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Photos from London 2012 Olympics: Day 3 – Olympic Park


The big gig is here. Despite many weeks and months of hand-wringing about expected meltdowns in London’s transport system, fears of a security catastrophe, and the shambolic ticketing website – of which your author has been a vocal critic – in the end, the twin factors of Mitt Romney sticking his foot in it, together with Danny Boyle’s bonkers and brilliant Opening Ceremony meant that most of London collectively decided to park the cynicism for a while and get behind the Games.

Speaking personally, we did reasonably well on ticket allocation. We were allocated Men’s Boxing Final in the initial lottery last year, got given Men’s Basketball Final tickets by a very considerate but absent friend in the last week, and managed to score, by persistent refreshing and the occasional head smacked against the desk, both Men’s Preliminary Round Hockey tickets and ground pass tickets to the Olympic Park.

It was those last Park tickets that actually came first chronologically, which was handy as it allowed us to have a look around the site without any pressure to be in any of the venues at a particular time. Photographing the Park was a funny beast; it’s all so massive that you are tempted to just do panoramas the whole time – but the volume of people in-shot all the time makes this a complicated prospect. So I mostly settled for detail shots rather than sweeping landscapes. We are back in the Park this Friday for the hockey so I hope to revisit some of these.

Olympic Stadium and ArcelorMittal Orbit
Olympic Stadium and ArcelorMittal Orbit

ArcelorMittal Orbit, Olympic Park
ArcelorMittal Orbit, Olympic Park

Wildflowers along the canal, Olympic Park
Wildflowers along the canal, Olympic Park

Nicole Cooke MBE being interviewed by the BBC, Olympic Park
Nicole Cooke MBE being interviewed by the BBC, Olympic Park

R U N, Copper Box, Olympic Park
R U N, Copper Box, Olympic Park

Norway Fans, Olympic Park
Norway Fans, Olympic Park

Storm Gathering over the Basketball Arena, Olympic Park
Storm Gathering over the Basketball Arena, Olympic Park

Park Live East Screen, Olympic Park
Park Live East Screen, Olympic Park

Wind Turbines at Sunset, Olympic Park
Wind Turbines at Sunset, Olympic Park

Sunset reflected on the Water Polo Arena, Olympic Park
Sunset reflected on the Water Polo Arena, Olympic Park

More to come…

A Winter Trip to the Isle of Skye

February 1, 2012 7 comments

Last weekend I flew up to Scotland for a jaunt out to the Isle of Skye, accompanied by my trusty pal Corin and our able guide, David Langan, who escorted us out to the Isle of Skye for a full long weekend of trekking around Skye in search of the perfect landscapes. We braved 300m+ vertical hikes and gale-force winds in pursuit of our photos. I am happy to say that one or two of them came out.

Glen Shiel Reflection

Elgol Sunset

The Old Man of Storr, Sunrise

Glen Brittle Fairy Pools

Talisker Bay

Breakish Beach looking out over Applecross

Ord Beach - Rock Detail

Ord Beach (View of Loch Eishort)

The photo below may be somewhat pedestrian, but I had to shimmy out on to a ledge over a giant cliff to get it, which was the only way to shield the camera / tripod from the gale-force winds on the clifftop. The winds were so fierce, a waterfall nearby was blown back over the top of the cliff before any water actually fell. So this photo gets included, no matter the quality!

Neist Point Lighthouse

Duisdale Beach

Duisdale Beach, Sunrise

Torrin Beach - View of Loch Slapin and Blaven

These and more photos can also be seen over on my Flickr feed.

Photos from Bestival 2011

September 17, 2011 2 comments

This year’s Bestival (my third visit) had potential to be a washout as the weather forecasts leading up to it were less-than-encouraging (one site saying that Sunday was going to see extended periods of “torrential rain” and 50+ mph wind gusts). In the event it was not quite as bad as all that, and the worst of the weather was saved for the early hours of the last morning, with high winds and rain providing a suitable finale to the festival. We did experience the amusing sight of empty tents blowing and scraping along through the fields, and not a few gazebos flew away into the night.

