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Crovie, Scotland

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The tiny village of Crovie was one of my favourite spots on my most recent visit to Scotland. This former fishing village has only one walkway that is too narrow for cars, so everyone has to park at one end of the town. But even given that fact, apparently Tesco will still deliver groceries there! I saw a couple of delivery people carting a load of food up to the last house in the village while I was there. It’s not recommended that visitors drive all the way down the steep slope to the village, so they did a good job to get there.

The quiet row of houses is a magical place.

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The village of Crovie on the coast of Aberdeenshire, Scotland at dusk.


Dunnottar Castle

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The sun rises behind Dunnottar Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

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Bow Fiddle Rock

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The sun rises behind Bow Fiddle Rock off the north Coast of Aberdeenshire, Scotland.

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The sun rises behind Bow Fiddle Rock off the north Coast of Aberdeenshire, Scotland.


The Banff Springs Hotel

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Being only an hour’s drive away from my childhood hometown of Calgary, I’ve had the chance to visit Banff numerous times. On my most recent visit to Calgary, I stopped there briefly with my family and I asked them to stop at a place I had never actually visited: a little corner on the edge of town called Surprise View. There, a great view of the Banff Springs Hotel greets anyone with time enough to stop.

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The Canadian Rockies tower over the Banff Springs Hotel in Banff, Alberta, Canada.


Petra’s Street of Facades

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Clouds were a rarity on my trip to Jordan. Most days, the sky was a swath of blue interrupted only by the blazing sun.

Today’s photo of the day shows one of the cloudier evenings I experienced there and still, it’s only wispy, thin clouds obstructing my view of the stars. They certainly didn’t prevent the moonlight from reaching the Street of Facades in Petra, a group of ancient tombs carved into the rocky hillside.

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Stars shine through thin clouds over the moonlit Street of Facades at Petra, Jordan.


Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Mosque

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Before dawn at Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Mosque in the Kadirga neighbourhood of the Fatih district of Istanbul, Turkey.

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Before dawn at Sokollu Mehmet Pasha Mosque in the Kadirga neighbourhood of the Fatih district of Istanbul, Turkey.


Istanbul Sunrise

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I woke early one morning in Istanbul to check out the view from one of the city’s many terraces and I couldn’t have been greeted by a better sunrise. This particular panorama frames the sun with the Hagia Sophia on the left and the Blue Mosque on the right.

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The sun rises over the Sultanahmet district of Istanbul, Turkey with Hagia Sophia on the left and the Blue Mosque on the right.


The Basilica Cistern

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Today’s image comes from one of the most memorable and enchanting places I know, the Basilica Cistern beneath the streets of Istanbul. This giant underground space formerly used to provide water to some of the palaces in the city.

Now, raised walkways allow visitors to walk amongst the 336 columns while keeping their feet dry in the mostly-drained cistern. Water dripping from the ceiling and quiet, haunting classical music help to set the mood in the dark forest of giant columns.

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The columns of the Basilica Cistern in Istanbul, Turkey.


Sunrise from Jabal Umm ad Dami

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One of the highlights of my five-day stay in the desert of Wadi Rum was a morning ascent of Jabal Umm ad Dami, Jordan’s highest mountain. In pre-dawn darkness, my guide and I clambered over the rocky terrain to reach a ridge partway up the mountain where we stopped for some breakfast and waited for the sunrise. We were treated to the scene in today’s photo of the day.

My guide, Sallah, had a potato we had baked the night before in the embers of the fire and was going to heat it up for me, but I had already had enough food to keep me fuelled, so he left it on the rocks where we could pick it up on the way back down. After reaching the summit, admiring the views and starting back down, Sallah found some ibex tracks and was trying to see which way it went as we approached our breakfast spot. Much to his confusion, when we arrived, the potato was gone. There were no ibex tracks leading directly to the spot, but there no other markings and he couldn’t think of any other animal that could have taken it, so he concluded that an ibex stole our potato!

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A panoramic view of the sunrise from a ridge on Jabal Umm ad Dami, Jordan's highest mountain.


Petra by Moonlight

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I recently returned home from a trip to Jordan where I was dazzled by the region’s history and culture. Now that’s I’ve settled in after a busy week, I can finally share an image from my travels.

This is the Treasury of Petra by Moonlight. You might recognise this impressive structure from the third Indiana Jones movie. Disappointingly, it doesn’t actually house the holy grail, but the exterior is much more impressive in person than the movie can convey. A mile-long cobbled canyon (the Siq) ends in a narrow gap that then opens out into this dramatic view of one of the seven new wonders of the world.

