China Instagram Highlights

China Instagram Highlights

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As with all my trips I captured a lot of the people, places and moments whilst working in China. There’s nothing I enjoy more than giving others a glimpse into daily life whilst I travel. My chosen platform is always Instagram and with this post I thought I’d round up my favourite posts from my time in China. It was hard to choose a few for this post, so if you want to see more remember to check my Instagram for more! If you’d like to read more about my time in China then read this post on Shanghai and here for Beijing.

The neon lights in East Nanjing make walking around a sightseeing adventure of their own 👌🏻#streetart

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Amazing views seen from The Bund at night. Need to find somewhere high up for the next shot #shanghaicity

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Orderly chaos in the backstreets of the city #exploreshanghai #chinagram

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Sitting, waiting and thinking #peopleofshanghai

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#templeart #goldenbuddha

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‘Three’s a crowd’ #shanghai #peopleofshanghai

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#peopleofbeijing #beijing 🇨🇳

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Hidden places walking through the famous hutongs of the capital 🇨🇳 #streetshots #chinatravel

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#streettour #peopleofbeijing 🇨🇳

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New post on #Beijing is up on the blog *link in bio* #chinatravel

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Last full week in #Shanghai and I’m making sure I explore as much as possible #cityviews

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🗺👌🏻#landscapehunter #viewsfordays

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Memories, Places & People’s Faces | Portraits

Memories, Places & People’s Faces | Portraits

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Portraits & Photo-Journalism

I have been fortunate enough to have met some incredible people on my journey so far. During my recent travels I took it upon myself to start capturing some portraits and try to tell a story. I actually found it really fun trying to create an image that would give an insight into a persons life and also enjoyed the photo-journalism side of it all as well. Creating a collection of images that I am proud of and archive some amazing memories I’ve had with that/or involving that individual. This is the first post to share the few portraits I have released so far and I have many more that I’m working on and more to take!

I just hope that upon hearing some of these stories it will inspire or give someone else some perspective on what another person has gone/going through. I think that its human nature to be curious and want to know about other people, especially those that are in a completely different culture to us. Looking at portraits transports someone into someone else’s life for just a brief second and I’ve found that I really love capturing their portraits!

First up is Prayash, who I met whilst staying at a guest house in Bhaktapur. He works there whilst attending some college classes and managing his radio show. If you’re ever in the area then tune into 107.9fm every thursday 3-4pm for some debates and slick tunes. Prayash dreams of becoming a media personality and enjoys exploring to see new views like the one behind him. He took me to see his home village and the incredible view from Nagarkot, thanks man!” 

“Next up is one of my Nepali Didis, Gita. She works in the fields and helps look after Bhakatapur Children’s Home; as well as be a mother to 3 of her own children Suraj, Sumon & Susata. Her husband is away in the Nepali army currently but she still manages to have one of the kindest, goofiest and warm personalities I’ve come across.”

“Rahul taught me the power of a ‘pinky promise’. I have so much time for this little bro. He has a bright future ahead of him and I can’t wait to see him succeed in everything he chooses to do next.”

“Let me introduce the taxi driver with the most swag, Rameshwor. You’ll be able to identify him from his blacked out shades, leather driving gloves and nepali dance tunes. When I first visited Nepal he was our trusted point of call for transportation between the village and marketplace. He doesn’t speak much English but we still managed to have some funny conversations. When I returned to Sipadol I was walking through the market and to my surprise he ran up to me and remembered who I was; which was amazing! I was also happy to see that he was able to buy a new car and had employed someone else to drive the old one, growing his business.”

“Back in 2014 I went for a wander in the marketplace in Bhaktapur where I was staying. I decided to head into a shoe shop to have a look around. 2 minutes later I ended up sat having chai (tea) & shisha pipe with Suniel Duwal, who is a pretty cool guy. Recently I went back to surprise him and once again drank chai whilst he showed me some metal bands concert videos – he’s a massive fan, as well as being a dedicated Arsenal supporter. I also got to meet his wife, daughter & mother-in-law. If you’re ever looking for some new style – Sunil Fashion House can sort you out.”

“This is Kopila (lalala my nickname for her, she finds it funny calling me Jackalalala) who loves to dance and spends most of the time giggling with her best friend Anita – who is also at the children’s home. She is also the one who taught me the numbers from 1-20 in nepali as I kept getting stuck at 10!”

