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'A £1M diamond necklace, tea with Don McCullin, New Zealand and Western Australia'

Roger Macdonald, Oxford historian whose previous book ‘The Man in The Iron Mask’ was so successful, needed a book jacket image to convey the story of ‘The Queen’s Diamonds’ for its forthcoming May publication.

Through Roger’s connections we were fortunate to be able to shoot the beautiful diamond necklace valued at one million pounds thanks to the jeweller Cartier in London’s Bond Street where it was modelled by staff member Lucinda Nunn. The boardroom we used as a studio had been General Charles de Gaulle’s office during World War Two.

Don McCullin, one of the world’s greatest photographers, was giving a talk at the Royal Geographical Society in London at an event that I was involved in accessing people’s photo portfolios, ‘Traveller’s Tales’.

Having known him years ago when I got him to sign my copy of ‘Hearts of Darkness’, I made sure that we met up again and was delighted to catch up with him in the Green Room for a cup of tea. A few others joined us and it was good to hear that approaching 75 he is still so enthusiastic about photography, a real hero who does not disappoint.

A trip to New Zealand is always good and the drive from Auckland to Wellington then Picton down to Queenstown was terrific and any visit should include the majestic Mount Cook in the South Island.
Mount Cook is a ‘must see’ and we flew around it in an Air Safaris plane about 2,000 feet below the summit, skilfully piloted and narrated by the pilot Tom on the flight to and from Tekapo near the magnificent glacial lake.

After New Zealand we went to Perth in Western Australia. The colours of this country are the same as light itself; red, green and blue. The earth is a wonderful red, the foliage adds an often luxurious green and the sky is often a blue so intense it looks unreal.
But it is the gum trees that have always struck me as particularly stunning with their wonderful red shiny trunks; they can be very sculptural in form as well.

             
The Queen's Diamonds
 
Don McCullin, Hearts of Darkness
 
Mount Cook from the air, New Zealand
 
Gum tree near Nungarin, Western Australia
             
The Queen's Diamonds
 
Don McCullin
Hearts of Darkness
 
Mount Cook from the air
New Zealand
 
Gum tree near Nungarin Western Australia
 
             
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