Posts Tagged ‘2010’

Christmas in the Texas Hill Country [Photos]

January 2, 2011 1 comment

This Christmas we headed over to Texas and the Hill Country therein, where my mother's small ranch (the Canyon Wren Ranch) always provides some interesting rural photographic subject material. It wasn't the best weather during our visit, but I did manage to get in some good sunrise "golden hour" shots as well as some moody intra-storm shots where golden sun poked through ominous storm clouds. 

Canyon Wren Ranch

While we were there we popped over to Austin for a night, and due to a timely influx of Santa cashola I went ahead and sprung for a new Canon 7D body which I've been ogling for the last year or so. It seemed, well, wrong not to do it, especially as the price was the same as it would have been from B&H in NYC. Anyway I was able to get out at sunrise on the last day and go down to the James Kiehl River Bend Park near Comfort, TX, and give the 7D a try-out (at least from the still photo perspective – I will get to video later). I was very pleased with what came out of the camera and I was also very pleased that a bit of sun decided to peak out behind the storm clouds yet again…

James Kiehl River Bend Park

Winter hits the UK with a wallop (Photos)

A little bit of snow and the whole place goes to pieces… but at least the white stuff is camera-friendly. These shots are from London and Cambridge, and are from the same winter storm which left 3-4 inches of snow across the Southeast of England and managed to utterly paralyse much of the area's transport network. 


… and to Cambridge

Sunset over Paddington Rec, Maida Vale

Photos from Bruges, Ghent and Brussels

December 3, 2010 2 comments

Last weekend we took a short city-break to get away from London for a bit and managed to find somewhere even colder to go in late November: Belgium. We spent a positively brassic 3 days and 4 nights in Bruges, Ghent and Brussels. I must say that due to the weather I never really felt like I got into my photographic groove – when it wasn't (below) freezing and overcast with dull winter half-light, it was heaving down with snow or gale-force winds. But I managed to get a few shots anyway, and a couple of them turned out to be decent. 

Ahh, Bruges, the chocolate-box, over-touristed town of a thousand clichés and contradictions, at once beautiful and twee, mentioned in breathy tones by most people of a certain age until they actually go and remember that every other shop either sells chocolate or lace, and that the 300-beer tavern you remember from that backpacking trip when you were 20 is still, well, full of 20 year old backpackers with braying, twangy voices, comparing the chocolate and lace they have only just then purchased. Oof. Still, we drank well and ate very well, we managed to crack off a few shots and I even managed a panorama on the 2nd night before the weather set in and I was forced to abandon the night's shooting due to a sudden blizzard. I revisited some shots I'd first taken as far back as 1994, but with an added digital element this time round. 

I was happy to get the following panoramic shot of the classic Bruges canal / belfry shot. This was achieved by shooting 4 vertically-oriented shots using my Canon 17-40mm F4L at around 35mm and then stitching them together with Photoshop when I got home. The result is almost pin sharp, and I have a feeling this one may end up on my wall…

Eventually the ever-increasing hordes of tourists combined with a Belgian-beer-inspired hangover drove us out of Bruges and we fled east to Ghent through the snow-shrouded Flemish landscape…

After the madness of Bruges the calm streets and canals of Ghent seemed almost deserted in comparison. But we really liked this slower pace and felt that it was a more "authentic" place, whatever that means. 

In Ghent we came across an alleyway almost entirely given over to graffiti: tagging mostly but a bit of street art in the mix. 

For the final night we repaired to Brussels so we could be in place for the Monday morning Eurostar. We had fun in the Christmas Market in Place St Katherine, including going up on the massive Ferris wheel….

All in all a fun little weekend outing. 

A somewhat motley collection of London photos from the past few weeks

Sometimes I get too caught up in the day job and I forget that I don't have to go abroad to use my camera. I have a lot of London shots in my archives and so sometimes it can feel like I am treading over old ground, but then again I am always a slightly different photographer in a slightly different mood with that little bit more experience, or less patience, or more inclination to shoot people today rather than landscape…

More to come, at some point.

In the meantime we have booked a nice little long weekend in Bruges, Ghent, and Brussels, and as it's my fourth time to Bruges I know I will be coming back having done some serious shooting. Must remember to pack the tripod, Bruges all lit up at night is fantastic, especially if you luck into a calm windless night and the canal water is still. Can't wait. 

New York City in photos – Sept/Oct 2010

After a relaxing few days in Cape Cod, we headed down to New York City, staying 3 nights in Manhattan and 2 nights in Brooklyn with my sister. As it was my girlfriend’s first trip to NYC, we did a whole lot of walking (and a fair bit of eating and drinking, too) – and it was a good excuse to do a couple of touristy things I had never gotten around to doing, such as go up the Top of the Rock. 

