Travel tips, stories, photography and advice - Finding the universe

Yosemite view of El Capitan

The nice people over at Vanguard Photo have recently asked me to take some of their new travel photography gear on the road, find some nice things to take pictures of with it, and share it.

Given that travelling around and taking pictures of nice things is pretty much My Favourite Thing, obviously this was a no-brainer.

Another no-brainer was the first place I went to start this process off – Yosemite National Park in California.

My favourite photography spots in Yosemite

Yosemite view of El Capitan

The nice people over at Vanguard Photo have recently asked me to take some of their new travel photography gear on the road, find some nice things to take pictures of with it, and share it.

Given that travelling around and taking pictures of nice things is pretty much My Favourite Thing, obviously this was a no-brainer.

Another no-brainer was the first place I went to start this process off – Yosemite National Park in California.

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Middle Falls McCloud Shasta Cascade from above

Up in the northeastern part of California, around a 3.5 hour drive from San Francisco, is the Shasta Cascade region. This part of California is excellent for lovers of the outdoors and landscape photographers like me, offering mountains, lakes, potentially live volcanoes and of course, hiking and photo opportunities galore.

Shasta Cascade and Redding: California’s Great Outdoors

Middle Falls McCloud Shasta Cascade from above

Up in the northeastern part of California, around a 3.5 hour drive from San Francisco, is the Shasta Cascade region. This part of California is excellent for lovers of the outdoors and landscape photographers like me, offering mountains, lakes, potentially live volcanoes and of course, hiking and photo opportunities galore.

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Westminster abbey shot with LG G4

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of LG. The opinions and text are all mine.

Ah, smartphones. I remember my first one, almost a decade ago (!) -  a venerable device with an actual keyboard, with which I could access the internet using a technology called WAP. At least, I think that’s what it was, my memory is a little hazy.

Unfortunately, back then, no-one had really twigged as to the potential that this technology could hold, so other than finding out train times it wasn’t all that useful.

Reviewing the LG G4 Phone– Plus how to win one yourself!

Westminster abbey shot with LG G4

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of LG. The opinions and text are all mine.

Ah, smartphones. I remember my first one, almost a decade ago (!) -  a venerable device with an actual keyboard, with which I could access the internet using a technology called WAP. At least, I think that’s what it was, my memory is a little hazy.

Unfortunately, back then, no-one had really twigged as to the potential that this technology could hold, so other than finding out train times it wasn’t all that useful.

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View from train Molise mist scaled

It seems fitting to be writing this article whilst I’m sitting on a train. Admittedly, of all the train lines in Europe that you could take with the prize on offer (the clue is in the headline), the 9.50am from London Paddington to Oxford, with stops at Slough and Reading, might not be at the top of your list.

Win a month’s first class travel for 2 in Europe with Rail Europe!

View from train Molise mist scaled

It seems fitting to be writing this article whilst I’m sitting on a train. Admittedly, of all the train lines in Europe that you could take with the prize on offer (the clue is in the headline), the 9.50am from London Paddington to Oxford, with stops at Slough and Reading, might not be at the top of your list.

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HP Stream 8 review

This branded content was produced by me as part of the HP & Intel #WorkFromHappyPlace project, and I was compensated for taking part in this campaign. All thoughts remain my own – see my code of ethics for more information.

Work. It’s not a word that conjures up tremendous excitement I suspect. I am lucky, admittedly, in that I get to do what I love (for the most part at least!), although if I had my way I’d spend all my time out in the field taking pictures, and letting Jess handle everything else.

Still, that’s not the way the world works. There are photos to edit, e-mails to answer, posts to write, social media to manage… sure, not exactly heavy, but still. It’s got to be done.

Working from My Happy Place With the HP Stream 8 Powered by Intel Inside®

HP Stream 8 review

This branded content was produced by me as part of the HP & Intel #WorkFromHappyPlace project, and I was compensated for taking part in this campaign. All thoughts remain my own – see my code of ethics for more information.

Work. It’s not a word that conjures up tremendous excitement I suspect. I am lucky, admittedly, in that I get to do what I love (for the most part at least!), although if I had my way I’d spend all my time out in the field taking pictures, and letting Jess handle everything else.

Still, that’s not the way the world works. There are photos to edit, e-mails to answer, posts to write, social media to manage… sure, not exactly heavy, but still. It’s got to be done.

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Stadspark

Today’s post is a guest post from Sofie, who writes at Wonderful Wanderings. You can read more about Sofie at the end of the post, in the meantime, take a walk with her through her current home town of Leuven in Belgium!

While I’ve only been living in Leuven for about four years now, I’ve come to the city ever since I was little. First it was with my parents, then it was as a teenager, mostly to go to the movies or to go shopping. As a student I explored Leuven’s cheap nightlife and enjoyed the many festivals. Now that I live here I still do all of those things, but I’ve also learned to appreciate the parts of this city that might seem ordinary at first, but are anything but that.

