japan | the bamboo forest

kyoto-bamboo-forest kyotot-bamboo-forest-3 kyotot-bamboo-forest-5 kyotot-bamboo-forest-7 kyotot-bamboo-forest-6 kyotot-bamboo-forest-8 kyotot-bamboo-forest-9 kyotot-bamboo-forest-10 kyotot-bamboo-forest-11 kyotot-bamboo-forest-13 kyotot-bamboo-forest-12 kyotot-bamboo-forest-14 kyotot-bamboo-forest-15 kyotot-bamboo-forest-2

I loved the bamboo forest. It was about 40 minutes on a bus from where we were staying. I loved traveling on the bus. I saw school kids get on and off, an elderly lawn bowling group get on and off and a buddhist monk with rope shoes get on and off. Tim napped.

We got a little lost finding the bamboo forest but eventually a monk showed us the way! We were there early so the tourists hadn’t arrived. Just a few school groups (who seemed to be going on tours with taxi drivers).

Just so you know:

  • You can’t walk amongst the bamboo. I thought you would be able to but you can’t. I suppose if thousands of people were wondering through it would get rather damaged.
  • Growing bamboo has the most beautiful green tone. It is so calming. And it grows super tall.
  • Lotus flowers are pretty awesome.
  • The gardeners in these beautiful old gardeners have shoes that are made from some sort neoprene fabric and have individual toes.
  • Sometimes buddhist nuns take pictures with phone cameras (I kind of imagine she was taking a selfie).
  • Staring at a pond for a while can make you feel very zen (the garden is in a temple that is next to the bamboo forest).
  • The little town that the bamboo forest is in is pretty cute but you might want to get the bus back before all the tourists really arrive.

where i’m at


I just wanted to put down my thoughts of where I am with my photography. More for myself really but perhaps it will help you to understand what posts are coming up.

Moving from London to Trieste has lead to a change in many things but also in the way I view photography. For years I was stuck in the thinking that I had to find a way to make money from my photography. I had to justify spending money on equipment by finding a way to make a good return on invest. And this I think has really held me back. I was stuck concentrating on the types of photography that would make me an income. Looking at what others were doing and whether there was space for me in the market.

With a language barrier and no hints of contacts I figured it just wasn’t going to happen. Which has given a rise to a sort of freedom. If I don’t have to make money from my photography I don’t have to be limited by what will make me money. And here is the shift: I want to create “art”. What art is exactly is still something I an considering. I am not saying I won’t be taking some snapshots of my life (see those on Instagram). Don’t worry I am not going to get all pompous. And I certainly don’t see myself suddenly making something worthy of a museum. But I do want to create something that has an intentional message in it, that makes people pause and look a bit longer. I think Robert Frank said it best

When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice – Robert Frank

Okay I will stop being so abstract now!

read ’em and eat

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 preset

Read ’em

I love this poster. I really wish I had eaten more watermelon this summer. Something to work on for next year.

These little podcasts from Elizabeth Gilbert (of Eat, Pray, Love and a new book which I want to read) are interesting and inspiring. The latests one with Brene Brown (who is amazing) is a really great talk on creativity!

Why we shouldn’t feel embarrassed about bettering ourselves.

I love this advertising campaign from Kate Spade. Anna Kendrik is one of my favourites.


I made this vegan creamy red pepper pasta sauce with a few tweaks for dinner this week. I was too lazy to do anything besides throw the peppers and a whole garlic bulb in the oven. Once they were baked I threw the peppers in the blender with the garlic and some cashew nuts I had soaked for about 30 minutes. Added water, harissa spices (currently my favourite thing) and two table spoons of nutritional yeast (they really should have come up with a better name for that one).

It is a great Sunday evening dinner when you don’t feel like cooking. Roasting some vegetables and throwing in a blender is as easy as you can get for a cooked healthy meal.

My latest trick is to also roast a couple peppers at the beginning of the week for use in a variety of dishes during the week, an easy tomato soup, as a sandwich topping or addition to a veggie bowl.

upping my photography game … or at least trying


So in case I haven’t mentioned it somewhere, I started teaching a photography class. My motivations were primarily selfish. I wanted to get back to thinking about photography. And I have to say I am enjoying really diving into things I haven’t thought about before. More deeply exploring concepts and ideas is something I love doing and I love that I have an excuse and motivation to actually do it.

