Walking 800Km! (Camino De Santiago)

In Bangladesh, less than 31% of women have a secondary school education and around 45% are illiterate.

I first met Monita in 2017 whilst I was living in Northern Bangladesh as a community worker. Due to Monita being so kind and welcoming we became fast friends. We travelled around rural communities delivering health and social workshops. We created the workshops together whilst Monita also taught me Bangla so we could be as effective team as possible.

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Since I left Bangladesh Monita has carried on this great work and continues to work as a school tutor to support her mother and younger siblings. Monita has recently passed all her exams and has applied to university to become a nurse. But this costs money that she does not have.

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So…I will be walking 800km along the Camino De Santiago from 21st August to 25th September 2019 to raise money for Monita’s Nursing Degree. The degree costs around £1500 and any money raised above this target will go towards food and shelter for her mother and younger siblings who are dependent on Monita. If you want to help, no matter how big or small, please follow this link https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-monita-become-a-nurse-for-her-community

Thank You!

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Photography on the Streets of Prague

While inter-railing through Eastern Europe the sun was not on our side. We went a week without seeing it and when it did make an appearance from behind the clouds it was still -4 degrees! This made photography really hard as it made images look flat and dull.

With just a couple of days left a miracle happened.. I woke up to sun shining through the hostel windows. I didn’t take my Sony A7RII on the trip as I knew how cold it was going to be and that I’d have to leave it in the hostel when we went out partying.

So with just my phone I headed out to the main square in Prague. My old iPhone performed really well and I got some shots I’m really happy with. Only problem was it killed my battery within the hour and I was meant to be meeting Emily. Despite a lack of map, google maps and an internal sat-nav we managed to find each other.

So here are my favourite images from my hour in the middle of Prague draining my phone battery:

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48 Hours in Krakow

The journey from Bratislava to Krakow was a very, very long one. It consisted of a 2 hour bus journey to the edge of the Czech Republic then a 5 hour bus journey to Krakow. The entire journey consisted of me and Emily slowly dehydrating in an effort to avoid using the one, incredibly smelly bus toilet (not recommended).

But finally at 9pm we made it to a very cold Krakow. After checking-in to our hostel we grabbed some dinner and crashed into bed.

Day One

From start to finish it was a day of contrasts. It was pouring with rain from the minute we woke up from our poor night sleep (hostels..)  and didn’t stop the entire day. But while getting completely rain-sodden I was continually taken aback with the beauty of Krakow and the sheer amount of pastry/chocolate shops.

We walked and walked and walked. Exploring every area recommended to us by the receptionist at the hostel. From the old town and jewish quarter to the winding river and graffitied back streets.

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We took ‘essential’ shelter in pastry shops throughout the day. At one point my coat was so wet and both my shoes were filled with puddles I had to use a radiator in one of the shops. While waiting for my clothing to get slightly less wet we chose our next destination- the Schindler museum. With a Trip Advisor score of 4.5/5 our hopes were high.

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My biggest highlight of the museum trip was the free cloak room. The museum was extremely text heavy with information on literally every wall, but oddly there was only one room dedicated to Schindler himself. Due to the rain (and trip advisor score) the museum was very busy, and despite a visitor limit I still found it too busy and hard to take my time to absorb all the information.

Despite both the weather and museum I loved my first day in Krakow. The architecture is stunning, the city is buzzing with locals and tourists alike and there’s plenty of bars to keep you occupied in the evening.

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Day Two 

Our second day in Krakow started at 6.45am. We had booked onto a tour of Auschwitz. The tour stared with a pick-up at a near by hotel- easier said than done. When no one came to pick us up in the lobby at the appointed time we decided to go looking for the coach ourselves- needless to say we almost missed the coach with our ‘exploring’.

The hour journey consisted of being introduced to our tour guide and watching a video giving a history of the two sections of the Auschwitz camps. It was hard but essential viewing to give substantial context to the day.

Overnight the rain had turned to snow and the temperature had dropped. As we stepped off the coach it was absolutely perishing, with a constant,brutal wind and temperature of -12 degrees. The tour of the two camps took three hours. It was a gruelling day learning of the horrors that took place in the very places we were standing. I was taught about concentration camps at school but being there in person creates a feeling like no other.

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With the weather replicating that of the winters during the war it made it incomprehensible how anyone survived. It was a hard-hitting day but one I would recommend to visitors of Poland.

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After being dropped off back in the centre of Krakow we took refuge in a restaurant to get out of the wind. After warming up we headed back to the hostel. Only problem was our keys didn’t work- we were now stuck out in what was now -14 degrees. Thankfully another resident at the hostel came down the stairs and opened the door from the inside- well tried too. Turns out the keys weren’t the problem- the lock on the door was broken. Long story short, we spent another 30 minutes in the freezing cold before being rescued by finding a back entrance to the hostel.

Our next and last stop is Prague, I am very excited as I’ve heard good things but wish we had more time in Krakow as its turned out to be real hidden gem!

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Me enjoying the snow and the rare glimpse of sunshine!

Lumiere London

Yesterday, as the sun was setting I jumped on a train up to London to visit the Lumiere light festival. Three years ago, when visiting a friend at York university I went to one of the first Lumiere light festivals. It was made up of around 10 brilliant installations being viewed by a couple hundred people.

Now the festival is so huge its on for 4 days around the centre of London with roads shut, hundreds of stewards and thousands of people attending. I had a brilliant night trying to see as much as possible walking with a camera in one hand a tripod in the other. The last night is tonight so if your around London go visit! It is all free and starts at 5.30pm.

 

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For those who can’t make it, I am putting together a video of my time which I will post here on this blog!

