• Simon Thomas

The Stories Behind The Adventure

 
 



When we create a photographic print a little bit of magic happens. An image that was a visual collection of zero and one's, of pixels and colours, suddenly becomes tangible and real.


After 20 years of global travel and viewing our images on a small laptop perched on our laps, hunched over, inside a flapping tent, it's exciting to see and hold our printed images in the real world. We're evermore excited to be able to share those images with you via our new exhibition.


Thank you for giving us your time to drop in. Below you'll find some of the info and the story behind the images. We'll be updating this page regularly, so please check back.


Please enjoy and leave a comment if you can. We'd love to hear from you.


Adventure Riding


 

Title: The Moonscape

Location: Valle de La Luna, San Pedro de Atacama, Chile .


Photographer: Lisa Thomas

We headed out from the town of San Pedro de Atacama straight into what appeared to be the surface of the moon.

The incredible stone and sand formations carved by wind and water give this area of the Atacama desert the feeling that you are indeed on a different planet.




 



Title: A Striking Ride

Location: Outback Western Australia.


Photographer: Simon Thomas

South West of Alice Springs in the centre of Australia, we continued west and further into the Outback. The humidity leapt as we were chased by an electric storm which eventually released the first rains in this area after a drought of 152 days.

The barometric pressure, which had been pressing down on us like a heavy weight for days was immediately lifted. Despite the dangerous and very close lightning strikes, there was such a feeling of relief and release, tinged with panic!





 



Title: Other Worldly

Location: Salar de Uyuni (Salt Desert), Bolivia.


Photographer: Simon Thomas

Riding across the world's largest salt flat was the closest, we can imagine, to riding on another planet. It truly is ‘out of this world’.


The Salar de Uyuni sits in Bolivian Altiplano and is the world's largest salt flat at 10,000 square kilometres.

We had decided to ride right across it and head to the centre where what is known as Isla del Pescado (fish Island) sits.






 


Title: Riding the Clouds

Location: Atigun Pass, Alaska, USA.


Photographer: Simon Thomas

Riding along the Dalton Highway in Alaska we were cold, wet and muddy. This pass is the highest maintained pass in Alaska at almost 5000 feet. We were late in the season to be riding the Brookes mountain range, and we still had another 170 miles to ride in the freezing rain before we could rest.


Was it worth it? Oh absolutely yes!










 


Title: The Great Wide Open

Location: The Gobi Desert, Mongolia.


Photographer: Lisa Thomas

Deserts can be classed as cold or hot. The Gobi is a cold desert and stunningly beautiful. We loved riding through the sands and camping under a clear starry sky, totally alone. The tranquillity and silence of our nights in the Gobi desert refreshed our souls and tired bodies!



 


Title: The Giants Playground

Location: Kluane National Park, Yukon, Canada.


Photographer: Simon Thomas

Heading from Haines Junction, a small village in the Yukon, we rode into, what can only be described as, a giants playground of sheer majestic mountains.

Simply breathtaking it's difficult to keep your concentration on the track ahead.

This area is grizzly bear central and so camping proved impossible. However, we were still in awe of this magnificent national park. Its vastness and lack of population make it a definite place to which to return.



 


Title: Salvador Dali Moments

Location: The Altiplano Plateau, Bolivia .


Photographer: Simon Thomas

At this point in our trip we had never before ridden in such a remote but ruggedly beautiful high-altitude mountainous area. The Altiplano is the second highest plateau on earth and with our lungs short of air, we felt like we were riding into a painting by Salvador Dalí.



 


Title: The Long Haul

Location: The Haul Road Alaska USA.


Photographer: Simon Thomas

The weather had taken a turn for the worse on the last leg of our ride up the Haul Road to Prudhoe Bay. We were 170 miles away when the heavens opened and the ‘road’ became as slick as an ice rink.





 


Title: Chasing The Sun

Location: The Haul Road Alaska USA.


Photographer: Simon Thomas

Tired, wet and cold, this one image was the subject of a near marital breakdown as Simon made me ride up and down the same bit of Haul road 18 times as he struggled with the dramatic but challenging light.



 



Title: Magnificant Machhapuchhre

Location: Machhapuchhre, North Of Pokhara, Nepal.


Photographer: Simon Thomas

Camped on the edge of an escarpment, we had waited for days on end as the Annapurna Himalayas were shrouded with thick clouds.


Waking up this morning to bright skies got us excitedly scrambling outside to stand in awe in front of the magnificent Machhapuchhre mountain. Being scared stiff of heights I (Lisa) made Simon grab this shot as fast as possible, whilst I tried to look casual and relaxed




 


Title: Across The Kyzyl Art Pass

Location: The Pamir Mountains, border of Tajikistan/Kyrgystan.


Photographer: Simon Thomas

At 15,009 feet and late in the season, our freezing hands fumbled with the camera as we sipped on thin air and struggled to crest the incredibly remote Kyzyl Art Pass. The unforgiving landscape of the Pamir mountain range on the famous ‘Silk Route’ filled us with awe, trepidation and exhilaration!




