Wanderlust 2017 Steve Brookwell


This year's travels kicked off with a bang at New Year 2017 in Havana. Early morning starts on the photogenic streets and the daytimes exploring the historic districts.

rush hour at El Capitolio

Exploring by bike is the best way to get around most cities. In a country where supplies are scarce, a rare bike rental shop allowed a few days of discovery, exercise and photo shoots.

cycling, selfies & cigars
The old city of Havana

In a country where the car is the star, and the colours match the architecture, a nation still very much cut off from the western world, food rationed, very limited internet from a government mast, and hard to find currency in mostly empty ATMs make for a challenging destination.

It had been 10 years since my last visit to Cuba and little had changed. American tourists now flood in on daily flights so hurry up and visit before MacDonalds arrives.

Paseo de Marti

Colours of Cuba

American car classics

A very safe destination where little English is spoken, cheap accommodation is easy to find at private homes or Casas, where families are allowed to run a private bed and breakfast business since the communist government relaxed the rules. Mostly found by simply knocking on doors and asking for a room. A lack of Spanish led to a some interesting stays !

Havana street life
Castro in Cuba
The day starts in the shadows of the Capitol Building, El Capitolio
Faro Castillo del Morro
National flag
Havana backstreets
Che Guevara murals

The Malecón is a broad esplanade, roadway and seawall which stretches for 8 km (5 miles) along the coast in Havana, Cuba, from the mouth of Havana Harbour in Old Havana, along the north side of the Centro Habana neighbourhood, ending in the Vedado neighbourhood.



The famous LV sign

A few days in Sin City. Early morning starts as usual when the streets are quiet and the colours glow. Much cleaner than previous visits but never fails to amaze at it's craziness.

The Strip
Caesar's Palace, The Venetian and the Bellagio

Chihuly is the artist who created “Fiori di Como,” the glass sculpture that hangs from the ceiling in Bellagio's lobby.

The High Roller Observation Wheel. Soaring 550 feet above the centre of the Las Vegas Strip, the High Roller eclipses both the London Eye and Singapore Flyer. With sweeping 360-degree views of the Las Vegas Valley and The Strip, the wheel takes 30 minutes to complete one revolution and features 28 spacious cabins to accommodate guests.

instant weddings
New York, New York
Caeser's Palace
The Luxor



views from Kerry Park

Seattle, a city on Puget Sound in the Pacific Northwest, is surrounded by water, mountains and evergreen forests, and contains thousands of acres of parkland. Washington State’s largest city, it’s home to a large tech industry, with Microsoft and Amazon headquartered in its metropolitan area. The futuristic Space Needle, a 1962 World’s Fair legacy, is its most iconic landmark.

Space Needle Park
Space Needle Park

Due to the unsavoury residents at a downtown backpackers, opted to sleep in the rented Jeep on top of Kerry Hill above the city under a borrowed luxury hotel quilt, opening up photo shoots at both ends of the day.

Pike Place Market is a public market overlooking the Elliott Bay waterfront in Seattle. The Market opened August 17, 1907, and is one of the oldest continuously operated public farmers' markets in the United States.

late night shopping, try the Clam Chowder in a bread bowl

It rains and rains and rains in Seattle

One of the worst experiences of homelessness in the USA, sadly who are allowed to hassle the tourists in the main areas, vagrants banging on my car window, a lady asking for a dollar at a gas station while she held up a lit cigarette lighter. Making America great again.

The original Starbucks
car camping on Kerry Park

A quick ferry day trip from Edmonds to Kingston across the Puget Sound under the snowy mountains of Olympic National Park


What started as chief wedding photographer in Treaddor Bay, Anglesey became a trip around the Llyn Peninsula in Gwynedd. Beautiful scenery at every corner. and great weather too.

Simon & Julie's wedding

Simon & Julie
South Stack Lighthouse, Anglesey

The Ty Coch Inn ( red house) is arguably the best pub in Wales and officially in the top ten beach bars in the world. Visitors must walk nearly a mile across the beach or cross a golf course on top of headland to reach it.

