[caption id="attachment_4400" align="alignright" width="300"]Travel phootgraphy by Andy Wasley: Sunrise above Clayton Holt in the South Downs National Park The sun rises above Clayton Holt.[/caption] When planning a travel photography job, preparation is important - especially for something as challenging as the Pennine Way, which I'll be tackling in April. I've spent more than enough time in mountains and on long-distance trails like the Annapurna Circuit and West Highland Way to know that nothing can be left to chance. That's especially the case where kit is concerned, and no less so for cameras than for boots, bivvy shelters and backpacks. I've not had much of a chance to get hands-on with my camera - an Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mk II - so far this year, so I took the opportunity of a frosty Saturday morning to take it on a traipse through the South Downs National Park. My aim was as much to escape London as it was to re-engage my creativity.

[caption id="attachment_4392" align="alignright" width="300"]Travel photography by Andy Wasley: National Trails sign on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path National Trails sign on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path[/caption] Life can be tough for a freelance photographer. There are plenty of challenges to overcome, day-to-day - from keeping records of expenses (huge) and income (tiny, for the time being) to finding potential clients, pitching and waiting, seemingly endlessly, for responses. I wouldn't be doing this if I didn't love it. But one thing seems to be missing for me: making new travel photography. The issue is simple: without income I can't travel; and unless I travel, I can't make income - at least not while concentrating on doing what I really love. I'm a freelance photographer, so I can't afford to be too picky: event photography, stock and headshots will help tide me over (and in truth I love getting behind the camera, whatever the subject), but unless I get into the great outdoors and explore the world I still feel I'm just biding time. Lately I've been reviewing my travel photography from the last few years: Nepal, Rioja, the West Highland Way, Ardnamurchan, Dunnet Head, Cornwall, Guatemala… and it feels rather like I'm looking in through a shop window, unable to get hold of what I really want. The solution is simple: a new adventure, making new landscape photography along the way.

[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_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.