Category: Freelance Journalist

Big Monday at the Praia do Norte, Nazare, Portugal 24 October, 2016

Surfers begin riding the first big waves of 2016 at Nazare

View my video of Big Monday at Nazare, Portugal here

I was lucky enough to guess right on the waves at the Praia do Norte in Nazare, Portugal to witness (and film and photograph) the first great wave day of the autumn 2016 season. It was Big Monday.

You can view the short film I made about Big Monday by using the link above. I will also be updating this post to show more of the material I have from Nazare and some links to where you can license it if required.

As Greece goes to the polls, the election campaign in Portugal hots up

PORTUGAL LIsbon -- 04 Jan 2013 -- Supporters of the CGTP trade union march through Chiado to protest at government austerity measures on the day that Portugal's socialist party -- Picture by Jonathan Mitchell/Atlas Photo Archive
PORTUGAL Lisbon — 04 Jan 2013 — Supporters of the CGTP trade union march through Chiado in central Lisbon to protest at government austerity measures. Many voters do not like the government’s austerity program — Picture by Jonathan Mitchell/Atlas Photo Archive

by Jonathan Mitchell

LISBON — 20 September, 2015 — As Greeks head of the polls today to vote on whether to continue supporting Syriza, Portugal’s general election campaign is heating up with opinion polls published in the Expresso newspaper giving the Socialist Party – the mainstream left party – a slight lead 1.5% over the PSD and CDS/PP coalition.

Many here are weary of the government austerity program – which has consisted of a lot of cuts to services like health and one of the largest tax hikes in Portuguese history. The Socialist Party is campaigning on an anti-austerity platform – with the shadow of the former leader Jose Socrates (who is currently in prison under corruption charges) hanging over the campaign.

According to the polls published in the Expresso today, some 46.7% of Portuguese believe that Antonio Costa (the leader of the Socialist Party) will be the next prime minister to govern Portugal, against 39.8% who think that Pedro Passos Coelho will retain power.

“Now’s the time to turn the page on austerity,” Costa said. “Our goal is to ease the tax burden.” This may have some resonance with some voters hit hard by the tax regime, analysts say. Some four out of five Portuguese people say they have problems making their income stretch through any given month.

PORTUGAL Lisbon -- 16 Feb 2013 -- Tens of thousands of people are protesting across Portugal against government austerity measures. Pictured here a union leader addresses the crowd in front of the Bank of Portugal -- Picture by Jonathan Mitchell/Atlas Photo Archive
PORTUGAL Lisbon — 16 Feb 2013 — Tens of thousands of people are protesting across Portugal against government austerity measures. Pictured here are protestors listening to union leader addresses the crowd in central Lisbon — Picture by Jonathan Mitchell/Atlas Photo Archive

Some analysts say that the ruling coalition may nevertheless get voted back into power, pointing to factors like mass migration and recent economic statistics – which appear to show that the economy is finally growing again after several years of stagnation.

Antonio Garcia Pascual, the Barclays Bank chief economist for Europe, recently told the Financial Times that he sees the elections as a “close call” between the centre-right government coalition and the opposition centre-left Socialists, with the polls seemingly backing him up.

“If we stay on the path we’ve been following, we won’t need any more bailouts,” Prime Minister Pedro Passos Coelho stated during a live radio debate last week. Much of the campaign has been relatively dull and Passos Coelho’s campaign largely is based on him being seen to be a safe pair of hands in a difficult time.

The Socialists disagree and say they will lower taxes to stimulate the economy, while adding that training programs and mass migration to countries like the UK, Angola, Mozambique, Brazil and even Guinea Bissau give a distorted picture.

Portugal has some 9.7 million eligible voters – who will elect lawmakers to a four-year term in the 230-seat Parliament in Lisbon on the 4th October, 2015. Many Eurozone watchers will be looking carefully at the result. -ends- approx 500 words

Jonathan Mitchell is based in Lisbon, Portugal and is available for commissions to cover the upcoming polls. If you are looking for stock images, you can find them at Photoshot.com – along with many other news archive pictures from Portugal (and also Live News).

