A slow shutter speed capture of a river we were building a bridge over around the half way point of the trail to Refugio Frey. Snow still caps the logs in the river from the recent flurry. I love the effect of the water eddying in the foreground. A calming scene indeed.
After the white out had passed and we had gotten some well earnt rest under our belts the next morning treated us to the true majesty that surrounds Refugio Frey. Sharp rock spires jutting up all around the basin, clear blue skies and the bright alpine sun beaming down on the most dramatic of views.
Having read Cormac McCarthhy's 'No Country For Old Men' and thoroughly enjoyed it I was eager to give The Road a read. This book is set in a post apocalyptic world. The planet is burned and barren and those who are left behind have to deal with the misery of surviving a dog eat dog existence. The two main characters, man and boy, trudge on through the cold, black winter. They scavenge what they can and try to stay hidden from those who wish to cause them harm. A dark and moving read and a real look at the struggle and persistence of humanity and the emotions that are faced by all.
Our arrival at Refugio Frey was met with some ferocious winds and blinding white out conditions. Battling through knee deep snow while head on with the bitterly cold winds was a struggle and a very scary experience indeed. Eventually throwing ourselves into the out house to escape the savagery of the freezing temperatures we were relieved to be in the safe sanctuary of the Refugio.
Whilst reading Al's first book about the first half of his epic round the world bicycle ride 'Moods of Future Joys' recently I came across one particular passage that really spoke to me and managed to highlight and reiterate thoughts and feelings that I have myself on the the ease of western living and the need for a real challenge to feel like you have really pushed yourself to your limits and felt truly alive. Living rather than just existing.
"I began because England was too easy. I wanted something that I did not know I was capable of. I would never know unless I tried. I wanted unpredictability. I wanted to demand more of myself than I could demand of others. I wanted open space. I wanted anxiety and insecurity, storm and strife, even if I did not always have the courage to cope with them. I wanted to strive, to seek and to see whether or not I could yield. I wanted to overload my senses. I felt that I would only know my strength if I took the strain, that I needed to taste blood to know if I was hurt, needed to be thrashed by a gale to accept it was windy, needed to taste lung to believe I had pushed myself hard. I needed to confirm that I was alive".
I can't stress how amazing this book is. Written by Alistair Humphreys, it is a mind blowing account of the first leg of his around the world bicycle ride which he started in 2001. It took him for 4 years and 3 months to cycle 46,000 miles, spending only £7,000 of hoarded student loans. The observations and detail of what Al encountered along the wayare shared with the reader in a deeply honest way with no emotions held back. The sheer grit and determination to overcome the physical and mental battles he faces on his epic journey should be an inspiration to all. Simply a must read book!
It was early morning on the trail to Refugio Frey and upon heading down to the trail to start the phase of maintenance work we chanced upon these stunning ice crystal formations. They were everywhere and sticking out of the muddied trail as though they were living beings.
The dirtied number plate of one of our trusty Land Rovers. I find the varying designs of number plates from different countries interesting. Think about if you were just dropped at a random location somewhere in the World, checking out a cars number plate would probably be the first thing you'd do to to work out where the hell you were. A little tip for you there. I'm full of them.
A selection of photos taken on a recent ski trip to Val d'Isère in the French Alps.
The base of the black run 'Face', illuminated by floodlights from Val d'Isère. I got this shot while walking back across the nursery slopes to my brothers apartment. He told me they only light the piste up like this once a week, so I was lucky to snap this.
The night time light show. The beams in the photo appear as though they are huge rims of light on the wooded part of the piste when in actual fact it was made up of lots of spot lights darting around everywhere. I love the result, a bit of camera trickery at play and a complete accident on my part.
The end of the piste. Carry on off piste at your own risk! One day I endeavor to do just that.
