Alex Harford Photography & Travel

ABOUT

About AlexHarford.uk and I

Who are you and what have you done with my bacon?

I'm Alex of Harford from Staffordshire, and because I don't like writing about myself I'm going to start writing about myself in the third person.

Alex at Corvin Castle, Transylvania, Romania

Alex hasn't done anything with your bacon. It's in the fridge or the pantry or your stomach if you've already eaten it. If you don't eat bacon, you probably didn't have any in the first place.

Alex has enjoyed travelling for many years, and to photograph while travelling since visiting Iceland in 2005. He writes short stories and poetry and set up this website when he decided to write about places he's visited. He was a web designer/developer, and is now a Technical SEO Manager. This website is a culmination of those many things.

Why is this website called AlexHarford.uk?

Alex tried portmanteaus, made-up words, song names (his first website was called Hole in My Head, named after a song by the band Feeder, not made-up words in made-up combinations, everything he could think of...

He wracked his brain(s) and eventually Lens Beyond seemed the most appropriate domain available. It was partly inspired by The Land Beyond, a song by British Sea Power. The Lens could be his camera or anything the eye sees. Beyond could mean he visits places off the tourist trail or that he aims to go 'beyond the lens' with a bit of little-known information.

And this question and answer made more sense when the website was actually called LensBeyond.com.

What else does Alex do?

As well as travelling and photography, Alex loves music (if you couldn't tell already from his website naming conventions); he plays keyboards and writes lyrics for The Cakes, a catchy indie rock band with poppy hooks. Their music is usually lighthearted and fun, but occasionally dark...like The Clash tickling Spandau Ballet and accidentally beheading them.

Alex near the summit of Askival, Isle of Rum, Scotland

However, if you've heard of Alex for anything, he's most famous for inventing wallpaper in 274 BC, though these days he prefers murals.

Other hobbies of his include crafting flammable pipes for the residents of his local old people's home, popping plastic bubble-wrap and tickling elven people under their chins. He often reports pharmacies for drug-dealing and wonders why they're still trading a year later.

Alex's favourite gardening tool is the hoe and his favourite King, Ludwig II. He suffers from anatidaephobia and likes watching films.

You do a lot of stuff but you're not the right Alex Harford

If you're looking for Alex Harford the software developer, Alex Harford the drummer (and drum teacher), or one of the two (at least) Alex Harford guitarists (wow, we could make our own band!) - this page is not the right Alex Harford. Alex used to link to the pages of these other Alex's but one started ranking above him in Google for his name. "I can't have that", Alex thought, and he removed the links.

Compact camera? And what camera do you use?

People often think I use a DSLR, and I have friends who've bought a big camera, only to never take it out due to it's size. I like the convenience of fitting a camera in my coat pocket and not having to change lenses, and it's good to prove decent photos can be taken without a big or expensive camera. Charlie Waite proves that in his "Travelling Light" DVD, as have many of the great photographers of the past.

The oldest photos on this site (e.g. from Romania) were taken with the Canon Powershot S5 IS from 2007, which I bought second-hand for £100 (about US$150). It has been superceded by the Canon PowerShot SX60 HS, which has a ridiculous 60x zoom! In late-2012, I bought a new camera - I was tempted to buy the SX60 HS for the zoom alone, but I went with the Canon Powershot G1 X instead. Although it only has a 4x zoom, it's smaller and the image quality is better. I've also added a Canon Powershot G1 X Mark II, but use the original G1 X far more often due to the convenience of the vari-angle screen. It also feels more user-friendly overall, though the Mark II has slightly better image quality, particularly in low-light.

Do you make any money from this site?

Nope. I have a few affiliate links dotted around when I think they might be useful - usually products and services I've used myself. Hopefully I'll earn back some of the costs of this website...

What is your favourite country?

ICELAND. It gave me the travel bug in 2005. It was about my fifth country, and around thirty countries later, it's still my favourite.

I've always loved Scotland, but love it even more since spending three months travelling the Hebrides in 2016. I visited around 25 islands, and because everywhere was so amazing, I ran out of time without visiting the one I wanted to visit most - Jura. It's a special place, and like Iceland, I will return!

Georgia rounds out a top three, for the amazing landscapes and wonderfully hospitable people. I'm sure one family let me stay in their house when I mistook it for a room listed in my guidebook. They welcomed me in and cleared a bedroom for me.

How about other places?

Castles: Neuschwanstein (Germany), Corvin (Romania), Guedelon (France), Belogradchik (Bulgaria).

Waterfalls: Plitvice Lakes National Park (Croatia), Steall Falls (Scotland), Eas Mor (Isle of Skye, Scotland), Myrdalsfossen (Norway), too many to mention (Iceland), area around Ystradfellte (Wales).

Structures that aren't castles: Buzludzha (Bulgaria), Angkor (Cambodia), Sighișoara old town (Romania), Gergeti Trinity Church (Georgia), Svanetian towers (Georgia).

Walks: Loch Sgiopoirt to Beinn Mhòr, South Uist (Scotland), Kinloch to Dibidil via Hallival and Askival, Isle of Rum (Scotland), coast around Carsaig, Isle of Mull (Scotland), Udal Peninsula, North Uist (Scotland), Rila Lakes to Ivan Vazov Mountain Hut (Bulgaria).

Accolades

I don't enter many competitions, but here are a couple of highlights.

I won an Abstract round of Amateur Photographer of the Year and finished just outside the overall top 10 that year. If I knew I was going to be in with a shot, I would've entered every round. Oops!

I've won The Art Studio Prize at Keele University's Three Counties Open Photography Exhibition twice, and 1st Prize in Keele University's Three Counties Open Art.

I was a finalist in the Landscape category of Wanderlust Photo of the Year in 2019 and 2020.

Do you like bacon?

I live without it.

You started writing in the first person again

Oops.

Contact:

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(AT)AlexHarford.uk

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