Before I was any good at taking photos, I’d flick through the pages of National Geographic and daydream of trips to new places, where I’d capture wonderfully lit scenes to my heart’s content.
Michael Palin’s first travel TV series “Around The World In Eighty Days” was the first series which piqued my interest in travel documentaries and the photos in the accompanying book made me daydream of accompanying him as a photographer. Years later, the film “The Bridges of Madison County” made me want to be a documentary travel photographer: not because of Eastwood’s character’s fling with a housewife, but because the idea of loading up a truck with camera gear and roaming about to find new views seemed like a dream.
My mother tells me that my affinity for exploration – albeit on a small scale – comes from her and my father. They, too, used to drive up single-track roads in unknown places just to see where they led to. They, too, had to regularly reverse down grass-covered tracks after finding out that they led to no destination except a point where there was no room to turn a car around.
Every now and again, amongst plenty of other halfway decent and even good photos, I manage to get a shot with which I am overjoyed: mainly thanks to luck and timing, rather than any kind of skill. This is one such photo, which stands out for me amongst thousands of others in my archive.
Visiting a large basilica abbey in Bavaria, I wandered over to a recessed chapel, out of sight of the main body of the building. On turning the corner, the scene you see here presented itself and with a rush, I grabbed my camera, flicked the ISO dial up to get a sharp picture, and grabbed the shot. Moments later, the last candle was extinguished and the scene was gone.
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