Click Travel voyages to the cloud to transform customer service experience

LONDON, June 14 2018 – NewVoiceMedia, a leading global provider of cloud contact centre and inside sales technology that enables businesses to create exceptional, emotive customer experiences to serve better and sell more, has helped Click Travel transform its customer service experience while improving employee engagement.

Click Travel is a UK-based company with a £200 million turnover that helps other businesses reduce the cost and complexity of travel management. Its Travel Cloud application enables customers to self-serve and book travel requests directly online through the portal. 97 percent of bookings are taken online and reservation centre staff service these customers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Employees are a mixture of office and remote-workers, relying heavily on a first-class communications solution to deliver the best possible customer service experience.

With its previous telephone system not fit for purpose, often leaving as much as half the workforce unable to help customers, Click Travel had an urgent need for a new solution. It also wanted technology that could handle a geographically dispersed workforce and provide instant insights into the performance of its teams. The company conducted an extensive review of cloud contact centre vendors and NewVoiceMedia topped the list for its platform’s ability to scale as rapidly as the business and deliver sales and service excellence. Core contact centre functionality such as omni-channel contact routing, self-service IVRs, automated outbound dialling, screen pops, granular reporting and instantaneous CRM updates are provided with proven 99.999% platform availability.

With so many employees situated around the country, it was essential that any new solution could easily incorporate remote workers. Delivered from the cloud, all that Click Travel’s employees need is an internet connection, meaning its highly skilled employees can work wherever they are located.

Since implementation, Click Travel is offering a better customer service experience, operating more efficiently and has access to data to drive successful decision making. Furthermore:

  • Connectivity problems have been reduced to virtually zero
  • Visibility of all agents has been improved, regardless of location
  • Remote worker challenges have been resolved
  • IT resource savings have been made through a dramatic reduction in support calls
  • Employee engagement has been improved

Chris Haggis, SVP Customer Success at NewVoiceMedia, said, “We’re delighted that Click Travel has experienced so much success with our platform; from employee engagement, to improved visibility of agents, regardless of location. Our true cloud delivery also meant that we were able to deploy the solution rapidly prior to the end of the company’s contract with its previous supplier”.

Jill Palmer, Managing Director of Click Travel, commented, “We work with a broad spectrum of clients that range from FTSE100 companies to local authorities, all of which have very important clients who demand first-class service. We pride ourselves on our great people, technology and service, so when our legacy system began to fail, there was an urgent requirement to find a reliable replacement as quickly as possible.

“NewVoiceMedia was selected for a number of reasons that included matching our list of requirements for now and the future. We have saved a vast amount of time on our IT support desk and its plug and play integration with our CRM software was a huge plus. We are now able to make use of what we know about our customers to truly differentiate the service we provide”.

For more information, download the case study at www.newvoicemedia.com

– ENDS –

About NewVoiceMedia
NewVoiceMedia is a leading global provider of cloud contact centre and inside sales technology that enables businesses to create exceptional, emotive customer experiences to serve better and sell more.

Its award-winning platform joins up all communications channels without expensive, disruptive hardware changes and plugs straight into your CRM for full access to hard-won data. With a true cloud environment and proven 99.999% platform availability, NewVoiceMedia ensures complete flexibility, scalability and reliability.

NewVoiceMedia’s 700+ customers include Canadian Cancer Society, Ebury, FCR Media, FlixBus, JustGiving, Kingston University, Lumesse, Paysafe and Vax. For more information, visit www.newvoicemedia.com or follow NewVoiceMedia on Twitter @NewVoiceMedia.

NewVoiceMedia PR contact
Nicola Brookes
Tel: +44 (0)7500 006 458
Email: Nicola.brookes@newvoicemedia.com

Friday (Saturday) Round Up: What is Going On?!?!

It’s Friday (Saturday) again!  And while that means nothing on my photography vlog, it does mean a round up here.

This week was amazing, but it’s also been the craziest week ever.  I can only sum it up in a way that only a fellow full-time traveller would understand: I was in Portugal, and I thought I was going to Ireland.  But, then I found out I needed to get to Texas from Dublin.  So, here I am writing a post about Portugal and Ireland from Texas.

But, alas, that is my life, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Porto, Portugal

Meeting Photographers in Portugal

The week started with a quick photography meet up in Porto, Portugal where I’ve been spending the week trying to get caught up on work while also shooting some cool photo locations.  As I often do in the bigger destinations I go, I organized a photography meet up.  The weather was great, but the light wasn’t.  Still, I had an awesome time meeting some Portuguese photographers.  I think the Portuguese audience has always been one of the most loyal, and it was great to put some faces to names.

