Tag Archives: Travel

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


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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Morning view

 

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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