Back in April last year I went of a solo trip to Florence & Pisa. I’ve been meaning to write a blog for ages, but never seemed to get round to it and I just found my travel journal and … Continue reading
On the weekend of 20th & 21st January 2018 I attended the Adventure Travel Show for the first time. Now, I’d never actually heard of the show before considering its been running for 22 years! I booked tickets for the weekend after hearing about it Wanderlust Magazine (or it may have been their email newsletter – I can’t remember), I’ve been reading the magazine for a while now and daydreaming about travel for months, getting itchy feet and such so I thought why not?
The event is held at Olympia in London not going to lie I usually come here for Olympia Horse Show so it was quite a transformation! If you haven’t heard of the Adventure Travel Show either its the UK’s only event dedicated to discovering the world off the beaten track.
I attended a number of talks over the Saturday & Sunday which I have listed below:
- Exploring Canada’s Wilderness – Richard Harpham
- Quintessential Canadian Paddling Trips in Algonquin and Killarney Provincial Parks – Ted East & Randy Mitson, Destination Ontario.
- Kit Lists Unpacked – Ann Foules, trekMountains.
- Get off the beaten track – Andy Jennings, Moto Aventures.
There were two other talks I was interested in attending on the Saturday (the times clashed a bit) but I ended up down in first aid for a few hours so unfortunately missed out on Ocean Giants: close encounters in out Blue Planet and Justine Gosling’s talk on exploring the Arctic.
On the Saturday I also attended a seminar which was Improving your travel photography hosted by Keith Wilson.
- Adventures in Sudan – Simon Grove, Explore Worldwide
- Epic paddling adventures into the wilds of Canada – Harlan Schwartz & Jake O’Flaherty, Destination Ontario.
- How to start your adventure (Panel) – Dave Cornthwaite & Friends
- How to get to the start line of an adventure despite other people’s doubts – Lindsey Cole
- Things I wish I knew before travelling – Duncan Milligan
- Things no one tells you about travel – but should – Pip Stewart
- Brilliant Baja – Helen Bryon, Wildlife Worldwide
- Things to consider when choosing a volunteering project abroad – Tom Gore, Kaya Responsible Travel.
As you can see I attended a number of talks, there was an array of talks to choose from and sometimes it was difficult to choose which one to attend if the times clashed!
I enjoyed all the talks I went to, but I must say I have four favourites which I loved hearing and they were;
Things no one tells you about travel – but should – Pip Stewart
Got those little voices that try and stop you doing things? We all do! In this talk, adventurer Pip Stewart will suggest how to stop them through sharing her own experiences, from the highs and lows of her 16,000km cycle ride from Malaysia to London (including nearly being blown up by unexploded mortars) as well as what it was like living with indigenous communities in the remote Amazon. Warning: monkey heads and termites for breakfast may be featured.
How to get to the start line of an adventure despite other people’s doubts – Lindsey Cole
One of the hardest things about an adventure is getting to the start line. There’s a lot of planning, wondering if it’s possible and other people can put you off. I explain how I use negative responses I’ve received during planning to not just get to the start line but also to the end. Examples of adventures: walking the Rabbit Proof Fence, Circumnavigating Australia with truck drivers, roller skating to Bude and running with Kenyans.
Things I wish I knew before travelling – Duncan Milligan
How do you stop yourself getting into situations that aren’t quite what you were expecting? What sort of mind-set allows for the best travel experiences? How do you avoid the normal pitfalls of travelling through the developing world? Learn from the mistakes of one man who has made them all and survived to tell the tale.
How to start your adventure (Panel) – Dave Cornthwaite & Friends
Dave Cornthwaite and guests share a feast of tips about how to come up with amazing adventures, the best ways to plan and how to make sure your first big adventure goes without (much of) a hitch.
So, here’s 5 things I took away from the talks I attended and yes, they are probably from the four talks listed above!
- “Be a bit careful – travel with change you in unexpected ways. Don’t chose happiness, chase adventure” – Pip Stewart
Pip’s talk is one of my top 2, it was a really interesting and engaging talk it was another I found made me chuckle and I loved seeing the little clips shown throughout the talk.