This was my favourite image from that shoot.
Porto

Amarante, Portugal

Those Portuguese photographers I mentioned had a lot of ideas for locations to shoot. When I did my research on them, Amarante really stood out.  It was just an image of a place I’d never heard of before. And, it looked really photogenic.

So, Jodie and I jumped in the rental car and headed that way.

It really was a great place for photography, even if it was a little bit strange (you’ll see what I mean in the video below).

And, of the photos, this was my favourite.

Amarante, Portugal

Amarante, Portugal

Day Trips from Porto

We’re in Porto with one of Jodie’s really good friends, Emily from London City Calling.  Her boyfriend also came for the weekend, so we decided to go on a bit of a road trip to some places just outside of Porto.

I kind of used it as a location scouting day as there are a bunch of places I’ve wanted to shoot, but haven’t had the chance to visit yet.

One of those places was Guimaraes.  It’s a nice little city with a massive castle, and great vibes.  I really enjoyed it there, and there’s a cool location of a church in the old town.

From there, we pushed on to the national park that borders Spain.  Again, a really beautiful place, but maybe a little bit difficult to photograph.

Finally, we made a stop in Braga which is a city I’ve wanted to photograph for ages. However, after we drove downtown for dinner, I realized that the location I wanted to shoot was actually outside of town and we didn’t have time to get to it.  So, I settled for a shot downtown.
Braga, Portugal

Where’s the Rain?!

I’m trying to get better at planning out my videos on my channel. So, when I saw that it was supposed to rain in Porto, I planned a whole video around shooting street photography in the rain.  The problem was, it didn’t.  The rain never came, so I sat around my apartment all day wishing for rain – something I’ve never done before.

Then, when I gave up and decided to go photograph something else, the rain started.

It was almost comical.

No rain when I wanted it, then it poured when I didn’t.  It goes to show that you can’t control the weather; no matter how hard we would like to as travel photographers.  Still, I got an image from above Porto, even in the rain.
Porto, Portugal

Ireland??

I thought that I was going to have 10 days in Ireland to scoot around the country and shoot some seascape photography.  But, out of nowhere I picked up an assignment back in The US.  So, my 10 day trip go cut to 2.

However, I still wanted to make the most of them, though. I picked up a rental car and raced to the north to the Giant’s Causeway area.

Northern Ireland, and actually Ireland in general has been so high on my list of places to go on a photography trip. But, every year it gets cancelled due to something. But, I think I made the most of it. On my first day, I found the famous dark hedges and grabbed this image.
Ireland, Dark Hedges

I’ll leave you with the first video from Ireland, and then we’ll pick things up there next week – when I’ll hopefully get this blog post up on Friday where it’s meant to go up!

What’s Next?

In the coming week, I’ve got another day in Northern Ireland before I need to race back to Texas where I have an assignment.  Next week, that assignment will take me to Dallas and Houston.  I’ll see you there.




Who Won the Trip to Crete???

Drum roll, anyone?

I had a much harder time picking the winner of the trip to Crete than I expected.  There were lots of great entries.  But, when I posted the contest, I decided I wasn’t going to just pick the best image.  I wanted to pick someone who I thought it would really help.

How Did I Pick?

So, if I didn’t just pick the best image, how did I pick?

I picked images that I thought “had potential”.  I wasn’t looking for the greatest shot ever taken. I was looking for shots in locations that took some thought to creating an image.  Sure, I was tempted by some hero images too, but I chose the image I selected  because I felt like it was a great composition of somewhere anyone could shoot.

And, yes, I think the edit is a bit overdone. But, I there is a lot of promise to the image, and the photographer behind it.

Finally, I wanted to pick someone who has been a contributor to the community and to Trover.

So…

The Winner is…

Tristan Jacobs!

In the caption, I like that Tristan mentioned that he shot this image while studying. That he used photography as a break from studying.  For me, that shows the love of photography.  It also shows that he’s willing to make time for it, even if he should have had his nose in the books.

I think Tristan will benefit from this trip, and I hope he’s excited for it!

Tristan Jacobs

Image by Tristan Jacobs – Warning, image quality degraded by uploads/downloads not photographer error.

Runner Ups?

If you’re curious, I had about 3 runner ups.  If you want to see the short list I drew from it’s here.  Some of the candidates that I went back and forth on were Jef Wodniak, Sophie McAulay, and Chris Marr (who you should definitely follow on IG – but seems to win everything).

More Winners??

Remember that Trover is also giving away a spot (and maybe 2) for this clinic in Crete.  So, just because you didn’t win this time doesn’t mean that you wont next.  There were lots of great entries, and I went back and forth a couple times before deciding.

I’m looking forward to a couple more of you joining me in Crete!

What’s Next on the Vlog?

Things are crazy. I’m actually going back to the US.  I have a project with Marriott again in Texas that honestly just came out of nowhere.  So, I have a couple days left in Portugal, then my Ireland trip has been cut, and I’m heading to Texas.

