Tag Archives: Photography

Iceland – just amazing…

There is a moment when you know that you’ve fallen for a place. I’ve just been co-leading a workshop in Iceland, a land which is awesome in every sense of the word. But the place that encapsulates that wonder is the beach at Jökusárlón, where the bergs get washed up on the black sand and create amazing temporary sculptures. Stunning.

Iceland is not just black beaches and icebergs. It’s glaciers, fish, volcanoes, waterfalls, geysers, sulphur, mud, horses and expensive hotels. Empty roads too. Route 1, the equivalent of the Icelandic M25, is empty once past Reykyavik and the glory spots of the south coast. I drove for hours only passing a few cars the whole time… 2500 kms, empty most of the way.

 

 

I can’t wait to go again. Next year, perhaps in late March when it’s a bit colder, more icy, more dramatic, more raw. If you want to come, let me know. We will be in 2 4x4s, space for 6 passengers on the photographic trip of a lifetime…


You can never tire of London…

“Why Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London” said Mr Johnson. And what goes for 1777 still stands for 2018. A fascinating city, even on a bitterly cold February evening outing with the camera club. The best was Tate Modern, full of vibrancy, youth, music, art and installations late into the evening. I could have spent hours there snapping away, agreeing with Mr Johnson’s dictum… “No Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life…”

 

 

 

 


Shredding the gnar…

Well, we’re right in the middle of the Winter Olympics, surrounded by slopestylers pretzeling, corking and double japanning. I can’t do any of this stuff,  barely even understand it! But I can appreciate a good downhill skier, and Charles is certainly that. I can only just keep up with him…

Ah, to be 18 again, and have the cojones to go this fast without fearing the consequences. He’s regularly 90/100+ kph, and has no sense of mortality – he’s just shredding the gnar…

Off the corduroy is where he’s at, but not me – I just catch an edge and face plant. Charles? Hits the apex and runs the white room…

I must admit when Charles finally alley-oops, tastes powder, & loses a ski, I do laugh my head off… It’s only natural, and I can see he’s ok. He’s has to climb back up the hill – steep, through the powder mash,… But then within a nano-second he’s back up to ridic-speed….

 

I want to be 18 again and ride for fun! What am I talking about,… I can still do this! Wait until next year and I’ll show you my switch right lip 270 pretzel out of the top rail, 450 on the down rail, butter pad, then cork 450 out, double cork 12, double japan, switch right, double cork 10 safety and finish with a double cork 10 tail. Believe it! Basta!!!

 

(PS – apologies to any true slopestylers out there, I know I have taken the vocab in vain, and don’t really know what I’m talking about…)


Enjoying the craic!

When I was a student I was good at doing this. Large quantities of beer were the norm, and recovery time was minimal. Nowadays a great evening out takes about 2 weeks to recover…

 

I guess the best way not to suffer is to stick to one particular drink, and in Dublin that can only mean one thing, and try to drink slowly over a long period of time. Perhaps I didn’t quite achieve that (drinking slowly…) but at least I stuck to the black stuff, and mighty delicious it was too…

The other way to forget that you can’t quite be a student anymore, is to surround yourself with your student pals and just relive the old days. And that’s what we did, to great effect. Enjoying the craic! Inside I still feel like I’m in my younger 20s anyway…

And at no stage did I give up the ghost, put my head in my hands and drown all my sorrows. This pic isn’t me!


Next year: Galway!!!


Champagne, in the snow…

How do you keep your spirits up when the weather is grim and grey? Drink bubbles of course! And the best bubbles are from the Côte des Blancs in Champagne, where chardonnay rules and the dosage sugar is kept low. So that’s where we go early December…

And blimey it was blanc, très blanc. We beat the snow by a day, but it caught us up. Not that it stopped us drinking the stuff, copious quantities, all in the name of research (to get our tastiest bargain…)

Épernay has a little festival first week in December – Les Habit de Lumière – well worth a visit if you want to see how the locals consumer their fizz…

Ahem…, several of the drinkers in these shots may well not be from Épernay at all… I shall not give their identities away…

Gimonnet and Bouquin Dupont came out top in our dedicated and fastidious research, so we stocked up (Mrs P cannot go a week without at least one glass of blanc de blanc); the car was loaded up and off we headed home, into the teeth of a storm and a slightly anxious ferry crossing. Didn’t spill a drop or pop a bubble. That’s the way to do it!

(Duchies – we missed you this year. Don’t go missing this again!)


Intimations of mortality

Looking at oneself is always an odd experience. Not in the fleeting way you glance at yourself in the mirror early morning when you’re brushing your teeth, but more when you really look, stare at yourself… You see things you know are there. And of course a camera makes you look in the most excoriating way. As a photographer, I quite dislike seeing myself in photographs. Too uncomfortable. Intimations of mortality and all that. Better to photograph the next generation, the youngsters. They might dislike being photographed (in Charles’s case, rather intensely), but at least they look good!

 

 


Zombies in Loughton

If you fancy a bit of trick or treating, then Loughton is definitely the place to go. And specifically the ghoulish, macabre, fiendish house of Wendy and David Greenhalgh, who are Halloweened up to the hilt. Every part of the house, and garden, and garage, and tree, and driveway, has turned into hell on earth for a weekend. Heaven knows what the lodger thinks….

When I was a kid, we did apple bobbing. Jeez – now it’s kids in the pot, corpses in the garden, and a trio of witches in the shed! Mind you, I checked out the kitchen and I could see some delicious looking toffee, so Thank God that hasn’t changed!

If you’re going to go over the top then do it properly, or improperly but extravagantly. “Extravaganza” might not actually quite be strong enough to capture the effect. Queens Road will ever quite recover, the Dementors have taken over…

Good luck for the party tomorrow. It’s going to be wicked!!!

For more on David and Wendy’s Halloween Extraordinaire, see Instagram: Halloweenwerewolf


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.


Is Marseille really French…?

Is Marseille really French I wonder…? It’s such a brilliant hotchpotch of different styles, cultures and colours. Really it’s a bit of everything. Maybe the old greek Massalia-polis attitude lives on? Origins aren’t important, attitudes are. And Marseille has such a fantastic mixture of old and new. It’s a great city no doubt, and a couple of days work on the south coast of France never hurt anyone…

Here’s the old city, the Vieux Port, still looking good in spite of the stains on the mirror:

The basilica looks Moroccan, or a bit Eastern…., slightly Turkish…

 

The combination of old and new is very French, and in Marseille it’s done with great style. Here’s the single metal strip walkway bridge juxtaposed with the old port watch-tower.

 

The stunning Museum of the Mediterranean, closed on Tuesdays, because we are after all in France, so I couldn’t actually visit it…

 

 

 

There’s even a Brit influence in Marseille. Every French town has a covered market, but Marseille has a Norman Foster glossy mirrored-ceiling version.. Take a look, this is the right way up…

And so, back to the hotel for a very French breakfast with my traductrice, Jo Hair: animal artist extraordinary If you like a penguin, you’ll love this, check the link

(And finally, why did the Brits stick an “-s” on the end of Marseille…, Marseilles? Typical Brit sort of thing to do of course…)


Sri Lankan Faces

Sri Lanka is a wonderful country, full of colour, vibrancy and beautiful scenery. Here are some faces of the people we met over our 10 days in this fascinating country…

A young Tamil tea picker

 

A fire eater…

 

Ladies by the roadside

 

A gardener

 

The local butcher

 

A monk and his Mercedes

 

Tea picker in Ella