All images and text © 2015 Jonathan Mitchell

The magic of photographing the Shetland Islands of Scotland

UK SCOTLAND Lerwick -- 25 Jul 2011 -- The crew of the Colombian tall ship GLORIA wave goodbye as they depart from Lerwick in the Shetland Isles on the second leg of the Tall Ships Race 2011. Over 50 ships begin the second leg of the race to Stevanger in Norway -- Picture by Jonathan Mitchell/Atlas Photo Archive
UK SCOTLAND Lerwick — 25 Jul 2011 — The crew of the Colombian tall ship GLORIA wave goodbye as they depart from Lerwick in the Shetland Isles on the second leg of the Tall Ships Race 2011. Over 50 ships begin the second leg of the race to Stevanger in Norway — Picture by Jonathan Mitchell/Atlas Photo Archive

In 2011, I left my flat in Edinburgh and headed to the far north of Scotland to Lerwick in the Shetland Isles to cover the 2011 Tall Ships Race. I stayed in Lerwick several weeks and was also working on a feature for the Scots Magazine on the Neolithic culture of the islands.

UK SCOTLAND Lerwick -- 25 Jul 2011 -- The Dutch tall ship WYLDE SWAN (right) and the Norwegian tall ship STRATSRAAD LEHMKUHL under full sail as she approches the start line of the second leg of the Tall Ships Race 2011. Over 50 ships departed from Lerwick to begin the second leg of the race to Stavanger in Norway -- Picture by Jonathan Mitchell
UK SCOTLAND Lerwick — 25 Jul 2011 — The Dutch tall ship WYLDE SWAN (right) and the Norwegian tall ship STRATSRAAD LEHMKUHL under full sail as she approches the start line of the second leg of the Tall Ships Race 2011. Over 50 ships departed from Lerwick to begin the second leg of the race to Stavanger in Norway — Picture by Jonathan Mitchell/Atlas Photo Archive

Sadly, my meagre budget did not allow for extensive travels and much of the work I shot there was subsequently lost. However, luckily, I had edited and backed up quite a lot of the select images and still have quite a nice portfolio.

UK SCOTLAND Sumburgh Head -- Puffin ( Fratercula arctica ) in flight at Sumburgh Head in the Shetland Islands of Scotland UK -- Picture by Jonathan Mitchell/Atlas Photo Archive
UK SCOTLAND Sumburgh Head — Puffin ( Fratercula arctica ) in flight at Sumburgh Head in the Shetland Islands of Scotland UK — Picture by Jonathan Mitchell/Atlas Photo Archive

The story I did on the Iron Age pub of sorts at Jarlshof got published (with a different byline) in The Daily Record and OK! magazine and has sold in one or two other places as stock. Not much else from my Shetland portfolio was published aside from news images from the 2011 Tall Ships Race (in The Daily Telegraph and The Scotsman).

UK SCOTLAND Shetland Islands -- Great Skua ( Catharacta skua ) -- Picture by Jonathan Mitchell/Atlas Photo Archive
UK SCOTLAND Shetland Islands — Great Skua ( Catharacta skua ) — Picture by Jonathan Mitchell/Atlas Photo Archive

Although by then my Canon 550D was incapable of long telephoto shots (and I lacked one anyway), I could shoot at around 300mm with a slight sensor crop and so I tried to get pictures of birds and other animals in their habitat.

UK SCOTLAND Shetland Islands -- Gray seals ( Halichoerus grypus ) on rocks on the Isle of Bressay in the Shetland Islands of Scotland UK -- Picture by Jonathan Mitchell/Atlas Photo Archive
UK SCOTLAND Shetland Islands — Gray seals ( Halichoerus grypus ) on rocks on the Isle of Bressay in the Shetland Islands of Scotland UK — Picture by Jonathan Mitchell/Atlas Photo Archive

Again, most of these have never been published. If you would like to use them in your project, then please contact me for details on how to license my images.

UK SCOTLAND Shetland Islands -- 09 Aug 2011 -- Fishermen from Lerwick recover lobster and crab pots in a small boat off the coast of the mainland of Shetland - watched closely by fulmars and great skuas -- Picture by Jonathan Mitchell/Atlas Photo Archive
UK SCOTLAND Shetland Islands — 09 Aug 2011 — Fishermen from Lerwick recover lobster and crab pots in a small boat off the coast of the mainland of Shetland – watched closely by fulmars and great skuas — Picture by Jonathan Mitchell/Atlas Photo Archive

While the conditions can sometimes be harsh so far north and in the summer, the sun goes down about 3AM, I enjoyed working there and the combination of good light (sometimes!) and great subject matter made it a magical experience.