A Walk Through Leuven

Stadspark

Today’s post is a guest post from Sofie, who writes at Wonderful Wanderings. You can read more about Sofie at the end of the post, in the meantime, take a walk with her through her current home town of Leuven in Belgium!

While I’ve only been living in Leuven for about four years now, I’ve come to the city ever since I was little. First it was with my parents, then it was as a teenager, mostly to go to the movies or to go shopping. As a student I explored Leuven’s cheap nightlife and enjoyed the many festivals. Now that I live here I still do all of those things, but I’ve also learned to appreciate the parts of this city that might seem ordinary at first, but are anything but that.

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Old observatory Oulu Linnansaari park finland

Air guitar. We’ve all done it. Our favourite song comes on the radio and before we know it we’re strumming along with the best of them. My personal favourite is actually air drumming, but that’s a story for another day.

Anyway, if I was going to ask you how air guitar and Oulu were connected, you might not know. I sure didn’t. Until I visited, and learnt that Oulu is the home of the world air guitar championships. Yes, that is a thing. No,unfortunately,  I didn’t get to see it because we visited at the wrong time of year. But yes, I did get to perform my very own air guitar solo whilst in Oulu. More on that shortly. Let’s talk a bit about Oulu first.

Air Guitar and Technology: Visiting Oulu, Finland

Old observatory Oulu Linnansaari park finland

Air guitar. We’ve all done it. Our favourite song comes on the radio and before we know it we’re strumming along with the best of them. My personal favourite is actually air drumming, but that’s a story for another day.

Anyway, if I was going to ask you how air guitar and Oulu were connected, you might not know. I sure didn’t. Until I visited, and learnt that Oulu is the home of the world air guitar championships. Yes, that is a thing. No,unfortunately,  I didn’t get to see it because we visited at the wrong time of year. But yes, I did get to perform my very own air guitar solo whilst in Oulu. More on that shortly. Let’s talk a bit about Oulu first.

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Burney Falls Shasta Cascade-2 - scaled

And here we are again, with the latest edition of the most popular photos from the Facebook Page over the last month or two. We’ve sailed on past 400,000 fans on Facebook in the last couple of months – a huge thanks for all your support over there! It is genuinely appreciated.

Also, while I’m thanking you, I just wanted to thank everyone who voted for us in the Annual Bloggies. It was an honour to be nominated, and even nicer to win the Bloggy Award for Best Photography on a Blog. Ok, so part thanks, part brag.

21 Spectacular Photos From Around the World: XVIII

Burney Falls Shasta Cascade-2 - scaled

And here we are again, with the latest edition of the most popular photos from the Facebook Page over the last month or two. We’ve sailed on past 400,000 fans on Facebook in the last couple of months – a huge thanks for all your support over there! It is genuinely appreciated.

Also, while I’m thanking you, I just wanted to thank everyone who voted for us in the Annual Bloggies. It was an honour to be nominated, and even nicer to win the Bloggy Award for Best Photography on a Blog. Ok, so part thanks, part brag.

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Pepper bridge winery vineyards blue mountains

A few weeks ago, if you’d asked me where Walla Walla was, I would probably have guessed somewhere in Australia. It just has that sound about it.

Obviously I would have been entirely wrong. It turns out that Walla Walla is in Washington State in the US, about four hours inland from Seattle, and there’s not a kangaroo in sight.

Why is this relevant? Well, we were recently invited by the nice people of the Courtyard by Marriott to come experience the wines, art, and general wonder that is Walla Walla, as part of their celebrations in opening the 1000th Courtyard Hotel. Which also happens to be in Walla Walla.

Visiting Walla Walla: Wineries, Art and a Hotel

Pepper bridge winery vineyards blue mountains

A few weeks ago, if you’d asked me where Walla Walla was, I would probably have guessed somewhere in Australia. It just has that sound about it.

Obviously I would have been entirely wrong. It turns out that Walla Walla is in Washington State in the US, about four hours inland from Seattle, and there’s not a kangaroo in sight.

Why is this relevant? Well, we were recently invited by the nice people of the Courtyard by Marriott to come experience the wines, art, and general wonder that is Walla Walla, as part of their celebrations in opening the 1000th Courtyard Hotel. Which also happens to be in Walla Walla.

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Rock arch santa cruz california

I have the rather jolly fortune of spending a part of 2015 in California, which has given me plenty of opportunity to explore some of the highlights of the area.

From San Francisco, an easy day trip is to pop across to the gorgeous town of Santa Cruz, famed for its boardwalk, laid back vibe and surfing opportunities galore. I took advantage of this fact and headed there recently to see what I could find to do, and of course to wander around and take some pictures.

What To Do On A Day Trip To Santa Cruz, California

Rock arch santa cruz california

I have the rather jolly fortune of spending a part of 2015 in California, which has given me plenty of opportunity to explore some of the highlights of the area.

From San Francisco, an easy day trip is to pop across to the gorgeous town of Santa Cruz, famed for its boardwalk, laid back vibe and surfing opportunities galore. I took advantage of this fact and headed there recently to see what I could find to do, and of course to wander around and take some pictures.

Read More