Barcelona Day Four: Easy Mazes and the Gothic Quarter

Our last day here in Barcelona started slowly as our over-priced cocktails from last night took a grip. After re-hydrating we sloped towards the nearest cafe we could find. Typically we found the best breakfast spot on our last day. It was a tiny, albeit slightly cramped veggie cafe. But it was cheap and delicious.

After consuming some food (5 plates of food to be precise..) we strolled around the nearby gothic quarter; home of the town hall and very impressive gothic cathedral. The area was buzzing with locals, tourists and street sellers.

Screen Shot 2019-03-27 at 19.40.13

When i’m in a new city I like to try out the different modes of transport they have on offer, and Barcelona has trams. So we boarded a tram to our next and last destination of the holiday- a hilltop maze. unfortunately it turns out the tram lines are very limited and we had to get off after two stops to get a bus. We both needed the toilet and luckily we had got off the tram near a new, and very modern shopping mall in the middle of nowhere. There was music playing out speakers around the shopping mall, if you’ve ever played Sims, you can imagine the music playing.

We also realised we hadn’t consumed any water for a very long time so headed into a CarreFour super market- well we tried. The entrance wasn’t very clearly marked (considering Alex speaks both Catalan and Spanish)  so we just headed backwards through the self checkouts so we could get into the supermarket. But one lady on the checkout did not take us ‘breaking in’ to the shop very kindly and proceeded to shout at us then call security..

Screen Shot 2019-03-27 at 20.11.35

So after that slight misunderstanding we boarded the bus; drink-less.  It dropped us at the bottom of a massive hill, on a road, with no pavement and no phone signal. Against our better judgement we started to walk up the giant hill.. And to our surprise the winding path did lead us to a beautiful gardens complete with a maze..

Screen Shot 2019-03-27 at 20.04.36

Although often the main selling point of these gardens is the maze, it was very small thus easy to complete. The real charm of the place is the hidden, secluded paths winding through forests, past waterfalls and beautiful wildlife.

As we reached the exit of the gardens and the entrance of the metro it dawned on us that this was the end of our holiday. So we collected our luggage, stocked up on tapas and spent our euros in duty free. So here we are at Barcelona airport planning our next trip whilst waiting for our delayed flight home..

Where to Shoot Street Photography in London

London has long been one of my favourite places to shoot street photography. No matter the time of year the streets are always filled with opportunities to photograph people. In this post I’m going to break down my favourite spots in London.

First up: Trafalgar Square. The square is home to both the National Gallery and Nelsons Column. This provides a great space to photograph people interacting with the architecture and environment around them.
Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.04.38

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.04.53

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.04.09

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.05.20

Leicester Square/China Town

Located next to each other, Leicester Square and China Town provide plenty of colour. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of people and finding it hard to spot scenes to photograph, try and focus on shooting one thing such as dogs, the colour blue, people wearing hats etc. Whilst I was here I focused on photographing couples..

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.05.49

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.16.59

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.03.11

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.17.10

Leading you from Oxford street to Leicester square is Regent Street. It’s a wide road filled with shops such as Apple and Hamleys. If you get there during golden hour the light hits just right through the buildings to create some striking portrait opportunities.

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.03.01

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.17.25

Outside of Buckingham Palace you’ll find the full spectrum of emotions from vloggers and excited tourists to stressed parents and tired children..

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.03.55

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.03.39

Screen Shot 2018-05-16 at 14.03.28

Street photography takes lot of patience and you have to be prepared for people to watch you taking pictures. But its a great way to see a city and when you take your shoes off after a long day walking theres nothing better than flicking through the photos you shot and coming across your new favourite photo.

More Street Photography

Camden  Prague Golden Hour  How to Use the Background in Street Photography

Dougie Wallace When the Subject Spots You  East London

Visiting Camden Market

As a street photographer I have a few favourite spots around London; busy places with interesting characters (and good food is always a plus!). Camden market ticks all these boxes so with an hour before I needed to be at a meeting in central London I hopped on a tube for 10 minutes and explored Camden.

