travel photography

Travels Around Morocco (Photo Essay for Dezine Magazine)

Morocco is one of my favourite places to visit and is excellent for photography.  It has a variety of landscapes from the rocky coastline, empty deserts, snow capped mountains, and bustling towns & cities.  The people are friendly, the food delicious and the travel is cheap.  For people in the UK I always think of Morocco as being the closest place that you can fly to that has the biggest cultural differences to home. This blog was published as a photojournal for the online magazine Dezine.  Click through the slideshow below to view my travel photographs taken around Morocco:

The first time arriving in Morroco can be a bit of a culture shock!  Marrakech for example is an ambush on the senses: street performers approach you with snakes and monkeys, dark twisting alleyways entice you until you get lost and a constant buzz seems to radiate throughout the city.  However, it is good fun, safe and always makes for interesting experiences.  A few years ago I returned to Morocco for a couple of weeks with a friend.  Starting in Marrakech we moved on to the Atlas Mountains for some solitude before heading to the coastline and visiting the cities of Casablanca, Rabat, Kenitra and Meknes. Below is a description of the photos in the slideshow above in the order they are seen with links to the individual images on my Flickr account:

1.  Golden hour at Jemaa el-Fnaa, the main square and market place in Marrakesh's medina quarter.

2.  Berbers, are an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa.  Three locals enjoying the view from their backyard in the Atlas Mountains.

3.  Locals play on the beach at Casablanca while the sun sets.

4.  The Hassan II Mosque or Grande Mosquée Hassan II is on the coastline of Casablanca and is the largest mosque in Morocco.  

5.  A man enjoys nature and solitude in front of the Atlantic Ocean on the coastline close to the city of Rabat.

6.  A bodyboarder heads to the beach for a surf in Kenitra in the North of Morocco.

7.  A local enjoys the view of the coastline from the colourful cliffs of Rabat.

I have written several previous travel photo essays for Dezine which can be found on their website. More of my travel photography can be found on my website, my Instagram, my Facebook and my Flickr account. If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or collaborating in any way please email: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com

On the Streets of Varanasi

Along the banks of the historical Ganges River lies Varanasi, one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the world. It is located in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and is considered to be one of the holiest centres for Hinduism. 

Image source: Wiki Media

Image source: Wiki Media

This unique city is made up of stark contrasts — from death and birth, to indulgence and spirituality. Its vigorous spirit has been the source of inspiration for many people who have set foot in the city, not just travellers, but also artists who were influenced by Varanasi.

Bollywood fans might recognise Varanasi’s many stairs and alleys from various films, such as Neeraj Ghaywan's Masaan. The movie traces the lives and eccentricities of its characters that thrive within the ancient city, which is still just as complex and ever changing. Varanasi’s many dualities haven’t just inspired famous movies, as Indian-inspired games also crop up on celebrated gaming communities with European digital portal Slingo being a great example, hosting titles such as Nirvana and Bollywood Story. These games capture starkly different, yet equally captivating facets of life in the city. But no matter how pop culture tries to do it justice, it pales in comparison to the arresting, chaotic beauty of Varanasi in the flesh. That alone makes it worth the visit, but for photographers, this provides a wealth of opportunities to capture the rich local culture. The entire region is full of colour and eccentricity, so you won’t run out of sights to point your lens at.

Image source: Pixabay

Image source: Pixabay

Go down the ghats during sunrise

On your way down to the holy river, you’ll find a series of stairs called ghats. In Varanasi, there are roughly 100 of them around, with each having its own name, history, and purpose. If you head towards the ghats about an hour before sunrise, you’ll be treated to a surreal view of the sun peaking from the waters and slowly bathing the landscape in light. It also happens to be the quietest time in the city, with fewer crowds. But of course, witnessing rituals of life and death are a different experience to be had altogether, so watch out for them but make sure to document them respectfully should you choose to take photos. 

Image source: Pixabay

Image source: Pixabay

Explore the Gali

Another unique attraction in Varanasi is their Gali, an extremely narrow alley usually lined with vendors and people passing by. Though you might have to elbow your way through during busy hours, you’ll enjoy the play of light beams and shadows on your walk.

Image source: Wiki Media

Image source: Wiki Media

Make the most of the background noise

Some photographers prefer clean and clutter-free backdrops for their photos, but that’s a bit of a rarity in the constantly bustling metropolis that is Varanasi. Don’t worry though because whatever goes on in the background can only add more colour and life to your shots. Traveling Family Blog notes that Varanasi is not for the faint-hearted. It can get chaotic, but it’s all part of the city's signature vibrancy. When capturing the dynamic Varanasi environment, fix your aperture settings so everything is kept in focus, despite all the movement. Everywhere, you’ll find street cows, street vendors, children, and so much more that will fill up your frames.

