Tag Archives: England

Northumberland Castles, Seascapes, Big Skies and Roman Walls

Northumberland is a fantastic windswept rugged landscape. Big beaches, huge sky, imposing castles. A great area for photography, which is why I’m running a workshop there next year. I’ve just been on a quick recce to check out the locations. Here are a few resulting images.

Bamburgh Castle, a classic dawn and dusk location. Great for big land, and seascapes, beach reflections and rocky lead-in lines…

Alnwick Castle, home to much Harry Potter castle filming…

 

Holy Island and its famous boat sheds. Normally this is a great shot with Lindisfarne in the background, but scaffolding on the castle put paid to that this time (scaffolding that will be removed before the workshop thank heavens!)

Pilgrim’s Way across the mud flats of the estuary to Holy Island. I kept my feet dry and resisted splashing around in the mud…

Abstracts and long exposure in Berwick upon Tweed…

A day away from the seaside checking out Roughting Linn waterfall

No trip to Northumberland should be without a visit to Hadrian’s Wall. The Roman soldiers must have shivered and longed for return to the continent when they were posted here…

And finally, the famous Sycamore Gap on Hadrian’s Wall. Much photographed, but stunning nevertheless. Great location!

If you are interested in a trip to Northumberland, the workshop is 6th – 10th September 2018. Contact me at thomaspeck1@mac.com for more details or to request a brochure.  Stunning landscapes guaranteed.


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)


Dog walking with Rufus…

Rufus has been with us almost a year. Difficult to imagine the home without him now. He’s been the best in what has been a tough year…

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He is either a very intelligent dog, who decides to ignore the pathetic goings-on of the humans around him, or else he is very thick and simply doesn’t understand our commands. Either way, he is clearly very happy.

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Early morning walks are good – for me as well as the dog! And we’ve been treated to some superb sunrises over the past few days. Here’s my local Caspar David Friedrich tree, just next to the Lizzie Bennet lane…

Processed with Snapseed.

Rufus is very bound-y, just like Tigger, and chasing a ball is absolutely what Rufus does best. Or licking the dishes in the dishwasher – perhaps that is what he does best; or maybe the challenge of a big stick on an early morning walk? No…, I have it, best of all is the chance to go for a swim in water, the smellier the better.

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Processed with Snapseed.

(I do like that tree – very CDF for sure.)

So long may our dog-master, master-dog morning walks continue. Great fun for us both, and a chance to go hunting for sticks…

Processed with Snapseed.

 

 

 


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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A beach, a dog, and a race…

Autumn is here, my favourite season! The colours are muted but saturated, the weather still not too cold. Mists and mellow fruitfulness and all that. A good time to get out with the camera. This last week the Isle of Wight has been positively glowing and I’ve been having some fun with my tripod plus tilt and shift lens…

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Dusk isn’t too late, so I can photograph The Needles and don’t miss out on dinner with the family, and dawn isn’t too early, so it’s not too hard to haul my botski out of bed and shoot the misty sunrise.
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But what about the beach, the dog and the race…? Well, when the kids were young beaches were for sandcastles and paddling, but now we have a dog a beach is of course for races! Below is Charles puffing away whilst Rufus ambles past him. Rufus wins easily. And then me! a sprightly 42, giving the hound a run for his money. (Rufus still won…)

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Ah, the inner child will out…

Dawn, dusk, beaches, racing. A cracking week on the Isle of Wight. Loved it.

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London, Bikes, Nudes. Ah yes, it’s Saturday afternoon…

Now if I were in Germany I would expect this sort of thing. After all, the English Gardens in Munich is a traditional nudist spot, and a fine place for a beer too, of course. But in the middle of London…, just next to the Tower…, on bikes… It’s all a bit…, shocking!

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I was in town to take photographs of something completely different, and I heard a commotion – drums, whistles and so on, (this girl was having a good blast on hers…), and of course I wandered over to see what was going on.

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A demo, no less, and for some reason everyone was naked. It was raining, of course. But that didn’t put them off. Hey, if you’re going to get wet it’s better to have your kit off, I say! And it didn’t dampen anyone’s enthusiasm, because we’re British and we are used to the rain anyway.