 

7

12

2

1

Despite being a week day, Camden was packed with tourists, businessman and market traders.

There is almost too much choice when it comes to food. There are hot food stalls including pizza, Indian and Chinese, but there are also more street food-type options such as burritos and burgers.

6

4

Of course you can avoid the British art of queuing and save yourself some money by bringing a packed lunch.

9

I would definitely recommend a packed lunch if your staying in London for a few days and on a budget. As delicious as most of the food is- it’s not cheap. Camden also has a river running through the market, it acts as a great picnic spot.

3

If you want to check out Camden I would also recommend heading north and walking to Primrose hill, after a sweaty walk up the steep hill you can see my favourite view across the London skyline..

Screen Shot 2018-05-09 at 18.02.13

Bangladesh Travel Summary

After almost 4 months my time travelling and working as a community worker in Bangladesh has come to an end. I have met friends for life and am already planning my return to the complicated yet beautiful country.

Coming back to the UK has provided some shocks; my first warm shower in over 3 months, not sleeping underneath a mosquito net or using a squat toilet and eating with cutlery!  Although I oddly miss using a squat toilet..

To put my experience into perspective I have put together some facts and figures:

-Flip-Flops Lost: 3 

-Weight Lost: 1 Stone

-Hospital Stays: 1

-Rickshaw Rides: 70

-Homemade Monopoly Boards: 1

-Mice Found in Bedroom: 3

-Power Cuts: 200

-Tea Breaks: 300+

-Average Temperature: 28 Degree’s

I am currently in the process of putting together a video documenting my time and developing 7 rolls of 35mm film, but for now, here are my favourite digital photos I shot during my time in the must-see country:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

72 Hours in London

I recently spent 72 hours in London seeing as many exhibitions and locations as possible. I hope you enjoy..

72 Hours In London 

The first place we visited was the Barbican. One of my favourite places in London. It’s a mix of brutalist architecture, flowers and world class exhibition spaces.

I was there to see Richard Mosses exhibition ‘Incoming’ for the second time. Made up of a few images and an outstanding triptych video installation.  The images are  created using military  cameras and focus on the migration crisis.

The video Installation

Food. Food is vital for having the energy to navigate around the busy streets of London. so we headed to the famous Borough Market. There was a great atmosphere and I was more than happy with my chocolate ‘mis-shapes’ I bought from an artisan chocolate stand and the 2 donuts I purchased (for myself).

DSC04967DSC04969

My ‘Mis-shapes’

The next day was a busy one; The Photographers Gallery, Tate Modern and Soho. I was at the photographers gallery to check out this years Deutsche Borse prize. This is where 4 photographers are nominated and shown at the gallery with one lucky photographer winning the £30,000 grand prize. (I should be so lucky). Most years I came away loving two pieces of work and two going over my head. This year was no different but my favourite without a doubt was ‘Imperial Courts’ by Dana Lixenberg. Photographed over 2o years Lixenberg returned numerous times to Imperial Courts housing estate in Southern LA. The portraits are consistently strong and often haunting.  A must see if your a portrait fan or just passionate about photography like me.

Visitors taking a break at the entrance of The Photographers Gallery

Just behind The Photographers Gallery is Soho, China Town and Leicester square. These areas are always super busy and not somewhere to go for a cheap meal. But it is perfect for people watching and a bit of street photography.

Next up Tate modern. This is a brilliant resource, filled with art and art lovers. And not only that its free to enter! The new building extension is a great draw for both artists and architecture enthusiasts, especially the 360 degree viewing platform.  Not one for those scared of heights or cramped lifts (you will be squashed against at least 3 other people)  then this is a London must see.

The Millennium Bridge leading to Tate Modern

Views from above

It was a great 72 hours fitting in as much as possible and of course we stopped for some much needed breaks at cafe’s and restaurants (Vapiano’s is always a crowd pleaser). I also fitted in time to go to a friends house party. Returning at 3am I got to use the night tube for the first time. I was a little tentative travelling on my own but the staff were as helpful as always and the carriages weren’t filled with lots of drunk people instead lots of Londoners suited up looking like their returning from a dinner party. But if you are in London especially at night, please don’t take anything for granted and stay safe! I am slowly working through editing all the photos and will be posting them on my Instagram @madisonbeachphotos. Please comment below if you want any London recommendations or if you have any for me!