Image source: Pixabay

Image source: Pixabay

Visit during festival season

For an even more rewarding trip, you can visit Varanasi during a festival such as Dev Deepawali, also known as the Festival of Lights. It happens every year during the month of November, with thousands of devotees coming together to immerse themselves in the holy Ganges. Most surreal is when they offer lit-up lamps to the Ganga — an act they call Deepdaan. Every single step of the ghats lights up as the sun goes down, which makes for a truly majestic sight.

Image source: Wiki Feed

Image source: Wiki Feed

This was a guest blog written by Gabriella Esposito, a freelance writer. If you are interested in writing a guest blog or other forms of collaboration please send an email to: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com. More of my travel photography can be found on my website, my Instagram, my Facebook Page and my Flickr account.

Geraint Rowland Photography on Flickr

I have had a photography account with Flickr.com for almost ten years now and still use the website on a daily basis.  Although the photo sharing website has been overshadow in recent years by the likes of other photo sharing sites such as Facebook and more recently Instagram I still believe it to be of great use for a photographer.  Click through the slideshow below to view my most viewed photos on Flickr:

Benefits of Using Flickr as a Photographer

1.  Exposure & Reach

My photos on Flickr have been viewed almost 15 million times!  My Flickr stream is viewed between 5,000 - 10,000 times daily and I have had over 80,000 views on my highest viewed day.  My most viewed photo on Flickr, 'Time Alone, Meditation at Machu Picchu' has been viewed over 50,000 times.  I tend to upload one photo a day on average and the newly uploaded photo will be seen over 1000 times in the first 24 hours.  This is far higher than my pages on both Facebook and Instagram.  Obviously I have had my Flickr account for much longer and have built up a good following but that is not the only reason for the higher statistics: 

Flickr is also ranked very well by search engines in particular google.  Therefore photos on a Flickr stream can be found via searche engines and not just by looking on Flickr itself.  Just last week I had an enquiry which turned into the sale of two images from my Flickr account which were found via a google search.  To maximise the chance of your photos being ranked by search engines it is important to enter a description of the image and include relevant key word tags.  In addition it is a good idea to geo tag your images by adding a location as Flickr offers the ability to search via location.  

Finally you can publish your photo using a Creative Commons Licence on Flickr. There are various types of creative commons licence but it basically allows others to share your work so long as they credit you and link back to your Flickr photo.  I used this option a lot in the beginning as it was a good way to get exposure, Flickr allows users to search images only containing these licenses.

2.  Storage

If you use the paid for Pro subscription plan on Flickr you get unlimited storage space.  The cost is around $50 a year for this service which I believe is very good value for money.  As a regular traveller with no fixed residency it is reassuring to know that I have a back up online of my favourite images.  In fact I wish I had uploaded more in the past as have lost or misplaced external hard drives before resulting in losing some precious images and memories!  You can download the full size images from your account at any time so long as your subscription is running.

3.  Portfolio

For several years before I got round to setting up a photography website I used my Flickr account as an online portfolio.  After the redesign a couple of years ago the site now displays your images in an aesthetically pleasing way.  You can also organise your images into different albums which can be sent out as individual links.

4.  Inspiration

There are some amazing photographers using Flickr and it is a great place to look for inspiration and ideas.  A good place to start is the Explore section which features a selection of 500 photos daily.  You can also view images with the most popular tags of the day, week or all time.  The Flickr community is also very friendly and keen to advise.  In my early days I reached out to several photographers for help and advice with regards to photographic techniques and post production.

5.  Friendship

Through Flickr I have made several friendships around the World.  In Lima, Peru I met local photographer Mike Joints who taught me about flash photography and where to find the cheapest local beer.  In London I met the talented street photographer Linda Wisdom for some street shooting techniques.  As well as running fantastic street photography workshops in the city she also sells some of my travel prints via her Etsy shop.  Finally I found the extremely skilled anamorphic photographer Shuji Moriwaki who ended up selling me one of his anamorphic lenses and giving me countless advice on how to use it.

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To conclude I highly recommend the use of Flickr as both a photography portfolio, a back up and a social platform.  I will continue to use it on a regular basis, and hopefully with their recent merger with SmugMug things will only continue to improve in the future.  

My Flickr Profile page can be found here, please take a look and feel free to leave some feedback.  More of my travel photography can be found on my websiteInstagram and Facebook Page.  If you are interested in collaborating on future projects, or would like to purchase a print, please send me an email: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Day of the Dead, Mexico City by Geraint Rowland

Last year (2016) I travelled to Mexico City to experience and photograph the Day of the Dead Festivities.  It was my third visit to Mexico City or Distrito Federal (DF) as the locals call it, but the first time for the Day of the Dead celebrations.  Day of the Dead, also known as All Souls Day is a holiday celebrated in Mexico and other parts of Latin America on October 31st, November 1st, and November 2nd.  In Spanish, the Day of the Dead is called Día de Muertos, or Día de los Muertos.  Click through the slideshow below to view the Día de Muertos images taken in Distrito federal: 

In 2017 Mexico City held it's first Day of the Dead/Día de Muertos parade.  With life imitating art, they took the idea from the Bond movie (Spectre) and created the event. Over 100,000 people attended the event every day with various parades throughout the city.  I took the following photos candidly during the Day of the Dead events in and around the streets of Mexico City.  