Here’s the latest image from Portugal.

Amarante, Portugal

Amarante, Portugal

Obviously, to stay up to date with things, follow my photography channel.




Friday Round Up: From Route 66 to Portugal

I’m not posting videos to my photography channel on Fridays, so I thought that it would be a good idea to do a sort of weekly round up of things so that you all can see what I’m up to.  Almost a summary of the week. so that you can pick and choose which videos you want to watch.  And, a quick summary of my favourite images.

So, here it is.
New Mexico Route 66

The End of Route 66

Route 66 was an awesome experience.  I posted a blog post rounding it all up here.  I was surprised by Route 66. From start to finish it was entertaining. I did worry at the start of it all that it was just going to be the New Mexico to California section that I’d enjoy, and the rest would be fluff.  But, to be honest, I think I enjoyed the first half of Route 66 more than the last half.

This week, there were a bunch of Route 66 vlogs.  Rather than posting them all below, I think I’ll just share the playlist so that you can pick and choose which ones you want to see.

Favourite Photos from Route 66

I kind of did this in the post about the route itself, so I wont re-hash it too much.  But, I did want to share my favourite 3 photos from the trip.  I think, as photographers, it’s kind of important to try to narrow a trip down to 3 photos.  I don’t think it’s necessary to only like 3 photos, nor do I think one should definitely like 3 photos from a trip.  But, narrowing down to 3 photos really does force you to examine why you love a certain shot.

These are my 3:

I think that I’d love to get a local human element into my photos more often. Here in St. Louis, this young man asked me to photograph him. It’s one of my favourite shots from the trip.

I loved the star photography I shot on Route 66 in general. I probably should have shot more of it. In fact, I’m finding a love for star photography recently. This 32 minute exposure was my favourite from the trip.

I love this photo because it got me out of my funk. I’d been struggling to find compositions, or be happy with my work. This photo was easy. And, sometimes you need a layup to get you rolling.

Skipping the Vlog

I was a bit burnt out after Route 66. And, it wasn’t the road trip that wore me down, it was just the last of a series of long trips.  It was essentially back-to-back-to-back assignments without a break. It started with Japan, then right into the Patagonia workshop, and finally Route 66.

So, when I left LA, and headed to Rotterdam via New York and Istanbul, I planned on vlogging.  But, it just didn’t happen.  I needed a break.

The whole point of my photography vlog is to give a behind the scenes look at life as a travel photographer. And, that means showing the good and the bad.  That’s why I vlog daily. I don’t want to glorify a lifestyle that needs no glorifying. I need to give a real depiction of this life.  But, personal health comes first, and I needed a break.

By the time I got to Rotterdam, I was destroyed. And, it didn’t help that I didn’t sleep on any of my flights to The Netherlands.

Upon arrival in Rotterdam, I slept 15 hours over a 24 hour period.

Then, I went to a conference called Traverse; which was brilliant and totally inspired me.  In fact, I’ve been to a lot of conferences over the past couple years, and I think this one inspired me more than any of the others to date.

Of course, I didn’t vlog it.  But, I did put this video together when I got to Porto.

I’m in Portugal

The best thing to come out of this “burn out” is that since I didn’t film a video for 5 days, I’m caught up. I’m now basically back to real time.

So, I filmed my first video from Portugal on Wednesday, and it was live yesterday (Thursday).  I don’t necessarily need my vlog to be that “real time”, but I do find it so much easier to edit, share, and be productive when everything is close to real time.

As you’ll see from the video below, I had a great time in Porto shooting a really cool location.  But, this video was also all about me getting my fitness back to a place where I want it to be.  Photography is such a great career that sometimes I work so hard that I forget to take care of myself. It’s time now to find a balance.

Photo from Porto

The light at Capela Senhor da Pedra looked like it was going to be awesome.  But, then it kind of just fizzled on me.  I still got a couple images, and I definitely had fun exploring and shooting.  And from the shoot in Porto, this was my favourite image.

Capela Porto

What’s Next?

This weekend I’ll still be in Porto, Portugal.  I have a couple locations I’m really keen to shoot.  So, I’ll likely get out and shoot 2 or 3 more times here.

Then, on Monday I head to Ireland.  I’m heading there alone, and I don’t have any plans other than to shoot a bunch of images and have an amazing time.  I have no accommodation booked, I have no real solid plans, I just want some freedom to explore and shoot. So, that’s what I’m going to do.

As for upcoming workshops, there will be an announcement regarding Patagonia soon.  And, there are still a couple spaces open in my Crete Photography Clinic in September. I hope to see you at one (or both) of them.




