The vast southern African country of Namibia has a myriad of attractions, from its stark, majestic scenery to colourful colonial era towns.

Kolmanskop is another of those gems. This settlement supported a diamond mine during the German occupation of the early 20th century. The last families moved out in the 1950s and it became a ghost town.

The Namib Desert’s dry climate has preserved the buildings and is slowly consuming them. Visitors are allowed to explore former dwellings from the hospital to a skittle alley.

Taking photographs is an unusual and slightly unnerving experience, while the pursuit of ‘abandonment porn’ is a popular one – see how tours of Chernobyl are now widely available.

A trip to Namibia should always include a visit to remarkable Kolmanskop.

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A year of travel

It was a big decision taking a year out to spend travelling. Those 12 months passed very quickly and I’ve had time to take stock of places visited, people met and what’s next.

I came back with a lot of photographs and set myself the task of choosing one image to sum up every trip and country. They’re images I’m proud to have captured, but also are the most evocative of each place. It’s sometimes a strong personal memory, other times a striking impression.

The journey hasn’t finished for me. Travelling has sparked a desire to see more of the world and change my life.

Please share your memories of travel, particularly the ones that have stayed with you forever.

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The future of Manchester

After taking you a long way away, it’s back to my home city of Manchester and right in the backyard.

I’ve lived in the canalside area of Castlefield for three years now, and have been watching huge changes take place. 

A cluster of high rise blocks called Deansgate Square has sprung up and dominates the immediate skyline, overlooking the neighbourhood. One of the towers is now the city’s tallest building. On a clear, sunny day I went out to photograph them and the nearby Axis tower, another new addition.

This is the story of Manchester’s city centre, where several skyscrapers are being constructed and planned in an incredible flurry of prestige developments. ‘Manchattan’ here we come!

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A golden dusk settles on the buildings of Castlefield. Deansgate Square, on the right, was not there when I first arrived. Beetham Tower, on the left, was once the area’s only high rise and Manchester’s tallest building. The cranes are the site of another high rise construction, while out of shot another two towers are quickly taking shape. The skyline is undoubtedly changing.

Dead Sea shores

A stark, arid landscape. Temperatures of 45°C. And a body of water that’s like a warm bath. Doesn’t sound appealing?

Well you’d be surprised. I had a week of relaxation on Israel’s Dead Sea coast at the small resort of Ein Bokek, and it was a haven for many holidaymakers.

The water is saline-rich and packed with minerals, so floating around in it aimlessly is a popular pastime. Piling on pounds of black Dead Sea mud and leaving it there until it bakes is another way to occupy the hours.

The hazy blue hues of this strange environment are entrancing, while I enjoyed the stark architecture of the sprinkling of big hotels. The calm reflections of the water and bathers drifting around in the brine just cried out to be captured. 

Go beneath the gallery to read a cautionary tale for travellers

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Departing from Israel via Tel Aviv airport is an unnerving experience. Before you queue up at the check-in desks, there is a line of security officers, and I wasn’t prepared for at least half an hour of questions about why I’d been in the country and what I’d been doing.

The grilling became increasingly awkward and stressful. Why had I only visited the Dead Sea? Why did I have to alter my flight? Do you have the receipt for that? It felt very intrusive for someone who had innocently been relaxing by a salty pool. Three officials later and almost losing my cool, my suitcase was tagged and I was relieved to be on my way.

Only back at home did I discover the card slipped into my case which informed me it had been manually searched after check-in, which did nothing to reduce my sense of unease.

I set about doing some research and found out that it’s not uncommon to face quite tough security questioning on departure from Tel Aviv airport. As a lone male I was of immediate interest. Also, the ‘interrogation’ is a way of measuring an adverse or suspicious reaction. In my case they noticed a trembling hand and wondered if I’d seen a doctor for treatment!

Israel considers this a good method to ensure aircraft leaving its airspace are safe and is unlikely to change. It’s best to be forewarned and keep calm during the process. However, it did nothing to make me feel valued as a visitor to the country. I maintain that I won’t go there again.

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