It’s been a good year, again. A lot of travel (43 cities, 12 countries, 100K+ kilometers), a lot of laughs, a lot of good food. A promotion and the largest deal we’ve ever done closed at work. And, most importantly, a kind young lady agreed to marry me. I end 2012 feeling very fortunate.
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In January I returned to Scotland in winter, this time to the Isle of Skye, accompanied by my good friend (and accomplished photographer) Corin Dimoupolous and guided by local expert landscape photographer David Langan. We spent a long weekend exploring the island, and, weather permitting, shooting a few landscapes.
The coldest month saw us on a mini-break to an even colder place: Berlin. Despite icy temperatures we had a great time exploring both the historic and modern aspects of this vibrant city. We ate well and drank better.
MARCH, APRIL, MAY
These months were fairly quiet, at least in terms of photography for me, as they consisted mostly of a series of work trips which didn’t allow much time for quality snapping. Must do better.
However, I did manage a few shots around London in the downtime.
June saw another personal trip to France for a wedding in the Dordogne – but first stop was a few days in Paris. (More Paris shots can be found in the original blog post.)
After Paris we moved to the Dordogne and Limousin region for our friends’ wedding. This was a lovely few days in rural southern France, touring the medieval fortress towns along the river, and eating as much duck, pate, and Limousin beef as we could manage. Again, for more photos go and check out the original blog post.
JULY AND AUGUST
In the late summer, London was host to the 2012 Olympics and we were lucky enough to visit the Olympic Park as well as going to see the Men’s Hockey and the Men’s Basketball Final. It was a magical time in London, and I will always remember what it was like to be here in the thick of it.
In late August I went back to Paris for the first of a series of work trips there, and I managed to catch a perfect summer’s day along the banks of the Seine.
We began September with a lovely late-summer break to the Cyclades: a two-part trip to Mykonos, famed for its maze-like streets and raucous nightlife, and Santorini, land of a million postcard views. More photos can be found in the original blog post.
The morning after I returned from Santorini, I boarded another flight to Bangkok for work. Fortunately I allowed myself an extra day there to get reacquainted with this city, and to sample some of the myriad food delights on offer in its street stalls and markets…
Early October saw me on yet another work trip, this time to Ankara and Istanbul in Turkey, where I was fortunate enough to have a few free hours to myself here and there to wander the old town and the nightlife district of Beyoglu. It’s always good to return to Istanbul.
NOVEMBER and DECEMBER
November and December were all about our trip to Japan and Hong Kong. Though I am only about a third of the way through processing the photos from that trip, what I have gone through thus far is encouraging and more photo reports from this trip will be gracing this blog over the course of January. Of course, this is the trip that hosted the aforementioned proposal, so it has a special place in my heart.
First up: Tokyo
And, of course, the rural beauty of Hakone and Nara:
That’s about all for 2012, photo-wise at least. I am happy that we’ve had a fulfilling year. Here’s to 2013 being bigger and better!
Happy New Year
I was extremely fortunate that a certain friend of mine decided to move home to Australia, and equally fortunate that he had a kind thought for me, as I ended up with his tickets to the USA v Spain basketball final on the last day of the London 2012 Olympic Games.
As usual in the actual Olympic venues there was no problem bringing in my 70-200mm F2.8 and 1.4X extender – and these were juuuuuuust about enough to capture some of the action from our seats in the rafters.
It was an unexpectedly close match, with a lot of action on both sides of the court, and if you went by audience volume alone then it seemed like Spain was winning for most of the time. (I must say that thirteen years absence from America makes me slightly cringe to chant “U-S-A” like a pumped up frat boy, but I managed it.) There were the expected celebrities – although no Jack Nicholson – and the expected results at the end. USA 107, Spain 100.
As usual these and more shots of the match (and the Olympics) can be found over on Flickr.
Also, I would like to echo the sentiments of many, many others when I say that the Olympics was a real pleasure to host in London, and my didn’t London pull it off? So many emotional moments, so many shared highs and lows, and now back to the sordid business of normal life. I was very fortunate to go to a few events, and was happy to share the fortune with others by giving some tickets to those who had missed out. We will not see the like of these Games in our town again, at least not in our lifetimes. So it was truly special to be here, and I am thankful for it.
Now, if they had only not bolloxed up the closing ceremony…
On Friday, August 3rd 2012 we returned to the Olympic Park to see the Men’s Hockey matches, Spain v South Africa and Belgium v South Korea. Though we arrived late due to underestimating travel time, we still caught some of the first match and all of the second. The atmosphere was merry for the Belgium / Korea match, as while there were a fair few Belgium fans and a smattering of Korean fans, the vast majority of the crowd were neutrals who took up the Korean cause as the supposed underdogs – cue curiously British football-style chanting of “We love Korea, we do, we love Korea, we do… ohhh Korea we love you.” Mexican waves abounded. And the hockey wasn’t bad. We joined the throngs afterwards ambling back towards the park towards Stratford and got to see the Stadium, the Orbit and the other buildings in their full night-time regalia.
There are about double the number of shots here shown in my photoset over on Flickr – go have a look.
I also did a cheeky little 360 degree panorama on the iPhone from inside the Riverbanks Arena which you can see here.
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.
More to come…