Photographic Highlights of Route 66

Let me start out by saying that I kind of under-estimated Route 66. I love a good road trip. But, most of the time I based my road trips around certain photo destinations. And while there’s lots to photograph on “the mother road”, it’s not really a “photography destination”. Early in the trip, I was […]

Iceland is Sold Out – What’s Next?

Well, that was insane. The Iceland photo trip sold out in less than an hour (there is a waitlist going, if you still want to come).

I knew Iceland would be popular, but I had no idea that it would sell out so quickly. In fact, I actually feel bad that this Iceland photography workshop filled so quickly. I wish we could take on more participants. But, it’s just not possible without scaling up the group sizes (something I don’t want to do). Or, if I never slept.

And, the truth is that we could probably run another trip right after the first one. But, I have personal plans happening right at the end of this Iceland trip. So, I don’t know what to say other than thank you. And, I assure you that there will be another Iceland trip soon. If this January trip goes well, I might run another one next year.

So, what’s next?

The reason I started running these travel photography workshops is that I really wanted to connect with the community. And, that will continue to be the case no matter how large the community gets. But, I don’t want the connections to only happen on these big trips, there’s other ways of connecting. And, I’ll get to that later on in this post.

First of all, I want to talk about more trips.

Since these trips are “community powered” I want the destinations to be places you want to go. I want the style of trips to be styles you want to take part in. Basically, I want these trips to be FOR you, BY me. If that makes sense.

So…

Where do you want to go?

I’m asking that seriously. What’s on your photography list? Where do you want to shoot? Let me know in the comments section.

Joshua Tree

Star Photography Trip?

The Styles of Trips

I think I’ve mentioned this a lot, but I actually offer 4 styles of trips:

  1. Classics: The “classics” series of photography workshops are trips the way you’ve seen them to date. They are 10 participants, and we go out exploring and shooting images. They’re mid-range in budget, and hit up some classic photo destinations.
  2. Exclusive: The “exclusive” trips are small groups. We go in groups of 4 max, and they are a bit “premium” not only in their accommodation, but also their teaching methods. I also like to look at them like scouting trips. Essentially, we’ll live exactly as if we were working. Scouting, shooting, exploring, and being travel photographers.
  3. Adventure: The adventure series might be my favourite. These trips are less focused on the photography and more focused on having a travel adventure. Sure, they’re still photo trips, but with an adventure angle. The group size is max 16, and they are a bit of a small group tour with a photo side of things.
  4. Clinics: I just announced my first photography clinic in Europe this week (it’ll happen in Crete), and this is something I’d like to start doing more of. I like teaching, and I think that there’s a lot to offer in these styles of projects.
Whale Watching

Wildlife photography trip?

So, again, where do you want to go?

I’m really looking for your feedback on things. And, even if you’re not thinking of coming on a trip, where would you go, and what style of trip would you go on?

Meet-Ups

I mentioned earlier that there are so many ways that we can connect as a community. I have been doing meet-ups for about a year now. They are always fun. It’s a great way for me to connect with the community, but it’s also a great way for the community to connect with each other.

I think that every time we’ve done a meet-up, those who come end up making good friends that go beyond that day. I’ve seen many times where meet-up participants have gone out and shot together afterwards, and, to me, that’s so rewarding.

Over on my facebook group, I’m working on finding ways that we can connect the community a little bit better. Ways for people to do meet ups even when I’m not around. So, if you’re not a part of it yet, go and check it out.

Anyways, this is a bit of a ramble. I’ve been trying to re-start my blog for the main means of: sometimes I just need to brain dump, and this is my outlet.

So, let me know your thoughts!

And, don’t forget to head over to my youtube channel for the latest.




Best Photo Locations in Japan

I’m trying to create a series of articles of the best photo locations in places I visit fairly regularly.  In fact, I’m thinking that since I’ve been bad a posting to this blog, I might just include lists of photography spots each time I go to a new country or region.  Most recently, I’ve been in Japan.  So, I thought I’d put together all my favourite locations from the trip.

Of course, this list isn’t exhaustive.  There are millions of photo locations in Japan.  So, at the bottom of this post, there’s an embedded list from Trover where I used my community to crowd source some other spots.  It’s a really good list, and you’re welcome to submit your locations as well.  Moreover, this page will grow.  I’m planning on spending more time in Japan, so each time I return, I’ll update with new locations.

Japan, Mount Fuji

The Best Photo Locations in Japan

I’m going to organize this post into sub-categories to try to make things easier to follow – cities, regions, etc.   At some point, if I spend a lot of time in one region or city, I may put together a more extensive post with all the cool locations in a certain place.  But, for now, there all here.

Best Photo Spots in Tokyo

Tokyo is one of those cities where you literally could shoot photos on any street.  Visually, there’s just so much going on.  And, whether you’re into architectural or street photography, there are so many spots you could grab really cool images.  These are my favourite spots.