A hazy sunset over the French Alps. This was the last shot I took at the very top of Rocher de Bellevarde after riding the Funival train back up through the mountain for my last run of the day, and the last run of my stint in Val d'Isère. There were quite a few people taking a moment out from throwing themselves down a piste at speed to appreciate this amazing vista. Sometimes you've just got to stop, breathe and take it in. Beautiful.
Argentinian Gaucho, Juan Carlos, at La Lipela preparing the fire for a traditional Asado barbecue. An Asado is a lengthy, sociable event and many ingredients areprepared and cooked over the open fire for all to enjoy. Ingredients include, meat, sausages, sweetbread, kidneys, small intestines, blood sausages, etc. An Asado is complete when there is abundant bread, a good salad, chimichurri and a good Argentinian vino tinto. Delicious!
A view out over Patagonian steppe from the base of Fragua Roca. The shot was taken while conducting a sweep of the base of this Condorera for Condor feathers, pellets and anything else of significance for local Argentinian scientists.
Here's a rundown of LPs that are doing it for me right now. All offerings from American artists. The US alternative scene just seems to agree with my ear drums more!
Merriweather Post Pavilion by Animal Collective. As experimental and ethereal as per usual, Animal Collective have produced an awesome album here. Full of dreamy reverbed vocals and awash with mad electronic synth sounds. A delight from start to finish!
Rain Machine by Rain Machine. Rain Machine is the solo incarnation of Kyp Malone, of TV On The Radio Fame. Not shying too far from the TVOTR sound, but a treat all the same. An album of varying styles and brilliant flow.
Embryonic by The Flaming Lips. I've been a long time fan of The Flaming Lips and I never cease to be amazed at their output. Another blinding album from Wayne Coyne and Co. Although not as immediate as past releases the zany electronic pulses, vocal effects, and solid beats on this release are well worth spending time over.
Bitte Orca by Dirty projectors. This is the first LP by Dirty Projecters that I have ever listened to and I doubt it'll be the last. Very hard to pigeonhole into any genre and a challenge to describe. It flits from eccentric guitar lines to folky melodies in the bat of an eyelid and is laden with fitting male and female vocals that compliment one another well. A beautiful album that will remain close to the CD player for a while to come. (Yes, I still buy CD albums....Old School).
Julian Plenti is... Skyscraper by Julian Plenti. Julian Plenti (AKA Paul Banks of Interpol) has put out a selection of works that he has been writing an playing for well over 10 years, before his days fronting Interpol. While the vocal delivery is that instantly recognisable Paul Banks baritone, the instumentation on the other hand is not. Another varied release with nice changes of pace and mood. A must for any die hard Interpol fan, but fear not, if you don't even dig Interpol, give this try. You'll be in for a treat.
I just finished reading this great title. Vagabonding by Rolf Potts. For those with an interest in taking time out to travel for a longer period of time and just going with the flow, wandering, taking your time. Packed full of wisdom and advice for would-be vagabonds. Give it a whirl.
If one were ever looking for enlightenment and wisdom in this crazy world we live in they need look no further than 'The School Of Life'. Based in London, not far from Russell Square, the school offers small classes on the big issues in life, conversation meals for sociable strangers and even holidays, amoungst other services. Something different I'm sure you'll agree. I intend to take a class at some point and see what it's all about. To find out more hit their website.
OK, I'm going to kick off my blogging debut with a series of photos that I took while on a volunteer expedition in Patagonia, Argentina, between September and December '09. These are the best of the best. I was very lucky to have spent such a good stretch of time in such a beautiful wilderness. It makes for great photography!
Above is a view from Cerro Campanario, west of San Carlos de Bariloche. It overlooks Lago El Trébol, Lago Moreno Oeste and the Península Llao Llao.
Free spirited, full of wanderlust and a strong penchant for adventure. Ever the music aficionado and always striving to seek out and explore the best that the alternative side of life has to offer. I dedicate this blog to anything and everything that inspires me in life. People, places, photography, music, literature. I hope it will inspire you too. Enjoy!