The days leading up to and following the festival are a great opportunity to get some interesting and unusual photos.  All across the city there are exhibitions, events, street parties and people in costume.  If you plan on going, make sure you book accommodation well in advance.  The whole of Mexico City sells out with people travelling from all over Mexico and the World to experience Day of the Dead.   

The previous year (2015) I had spent a fascinating day experiencing the Day of the Dead at Cementerio Nueva Esperanza in Lima, Peru.  This huge sprawling cemetery is the second largest in the World and on the 1st of November thousands of Peruvians visit to pay respect to their departed.  Very much a family affair, the Day of the Dead is a celebration of happiness and remembrance of the deceased as opposed to one of sadness.  A day where musicians play music to the dead, traditional Peruvian Dancers (Danza de las tijeras) perform, couples share beer by the graves and children embrace and play.  A photo blog about the Day of the Dead in Lima, Peru can be viewed here.

More of my travel photos can be found on my website, my Facebook page and my Flickr account.  If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Geraint Rowland published in Professional Photographer Magazine

Happy to be published in this month's Professional Photographer Magazine, following a competition I won through PhotoVoice.

PhotoVoice competition winner Geraint Rowland's photograph published in Professional Photographer magazine.

PhotoVoice competition winner Geraint Rowland's photograph published in Professional Photographer magazine.

The photo will be part of an upcoming photography exhibition in London which I hope to intend.  Always nice to have work published, especially in a magazine of such high quality.  The photograph which one the competition was taken at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, A Roman Catholic Church in the North of Mexico City.  Here is a version of the image on my Flickr site.

More of my street & travel photography can be found on my website, my Instagram, and my Flickr account. If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Street Art Around the World (Photo Essay for the Fifth Issue of Dezine Magazine)

One of the first things I do when I arrive in a new country is search for the local street art and graffiti.  I love the different styles around the World and the way the paintings provide colour and life to the streets.  

“Some people become cops because they want to make the world a better place.  Some people become vandals because they want to make the world a better looking place.”
– Banksy (Wall and Piece)

Street Photography in Mexico City during the Day of the Dead Parade.

Street Photography in Mexico City during the Day of the Dead Parade.

I try to combine street photography with street art in a complementary way.  By adding a human element into the frame you can often enhance the artwork that already exists.  Through timing and placement you can end up with an image in which life imitates the art itself.  Here is a selection of street art photography from various places I have travelled around the World.  Due to the bright and vivid colours of the street art I prefer to present the images in colour as opposed to black and white:

1.  Taken in the multicultural neighbourhood of Raval in Barcelona, Spain.  The art on this wall is constantly changing, I like this fleeting moment of life mimicking the art.

2.  Long faces in the historic centre of Mexico City.

3.  Synchronisation on the streets in Santiago, Chile.

4.  The dog and his double, Valparaíso, Chile.  

5.  A Day of the Dead reveller walks past some crude but poignant graffiti in Mexico City.  'La Historia es Nuestra Venceremos/History is ours, we will overcome'. 

6.  A street performer practises amongst the graffiti in Barcelona, Spain.

7.  A Storm Trooper attacks in the Condesa neighbourhood in Mexico City.  

More of my street & travel photography can be found on my website, my Instagram, and my Flickr account. If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Travel & Street Photography Tours in Barcelona

For information on my travel and street photography tours in Barcelona please drop me a line at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.  

I carry out one-to-one and small group sessions regardless of your level, ability or type of camera!  Let's explore the streets of beautiful Barcelona together and capture some of it's magic.  

Street Photography & Street Art Tours in Barcelona.

Street Photography & Street Art Tours in Barcelona.

Get to learn your way around Barcelona whilst taking photos of the architecture, the street art and the locals.  I can take you to the best spots in the City for photography ensuring you return from your trip with great photos.  I can assist with technical or compositional techniques to ensure you achieve better photographs whilst here in Barcelona.  

At the end of these sessions we can review the photos taken in a traditional Catalan Bar over a Vermut or cold Beer or at a Cafe over a Coffee, depending on your preference!  Click through a selection of street shots taken on previous tours in Barcelona:

I am an International Travel & Street Photographer who has exhibited in the UK and South America.  I have held street photography Tours in Peru, London and more recently Barcelona. Contact me if you have any enquiries at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

See you on the Streets.  Saludos!

More of my street photography can be found on my website, my Instagram, and my Flickr account. If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.