Wales, Brecon Beacons – Amazing Scenery – What a great day

I’ve just returned from a fantastic couple of days in the Brecon Beacons which is a spectacular area of natural beauty in South Wales, UK.

Living near Bristol means that Wales is practically on my doorstep so I like to go there as much as possible.

I wouldn’t class myself as an out and out Landscape Photographer but the Brecon Beacons are so breathtaking that it’s hard not to want to capture the amazing landscapes there.

I didn’t really plan this shoot too much. I thought i’d drive to the Brecon Beacons National Park and see what happened. I got lucky with the weather and I think I managed to get some nice shots (even if I say so myself). I took approx 400 photo’s during this trip. You can access a selection on my portfolio site at the bottom of this post.

I got to the base of ‘Pen Y Fan’ known as ‘Pont Ar Daf’, parked up (there’s free parking by the way), put on my trusty walking boots and within about 60 seconds was shooting away.

Pont Ar Daf entrance

There is so much photographic goodness in the Brecon Beacons. As soon as you walk through the gate you are confronted with a bridge over a stream and a fairly small but pretty waterfall so there’s lots to shoot right there. In fact I said hello to a fellow photographer who was heading towards the waterfall with tripod in hand.

Pont Ar Daf entrance

I then spent a couple of hours heading up towards Corn Du which is the second highest peak in South Wales at 2864 feet.

The weather constantly changed from clear blue skies to blanket cloud to snow blizzards to almost total whiteout within a matter of minutes. You definitely need to wear clothing for all seasons if you are planning a trip up there at this time of year.

I passed a mountain rescue team on the way so it’s reassuring to know they are out on patrol if you get into trouble.

The walk is not particularly steep and is more of a gradual incline so it’s not too hard on the body. My knees were aching a bit on the way down though but that is probably because I was walking gingerly because of the icy and muddy conditions.

Here’s a selection of snapshots taken with my iPhone:

JV

Here I am with Corn Du in the background.

Brecon-Path

Heading along the path towards Corn Du.

Brecon-Snow

Stunning scenery – moody clouds

Brecon-sky

Looking back towards the lake. Nice light rays.

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From blue skies to whiteout in a few minutes.

Brecon-Whiteout

Brecon-Mist

The mist and cloud starting to clear.

I stayed at a hotel in Crikhowell called the Manor Hotel – it’s got a three star rating and is perfectly fine, it’s actually the birthplace of Sir George Everest who was the first person to survey the Himalayan Peak. You’ve probably worked out that Everest is named after Sir George.

The food was really nice and the view is excellent from the hotel. I’d stay there again.

They even have a ‘Hitler Cat’. That’s two ‘Hitler Cats‘ i’ve come across now on my travels.

HitlerCat

My hotel was about 20 minutes away from where I started my shoot.

I’m planning another trip back to the Brecon Beacons but this time i’m going to stay within the National Park itself because The Brecon Beacons are classed as a Dark Sky area which means that it is one of the best places in the UK to see the sky at night. You can even see the Milky Way on a cloudless night.

Here’s a taster pic from my Brecon Beacons shoot:

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Here’s a screen grab of some of the photographs I took in the Brecon Beacons:

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Click here to view / buy photographs and order prints from this trip.

Nepal – Kathmandu

It was heartbreaking to see the devastation wreaked upon Kathmandu after the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in April 2015. It killed over 8000 people and injured more than 21000 and hundreds of years of historical buildings were destroyed.

Thankfully our guide ‘Puspa’ who is based in Kathmandu who lead us across the Himalayas on the Annarpurna Trek was ok.

Many of the buildings and sites in and around Kathmandu that you will see in these snapshots and on my portfolio web site are now sadly no longer there.

Kathmandu 1

Kathmandu2

Kathmandu3

Kathmandu5

Kathmandu6

Nepal jv

Kathmandu7

Kathmandu8

Here’s a screen grab of some of the photographs I took in Kathmandu:

Kathmandu

Click here to view / buy photographs and order prints from this trip.

China – The Great Wall

The Great Wall of China is one of the greatest wonders of the world.

It snakes across deserts, grasslands, mountains and plateaus, stretching approximately 13,170 miles (21,196 kilometers) from east to west of China. It has a history of over 2000 years and many of it’s section have now disappeared.

Great Wall1

GreatWall 5

I had no idea how steep the Great Wall of China was in places.

Great Wall2

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At least you know you’ll never get lost on the Great Wall.

