Dusty Sunlight…

People always say it hurts at night and apparently screaming into your pillow at 3am is the romantic equivalent of being heartbroken. But sometimes its 9am on a Tuesday morning and you’re standing at the kitchen counter, waiting for the toast to pop up and the smell of dusty sunlight and Earl Grey tea make you miss him so much you don’t know what to do with your hands…

Blencathra

The High Line & Chelsea Market…

Chelsea Market

The High LineOn Sunday morning I took the E train over to Penn Station and walked the High Line from North to South. It was a beautiful morning. It had rained a little overnight and the High Line was very aromatic. The High Line part 3 opens this Sunday, 21st September 2014 and will lead off an even longer stretch on the northern end. The High Line is an elevated freight train platform which is currently 1.5 miles long and has been saved and turned into a park, it is now entirely funded by donations.

The High Line

The High Line
Street art from the High Line

After a beautiful walk along the High Line I went down to Chelsea Market, original home of the National Biscuit Company, this is home of the Oreo cookie. The lovely Industrial integrity of the building has been kept, the ground floor is home to some 35+ food establishments – A foodie’s dream. Upstairs is occupied by TV companies and You Tube. I had breakfast at Amy’s Bread Bakery, then I was off on another adventure. But not before walking through the Market and admiring the Rock Photography for sale by Rock Paper Photo. I must mention the best place too ‘Artists and Fleas’ a brilliant shop on the High Line corner of the Chelsea Market. Here you can see some fantastic art, crafts, jewellery, rock tee shirts and vintage clothes. Opened in April 2014 and well worth a look.

Chelsea Market

Chelsea Market

Thom Yorke
Rock Paper Photo Art Show – Thom Yorke
National Biscuit Co - Home of the Oreo
National Biscuit Co – Home of the Oreo

Squash

Artists & Fleas

Bokehlicious Manhattan…

Manhattan Skyline

SLR cameras are great for super sharp images if that is your style, but I remember when I first got my first Digital SLR and that feeling that you could do so much more than straight shots, you could take creative control over your camera. That’s when it started happening for me, I just love soft images and I love abstract or intimate landscapes. I’ve just returned from a week long solo trip to New York and I am going to begin by showing you some images of the Manhattan skyline shot from the East River. I think with Bokeh there is a magic half hour that is just after the sun sets, before it gets too dark and the effect dissipates. I love abstract images, your brain tells you the information you need for identification and the bokeh just draws you into the most important part of the image, the light, millions of tiny lights. I tried this out on larger landscapes from height, but it doesn’t work so well.

Manhattan Skyline
Empire State Building and the skyline
Manhattan Skyline
Brooklyn Bridge
Manhattan Skyline
Manhattan Bridge
Manhattan Skyline
Seaport area
Manhattan Skyline
Manhattan Bridge

The Fujifilm X100s Review…

Fujifilm X100s
Fujifilm X100s

The Fujifilm X100 had been on the top of my lust list for about a year. I stopped drooling, relented and bought (the updated Fujifilm X100s) this little delight, in silver. This is no technical review, there are plenty of blogs to gleen that information – I want great cameras with brilliant results. This camera comes with a fantastic APS-C sensor which is found in consumer SLR’s and handles amazingly in low light. The Fuji is a great urban/city camera, I bought the chestnut brown leather camera case with shoulder strap and this is how I proceeded to record my recent trip to Paris. Travelling around shooting at f2, it is amazing at capturing lens flare and bokeh. Where do I even begin to tell you about it capabilities, the square format shooting, shooting in film mode ‘Velvia’ for beautiful colour. B&W shots straight out of the bag, the beautiful sharp fixed 23mm lens, RAW or Jpeg. My friend Mark hit the nail on the head when he said to me recently “It makes image making so much fun, it makes you want to get out there and shoot”. Do I think as reported that it is the death of the DSLR, no I don’t, if you are a landscape photographer you still need a DSLR for better dynamic range and clarity. But, it is an amazing second camera.

The Golden Hour at Ullswater - Lake District
The Golden Hour at Ullswater – Lake District.  Wide open at f2.
A very, very early morning hike and a backwards shot of Derwent Water
A very, very early morning hike and a backwards shot of Derwent Water

If there is one thing to mention about this camera is that it is ‘energy hungry’, maybe because I always use the electronic viewfinder.

I bought two spare batteries and keep them in my camera bag. Also, I am a little worried that I may look like a Hipster !!!

The small ‘s’ on the end of this model code definitely stands for SEXY !!

