Why the radio silence?

Lion's Head Cape Town South Africa

Lion's Head Cape Town South Africa

I know I know - I haven't posted since November 2015!! A big slap on the wrist to me, however it's been a pretty busy 5 months and I'd like to explain myself!

First things first...at the end of last year I left the beautiful city of Bath where I had lived for past 12 months. Being my University town (I studied there form 2008-2012) it was sad to leave for the second time, however I think I'll be back one day! OK, but why's that stopped me posting, huh? Well...I'm lucky enough to say that I've now moved into my very own place in Chiswick (West London) which I've been doing up for the past 3 months and I love it! As I'll now have a little more time on my hands now that it's (mostly) finished, my intention is to increase the number of blog posts I write. Expect a combination of visual story telling and ironic, dry wit!

Bath Abbey and Alexandra Park Sunset, Bath, UK

Bath Abbey and Alexandra Park Sunset, Bath, UK

From West to East!

From West to East!

But that's not it! I've also managed to squeeze in a few trips away since November to feed my travel appetite.

In February, I spent a long weekend in Seville with my Dad, drinking €1 beers, €8 bottles of Rioja (in a resturant!) and sampling some of the finest tapas I've ever had! Mouthwatering blog post to follow!

Patio de los Naranjos, Seville

Patio de los Naranjos, Seville

Then, the following weekend, I flew to South Africa to photograph the most amazing wedding of Lauren and Paul Tisdale at the Clifftop Lodge, an exclusive Safari hideaway nestled on, you guessed it, a clifftop in the Welgevonden Game Reserve, which is a 3 hour drive from Johannesburg. It was a small, intimate wedding, but also the most original wedding I've photographed as Lauren and Paul went out on safari after the wedding lunch!

Lauren & Paul Tisdale

After 3 days at the game reserve, I flew to Cape Town for 4 days. Everyone I'd spoken to about Cape Town had said it was an incredible city, so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. And oh my...what a city! It was an incredible experience and I took some images I'm really proud of and can't wait to put up on the walls in the flat! Here's one for now, taken from a quick helicopter ride I took at sunrise with Zach Louw. Cape Town is a photographer's playground and it merits its own blog post (or more!).

Cape Town Sunrise Aerial

Cape Town Sunrise Aerial

Finally, I escaped damp dreary London in March with my talented girlfriend Sarah Clifford for a week in Rome which was an incredible culinary experience, as well as a good work out as we walked around this amazing metropolis from sunrise to sunset. As with the other trips, I'll have to whack the photos into a separate post to do them justice!

Colosseum Sunrise, Rome, Italy

Colosseum Sunrise, Rome, Italy

That's it for now - hope you liked the teasers above and check back soon for the full blog posts from these trips!

In the mean time, please follow on Instagram and Facebook!

Cheers,

Sam

Samantha Murray for Men's Fitness UK & Australia

A couple of double page spreads of Samantha Murray in recent editions of the UK (Sept) & Australia (Oct) editions of Men's Fitness magazine. The UK edition is above, with Australia below (nothing to do with northern and southern hemispheres)...

Thanks for stopping by!

Sam

Samantha Murray (Olympic Silver Medallist Modern Pentathlon) for Men's Fitness UK & Australia, Sept/Oct 2015

Samantha Murray (Olympic Silver Medallist Modern Pentathlon) for Men's Fitness UK & Australia, Sept/Oct 2015

Cuba | Part One | Havana [30 Images]

Those that follow me on Instagram will have noticed from the barrage of recent uploads that this summer I spent 3 hot and humid weeks travelling around Cuba. What an eye-opening (and pore-opening!) experience! It was not only an incredible immersion into Cuban salsa, rum (lots of it) and old colonial Spanish architecture (also lots of it...), but also a real eye-opener and one of those truly rich experiences that really makes you stop to think and reflect on how lucky we are in the "West".

Everywhere we went, and every town we stopped off in, it was clear to see that the memory of "La Revolución" lives on, with images of "El Che" and Fidel Castro everywhere, as well socialist propaganda on every street corner (not to mention the presence of the Committees for the Defence of the Revolution, or CDR, which are the "eyes and ears of the revolution"). However, behind closed doors, it was clear to see that a lot of people - especially those born after 1959 - are frustrated with the status quo, especially by the rigidity of the current political system and the lack of freedoms that Cuban's enjoy compared to the hordes of tourists that visit the island each year, myself included. 

That is not to say that Cuba doesn't show signs of modernity. I saw a lot of smartphones, flatscreen TVs & computers. However, as I came to learn, these are invariably brought back from trips to visit relatives abroad because if there's one thing you bring back from a trip abroad, it's either smartphones, flatscreen TVs or computers! Our hosts in Santiago de Cuba, a couple in their mid-thirties who had given up on their careers to rent rooms to tourists (a burgeoning and highly regulated industry) told us how comic waiting at arrivals is, as there is a steady stream of returning Cubans with huge cardboard boxes on their trolleys. You can, of course, get a very basic Chinese mobile phone from the state, however this is not only very expensive, but also very unpopular. I wonder why... 