“If you have a question, Sushil can answer it. He’s very smart and his dream is to be a doctor. He is just an all round cool guy and I spend a lot of the time learning from him!”

“This is Suraj – who is awesome. His mother is Gita who works at the children’s home. On my second visit I’d never met him, his mum or his siblings before, but we got on so well – he felt like my younger brother and we spent two weeks learning about physics, nepali vocab & wrestlemania! I can’t even explain how enriching for both sides going to volunteer or just talking to locals can be; if you’re considering doing it then don’t hesitate to drop me a message if your not sure how to go about it.”

I hope you enjoyed those portraits and snippets of memories from my travels.

There are many more to come so stay tuned and follow up on my social links!

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David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust | Adopting an Elephant!

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust | Adopting an Elephant!

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I have always had a deep love for elephants. I think they are incredible creatures and have so many human like qualities that make them relatable. They are the gentle giants of the african plains and graceful grazers of the asian forests. Everything about them I have always enjoyed studying from the very first elephant toy to the countless documentaries I have seen. With all that said you can imagine my excitement when I found out that on my trip to Kenya we would be stopping at The David Sheldrick Widlife Trust.

If you don’t know what that means, here’s who they are:

David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

Mission statement

The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust embraces all measures that compliment the conservation, preservation and protection of wildlife. These include anti-poaching, safe guarding the natural environment, enhancing community awareness, addressing animal welfare issues, providing veterinary assistance to animals in need, rescuing and hand rearing elephant and rhino orphans, along with other species that can ultimately enjoy a quality of life in wild terms when grown.

One of the main ongoing projects at the trust is their orphan project which includes rescuing and hand-rearing orphaned elephants. I couldn’t wait to get there.

What they say about the elephant orphan project:

At the heart of the DSWT’s conservation activities is the Orphans’ Project, which has achieved world-wide acclaim through its hugely successful elephant and rhino rescue and rehabilitation program. The Orphans’ Project exists to offer hope for the future of Kenya’s threatened elephant and rhino populations as they struggle against the threat of poaching for their ivory and horn, and the loss of habitat due to human population pressures and conflict, deforestation and drought.

 

To date the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust has successfully hand-raised over 150 infant elephants and has accomplished its long-term conservation priority by effectively reintegrating orphans back into the wild herds of Tsavo, claiming many healthy wild-born calves from former-orphaned elephants raised in our care.

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You pre-book a place beforehand and pay a small fee to go and see the elephants, usually when they get back from a walk and go to bathe. The keepers hand feed them using bottles of specially mixed milk. It’s a great sight to see and if you love elephants then you’ll be in your element. Its great to see the elephants playing around and messing about in the mud with each other and whats also great to see is the bond the keepers share with each individual animal. The keepers become their surrogate parents and are with them 24/7 feeding, walking, bathing, playing and sleeping.

SlipTiring being an Elephant

Bros

Elephants by Jack Gunns on 500px.comIMG_0097

One Man & His Elephant by Jack Gunns on 500px.com

 

Your given the opportunity to adopt an elephant and donate towards the upkeep of the trust. Of course I did this when I was there, it was about £30 ($50) you can obviously pay more than this if you wish. Adopting an elephant let me re-visit the trust at the end of my trip to help put young Kibo (my adopted elephant) to bed as well as help bottle feed him. It finished my trip in Kenya on a high and was great to get a real intimate personal time with the orphaned elephants who were all a lot more inquisitive once there wasn’t a crowd of people around and just as playful! You also get regular updates about your elephant even after they grow up and introduced back into the wild, I often get e-mails telling me how Kibo and the new orphans are getting on.

Adopting an elephant

I’d really recommend visiting this place and I’m sure you’ll agree seeing the amazing work they are doing to help orphaned animals all over Africa. Keep supporting this essential wildlife trust. You also see some rhino and giraffes whilst your there!

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If you’d like to see more of my travel photos from Kenya or my other photography then check my social links!