Bangladesh Travel Diary: Heading North 

I am currently based in Bangladesh working as a community worker and documenting the adventures. Follow my blog to keep updated with the ups and downs of living in such a beautiful yet challenging country. 

                       Heading North 

A lot has changed in the last 48 hours; half the group now know the true meaning of Delhi belly and I am now no longer based on Dhaka.

Yesterday I awoke to the biggest thunder storms I have ever heard at 7am. After staying up chatting all night we were not happy with this natural alarm clock, especially as we had all done our first load of hand washing and left all clothes to dry on the (newly flooded) balcony. 

We spent the day doing our last sessions of in-county training and building a long, Wagamama-like table to eat on after our dining room flooded. We spent the night chatting and sharing one can of Coke between the 10 of us, it’s a very savoury focused diet here in Bangladesh..

This morning started at 6am eating even more rice for breakfast and packing our bags into the vans ready for heading to our villages where we will be based for the next three months. We said long goodbyes and headed off on the journey to our village around 9 hours north of Dhaka. For the whole journey we had a police escort, completely precautionary, but it did make us feel like very important people. 

Our team before heading to our villages

                     Views from the bus 


While stopping at a petrol station we experienced our first beggars tapping on the window, it was difficult to look away and not give them anything but it is the safest option. 

We saw everything you could imagine on the way; from pink ducks and tiny rickshaws carrying 20 people to pigs lying in the road and people sitting on the top of buses. As we got got closer to the village every girl in the bus realised the regret of not wearing a sports bra. It was continually and incredibly bumpy and I got bruises from hitting what felt like every surface of the bus, but it was all good fun. 

After 9 hours we arrived at our base for the next 3 months and have started to slowly unpack but we are all so tired we’re struggling to our eyes open. After some rice for dinner we have all headed to bed and looking forward to a day of rest tomorrow. 

Our new home


Instagram:@madisonbeachphotos 

Photographing East London Markets

One of the best things about working an evening shift on a sunday, is that on the way to work I can wind through the streets of East London filled with locals grabbing a bargain at the brilliant markets. On sunday I visited two of my favourites; Brick Lane & Columbia Road Flower Market. The markets are always filled with bright colours and vibrant characters..

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Not at a market but I captured this shot as I walking down Oxford Street. Sometimes Oxford Street is so busy I consider doing the same.

As next week comes closer I am slowly preparing for my move to Bangladesh. If your not already, hit follow on this blog to receive updates of my travels, a photo diary and honest posts about whats its like moving abroad for the first time at the age of 22.

Taking inspiration from Dougie Wallace’s ‘Harrodsburg’

Dougie Wallace is one of the most famous British street photographers. Although more controversial than the likes of someone like Martin Parr his images are raw and capture Britain in an unapologetic manner.

Inspired by his latest body of work ‘Harrodsburg’ which takes a look at the surreal subculture and world surrounding Harrods. I headed out to the posher areas of London to try my hand at Some Dougie Wallace inspired street photography.

Group Behaviour

Wallace often looks for groups displaying similar behaviour. Like wearing similar clothes or all have designer bags. While I was outside Harrods I was drawn to the different ways people find to carry all their purchases. I have chosen to display 3 images showing the different approaches:

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Cars

© Dougie Wallace

© Dougie Wallace

A key indicator of wealth is cars. Although I have no knowledge at all when it comes to cars I know the cars parked outside Harrods didn’t come cheap. Like Wallace I aimed to photograph a selection of cars in the area:

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People

Regardless of whether the frame is filled with expensive cars or designers bags deep down Wallace’s work is about the people. I think his portraits are his strongest skill, although the way he goes about shooting them is often deemed intrusive. I decided to be less intrusive and instead concentrate on looking for characters I was interested in:

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I had great fun exploring the areas I don’t often visit in London, especially looking a them in a Dougie Wallace esc way. If you like Dougies work check out the BBC documentary below its a great insight into his photographic approach.

Capturing Camden

One of my favourite places to photograph in London is Camden market. Growing up on the southern coast of England me and my school friends often jumped on a train up to London and tried to bag a deal at Camden market. The area has changed a lot in the last few years and has become more of a tourist attraction, but it’s still a great place for capturing some street photography.

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As always you can find me on Instagram @madisonbeachphotos and over on my website.

 

 

Photography Basics and Street Photography: Shutter Speed

A great advantage of running a photography blog is the people you meet and seeing so much brilliant work that inspires you. Recently Pier got in touch via the comments section and we have now exchanged work and blog posts. This is a great way to stay motivated espcially when you are in a creative rut.  Todays blog post comes from Pier and it’s a great read, its all about making use of the shutter speed options. Follow him on his blog or over on Instagram @phppi_official

phppi street photography

I have decided to write a few articles on the most basic aspects of photography, which will become natural as you start mastering this art. However, I remember struggling with them when I first started – and I guess that most of us have a similar experience.

This series is called: ‘Photography Basics’ and will be divided into four main parts: shutter speed, aperture, ISO and composition. I will try to cover the fundamental concepts and see how they can be applied to street photography especially.

Today, I am going to talk about the shutter speed, which is a fundamental variable to master and can open up to many artistic opportunities.

First of all, the shutter is a curtain placed just in front of the sensor – or film. Depending on the time it stays opened, it will let more or less light come through and hit the sensor or film. Therefore…

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Combining Travelling with Creativity

Over the last year I have been lucky enough to experience many new cultures which I have always wanted to capture.  But it’s not always been easy juggling photography, filmmaking and experiencing a place for the first time.  I have written an article for a great new magazine, 99% Lifestyle, which is available to read on their website.

I hope you enjoy the article, comment below if you have any questions or what you’re getting up to over the weekend. I Hope you have a great Easter!