- “All these people will try to put you off. It’s easier not to do it then it is to do it.” – Lindsey Cole. Lindsey’s talk is defiantly in my top 2, not going to lie. It was so relatable but it was also really funny and she had us all chuckling away in the audience. Some of the messages Lindsey shared with us that she had received from people were shocking but her responses made me cry of laughter. And hey, why not? Adventure is addictive after all.
- “Say yes more – nudge towards adventure. Adventures can start anywhere” – Dave Cornthwaite & Friends
- “Don’t take the same pictures that you have already seen in magazines, online or postcards. Why repeat it? Is it really your photo?” – Keith Wilson
- “Travel can show you your superpower. It will strip you to your essence” – Pip Stewart.
Of course, there wasn’t just the talks at the event there was tons of stands to walk around and loads of brochures to pick up! All in all I had a great weekend and will defiantly be back next year and I might even pluck up the courage to speak to people!
Have you been ? Plan to go next year ?
Whilst on holiday last week, I decided to have a play with long exposures. I’ve dabbled a bit with long exposures of the past few years but not as much I’d like, for various reasons. One being going out alone in the dark to somewhere with no light pollution with camera makes me nervous, I mean what if someone comes along and steals my pride and joy for example? What am I going to do? It’s not like I’m the bravest and can fight back! (or maybe I’m being overly dramatic) Perhaps when I can drive I’d be more inclined to and just stay by the car.
This year we were lucky to be staying overlooking the sea! At first I thought about walking to the local beach about a 15-minute walk again, but alas the fear was there. Instead, I stayed on the patio in an attempt to get some sea and stars!
The first night didn’t go down overly well as I forgot how hard it is to focus in the dark. After many attempts shining a torch on the nearest bush I called it a night settling on this:
The following night, it was glorious once again the stars out and the bats flying around under the street lights. I was gasping in awe. Now, this time before it got dark I went out and set my camera up to make sure it was focuses… why did I not think of that before?!
I played around for a bit and got these:
I then headed inside and packed my gear away.
And then this happened.
I’d headed up to bed sometime later and was about to draw my curtains. I looked out the window to find the sky covered in a vast array of star. There was so many more out than what I’d noticed a few hours earlier! So what did I do? I unpacked my gear and set myself up at the window of course!
There I was gazing out the window patiently waiting for the camera to finish taking the picture, when a flash shot through the sky which was quite bright. In a world of my own I shot back to life gasping and muttering to myself…woah was that a shoot star? Well I can say that when I looked at my camera, it was indeed a shooting star.
It’s a shame about the curtain and window in the picture but hey, I got my first shooting star photo!
Later on the week (after two raining days and a cloudy one) I managed to persuade my family to hang around after dinner in the town Looe, for me to try and get some long exposures on the beach and by the harbour. I also had a little play at the other end of town the following night, by a river.
On another note, I have recently ordered an ND filter to have a play around with so once I have that and had the chance to get out and have a go I’ll share that too!
If any one has any hints/tips for long exposures please let me know! 🙂
The dust kicks up as I sprint frantically through the light brown smog. I scream at the top of my lungs trying to get their attention, waving my arms like a crazed madman. My heart is pumping and my lungs clench under the cold midday air. My throat feels raspy; it hurts. My legs soon tire, and I stand alone, teary-eyed and exhausted. The sound of the engine soon dissipates as it rounds a bend, leaving a falling cloud of dust in its wake.
My last cry for help “Don’t leave me……”
My throat catches, and I feel the cool shiver of sorrow bubble inside.” Don’t cry you idiot, that’s not going to help things. ”
But the truth is I’m scared.
I didn’t come on this trip to be a lone survivor in desolate plains of the Canadian wilderness.
Clutching tightly onto my camera, a million terrible scenarios run through mind. I try to think clearly, of the next course of action when an emergency happens. It’s a difficult thing to do when you’re on the brink of letting your emotions take hold, and turn you into a small ball of a teary mess.