Onari Bridge

Someone in my Facebook group recommended this spot.  I think it must have been a train junkie, as the best part of this location is that there are a lot of train lines crisscrossing here.  Honestly, the location itself isn’t anything epic.  But, it is fun to try to get all 4 trains that pass by here in one frame.

I came at sunrise in the spring.  However, it was a bit too early as the trains weren’t running often enough when the light was good.  If you’re going to shoot this location, try to time the golden or blue hour with rush hour traffic in Tokyo at sunrise.  That’ll give you the best opportunity to get all the trains in the best light.

Tokyo

Shibuya Crossing

If there’s one photo of Tokyo that everyone chases it’s the one from Shibuya Crossing.  And, it’s a fun spot.

However, it is a challenge.  There are lots of people.  I mean, it is the busiest crossing in the world.  So, finding a place for you to set up your tripod without causing congestion (or angry people) is tricky.  There are a couple higher vantage points that you can apparently shoot from, but most of the classic images come from right down on the street.

Shibuya Crossing

Halfway across the crossing on the south there’s a median which is the location I shot the above image.  From here, you can get a pretty uninhibited view and set your tripod up without any issue.  Just make sure to come a bit early as lots of people want this spot and there’s really only enough room for one or two tripods.

Harajuku

If you’re into street photography, there’s no better place in Japan for it than here in Harajuku.  See the video below for some insight into what it’s all about.

This neighbourhood is definitely counter-culture here in Japan, which is otherwise very conservative.  This is the heart of Anime culture, and you get people dressed in some extremely interesting attire.  If you want the best characters out, come here any evening.  The weekends are good, but there are bigger crowds of “normal” looking people, as everyone comes to visit.  On a weekday, the ratio of “interesting” people is definitely much higher.

Harajuku

Best Photo Spots Kyoto

I know, I could list 100 spots in Kyoto. And, I also know that the 4 days I spent in the city was about 40 too few.  There are so many photography locations in Kyoto that it probably deserves a post in itself (and will probably get one in the future).  But, for now, this is the list.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

If you’re on Instagram (I’m @brendanvanson), chances are you’ve seen this location.  It’s a classic.  And, honestly, it is unreal.  However, what becomes quite obvious to you as soon as you get to the spot, is why there is such a small variety of images from here.  And that’s because it’s just not a massive site.  There really is just one stretch of bamboo perfection.  And that’s why all the shots are pretty similar.

That said, it is a really beautiful strip of bamboo.

Arashayami

Now, before you go and decide not to come here because there’s only 1 image to take (as I almost did), think again.  Not only is the whole area beautiful (there are lots of other parks around), but there are more compositions than just the classic.  You’ll just need to get creative, and pick out the details.

Arashayami

To-ji Temple

This spot was awesome. And, we kind of got lucky.  No… we got all sorts of lucky. Basically, To-Ji Temple is generally closed as soon as sunset happens.  But, we thought that if we got there just before sunset we’d be able to snap off an image or two before security kicked us out.

However, we found out that during the cherry blossom season in Japan, the park is open just after sunset for a night viewing.

We got lucky, as the above video shows, because we had no idea. And, even luckier, since we arrived an hour before the gates opened, we were first in line.  And, it was lucky that we were.  There was a mob of photographers behind us racing to this specific location as soon as the gates opened.  P.S. totally worth waiting in the line for this place.

Toji Temple

Hokanji

I think this is my favourite part of Kyoto.  There are always interesting characters buzzing about to keep the street photographer in me interested. And, there are heaps of beautiful buildings around as well.  I mean, I could probably shoot here for weeks and not get bored.

The classic shot of Hokanji is of the temple from above, down one of the roads.  From here, you get a beautiful leading line right at the building.  Personally, I think sunrise is a must here.  Sunset is beautiful, but this is such a popular spot that there are a tonne of tourists, many of whom seem to take pride in standing in front of tripods as they take 3 dozen selfies.

Hokanji

 

Fushimi Inari

I made a mistake when I visited this Kyoto photography location.  I got to the first set of gates I found and set up and started shooting. Then, all morning I dealt with tourists, instagrammers, and other photographers.  It’s not to say they aren’t welcome, they are.  It’s just that we were all in the same spot.

And, it was silly.

It turns out.  If we were all to just walk deeper into the shrines we would have found that Fushimi Inari actually goes on for kilometers.  We all could have spread out, and had sections of gates all to ourselves.  But, we’re not that smart.  But, I know for next time.

Personally, I thought that the most impressive gates were about a 10 minute walk into the shrine area.  If you get there at sunrise, you should have about 30 minutes before the crowds really start to swarm.

