[caption id="attachment_4334" align="alignright" width="300"]Travel photography by Andy Wasley: Vineyards and landscape seen from Bodegas Vivanco in Briones, Spain. Vineyards and landscape seen from Bodegas Vivanco in Briones, Spain.[/caption] Travel photography and writing have taken me to some wonderful places - from the mountains of Nepal to the chalky clifftops of the South Downs and stormy Scottish coastlines, I have been lucky to see places that live in my heart and mind - and to make landscape photography along the way. Few have as strong a hold over me as Rioja, a region of Spain whose wines have long been among my favourites. Back in September 2014 my then fiancé and I visited, partly so that I could make travel photographs for Pride Life magazine - partly so that we could simply soak up some sunshine away from a dreary British autumn. We started our trip in Bilbao, the largest city in the Basque Country (of which Rioja is the principal winemaking region). Basques are a famously independent people, and around Bilbao it’s hard to escape outward signs of the region’s autonomy. As cultural as it is political, autonomy is reflected in the widespread use of the Basque language and the Union Jack-like orange, white and green ikurrina flag. When we visited, saltires uttered alongside the ikurrinas, a reminder of our own country’s debate over independence and identity as Scotland went to the polls for an independence referendum.

[caption id="attachment_4239" align="alignright" width="300"]Travel photography by Andy Wasley: Boudhanath Stupa, a sacred Buddhist Temple in Kathmandu, Nepal. Boudhanath Stupa, Kathmandu.[/caption] In 2013 I proposed to my now husband following an arduous trek along the Annapurna Circuit high in the Nepalese Himalayas. After two weeks surrounded by pristine, paper-white peaks soaring into powder-blue skies, making travel photography of quiet villages and immense vistas, even something as wonderful as our engagement now seems almost secondary to the adventure that went before it. The Annapurna Circuit winds through some 150 miles of Nepal’s most stunning mountain scenery and includes one of the highest points to which it’s possible to trek without climbing gear. We travelled in November, after the main tourist season and before snow and ice make the higher parts of the trek more technically challenging, using the superb Lonely Planet Nepal guide.

[caption id="attachment_4190" align="alignright" width="300"]travel photography landscape photography from East Sussex by Andy Wasley A walker approaches the Seven Sisters, a famous chalk cliff
formation in East Sussex, England, from nearby Seaford Head.[/caption] I’ve written often enough about how much I love landscape photography in stormy weather. The challenge of capturing the drama of a good storm, or emphasising the threat from glowering grey clouds, is enough to get me out of the door in the worst possible conditions. Every so often, though, I have to settle for sunshine and clear skies – exactly the conditions I enjoyed during a recent walk from Seaford to Eastbourne on England’s south coast. It was a chance to enjoy some of England’s best coastal views, a new lens, and a few unexpected visits from a masterpiece of British engineering.

[caption id="attachment_4140" align="alignright" width="300"]A boardwalk stretches across shingle to the horizon beneath clear blue skies at Dungeness in Kent, England. A boardwalk stretches across shingle to the horizon beneath clear blue skies at Dungeness.[/caption] Few places demand repeat exploration with quite the force of Dungeness. This peculiar wilderness on the coast of Kent combines eerie desolation, good food and spectacular biodiversity. It’s a gift of a place for anyone interested in wildlife photography. And I’m hooked. Dungeness is a triangular outcrop of shingle by Romney Marsh in Kent. It’s reasonably easy to reach by road – less so if, like me, you’re dependent on public transport. A train via Ashford to beautiful Rye gets you close, before a short bus ride takes you to the quiet little garrison town of Lydd. The nearby artillery range reverberates with the occasional crump or thud, adding to Dungeness’s otherworldly air as you walk past acres of rich farmland to the shingle beach.

[caption id="attachment_4118" align="alignright" width="300"]Wrecked vehicles and buildings in Roadtown, the capital of the British Virgin Islands, following Hurricane Irma. Wrecked vehicles and buildings in Roadtown, the capital of the British Virgin Islands, following Hurricane Irma.[/caption] In 16 years of Royal Air Force service, regular and reserve, I have served in Afghanistan, throughout the Middle East and at various spots in Africa and beyond. None of this prepared me for what I found when I deployed to the Caribbean on 8 September – at 12 hours’ notice – to support the UK’s massive humanitarian aid and disaster relief operation in the wake of Hurricane Irma. Irma – a violent, Category Five hurricane – cut a swathe through the region in early September and was followed within a fortnight by Hurricane Maria. Hard as I tried, my photography could scarcely capture the sense of loss and devastation the islands suffered. My deployment took me to countries throughout the Caribbean, where I had to help record the story and the relief effort. The British Virgin Islands (BVI) linger in my mind for many reasons. Hurricane Irma stripped BVI’s trees bare, tore rooves from sturdy houses and lobbed cars, cargo containers and aircraft around like Matchbox toys. This was formerly a place of rolling green hills and neat houses, turned into a traumatised wasteland painted in shades of brown and grey.

