The magic of Iceland

Spectacular, awe-inspiring, amazing. Just a few of the superlatives that are given to Iceland and its magical landscapes.

This relatively small volcanic island close to the Arctic is packed with snow-capped mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, spurting geysers and a fantastic coastline scattered with glacial chunks and black sand.

I was lucky enough to visit some of these wonders on a tour of the country’s south in May and was even treated to a blanket of snow. If you enjoy landscape photography, Iceland is up there with the best of them.

But a note of caution. It’s now a popular destination and is organised to cope with many visitors. Some attractions are very busy and you may have to go further to experience real wilderness. Even so it’s hard to deny this country’s awesomeness.


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Another Place

This stretch of coast is within easy striking distance of Manchester, here in the north-west of England.

Crosby beach is already a lovely stretch of sand sweeping north of Liverpool, but has had an added attraction since 2005.

Renowned British sculptor Antony Gormley created 100 bronze male figures (cast in the image of his own body) which are dotted along the shoreline and without doubt totally compelling.

I finally went to Crosby in late May, and was thoroughly drawn to the statues and their places on the shore. I nearly lost a pair of shoes to the silt and was surprised by the speed of the incoming tide – so be careful when your desire to photograph takes over!


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Portuguese gem

Portugal’s capital Lisbon is a hugely popular destination for tourists. But not content with this, the Portuguese also have a second city to discover and enjoy.

Porto sits on the Douro estuary in the north of the country. It’s packed with charming old tiled houses, grand buildings which indicate its rich history, not to mention delicious food and drink.

For the photographer, there’s something on every corner and vantage points galore. And if you take a bus ride to Foz do Douro, there’s also an Atlantic beach experience close by.

This was a typical city break experience for my friend and I, with budget flights from the UK, a very pleasant apartment hotel, and walking galore. If you have a spare long weekend, get yourself to Porto.


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Desert country

This vast, sparsely populated nation possesses ancient landscapes which overwhelm and inspire in equal measure.

Namibia sits above South Africa and is a 12-hour flight from Europe. Its natural terrain is remarkable, but there’s far more besides.

It has the full complement of African wildlife, from giraffes and elephants to crowds of antelope, ostrich and pink flamingo.

Namibia’s historical quirk is being one of Imperial Germany’s colonial adventures, which has left a lasting architectural and cultural legacy.

And those fans of abandonment porn, the ghostly mining town of Kolmanskop is a must in a country where your camera will work hard.


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