In my explorations I came across this quote by Henri Cartier-Bresson:

If a photograph is to communicate its subject in all its intensity, the relationship of forms must be rigorously established. Photography implies the recognition of a rhythm in the world of real things. What the eye does is to find and focus on the particular subject within the mass of reality; what the camera does is simply to register upon film the decision made by the eye. – Henri Cartier-Bresson

It highlights several things to me:

  • The purpose of taking a photograph is to tell a story of a subject and you need to do everything you can to make that story happen.
  • Don’t just ‘take a snap shot’, make a picture. Be conscious and intentional when taking a photograph.
  • Photographs are created.
  • Understanding of art principles is really useful in creating these more considered images. I am currently learning more about compositional elements that I am looking forward to playing around with and sharing with you.
  • The camera is a simply a tool. The best camera you have is the one you have on you!

I suppose what I am saying in a nutshell is that I want to become more conscious when I am behind the camera. What do you think? How conscious are you when you are behind a camera?

On a second note, I am thinking of sharing some of my learning. I kind of see it as giving myself a diploma in photography and why not share that. So I thought I would share some great things I come across, photographers that inspre me and some of my experimentation. Yes? No? Let me know

japan | kyoto i

kyoto-mycreative-4 kyoto-mycreative-7 kyoto-mycreative-9 kyoto-mycreative-10 kyoto-mycreative-13 kyoto-mycreative-16 kyoto-mycreative-15

Firstly, I would go back to Kyoto anytime. It is just one of those towns that have some personality. The kind of place which would be your instant best friend, know all the great spots to go in town and will keep all your secrets.

We stayed in the eastern bit of Kyoto right near the Gion area. On our first full day there we woke up early-ish and headed to what was local, which happened to be one of the biggest temples Chion-In Temple which is next to Maruyama Park.

When we arrived there weren’t many people around and I really enjoyed the experience of wandering around and seeing these holy places in calm being used as they were meant to. We seemed to follow these ladies on their own path through the complex (it takes up a lot of space) and I enjoyed seeing how people interacted with the space.

We then wandered into the park, tried some bamboo ash ice-cream and waited for these children sitting near us to be eaten by the crows. Luckily it didn’t happen. At least while we were there.

kyoto-day-1-4 kyoto-day-1-2 kyoto-day-1-3 kyoto-day-1-1

After the calm of the park and Buddhist temple we walked into the Shinto temple next door. The contrast is beautiful. From calm, natural colours, lots of raw wood we moved into this riot of colour, bells been rung, hands been clapped, bright orange paint, shops selling dreams and wishes at the front and tourists dressed in traditional Japanese attire. I love how these two polarities live together in Japan. This yin and yang of colour and nature, quiet and music, austerity and shopping. It is amazing to think that these two different practises live side by side within the Japanese culture. It is a nice metaphor that suggests we don’t have to fit into a tightly defined box, don’t you think?

11 years

Today Tim and I have been together for 11 years. Isn’t that a beautiful thing! I have to say I feel really lucky that I found my person so early in life. Things aren’t always perfect and we do argue (our arguments generally revolve around the same things and maybe one day they will be sorted out) but I’d probably still say it is good to great 99% of the time. This is what I have learned in 11 years:

  • The simple practise of just being nice to each other goes a long way in making a happy relationship. Say thank you, offer to make a cup of tea when it is normally ‘their job’, pick up their favourite thing from the store for no reason, write a note that shares how much you love them today, try not to do those things that irritate them. It is so easy to let out frustrations on your partner because you know they will still love you and yes that still happens sometimes but try not let it become a habit and when it does happen apologise and thank them for understanding your crazy days.
  • I came across this great quote while reading the other day: “An adventure is real when it involves the heart” (by Italo Svevo). Make your love an adventure! Make the effort to try new things together. Sometimes things can get a little routine and mundane. Try a new place for dinner or head somewhere new for holiday to keep things fresh.
  • Real life love is better than movie love so don’t bother hankering for the cheese. Tim isn’t the typical romantic but when I think about what he does for me and how he helps me to be my best self I realise that I wouldn’t trade that for all the surprise flowers or airport chase scenes in the world (because that would be rather weird anyway).
  • Gratitude! It changes everything.

That is all.

p.s. Love you, Love!