I had heard about this beach and its pub so many times, not forgetting it's golf course. It certainly lived up to expectations and more. A couple of cold beers with a reunited cousin and a beach dog walk made for one of the highlights of the year.

Ty Coch Inn pub, Nefyn

The National Trust white sands beach at Whistling Sands is named because of the squeaking sound made by the sand as you walk on it.

cousins meet on the Llyn Peninsula, a far cry from Wigan
Abersoch Bay from Mickey's Boatyard Cafe


Merseyside, UK

The New Brighton Lighthouse on the Wirral had been on the camera bucket list for some time, and after 2 previous failed visits due to bad weather, got lucky with a calm sunset evening and the tide creeping in at the same time.

at the end of the day on the Mersey
New Brighton, River Mersey



Back to East Coast USA. It's always worth heading out early onto Miami Beach before the sun comes up. The bad side is the humidity soaks the camera lens and difficult to take clear shots, the good side is that every morning sunrise is different and full of surprises.

My bike was stolen on Ocean Drive last year so I walked !

Art Deco colours on the beach
Art Deco

It's all about the colours on Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue

Ocean Drive, South Beach


Dorset, UK

Summertime on the south coast of England. Sleeping in the car after a pint in the Bankes Armes, Studland, with my trusty dog for company, hiked a mile along the cliff path, torch in hand at 4am, racing to beat the sunrise at Old Harry Rocks.

Old Harry Rocks

The following night's accommodation was on Moonfleet. A steel hulled Gaff Cutter, robustly built by the great seafaring people of Holland in 1930. Owned by my old rugby mate Jez, his boat anchored at Swanage Pier over the summer months offering day trips around the coastal cliffs.

River Frome, Wareham
Kimmeridge Bay


West Sussex, UK

An annual summer visit to Lordington Farm, just north of Chichester in West Sussex, close to home and open to the public for one week only.

Lavender harvested

Nestled in the South Downs, Lordington Lavender was established in 2002 by local farmer Andrew Elms. After selling his dairy herd he was looking for a new way to diversify and decided that Lavender would be a unique and exciting alternative. The crop is grown with conservation of habitat and the environment very much in mind. No fertilizers or pesticides are used and it has become haven for wildlife with at least 12 red listed species of birds including skylarks and barn owls found on the farm.

Fields of purple


West Sussex, UK

Wedding no 2 at Ridge Farm, Surrey, Ali & Mike returned from Dubai to rent the house for the weekend. A typical rainy English summer's day which failed to dampen the happy occasion.

The oldest part of the building, originally a medieval farmhouse, and what was to become Ridge Farm Studio was built in the mid-17th century and additions to the building were added over the centuries. The studio was surrounded by 12 acres (49,000 m2) of land that included gardens, orchards, meadows and woodland.

The wedding crowd

With a client list that ranged from The Smiths, Bad Company, Queen, Peter Gabriel, Ozzy Osbourne, Pearl Jam, Oasis, Abba, Bryan Ferry and more, Ridge Farm Studio closed in early 2003. It is now used as a venue for weddings, banquets and meetings.

Ali & Mike
family of the year, The Smylies


New York

Another city bike rental made this year's NYC visit much more accessible. Cycling all around the Manhattan coastline on the now popular cycle paths and over both the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges where cyclists and pedestrians compete for a right of way. A mode of transport that most global cities are introducing for locals and tourists.

Empire State Building
Brooklyn Bridge
Manhattan Skyline from the New Jersey shore
NY - between the bridges

Sometimes popular viewpoints for camera hobbyists have to be adapted. The NY Bridges had holes cut out at the main vantage points which were shared between photographers.

Manhattan Bridge viewpoint
tall and wide



the Charles River

Another city, another city bike. I saw more of Boston than ever seen before cycling around the small streets. City planners have suffocated most of the historic past by meaningless glass office blocks hiding significant buildings. The Freedom Trail is well worth following around town telling the story of an American independence from the British.

The Old State House - evening

The Old State House was the site of the Boston Massacre. Known as the Incident on King Street by the British, was an incident on March 5, 1770, in which British Army soldiers shot and killed people while under attack by a anti British mob.