Here’s a screen shot of some of the photographs I took while I was in China:

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Click here to view / buy photographs and order prints from this trip.

 

Sri Lanka – Exploring the hill country

Sri Lanka hills

It’s called the hill country for a reason and the reason is there are lots of hills….

Sri Lanka waterfall

And waterfalls…

Sri Lanka torrent

Here’s another waterfall torrent

Tripod

Oooh look at my big tripod

Misty hills

Mist can descend in minutes in them there hills.

Sri Lanka

Tea plantations

Here’s a screen grab of some of the photographs I took in Sri Lanka:

Sri Lanka

Click here to view / buy photographs and order prints from this trip.

Peru – Lake Titicaca

Lake Titicaca is the largest lake in South America and in Andean belief it is known as the birthplace of the sun. We spent a couple of days here and enjoyed every minute.

Lake Titicaca

The view from our joint at Lake Titicaca.

Titicaca bedspread

Our rather fetching bed spread

We took a day trip to see the Uru people who live on a series of forty two floating islands on Lake Titicaca. To me this is what traveling is all about, experiencing ways of life that are totally different to the way we live. We had a great day with the Uru people, I also got a few decent photo’s as well.

There was a film crew there at the same time so I wonder whether we are on a documentary somewhere.

Uru village

The Uru people selling their wares. There were some amazing arts and crafts for sale.

Uro boat

Uru ceremonial boat.

Here’s a screen shot of some of the photographs I took while I was in Lake Titicaca:

Lake Titicaca

Click here to view / buy photographs and order prints from this trip.

Peru, Iquitos – Exploring the Amazon

Iquitos is linked to the outside world by air and by river only. It’s the worlds largest city that can’t be accessed by road.

We flew in to Iquitos from Lima.

We went there so we could access the mighty Amazon river.

There’s plenty going on in the city and there are loads of decent restaurants but because of it’s location everything has to be imported so costs tend to be a bit higher.

The ‘Yellow Rose of Texas’ restaurant is worth a visit, it has a very eclectic interior and the food is very good.

Yellow Rose

It’s also worth visiting the Pilpintuwasi Butterfly Farm which is also the home of the Amazon Animal Orphanage. It’s located in Padre Cocha which is on the Nanay river so you will need to take a boat to access it.

Make sure your boat driver takes you to the right butterfly farm!

Here’s a message that currently appears on the original Pilpintuwasi butterfly farms web site:

For Our Visitors: Please know that a previous employee of the refuge has recently set up a new butterfly house and is offering boat-drivers commission to take visitors to this alternative centre rather than the real Pilpintuwasi. The true centre offers homes to a number of rescued animals in addition to the butterfly house. 

Iquitos shack

View of the river at Padre Cocha.

Iquitos

Having a wander around Padre Cocha.

Snake skin

Drying out snake skins in the sun.

JV Snake

Me and a very large Anaconda. I couldn’t stand upright because it was so heavy.

Pepe bird

Pepe the very colourful and friendly bird.

Manatee

A very cute Manatee at the Amazon Rescue Centre. I didn’t realise how soft to the touch these animals are.

Smiling fish

Hello. Please feed me.

Arrow man

I bet the first thing you looked at was his hair??

My mate

My little mate.

Inca Cola

I drank gallons of this stuff.

Here’s a screen shot of some of the photographs I took while I was in Peru / Amazon:

Peru Amazon Screenshot

Click here to view / buy photographs and order prints from this trip.

Sri Lanka – The first stop on our epic trip around the world

Sri Lanka was the first country we visited on our mammoth trip around the world. I loved Sri Lanka, it’s a beautiful country and the people are very friendly and proud of their country. We were always getting asked what we thought of Sri Lanka by the locals.

Sri Lanka beach

Not another soul on the beach (apart from Serena) and a few washed up jellyfish. Do jellyfish have souls?

Sri Lanka beach

Lovely Sri Lankan beach

Sri Lanka Train

Enjoying the view from the train

Sri Lanka palm trees

Palm Trees in the evening.

Tree

Have you ever seen a tree like this?

Whale tail

Whale Spotting

Stuffing my face

Stuffing my face again

Mosquito

Mosquito’s love me and yes it itched like feck.

Sri Lanka train

Dog hassle on the train platform

Here’s a screen grab of some of the photographs I took in Sri Lanka:

Sri Lanka

Click here to view / buy photographs and order prints from this trip.