Mar 012014

I took this picture after a long mission to get into the Sagrada Familia without waiting on line. It involved saying “screw waiting on this line” and having the best tapas I’ve ever had at a place called Tapas 24, or 21. I don’t remember the number too well.

I’d normally be annoyed by having cranes and scaffolding in a picture, but it is very much part of the interesting things about this monument as it’s been under construction for such a long time.

la sagrada familia, Barcelona from the park with pond and cranes still under construction no tourists no people blocking view

Feb 242012

Washington Square Park does not list amongst the usual tourist attractions of New York City, but it’s well worth a visit – at least in summer. There’s just so much going on there. Entering from the shady Northwest corner I was met by a three-piece jazz band. Moving on it seemed like there was a new band jamming away every twenty feet. Upon arriving in the middle, the fountain became the center of attention. A portly gentleman was stood in the middle getting soaked while people sat around the edges watching.

Then, to the left I saw what I thought was an amazing chalk drawing. Upon closer inspection I realized that it was a sand painting, a really big sand painting. This was the work of Joe Mangrum. He’s created a huge number of sand paintings in New York. You can see more of his work here.

Behind him, under the arch, a street performer was doing something I’ve never seen a street performer do. He was sitting on a bucket and playing a baby grand piano. I have no idea how he got the piano there and wonder if it stays there overnight or if he has to take it home every day.


***Edit: Joe just e-mailed me and directed me to this video, I now know how the piano gets there***


Sand painter, Joe Mangrum, creates a fantastic work in Washington Square Park in New York City in front of the arch while a baby grand piano is being played by Colin Huggins under the arch with people watching.

Dec 282011

It sounds cliché, but there is little in the world that is anything like visiting the mountain gorillas. The whole experience leaves you feeling like you’ve somehow spent an hour in an alternate dimension. Two and a half weeks earlier I was sitting in my cubicle in Bermuda. Now, five days before returning to work I’m surrounded by 24 wild and endangered mountain gorillas. They go about their daily business, seemingly unperturbed by your presence. But then, without warning, one of them decides to lock eyes with you. They look at you in a way that makes it really feel that they are engaging with you. Ultimately, they make a quick assessment of their new visitors. Then, as sharply as they’d turned their attention to you they continue their daily activities: munching on bamboo, cuddling with the children, or, as in my friend Cameron’s case, laying down and snoozing right beside you. Incidentally, the gorilla snoozing next to Cameron was the big boss of the group – the toughest of three silverbacks. He decided to take his nap shortly after he’d charged Cameron, who could do nothing but stand his ground. I’m not sure Cameron had the same experience when locking eyes with this guy as I did with the subject of today’s photo. I wanted to capture the moment when the gorillas calmly lock eyes with you and hope I’ve succeeded in the below photo. Feel free to post a comment and let me know what you think.

We were lucky in that we got to visit the Susa group, which are apparently the descendants of the group of gorillas that Dian Fossey lived with. It’s also the largest group and hardest to get to. On our three-week journey through Africa everyone we met that had heard anything about gorilla tracking in Rwanda told us that this was the group to see. As such, I made a point of asking our guide to try to make this happen. Upon arrival at the headquarters you are assigned a group and don’t typically get to pick and choose. He returned my question by asking if we were fit because it is hard work. We assured him we were capable with a couple nervous sideways glances. He agreed to try to arrange this but couldn’t make any guarantees.

He was correct, the walk up was tough but really made the experience all the better. Rwanda is a beautiful country, lush and green everywhere. It seems like every inch of ground outside of the national parks is farmed. Our walk took three hours and was straight up the side of a volcano. The first half of this was through farmland planted with potatoes and flowers that looked like daisies. Our guides informed us that they’re used to make insect repellent. The second half was through thick vegetation with the man in front using a machete to widen the path. The hike was an experience in itself and I intend to share a few pictures from our ascent in the future. Of course, I also have lots of gorilla photos I’ll be spreading out over the months ahead.

I’m working on adding some additional pages to the site including photography and travel tips.

Mountain gorilla of the Susa group in Rwanda locking eyes with the photographer.