Archives for category: travel

 

2nd issue of Gavin magazine

2nd issue of Gavin magazine

In the 2nd issue of Gavin magazine is a feature on Orangutan rescue in Borneo. This thought provoking story shows the plight of one of mankind’s nearest biological neighbours.

Also in the magazine is a fine art project on Britain’s ancient trees, the look at the work of British Divers Marine Life Rescue, ragged tooth shark migration and a photo project on the 1st World War battlefields.

So there is pretty much something for everyone. The link to the free magazine is: http://issuu.com/gavinparsons/docs/gavin_magazine_issue_2

I hope you all enjoy it.

Front cover of Gavin issue 1

Front cover of Gavin issue 1

Over the last few months I have been working on an exciting project which combines many of my creative skills. And this weekend just gone I released Gavin magazine. Gavin is a showcase for my photographic, written, and design work and has been published online on the issuu platform. There is a link to the magazine at the bottom of this blog post.

I have opted for a soft launch rather than a grand fanfare as I am just finding my feet with online publishing. I have been involved in the publishing of hundreds of magazines over the years, but this is the first time I have used an online platform such as issuu, so I wanted the first issue to be stunning, yet reserved.

More issues will follow and they will include both personal projects that I have worked on in recent years and commercial work I am able to publish. Some of my work I am not allowed to use for certain reasons, which I always respect.

As always when creating a magazine I used Adobe’s Indesign and worked hard on choosing complimentary fonts, I hope you like what I’ve chosen. I decided many of the images needed to have the background story, which is so difficult to do on a portfolio website, which is another reason for working on the magazine. So some of the images have a caption, but others are part of a much larger story. This is fairly limited in the first issue, but the articles will increase as the magazine grows in popularity.

Since my first job, I have always been involved in photography and magazine creation, so this is a logical step for me. I have the writing, design and photography skills needed, but the process has been a learning curve.

At the moment the magazine is just online, but I am looking at offering a hard copy (although this will be a paid for service as buying any magazine) and as the readership grows I will possibly offer advertising opportunities for business looking to advertise their services and wares alongside my editorial (The adverts in the first issue were donated to companies who have helped me obtain images or offered advice).

I hope you enjoy reading it and please let me know what you think and also if you have any questions, comments or requests for areas of my work you’d like to see included in the magazine let me know.

You can find Gavin magazine at: http://issuu.com/gavinparsons/docs/gavin_magazine_issue_1

 

© Gavin Parsons. All rights reserved

© Gavin Parsons. All rights reserved

A couple of days ago I was searching through my photographic archives to find some slides I took in Australia a few years ago, before the digital age. A client wanted pictures of western Australia and I knew I had some beautiful slides.

At the bottom of the file box was a couple of long forgotten plastic sleeves with black & white negatives from a backpacking visit to Indonesia 21 years ago. I had never printed or scanned them and they have never been published. I simply processed them and put them away.

So I was excited to delve back into my past.

© Gavin Parsons. All rights reserved

© Gavin Parsons. All rights reserved

At first I couldn’t remember where the pictures were taken. The temple was as mysterious as the start of a Scooby Doo cartoon. I’d traveled extensively in South East Asia in 1992 when I was 24 and thought at first it was northern Thailand as I remembered touching a Buddha’s feet (a statue anyway) through the holes in the bell shaped domes. Thailand is a Buddhist country and so my hypothesis had some merit.

I searched the internet, but turned up a blank in northern Thailand. So I spread the search and found a picture on Google image search of the same bell shaped domes. It turned out to be the ancient temple of Borobudur on the Spice Island of Java. And then the memories rushed through time like a hand from the past slapping me across the face. The desolate ruins in the rainforest mountains appeared in my mind. It rains a lot there and the day I visited was no different. I remember the loneliness of the place. Just me, a couple of traveling companions and our driver who sat in his car in the carpark. We had the place to ourselves. The sky was a flat grey, the stones wet and mirror-like in places, it was like liquid silver had been tipped across the temple.

We wandered around the temple so old and exciting that Indiana Jones wold have felt at home. You can find out more about it at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borobudur.

© Gavin Parsons. All rights reserved

© Gavin Parsons. All rights reserved

A day or so later I was on a rickety bus heading to an old harbour near the city of Jakarta with a guy from Brazil.  The harbour was a step back in time. The cargo boats were all sail driven, small and the hustle and bustle around them was infectious. It was a great place to spend a few hours watching the men carrying huge planks of wood, bags of rice, potatoes and any other pieces of cargo.

When I got home I must have processed the films and put the negatives away for later printing. I probably didn’t think it would be two decades before the pictures were seen. Although now, the pictures will be seen by more people than they perhaps would have done. After all how many pictures taken 21 years ago have you looked at lately?