The Old State House - morning
new BF


Channel Islands, UK

The Channel Islands are an archipelago in the English Channel, off the French coast of Normandy. They include two Crown dependencies: the Bailiwick of Jersey, the largest of the islands; and the Bailiwick of Guernsey, consisting of Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and some smaller islands.

St Peter Port

This time my own bike and panniers on the fast ferry from Poole Harbour. So good last year, it had be done again. A one man tent and a new adventure road bike to further explore the Channel Islands. Belonging to the UK but closer to the French Coast.

just a ferry ride away

Cycling all day, wild camping at night. Pitch the tent after dark on the coast, get up before the dog walkers and joggers, then go eat breakfast at a local hotel pretending you are a resident.

Worth getting out of the tent early

The islands were the only British territory to be occupied by the German Army during World War II.

St Peter Port

The intention was to camp on all the Channel Islands, but due to restrictions on bikes on ferries, only got to Sark, but well worth it.

Sark is one of the few remaining places in the world where cars are banned from roads and only tractors and horse-drawn vehicles are allowed. In 2011, Sark was designated as a Dark Sky Community and the first Dark Sky Island in the world.

La Coupee to Little Sark was built by German prisoners of war in 1945

Awake at 4am , wild camping by the rocky beach at what ended up being the Guernsey Clay Pigeon Shooting Club, a first attempt at taking the Milky Way. A little blurred but will be better next time. Googling what settings to use in total darkness not exactly the best of planning. A shooting star making a guest appearance.

Dark Sky Island



The Hermosa Beach Hotdogger Championships

Breakfast at Hermosa Beach stumbled upon a girls longboard surf competition

Smooth lines
points for walking the board
hanging on
Hermosa Pier
smooth lines



One of the most dramatic photo shoots at sunset on Santa Monica Beach, under the pier. The fairground big wheel constantly changes colour,

Santa Monica Pier

Anything goes at Venice Beach, tacky, hip, cool, grungey but remains a safe tourist spot.

beach adventures
across to the Malibu Hills

The famous Santa Monica Pier and its grand entrance. The end of the road of Route 66.

Santa Monica Pier



A drive around the Pacific Coastal Highway from Santa Monica for more sand & surf

Malibu Pier

Nicknamed "the 'Bu" by surfers and locals

The 'Bu



pelicans, seals and boats

The Southern California coast, within easy reach of downtown Los Angeles, has several cool beaches, great surf, over healthy people and truly amazing light at both ends of the day.

Redondo Beach Harbour
King Harbour Marina

5am starts, witnesses unworldly colours at dawn. The locals here are truly spoilt with the most amazing colours. It hardly surprising its such a populated area.

purple from the pier

Ruby's Cruise at the Beach, Friday nights between April and October Ruby's Diner in Redondo Beach, CA, becomes a fabulous showcase of vehicles of all kinds, from modern speed machines to vintage cars to even pedal cars.

VW microbus with safari windows
Friday's at Rubys
pimping the ride



NOLA was always on the bucket list, and didn't fail to impress. Not a huge place, but spectacular streets, buildings and a feel that is hard to imagine is American. An eventful history, mostly French, ripped apart by hurricanes, slavery and civil war.

River Cruises in the Mississippi

The buildings and architecture of New Orleans are reflective of its history and multicultural heritage, from Creole cottages to historic mansions on St. Charles Avenue, from the balconies of the French Quarter to an Egyptian Revival U.S. Customs building.

Bourbon Street (French: Rue Bourbon) is a street in the heart of New Orleans' oldest neighbourhood, the French Quarter. It extends 13 blocks from Canal to Esplanade Avenue. Known for its bars and strip clubs, Bourbon Street's history provides a rich insight into New Orleans' past.

Bourbon Street

Admittedly I got smashed on Happy Hour beer and bar girls forcing me to drink shots.

one of many 7 days a week live bars

The Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis, King of France, also called St. Louis Cathedral, is the seat of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans.

