I’ve never liked ‘about me’ pages. I’ve always thought them a little narcissistic. But when it comes to choosing your photographer it might be good to know a bit about them. Instead of listing a load of likes and dislikes I thought I’d tell you a story…
I’m terrified of life passing me by and me sitting back missing it so I’m always keen on trying new things and to a certain extent when possible testing my own metal to see how I cope.
Last year I decided I’d like to take a bike trip. I love cycling and I love travel so I was on to a winner. The trip I wanted to do was to cycle from John O’Groats to Cape town, but I didn’t have enough time and in my more sensible moments I reminded myself it was my first trip. So instead I opted for cycling through Vietnam Cambodia and Laos.
After I was about two and a half weeks into my two month trip I’d made it to Laos and had been there for a few days.
Laos is a stunning country covered with forests, rivers and waterfalls. It’s also rather sparsely populated, about the size of England but with just a population size 2 million shy of London. The maps in Laos are less than adequate and the days cycling I’d planned for would be a giant 70 mile shortcut that would take me on what promised to be a good sized road through jungle and virgin forest. What transpired was far removed.
Nearly all the bridges I was to cross had been destroyed by the Indochina wars or were so dilapidated as to cause a health and safety officer delirium and palpitations. Most of the road was barely passable by a competent 4×4. It was a mud track for the most part with craters the size of boulders lining my path.
Going was tough and slow in the midday heat. It was just impossible to get any speed up over the mud, sand, drops and rocks.
After 7 hours I was getting to be in a bit of a bad way, I’d had very little water very little food and was going full pelt to try and reach somewhere where I could spend the night I was being stupid really I should have turned back as three hours before I’d passed through a small town. The trouble was this single road had instead become many tracks and I wasn’t at all confident I could reliably find my way back. I pushed on. At this point there wasn’t really anywhere to turn to there were no people about, no settlements nothing. With the sun threatening to abandon me for the night at any minute I felt very alone.
I really gave it a lot at that point my average speed increasing incrementally, more folly as although my bike is an expedition bike designed to take a real beating, if I’d damaged her then I would have been properly stuffed and the things she was going over with the weight of 4 panniers and me meant she was really being put through her paces.
Feeling properly dehydrated now I breasted a hill and people! there were people Illegal loggers it looked like, that had prepared to stay the night. Tarpaulin making temporary shelters. I got off my bike and didn’t collapse exactly, more crumpled and had to sit to steady myself. We started communicating using signs and drawing with a stick in the dirt, I was told I could stay the night, they looked concerned.
What promised to be a very interesting experience and a great story spending the night in the jungle with the loggers never came to pass.
At that moment another opportunity presented itself. Such wonderful providence that within 5 minutes of my arrival and not 15 meters away I saw quite miraculously and theatrically ( for the road was very steep ) the nose of a Ford Ranger come peaking over the brow Set (the name of the Swede behind the wheel) was the first European face I’d seen in 5 days and he was driving the only truck I’d seen out here, the first in 3 hours. My memory is hazy still about this whole episode. I remember him offering me a lift back and putting the bike in the truck, I remember waving and thanking the loggers who were all standing around looking very bemused, presumably I was the first white face they’d seen in some time we were quite a way into the jungle at this point, and I’d been with them less then 5 minutes before another white face tuns up and takes me away, I’d love to know what they thought. Anyway next I had a 2 litre bottle of water in my hands and then my memories gain clarity and we were going back the same route I’d come me giving directions throughout the many undocumented turn offs (they’re undocumented because the loggers make the roads. Roads made specifically for nefarious activities don’t make the maps it seems) 2 hours of the best night time off roading later and we’d made it to a semblance of civilisation, a bed food and the most welcome of beers.
It was definitely a scary day not fun at the time, but in retrospect one of the very best of my life.
That’s it, I don’t know if that will tell you much about me, it doesn’t say anything about my love of British humour, and stoicism, or the fact that I’m an Italophile, or about my predilection for house music, but it might have told you more than me just listing my favorite hobbies and books.
My views of wedding photography are quite simple. Everyone should have the best day, loads of fun. The photographer should capture that, should be behind the scenes and certainly not orchestrating soppy cliche photos.
Natural smiles are the real ones.