We’ve traveled a lot to idyllic destinations, more than most people do in a lifetime – I mean, it IS our job. And, as much as I hate to admit, it can – like anything you do constantly – become routine, and predictable. Of course, we always ALWAYS take time out from shooting or scouting to marvel in the wonder of the places we visit but then something like this happens.

Sri Lanka.

A local beach with no people, just island dogs and nature. Most mornings when we travel,  I’ll be up before dawn, especially on an island, to see the sunrise and really get to experience a place in it’s natural habitat, without the tourists, and modern goings-on. *Note – Katinka is NOT a morning person, so I’m lucky enough to go it alone on my morning expeditions.

*Note – Katinka is NOT a morning person, so I’m lucky enough to go it alone on my morning expeditions So, Sri Lanka, on the central south coast, next to a tiny little village where the locals were so amazed to see us as tourists that they pretty much just stopped and stared. That’s how you know you’re off the beaten path.

We were the very first guests – yes ever – to stay at the just finished Ani Villas, a luxury resort built for royalty, oil barons and the like. And as the very first (and only) guests, we were treated as such. Our crew had the place to ourselves which was very handy for shooting, but also afforded us private chef-catered meals, cooking lessons and of course the resort entirely to ourselves.

So, on our first morning I ventured out to the beach and immediately gained a following of 7 furry friends who are up with the sun. Feeling just like the pied piper of canines, I trekked along the beach and came to a cove where, just above the locals had started to stir, lighting their morning fires, the smoke billowing up and through the palm trees. As the sun came up and through the trees and smoke, I audibly gasped at the scene and for about 3 mins, the shadows, colours and light danced along the beach with us.

Yes, it was visually arresting, but a true paradise is a feeling. The sounds, sights and smells all combine in a perfect moment of zen and beauty. Of course, capturing this in a photograph is impossible (not that I didn’t try).

After reminiscing and pondering on true paradise, it’s this that I come to – moments not places. Feelings, not photographs. It’s pure love – it cannot be described, captured or recounted. And it’s this that I experienced that morning on my own, whilst Tinks was sleeping peacefully (lightly snoring and flailing her arms in her deepest sleep).