Kyoto, Japan

When you wake up at 4am to go take pictures like this, there should be coffee.

Maruyama Park

There are lots of great places to shoot in this park.  In fact, I think you could probably shoot this park every day for a week and not photograph the same spot.  This was our first destination Kyoto.  And, actually, I had almost forgot we shot here.  We came for the cherry blossoms, but there was so much else to shoot too.  I particularly loved this temple.

Maruyama Park

Other Potential Spots

Obviously, in 4 days I couldn’t get everywhere.  There are a bunch of places I’d like to get to.  Of course, I’d love an image of one of the Geisha.  However, during cherry blossom season, they are basically swarmed like rock stars everywhere they go. The Golden Pavilion also looks amazing (and I remember it being amazing from when I was there at age 13), but it’s also really busy.  I think the park also closes for golden hour (ironically).  There’s also a cool location of train tracks where the cherry blossoms pop right over top.  I’d like to shoot there next time.

As always, your recommendations are welcome in below and on the Trover list at the bottom of the article.

Best Photography Locations in Hokkaido

Cape Tachimachi & Hakodate

Hakodate was such a pleasant surprise.  In fact, we were just going to whip passed in on our way back to Kyoto.  But, luckily, I ended up meeting an old friend there so we spent the night.

As it turns out, it’s a pretty cool place to shoot.

There are actually two great spots to shoot in Hakodate. The first is from the video below which was taken at Cape Tachimachi.  This is a fantastic place for landscape photography.  I recommend coming at sunrise as the light (if good) hits the cliff faces really nicely.  This is a cool place for seascape photography.

The other spot in Hakodate is down on the bay.  There are all these awesome warehouses that make for cool images.  There’s also the water and usually a bunch of fishing boats on the water.  So, there are a number of things to take pictures of here.

Hakodate

Noboribetsu

This is likely the most popular destination in all of Hokkaido Island.  However, landscape photographers have mostly still not made it this way.

A spot called “Hell Valley” is the best spot to get images and is open 24 hours (as far as I could tell).  We came at sunset, and though it was busy it wasn’t that bad.  We still managed to get a couple cool photos.

It might not be the most famous photography location in Japan, but it is a really beautiful place and definitely worth the visit.

Noboribetsu

Nara

The town of Nara is known for the fact that deer come up to people, completely tame, and eat from their hands.  As you can see in the video below.

However, Nara is so much more than just the deer.  Such, you could photograph the incredibly tame animals.  Or, you can check out some of the temples, the bronze buddha, and the park.  I don’t think I ended up taking a single picture of the deer.  However, I got some cool stuff in the parks, and really enjoyed the temples as well.

Nara

Hijemi

This actually might have been my favourite photography location in Japan.  Especially during the cherry blossom season, there is just so much to shoot in a relatively small area.  The castle is the obvious shot, and it is beautiful and totally worthy of your photos.

Himeji Castle

My favourite shot of the castle came from outside the gates and around behind the zoo where you get this beautiful red bridge in the frame below the castle.

Himeji Castle

Kanazawa

The ancient town of Kanazawa deserves more love than it gets.  Not only is it known for geisha, ninjas, and samurai – which should warrant a visit in itself – it is also extremely photogenic.  Sure, it’s not Kyoto, but there are plenty of spots worth shooting.

For me, the most beautiful photos came from just on the edge of the castle walls.  The castle itself is somewhat underwhelming, but the cherry blossoms and castle gates made for great photos.

Kanazawa

There’s also a UNESCO listed village nearby Kanazawa. But, we didn’t give ourselves enough time to see it.  I’ve been told it’s more than worth some photos.

The Snow Monkeys

There are a couple places you can see the “snow monkeys” in Japan. Both spots are, apparently, really easy to get to.  I went to Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park which is just outside of Shibu Onsen – the village is also actually really cool.

What we learned in visiting the snow monkeys is that 1) they are extremely accessible, and 2) it’s actually not that big an area.  Most of the monkeys hang out around one single hot spring.  Moreover, if you’re looking for the winter experience, look up the weather forecast. We were there in April and there wasn’t snow.  And, when it’s not cold, the monkeys rarely go into the water.

Snow Monkeys

Hitachi Seaside Park

Maybe the most underrated photography destination in the country.  If you’re into flowers and macro photography, this is a great spot.  The park has an incredible hill that changes colours depending on the season, and is the highlight for photographers.

It’s not far from Tokyo, and can be reached by catching the train and a quick bus.  It’s worth a visit as a day trip from Tokyo for sure.  There’s not much else going on in the town, however.

Hitachi Seaside Park

Mount Fuji

I found 2 great places to photograph Mount Fuji.  But, obviously, there’s about a thousand other places.  In fact, the volcano is so massive that I think there must be views of it from all over the country.