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Namaste Jack Uncle | Travel Talk

Namaste Jack Uncle | Travel Talk

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“Namaste Jack Uncle” is what I would hear all the time on a daily basis. The kids here are among the happiest kids I’ve met and so content with so little. I was expecting it to be at least a week before they opened up to me and talked. Not at all, within the first few hours I had kids hanging from me like monkeys. I’ve gotten to know alot of them and kept finding myself anxiously waiting all day for the kids to come back from school so we could play and do chores!

the school run #nepal #ivhq2014 #chito

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get to wake up to this everyday #nepal #travels #nature

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so much red #shrine #nepal #temple #travelling

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I sought out a tatooist while I was there. I now have arms full of snakes, cats, a house and some mountains. Little rahul is quite the artist. We took the kids to the temple and had a picnic one of the days which was more of a mission than it may sound at first. I went into town with our host sister Saroza to stock up on momos (kind of nepali dumplings if you will – a favourite amongst the children and myself!), we then took a taxi up the mountain which sounds impressive but then if you throw in the fact that Nepal has no real ‘roads’ so the path up the mountain was a little rocky – an even more impressive feat for the taxi driver. As well as this we took huge speaker amps up so we could have music to dance too and marched 21 kids up a to the top of a mountain. It was well worth it and I think I was way more excited than the children! Over the duration of my stay we had various volunteers from different countries come stay and the orphanage was as busy as ever. I went to the old city of Bhaktapur and got the chance to see the Gai Jatra festival. Everyone dresses up and its a pretty great atmosphere. It was a hive of dancing and stick clapping. The old city is quite amazing with lots of old temples and architecture. It’s pretty impressive. Overtime I went down to the old city I felt a sense of ancient history and awe at the buildings around me.

Bhakatapur festival #temple #nepal #rammedro #partytime

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I also witnessed the birth of a baby calf on the farm. Just as we were leaving to go back one evening one of the mothers came shouting saying the gai (cow) was having a baby. We stayed and watched and it was incredible to see so close. We now have baby wally to add to the family. Just a typical day in the life of a volunteer.

Rohan and ‘wally’; the new addition to the fam #nepal #ivhq2014 #neckhug #baby #cow

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Time is flying! I have really settled into the nepali way of life and home now. The more comfortable im getting in my placement the more the days seem to be passing by quicker. I recently went to chitwan on safari where I met with the other volunteers from orientation, which was a great chance to catch up and see how everyones placements were going. The resort was really nice and we got to shower on top of an elephant! Then went on a canoe down the flooded river and an elephant safari. The weather held out for us and we only had one delay from a landslide on the way so pretty successful. More to come on my chitin safari adventure experience in another blog post!

Pdidi grass cutting #nepal #travels #farmlife #instavillagemission #vscocam

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We threw a birthday party for all the kids as it was two of their birthdays. Myself and the other volunteers bought mangos, rice pudding, a cake and new school bags for all 20 kids which was great! We danced alot and at one point got taken to a random party in the village as they were celebrating a festival as well. I had no idea what we were doing at a villagers house to begin with. Then music came on and everyone started dancing,  it was me and two other volunteers who were the only foreign people and the rest were nepali villagers. No one really spoke good english but everyone was so excited to have us there. They laughed at my questionable dance moves which I don’t blame them for because they were terrible! They offered us some delicious foods and then we went back to carry on partying with the kids and other volunteers. It was so fun and random to party with the locals and a truly unique moment. Life in the village was pretty sweet and loved being with the kids.

Jdidi Roti machine #nepal #ivhq2014 #food #vscocam

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The Nepali fam #nepal #homefromhome #ivhq2014 #vscocam

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The kids love mangos just a little bit #nepal #ivhq2014 #smile #vscocam

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pre-roti rolling with pdidi #nepal #food #culture #vscocam

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One man and his goats #IVHQ #nepal #goatherder #instagood

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I also had the cool opportunity of experiencing the womens festival a day where women dress up, dance and fast for the whole day to pray for a good husband. In support of the females in the house I also fasted. It was a long day. The girls all looked grown up in thier best outfits and saris and we went to the temple to dance/me take photos. At one point jamona and bdidi pulled me in to dance. I felt like I was gonna be eaten alive by the women ‘praying for good husbands’ at the sight of a giant white man.

the girls getting ready for the womens #festival with #henna #nepal #ivhq2014

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today was all about the ladies #womens #festival #nepal #culture #dancing #demsaris

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We got the paints out one of days which was great to see kids getting creative. The younger boys ishan, rahul and ashok decided to put paint all over their hands and then ran through the home to the bathroom. They dropped dollops of paint everywhere and tried to wash in the bathroom, which just resulted in blue stains and streaks. It was funny to watch until ashok filled a bucket of water to throw at the paint and got half of it over me. We all laughed as we cleaned up the blue mess. The whole time ishan telling me not to tell anyone.

