Magical Morocco

It was time to burn up some annual leave in September, so we decided to fly to Morocco for a fortnight. Due to the usual pressures at work though, I only managed to book flights and hotels about two weeks before flying out, which meant that I was completely unprepared.

Thankfully I had a copy of the Rough Guide in my hand luggage and vague idea of what we wanted to see and do. The broad plan was to spend a few days in Marrakech, then travel to the Atlas mountains heading for the desert, and then finish off the holidays by the Atlantic coast…so far so good.

So we booked ourselves into a charming little riad called Villa Harmonie, somewhere in the old town of Marrakech. The place was that tucked away in a little alleyway of the medina, that even the driver from the airport had difficulties finding it!

As planned we spent the first few days in Marrakech, taking in the sights from the beautiful palaces to the Majorelle Gardens. Nothing had prepared me though for the big square, the Jemaa el Fna. I have never seen anything like it in my life! What a crazy, exciting, and amazing place! During the day there are mainly some snake charmers and guys with monkeys in the square, who let the tourists pose with the animals…for a small fee of course! But it is at night that the square really comes to life, with storytellers, musicians, food stalls and souvenir vendors. It is a smoke- and noise filled space of chaos which is bewildering and fascinating at the same time.

After a few days of the noise and chaos of downtown Marrakech, it was time to leave the city and head for the countryside. Katerine, the French owner of our riad, had arranged a driver who took us to the Atlas mountains and then the valley of the kasbahs. The following day we drove to Merzouga where we changed the off road car for some camels and rode into the Sahara Desert! What an experience!

Following three days of driving we spent the rest of the holidays decompressing in Essaouira by the Atlantic coast, which was a brilliant contrast to the hustle and bustle of the city. With so many impressions on every street corner I did go a bit crazy with the old Nikon. I took several hundred pictures, and I’m going to try and post just some of my favourites on here. Most of the pictures were shot with a 50mm lens on my D610. This is also the first time that I used Lightroom for a bit of editing.

Hope you all like the pictures. Let me know what your thoughts are. Cheers!


Gairloch and Wester Ross

So it’s been just about a month that I’ve been shooting with my new full frame camera, and so far I absolutely love my new toy! When I first opened the Nikon box, with my new D610 inside I was a little underwhelmed, as the body looks almost identical to my previous D7000. Once however I started taking a few pictures, it was like a completely new experience. The detail on some of the images is just incredible.

The fact that I only have one 50mm prime lens for the camera, also meant that I had to rethink about how I frame my pictures. It is true what so many photographers have told me:  shooting with a prime lens forces you to slow down.

Anyway, I’ve just returned from a few days in Wester Ross, which gave me the opportunity to try out the camera in earnest. The weather was quite good and with the West coast being as dramatic and picturesque as it is there were quite a few photo opportunities.


Battered and bruised…

Today I cycled to Renfrew Street to see for myself how badly the Mackintosh building was damaged in last week’s fire. Such a sad sight, with the smell from the charred timbers still in the air, and the windows blackened and broken. I still cannot believe that the beautiful library has been lost to the flames. Last Friday really was a very sad day for Glasgow.

…another new camera!

Wow, I just realised that it’s been 7 months since my last post! A few things have happened since then: an incredibly wet and rainy Christmas, when my poor mother broke her foot in Edinburgh, a second trip to Arizona, and then a new role for me, albeit still with the same company. 

Then in April on a trip to Oban with some good German friends, my DSLR was stolen from a restaurant. So for the last four weeks I’ve been deliberating what to do next, and yesterday I went to the local Jessops store and treated myself to a brand new Nikon D610. So now I will have to learn how to shoot exclusively on my 50mm prime for a while. We’ll see how that goes!


I also have a backlog of pictures I took in Arizona. I’ll try and get them onto the blog as soon as I can.



A week in Liguria in late summer…what could possibly be better? Ok, maybe two weeks! In September we went back to Apricale, a small mountain village to the north of Ventimiglia. Apricale was voted one of the ten most picturesque villages in Italy, but that is of little relevance when the food in Liguria is amongst the best I have ever tasted!

Here are some impressions of the villages we visited, and some of the amazing food we have tasted there.



A few weeks ago we decided to go to Ardnamurchan for a weekend of wild camping. I love the fact that in Scotland, you can pitch your tent pretty much anywhere you like. What a great way to experience this amazing country!

We had never been to the edge of the Ardnamurchan peninsula before, and I have to say the long drive was worth it! Loch Sunart in particular, must be one of the most beautiful places I’ve seen in Scotland so far.

Here are some of the snaps from the weekend. I loved the scene with the Highland cows in the water. Only wish I’d had a more powerful zoom that moment! The little Jack Russell in the vintage car also made me smile. Hope you enjoy the pictures!


Of castles, lochs, and steam trains….

So it’s official, July 2013 was the second warmest July on records in Scotland. Because of all the good weather I have been spending most of my weekends away camping and exploring the Scottish countryside. Here are some pictures I took back in June when I took visitors from the US to Fort William, Oban, Loch Fyne and the Kyles of Bute.

I love the picture of the seagull at the pier, for which I had to be fairly quick. My favourite has to be the the picture of the entrance door to Ballimore House though, which makes you think of all the people who might have walked through that door over the years. Let me know what you think, and if you have any favourites.


Glasgow Mela

This weekend was the weekend of the Glasgow Mela, one of my favourite festivals each year. The Mela originally started off as a festival for Glasgow’s Asian community, but it has since developed into a kind of world event with music, dance performances and food from all around the world.

This event really represents all that is good about Glasgow with its long tradition of inclusion. It’s just fabulous to walk through Kelvingrove Park and see both performers as well as visitors in their multi-coloured outfits, listening to the sounds of Punjabi music and smelling the food from the Lahori food-stalls.

Here are just a few impressions taken with my new Nikon D7000.


Summer in Scotland…

After an incredibly cold and miserable spring, summer finally arrived in Scotland last week. The sun was out, and the cafés and restaurants were filled with people. The best way to experience Scotland in the summer though is to leave the city behind and to experience its amazing countryside.