The All Seeing Eye – or ‘A Costly Way Home’

This short piece (really a photography essay) is dedicated to all the photographers and would-be photographers that have travelled on my tours this past year; you’ll appreciate this one (I hope)…


A camera is a save button for the minds eye – Roger Kingston

One afternoon in November on my last tour of 2015 around sunset, with a wonderful group of travellers, I set off for the last bus journey of the season from a little village high in the so called Pyrenees of Malaga.

As a rule, after food – and especially after wine – on the home journey, I talk very little (which you’ll know if you’ve travelled with me, is not easy for me). On this occasion we’d decided to take a different route, one neither myself nor driver knew. Why not? Learn something new. The guests would be sleeping anyway – dormitory on wheels.


Photography is an art of observation. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them – Elliott Erwitt

It’s always a rather melancholic moment for me, as I love my job so much, that last bus ride of the year and I didn’t even feel like chatting to the driver much. Two months until it starts up again. So I simply sat and looked out of the window from my ‘suicide seat’ as I call it (I do also refer to it as ‘the best office in the world’, as my view changes daily).


Don’t shoot what it looks like. Shoot what it feels like – David Alan Harvey

The sun was setting, and driving through the beautiful Andalusian countryside, which must have been surrounded by thousands upon thousands of olive trees as we made our way down to the Mediterranean and our hotel. Suddenly on the left after a small hill we passed an old ruin behind which stunning views opened up on the rolling olive undulations below. But, crucially on one wall of that very ruin, someone had painted an eye. Maybe it was the timing too, but it struck me as one of the most beautiful pieces of artwork I had seen in a long time. A flash, and it was gone. There was no time to point it out, or even ask whether anyone else had noticed it. Gone.


Look and think before opening the shutter. The heart and mind are the true lens of the camera – Yousuf Karsh

Now I love photography. However when I guide, I never bring a camera with me, as I feel it doesn’t look all that professional if the guide is taking pictures – as if they haven’t been there. Plus we have other things to do. However, I confess to having lost a little the passion for photography over the past few years – a passion that very much once possessed me. This one glimpse changed that in an instant. Really, that was all it took. Strange. I was gobsmacked and vowed to buy myself a good camera for Christmas, come back in January and get a good photo of this very spot, if only I could recall where it was.


Photography is a love affair with life – Burk Uzzle

If only… Well, today, camera duly purchased I set off with a good old fashioned map and tried my best to retrace our tracks from that day in November. A couple of wrong turns and a couple of hours later and there was my eye. As beautiful as I remember her being. It was yet another ‘magical’ moment afforded to me in my short time here in Andalusia.I hope I have done her justice and though that day in November did turn out to be a ‘costly way home’, who, frankly, cares? It is once again, score one for travel…


Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst – Henri Cartier-Bresson

~ by 2ndcupoftea on January 6, 2016.

14 Responses to “The All Seeing Eye – or ‘A Costly Way Home’”

  1. In which case you have a long way to travel!

    • Well Dad, it’s only 9999 to go – it’s more the cost per shot that concerns me if each one requires a new camera! 😉

    • Happy new year to you and family Adrian
      Jez (from Durham 20 odd years ago!)

      • I’ll pass this on to Dad – well, make sure he sees it – very kind of you and goodness has it really been that long? Crikey eh? 😉

  2. Very interesting, but is there another story in the “costly” journey to the hotel? Happy New Year Thomas.

    • Hi Linda 😉 Ah ‘costly’ only as that moment of inspiration resulted in the purchase of a not cheap piece of equipment. Happy 2016 to you too… big hug

  3. I love it!!! I’m so glad you were able to find the eye again and that you will be taking more amazing photos of all the wonderful things each place you visit has to offer with you new camera – those sometimes very small and interesting things you see that others don’t. How great it is that we each see the places we visit in so many different ways. Thanks for sharing and happy travels. Dave and I will meet up with Martie and Karl in Cuba in about 3 weeks – another reunion from the 2014 Survey of France trip. Dorothy

    • I WISH I were there with you – please give them my love and happy happy travels to you all. You will love Cuba, especially Havana – drink some decent rum for me! Much love and big big hug to you and Dave as well. Thanks for reading Dorothy… 😉

  4. I invariably look forward to these pieces by my “word wizard.” They never disappoint and ,without fail, take my thinking down a magical ,untrodden track .Thank you! Baci.x

    • Bernadine, you remain my dearest, most loyal reader. I think it was you that introduced me to the world of magic in the first place and I’ll never forget you for it. Tanti baci x x x

  5. Thomas, I really do like the eye! I like the very first image in your article the best. I like the sky, the foreground, and especially your inclusion of the ruins that surround it. Great composition! It will look wonderful hanging on the wall in your house, I am sure. I also love the quotes from those icons of photography. So, now that you have a really good camera, come on over to the US and I will guide you for a change and we can shoot the wonders of the Pacific Northwest.

    • Dear Rich, from you that is huge compliment as you have to be one of the very best photographers I’ve ever travelled with. Mt favourite was that same one – of course in small here, it doesn’t really do it justice and my skills need some work, but there you go. One fine day I will eventually make it over there… Thank you so much. Many hugs 😉

  6. Nice pictures Tom – and great to see a flurry of blog posts in the new year (Resolution?)

    Starting to think about this year’s vacation plans – I’ll e-mail you so we can talk Andalusia!!

    Hope to see you soon

    • Thank you so much Jeremy. Not really a resolution – more the time to do it – 2 months off will do that for you 😉 Looking forward to your email very very much. Will truly be a highlight of 2016 if we can meet up… Many hugs

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