12 Countries in 12 Months

London Fine Art Photography
Travelling for me is a big part of photography, it was in fact travelling that first gave me the idea to take up the hobby. Having been places like Australia and Peru, but having no memorable photos just “snaps”, I decided to get myself a DSLR. Most travellers will own a camera but wouldn’t call themselves photographers and most photographers will go travelling. Yet most won’t come back with what they class as “keepers” or fantastic photos. The travellers will be happy with their selfies and the snaps of all the landmarks. While the photographers will normally be disappointed with what they have come back with. This isn’t due to lack of ability or setting their standards too high, it’s simply due to lack of time. The weather conditions you get for that hour you spend at The Eiffel Tower are the conditions, there’s no waiting for better light or a clearer sky. You want to wait and see if the conditions improve but your list of places to visit for the day is long and time is already running out.

A visit to Paris in November was a good example of not having the ideal conditions. I tried to make the most of the 2 days of rain.

Even if the weather plays ball and you turn up at your location all set for a classic photo, but there is already a group of photographers standing there taking up the exact spot you wanted. You plonk yourself on the end and get nearly the shot you wanted, or do you wait and cross a different location or two off your busy schedule.

Sometimes even the best planned schedules don’t quite work out. Wandering around a unfamiliar city you are bound to find something interesting to take a photo of. It’s not on your list of locations but you can spare 30 minutes to take a few photos here. You rush through a few shots, happy with what you have until you get back to your hotel. After looking the location up online you see there are much better angles the other side of the building, or see that there’s an amazing spiral staircase inside.

A great location in Berlin, little did I know at the time that the building behind me is as photogenic as the one in front of me.

The weather conditions are perfect, you have done your research and know where the best spot’s are and there’s no one else at your location. Perfect! Now all you have to deal with is all that pressure you are putting on yourself. This isn’t a London landmark that you can pop back to and reshoot next week, this is a place you may never have the chance to revisit ever again.

Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon is one of my favourite places in Iceland. I was delighted to find it foggy when I visited in February.

Are you ever going to get a photo in your 30 minute visit as good as the local photographer that lives local to that location?
The best photos are often taken when a photographer knows the spot well. They will know the best times of day, where the sun needs to be, the ideal tide etc..

It is of course possible to be at the right place at the right time and capture something even a local photographer may never get. The timing was spot on for this one taken in Valencia.

All is not lost. It is possible to get photos that you are happy with on your travels. This year I decided to try and visit a different country each month of the year. 12 different countries in 12 months.
I didn’t really plan this but after a strong start to the year, 4 countries in 3 months I decided I’d give it a go.
It was going well until September, when I started to run out of affordable and accessible locations that I could pop over to and get some nice photographs. I’d come so far it would be a shame not to get the final 4 months. By calling in a few favours at work and robbing the piggy bank I was able to get through to the end.

Here is the list of the 12 countries and a photo from each one. For more photos of each country click on the photo.

JanuaryVenice

This was my first time in Venice. I travelled here with my good friend Jay aka Vulture Labs. This was a photography trip. It makes it so much easier to get decent photographs when you are there to take photos and not walk round museum doing all the touristy things. We had a cold few days here but managed to get some photos that I was very happy with. I have been looking forward to my next visit here since arriving back home.

FebruaryValencia

After Jay’s and mine successful trip to Venice the previous month we decided to head off again, this time to Valencia. What a place this is. We didn’t see much of Valencia and never laid eyes on the beach. Instead we spent 2 full days at the City of Arts and Sciences. An architectural photographs dream. Some of my best work to date in my opinion was taken here. It’s a place I will go back to.

MarchBerlin

I first visited Berlin about 10 years ago. It wasn’t into photography back then but loved the city. Having been to The Berlin Wall and Check Point Charlie previously this time the touristy locations were not needed. This was a really short visit, staying for just one night only. We had A long day rushing around the city with very dull weather conditions. The weather wasn’t great and time wasn’t on my side, yet I still believe I’ve got some good photos from this wonderful city.

AprilBordeaux

The first non photography trip in the list, yet obviously the camera came along. We were only actually only in Bordeaux for a few days of the trip. We started the trip driving up to Talmont from Bordeaux airport, then Royan and La Rochelle. A really nice trip through some very nice places. Finishing the holiday back in Bordeaux we were a little disappointed we didn’t have more time there, as there was so much to see and do. Another place that will have to be revisited sometime.

MayStockholm

A short trip in May over to Stockholm to watch a game of football, yet once again the camera comes along for the ride.
I reserved half a day of this short trip to travel on the Stockholm Metro. They have some of the most wonderful stations I’ve ever seen.

JuneWarsaw

A few days in the Polish capital for some birthday celebrations with a little time put to one side for some photos in the city. It’s a relatively modern city in parts with some stunning architecture going up at a very fast rate.

JulySingapore

My summer holiday this year was a big one. A trip to Indonesia with a few stop overs in Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and Singapore. Singapore is a wonderful city, but it’s so humid. With so many high buildings, its very overwhelming. I didn’t find photographing here very easy and would love to go back with more time and hopefully cooler conditions to give it another go. Having said that I still have some photos from here that I’m happy with.

AugustKuala Lumpur

Still on the same trip but in a different country. It’s hard picking just two photos for these two months. I’ve gone for the two big cities and not shown anything from Indonesia, the main part of my trip.
We were only in Kuala Lumpur for a day and didn’t get to visit much but we did get to see the Petronus Towers. These towers are fantastic. Another city that needs to be visited again as there is so much more to be seen.

SeptemberCopenhagen

A photographer friend of mine moved over to the Danish capital earlier in the year. Now seemed the perfect time to plan a visit to see him as he had found all the best locations to show me. Not the biggest place but a really nice little city that’s easy to get around with so much to photograph. There are some stunning new buildings that haven’t been shot to death, some great street locations, wonderful old buildings and an amazing coast.
So many great spots to shoot in and around Copenhagen, it’s a city I will get back to.

OctoberSnowdonia

Not a city trip this time, in fact it couldn’t be farther from it. Wild camping up a mountain with Greg Whitton.
The conditions were horrendous. So bad at the top of the mountain that the wild camping turned into refuge in a little stone bothy. Wind, rain and thick cloud made putting the tents up impossible. There were five of us, all soaking wet and we had an uncomfortable long night. The morning was dry but still very windy and cloudy at the summit. We headed down just in time to see the sun rise break through the cloud. We were treated to bright orange clouds and mist below us. Nearly worth the pain of the evening before.

NovemberLisbon

A real surprise the amount of great locations I found in Copenhagen, great architecture and a stunning coast. Lisbon was just as surprising. What an amazing city. The beautiful Vasco De Gama bridge was one of the main reasons for the visit, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. There was so much more to shoot there. A strong low autumn sun made conditions awkward but also created some harsh contrasts for some creative street photography.

DecemberBruges

The final stop for 12 different countries in 12 months took me to Bruges. Really hoping for a fairytale city with snow and Christmas markets, it didn’t quite work out that way. A lovely place with it’s cobble streets and old buildings, a few Christmas Markets here and there but no snow. Beautiful canals run through the city making it very much like Venice. Chocolate shops along the cobble streets that have horse and carts noisily passing by really do make this city very fairytale like.

You can see more of travel photos on the Around The World page

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