The first location I shot was Chureito Pagoda. This is by far the most popular location for foreign tourists.  Yes, you’ll find some Japanese people up there too.  But, since the Pagoda is fairly new construction, and not really ancient Japan, it’s not nearly as popular with locals.  However, foreign photographers flock here for the perfect composition of the pagoda and Mount Fuji.

Warning, there are 2 issues that you’re going to run into photographing Chureito Pagoda. 1) There’s a no tripod rule. And, it’s sometimes enforced by security.  Luckily I had my Gorillapod which I was allowed to use.  And 2) there are a ton of people that come up here to shoot.  I arrived an hour before sunrise and I was still relegated to the back row of photographers.  To be honest though, I liked the perspective better from the back row.

Japan, Mount Fuji

The other location I shot Mount Fuji from was along Lake Kawaguchi.  There are obviously endless places to shoot along the lake and you get great reflections from any of them.  However, finding a foreground was a mission.

I shot 3 times along the lake.

Once at sunset where I found these boats to use as a foreground.

Mount Fuji

Once at that same spot under the stars.

Mount Fuji

And a little bit up the lake for sunrise.

Mount Fuji

Other Photography Locations in Japan

I asked on my facebook group for some of people’s favourite photo locations in Japan.  And, as such, I’ve compiled their best shots over on a list on Trover.  I’ve embedded the list below.

Japan Photo Locations #BvSJapan – a photo list by Brendan van Son

If you’d like to contribute your locations upload there and tag your images #BvSJapan.

Photography Workshops?

There are no photography workshops planned in Japan.  However, check the travel photography workshops page for info on what is available.




Win a Trip to Crete for a Photography Clinic!

As you might have seen announced, I’m running a photography clinic in Crete in September.  That alone is good news.

But, there’s even better news!  I’m giving away a spot on the trip including airfare within Europe, hotels, and entrance.

This was all made thanks to Trover who has sponsored the event.  In fact, I’m told that in June Trover will be giving away a spot on the trip, which is amazing. So, head over there and make sure you keep checking back for details on the contest.

**NOTE** If you’ve already booked the trip, you can still win.  So, don’t let that stop you from entering.

How to Win the Spot with Me?

So, if you want to come with me to Crete, it’s really easy how you enter:

  1. Head over to Trover.com
  2. If you don’t already have an account, sign up.
  3. Post your ABSOLUTE best image:
    1. In the caption, write 20 words about the photo, and 30 words why you should get the spot (don’t go over 50 words total)
    2. Be sure to hashtag the photo #BvSCrete within the caption
    3. Be sure to include proper GPS coordinates.  All images incorrectly tagged/located will be considered void.

The Contest Rules

  • I will be picking the winner.
  • I won’t be picking the best image, but rather the best reason why someone should get to join.
  • Only 1 entrant per person.
  • Contest winner will be announced June 1st.

What the winner gets:

  • Flights to/from Crete within Europe.
    • Note: I’ll accept winners from outside of Europe. But, any flight costs over €500 will have to be covered by the participant.
  • 3 nights hotel accommodation
  • Clinic Participation
  • All Meals

Can’t Join This One?

If you want information on the trips as the come up, please sign up for information below.
In the coming months, there will be announcements regarding upcoming travel photography workshops.




Everest Base Camp Gear Packing List

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Here you’ll find a list of 32 items you’ll want to be sure you remember for a trek to Everest Base Camp. These are the essentials – you’ll also need to consider the essential travel documents you’ll need, as well as any optional extra items.

For more information on our Everest Base Camp adventure click here.