Great, my water’s in my bag…which is now hurtling away in the opposite direction. Talk about icing on the cake.
I start walking. I’ve just been stranded in a Canadian wood, populated by bears, wolves and mountain lions. Never mind what I said in my last post about bear attacks being rare, my mind is nowhere near at ease.
What happens if one attacks?
And eats me?
All the evidence is hidden…..apart from my camera, my shoes and probably some smelly socks!
It’s the middle of the day and the sun is still high in the sky. Luckily, the human eating mammals should be sleeping. SHOULD.
I glance around nervously as I walk; I am a lone female with no survival skills what’s so ever. I don’t even know how to light a fire, let alone make one.
Fact is, sometimes people lost in the wilderness never make it out.
What are you supposed to do? Stop and calm down. Your gut reaction is to panic and when fear or panic rules your mind, it only works against you. The thing is, if people know you’re out in the wilderness and missing, eventually someone will come looking. By moving around you make it harder for the rescue party.
So what did I do? Carry on walking.
I look down at my dirty boots as I scrape their thick rubber bottom against the dry sandy road. Suddenly the silence is broken, and no it is not me whaling like a lost infant. It’s them!
Two grinning faces appear behind the dashboard of the jeep. At this point I don’t even care if it was a joke; I’m just so relieved they’re here! I am welcomed with the sound of laughter as I clamber into the backseat. I am not impressed at this point, but the over whelming joy of not having to spend the night in the woods allows me to join in with the laughter.
That was a close one…
“Don’t worry, there isn’t any grizzlies in these parts”. That’s what Bob said, just before letting me loose to photograph the wild horses that live on the rescue site.
I arrived not long ago when Bob, the president of the society ‘Wild Horses of Alberta Society’, and his partner Fran picked me up from the B&B. They arrived slightly early so I rushed to cram the remainder of my belongings away and run down the stairs with my luggage to meet them. In my rush, I almost slipped up on the wooden flooring.
I would miss the homeliness of the B&B and the city, but I am moving to a new place where the work and the real fun starts.
“Bye Louise, it was nice having you” Arlene the B&B owner hollered down the stairs.
“BYE! Thanks again” I yelled back before letting the door swing shut and walking towards the big red car that awaits.
I haul my luggage into the boot; Bob extended his hand as a greeting and so does Fran.
“Well hop in, ” Bob said. I clambered up into the big car; it was quite a way up for a short person.
We chatted for part of the journey to Sundre, talking about R.Vs, the Canadian domestic life and about the horses of course. I chatted with ease, which surprised me as I’m normally quite shy and don’t say more than ‘Hmm’.
So that how I ended up at the facility to meet the volunteers, the rescued wild horse, and the wild onsite band, much to my pleasant surprise.
This was where I was when Bob said about the bears. If I’m honest, the fact a bear could eat me didn’t cross my mind until he said that. I was actually worried more about the stallion charging at me!
Two types of bears actually reside in Canada. The grizzly bear and the smaller black bear are both species that are omnivores, which means they eat anything from berries to salmon.
In fact, what are the odds of me being killed by a bear?
Incredibly low in fact, I remember reading in Stephen Herrero’s book Bear Attacks that attacks are events and in North America there are approximately six hundred thousand black bears and sixty thousand grizzlies. Anyway, statistics say in the 2000’s in North America including Canada, U.S, and Mexico the Black Bear killed 15 people and the Grizzly killed 12 in the same period. Not that many when you think about it. In other words, less than 3 people are killed each year in North America.
So there I am. Walking towards the back of the rescue site towards the area where the wild horses are lingering. There are so many trees in the woods, mainly birch. I stand in a clearing, silence. I look up at the tall trees, they’re huge. I walk on the pine cushioned floor littered with dirt and leaves. You would have thought there’d be a fresh, nature smell in the area, but I smell….nothing. I’ve never smelt nothing before. The air is fresh and crisp. The sun filters through the trees creating a dazzling light.
