Tag Archives: Travel

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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Slot canyons in Utah & Arizona

This is the top of a slot canyon. Doesn’t look like much. Not from the outside anyway…

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But all that changes on the inside. It’s like stepping into a different world, literally.

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Colour, form, texture, line, flow. A photographer’s paradise. Impossible not to feel awestruck.

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These are the slot canyons of Utah and Arizona; part of the photographic tour I lead to the US in October in conjunction with aspect2i.co.uk

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The beauty is all underground… I can’t wait to do it all over again in October 2017. If you fancy joining me, check out the dates and sign up!

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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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Mexican Palm Trees, and Cocktails…

Palm trees means beach means sun means holiday, right? Right! Two weeks of Mexican mojitos, margaritas and caipirinhas (Brazil…?) and the odd whisky sour thrown in to balance all the sugar. FullSizeRender 20

 

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I’ve become quite fond of palm trees over the last fortnight. Obviously the shade was very welcome for a white northern boy like me. But they also gave me something to photograph. Nice theme for a little series of sunny beach images…

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I must admit that I took most of these in the early morning so that I could still hold the camera straight before indulging in all that cocktail malarkey. And palm trees help out even there – pretty ramrod straight, which sorts out the verticals. Apart from this one…? What happened this poor chap?

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They’re pretty bendy too, which comes in useful when a tropical storm ruins the sun-bathing for a few days.

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But perhaps the best thing about a palm tree is a coconut. Here’s young Freya, indulging in the palm tree’s fruit (although perhaps not with all the alcohol that I seem to throw in….)

 

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(All shots made with an iPhone – too hot to carry the big beast around…)

 


Is it ok to remove the tour kitty from a corpse….?

So, here’s last week’s skiing dilemma: all 8 lads have just put €50 in the kitty. 400 smackers – clearly enough for quite a few beers. And then kitty carrier goes arse over tit and because he’s only got one plank welded to his leg, shatters his shin bone and has to be blood wagoned down the slope. Of course, the 7 still standing are intensely sorry for our Kumpel, but hells bells, what do we do about the kitty!?!?

 

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Having said that, a boys trip is actually an object lesson in reconnecting with humanity. This may surprise our wives…., but we are able to discuss the finer aspects of life. Of course, not wishing to stretch credulity, obviously we do all the usual boy things – lots of farting, burping, gross humour, discussion of the merits of tits vs arse etc etc. But these are not the only topics of discussion. For example, in one evening we covered all the following topics: How long has your longest friend been you friend? The meaning of religion. Why do we pay tax? The respective merits of tea vs booze. How should we all contribute to society? The benefits of 3 in a bed. Politics – in general. How best to stack a dishwasher (good debate on that one!) How much we love our kids. James Bond (was The Living Daylights R Moore or T Dalton?) How long should you boil an egg at altitude to get a perfect softy? (Answer 6.5 mins in Sölden…) What exactly are parental responsibilities? How safe is the cut? And how long does it take to clean out the tubes before the risk of impregnation has passed? ALL ON ONE EVENING!

 

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I hesitate to enumerate the list of other topics discussed on other evenings. Frankly Rousseau and Voltaire would have been hard pressed to keep up. And I haven’t even mentioned the skiing, yet.

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Even our cooking wasn’t bad, although heaven knows what happened to this spaghetti…, swiftly followed by an argument over dishwasher stacking (f.f’s sake!)

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Boys do not do things by halves. If we go to the supermarket then we damn well shop – and need at least 2 trolleys to get the beer back home (thank God the team had learnt to avoid Alkohol-frei this time!)

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Oooops, not quite sure how the last evening’s entertainment crept in there… passing swiftly on (!) we come back to the initial dilemma. What to do about that €400? The cash needs to be weighed up against the seriousness of the injury. Take a look at the poor chap’s shin bone:

 

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Well, being the decent chaps we are of course we chased after the blood wagon! So that’s another boys trip over for another year. Can’t wait for the next one.

 

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(Now boys – if you haven’t seen the video, then let me know and I’ll wetransfer it to you. It’s fun. And ask yourselves this: What does Granny really want?) Tschüß, bis zum nächsten Jahr!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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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Have some colour in your life!

It is grim outside – really grey, wet, monotone, sodden and cold. January is the hardest month… So I’ve been going through old pics to find some colour to cheer me up. And I found these. I’d forgotten all about this place, Burano Island, Venice. Colour indeed!

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It was pretty cold there too (October, Acqua Alta and all that). But is it possible to feel miserable when there’s so much eye-popping colour about? You just have to grin at the visual fizz.

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(Wish I had a speed boat parked outside my house. Mind you with all the flooding here, that’s a distinct possibility…)

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So if it’s grey wherever you are, I hope these pics have brought some colour into your day, an perhaps a grin too. Ciao!

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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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Champagne baby, Yeah!

Now personally I am rather partial to Côtes du Rhône, love a Gigondas, and delect over a delicious German Riesling. And I go crazy for a 2005 Ciaccipicolomini, the best red ever! But occasionally Mrs P needs bubbles, and there’s only one thing to do – a road trip to Champagne!

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And it really is like a road trip. Frankly the driving is a joy. Three and half hours on empty roads from coast to vineyard – I drive fast – a dream compared to the M25, where are all the people? (in the south of France is the answer – I mean, if you can why wouldn’t you!). I should be in a sports car with the top down, but hey, I need the space in the boot for the bottles, and I respect Mrs P’s barnet, so we’re in the people carrier.

 

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Épernay is the destination, and it’s the Fête du Champagne this weekend. We are meeting friends, so the party is on. We shall do some private tastings at micro-Champagne houses, and then go for the big boys at the Fête. It’s party time!

 

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Did you know that there are 100 million bubbles in a bottle of Champagne (count them if you don’t believe me). Le Champagne is the drink, La Champagne is the region. And the Côtes des Blancs is so because of the Chardonnay grape, not the chalky soil.

 

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See that little straw in the barrel above. They take that out to let some air in when they bottle from the barrel so that the wine doesn’t disturb the sediment at the bottom of the barrel. Amazing how easy it is to learn stuff when you’re having a little drink…

 

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Bouquin-Dupont Blanc de blancs. Creamy and dry at the same time, like a crème brulée zapped with an electric current. Awesome, and a steal if you buy direct from Dominique, the grower, at 15€ a bottle. And we did, buy that is… Lucky I had the space in the boot of the car for all 50 odd bottles. Should keep Mrs P happy for a week or two.

 

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(All photos with the iPhone – who needs a Leica..? Me, I do, I do, I do!) Santé! Prost! Cheers and Happy Christmas to all! Joyeux Noel as we say in French. May all your festivities be filled with bubbles! À la prochaine…