Bangladesh Travel Diary: A Most Perfect Morning

I’m currently based in Bangladesh as part of a team of community workers. Follow me over on Instagram (@madisonbeachphotos) and here on this blog to keep updated with my adventures exploring this beautiful country..

Yesterday morning was one I couldn’t imagine going better. It started with a boat ride along our local river followed by a rickshaw journey into the hills of the India/Bangladesh border. We walked for miles through green, luscious forests climbing up muddy paths to get the best views (and group photos).

We then visited a church on top of a hill overlooking a long river and the Indian mountains. At the top of the hill (small mountain) we found the churches’ Peace Room, a room precariously perched on the edge where church visitors can take rest after climbing the hill and look down at the light-blue winding river. The room is normally only allowed to be used by church goers but after a couple of phone calls a super friendly local ran up the hill to open it for us. It was a great time to sit down and reflect on what we have achieved as a team in Bangladesh (including our lovely police escorts who live and travel with us). It was also the perfect bird viewing platform- we spotted two eagles and a hawk.

The Peace Room:

Visiting beautiful churches and taking photos of mountains is thirsty work so we headed to the nearest tea shack. Once again the Bangladeshi’s showed how great they are at hospitality, moving the tables and chairs so we could all sit together and watch the randomly placed small tv in the corner of the room. There was about 10 other people dotted around, all watching this tiny tv, in a tea shack in the middle of nowhere on the Indian border. They were watching a slapstick comedy and everybody was in stitches. It was so lovely to see no matter how rural the village, the communities always create space for everyone to gather and enjoy each others company.

After tea (or cha as it’s known locally) we jumped back in the rickshaw and went back to my favourite place of all: The China Clay Hills. As they stretch as far as you can see we explored different lakes to the last time we were there. Our adventuring took us to the top of a rocky hill which provided us with the most stunning views. But reality hit us hard when we realised we had to get down from this rocky, unstable hill wearing our much loved yet rather-useless-in-this-situation flip flops. Long story short, the whole team ended up holding hands in a chain, slipping and sliding our way down. We ended up at the bottom of the hill sweaty and sunburnt but with our bellys hurting from laughing so much. No matter where you are there is always an adventure around the corner in Bangladesh..

Through the photographers lens

A lot of people have asked me what it’s like photographing on the streets of London. So rather than trying to describe it I thought I would show what it’s like. I have created an experimental point-of-view video capturing what it’s like to photograph such a busy city.

 

Let me know what you think and if you would want to see any more of these kind of videos! As always you can find me on Instagram @madisonbeachphotos and over on my website.

 

 

Exploring the South Coast & Photographing Portsmouth

Keeping true to my new years resolution of spending more time exploring my home country of England I headed along the South Coast along to Portsmouth, Hampshire. Home to one of the worlds most famous ports its the location of the largest dockland for the Royal Navy. I have been to Portsmouth a couple of times before; for a graduation and to watch Brighton play football but never just to look around and take some photographs.

It is well worth a visit with harbour-side walks,friendly locals and  the spinnaker tower providing views across the city.

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Instagram@madisonbeachphotos

Iceland Travel Diary: Day 04 & 05

Day 04&05

The last couple of days have been so brilliantly busy I have lost track of the time and what day it is. The sun rising at 10am is something I’m not used too and lulls you into a false sense of security, waking up when its dark makes me think I have hours left to sleep, often not the case. 

Day 04

Day four starts at 12.30am in the middle of nowhere, freezing cold with a huge smile on my face. I was witnessing the northern lights for the first time and yes, it was incredible. 

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After the coach being cancelled for the last couple of nights due to cloudy weather we were running out of time (and hope) to see them, as even when it’s a clear night there’s no guarantee of seeing them.  But we were very lucky, after receiving no cancellation message during the day our coach arrived at 9pm to pick us up. 

