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[From the Archives] Obama Inauguration, January 2009


From time to time, I will use these “From the Archives” posts to highlight some of my photography from the period before I started this blog in late 2009. These photos have been publicly available on Flickr for some time but they have never before been featured on this blog. I hope you enjoy this blast from the past!

Four years ago (give or take a day) I was on a brief trip to the US that combined my grandmother’s 90th birthday celebration in South Carolina with a road trip up to Washington, D.C. to see the historic inauguration of Barack Obama to the office of the President.

Although as campaign volunteer for Clinton way back in 1992 I had met the then-Governor-Clinton and later had been invited to his first inauguration (along with untold numbers of other campaign workers), for one reason or another I never made it up to DC. So Obama’s was my first inauguration, and it was quite the event. Hundreds of thousands of us rose in the predawn darkness, frozen solid by the time we even got to the Mall at 4:30am, happy that we had made it into the closest “public” area to the Capitol, but reasonably sure we were still only going to be seeing Mr Obama on the TV screens as there was little hope of actually being able to discern him in person.

Obama Inauguration 09

As the actual swearing-in was not until noon, we waited for seven hours in sub-freezing temperatures, bundled into every item of cold weather gear we could scrounge, standing on space blankets to try in vain to stop the cold from seeping up through the frozen soil on the Mall, watching the sun come up.

Obama Inauguration 09

Obama Inauguration 09

It was a fun day when all is said and done, though, because the crowd were so energised, it was like a festival. Of course there was a huge African-American contingent, as would be appropriate for the inauguration of the first black president, and everywhere you looked people flashed beaming smiles at you, black, white, or otherwise.

Obama Inauguration 09

Obama Inauguration 09

At some point in the morning they rebroadcast Stevie Wonder performing “Higher Ground” at the pre-inauguration concert from the previous day and this really got everybody fired up. From then on, as the sun began to impart the tiniest amount of warmth, the Mall took on a festival-like atmosphere.

Obama Inauguration 09

Obama Inauguration 09

Soon enough it was time for business, and the thrum of excitement ratcheted up as the TV screens showed Obama waiting to be shown out onto the terrace of the Capitol. The rest, as they say, is history….

Obama Inauguration 09

Obama Inauguration 09

Obama Inauguration 09

Of course, once the (flubbed) oath of office and the speech finished, there were upwards of 1.8 million people in and around the Mall who had to find some way of getting away, and after trying in vain for an hour or so to find a Metro stop that wasn’t completely ram-jammed, we decided to walk back over the frozen Potomac to Virginia so that we could pick up transportation there. It was worth it though, to have been there and been part of the event.

Obama Inauguration 09

The next day I returned to the Mall as I had some free time, and saw them cleaning up after the festivities. If anything the ground looked even more desolate and frozen than the day before.

The Day After: Cleaning Up After the Inauguration

The Day After: Cleaning Up After the Inauguration

After a short tour of the Capitol building (during which I tried in vain to see if we could get out onto the platform to pretend to be taking the oath) the few tourists who decided to brave the cold for the second day in a row all seemed to drift down towards the White House, where we knew Obama was settling into his first full day in office…

The White House

Of course, that was a different time, and a lot has happened since then. We are not so hopeful and bright eyed as we were four years ago, and in many ways we are more divided. But maybe the President can conjure up a little more of that Obama magic today…

Photos from London 2012 Olympics Day 14 – Men’s Basketball Final (USA v Spain)

August 14, 2012 1 comment

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.

Panorama of the North Greenwich Arena during the USA Spain Olympic Basketball Final, August 12th 2012

Rudy Fernandez scores for Spain in USA Spain Olympic Basketball Final, August 12th 2012

Mexican Wave, USA Spain Olympic Basketball Final, August 12th 2012

David Beckham and sons enjoy the action, USA Spain Olympic Basketball Final, August 12th 2012

LeBron James goes for a slam dunk, USA Spain Olympic Basketball Final, August 12th 2012

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.

USA team call a timeout with 30 seconds left just to celebrate, USA Spain Olympic Basketball Final, August 12th 2012

USA team walk off victorious, USA Spain Olympic Basketball Final, August 12th 2012

Arnold Schwarzenegger stands for the US national anthem while Boris Johnson looks on, USA Spain Olympic Basketball Final, August 12th 2012

USA team, Olympic champions, stand for national anthem at medal ceremony, USA Spain Olympic Basketball Final, August 12th 2012

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…

“The New York Post” – Photo Report

December 23, 2011 3 comments

We capped off our travel this year with a personal trip over to New York for some family time around the Thanksgiving weekend. Lucky enough to have some relatives and friends who live in NYC, I make it over about once a year and always manage to find time to go out and shoot this mega-metropolis. Though I daresay I probably have enough Central Park shots in my library by now…

Central Park Lake

Central Park Lake

Bethesda Fountain

Central Park in Autumn

Central Park South - Autumn Colors

New_York_2011_(Flickr)_(009_of_25)_IMG_8523

Fifth Avenue on Black Friday

Manhattan Sunset (from Brooklyn)

Times Square at Night

Leftovers of Occupy Wall Street, Zucotti Park

Momofuku Noodle Bar

Looking Downtown from Chinatown

Street Art, Lower East Side

Bushwick Graffiti

More of my latest New York photos can be seen either on Flickr (here) or Google+ (here).

This will probably be my penultimate post for 2011, if not my last – my next one will be a retrospective of the year with some of my favourite photos. It’s been a very fulfilling year.

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

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….

GOP lawmakers fan the flames of hate


What a bunch of utter f*ckwits.