Between the sand dunes of the south and the dry savannah of the north, a vast and varied landscape meet you head-on as we travelled through Namibia in our African overland truck. Near Spitzkoppe, we were surrounded by a dry, dusty and rocky environment. Hot during the day, and chilly at night, but away from the city lights, this area provided some of the clearest dark skies in the world and, with it, a wonderful opportunity to take photos of the night sky. And, indeed, the views were breath-taking, and I’ve captured some of these moments in my photos on my website.
Later that night, although we had brought our tents, it seemed a good idea at the time that we would just sleep under the stars, with nothing but a sleeping bag between us and the heavens. Having bedded down for the night, I lay there on a rocky outcrop exposed to the elements, and reflected on the doings of the day. As I looked up at the stars, the immensity of the Milky Way and its galactic core bearing down on me, I marvelled at the grandeur of the universe. With my trusty camera next to me, I snapped this view; it was the last thing I saw before I fell asleep. It was a night to remember.
A great crime committed against individuals and society is to be told what to think and not how to think, and where the tools of critical thinking allowing us to reason and make rational sense of the world are rejected. In particular, there are a multitude of institutions and people who follow and apply dogma, who discourage thinking and who discourage enquiry. This video by TheraminTrees describes how he was treated and how he managed to break free.
The Himba, a semi-nomadic people, are located in northern Namibia and in southern Angola. Last year, I spent a couple or so days in the most northernmost area of Namibia mingling with the Himba in their small village, and this young girl was out-and-about in the village.
An old man at the Karen New Year festivities being celebrated 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.
For the Karen New Year festivities being celebrated in a rural village, I stayed at a house which was also being used by the household to harvest and process natural rubber. The girl who lived here was hanging sheets of natural rubber to dry. This was a few miles from Hpa An, Myanmar (Burma). Photo taken in December 2014.
I was in Palmyra 11 years ago. It was one of those ancient places in Syria that projected the influence and power of Rome. This is the Temple of Baal (or Bel). It no longer exists. The barbarity and inhumanity of the Islamic State, in its self-congratulatory frenzy of wiping out monuments and people not representing the glory of Islam, destroyed much of Palmyra last year.
In this karst-littered limestone region within Myanmar, I had already traversed a large cave-system and a water channel under a giant hill, and wandered out into this larger flatter landscape. A woman was working next to a field collecting her crop, and she had parked this bicycle nearby.
Walking along a pilgrimage path in the mountains around Kyaikto in Mon State, Myanmar, a path sprinkled with small shops selling trinkets, food and drinks, I came across this girl in one of the stalls. The background colour gave everything a slight pink hue. And she had a great smile!