This massive project is one of many carved structures dotting the area, but it’s one of the biggest, one of the most ornate, and thanks to that grand entrance, it’s one of the most impressive. I had been returning late from exploring the other tombs in the area and the moon had just started to light up the Treasury as I walked past. I was able to wait a little while until it was fully in the moonlight to capture the Treasury lit up with the stars in the sky. It was a joy to be there almost alone to see it in the dark.

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The Treasury of Petra lit up at night by moonlight in Jordan.


Blue Mosque, Yellow Light

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Yesterday, I arrived home from a week in Istanbul, Turkey. This was my second trip to this magical city and I was happy to have more than a couple days to see some of its history and culture.

I’m currently enjoying the comforts of home, but only for a few days. I soon head out to Jordan for two weeks where more spectacular sights await. After that, I should have plenty of photo processing to keep me busy.

In this photo, evening sun breaks through the clouds over the Blue Mosque, one of the city’s architectural wonders.

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Evening sun breaks through the clouds over the Blue Mosque, one of the city's architectural wonders.


Glen Affric

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Glen Affric is sometimes described as the most beautiful glen in Scotland. Since I haven’t seen them all, I can’t officially comment, but if there are glens that surpass this place in beauty, I want to see them.

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Glen Affric in the highlands of Scotland.


Dusk at Eilean Donan Castle

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I’ve posted a few photos of Eilean Donan Castle here so I won’t bore you with my waxing poetically about the beauty of the place. Here’s a panoramic image that should speak for itself.

Click here for more of my photos of Scotland.

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A panoramic image of dusk at Eilean Donan Castle in Scotland.


Fingal’s Cave

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The jewel of the the uninhabited island of Staffa is Fingal’s Cave, a giant sea cave formed entirely from hexagonal basalt columns. The small island is west of the Isle of Mull and attracts visitors mainly for this natural wonder.

Tempestuous waters jostled our boat while we attempted to moor, but expert guidance from our boat’s crew allowed all of us to safely hop onto the jetty so that we could make the short walk to the cave. The basalt columns formed by ancient volcanic eruptions serve as the pathway to the cave and you almost feel like you’re walking on a giant batch of french fries.

Once we arrived at the main attraction, the high tides pushed waves into the cave where they thunderously crashed against the walls. That awesome roar from the waves was quite a show and easily made up for the choppy seas we faced getting on and off the boat.

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Blackrock Cottage Panorama

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Scotland’s dramatic vistas attract landscape photographers in swarms. The dependability of certain spots is clear when you scout out locations on Google Maps: you can often find photographers with cameras set up on tripods pointed at prime locations on the street view.

The Blackrock Cottage, just east of the entrance to Glencoe, is another one of those iconic views that every photographer has to grab if they’re anywhere nearby. On a trip into the highlands, you pass within a mile or two of this picturesque home, so of course, on the way up I had to stop and try my luck.

I tried to put my own spin on the oft-photographed view by making it into a panorama and capturing a little more of the stark surrounding countryside and not just the cottage with the imposing peak of Buchaille Etive Mor in the background.

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A panoramic view of the Blackrock Cottage with Buchaille Etive Mor in the background, near Glencoe, Scotland.


Lunga Island Puffin Call

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Some of the tiny, uninhabited islands off the western coast of Scotland make ideal fare for a boat excursion thanks to their wild, isolated landscapes and some excellent wildlife opportunities. The Treshnish Isles, a group of small islands west of the Isle of Mull offer the opportunity to get up close and personal with one of the cutest of all birds, the Atlantic Puffin.

These hilarious waddlers stumble along the edges of the island’s cliffs and trip over themselves to get into the small holes they call nests. With how ungainly they are on land, you’d swear they were related to penguins. And while penguins show their grace in the water, the puffins get to be quick and nimble in the air. Darting from cliffs to sea and back, they move in blurs. It’s only when they get back to the cliffs that they start flopping around in an effort to get one foot in front of the other.

While you can’t exactly cuddle with them (and believe me, you’ll want to), they’re surprisingly tolerant of human presence on their island. Us big mammals have the habit of scaring away some of the puffins’ predators, so they don’t mind if we’re getting a few feet away from them with our cameras whirring away like paparazzi on the red carpet. The one in the image below was calling out to one of his puffin compatriots, perhaps wondering who they guy with the big lens in his face was.