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!

Seeing the Northern Lights For the First Time

This time last week I was in my Reykjavik hotel room putting on as many thermal layers as my body would allow in preparation for our midnight adventure; northern light hunting. I was a little naive before I touched down in Iceland, I assumed they would be visible most nights in an Icelandic winter.Nope. When we arrived we spoke to numerous people who had been there for over a week and there had be no sighting of these mysterious lights due to cloud.

We arrived on monday with tickets for that evening to be taken out on a coach to the middle of nowhere to witness the lights. It was cancelled and we re-scheduled for tuesday. Needless to say it was cancelled again and again. We were slowly running out of hope until we woke up on thursday, our last full day, and the sun was shining through the clouds.

We were picked up at 9pm and drove an hour South-West from Reykjavik to the edge of the ocean (although it was so dark we had no idea). The city lights were dull in the distance allowing for whats known as black spot to provide the perfect backdrop for the northern lights..

dsc02020dsc01955

dsc01981

A dodgy photo of me looking the wrong to prove I was actually there

dsc01962dsc01975dsc01979dsc01974

Iceland was one of the most photogenic countries I’ve ever visited. I shot hours of footage while travelling and have put it into a short video:

I shot 4 rolls of film which I’m very excited to be picking up today, I’ll be posting the photos on the blog and to my instagram @madisonbeachphotos

Iceland Travel Diary: Day 03

A 3rd packed day started in the dark (the sun rises at 10am!) boarding a coach to the first of our adventures. Our first stop was a tomato farm which uses only renewable sources to power the greenhouses using the geothermal heat of Iceland. A member of staff gave an in-depth talk about the behind-the0scenes happenings at the farm and explained the processes. It was really interesting and a good reminder of where your food comes from and the energy (renewable or not)  it takes to get there.

dsc01754dsc01771dsc01761dsc01762

Next up, the geysers. Hot springs sending boiling water 30m up into the air along with a plume of smoke. The main geyser erupted water every 5 minutes so there wasn’t too long to wait. It was the most tourists I’ve seen since arriving in Iceland, but for a good reason; geysers don’t appear in many countries. Around 100m away there were a few restaurants and a shop so we picked up some food to keep fuelled up for the day ahead.

dsc01811dsc01799dsc01846dsc01835

Next, what I most most looking forward to, the Gullfoss waterfall and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The power of the waterfall meant you were constantly getting covered in water spray. The waterfall was set in an incredibly luscious green landscape with the water dropping at an incredible rate.

dsc01875dsc01854

After taking in the sights of the waterfall and getting very wet we headed for what turned out to be the surprise of the day. Þingvellir national park is a world heritage site and provides views of snow-capped mountains and volcanoes. But what I didn’t realise before arriving is that the oldest parliament in the world was founded here and you can physically see the meeting of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. You can witness the visible effects of continental drift, I’ve never seen anything like it and it reminds you of how powerful and unrelenting nature can be. After a short 40 minute trip back to the hotel we are now chilling for an hour or two before heading out hunting the Northern Lights.

dsc01917dsc01911dsc01900dsc01888

IG:@madisonbeachphotos

Iceland Travel Diary: Day 01

With the alarm waking me up at 6am I headed for the first of two trains to get to Gatwick. The 1.5  hour train journey went without a hitch, a nice surprise given the current state of the British transport system. The two hour wait at the airport didn’t go quite so smoothly. Waiting to drop off our bags at check-in, a women in front of us fainted, luckily she was with her family but no one could get past so we all had to perform a bit of a re-shuffle.

img_6131

The flight from Gatwick to Reykjavik was just 2 hours, aside from some turbulence an wholly enjoyable flight, until we landed.. The bumpy landing was greeted by an airport crew who needed 4 attempts to attach the stairs to get us off. It then took half an hour for our cases to make an appearance. But none of this mattered, we weren’t in a rush and all the airport staff were really happy and friendly.

dsc01524dsc01438

We had pre-booked a coach to get to our hotel. It was ready waiting for us and dropped us to the front door of our hotel.

