Up-coming travel plans

2014 promises to be yet another exciting year for travel, with trips planned to: the far North of Laos, Ethiopia, Cyprus (of course!), the UK, Shangri La in China, Koh Lanta and other areas in Thailand. Look out for a wide-range of photographic topics as well as some new wild-life and nature photography as the 500 mm lens should make it on a few of these trips!

UK - It's hard to beat when the sun is shining!

I don't go back to the UK all that often, so I was delighted to be on the receiving end of some wonderful weather during my recent trip. The main purpose of going was to visit family and friends but, of course, my camera was with me most of the time and I took the opportunity to capture some UK summer moments. Take a look at the gallery here.

Ethiopia - you were fabulous!

It was well worth the trouble of taking my 500 mm lens to Ethiopia - the wildlife in Bale Mountains was truly amazing and I was really fortunate to see the endangered, endemic Ethiopian wolf actually hunt and find a "snack" right in front of me as we drove up on to the Sanetti plain. I stayed at the amazing (and luxurious) Bale Mountain Lodge and felt very privileged to have such a knowledgeable guide in the from of James. Without him to accompany me I would have missed a lot of the action as many of the birds and animals were hard to spot unless you knew exactly what to look for. The first part of my trip though, was to the historical North - first Lalibela, then Gonda and finally Bahir Dar. Lalibela in particular will stay with me for a long time and thanks to the pictures... for ever! Click Ethiopia for the gallery.

Northern Laos

In the first quarter of 2014, I visited Northern Laos with my travel buddy, Robin. The Gibbon Experience in Bokeo started our trip with quite a bang of adrenalin as we zip-lined over the jungle canopy in the middle of a massive area of National Park. Yes, the 16-35mm wide angle was extremely useful and most of the images from this part of the trip were taken with this fab lens.

Zip lining at the Gibbon Experience

The journey from Luang Namtha via Muang Khua and on by boat to Muang Ngoi saw us immersed in nature and local life that has probably remained unchanged for many years. In particular, the villages we visited on a couple of stops along the Nam Ou river were fascinating and a real insight into how the local people here have lived for hundreds of years.

The Plain of Jars was our ending point and yes, it was worth the visit. Sadly many of the jars have gone now, either through the extensive bombing that took place during the Indochina wars, or through theft and, also, by Laos people themselves whose substistence living conditions have meant that a number of pieces have been used in housing foundations or for milling.

Getty Images

Since the news below, Getty have now announced they will no longer be collaborating with Flickr in the same way. However, 7-olivesphotography is now invited to be part of the new "Getty Images Moment". Here's what the invitation says "You have been selected by our content team to be part of the first group of contributors who are being invited to work with our Moment mobile app, a fast and easy new way to contribute more of your imagery to Getty Images using your smartphone. Over the coming weeks and months we’ll continue to add more contributors to this process and eventually all contributors will be able to submit using Moment, but we’re kicking off with a small group (including you!) to help us get things started." Well... sounds quite exciting to me, and having been quite anti using mobile phones for images for some time, I have to confess that my iPhone 5S has converted me as the quality is just so much better than it used to be. I have quite a few photo apps on the iPhone too, so it's probably time to buckle down and get busier with using the tools at my disposal!

7-olivesphotography images invited to Getty Flickr Editorial Image bank.

Claire is thrilled to have received an invitation from Getty Images for some of her travel and photojournalism images to be included in their Flickr Editorial image bank. These images are now available as stock images through Getty. Flickr, one of the most popular photography social networking sites, has hundreds of thousands of images, so 7-olivesphotography is honoured to know that its images stand out enough for Getty talent spotters to extend the invitation to join their collection.