Tag Archives: “Black and White photography”

The Best Martini in the World, Dukes Bar, London

Now I’m rather partial to a nice glass of wine. But Roger goes whizzbang for a Martini. So to celebrate his birthday, Mrs Roger invited us to pay our respects at the home of the Martini in London, and drink the best at Dukes Bar in St James under the tutelage of Mr Alessandro Palazzi.

It is always a delight to learn from the hands of an expert, and Alessandro is an enthusiast, a connoisseur and a virtuoso. And Dukes Bar is the quintessential place for a Martini. This is where Ian Fleming came to drink, and Bond would have come to relax. Alessandro would have been behind the bar.

His secret of course is to have the best ingredients. Only the best London dry gin, English vermouth, and lemons from the Amalfi coast. Alessandro advice: Shaken, not stirred, is of course Bond’s take on a Martini, but the classic would never be shaken – the ice would dilute the alcohol. Bond was a rebel after all…

Now Mrs P’s favourite Martini was a Strangway – elderflower infusion, so…. lady…; but I think I enjoyed the Vesper the most: 3 parts No 3 Gin – frozen, 1 part Potocki vodka – frozen (Polish vodka – Fleming based Vesper on a real Polish spy, so Polish it must be…), 1 part Lillet Blanc, 2 dashes Angostura Bitters. A heady drink for an intoxicating character. Delicious. Deadly.

And the result? Much enthusiasm from the audience, and I haven’t seen Roger wobble quite so much on leaving a bar since he was a student… Bond, of course, would have remained ice cool…

If you get the chance, go to Dukes Bar, and indulge in the heady drinks of the Cold War: https://www.dukeshotel.com/dukes-bar/

 


But which ones to choose…?

Right, I need some help. We have a club competition coming up this week. A prestigious cup, no less, is on offer. The Bedwell Trophy, for the best panel of 4 images. And my problem is which 4 to choose….

Obvs they need to be themed, and I’ve gone for “Long Exposure at More London”. But I’ve got 5 images, and I can’t make up my mind. I only can take 4. Above is ‘Shard 1’, below is ‘City Hall’, I think they top and tail quite nicely…

But then there’s ‘Skyline Shard’ which is a good scene setter:

Finally, I have two more abstract-y images. Do I go with both, or just one…? They are ‘London Office Block’ and ‘Reflection’:

So, which should I choose for my 4? Anyone care to help me out? Have a vote below for which image to leave out?

(Remember to check out more of my photos on Instagram: thomaspeck or twitter @Peckster68)


Modernist bridges in The Netherlands

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The Netherlands has got a lot of bridges, for obvious reasons… And whilst I like a quaint hump-backed stone bridge over a quiet canal in Amsterdam, I think I prefer the smack-in-your-face modernist Über-bridges dotted elsewhere around the country. Take this one by Spanish architect Calatrava. It’s a bridge that looks more like a space rocket. Aesthetics on top of functionality. Awesome!

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The Dutch have been building modernist bridges since the 50s. This is the super-sleek Zeeland Bridge spanning the Osterschelde estuary. Over 5kms long…

And here’s another Calatrava. He does like his pointy bits, doesn’t he? Makes for quite a photograph though…

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Sharp lines and chiaroscuro in London and Rotterdam!

I have been having some fun converting  pictures! With the expert help of my friend Noel (check out his website here) I’ve been experimenting with luminosity masks, superior selections, and 8 minute sky exposures. Dramatic and I love it! Here’s London, looking sharp…

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And give me a Dutch bridge and this is what I do to it:

 

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Perhaps the most photogenic city for modern architecture however is Rotterdam, see below. And it’s got a fine modern art museum. Noel tells me his wife tells him that the shopping is superlative too. Excellent. Mrs P will have something to do on our next weekend away whilst I get on with the image making!

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Faces of the future

I did a shoot at a theatre company the other day. I loved the eagerness of the actors – the faces of the future. Here they are, blimey they look so young!

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Michelle, grace and elegance

If Ruben soars, then Michelle glides, graceful and elegant. The arch of the foot, the point of the hand. Arabesque, Plié, Pirouette…

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There’s time for fun, a little – it can’t be all too serious.


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Perfection must be to the fingertips, to the toes. A body under control.

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Ruben and Michelle make dance look effortless, controlled and beautiful. They look serene, together.

 

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For pictures of Ruben, see previous post.


Ruben dancing into the air

Now I know that I have published the odd post featuring the female form. Beautiful it is too, and I’ve loved every moment of every photo shoot. But maybe it’s time to even up the score… So here are some images of the male form, and in spectacular condition too. This is Ruben, a man who can soar, seemingly effortlessly, through the air.

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How many hours of practice does it take to be able to do this? They say 10,000 to master an instrument. This is a life’s dedication. So it’s great to record the beauty of Ruben’s skill.

 

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Unsurprisingly, the feet take some wear and tear. But a short rest and then Ruben is ready to fly again. Up, up and away. Amazing….

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2 speedlights, background, and a model…

Amazing what you can do with a couple of speedlights. Basic kit – 2 small flashes, 2 strip boxes, a background – and a model of course! and hey, it’s up and running…

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These are from a workshop I did the other day with Luca Monti – check out his workshops here. Going on a workshop is a great way of stepping out of the comfort zone and doing something different. Just do it, and have some fun.

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The next image is one I put into a competition. The judge slated it – too much negative space, according to him. I don’t agree. I rather like the curves and the space. They balance off one another. Let me know what you think!

 

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The Unbearable Sharpness of Thorns

Oi! You lot out there. Who occasionally look at this blog, probably very fleetingly.  I want your opinion. Which ones do you prefer? Black background or white?

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Lake Windermere and dogs…

We’ve decided at long last to get a dog. So, whilst on a quick trip to the Lake District, we rated every dog that we passed, with a view to working out which actual dog we want. We got some weird looks as dog walkers strolled past and we would call out “four”, seven”, “eight”, “two”… I just want a dog that likes coming with me early doors on my photography trips. Anyway, here’s a few pics from Lake Windermere, as I said, early doors.
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Dog photos will no doubt follow…