I spot the stallion first. The stallion they call ‘Portero’ which means gatekeeper in Spanish. He is magnificent with this great presence and this beautiful long wavy mane covering his dark eyes. The sun shining over his coat, his muscles rippling. His mares stand behind dozing peacefully and heavily pregnant.
The horses, this place, the silence, is magnificent. I can’t believe I saw the wild horses on my first day and managed to get some stunning photographs.
It’s been a hell of a long day, I’m exhausted and it’s only 2 pm. The weather was on my side once again thankfully and this morning was spent at Calgary Zoo.
I suppose one of the upsides to not having a car is walking to the places and being able to stop easily along the way. The walk to the zoo was great once I got away from the main road as it led me along the river. The river water amazes me; it’s a dazzling aqua blue and crystal clear. It’s magnificent.
One of the benefits I’ve found by travelling solo is I can do what I want and when I want. I can leave the house whenever I want and not have to wait for other people to get ready. Plus, whilst at the zoo, I found I can move around the enclosures in my own time, as I like to read the signs and spend time watching the animals, as usually others don’t like to read and tend to move on as soon as they have caught a glimpse of the animal.
Now that I’d spent the majority of the morning at the zoo and I must say my favourite part was the Canadian Wilds section which is great as they have information on the various habitats, what lives there, and a display of the animals found in the various regions. It really led you on a journey and it was great to see the Canadian Wildlife (even if it was in enclosures).
I did also fall for the photogenic Gorilla in the African section as he/she really posed for the camera, much to the delight of a school class watching. It’s amazing how alike humans they are though one did eat off the floor!
Some brave House Sparrows approached me at lunch and tried to steal parts of my food. Much to their dismay, they were unsuccessful, until I emptied my crumbs.
I set out on the one of the bikes from the shed at the B&B and followed the Elbow River Pathway, hoping to make it to Weaselhead Natural Area, an hour’s bike ride away apparently.
This bike felt strange; when turning it moved too quick and felt kind of loose, but it was the only one in the shed my size. At least, the seat was comfy! I’ll go slowly I thought to myself, that way if I fall, it won’t be too bad.
This is so relaxing by the river apart from going up those dreaded hills. I got distracted by woodpeckers, squirrels and rabbits along the route. I’d been going for quite awhile and had to take many detours away from the river due to erosion and work on the riverbank.
Passing big rich houses like the ones you see in the movies, I drooled, they are lush. I really want to take a peek inside one.
Uh oh….the path ahead is closed and it’s pointing up a very big twisty hill. I am not biking up that. I managed to get a quarter of the way before hopping off and walking to the top. Taking a seat to catch my breath, I look at the view. Wow. Directly below is the blue river, twisting and turning. Behind that, an array of posh houses and mansions, with tall dark conifers and brown land stretching into the distance, until the mountains fill the horizon. What a view.
I carry on biking and stop at a map. I’m half way and I’ve been over an hour. I’m never going to make it in time and it’s starting to get dark. I carry on for a bit and it starts to snow. Great, I’ve come out in a thick fleece and fingerless gloves. I sigh and turn around; I guess I should head back.
Jeez! My legs are killing; it’s a good job I turned around. I ploughed on through the light snow and about 20 minutes from the B&B the snow suddenly got heavier, thicker and more pellet-like. It’s a blizzard.
I’m trembling, frozen and my legs are burning; I want to give up.
I push on, against the wind. My face hurts and can’t feel my fingers. I feel like I’m going to hurl.
I will my legs to bike faster.
Success! I finally reach the B&B. Frozen I fumble around and put the bike away and rush inside for a cup of tea and a nice warm bath.
Note to self: Always take an extra layer, whatever the weather.
Last Thursday I attended ‘The Digital Imaging Roadshow’. This show travels around areas of the UK and gives a series of Masterclasses each year. I really enjoyed all the talks and I learnt a lot!
So, seeing as there were five talks on the day, I’m going to share one thing I learnt from each masterclass!