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We drove an hour South West of Reykjavik to find a ‘black spot’ where the city lights aren’t visible. When we arrived a small crowd had already assembled looking with anticipation to the north. Before we knew it a white light appeared across the sky,seeing the magnificent colours through the camera lens. Then, after half an hour the light got brighter and brighter and began to curve. Then within a split second it started to ‘dance’ across the sky. It was a great moment and while watching the lights you even forgot how cold it was! We were extremely lucky as both Venus and Mars were visible amongst Orion’s Belt (a load of stars to you and me). 

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We got to see the lights for two hours before boarding the coach and falling asleep in the early hours of the morning. 

We awoke relatively late in the morning to make up for the late night and to fully refresh as we were heading to the famous Blue Lagoon. Although expensive, it’s considered a must-do when in Iceland. A thermal geo spa heated from the ground. 

The spa is located 50 minutes away from Reykjavik and you have the option to be picked up from your hotel. The Lagoon is set in a surreal landscape amongst mountains and bright turquoise pools of water. 

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To avoid over-crowding you are given an entry time but then allowed to stay as long as you like. It was busy with a diverse range of people; college trips, families & couples but just enough people to create an atmosphere and not be packed. We took advantage of the pool-side bar and complimentary face masks. After an hour of relaxing in the hot water it started to rain, this was a welcome sight as ironically, I was beginning to overheat in Iceland. 

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After a few hours at the Blue Lagoon we headed back to Reykjavik on a coach, the driver asked everyone where they would like to be dropped and then created a customised route, very handy! We decided to be dropped off in town to consume more pizza at our favourite restaurant before heading back to let reality sink in and pack to go home. 

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Day 05

To avoid something going wrong and missing our flight we booked a coach to pick us up at 12 to take us to the airport. Waiting outside the hotel a minibus from the company arrived. After speaking to the driver we realised it was a Reykjavik sightseeing tour but with two spaces available the driver said she would drop us off!  The drive was absolutely hilarious, the middle-aged Chinese born, Icelandic tour guide/Mini-bus driver spoke in what seemed like slow motion. And aside from just pointing out the sights she took advantage of the onboard mic system to vent her distaste for Justin Bieber and tell us about the Red Hot Chilli Peppers concert she’s going to. But for all her madness she was very friendly and we got to the airport on time. 

I am very sad to be leaving Iceland as it has a great (and often rare) mix of friendly, helpful locals and a landscape saturated in natural wonders I have never witnessed before. This will definitely not be my last visit to Iceland. I have a very busy week lined up including flat-hunting in London and most importantly, developing four films,2 colour and 2 black & white, which will be up on this blog along with my Instagram @madisonbeachphotos. I am also considering doing a blog post dedicated to the photos I took of the northern lights as I have way too many to post here.  Hope you have a great weekend and feel free to comment/recommend where I should go next! 

Shooting South Coast Landscapes//35mm

Still getting used to my new Pentax K1000 I put it to the test shooting English landscapes using Portra 160 film.  These newly developed shots are from my new years day walk in Arundel and exploring the south coast beaches as the tide went out

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IG:@Madisonbeachphotos

Getting Lost in a Forest & Finding a Flood Plain

Forests are always a great place to explore and more often-than-not get lost. Friston forest is no exception. Located on the south coast of England I visited it many times during my childhood but theres always something new to see. After climbing a hill we came to a look-out point giving us panoramic views of the South Downs National Park and Cuckmere Haven, a flood plain on the edge of the English Channel. So we took a detour around the river of the flood plain..

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img_5655The look-out point

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Completely covered in mud we reached the end of the flood plain where we planned to walk around the beach and go over the hills of the South Downs home. Only problem was, the tide was in..

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I have really enjoyed photographing and exploring naturally beautiful locations close to home in the last few months but I have just booked a very exciting trip. Before moving to London I am flying to Iceland for a week to create a short film and of course, take thousands of photos. I have always wanted to go and have already started buying the much needed thermal clothing. Let me know if you’ve been and what you’d recommend seeing!