North Island

This is a country that may be geographically distant from Britain, but feels a lot like going home.

I made that long journey from Manchester to New Zealand and toured the Pacific island nation from south to north.

The upper half of this land is its population and urban powerhouse, home to largest city Auckland and administrative capital Wellington.

But it’s still an island of wilderness, boasting volcano peaks, geothermal wonders cared for by the Maori people, and vast beaches.

It’s also a rich place for photography with vast, electric blue skies, varied landscapes and intriguing detail. New Zealand is definitely worth the hike.


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Northern cool

A train ride across the Pennines from Manchester whisked me to the West Yorkshire city of Wakefield.

I headed to The Hepworth Gallery, named after artist Barbara Hepworth, who was born there in 1903. It’s a sleek, contemporary building created by David Chipperfield and an unexpected sight in the heart of post-industrial Yorkshire.

I stalked the lofty rooms and corridors, finding delectable shadow, light and lines to capture. But before heading outside to do the same, enjoyed a photography exhibition and inevitably some cake in the gallery cafe.

This is a cool, modern place and well worth visiting if you find yourself anywhere in the north of England.


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INSIDE

OUTSIDE

 

The deep south

Chile may be a slender nation, but it’s full of wild, varied and majestic landscapes. It takes a few hours to fly from the arid lands of the Atacama Desert in the north to Patagonia, towards the tip of South America.

You instantly feel the chill, rasping winds and even summer snow as you climb higher on epic treks. Torres del Paine is a territory full of rugged mountains, glacial lakes and craggy moraines.

The nearby town of Puerto Natales has a frontier feel to it, with its own otherworldly views and sunsets that last an age.

It’s easy to be overwhelmed with landscape photo opportunities here in a country of boundless contrasts – but this is one beguiling place.


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Vegas of the East

The tiny territory of Macau is the most densely populated place on the planet. That aside, this fascinating city is the point when China and Portugal intermingle.

Street signs are in Cantonese and Portuguese, while bakeries sell Portugal’s famous (and delicious) custard tart. Churches and pastel-washed buildings are a testament to centuries of European colonial rule.

I took a day trip to Macau from Hong Kong and felt the difference. Most forms of gambling are outlawed in the former British territory, while casinos thrive in Macau with brash signs and vast premises.

A fun fact is that Hong Kong and Macau are separate special regions of China, so you have to go through border control. So don’t forget your passport on a visit to this crowded, busy and fascinating slither of the world.


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The north in bloom

I’ve taken a year-long career break and have spent several months travelling. But it’s also a great opportunity to be at home and have the freedom to enjoy what’s nearby.

On a recent spell of warm, Spring weather I visited Dunham Massey, a National Trust property close to Manchester. The expectation was a carpet of bluebells, but instead there was a vibrant display of tulips.

I was using my secondary, more portable Fuji and finally cracked its macro capabilities. Back at home I continued my shoot with some leftover blooms and new plants on the balcony. Maybe there’s truth in the old adage that home’s best…


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