Damian McGillicuddy -I Bet you wished you’d brought your brolley
Umbrellas may be the single most overlooked weapons in the photographer’s arsenal. The societies seven-time photographer of the year will demonstrate the power and versatility of the humble brolley by combining classic, contemporary and downright cool lighting techniques.
This talk seemed more tailored to those with studios and portable lights. Though I did learn a number of things in general from this talk one being when shooting a headshot you point the lens at the mouth, if a mid you point at the chest and for a full body shot you point at the stomach.
Charlie Kaufman – Selling, Selling, Selling!
Charlie will inject 25 years of experience in sales into the delegates of this fast paced, fun packed and informative talk.
Well this, certain was fast packed and fun! I did think during this talk I’d nod off because of the subject but actually it was really interesting and upbeat! I think this is one I learnt the most from so will be hard choosing one thing!
The major thing I’d take from this class would be don’t give all images in high res on a CD – as you don’t want to give them too much as overshooting and undershooting is bad! – Generally from photoshoots I come away with anywhere between 200-400 pictures a person which I cut down to 80!
Mark Cleghorn – The Photography Xperience
In this session Mark looks at ways that you can simply move from Bland to Brand with your photography and business.
Another talk I enjoyed! One thing to take away from this talk: Plan every session – Write a shot list, get that creative shot, change accessories, session flow new ideas and always do something different with every client.
Richard Storrs – The Power of Websites
An insight in to the importance of websites for photographers. Why, in today’s world you cannot afford not to have one.
Now, I already have a website so wasn’t sure how much I would take away from this.
If used correctly a website can save time in terms of order processing, taking and making payment, involving and customer contact – I don’t have a shop built into my website at the moment, however it is something I will now look into!
Richard West – Colour Management made simple
Former head of Apple’s Photography Market team in the UK and subsequently country manager for photo plug-in manufacturer Nik Software (now Google). Richard West runs Datacolor in the UK.
Monitor calibration is something I keep seeing pop up in a number of photography groups I am apart of on Facebook. One thing I learnt from this class (and there is a lot) is softproofing! I honestly thought this button in lightroom just showed you what the image looks like on a white background! Not that you can see how the image will be seen on the internet and also using printer profiles to see how it will come out when printed! I tested this out with my printer (I don’t use this to print photos) but if I did they would come out with a horrible blue tint! I then downloaded the printer profiles from the printing lab I use to see the difference – it’s not quite as drastic as the tint but they do come out duller than on screen!
The wind rippled across the lush green grass. Was it the wind? Steel wings rattled and shook, the engine hummed in anticipation, patiently waiting its turn. The time came and it surged forward and accelerated to over 140 miles per hour, gently pushed me against the back on the seat. We have lift off.
I had successfully navigated Heathrow Airport on my own and made it to the plane. I’m on my first solo trip.
And that would be across the world to Canada.
Talk about throwing yourself in the deep end.
I haven’t felt overly nervous, well only at the airport. Once sat on the plane I was fine.
The flight was long and tough on the legs. I slept for a short while on the flight, woke up to a very numb hand and cramps. Sleeping on planes is not easy; I’m dreading the flight home as its overnight. I ended up reading, watching Paddington and Into the Woods to pass the time.
10 hours later I landed in Calgary at 12pm. Compared to the UK where the field were an array of patchwork green in colour, here it looked flat, brown and dull and everything looked square.
I took a taxi from the airport to my B&B in South East Calgary. The B&B (Riverpath B&B) is a lovely house very big and spacious, the owner Arlene was very friendly and we got along pretty well. It felt like I was visiting someone I knew.
I had a big debate with myself, stay awake and battle the jet leg or conk out. I chose option one; it was a lovely warm day out so despite being tired I went for a walk to the river. It’s beautiful a real nice aqua blue and clear too. I then walked to Inglewood which was voted ‘Canada’s coolest neighbourhood’. It was pretty windy out despite the warmth.
For one of my final year university modules we have to do an On Location project. I have chosen to do mine on the pros and cons of grazing feral ponies on nature reserves and for this I am visiting Drumburgh Moss National Nature Reserve in Drumburgh, Cumbria where eight Exmoor ponies roam and graze.