With the sun setting (around 6pm) we headed out to see what we could of Reykjavik. After taking the first of many photographs we found ourselves at a popular pizzeria stuffing our faces with pizza as we hadn’t had the chance to grab food since getting off the plane. First impressions are very good so far, snow-capped mountains, brightly coloured  houses and helpful locals.Here are a selection of today’s photographs:

dsc01457dsc01468dsc01470dsc01517dsc01473dsc01495dsc01441

Tomorrow we are heading out on the open water whale watching followed by a trip into the wilderness to (hopefully) witness the Northern Lights!

IG:@madisonbeachphotos

2016 Travel Highlights

To celebrate the end of an eventful year I have compiled my personal travel highlights. Feel free to comment your favourite 2016 travel moments and recommend trips for 2017!

Japan

Japan was a brilliant 24 day adventure, I am already planning my return. The biggest highlight  was climbing Mt.Fuji, my first ever mountain climb. It was both tougher and easier than I expected. I found ascending reasonably easy but the descent took way longer than it should’ve as I found it really tough on my knees and ankles. Juna, school friend and travel buddy, suffered from altitude sickness which I was really lucky to avoid.

Everyone we interacted with were incredibly friendly and I am still in touch with many of the brilliant people we met. We visited 4 regions during our time, Kyoto was one of the most beautiful places I ever witnessed, Tokyo was brilliantly mad, Takayama was a stunningly peaceful mountain village and my visit to Hiroshima still lives with me everyday.

Wales

Wales was my chosen cure for my Travel Bug instilled by Japan. But it soon became another place for me to return to. Staying in a homely Snowdonia b’n’b we were up at 7.30am every morning for breakfast (I won’t be replicating that at home) and spent the entire day hiking and photographing. The locals were very approachable and my first taste of Welsh Rarebit certainly didn’t disappoint.

Italy

Naples

My first trip of the year was to the Southern coast of Italy, Naples with my two cousins Chloe (23) and Harry (21). Unsure of what to expect I really enjoyed my few days there and happily over-indulged on pizza. Visiting Capri out-of-season turned out to be a good move. Almost completely free of any tourists, most of the shops were shut (handy for a poor student) and there was a light breeze which created a perfect day for exploring the island and going off the beaten track (once I got over feeling sea-sick). Before flying out I heard some negative stories surrounding Air b’n’b, although I’ve used them before I’ve never used it in a country where I can’t speak the language. But my apprehension was unfounded as our host was an Italian actress who was incredibly  buoyant, helpful and motherly towards us (we were often told to put a coat on to avoid catching a cold).

Verona

A short train ride away from Venice is Verona. Although famous for Juliet’s balcony it has a lot more to offer and worth at least a day of exploring. It has a mix of beautiful architecture  and expensive shops. There’s a great range of restaurants to chose from and the locals went out their way to help us find our way and recommend their personal favourite parts of the city. Due to its close proximity to Verona we were able to spend a day at a very foggy Lake Garda.

Venice

I was really excited to return to Venice. I haven’t been there since I was a child and couldn’t wait to exploit the photo opportunities. It was just as I remembered although much, much busier and selfie sticks have now been invented. It was a complete coincidence that we were there for the Venice Marathon but the atmosphere was brilliant and they built ramps over the stairs which prevented loosing energy which I used to consume ridiculous amounts of pizza and pastry.

 

2016 has provided many challenges but also lots of personal highlights. These included my nan and mum watching me graduate, climbing my first mountain, going on my longest ever flight, travelling on a bullet rain for the first time and visiting Wales, which means I have now travelled to all the nations of the U.K. Although I flew 6000 miles to Japan I also made an extra effort to explore places closer to home which I really enjoyed. So heres to more adventures in 2017 both far and near!

IG:@madisonbeachphotos