olli thomson

Menu Close

Tag: travel (page 1 of 2)

Clinging On

Plants are tough. I found this out when I bought my first house and discovered a liking for gardening. Despite my heavy handed and often ill-informed efforts most plants survived my ministrations, and many even flourished. So I wasn’t surprised to see on a walk along the old Chesapeake and Ohio Canal in Georgetown these plants growing in bare scatterings of soil in cracks and crevices in the concrete walls and rocks.

Read more

Manila Street Portraits 2

Continuing with the theme of street portraits from yesterday’s post, here is a second set of pictures taken on the streets of Manila.

The junction of Taft Avenue and EDSA is a busy spot even by Manila standards and the streets are lined with small sh0ps and stallholders selling everything you can imagine. This guy sold bananas. Nothing else; just bananas. I bought a few from time to time as an energy booster. I assume once his stock for the day was sold he went home.

Read more

Manila Street Portraits 1

I had to relearn photography when I lived in Manila. My practice over the years on the streets was to linger discreetly and look for opportunities for candid shots. Often, I ignored the people and focused instead on the design, architecture and infrastructure of the city.

None of this was possible in Manila. With my pasty white Irish skin and ginger hair blending in wasn’t an option, and in a densely packed city of 13 million people candid shots were a challenge. Of course one of the reasons for trying to be unobtrusive and take candid shots is that people often don’t like having their picture taken. In Manila, many of the people I met were delighted to be photographed, thanking me for taking the picture before I had opportunity to thank them for letting me.

Read more

Manila American Cemetery

Manila American Cemetery is the largest American battle monument from World War II. There are more than 17,000 graves and the names of a further 36,000 missing in action are inscribed on the memorial. Despite its brutal origins the cemetery is one of the most peaceful places in the city stretching across over 150 acres of immaculately maintained land.

Read more

On Harrison Street

Harrison Street is named for Francis Burton Harrison, former Governor General of the Philippines when it was an American colony and advisor to four of the country’s presidents following Independence. Harrison Street was home for a year when I lived in the Philippines and I walked it many times. It was once known as Calle Real – Royal Street – during the Spanish period but these days it is a typically slow moving, busy and congested Manila street. I say Manila, but the street starts at the edge of Manila City and the greater part runs through Pasay before briefly entering Paranaque where it becomes Quirino Avenue.

Read more

Paranaque Fish Port

I had heard of the Paranaque Fish Port and market and seen photographs of it but never made it there myself until the 2016 Scott Kelby Worldwide Photowalk when this was the venue for one of a dozen or more photowalks around Metro Manila. Local street photographer Joel Mataro was leading this one and he invited me to join. So at 6AM a group of around forty photographers descended on the good people of Paranaque.

Read more

Urban Life – Manila

Arnaiz Avenue, Makati, Metro Manila

Seven Rila Lakes

The Seven Rila Lakes are a two hour drive from Sofia in the Rila Mountains, and one of the most popular tourist spots in the country. I’m told that in the summer months there are hour long waits for a seat on the chair lift that takes you up to the starting point for the trails that lead to the lakes. So we decided to do it in February instead.

Read more

Urban Life – Yangon

Maha Bandula, Yangon


This picture always makes me hungry. I took it from an overhead pedestrian walkway on a busy junction in downtown Yangon. This is one of those rare images where I think I like everything about it. This entire feast, better by far than what is on offer in most restaurants, was prepared on the pavement by the side of a busy road.

Angkor – Part 1

When we lived in Manila we had opportunity to visit places that would have been a major undertaking from Europe or North America but were just a few hours away from the Philippines. One of those places was Angkor in Cambodia where we spent a week visiting the temples. Despite the constant media exposure of these sites – not least in the first Tomb Raider film – seeing them for real was incredible. The first set of pictures is from the Bayon temple, a massive and visually chaotic structure dominated by dozens of towers bearing hundreds of identical carved faces. Some claim these represent the Khmer king, Jayavarman VII responsible for the temple’s construction; others identify them as Lokesvara, the bodhisattva of compassion.

Read more

© 2020 olli thomson. All rights reserved.

Theme by Anders Norén.