 



Title: A Helping Hand

Location: Gobi Gurvan Saikhan, Mongolia.


Photographer: Simon Thomas

Travelling from the town of Dalanzadgad we headed towards the Gobi desert. There are so many different tracks, many of which lead to dead ends or to remote and isolated Yurts. Asking for advice or directions is difficult when you don’t speak the language! However, this is when a paper map with Mongolian script becomes essential!




 



Title: The Perilous Pirogue

Location: Senegal/Mali Border, Falémé River, West Africa.


Photographer: Simon Thomas

We decided (in fact I, Lisa, decided in my madness) to ride from Kédougou in south-eastern Senegal and cross the border into Mali at Fadougou. The tracks were almost non-existent and the heat at 50°C was unbearable. Suffering from the immense heat and lack of water we arrived on the banks of the Falémé River. The part we were crossing had just burst its banks, making it impossible to ride through. The decision was to either turn round and make the arduous trek back or make another mad choice…




 



Title: A Dark Desert Highway

Location: Apache Trail, Arizona, USA.


Photographer: Lisa Thomas

We had just taken a day to ride The Apache Trail in Arizona. It shouldn’t take that long to ride this old stagecoach trail but we kept stopping to take photos!

This mainly unpaved route through The Superstition Mountains has now been closed. We consider ourselves lucky to have been able to enjoy riding this trail and experience beautiful scenery such as this.





 



Title: Simply Awe Inspiring

Location: Pamir Highway Tajikistan.


Photographer: Lisa Thomas

To be faced with a wall of snow and ice was simply awe-inspiring and a little scary. We simply couldn’t stop constantly looking up and getting neck ache in doing so!

Our ride through the Pamir mountain range had been a milestone in our journey and one that we would gladly repeat many times over.





 


Title: A Bridge Too Far

Location: Tajikistan.


Photographer: Lisa Thomas

Our minds and bodies were spent. We’d dealt with aggressive road-side guards, a mine field and we’d crossed over from Afghanistan the previous night.

This metal bridge was made out of loose sheets that were not attached to anything, not even each other.

Simon took both bikes across as he has long legs and I really didn’t like my chance of not making a mistake, especially being so physically worn out.

It was a good decision during a difficult day!





 


Title: Sheer Exhilaration

Location: Mongolia Steepe.


Photographer: Lisa Thomas

Sometimes we take photographs not of people, wildlife or landscapes but just to record the sheer exhilaration of riding full throttle through the Mongolian Steepe.

We need to remember that it was real.













 


Title: The Sand Slide

Location: Goa India.


Photographer: Lisa Thomas

There were a few times in India when we were able to escape the madness of the constant population and head off for some riding fun.



Every now and again it's essential to just bust loose and have some fun on the big bikes!





 


Title: Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Location: Outback Australia.


Photographer: Simon Thomas

At 2 am Simon grabbed his camera and tripod and totally naked, except for his MX boots spent 2 hours photographing the bikes and milky way.


It was only at daybreak did he realize that neighbours in a camper van had turned up after dark and were camped just 50 feet away.







 



Title: The Zud

Location: Altai Mountains, North-West Mongolia.


Photographer: Simon Thomas

Pushing hard for the eastern Russian border with Mongolia, we spent 3 days desperately trying to outrun a freezing ice storm that was killing yak herds behind us due to its severity.

Desperation is a great tutor and as the storm hit and finally caught us we reached the Russian compound and hid for half a day.





 


Title: The Volcano Playground

Location: Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park, East Java, Indonesia

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Photographer: Lisa Thomas

For no other reason than the personal challenge, we risked angering the volcano Gods by trying to ride to the peak of the largest caldera inside the Bromo volcano.













 




Title: A View From A Distance

Location: Altai Mountain range, West Mongolia.


Photographer: Simon Thomas

During our last few days in Mongolia, we headed down to the town of

Ölgii to the Tsaagannuur border with Russia. We had been so far from civilization for so many weeks, seeing only a few nomads now and again, we held

off riding down into the town, preferring to acclimatize initially from afar.








 



Title: A Stark Reminder

Location: Gobi Desert, Mongolia.


Photographer: Lisa Thomas

Amidst the thrill of the speed, the power, the noise and the momentum, it's easy to get carried away and forget where you are.


Every now and again nature slaps you in the face with a cruel visual and a reminder of your vulnerability.





 


Thank you for dropping by. We'll be adding info and background to this age over the next few weeks so please check it out again and get a proper look at the story of each of the images.



Good luck and have fun with whatever you're up to.


Please leave a comment or a like if you found this article useful.




 

Simon Thomas


Professional photographer based in Wales, United Kingdom, and founder of LIVING LENS PHOTOGRAPHY. His editorial work has been featured in publications all over the world, and his commercial clients include brands such as Nike, BMW Motorrad, Adobe and SENA.