I haven’t seen 5am for a while, but it sure is a tough wake up when it’s dark and cold out. I pushed through getting ready in record time to leave for the bus. Stepping outside I was greeted by a thick fog, covering me like a blanket along with the bitter cold. ‘Gee whizz’ I muttered. Setting off at a brisk walk, I soon warmed up admiring the fog as I went hoping it would stick around until sunrise.
I stepped off the bus at Drumburgh missing the warmth already; I set off down the lane. The droning of the cows drowned out the twitter of the birds I was straining to hear. Not only could I hear them making a racket the smell of cow was overpowering. As I reached the reserve entrance I glanced across a field, a thin layer of mist smothered the ground; the sky had become pink like a sea of cotton candy.
I decided before looking for the ponies, I would have a gander inside the fenced area of the nature reserve where the raised mire is. It was beautiful, from the reflections in the water to the mist rolling off and onto the vegetation to the sparkling water drops, the cob webs twinkled as the orange fireball rose. It was time to move on and get those foggy morning shots I so desired.
No sooner had I rounded the corner I could make out the ponies, clouded in the swirling vapour. As I approached they raised their heads high, their gaze watched my every move checking that I was not a predator. As I neared I started to snap away, the dew laden grass glittered. One watched and posed away, the other two disinterested carried on munching away. He became inquisitive by the noise of my camera and started to approach but in doing this, 4 horses charged out of a little wood behind me. I hadn’t even noticed they were there, only the other two on the opposite side of the path to me. On they cantered towards me, nostrils flared, snorting and prancing. ‘Oh boy, I don’t want to get caught up in this’ I thought. I backed away slowly, making sure I wasn’t going to be stuck in the middle of them, they stopped, observed and one brave pony approaches, a slight wild look in his eye. ‘Steadddy’ I murmured. His ears twitched, slowly he walks on. I moved my arm slightly; he jumps back, spins and runs. Snorting he tries again whilst two others fight just to the left of me, kicking and rearing at each other. This is not the position I want to be in. I edge to my right, slowly making way to give myself a good distance between them again. The inquisitive one follows me, I stop, he stops. Slowly I turn take some pictures, he breathes out, adding to the fog. Shoving his nose towards to the camera lens he sniffs it, deciding I am no threat, he wanders back to his herd. I stand and watch, behind me the golden light softly caressed the land.
The herd move around splitting into their groups of 4, a 3 and a lone one. I think to myself, now then if they would kindly like to stand over there in the golden light it would be beautiful, like the picture I hoped to achieve. What happened next was magical. One pony wandered straight past me, followed by another into the pale orange hue. I stood and gawped. I couldn’t believe it. I snapped away frantically not wanting to miss my chance, in the doing of this, I was joined by a pony stood at my side, looking on he sighed, and nudged me. When I didn’t respond to this he took to grabbing my camera bag between his teeth and pulling backwards, he soon lost interest when this didn’t get a response either and walking into the light.
I don’t know what it is with these ponies, but seemed to love starting a fight right in front of me. For the second time this day I had a pair squeal and rear up at each other. I left them all too it for about half an hour to look around the rest of the reserve before heading back, taking some more photos of the ponies to pass some time before heading to the bus.
Here are a few pictures from yesterday, I took over 700…..and have somehow got to pick ones out for the magazine article and for prints. Fun and games, but please let me know what you think :).
First off, apologies for the lack of posts. I keep putting it off, as I like to just upload a picture each time, but it seems I only have about 5% of storage space available (and tons of photos to share) which = to me not knowing how to go about it.
I have also been busy at work, going on holiday to Wales (where I saw dolphins and Barn owls!).
Also at work I have been taking pictures for the stable doors where the horse has a profile and a headshot picture.
You can see the images here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.772889506095192.1073741838.191970274187121&type=1&l=32720f29db
On Friday I also went to the Global Champions Tour at Horse Guards, London so have tons of pictures from that!