The never ending Stairwell inside The Arc de Triomphe, Paris

The never-ending Stairwell inside The Arc de Triomphe, Paris

Glass stairwell at Musee d'Orsay, Paris
Glass stairwell at Musee d’Orsay, Paris

My perfect day, alone in Paris…

During my recent trip to Paris I found one precious, whole day to myself. I was going to visit the Musee Pompidou, but it was such a pretty day I decided to have a walk around my favourite districts of Paris. {When I buy my apartment in Paris} I am going to shop for peonies every day in spring, they are prolific in the local shops, just buckets of them. I love how the artisan is still king in Paris, the greengrocers for vegetables (Fruit et legumes) or beautiful fresh bread from the bakery (Boulangerie). Something that sadly is vanishing from the UK.

Tomatoes Radishes Macaroons Peonies

 I had a lovely walk around the busy streets of the 1st and then I was off to see one of the best views of Paris from the roof of the Galeries Lafayette department store. I didn’t get a really good shot, but I fell deeply, madly in love with this boho dress.

Galeries Lafayette Boho Dress

 Time was pushing on and I just had one more destination to visit, my favourite place in the whole of Paris: Ile St-Louis. I crossed off my bucket list to walk through the city alonesit outside The Cafe St Regis and order myself an espresso (in french of course) and watch the world go by.  TICK…..

St Regis Espresso Cafe St Regis

And there ended my beautiful day in Paris. Au revoir Paris until next time.

Paris

Bokeh love as the sun sets on Paris…

Last light on Rue de Rivoli

Just returned from a wonderful long weekend in Paris, weather was mixed it could be beaming sunshine for hours and then there would be a fantastic thunder and lightning storm for half an hour. I don’t have a set plan on these trips, but in my mind I have an idea of what I want to shoot, but as always, the unexpected shots are always the best. I have walked the length of Paris this weekend, armed with the Nikon D610 and my new Fujifilm X100s. The square shots are taken on the Fuji. Here are a collection of shots just as it was beginning to get dark – I make no apologies for the Bokeh shots. I love them.

Sunset on the Champs Elysees.
Sunset on the Champs Elysees.
Rue Rivoli
Rue Rivoli
Junction on the Rue de Rivoli
Junction on the Rue de Rivoli
Sunset on the Champs Elysees
Sunset on the Champs Elysees
Metro Station
Metro Station
Lens Flare on the Champs Elysees
Lens Flare on the Champs Elysees
Last light on Rue de Rivoli
Last light on Rue de Rivoli

 

Paris in the Springtime…

Champs Elysees from the top of the Arc de Triomphe
Champs Elysees from the top of the Arc de Triomphe
Champs Elysees from the top of the Arc de Triomphe
Eiffel Tower from the Arc de Triomphe
Eiffel Tower from the Arc de Triomphe
Parisian Door
Parisian Door
Palais Royal
Palais Royal
Street by the Palais Royal
Street by the Palais Royal
Palais Royal Metro
Palais Royal Metro
Le Pain Quotidien for the best organic breakfast
Le Pain Quotidien for the best organic breakfast
Bread at the Rue de Montmartre Sunday Market
Bread at the Rue de Montmartre Sunday Market
Afternoon tea at Laduree
Afternoon tea at Laduree
Jardin des Tuileries
Jardin des Tuileries
Jardin des Tuileries
Jardin des Tuileries
Jardin des Tuileries
Jardin des Tuileries
Champs Elysees
Champs Elysees
Peonies Forever
Peonies Forever
Jardin des Tuileries
Jardin des Tuileries
Rue de Rivoli
Rue de Rivoli

Ice, Ice, Baby…

Reykjavik

A few more shots of Iceland for you, in this image of the city of Reykjavik you can see the dark blue Harpa Building on the right at the harbour, this is a beautiful modern concert hall and conference centre. I had the best trip to Iceland and was so sad to leave, but this week I booked return flights to visit again in February 2015. This time I will be more prepared with 10,000 lens wipes.

Reykjavik
Reykjavik
Snæfellsjökull National Park
Snæfellsjökull National Park
Icelandic Ponies
Icelandic Ponies
Gullfoss Falls
Gullfoss Falls
Selfoss Sunrise
Selfoss Sunrise
Snæfellsjökull National Park
Snæfellsjökull National Park

Sólheimajökull Glacier, Iceland…

Sólheimajökull Glacier

You tried to change didn’t you?
Closed your mouth more, tried to be softer, prettier, less volatile, less awake
But even when sleeping you could feel him travelling away from you in his dreams
So what did you want to do love, split his head open?
You can’t make homes out of human beings, someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave
you are terrifying
and strange and beautiful
something not everyone knows how to love.
– Warsan Shire

Sólheimajökull Glacier Sólheimajökull Glacier Sólheimajökull Glacier Sólheimajökull Glacier Sólheimajökull Glacier

Pingvallavatn Lake…

Pingvallavatn Lake

If you visit Iceland you must not overlook a drive to Pingvallavatn Lake in the Thingvellir National Park, it was so pretty, maybe helped a little by the heavy fall of fresh snow while we were there.  A small walk from Pingvellir church through the Almannagja fault, walking through the North American and Eurasian plates. There is a wonderful view of Pingvallavatn Lake here and a brilliant small visitor centre. I had to show you a picture of the coolest rest rooms in Iceland too.