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This guy at the front of this tandem was rather half-hearted in my view. His rear companion had got the idea – shoulders covered, balls out.

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Bloody hell – here’s Eve looking for Adam! You can tell it’s a bit nippy though… I never did work out the link between bikes and nudism. And I don’t really see a logical link. It all feels a bit uncomfortable to me. Just like this chap below. I leave you with his bag metaphor, which sort of summed up a typical Saturday afternoon in London town…

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London shimmers with colour and light!

Now I’ve always associated Son et Lumière shows with France, but I think the Brits are catching on. London recently got all lit up, and the crowds loved it!

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Oxford Circus looked amazing with this colour cloud hanging above it. Shimmering colour shifting made it alive, extra-terrestrial! From the extravagant to the delicate: Dresses made out of strings of light. I loved this exhibit. And so did everyone else – the scrum in front of it was enormous – I had to use my tripod to beat people out of the way…

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I remember King’s Cross as a drug den and red light district (not that I partook of either…). Now it’s wall light painting and light diving sculptures. A spectacular improvement, obviously…

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Even the passers-by did everything to get lit up!

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Lumiere London – a huge success. It’s going to happen again next year for sure. Those French ways are crossing the Channel and we’re bigging them up in London. It just goes to show when you’re tired of London, you may well be tired of Life, as old SJ used to say…

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Force 9 on the Cobb!

Last time I was in Lyme Regis it was serenity itself. Smooth waters, gentle winds, a mite cold true, but of the quiet frosty kind. Quite the Victorian idyll, and not a crinoline skirt out of place. This time it was a raging furious thundering scary, punk in-your-face, screaming full blown storm. High danger on the Cobb, and it was deserted (apart from me, of course)!
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I felt very Turner-esque. Tie me to the mast and take me out into the storm so I can feel the elements! Oh yes, high-octane stuff. Misjudge a wave and that would be it. (I made sure Mrs P was nowhere around so she couldn’t scold me for being so bloody foolish…)

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Click on the pic above and enlarge it. Check out the wave that’s dying over the Cobb, but about to be resuscitated by the next one coming in, with another right behind it. Dodge one, and the next will get you…

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It was all rather exhilarating! For this last image, I climbed Granny’s Teeth and just peered over the top of the Cobb. Any higher was dangerous. And boom! this one almost got me. It’s not sharp because I was too scared to hold the camera still! 2016 starts with a bang – or rather a thump, whoosh, crash, suuuuuck. Fantastic stuff! Happy New Year to you all.

 

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Rush, rush, rush and no time to stare

Sometimes you just have to rush to catch the light. This was a rush shot. Rushing from the car park (leaving the family in the car ‘cos they’re all too lazy to shift themselves), rushing down the squelching slope, rushing to get the tripod up, and the right lens on – a tilt shift 24mm in this case, and then rushing to whack a grad ND filter on the front. Focus, tilt, focus again, test shot, check focus, adjust, make final image, breathe sigh of relief that something’s in the bag… One day I will be there in good time, and not have to rush…
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Even this was a rush – in this case because I was up early, but knew I had limited time to get back for breakfast and not incur the wrath of the family who were at that precise moment snoring away in blissful ignorance. Ah, but what did they miss! All this lovely light and colour. Sleeping is for later in life.

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Now for this one below at least I had the family up, out and stretching their legs on the path. Mind you, they were of course 400 yards ahead of me because I’d stopped to make this image. So I had to rush to catch them up. It never stops.

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Rushing here, rushing there. I’m sure there are some photographers out there who manage to take their shots with a calm serenity. But that’s not me. How do you learn to slow down? I wish I could, I’m sure it would improve my images. Never mind, at least I have made the effort, and whatever ends up in the camera, I have the experiences that go with the shots.

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Got to rush – Match of the Day about to start…

(Images from the Lake District: Blea Tarn, Stockghyll Force just outside Ambleside, Rydal Water and back to Blea Tarn)