Riot police lathi charge protesters in Patan Kathmandu Nepal during the 2006 revolution

Kathmandu Spring
Nepalese riot police lathi charge protesters in Patan Kathmandu Nepal during the Kathmandu Spring. April, 2006 – Picture by Jonathan Mitchell/Atlas Photo Archive

It was some year…Shortly after arriving back from photographing climate change in the Everest region, I found myself documenting the early stages of the Kathmandu Spring or anti-monarchy revolution in Kathmandu. By January, sporadic protests had become full-scale riots, which reached a crescendo in April of that year.

I shot this image of the Nepalese Armed Police Force lathi (a bamboo baton used by police in south Asia) charge on some protesters who rained stones down upon them. At the time, I was one of the few photojournalists covering the revolution with a film camera and I shot this on a Voigtlander Bessa T with a 25mm f4 Voigtlander lens.

It is one of my favourite images of the revolution and I think it wonderfully captures the drama and action. Sadly, very few of these images were published, as it took me weeks to get the money to get the edited frames scanned and by the time I sent them to Hollandse Hoogte, the story was old news! Should you find any use for it, this image can be licensed if you contact me.

I now have a gallery of these images on my new database, which can be viewed here.

Austerity at Christmas – shoppers in Puerta del Sol Madrid Spain

SPAIN Madrid -- 04 Dec 2011 -- Christmas shoppers in the Puerta de Sol area of Madrid were out in force doing their Christmas shopping on Sunday amid a severe economic crisis which has left unemployment at around 20% -- Picture by Jonathan Mitchell
SPAIN Madrid — 04 Dec 2011 — Christmas shoppers in the Puerta de Sol area of Madrid were out in force doing their Christmas shopping on Sunday amid a severe economic crisis which has left unemployment at around 20% — Picture by Jonathan Mitchell/alamy.com

After covering the first elections of the Arab Spring in Tunisia, I decided to try freelancing in Spain as a freelance foreign correspondent. I had a good string with The Scotsman and even managed to sell The Daily Telegraph a few stories. I shot these images before lack of funds forced me to put my Canon DSLR in hoc with the hostel. Sadly, due to the now high cost of living in Spain, I too had problems getting by on the low fees often paid by UK national newspapers to their freelancers. Despite the economic crisis, the Spanish were not skimping on the traditional Christmas lights in the Puerta del Sol are of Madrid and thousands wandered the streets in the traditional paseo – though the shops did not appear to be doing a brisk business. To view the whole set, type in the relevant key words into my alamy.com database.

Union Jack and St Andrew’s flags make a great generic illustration for Scottish independence stories

UK SCOTLAND Edinburgh -- 17 Sep 2013 -- Flying the flags...The flags of Great Britain - the Union Jack (right) and the national flag of Scotland - which is the flag of St Andrew (left) on top of the Lloyd's Bank PLC headquarters (formerly the HQ of the Royal Bank of Scotland) in Edinburgh Scotland UK. Scotland is due to vote on an independence referendum in one year's time. File image dated 11 April 2011 -- Picture by Jonathan Mitchell | Lightroom Photos
UK SCOTLAND Edinburgh — 17 Sep 2013 — Flying the flags…The flags of Great Britain – the Union Jack (right) and the national flag of Scotland – which is the flag of St Andrew (left) on top of the Lloyd’s Bank PLC headquarters (formerly the HQ of the Royal Bank of Scotland) in Edinburgh Scotland UK. Scotland is due to vote on an independence referendum in one year’s time. File image dated 11 April 2011 — Picture by Jonathan Mitchell | alamy.com

It is an emotive issue for many north and south of the border…That of the Scottish Independence Referendum due in 2014. With less than a year to go, the debate on this issue is hotter than ever. I shot the image above in the summer of 2011 to illustrate the issue and so far, it has been used on four occasions in The Times. It is one of the better images like this available and you can license it direct from me by emailing lightroomphotos@icloud.com or from alamy.com.