About me

I’m a British/Australian expatriate who has spent 20 years living in Asia and many more traveling the world.  I was born and went to school in the UK, started my career as a journalist in the print media, but spent a large proportion of my working life in broadcasting in Australia (where I worked for Channel 7 and Channel 10) and Malaysia (where I worked for ASTRO).  I retired as Secretary-General of the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union in June 2010, and am now living in the Philippines doing some media consulting and digital content production work through Banyan Media, and some travel writing for several online publications.

My consulting and production work takes up about 50 per cent of my time. For the rest of my time I am handling the bookings and marketing for our bed and breakfast venture at The Astley Residence, landscaping a new garden, blogging about travel and gardening, pursuing my lifelong passion for photography, and preparing to launch a new online magazine on tropical living and gardening called Tropical House & Garden. I've edited several gardening books, the most recent one being 'The Essential Guide to Growing Orchids in the Tropics' by Dr Chia Tet Fatt which was published by Marshall Cavendish and launched at the triennial World Orchid Conference in Singapore in November 2011. All but one of the photographs in that book are mine. The book is now on its second reprint.

There's a Facebook Page for the book at www.facebook.com/tropicalorchids, and there's a link to the Kindle e-version of the book in the right-hand sidebar here (available from Amazon.com)

My other interests and activities include world music, natural foods, and advocacy of human rights, social justice and sustainable living. I also support, whenever I can, activities to protect the environment and combat corruption, but I feel we are losing the battle on those these days to big business and corporate lobbyists.

I recently upgraded this website to a new template and transferred most of the content across. The photo galleries are very old (10-15 years and mostly scans from prints). I have more recent galleries on Pbase under the name 'banyanman'. When I have more time I will update the galleries on this site.

When I first setup this website, the page that garnered the most hits was my story about the detached retina that I suffered in 2003. SInce publishing that story online, it has been viewed over 10,000 times, and I've received many messages from people thanking me for sharing my experience, because it has helped them to cope with their own detached retinas. 

To date I have provided commercial licences to the following organisations:

  • Bob Jones University Press, USA ('Geography 3rd edition' textbook)
  • Event Management Sdn Bhd, Malaysia (corporate presentations)
  • Herff Jones Inc, USA (Nystrom Desk Atlas website)
  • Ocean Realm Journal, USA (diving magazine)
  • The Planning Center, Costa Mesa, California (calendar)
  • TravelAndLeisure.com, New York (‘World’s Coolest Bridges’ feature)
  • Star Newspapers Pty Ltd, Australia (‘Tropical Gardening’ magazine)
  • WH Freeman/Worth Publishers, New York (‘World Regional Geography’ textbook)

If you see any commercial uses not listed above, I would much appreciate you bringing them to my attention.

Examples of NON-PROFIT ORGANISATIONS which have published my photographs with attribution include:

  • Global Heritage Fund (US)
  • Illustrated Dictionary of World Buddhist Arts (Taiwan)
  • International Programs Centre, University of Oklahoma (US)

The only organisations that have been granted permission to use my photographs for non-commercial use without attribution are:

  • Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Philadelphia (documentary video)
  • Asia-Pacific Media Alliance for Social Awareness (any promotional use)
  • International Development Research Centre, Canada (website)
  • Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (any promotional use)
  • UNICEF (website, brochures and posters)


I have edited and undertaken photography for two books:

'The Essential Guide to Growing Orchids in the Tropics' by Chia Tet Fatt and David Astley, published by Marshall Cavendish in 2011 (ISBN: 978-981-4351-39-3)


'The Australian Tropical Gardening Guide' by Dennis Hearne, photography by Peter Bowey and David Astley, illustrations by Claudia Tregoning, published in 1981 (now out of print)

One of my photographs from my PBase North Korea gallery titled ‘Spectacular Arirang’ (http://www.pbase.com/banyanman/image/54667090) was featured in ‘For the Eyes of the Dear Father’ by Suk-Young Kim in ‘Performance, Politics and Activism’ published by Palgrave-MacMillan Press in April 2013


Another photograph from that gallery titled 'Paying homage to the Great Leader' (http://www.pbase.com/banyanman/image/54667094) was featured in an exhibition titled ‘Asia - an Itinerarium on the Silk Way’ by the Centro di Ricerca e Archiviazione della Fotografia in Lestans, Italy.