St Louis Cathedral

Getting picked up in Dodge Chargers by Uber drivers and chatting about the hurricanes will always be remembered from this visit.

NO local transport



A city that never fails to impress, breathtaking views above the Golden Gate Bridge especially as the sun comes up over the horizon.

here comes the sun

Taking my own bike on the plane was a small risk but came good and worthwhile.

cycle adventure crossing

Taking the steep road up to the Marin Headlands in the dark, making best use of Battery Spencer and the Golden Gate viewpoints

San Francisco Bay area



The Marin Headlands is a hilly peninsula at the southernmost end of Marin County, directly behind the Golden Gate. a complete contrast to the city behind.

sunset at Rodeo Cove



Pacifica is a city in San Mateo County, on the coast of the Pacific Ocean between San Francisco and Half Moon Bay. Just a few minutes over the hills from the airport lies this surf culture town.

enjoying the swell
downhill to the beach

Stay away from the city and visit the coast instead. Pacifica is just one stunning bay on the drive south on US Highway number 1.

board walk
morning rides

Heavenly sunsets every evening of the year, sea spray and glimmering lights from hillside houses from locals lucky enough to live here.

Pacifica by night



Pigeon Point Light Station or Pigeon Point Lighthouse is a lighthouse built in 1871 to guide ships on the Pacific coast. Just a few minutes drive south from San Francisco down the PCH.

milky waves of the Pacific Ocean
Pigeon Point Lighthouse



A string of beaches along the bay includes Half Moon Bay State Beach. The Coastside Trail leads north to Pillar Point, near the huge waves of the Mavericks surf spot.

Cycling along the Pacific Trail, introduced the latest outdoor companion, the hammock.


Sea mist creeps onto the land which can hang around for days in the summertime and totally ruin the visit. Multiple micro climates exist in the bay, on the hills and on the coast.

Half Moon Bay mist
Pacific breakers at HMB


United Arab Emirates

Christmas & New Year 2017 spent in Dubai to escape the British winter weather for a while.

Dubai is one enormous construction site, forever developing, spending the oil and gas riches to build cities before supplies run out. Strong light is virtually guaranteed making for amazing images.

Dubai Harbour Creek. You have to see the plans to believe it

Downtown across the Creek
Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary

The Dubai Water Canal Bridge is still being developed with a city to beach cycle path. The newly named Tolerance Bridge has recently opened.

Tolerance Bridge
Mr Mike's bike

Kite Beach Boardwalk is a long fabulous stretch of sand and blue waters, complete with cool eating and shopping areas.

tourists at the public beach
Burj Al Arab
feeding the gulls

The public beach at the Burj Al Arab and the Jumeirah Beach Hotel is typically busy by day, but by night is a dream to photo. Shoes and socks off wading into the warm sea of the Arabian Gulf to capture the changing colour reflections of both luxury hotels.

The Burj Al Arab has to be one of the most iconic buildings in the world with a 7 star rating and its own helicopter pad at its peak.

Burj Al Arab

If commercial package holidays are for you, Jumeirah beach is the place for you. The Dubai Eye (yes, really) will be open soon.

JBR - Jumeira Beach Resort

Camel rides are available on the beach

Downtown Dubai comes with crazy architecture that dominates the city skyline and comes alive at night using LED lighting. Most buildings are still incomplete and construction ongoing.

JW Marriott Marquis Dubai
biking the Burj Khalifa

A view of the Meydan Bridge in Dubai in the daylight, is a wonder to behold, a true architectural marvel. However, you’ll have to wait until the sun goes down to witness its true magnificence. At night, the Meydan Bridge flaunts a spectacular glow of blue ribbons that can be seen for miles. The bridge connects the Meydan Hotel to the main road, and is seen by millions every year. So to increase the prominence of that route, and to make the bridge an even greater landmark, city officials decided it should be illuminated, and they chose Phillips to handle the job.

and to end another well travelled year........... into 2018 for more big adventures.

Burj Khlifa New Year Laser Show


Live life, don't waste it

steven.brookwell@btinternet.com / @brookerspic / www.500px.com/brookers/galleries

Created By
Steve Brookwell

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