Below is a selection of some of my favourite shots from around Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. Yes, some of these are cheesy, but they’re mine and I like ’em. 

I also managed to do a few decent-quality panorama shots while out and about, even getting one off the Staten Island Ferry that I wasn’t sure was going to turn out.

Bizarrely, after all of that intensive photo-taking – I came back with 1200+ shots from NYC alone – it was only on the very last day, in the last few minutes of free time, that I might have gotten the shots of the trip. As we were returning to my sister’s apartment in Brooklyn in a mad dash to collect bags and head to the airport, that we noticed this intense sunset over in the direction of Manhattan. I couldn’t resist and grabbed my camera bag, running up to the roof. I knew the car was waiting so didn’t have time to unpack the tripod, but I still managed to grab some fairly sharp frames of this extraordinary skyline. I have done a little cropping and some minor saturation adjustment, but this is pretty much as we saw it. A special moment for sure. 

These and more shots can be found in my New York City 2010 set on Flickr. 

Photos from Cape Cod

In the first instalment of photos from our recent trip to America, I will share some shots I took both around Cape Cod and in the ocean immediately north of the Cape, where we were very privileged to go whale watching. 

Cape Cod – Chatham, the National Seashore and Provincetown

Whale Watching with the Dolphin Fleet in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary
As I mentioned, we were extremely privileged to be able to go on a whale watching boat, not only spotting 12 individual humpback whales, but feeling very lucky to see several whales breaching (leaping out of the water). Seeing bus-sized animals leaping out of the water is not something that one will soon forget…

There are more shots to be found in the Cape Cod 2010 Photoset on Flickr.

Still to come: the post-edit of my New York City shots. And I have some serious work to do….

Notting Hill Carnival 2010 in Pictures

This year we once again walked down from our homes in West London and converged upon the riot of colour, sound, taste, and smells (mainly jerk chicken and spliff) of the Notting Hill Carnival. I love Carnival for the experience and the shooting, and I have learned over the years how best to approach it so as to avoid hassle – basically, I stay around the edge of the route and don’t go into big crowds if I can help it. 

Day 1: Sunday August 29th (Children’s Day)
We approached Carnival on Sunday with a mixture of excitement (at the return of Carnival) and trepidation (at the gloomy weather). The weather was mostly cooperative, except for a quite fierce shower that hit in early afternoon. But overall it was not as cold as we had expected and we even managed to get a bit of sunshine here and there. We managed to get into Good Times in the afternoon only by running the extremely-crowded gauntlet of Sancho Panza. Not sure I need to do that again!

Day 2: Monday August 30th (Main Day)
Today there were just two of us walking down from Maida Vale, slightly dazed from a post-Carnival pub session the night before, and we were after a low-key, chilled Carnival experience that was highly dependent on zero hassle. So we basically stayed on the canal edge up by the Trellick Tower and drifted around. But what a day! The sunshine was out in full force and it actually felt like summer. This meant that all the dancers and all of the crowd up this way had giant smiles plastered all over their painted faces, and the Vibe was Good. We hung out by the parade route for some time as the Burrokeet crew stalled out in front of us, and I took the opportunity to get a few closeups of the mas dancers and the crowd. The Burrokeet MC also donated some free beer to us, which I thought was kind. 

As always there are more pictures over at Flickr in my Notting Hill Carnival 2010 photoset…. 

Glastonbury 2010 Pictures: Thursday 24th June

Here’s my first set of Glastonbury 2010 pictures. These are from the Thursday before the start of the main festival. This is usually the time that some of the smaller stages start putting on lesser-known bands, and it’s a good time to have a general wander around the massive site to try and get your bearings before the chaos of the music schedule starts to take over your life. On Thursday, after 2 separate trips right across the site to first set up tents and then collect rucksacks, we then had a wander from our campsite in an overflow field near John Peel to the Dance Village, the Other Stage and thence through to the West Holts (formerly Jazzworld) stage where we enjoyed our traditional first pints of Brothers Pear Cider, which at 7% ABV sets one up nicely for a further exploration. We carried on through to the Avalon field, and then onto Arcadia (which was already spitting fire) and thence to Shangri-La, the late-night area / small town where all manner of bizarre side streets and alleyways are honeycombed with bizarre miniature bars and clubs, with subversive street art littered throughout. We finally ended up with a stroll up to the Stone Circle and onto the Park for some tea and cookies (yes, really). 

More of Thursday’s pictures can be seen in my Glastonbury 2010 set on Flickr. 

Brothers Pear Cider and blazing sunshine… a winning combination at Glasto

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