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An Atlantic Puffin on Lunga Island


Ardnamurchan Point Lighthouse

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Recent adventures to Scotland took me to the Ardnamurchan peninsula which features the most Westerly point in mainland Great Britain. Narrow, winding roads rise and fall over the stark, wavy landscape to reach Ardnamurchan point which features a picturesque lighthouse as seen below.

This shot required manoeuvring over a rough terrain full of tiny creeks, slippery stones, and tidal inlets as well as around sheep that looked unhappy to have me in their presence, but those rocks in the foreground along with the long exposure of the turbulent water gave this photo more texture and depth than I might have gotten from a more accessible location.

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Over Eilean Donan Castle

Photo of the Day

I’ve recently returned from another great week in Scotland. They all seem to be great, but this one even had the weather contributing to the quality of life. Sunny skies have browned my arms while hiking through gorgeous glens, trekking up and down hills overlooking lochs and castle, and spotting just about every bit of wildlife that the UK seems to have on offer.

One of those lochs and castles visited was the magical Eilean Donan on Loch Duich. It’s one of my favourite places in the world and I keep hoping I get to be in its neighbourhood every time I go up to Scotland.

For today’s photo of the day, I embarked on a little trek that quickly got a lot longer than anticipated when I was struggling to get the view I wanted. Driving up the tiny country road that provides views above the castle wasn’t quite good enough for me, but I couldn’t find an accessible path up to the hills. A couple miles of driving, a hefty climb, and then a couple of miles traversing steep slopes back to almost where I had started and I wound up in the spot I wanted just as the sun was descending.

The result is below showing the sun touching the mountains in the west while the colours sweep across the panorama of the lochs and castle below.

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Meteora Valley

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My gallery of photos of Meteora, Greece is now online and in celebration of that fact, today’s photo of the day shows the Roussanou Monastery perched on a cliff overlooking the valley in Meteora.

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Millstone at Longshaw Estates

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Autumn colours add magic to the forests surrounding Longshaw Estates in the Peak District and the abandoned millstones hiding beneath the trees.

More of my photos of the Peak District and the English midlands are available here.

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An abandoned millstone in the forest near Padley Gorge in Longshaw Estate, Derbyshire.


Vintage Car in Cuba

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Here’s another of Cuba’s famous vintage cars. I couldn’t resist these classic machines especially not when they were backlit by Trinidad’s warm sunset glow.

A full Cuba gallery will be coming soon.

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South Stack Lighthouse at Dusk

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Here’s another shot from last Easter Weekend. This is the South Stack Lighthouse on the Western Coast of the Isle of Anglesey in North Wales.

Giant cliffs loom over the rocky peninsula where this beacon shines out into the water and when the light spins around, it casts an eerie glow back onto the land. My camera didn’t pick up the light returning back to the land and though I probably could have done a longer exposure to show the spotlight’s streak upon the cliffs, I thought it would have started looking pretty artificial, so I went for this classic view of the lighthouse at dusk instead.

Please visit my Wales image gallery to see more photos of North Wales.

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The South Stack Lighthouse at dusk on the island of Anglesey in North Wales, UK.


Llynnau Mymbyr to Snowdon

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Last weekend, good weather and an even better hotel deal prompted a last-minute trip to North Wales. Among the many gorgeous spots visited was Llynnau Mymbyr, a pair of lakes nestled in the mountains of Snowdonia.

This photo takes in the view westward across one of the lakes to Snowden, the highest peak in Wales still covered in its winter snow.

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Snowdonia's peaks, including Snowden, Wales' highest peak, viewed from the Llynnau Mymbyr lakes in North Wales, UK.


Vinales, Cuba

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The energy of the Cuba’s capital, Havana, is relentless. Overwhelming sound and life inhabit every street. If you want to escape and take a little rest from it all, there’s probably no better contrast to Havana’s high pace than the tranquil Vinales Valley in Pinar del Rio province where giant limestone mogotes tower over placid farms and a small town that serves as a base to explore the region’s natural wonders.

This photo is the classic view of the Mogotes of the Cordillera de Guaniguanico mountain range at sunset. This viewpoint at the Hotel Los Jazmines is a popular spot for good reason – it’s the perfect place to take in one of Cuba’s most iconic landscapes.

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The Vinales Valley at sunset looking across to the Mogotes of the Cordillera de Guaniguanico mountain range in Cuba.