bridge would still be open - the ferry was cancelled - but it was much calmer over on the west. The last twenty minutes is the climb up and over from the main road to Kylerhea, with the reward of the little white dots of the tiny hamlet spread out below as you come over the final ridge. "Turn right by the red postbox and it's first on the left." Lovely to climb out of the car, walk to the edge of relatively calm water and exhale…
I’m in Istanbul, a place that has been on my wish list for a very long time, and yesterday I finally got to visit the Blue Mosque. It was magnificent. Lots of worshippers, and lots of visitors, but no matter. I found a corner where I could stand still and and just gaze up at the crescendo of domes and the gentle glow of the tiles.
Ten years ago last month I went to India for the first time. It was an eye-opener, in many ways. New sights, sounds and smells, definitely - but the overwhelming impression I came back with was of so many people living together harmoniously in what might be politely called very basic conditions. They had no access to basic things I take for granted in my life here, but there were so many smiles and happy conversations. I didn't once hear voices raised in anger, or children crying.
We arrived here in Kayenta two nights ago, dusty, gritty and smiling ear to ear after visiting Upper Antelope Canyon on Sunday afternoon. We almost didn't go, for one reason and another - the websites weren't letting us book, the hotel phoned for us but "all busy". We were quite relaxed about it - it was hot, we'd been early that morning to Horseshoe Bend and marvelled at the height, the colours, the hugeness; had stopped off at the dam; breakfasted - or maybe brunched - in a booth at Denny's (among the Mother's Day lunchers) on pancakes, bacon and maple syrup, and done a supermarket top-up for our coolbox in Page, town of churches - what busy little bees we were. However, our road out from Page to Kayenta passed right by the site, so we just called in on the off-chance - and left for the canyon on a bumpy truck 5 minutes later with languorous Franky, our Navajo guide. WHAT a treat it was!!! It was pretty quiet, and lovely and cool, and the colours were…indescribable. We're still speculating as to the why and how - no doubt there are dissertations on it, somewhere.
She's a plasterer, in Delhi. She's so ...herself!