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travel

Australian Photographer of the Year: Highly Commended in Three Categories

Australian Photographer of the Year: Highly Commended in Three Categories

Australian Photography Magazine’s 2018 Photographer of the Year Competition has just been announced, and I’m pleased to have had my entries in three categories (Travel, Landscape, and Wildlife and Animal) awarded as Highly Commended from a strong field of entrants. The competition is the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, and it’s an honour to be so recognised. A full list of winners is available here.

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Updates!

Updates!

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It's been a hectic three or so months since I returned to Sydney from Llandeilo, Wales (an incredible spot, pictured above). With my sabbatical year wrapped up I've been busy at home with projects in Oz, but am finally managing to get caught up on updating the website, the work on which is nearly always in arrears!

In any case, I've updated a few things on the site, including my Muru Cycles Mungo review, and getting up my articles for destination inspiration in China, Tibet and Central Asia; Europe and Australia.

Take a look around, and as always drop me a line if you have any questions or comments!

Litang Photographs (Kham Region of Tibet, West Sichuan)

Litang Photographs (Kham Region of Tibet, West Sichuan)

Litang at 4100m in the high Tibetan grasslands. Brown hills rising over flat-topped roofs, dust swirling in the streets. Nomads on motorbikes with long wild hair, gold teeth, greasy shearling jackets hanging off their shoulders. A fine market with fruit, butchered meat, dry goods, shoes and clothes. Police, of course, everywhere.

The old quarter of town up on the north edge of the city still feels like Tibet, unreconstructed or improved. I wander the dirt streets behind houses with outer walls of mud and straw, old women spinning prayer wheels at small temples along the way. The Gelugpa monastery at the top of the hill is all new, bricks and lumber still piled around the courtyard. This is China: everything is in the process of being built.

More touristy than expected, Litang, with signs in English on the main street and a few westerners in my hostel. They hold sky burials here still west of town. From here on the road turns north, deeper into Kham.

 

Zhongdian (Shangri-la) Photographs

Zhongdian (Shangri-la) Photographs

Zhongdian, the city in northwestern Yunnan province cynically rebranded as 'Shangri-La', is a giant construction zone like so much of the rest of China. The Old City was largely destroyed in a fire in early 2014, and while much of the northern part of the Old City has been rebuilt, the southern end of the quarter remains a warren of half-finished buildings and half-laid streets, making it easy to see how manufactured the experience of Shangri-La's 'Old City' really is. That said, I can't be too hard on Zhongdian, with its backdrop of snowcapped mountains. Even if it's manufactured and touristy, the Old City is still an incredibly pleasant place to wander, and this is the first real stop on the Yunnan tourist trail where you can experience a bit of actual Tibetan culture, being the jumping-off point to the Tibetan Plateau itself. There's dancing in the streets at night (somehow all the locals seem to know the steps) and some very picturesque temples and what I'm told is the world's largest prayer wheel, though such designations are nearly always apocryphal. If you're interested in Tibet and Tibetan culture start your trip in Shangri-La, don't end it here. But for an accessible peek and a pleasant place to spend a few days, you could certainly do much worse.