I found the Cubans to be rather patient by nature, perhaps due to the fact that everything takes rather a long time in Cuba. There are queues for everything, everywhere! We passed queues of people wanting to top up their mobile phone credit (remember that?), queues to get state rations, queues to get unaffordable imported products (when you take into account the average monthly salary), queues to get medicine at pharmacists, queues to get cash out at ATMs, queues to get onto buses...you name it!  

But somehow, it just seems to work! All in all, it was an incredible trip and I would highly recommend a trip to Cuba to anyone (the sooner the better if you want that authentic Coca-Cola-McDonalds-Starbucks-free-Cuba experience). The only caveat I'd highlight is that unless you're doing the Havana/Varadero loop and not venturing too far from the comfort of the beach or hotel, Cuba is hard work...more on that later! 

I've decided to split out my photos into various blog posts, starting with the first few days that we spent in Havana. I'll be sharing the rest over the next few weeks, no doubt accompanied by a plethora of sarcastic and/or ironic anecdotes. 

Thanks for stopping by and check back soon for the next Cuba post!

Sam

Sam Gillespie | Photographer
sam@samgillespie.co.uk
www.samgillespie.co.uk
+44 (0) 7717 234 225

El Capitolio and Havana skyline at Sunset. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

El Capitolio and Havana skyline at Sunset. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Havana skyline from the rooftop of our "casa particular". Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Havana skyline from the rooftop of our "casa particular". Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Mojito O'Clock. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Mojito O'Clock. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Vintage 1950s American Car. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Vintage 1950s American Car. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

A taxi driver has a snooze in the back of his American car. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

A taxi driver has a snooze in the back of his American car. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Iglesia de San Francisco de Asis. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Iglesia de San Francisco de Asis. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Spanish Colonial Courtyard. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Spanish Colonial Courtyard. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Socialist propaganda of the Cuban Revolution. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Socialist propaganda of the Cuban Revolution. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

El Capitolio. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

El Capitolio. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Taxi Colectivo. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Taxi Colectivo. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Structural support for the dilapidated architecture in Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Structural support for the dilapidated architecture in Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Street football. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Street football. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Sunset from the rooftop of our "casa particular" Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Sunset from the rooftop of our "casa particular" Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Cuban street scene. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Cuban street scene. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Havana rooftops. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Havana rooftops. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

El Capitolio. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

El Capitolio. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

The Bridge & Father at Wedding. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

The Bridge & Father at Wedding. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Soviet-made Lada car. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Soviet-made Lada car. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Broken down American car. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Broken down American car. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Cuban street scene. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Cuban street scene. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Father & Son. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Father & Son. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Cuban child playing in Havana street. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Cuban child playing in Havana street. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Man carrying rice from Vietnam down flights of stairs. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Man carrying rice from Vietnam down flights of stairs. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

The view from our "casa particular". Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

The view from our "casa particular". Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Cuban street scene. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Cuban street scene. Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Two men play chess among a pile of bricks, dug up for some drain maintenance in Calle Obispo, Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Two men play chess among a pile of bricks, dug up for some drain maintenance in Calle Obispo, Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

A vintage American car in Parque Central, Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

A vintage American car in Parque Central, Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Vintage American car from the 1950s parked opposite a hotel overlooking Parque Central, Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Vintage American car from the 1950s parked opposite a hotel overlooking Parque Central, Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Local Cubans enjoy the respite from the heat along the Malecón in Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Local Cubans enjoy the respite from the heat along the Malecón in Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

A 1950s American car roars along the Malecón in Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

A 1950s American car roars along the Malecón in Havana, Cuba, August 2015.

Cambodia | Laos | Vietnam - A Three Week Journey HD

As you will know from my gallery from Southeast Asia, last summer I travelled for three weeks across Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

I took my trusty little Go Pro Hero 3+ with me on the trip and recorded hundreds of short memories every day. Here is the collection of those memories in a 5 minute HD 1080p video.

This was my first EVER video and I've absolutely loved the experience, but also the challenge - it takes a lot longer than photos, but I knew that. Definitely a very steep leaning curve. I'm flying to Cuba on the 10th August and can't wait to shoot a bigger and better video.

Stay tuned.


Sam

East X West | Istanbul, Turkey [30 Images]

Spent an incredible 4 days with my girlfriend in Istanbul last weekend to celebrate the end of her latest set of medical exams - check our her medical illustrations on Instagram and Facebook

This city break was the perfect way of unwinding after such a busy and stressful few months and switching off a bit! Despite walking around all day long, we landed back in London feeling refreshed and relaxed - it's incredible what a change of scenery can do!

If you're looking for a city break that's a little further afield than most European cities, I think Istanbul is a rather unique place in that there is something to please all different types of travellers. For the history buff (not naming any names...), there's an incredible mix of Greek, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman relics (the Basilica Cistern is definitely worth a visit!); for the foodie, there is a plethora of cafés and eateries; and, for the avid travel photographer, there is a photo opp around every corner.

Here are some of my favourite photos from the trip - thanks for stopping by! 

Sam

sam@samgillespie.co.uk
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