Sausage dog looking guilty

The Fred walk

Meet Fred. He’s a five-year old Dachshund belonging to my boyfriend’s sister. I’d thought I’d harass him with my new camera while we took him for a walk around Willen Lake over in Milton Keynes.

Milton Keynes, known locally as MK, was designated a new town in 1967 and was built to relieve the housing shortage in London. Unusually for a town, MK is built in a grid format and is famous for having lots and lots of roundabouts. Willen Lake is the town’s most popular park and you can find many a dog walker strolling around the lake.

The Peace Pagoda (pictured) was the first to be built in the Western Hemisphere back in the 1980s. It houses sacred relics of Buddha given by Nepal, Sri Lanka and Berlin. It stands alone on the brow of a hill, surrounded by cherry trees and cedars in remembrance of the victims of past wars.

I was really surprised to see the Peace Pagoda. I’ve visited a few when I was on my travels and had no idea there was one about an hour away from London.

I hope you enjoy the photos of the dog. As a cat person myself, I do find Fred very cute.

Camera: Cannon 5D Mark II. Lens: 24-105mm

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Overcoming Impostor Syndrome as a Photographer

teacupandcake:

This post has really struck a chord with me and I thought I would share it.

I have thought of myself as an impostor for a very long time. Firstly in my previous job in social media. It was an industry that I loved being a part of but was in constant fear that I would be found out as a wannabe. A crap wannabe in fact. The constant fear of being found out paralysed me and the doubt took over. Eventually I was beaten down and left. The only thing I had left was photography.

Even now I find it hard to call myself a photographer even though I take photos, have studied photography and take an active interest in the medium. I feel I’m a liar whenever I say I’m a photographer. I view myself as just a person that enjoys taking photos.

The blog talks about comparison and I’m certainly am guilty about that. On a good day, I use it as inspiration; to push myself to become better at taking photos.

More often than not though, I use it as a stick to beat myself up about my lack of talent, lack of imagination or not being where I feel I should be. Comparison is certainly the death of joy. It’s not fun when you put yourself down all the time.

I haven’t quite figured out how to defeat the feeling of being a wannabe photographer (tips gratefully received) but I’ve been making myself take a step back and realise there are people who are always going to better than myself. That’s just life.

As Jen H says: ‘If people love your art, believe them. Give yourself permission to love it too.’

Originally posted on The Daily Post:

There is an unsettling, nagging worry that accompanies impostor syndrome, that somehow, someday, someone is going to find out that you’re a great big phony.

Impostor syndrome is the pervasive feeling that you’re faking your way through success, and that your achievements are attributable only to good luck. There is an unsettling, nagging worry that accompanies impostor syndrome, that somehow, someday, someone is going to find out that you’re a great big phony. That you’re really not as really good as you’ve cleverly convinced people that you are. That you’re a fraud.

In today’s post, I’ve decided to focus on impostor syndrome in the photography community, but everything herein can be easily extrapolated onto any professional field or any creative pursuit. I’ve collected some thoughts from a few of the I Heart FacesCreative Team; Amandalynn Jones and Julie Rivera, as well as Texas photographer Karyn Kelbaugh

View original 973 more words

Traditional fishing on Inle Lake

Rediscovered photos – Myanmar

It’s been a while since I flicked through my digital photos. Actually, it’s a while since I’ve looked at any album – digital or otherwise. I forgot about these photos and came across them while looking for something else. I realised I’ve not blogged any of my Myanmar photos since I visited the country back in 2014.

Short on time, I went on a 15-day organised tour which took in Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Kalaw and Inle Lake.

Yangon was like any Asian city – noisy, dusty and chaotic – however always in the background was one of Buddhism’s most sacred sites – the Shwedagon Paya.  At 99 meters high and covered in gold, it can be seen from almost anywhere in Yangon. It helps is also sits on a hill. The centrepiece of  the Shwedagon Paya is dome topped with a stupa that is encrusted with rubies, sapphires, topaz and over 7000 diamonds. We visited at sundown and saw the pagoda glow under the lights.

Before setting sail along the Ayeyarwaddy River to Mandalay, we took a quick trip to the ancient city of Bagan and I fell in love with the place. It was the perfect antidote to the hustle and bustle of Yangon. We cycled around Bagan and visited a few of the 2230 temples that rose out of the landscape. It is believed there was once around 4450 of them built between 1057 and 1287.

I decided (quite late) to go on a ballon ride. Sadly, this was not to be. As I was about to get into the basket, the ride was called off. The wind was too strong. I was gutted.

We overnighted in Mandalay before hitting the road to the small town of Kalaw where we hiked through the pine forests. Kalaw was once a hill station for the fleeing British trying to get away from the searing heat of the plains.

Our final stop was Inle Lake where we are able to take photos of Myanmar’s most iconic images – the fishermen. These fishermen have a unique way of rowing – they tie a paddle to one leg, and while standing up are able to row. The reason for this is because the reeds beneath the water make it hard see while sitting.

