12 of my favourite travel photographs from 2014

A new year has begun, and I thought I’d share with you a few of my favourite travel photographs from 2014.

Twelve photos for twelve adventure-filled months.

To fill you with wanderlust and inspiration.

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Hoi An, Vietnam

Such a picturesque town, historic Hoi An never fails to woo me with its charm.

It is a travel photographer’s dream.

This is my favourite photo from my time there in January, it was taken from the busy bridge across the water, the scene looked so colourful, calm and peaceful.

I waited for the woman in the boat to row into that pleasing position.

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Bayon Face, Cambodia

This was my second visit to the temples of Angkor, they were a lot busier than the previous trip but the magic was still there.

We explored Angkor Thom, and Bayon at its heart, at sunrise one morning, while the crowds were snapping the sunrise at Angkor Wat, Angkor Thom was serene.

As the sun rose, it illuminated the enigmatic faces. Dawn is a great time for light at Bayon. The faces are vertical and the low light of early morning illuminates them nicely.

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2014-1977

Dawn Canoe, Kampot

We hired a wooden canoe from our accommodation in the countryside near Kampot, southern Cambodia, at sunrise and rowed the still backwaters in ethereal light, it was incredibly peaceful.

I shot straight into the sun for this photo (mind your eyes!), I just loved the softness of the light. The sun was high enough by this time for me to be able to crop the blown-out sun out of the photograph.

I could look at this photograph all day, bliss.

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Bagan, Myanmar

Nothing can prepare you for the vast quantity of temples studding the plain at Bagan, it is one of those truly astounding places.

This photograph was taken at sunset from Pyathada Paya, where we’d joined crowds of people to watch the sun go down on our last evening in Bagan.

I saw the farmer head across the foreground with his herd, the dust they created was backlit by the low sun. I managed a couple of quick shots before the moment vanished.

I love the timeless quality of the photograph.

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The Petronas Towers | Vagabond Baker

Petronas Towers, Malaysia

Like a moth to light, I’m drawn to the Petronas Towers at night. 

They are an extraordinary structure in daylight, but once darkness falls they transform into a spectacular sight.

I used a slow shutter speed (partly due to the darkness and also to make the fountains look dreamily soft) and rested the camera on the floor, tilting it up.

Luckily, the couple in the photograph – the focal point – stayed still long enough.

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Kuala Lumpur | Vagabond Baker

Masjid Negara, Kuala Lumpur

I took so many photos at the National Mosque, it is at the heart of Islam in Malaysia and a very photogenic building.

It dates from the sixties and is a light and airy space with wonderful geometric details.

I really like this photograph, the position of the two men sitting in quiet contemplation add a human element to an architectural scene.

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Tea Plantations | Cameron Highlands

A Carpet of Tea, Cameron Highlands

I was bewitched by the tea plantations up in the cool hills of the Cameron Highlands, Malaysia.

The tea carpets the hillsides: vibrant and green. For me this is like a fairytale land, tiny colourful workers villages nestle among the neat plantations.

I filled the frame with the undulating sea of tea bushes for this photograph for a dramatic image. The one basket lying on the bushes adds a focal point.

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Singapore

Marina Bay, Singapore

The mesmerizing ‘Wonder Full’ water, sound and light show at Marina Bay in Singapore is a surreal sight and makes for fun photos.

For this photograph I underexposed to get a realistically dark background and, sitting on the floor, rested the camera firmly on my knee. I used a 1/6 second shutter speed which was slow enough to add movement to the light show without totally blurring it.

Having image stabilisation helps with this kind of photography, and using the 2″ timer rather than firing the shutter normally can help achieve steady images in dark situations like this (I don’t travel with a tripod).

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Borobudur

Borobudur, Java

Borobudur is one huge temple, its mammoth size is difficult to express in a photograph.
I waited for this group of tourists to get into the centre of the frame to add a sense of scale to the image, I liked their matching orange sarongs and their umbrellas.

I’ve dreamed of seeing Borobudur with my own eyes for a very long time, it was incredible to finally experience it in all its enigmatic splendour.

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Kew Gardens in Autumn

Majestic Oak, London

I love trees, they calm me and I find their grandeur to be exceedingly beautiful.

I especially love old, gnarly trees like this one: so individual, so dignified and regal.

I could imagine it rising up, like an Ent, coming to life.

They clean our air, support so many animals and insects; every tree is valuable and beautiful.

This glorious oak tree was photographed in Kew Gardens, London on a bright, early November day. The low winter sun lit the tree, dappling through the branches. I filled the frame with the tree, centring it to make the image more dramatic.

The photograph makes me want to wander into the scene, to sit under that oak with a good book.

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Ghent, Belgium

The City Pavilion, Ghent

This modern structure in the centre of historic Ghent, Belgium, is a striking piece of architecture.

It serves as a public space for markets, performances and concerts.

I took this photograph from inside the pavilion to benefit from the dramatic roof crowning the top half of the frame, drawing the eye through the shot to the old jail building at the far end.

I waited for the man pushing the bicycle to be perfectly central before pressing the shutter.

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Helsinki Cathedral, Finland

On my first afternoon in Helsinki I headed out with my camera just as the sun was setting, the days are short here in December.

I could see the top of the white cathedral palely glowing in the afternoon light, by the time I reached Senate Square the cathedral looked on fire, the light had turned a rich gold.

It was an extraordinary sight, the sun had dipped below the buildings in front of the square shading the lower part of the cathedral, the golden wash seemed to rise up the building like flames.

I love the moody, cloudy grey sky as the backdrop.

(Sorry, no ‘Read more’ for this, I haven’t blogged Helsinki yet!)

Which photograph is your favourite? 

By Rachel A Davis

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2 Responses

  1. Ayla says:

    What a fantastic 2014 you had! I am officially in love with the photo from Myanmar. It’s so stunning it actually gave me goosebumps!
    Ayla recently posted…A Day Trip to OxfordMy Profile

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