You can see the full collection in the gallery on my website at www.gavinparsons.co.uk/pages/rediscovered.html

Please let me know what you think about my posts by either leaving a comment, liking it, or following me.

The oceanic

Copyright: Gavin Parsons. All rights reserved

Copyright: Gavin Parsons. All rights reserved

This week’s ‘behind the picture’ is one from my archives. It was taken in the Red Sea, just off Big Brother Island in the early naughties. The reason I bring it to you today is because the oceanic white tip shark today received CITES protection. This is a bit of great news for this ocean going species, although extremely sad for the state of our seas.

When this picture was taken, oceanic white tip sharks were fairly common, especially in the Red Sea; now its numbers have been decimated. These are impressive creatures and deserve protection from over fishing, but it is not full protection. The species can still be targeted by fishermen, but there will now be enforceable laws on international trade.

This shot, as I said, was taken off the Brother Islands in the middle of the Red Sea. I was on a specific oceanic hunt and had already been to Elphinestone Reef, which was supposed to be a shoe in for oceanics, but I saw none. I’d hung off a line on the back of the boat for several hours missing two dives to try and find an oceanic. As we left I felt like I was doomed.

The next stop was Big Brother Island where I’d seen an oceanic white tip on a previous visit. But it was at the end of the dive and I had used my 36 exposures, so didn’t get a shot (It’s hard to imagine only having 36 shots now.)

The Brother Islands are perfect because of the deep water surrounding them. They are the only thing that sticks up for miles and are a draw for fish and, therefore, a draw for sharks. I spent pretty much all the time on board the liveaboard watching the water between dives for the tell tale shape of a shark on the surface. We’d seen nothing the first day and then just after lunch on the second day as I was changing film, a cry came from the stern of the boat. I grabbed my camera and hopped in the water.

I couldn’t see anything but blue when I cleared my mask and thought perhaps I’d scared the shark away. But then I just caught a white flash about 20 metres away. It was the oceanic white tip shark.

I was joined by a guy who had never seen a shark before and here he was jumping into a sea with the third most dangerous shark in the oceans. It was fairly wary at first though and circled us widely. But each time it got closer and closer. Within about ten minutes is was right up with us and as bold as any shark I have come across. So close in fact that my buddy had to raise his fins to keep the shark back more than once.

I was using a 16mm lens and watched the shark get closer and closer through the viewfinder. It was only when I could not make out all, the shark that I thought to look up and found it was pushing me backwards in the water. She wasn’t particularly threatening and not once did she open her mouth. So I felt as safe as you can be in an ocean with a big shark, but I thoroughly enjoyed the encounter.

When I got back home and had the film developed I was delighted with the results and this shot eventually won the BSAC travel photographer of the year in 2005.

A different view of the Taj

Photographed by Gavin Parsons. All rights reserved

Photographed by Gavin Parsons. All rights reserved

 

This week’s ‘Behind the Picture’ is a global icon. The Taj Mahal is probably one of the best loved and most photographed pieces of land in India. There are almost well worn paths to the best angles to photograph this stunning piece of architecture. Hawkers wait for tourists and offer to show you the best spots for the light in a sort of manual version of having a Taj Mahal mode in your camera.

I though wanted a new angle, one I’d never seen before. There are shots of the Taj from the front, from across the river, with trains in the foreground, from the side. In fact, it’s pretty much been photographed from every angle you can think of and several you wouldn’t dream of. Most of the Taj Mahal pictures are, of course, tourist snaps. And I did think it was fun to photograph people photographing the building. But that was more for my own amusement.

Ordinarily I would have researched the subject intensely before I got there, but on this particularly trip I had no idea whether I would see the place. I was on assignment photographing Dancing Bear rehabilitation and it I was in Agra only by chance.

So I took the opportunity and pitched up at the sort of time sparrows are thinking about getting out of bed and waited in a massive queue. When I got into the complex the sun was just coming up and the misty moody light was lovely. The Taj Mahal was almost lost in the background. In a way the light was sensual and seductive which sounds like pouncey photographer speak, but it’s the only way I can describe it.

So I walked around like a tourist selectively taking the usual types of shots and taking the advice of a few of the hawkers and then on my way out I looked back along the ponds and saw my picture.

No one else would be mad enough to lie down on the pavement in India and then to rest their camera so close to water you’d think some kind of alarm would go off. But that’s what I did. To help me see what the camera was seeing I used a ZigView digital display which screws into the viewfinder and allows me to see the picture without having the camera pressed to my eye. It’s perfect for ground shots or over my head shots. It’s a brilliant gadget.

I positioned myself slightly off centre to show the pillars sticking out of the water and then took a couple of frames. They required minimal post processing and the final image was so different to the usual, that I loved it.

You can see it larger on my website in the locations section. Also, if you would like to learn how to take better pictures you could join one of my monthly weekend photo courses. Again see my website for details.