  1. Main piece of luggage – You’ll leave this in Kathmandu and only take what you need for the trail, which your porter will carry for you. We will provide one porter bag, this is a maximum weight of 10kg (22 pounds) per person, equivalent to around 50 litres of space per person.
  2. Sleeping bag – For the tea houses. Must be rated for four seasons, and down to at least -26C (-14F). We can provide these for you if needed.
  3. Daypack – For carrying items you’ll need throughout the day on the trail. Must be well fitting with supportive shoulder straps and a waist-strap. Should be large enough for your water bottle or bladder, raincoat, fleece, camera and personal items. Size 25-30 litres (2500 cubic inches).
  4. Hiking Boots – Waterproof boots with good ankle support and solid tread are required. Note it’s very important that your boots are well broken in and comfortable before your trip.
  5. Hiking Poles – We highly recommend bringing two poles with you to support your knees during the hikes. If you don’t have your own then we provide them, though you may prefer your own for comfort and training.
  6. Trail runners/light sandals – For casual wear, and in the tea houses in the evening.
  7. Waterproof rain jacket/shell – A breathable, rainproof and windproof unpadded shell jacket with a hood. Ponchos are not suitable.
  8. Waterproof/windproof rain pants – For keeping dry and warm while hiking. Wearing thermal underwear underneath these is best.
  9. Down jacket/sweater – It gets very cold on the trail, must be 800 loft/fill compulsory and good quality – you can hire a super-down jacket from us free of charge if you like.
  10. 2 fleece sweaters/jackets – One medium-weight to wear during the day and a light one for the evenings.
  11. 1 pair of fleece pants – For evening wear in the tea houses.
  12. 2 t-shirts – Quick-dry merino wool style, cotton t-shirts are not suitable.
  13. 1 long-sleeve shirt – Quick-dry.
  14. 1 pair hiking trousers – lightweight.
  15. 1 pair shorts – Quick-dry.
  16. Thermal underwear – One long-sleeved top and bottom set of thermal/polypropylene underwear.
  17. Underwear
  18. Pyjamas/nightwear
  19. 4 pairs of hiking socks – Must be good quality. At least two of these pairs must be warm so that they wick moisture away from the foot and minimise blisters.
  20. Travel towel
  21. Warm hat – Wool/fleece ski hat or similar.
  22. Sun hat – Wide brimmed to protect you from the sun.
  23. Sunglasses – With polarizing lenses to prevent glare.
  24. Waterproof gloves – Wool/fleece gloves with a waterproof outer shell.
  25. Water/hydration bladder – One 2 litre volume Camelbak style bladder and a 1 litre bottle.
  26. Torch/flashlight/headtorch – With extra batteries as the cold can decrease their life.
  27. Camera – Memory cards and batteries/charger (220V capable with plug adapter for Nepal).
  28. Dry Bag – Waterproof bag for protecting your camera equipment.
  29. Toiletries – Shampoo, conditioner, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, facecloth, prescription medications, glasses/lenses, shaving gear, feminine hygiene products, wet wipes, hand sanitiser etc.
  30. Personal first aid kit – For any essential items including strapping tape, prescription medications and antibiotics that you know you’ll need e.g diarrhea, food poisoning, cold and flu, pain relief, hydration salts, and blister treatment if you are prone to blisters. Your guides also carry a comprehensive group first aid kit.
  31. Sun-block and lip balm – Maximum SPF UVA/UVB broad spectrum recommended all year in Nepal.
  32. 2 buffs or bandanas – One fleece to protect your face and airways in the cold air at altitude, and a thin one for the dusty trail. Easy to purchase in Kathmandu.
Our Guides Take On the Everest Marathon

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Airangel appoints new Chairman of the Board

Warrington 16th May 2018: Airangel reported today that the Company’s Board of Directors has elected Roger Taylor as Chairman.

Roger brings the benefit of a decade of senior leadership positions with technology enabled growth companies serving the global hospitality and travel industry. Initially, CEO of Quadriga Worldwide, the second largest global provider of hotel TV, WiFi and network services, and latterly Chairman of Hoppa, Europe’s largest provider of airport transfers, iRiS Software Systems, guest service and requests mobile software, and for the past two years a non-executive director at Airangel.

Roger Taylor

Roger Taylor

The remit of the new Chairman is to provide support, context, and to challenge the Executive Management team as Airangel accelerates on its journey from a UK managed service provider to a global WiFi software business. Airangel has emerged over recent years as the partner of choice to leading brands in both domestic and international Hotel and Serviced Apartment markets.

Roger commented, “I’m excited to be working with Dean and the team to bring user focused innovation to the WiFi software markets and help embrace the excitement and challenge of scaling our solutions, infrastructure and relationships as we service more of the Tier 1 market. With installations in 46 countries in Tier 1 brands such as Marriott, Starwood, Accor, IHG, Get Living London, Movenpick, and Minor International, Airangel are in prime position to increase their global footprint.”

Dean Wilkinson, Airangel CEO stated, “Roger has significant experience as a leader in the Hospitality Technology sector, and I and my fellow directors value his expertise and insight, which have been apparent during his time as Non-Executive Director. I strongly believe with Roger’s increased influence, we are well positioned to execute on strategies to drive significant international growth.

-END-

About Airangel
Airangel has provided public and guest WiFi solutions for over a decade, supplying thousands of hotels and serviced apartment buildings worldwide, including leading brands such as The Ritz, Marriott, Starwood, Accor, IHG, Get Living London, Movenpick, and Minor International.

Airangel’s aim is to provide safe and secure WiFi that is easy to deploy, simple to manage, and gets guests online quickly with the minimum amount of effort. Everything we do is driven by a passion for innovation and to help our customers to improve their guest’s experience, increase visitor satisfaction and loyalty, and to generate additional revenue.

Contact:
Irvin Aldridge, Chief customer Officer.
01925 611 061
Irvin.aldridge@airangel.com