We feature some of the brightest Instagram storytellers in the Passion Passport community through our Instagram Spotlight series. This week, we travel to Morocco, Italy, and the U.K. with George Ell (@george_ell).
Mount Toubkal, Morocco
I visited Morocco with three friends to take on the challenge of hiking Mount Toubkal which, at 4,167 meters above sea level, is the highest peak in the Atlas Mountain range.
Our journey began in Imlil village and led us on an epic two-day hike to the summit. I’ve never seen a landscape change so quickly — at the start of the first day we were climbing up rocky narrow paths that resembled something from Mars, and by the end of the second day we were knee-deep in pure white snow that had fallen just the night before.
Around every bend was a new, impressive scene and, as a result, I took hundreds of photos. Some people in Morocco are hesitant to have their picture taken, but luckily for me, it was the landscape that intrigued me most.
My girlfriend and I planned a visit to the south coast for a few days of camping. I’d flicked past lots of images from the Jurassic Coast and Durdle Door on Instagram, so I wanted to see it for myself! It didn’t disappoint.
We had a few days of great weather and, at times, felt as though we were on the south coast of France.Every morning at dawn we were woken by dozens of jackdaws screaming at each other in the trees above our tent, so we got up early and clocked plenty of miles.
When visiting oft-photographed landmarks, it’s easy to become focused on the obvious compositions you remember from other people’s images. Personally, I’m always amazed by what brilliant landscapes are in between those landmarks. I didn’t really expect to capture anything but seascapes and coastlines on this trip, but there were plenty of eye-catching opportunities inland as well.
I take a trip to the mountains every ski season to strap on my snowboard and escape the stress of city life. After years of visiting the French, Swiss, Italian, and Austrian Alps, it was high time to try the Dolomites.
I was keen to see (and capture) the imposing peaks and, even though I don’t often carry my camera while snowboarding, on this trip it was in my backpack every single day.
The Dolomites are near the top of my list of favorite landscapes I’ve photographed. I’m desperate to go back in the summer to see the mountains in full bloom. I have to say, an advantage of riding on a snowboard and ski lifts is the ability to take in miles of landscape on a daily basis. Every lift up gifts a new peak and a new view. I can’t wait to be there again.
Given that Flamborough is less than two hours from where I live, I’m embarrassed to say my first trip there was only earlier this year. As a Yorkshire-man I really should have visited before.
It was May when we visited, and I wasn’t really prepared for the insane amount of nesting birds on the cliff sides. The volume and density was a sight to behold. I’m not much of a birdwatcher but it was hard not to be impressed by the sheer variety. I was stunned when I looked over one particular edge and got clear view of a puffin about 10 feet away, just staring right back at me. Unfortunately he hopped off the edge just as I raised my camera for the perfect portrait.
After walking for a few hours north, we came across a small cove that wouldn’t look out of place on the Italian Coast. The sun was beginning to set and it made for some great shots of blue waters and pink skies.
English Peak District
The Peak District is my go-to location. I can be on the edge of the Peaks in 15 minutes or deep in the heart of most areas in about an hour. Some of my favorite images have been taken on unplanned walks in areas close to home. I also like to time my walks so that the last hour coincides with sunset, or at least at a time when the sun is low, which always makes for good contrast.
The Peak District experiences the full gamut of seasonal colors: white snow in winter, yellow and red leaves in autumn, and green and purple heather blooms in late summer.
There are still so many places in the Peaks that I haven’t yet visited. My interest in photography has pushed me to discover more of what is right on my doorstep and, for that, I’m thankful.