Splitting his time between the UK and Asia, travel photographer and creative director Alex Searle has made it his life's work to capture the mood and majesty of some of the most dramatic landscapes on earth. From the remote moorlands of Dartmoor to dancing mangrove trees in Sumba, here he looks back on the journey so far, from his career highlights to his favourite travel memory. Follow @AlexjSearle.
Tell us about yourself. How did you get started in photography?
It was a trip to Iceland a few years back when I realised that I wanted to pursue adventure filmmaking and photography as a career. The plan was to surprise my wife for her birthday in hopes of seeing the Aurora Borealis. During our first evening after many hours of driving, we pulled up to our very remote cabin. Pretty exhausted, we started to unload our bags, I recall looking up at the stars and almost instantly the sky turned green directly above us.
We couldn't believe it. I think we must have both stood still gazing upwards for about 10 minutes before either one of us said anything to each other. It was sheer disbelief, as even though we were in the right season, plenty of people we know had visited and never seen the phenomenon. Being able to capture those kind of moments is why I love what I do.
Dartmoor National Park, Devon
What does travel mean to you?
Travel for me is the thrill of experiencing something new, the sights, cultures, and people I have met have helped shape me into the person I am today. Personally I think travel gives you some of the best life lessons you’ll ever receive; there can be ups and downs, especially when out of your comfort zone, but one thing I feel certain about, you become a lot more open minded, and far more willing to accept some situations. You learn to roll with it.Bali, Indonesia
Which is your favourite shot that you’ve taken whilst travelling?
It’s quite difficult to pick just the one, but, this would definitely be up there in the top 5 or so. It was an image taken a couple of years ago in Sumba, an island in Indonesia. When doing some research, I came across these dancing mangrove trees, they looked incredible so I asked a local guide how to reach the location. The trees are roughly around 4-5 ft high, and the shot I was hoping for was dependant on the right tide.
My initial timings were wrong when I arrived, although the trees did look very unique, it wasn't what I'd hoped for. Fast forward several hours and my patience paid off, not only did the tide create a mirror effect, but I was also treated to one of the most colourful sunsets to date. Sometimes photography can be extremely frustrating as you may only have the one opportunity to capture “THAT SHOT” fortunately this time around things worked in my favour.Sumba, Indonesia
Name a place that you love so much, you’d happily return to time and time again.
I’m a big fan of South East Asia. If I had to specify only one country though, I’d say Indonesia. Actually, it’s where I'm answering these questions from right now. With over seventeen thousand islands there's so much to see here. For my style of work it has such a diverse mix of landscapes, from volcanoes and waterfalls, to caves and acidic lakes. Many of my most satisfying sunrises have been in this part of the world.BBali, Indonesia
What’s the most unusual experience you’ve ever had on a shoot?
It’s quite funny to think back now, although at the time not so much. But when my drone (which up until that point had been through everything; strong winds, heavy rain, minus temperatures...) decided to literally fall out of the sky on a perfectly calm summer's day. It took off from a cliff straight out over the English Channel and about twenty seconds into the flight there was a battery failure, it was uncontrollable.
Possibly the most frustrating part was the fact it was still so close to me in terms of distance but I couldn't do anything about it, and had to watch it descend towards the water. The live feed was still transmitting to the controller via my phone, and showed the drone enter the water, cue, the black screen. Of all the places I've been, I was surprised it was the English Channel that was too much for it!
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Describe your favourite travel memory.
My wife and I took a road trip with some of our close friends who now live in Canada. After spending two weeks with them in and around beautiful Alberta, we flew to the Hawaiian islands, where we ticked off a few bucket list places, and I got to live out my dream of driving a convertible Jeep around, pretending to be a local for a few weeks. It was brilliant! Padar, Indonesia
Up next, we've got five of our favourite hotels in the Lake District.