[caption id="attachment_3864" align="alignright" width="300"]Burifa Hill Gee Station An impressive background for a desolate shell[/caption] Often in travel photography unplanned diversions deliver some of the best opportunities to make photographs. While I was visiting Dunnet Head – the northernmost point in Great Britain – for a personal photography project, I stumbled upon a desolate piece of wartime history. It made for an absorbing opportunity to refine my black and white digital photography work, and to explore a little-known piece of Scottish history. This is the story of Burifa Hill Gee Station – and of the pictures I made there. Burifa Hill was an experimental radio station set up by the Air Ministry to guide Royal Air Force Bomber Command crews to targets in occupied Europe. Since German civil defence enforced blackouts, navigation was challenging. The Gee system helped aircrew to navigate by transmitting radio pulses from stations set across Great Britain: by comparing the pulse timings to a master station’s pulses, the aircrew could triangulate their positions. (The same kind of principle is at work today in GPS.) Using this system Bomber Command was able to launch raids into blacked-out occupied territory many hundreds of miles from the UK; in 1943 Burifa Hill itself was cited as having helped one crew launch a raid 620 miles from the base.

[caption id="attachment_3852" align="alignright" width="300"]Lowestoft Ness Lowestoft Ness on PAN-F in Rodinal 1+50[/caption] On Monday 22 May at 0810, I stepped on to a half-submerged concrete jetty in Lowestoft, Suffolk. Awash with seawater and slick with seaweed, this tiny walkway is the easternmost point in Great Britain – and journey’s end for my trip to the four extreme points of the mainland. I looked out to a glittering horizon beneath the blazing sun as my trusty OM-4Ti’s timer beeped behind me. At 0815 the shutter clicked, setting the seal on a personal project that has seen me travel nearly 2,200 miles by road, rail, foot and flight. Many of the pictures I’ve posted about this project so far have been digital, but my chosen medium for the actual project was film – specifically Ilford PAN F, a low-speed, fine-grain black and white film. 35mm film was the dominant photographic medium for much of the 20th Century, and most readers will remember having used it for holiday snaps at some point. For a film enthusiast, though, the attachment to the medium runs a little deeper than holiday snaps, and it involves quite a bit more thought.

[caption id="attachment_3766" align="alignright" width="225"]Rainbow seascape A rainbow frames Muckle Skerry Lighthouse in the Pentland Firth, near John o' Groats, Scotland.[/caption] The next stage in my personal photography project took me to the northernmost point on the British mainland: Dunnet Head, a storm-lashed promontory in the north of Scotland. For landscape photographers the whole place is a gift: one proud white lighthouse, plunging cliffs and a handful of fall-down wartime buildings (more to follow on those…). Standing at the head of the cliffs near the lighthouse you can watch squalls passing through the Pentland Firth, half-concealing the Orkneys on the horizon. If you and your camera are suitably weatherproof, you can wait for them to make landfall. I shoot with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk II, which is more than capable of withstanding the elements - essential for making the most of passing storms. Stormy weather can seem soul-sapping at its worst, but it’s often worth hanging about to see what it can deliver. After visiting Dunnet Head I headed - via the wonderful Dunnet Bay Distillery - to Duncansby Head, the northwesternmost point of Great Britain (close to John o’ Groats). After a few hours of dull, watery light I noticed a storm blowing towards me, away from the sun and out to sea: perfect rainbow conditions. A quick sprint back to the lighthouse - fumbling a polariser on to my lens on the way - rewarded me with some truly magnificent views of rainbows drifting towards the horizon. These, I think, made every drop of rain worthwhile.

[caption id="attachment_3771" align="alignright" width="225"]Ardnamurchan scene Ardnamurchan Lighthouse seen from a nearby burn, Scotland.[/caption] At Corrachadh Mòr - the westernmost point on the British mainland - the wind is ceaseless. It tears at my jacket as I set up my tripod on ancient lava flows, frozen beneath pastel-blue skies and gilt-edged clouds. Before me, the Atlantic pounds the rocks and stretches out to a horizon marked, here and there, by the indistinct blur of distant squalls. When those squalls make landfall I shelter behind grey boulders, protecting my cameras from the stinging rain. From Corrachadh Mòr - an unmarked rocky hillock jutting into the sea - the distant Ardnamurchan Lighthouse and its access road are the sole signs of civilisation. More than anywhere else I’ve visited in Britain, this place feels like it’s at the edge of the world. It’s that remoteness that makes this visit so fundamental to my personal project, which will see me travel the length and breadth of Great Britain to photograph its four extreme points - northernmost, southernmost, easternmost and westernmost. Wilderness, remoteness and solitude have always been key motivators in my travel photography and street photography. Looking over my portfolio I can see two types of solitude: there’s the kind I feel when I’m alone in a crowd or urban space, and the kind I feel here at Corrachadh Mòr - where I’m at least two hours away from the nearest person. My personal project focuses squarely on the second kind of solitude. In each location I will make a self-portrait showing me alone in the landscape, as well as a picture of the landscape itself. I hope this will yield eight very different photographs, while still reflecting on the factors that unite those locations.