no tell saroza, no riya, no rupak #nepal #ivhq #oops #blue #instavillagemission

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we unleashed arts & crafts today #nepal #ivhq2014 #instavillagemission #topstudent #moneyshot

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Nepal is pretty awesome. Made even sweeter by my little bro rahul who pinky promised me with both hands everyday. Then kissed them both and says “friends forever uncle, yes”.

before the painting got out of control #nepal #ivhq #painting #art

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There were so many incredible moments during my stay with the Thapa family from aama (the grandmother/mother) cooking us delicious rice dishes every morning and evening but not being able to speak any english; which was interesting when she would keep piling more rice on our plates even if we were full up. I impressed everyone by learning the days of the week and numbers in nepali along with a few other nepali words and phrases which got me bonus points with the house mothers and aama. Going with Ashis one of the older boys every morning to sell the milk. Helping them all with their homework everyday and walking them to the bus stop for school; sometimes we’d get on the ‘smiley bus’ with them if were headed into town. Getting to know the house mothers, who on the most part don’t get as much attention as everyone else, so it was really great getting to know Jamuna, Maiya and Parabati; even if we had to act out most of our conversations due to language barriers – this made it all the more worthwhile!

Hajur baii #nepal #ivhq2014 #aseko #instavillagemission #laugh

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Bumpy bus ride – nepali style #bus #nepal #travelling #asia #vscocam

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The end of my trip was bitter sweet. I was super glad to get home and eat some home cooking but this was outweighed and overshadowed by the fact that I was leaving my new family behind. Half of me was now entwined with this small nepali village. I never expected to fall in love with an entire village and the kids. The kids I had been with everyday for 2 whole months, who I walked to the bus stop and stayed up with to help with their homework. The kids I had bonded with, I had to say goodbye too. I’d never felt such a heavy pull on my heart as I did the day I had to leave and get in the taxi to the airport. I was leaving behind new friends, a home and a new family.

As soon as I landed back in England I was happy but sad that it had come to an end. I lasted four months being back before I booked another flight back there. I’m heading back to my nepali family and I couldn’t be happier!

this view though #nepal #travelling #instavillagemission #incredible #colourspopping #mountains

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big and small #nepal #ivhq #bestbuds #instavillagemission #hands

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If you’d like to keep up with my adventures and get social;

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I’m now @gunns_travels on instagram!

I’m now @gunns_travels on instagram!

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If your a fan of photography and also a ‘wanderluster’ then check out my new instagram account to satisfy the whimsical dreamer inside of you. You can expect an array of snaps from colourful cultures and faraway places! I’m a passionate explorer and love to travel capturing every moment of my journeys. Documenting it along the way is a great way to connect and share those experiences with others. It also lets me keep a photographic journal that I can share. I also love to look at other instatravellers accounts as it gives me inspiration for my next trips and helpful insights into planning – as well as indulge my visual appetite with beautiful images from all over the world. If your a #travelgrammer then send me your link, i’d love to have a look at your captures!

You can expect to see images like these…

Start travelling the world with me!

What do you travel for? | I travel for…

What do you travel for? | I travel for…

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I travel for many reasons and one of them is to create long lasting bonds with people or places I come into contact with. Every place I’ve visited I have been helped, looked after and taught about the kinds of things text books could never compete with. Theres nothing quite like the feeling of interacting with someone who is from a completely different walk of life to you, its refreshing and you can learn a lot. If your finding yourself doing the same repetitive routines and getting frustrated with the constant monotonous goings on you go through each day – then change it. No one else can do it for you, work hard, save up and just go somewhere different – I don’t mean the kind of ‘relaxing 5 star tanning retreat in the Algarve’ (unless this is what does it for you) I mean the kind of place you’d never have considered before. Be sensible about it. Be free. Be happy.

‘The biggest adventure is outside of your comfort zone.’

The biggest leap out of my ‘comfort box’ I ever took was signing up to help in Nepal for over 2 months. To go live with a nepali family in a village on the side of a mountain. To embrace a culture on the polar opposite spectrum to my own. To open myself to a completely different way of living. To learn so much more than any study had ever taught by people I couldn’t verbally communicate with.

