Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Auschwitz Concentration Camp

The undistinguished little town of Oswiecim in Poland, about an hour's bus ride from the popular weekend city break destination of Krakow is better known by the German version of its name. Auschwitz. Along with its neigbour Birkenau it's a name which has become synonymous with the horror of the Nazi's attempted extermination of the Jews.The first impression is of rows of solid brick built barrack blocks, like any other Army installation, which it was prior to becoming the infamous concentration camp. Only once inside the buildings does the magnitude of the crime against humanity committed here is revealed with the rows of photos of the shaven headed victims, men women and children looking down from the walls. Some of the horrors are all too apparent, the torture cells and gas chambers; some poignant, the piles of suitcases with names hopefully written on them, and piles of spectacles taken from those executed. Some macabre, like the huge collection of artificial arms and legs.The ultimate horror though is that Auschwitz was organised like a giant factory. Here are the order sheets in triplicate for Zyclon B poison gas, here are the bales of human hair for turning into fabric, a production line of death.

To see more photos of Auschwitz click HERE
Please contact me about free use of photos for school projects or non profit organisations raising awareness of the holocaust

Monday, 25 May 2009

Abbey Gardens, Tresco, Isles of Scilly

Tresco is home to one of Britain's most famous gardens which draws visitors from all over the globe. It owes it's existence to a micro climate generated by the currents of warm water which cross the Atlantic from the Gulf of Mexico known as the Gulf Stream. This ensures that although the latitude of the Scillies is further north than New York the temperature seldom approaches zero and tender plants that only survive in greenhouses on mainland UK flourish out of doors on Tresco. The garden is built on the southwest facing slopes rising in a series of terraces above the ruins of the old Abbey church. There is something to see all year and even in November there are bright pink nerines in flower and the large succulents tree ferns and palm trees that are the symbol of Tresco.
To see more stock photos of the Abbey Gardens, Tresco Isles of Scilly click HERE

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Flying into Tresco

The Isles of Scilly are only 20 miles from Lands End, but the 20 minute helicopter flight seems like a trip to another country and another time. A few seconds after take off from the bustling town of Penzance, the big supermarkets and sidings of the railway terminus shrink below as you circle Mounts Bay and leave St Michaels Mount behind. Hugging the coast at first you fly over Newlyn Harbour, crammed with trawlers, it's Cornwall's busiest fishing port. The catches landed here are whisked off to Europe's top restaurants. Turning onshore the Sikorsky 61 passes over the patchwork of small fields of the Penwith peninsula with the chimneys of the abandoned tin mines visible far off as the north coast comes into view. Then before you know it, the rugged cliffs and tawdry tourist trap of Lands End are below and you are out over the Atlantic Ocean. For anyone more used to flying high in airliners the waves look awfully close and the sight of the Longships lighthouse with its tiny helipad doesn't offer any comfort to the nervous flyer so it's a relief when low grey shapes appear on the horizon. Land Ho!
As you get nearer the sea haze clears and you can start to pick out features, the red and white striped daymark on St Martins, shaped like a giant artillery shell and the strip shaped bulb field with their high windbreak hedges. It certainly doesn't look like part of England below, the long beaches of sparkling white sand and clear blue water could be the South Seas or Carribean. This impression increases as the helicopter comes into land at the airfield and you see the palm trees of Tresco's famous Abbey Gardens.Touchdown, and you instinctively (though needlessly) duck your head below the swooshing rotor as you walk to the large wooden shed that serves as the airport terminal. Welcome to Tresco!

To see my stock aerial photos of the helicopter flight to Tresco click HERE