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We were lucky with the weather, then, and so managed to catch the Cure, Bjork, Public Enemy, Grandmaster Flash (epic set), Brian Wilson, the Urban Voodoo Machine, Toots and the Maytals, SBTRKT, Health, and a host of smaller acts dotted around tiny stages that we enjoyed despite not having a clue who they were.

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This year’s fancy dress theme was Rock Stars and Divas, and there were plenty on show beyond the expected Slashes and Beastie Boys crews.

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As usual there were a few quite random acts to see as well, from the “Wall of Death” motorcycle spectacular to the “Lords of Lightning” show featuring two men in chain mail, standing on two huge Tesla coils and fighting – with lightning.

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As usual, there are a few more photos to see over on my Bestival 2011 Flickr set

Photos from Notting Hill Carnival 2011 – Day 2

August 30, 2011 3 comments

After our abridged visit to Carnival on Day 1, we walked down from Queens Park to Notting Hill on Monday psyched up for a full session at Day 2. The mood was slightly subdued by grey skies and unseasonably low temperatures (think 17C) and, I suspect, quite a few hangovers from Day 1. But you can’t stay subdued for long once you get sucked into a mas parade full of exhuberant, brightly attired dancers with ear-to-ear grins. This time we mostly hung around Kensal Road, Golborn Road, Portobello, Westbourne Park and, to finish the day off, Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues where we were treated to a somewhat ramshackle ska set by his band, The Trojans. As usual Day 2 was a bit more crowded and edgy than Day 1, but aside from a handbags-at-dawn flareup at one of the soundsystems we didn’t see any trouble to speak of. Biggest drama of the day was, as usual, where the shortest toilet queues could be found.

Mas Explosion, Golborn Road

Cheeky Mas Dancer, Golborn Road

Gaz Mayall, Gaz's Rockin' Blues

Dude and Dudette

Mas Dancer, Kensal Road

The photo below might be my favourite from Day 2 – two pirates from one of the mas crews did a double-daggering on a giggling bystander right in front of one of London’s finest – and the cop couldn’t help a fit of the giggles as well. (Generally daggering at Carnival is good-natured but I could see how it would get mightily annoying from a female perspective…)

Double-Dagger and Laughing Cop, Kensal Road

That’s enough of Carnival for now, but if you’d like to check out the rest of my photos then head on over to my Notting Hill Carnival 2011 Flickr set.

Photos from Notting Hill Carnival 2011 – Day 1

August 29, 2011 5 comments

With a late-afternoon BBQ to host (and run the grill) our usual foray into Carnival for Children’s Day was necessarily curtailed. The attendance was way down from previous years because of fears that some of the troublemakers from the riots earlier in August would kick off in Carnival. But it was trouble-free from what we could see, and the people who showed up were all on fine form – except for a couple of teenagers who had overindulged and embarrassed themselves. Still, we managed to get a bit of the vibe and got our appetites up to head back down today for some more dancing and, well, lots of eating. Can’t wait for the first jerk chicken of the day. In the meantime, here are some of my photos from Day 1…

Children's Day, Kensal Road

Dubious Wisdom, Kensal Road

Mas Dancer and Trellick Tower, Golborn Road

Mas Band at Westbourne Park

More photos undoubtably will be on their way in the next 24 hours…

A walk in the Cotswolds

August 26, 2011 3 comments

Earlier in August I had the opportunity to join some friends on a walk around the Cotswolds, a lovely area of rolling green hills and chocolate box villages over towards Gloucestershire. While it was a lovely walk, the rolling green hills were a bit of a photographic challenge, it being the middle of the day when we had our walk. But I managed to snag one or two shots I was happy with.

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Great photo report from the London riots by AFP’s Leon Neal

August 12, 2011 3 comments

I just wanted to share this post from AFP’s Leon Neal, a snapper I have been lucky enough to talk with on many occasions via Twitter (where he goes by @TabascoKid). Very scary stories (and brilliant shots) of what it was like to try and cover the London riots of August 2011 from a press photographer’s perspective:

http://www.leonneal.com/blog/2011/08/12/london-riots-august-2011/

It’s definitely worth a few minutes of your time to check this out.