Sunday, 8 January 2017

Stories behind my photographs #1: Animals

I always post lots of photographs on my blog, especially when I have travelled, but I never explain the story behind them. I thought I would post a few of my travel photographs on here and tell you about what was happening when I took them - and I wanted to start with one of my favourite things in the world: animals.

This first photo was taken on my first proper travelling trip in 2012 - to Tanzania. I went on safari and saw so many zebras that I became slightly blase towards them. The majority of them were stood in pairs like this, as though they were mirror images or hugging each other. Tanzania was such a beautiful country and I definitely want to go on safari again if I get the chance - I was in my element with all of the animals!

This was taken whilst snorkelling off the north coast of Bali in summer 2016. There were hundreds of these black and white striped fish, and they all seemed to swim in one big group together. They were also really inquisitive and kept coming right up to my camera - one was even confident enough to bite my finger! You can see how curious they were in my video of Bali here (skip to around 2:50 if you're just going to look at the fish). Bali was amazing for snorkelling - the sun was shimmering off the ocean floor, illuminating the bright blue starfish and the purple clams. Definitely an experience I'll never forget.

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Honestly, I have to say that this photo was taken on one of the best days of my life so far. In Bali I visited an elephant sanctuary near Ubud, and I was able to wash and bathe with the elephants. They were absolutely incredible creatures; so beautiful and gentle. I spent the day washing, feeding and stroking the elephants and it was was one of those life-changing moments for me - I realised how lucky I was to be there at that point, and how when you strip it all back it really is the small things in life that matter.

This cutie was in a koala sanctuary near Brisbane in Australia. We saw dozens of koalas that day, and I even got to cuddle one. They were so chilled out because of the copious amounts of eucalyptus that they eat. We also saw kangaroos, wallabies, crocodiles and Tasmanian devils. The koala sanctuary was one of my favourite places we visited in Australia over the summer.

This little guy was on the island of Taveuni in Fiji. We had just finished hiking up to some waterfalls on the island, and this photo was taken at the last, smallest waterfall. Suddenly I realised that something kept moving, and I noticed dozens of frogs hopping around in the dirt. They were camouflaged so were difficult to see at first, but then I kept noticing more and more. The frogs must have come out at a certain time in the day, because when we passed the waterfall earlier on I didn't notice any. The hike was difficult but the beautiful waterfalls, plus meeting these little critters at the bottom, made it worth it!

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These giant tortoises were on a tiny island called Prison Island (Changuu Island) near Zanzibar, off the coast of Tanzania. The island is home to a couple of hundred tortoises, who were originally a gift from the British governor of the Seychelles. Each tortoise had a number on its back, equating to its approximate age - I think the oldest was around 135 when I visited. It was amazing to wander around and watch them consuming the massive amounts of food that they had to be fed each day. Prison Island itself was also beautiful - I had the beach to myself the day that I visited. The sand was white and the water was crystal clear. I went for a swim in the sea and couldn't put my feet down due to the colourful starfish covering the sea floor, so I just floated for ages, looking up at the azure sky. This is a memory that I always return to whenever I need to feel calm, and it's a moment I won't ever forget.

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Bali has a lot of interesting animals! This was taken in the monkey forest at Ubud. You can buy bananas to feed the monkeys, and if you hold them above your head a monkey will climb up your body to reach it, before jumping back to the ground to run off and find somewhere to eat the banana. There were hundreds of wild monkeys in the forest, and they weren't shy to approach the tourists - one stole a bottle of orange juice from someone in my group, and then opened it to drink it!

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.

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