As my bro Rahul would say “pinky promise you’ll be happy uncle ; make that promise to yourself – don’t settle for anything less.

 

Nikon D7000 | Camera Review

Nikon D7000 | Camera Review

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Over the last 6 years or so photography has become, like many, a strong passion of mine. I’m obsessed with taking, editing and uploading photographs and have 1000’s of photos stored away. I started out with a Nikon D40 camera which was a great introduction into the digital SLR world. I took photography at A-level and couldn’t wait to test and explore all the things I had learnt out with my D40. Then came my trip to Kenya and further ignited the spark for taking photos whilst on safari. My 365 project further encouraged that growth. Mostly self-taught through endless hours of re-taking and fiddling with different settings, I began to outgrow my camera and so after a lot of hours of overtime and a strict savings scheme; I began the search for my current piece of equipment: The Nikon D7000.

Nikon-D7000-Digital-SLR-Camera-32-2

nikond7000-rearback-2

It’s my baby. I worked hard, saved and it paid off. I am so happy with my investment in this camera! I paid around £660 ($1000) on amazon, although shop around for better discounts and prices. If your thinking of upgrading or becoming more serious about photography I would consider this an option. If your looking to take candid snaps on holiday or with friends at events then I’d just go with one of the more basic DSLR’s (D40 or even the nikon coolpix range seem to be getting fairly good reviews at reasonable prices) that are more than capable of delivering the results you desire. For the serious ‘artists’ or up-coming professionals, investing in good equipment can only increase the successfulness of taking awesome photos. I am in no way an expert at all in this field, anything I recommend or review is just my personal opinion based on the equipment I have used or researched. I hope to continue to learn new things and test out new products!

The reoccurring frustration I had with my old D40 was it’s capability in poor or dark lit scenarios. The ISO capability just wasn’t working out for the kinds of photos I was wanting to take. The D7000 has a maximum ISO of 6400 as well as H 2.0.

This gives it a way better performance in low lighting with reduced noise quality.

It’s much better at getting the night-time shots or inside snaps, like some of my own photos below.

Saber-Tooth

ISO 200 f/1.8 1/100

Rainbow Fish

ISO 320 f/1.8 f/320

South Bank At Night

ISO 640 f/11 25.0

It’s ability to adapt and perform well under low light conditions without loss of quality to the photo, has been one of the main benefits of upgrading. I’m still pushing the ISO to it’s maximum setting to get the best out of it as possible. Another highlight has been the 39 central point field focusing system; adaptable in combinations of 9,21 or a 39 point ring. This allows for fast tracking focus for moving objects; so great when your trying to get a shot of something speedy in a one time take. The AF in-built motor system is great as well, especially when I team it with my 50mm f/1.8 lens, helping to get the maximum aperture shot in focus. Overall i’m more than happy with this upgrade and it’s perfect for the kind of creative/semi-professional work I want to create, I still have a lot more exploring to do with the camera but couldn’t rate it more!

I’d give the Nikon D7000, 4.5/5 (It’s my most used piece of equipment, I love it!)

Capturing 365 days a year | Photography

Capturing 365 days a year | Photography

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Whilst art & design are two of my interests I also use photography as a creative outlet. In 2012 I took the ‘365 challenge‘ dedicating everyday for a whole year to taking a picture. It was a great way to improve my skills with a camera and at the same has given me a wide variety of photographs to use as my portfolio. If you enjoy photos as much as I do go over and check it out, I had a lot of fun doing it and would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of taking up photography. Drop me a link to your own 365 if you have done one as well!

119/365

175/365

139/365

 

So this year I have taken it upon myself to undergo another 365 project because I loved the last one so much, however I’m giving myself a bit more breathing space this year and not forcing myself to upload everyday. Still frequently, just not giving myself the panic of not having taken a photo before midnight everyday! I also wanted to make sure I produce concepts and pictures I’m happy with and proud to upload as there were some days in the first 365 where picking up a camera was the last thing I wanted to do. Any camera buffs interested in what I have, I use a Nikon D40 with standard 50mm f.4.5 lens as well as a zoom lens 55mm-200m f.4.5. I am currently using a Nikon D7000 which is my baby and I love teaming it with my 50mm f1.8 lens; the shallow dof and bokeh are b-e-a-utiful.

South Bank At Night

Snow Mountains

Tiger Light