My last minute entry to the Pic & A Word Challenge Aqua and Azure…
You might also like: ⇒ Sailing the Aegean with Odysseas Elytis ⇒ The Caldera of Santorini ⇒ The Temple of Poseidon at Cape Sounion
After more than half a year of limiting myself to taking holiday photos, last week I suddenly remembered that I used to work my way through the 2016 Dogwood Photography Challenge. For those of you who don’t know, this is a 52-week challenge aimed at helping you to become a better photographer (it’s been extended to 2017 and now 2018 as well) and you can thank it for the only picture of me that you’re ever going to see on this blog – due to the fact that the week 1 challenge required a self-portrait…
2017 – the year when I took the camera off Auto-Intelligent. Which, by the way, does not mean that I attempted to go fully manual; that is still a long way off, if it ever happens. But I experimented with the Program mode, with Aperture and Shutter Priority, with Manual Focus and Macro.
Five doorways in Seville. Not doorways of fancy palaces or the Alcázar; just doorways in five houses I passed as I walked down the street. Enjoy. (Click to enlarge.)
You might have thankfully forgotten but I’m working my way through the Dogwood 2016 photography challenge. I spared you Red (my efforts were dismal) and I’m not sharing Headshot because Sophisticated Young Lady, the only willing volunteer, is entitled to her privacy.
Which brings us to last week’s challenge: Landscape: Black & White. I went down to the Thames on Sunday afternoon; it was low tide.
The only photo I remember from my primary school history book is this:
I’m sure you’ve all seen it before: St Paul’s dome standing intact above the ruins, surrounded by smoke and flames, seemingly indestructible, converting into a symbol. Iconic doesn’t even begin to describe it. It was taken on 29 December 1940, the 114th night of the Blitz, by Herbert Mason, a Daily Mail photographer, from on top of the Daily Mail building in Fleet Street. I take my hat off to Mr Mason – quite apart from any other considerations, just for having the guts to stand on an exposed London rooftop during a German bombing raid, taking pictures.
Under certain circumstances: very.
The first challenge of Dogwood2016 was a self-portrait, using the camera’s self-timer. Well, finding out how to do that was easy (I read the manual).
But the rest…!
If there’s anything I hate more than being seen with a camera in my hand, it’s being in front of the camera. I was only sure of one thing: the resulting self-portrait should not really show much of me. If you say that can’t be a self-portrait, yes, it can.
Recently I went on a visit to Hungary to spend time with family and catch up with old friends… and to introduce Young Friend of the Elephants (who caught the photography bug from me) to some of the more prestigious buildings of Budapest. In the course of which we took a copious amount of pictures, most of which proved to be a blurry failure when downloaded to the computer – but of that, more in another post…
Because today I’m contenting myself with nominating some dazzling doors from the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest (the few that came out sharp!) to Norm’s weekly Doors challenge.
You might also like: ⇒ Under Italian Influence: The Queen's House in Greenwich ⇒ Sun-Drenched ⇒ Spain in Black & White III
…like sapphires in colour, only that it is paler and more closely resembles the tint of the water near the sea-shore in appearance.
(Pliny the Elder: Natural History, XXXVII.56)
The Queen’s House in Greenwich is one of those buildings that I walked past dozens of times each year and never once entered, despite being a member in the Maritime Museum and despite the entry being free in any case. There is so much to see in Greenwich that the Queen’s House always ended up bypassed. I finally went in two weeks ago – to see the so-called Armada portrait of Queen Elizabeth I that the museum had recently acquired and which was about to disappear into a conservator’s workshop for the near future. The building is so stunning I can’t believe I ignored it for years – don’t miss it if you ever visit Greenwich!
Winter: leaving for work in the dark and arriving home in the dark. The only redeeming feature of my winter working day is…
Or, as this post more appropriately should be titled:
(I’ll let you know when I feel competent enough to write A Guide to Night Photography for Dummies instead. Just watch this space.)
Generally, I much prefer taking pictures in blazing sunshine – they seem to come out so much better with so much less effort. But since winter arrived in London (in as much you can call 10 degrees above zero winter), the only choice is between fuzzy-muzzy-grey or night scenes. I’ll take night any time!
whhheeeeᴇᴇᴇᴇᴇᴇᴇᴇEEEEEEEE! The scream of jet engines rises to a crescendo on the runways of the world. Every second, somewhere or other, a plane touches down, with a puff of smoke from scorched tyre rubber, or rises in the air, leaving a smear of black fumes dissolving in its wake. From space, the earth might look to a fanciful eye like a huge carousel, with planes instead of horses spinning round its circumference, up and down, up and down. Whhheeeeeeeeeee!
Small World by David Lodge
In response to the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge: New Horizon.
30 St Mary Axe, better known as The (Erotic) Gherkin, is a skyscraper in the City which at the time of its building was the second tallest building in London. It was completed in 2003 and stands in the site of the former Baltic Exchange which was badly damaged by a bomb planted by the Provisional IRA in 1992.
Is this a building that – for all practical purposes – is shaped like a globe?
Hills are a natural choice as locations for some of the most beautiful structures mankind has ever erected: castles and temples, statues and palaces, lighthouses and crosses – I’m sure you all can think of many stunning examples. Today, in response to Ailsa’s weekly travel theme Hills on her blog Where’s My Backpack, I thought I’d share with you some of the hills I had the good fortune to climb in the Mediterranean. And I chose these particular hills for one reason: what people chose to build on them.
The old town of Toledo was built on a hill which is almost fully encircled by the River Tajo. This view shows the Roman bridge across the river with the Alcázar of Toledo topping the crest of the hill. For this view alone, Toledo will always be one of my favourite cities.
A night-time walk in St James’s Park…
You’d think there’d be lights on along the paths but it’s pitch-black. Apart from the Moon, the London Eye above the trees on the other side of the Thames… and the reflections on the water, that is.
In response to the Daily Post Weekly Challenge: Shine.
The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
O Captain! My Captain! by Walt Whitman
Posted in response to the Daily Post Photo Challenge: Edge.
Links: ⇒ O Captain! My Captain by Walt Whitman ⇒ The Fastest Ship in the Fleet - an 18-minute film of the 1971 race between HMS Cavalier and HMS Rapid (Imperial War Museum). No prizes for guessing who won! ⇒ The service history of HMS Cavalier on Naval-History.net
Today’s miscellany is in the manner of my Venice in Black & White at the end of May (which was easily one of my most popular photo posts) and it doubles as response to Cee’s Compose Yourself photo challenge on the theme of Black & White: The Basics.
I took these photos when I was still under the impression that photography’s only purpose was to faithfully re-create the colourful, aromatic, tactile reality of the 3-D world around me, less than a year ago, during our holiday on Malta. Only one of the photos was taken with an actual camera, the rest were captured on phone.