Myanmar has been one of the top destinations for visit before tourism truly takes hold. Starbucks is now being sold and now KFC is planning to open in downtown Yangon. This trip didn’t even scratch the surface of Myanmar and I would love to go back and do it independently.

Depression in black and white

The Book: project inspired by The Fault in Our Stars

I was recently set a project from an online photography course I’m doing. The brief was to create a three photos inspired by a book given to me. I had no choice in the book and was duly handed the Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Luckily for me, I had already read the book some months previous and really enjoyed it. To say that I found this book emotional is an understatement! I have never had so many tears roll down my face.

In essence, the book is a tragic love story about terminally ill teenagers. There is death. There is love. There is cancer and an adventure to Amsterdam. It’s not all doom and gloom though. There are some lighter moments in the book, I promise. By the end, I thought of the characters as friends and the ending devastated me. It’s not a book I’d normally read, nor the subject matter something I would tackle in photography but it certainly made me think.

The book is packed with lots of quotes which helped me decide how I was going approach the photos. I pulled out three of my favourites and created an image to represent each one.

Do let me know what you think in the comment section below.

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‘Depression is not a side effect of cancer. Depression is a side effect of dying.’

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‘It’s a metaphor, see: you put the killing thing between your teeth but you don’t give it the power to do it’s killing.’

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‘I’m on a rollercoaster that only goes up, friend.’

View across the valley

A walk up Snowdon

It’s taken four years, but finally I made it to the top of Snowdon. It was supposed to be a training ground for my Everest Base Camp trek back in 2011 but somehow my friends and I were not able to get a date in the diary until now. This was back in April so lambs and daffodils were out in force

While there are many paths to the Mount Snowdon, we decided to hike up the Snowdon Ranger Path, an eight-mile round trip from the Snowdon Ranger YHA and one of the oldest routes to the summit . The self-proclaimed ‘Snowdon Ranger’ John Morton used this path to take Victorian visitors to the summit. It’s a fairly easy hike to the top, however the views were not spectacular until you hit the top and you get a great view of Snowdonia.

We also visited the village of Beddgelert and walked by the river to the grave of Gelert the dog. Legend has it that back in the 13th century,  Llewlyen, Prince of North Wales returned after a hunt and saw his dog covered in blood, an empty cot where his son should have been, and blood stained bedsheets. Thinking the dog had eaten him, Llewlyen drove his sword through his pet, only to hear the wail of his son. It is said the prince was filled with such remorse, he never smiled again.

I wouldn’t like to leave on a sad story, so as ever, here’s a selection of photos of our trip.

Photos taken with the Lumix GX 7.

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Jack in the Green 2015

May Day has been celebrated in the UK since the times of old and it’s no different in the Sussex coastal town of Hastings.  Every year the Old Town is awash with green to welcome in the start of summer. Jack in the Green has it’s roots in the 16th and 17th century. To celebrate May Day, people would compete to see who would make the most elaborate garland until, by the 18th century, garlands created by chimney sweeps covered an entire person and thus Jack in the Green was born.

The straight-laced Victorians soon put a stop to the May Day drunken shenanigans. A law was also passed which banned boys becoming chimney sweeps and gave Jack in the Green the death knell in 1889. It was revived in the 80’s by the Mad Jacks Morris Dancers and now groups from across the UK come annually to help the town continue it’s tradition.

The celebrations are a four-day affair, starting on the Friday and ending in a procession that sees Jack being stripped of his leaves on the Monday, with morris dancing and drinking in between. It’s said that if you manage to grab some leaves off Jack, you’ll get good luck for the rest of the year. Unfortunately, I only managed to get down for the last day when everyone was waiting for Jack to appear. I also didn’t get any leaves this year either. I hope I’m not doomed for the rest of 2015!

Picture of my students in Kathmandu in Nepal

Nepal earthquake

I’m sure you’ve heard about the devastating earthquake that hit Nepal earlier in the week. Over 5, 000 people have been killed. More than eight million people have been affected by the quake while about 10, 000 people have been injured. Villages destroyed. Aid is starting to get through, but many are still sleeping outside, too scared to return to their homes because of aftershocks.

Nepal has a special place in my heart. Not only is it a beautiful country, it has a rich cultural heritage. In fact, the Kathmandu Valley was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1979. I stayed in the country for two and a half months back in 2011 where I saw the sun rise over Everest, taught English to porters and guides and trekked the beautiful Annapurnas. Some of the same students that I taught were up in the mountains when the earthquake hit. Sadly, I know of at least one person who has been killed. I taught him at the Kathmandu Environmental Education Project – an NGO promoting sustainable tourism and provides training to those working on the mountains. He took me on a hike around the Kathmandu Valley, telling me about the villages and the legends that surrounded the valley. I will remember him as a lovely, giving person; passionate about his country and wanting to share that with me.

They need our help right now. Nepal was already one of the poorest countries in the world and now they have to deal with this crisis. The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) have set up The Nepal Earthquake Appeal. The Guardian also has a list of other appeals where you can donate.