Kids playing in river with a tyre

It had been a long day travelling by car from Yangon to Hpa An. At our destination, having unpacked, we explored the immediate vicinity of Hpa An and found a great place just as the sun was setting. Children were playing in the river, and an occasional boat would pass, but it was quiet and peaceful. A great end to the day.

Refuse worker in Myanmar

This lady was hard at work in a refuse dump out in the country, several miles from the nearest town. Some of the refuse had been set ablaze and, as I ventured further in, my throat and nose became the first casualties in the onslaught brought on by the thick acrid smoke. There were two benefits though; where there was an abundance of smoke, there was a scarcity of flies, and the rotting stink from the refuse was masked. You pick your poison.

The heat of the sun, coupled with the heat of the fires, did not help. The lady worked on, moving piles of refuse from one area to another, sorting out those that should be burnt, those that should be buried, and those that could be scavenged. This was a hell to me. But these people suffer and endure. She looked over to us, and smiled.

Red flower

The Cameron Highlands of Malaysia have a rich tropical highland fauna and flora, with tea and strawberries being amongst its more famous products. Here, in 2008, I stopped to peek at this red flower with my recently acquired macro lens. I have fond memories of this place and, one day, I may return.

Three cheetahs

It was dawn, and for a few seconds the sun came out and blanketed the area with golden light. At this moment, three cheetahs, keen to avoid crocodiles during a river crossing, made a dash across the river. Samburu National Reserve, Kenya. Photo taken in May 2017.


Young girl in Karen village

This young girl became curious and came over to us strangers at a site being prepared for the Karen New Year festivities in a rural village. The celebrations continued long into the night. This was a few miles from Hpa An, Myanmar (Burma). Photo taken in December 2014.

Boy on a train

The Yangon Circular Railway in Myanmar provides a wonderful opportunity to see people travelling across the city. Whilst standing on the platform at a train station,  I noticed this young boy looking out from the train that had just pulled in.

Rice field

A rice field several miles from Hpa An, Myanmar. We had already journeyed through a cave in this karst-rich landscape when we came across this field. It was great to be out in the open again!

Mazgouf in Baghdad

It was April 2011, just after dusk, and we made our way to a restaurant in central Baghdad along Abu Nawas Street by the River Tigris. This area is well known for serving Iraq’s favourite fish dish; the “mazgouf”.

The restaurant, although having a roof, is open to the elements and was filled with many customers; obviously a popular place.

Having selected our live carp (allegedly from the adjacent Tigris but more probably from a fish farm), the cook removed the fish from the tank and then stunned them with a stick, gutted them by cutting along the back, applied some seasoning, and then impaled them to be slow-grilled next to an open fire of burning fruit tree branches such as from lemon trees and orange trees. What we didn’t realise was that it takes about an hour or so to cook the fish, so we had a lot of time to chat!

Carp are bottom feeders and if they were from the Tigris around Baghdad then I’m not sure that I’d have too many fish dinners; there’s just been too much dumped in the river. Once I’d got past wondering where the fish came from, I did enjoy the meal.

But the mazgouf is an important dish to the Iraqis and the Iraqi diaspora, and it helps to unite them through social gatherings and reinforce their identity and uniqueness; something that’s very much needed in these trying times.

Looking at the Milky Way

We were journeying overland from the south of Namibia to the north, and had an overnight stay in a secluded rest-stop. The stars were out, and we wandered across a field looking up at the Milky Way.

Buddhist monk

During the Ananda Pagoda Festival at the Ananda Temple in Bagan, Myanmar, the region becomes extremely busy with pilgrims arriving from all over the country. This is one of many Buddhist monks at the temple. Photo taken in January 2014.