Pingvallavatn Lake
Pingvallavatn Lake

 

Almannagja Plates
Almannagja Plates

Pingvallavatn

Pingvallavatn Lake
Pingvallavatn Lake
Restrooms
The coolest restrooms in Iceland
Pingvellir Chrurch
Pingvellir Chrurch

Snaefellsnes Peninsula…

Djupalonssandur Beach

All of these images were shot on the same trip around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula. The black beach at Vik on the south coast is a very photographed beach with the beautiful troll rocks, but I really enjoyed the black beach at Djupalonssandur on the western tip, the rock formations were very interesting. The last image on this post is a silhouette shot of the lava fields leading down to the black timber church at Budir, children were told not to walk across the lava fields as evil creatures lived here and would carry you off. Like more folklore this stems from common sense, even today visitors are warned not to walk on the lava fields, they look very dormant but small fissures can open up quickly and swallow you up. Search and rescue still come across skeletons while doing their job.

Djupalonssandur Beach
Djupalonssandur Beach
Amarstapi Arches
Amarstapi Rock Arches
Hraunsfjordur
Hraunsfjordur
Hraunsfjordur
Hraunsfjordur
Hraunsfjordur
Hraunsfjordur
The black timber church at Budir
The black timber church at Budir

Snaefellsjokull National Park…

The first trip we took when we arrived in Iceland was to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula which is the snout shaped Peninsula on the western side of Iceland.  Snaefellsjokull National Park occupies the western tip of this Peninsula. This image was from the small fishing village of Amarstapi which is on the south-east corner of Snaefellsnes. The black beaches and earth are not exclusive to the South coast of Iceland, all of inland and coastal Iceland has this characteristic. I shot this on a rather overcast day, it was raining, but I think I caught the beautiful colour of the grass which was a really vibrant rusty colour and the ocean really was a mineral jade colour. Iceland is a beautiful place, strange, it was like landing on the moon. A very flat lunar landscape. I can see why it is so popular with photographers too. Apart from its immense beauty, it is unspoiled, no road signs, no distractions to an image, just the open road (Highway 1)…

Amarstapi

Changing Horizons…

Nothing is more damaging to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future. The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun. – Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer

Bamburgh Beach

The night sky is no home…

Blue Grass

Everyone who terrifies you is sixty-five percent water.

And everyone you love is made of stardust, and I know sometimes

you cannot even breathe deeply, and

the night sky is no home, and

you have cried yourself to sleep enough times

that you are down to your last two percent, but

nothing is infinite,

not even loss.

You are made of the sea and the stars, and one day

you are going to find yourself again.

 -Finn Butler

Blue Grass

My first Photography Exhibition…

My Photography Exhibition

My first Photography Exhibition ‘The Storms that rage within me’ is now open at The Soup Shop, Devonshire Arcade, Penrith. Opening hours are 9am to 2-30pm Monday to Friday and Saturdays 9am to 3pm. (All artwork is for sale). I hope you can come along and see some of my favourite black and white work from the last few years. This exhibition runs until 28th February 2014.

I am also having a private viewing on Thursday 30th January 2014 from 4.30pm to 7.30pm.

If you are local to Penrith/Cumbria I would love to see you..

My Photography Exhibition

 

My Photography Exhibition

Breathe deeply and whisper…

I breathe deeply and settle the air
In my stomach, and shut my eyes
The faint scent of beginning on
The top of the morning mist
I whisper to the bare earth
This year, this year, this year
 
Kiss me on the forehead,
Let the butterflies break
From their cocoons and dance in my 
Stomach and I’ll shut my eyes,
Breathe deeply and whisper
This year, this year, this year
– Natalie Wise

Bamburgh Beach

This is where I live…

This is where I live, Penrith in the Lake District. I haven’t shown this image previously as I am not keen on images where there is lots of evidence of man-made structures and industrialisation, but in the context of this post I think it represents Penrith well.  I live in what was, a small market town now is fast becoming a quite large township, the gateway to The Lakes. I am grateful every morning when I see (a partial) view like this from my bedroom window, that my back yard is, the eastern mountains of Cumbria and I live in such an astoundingly beautiful place.

Penrith

Praying for a white winter…

I go to sleep alone, and wake up alone. I take walks. I work until I’m tired.

I watch the wind play with the trash that’s been under the snow all winter.

Everything seems simple until you think about it.

Why is love intensified by absence?

The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger.

I was asked by one of the editors at WordPress to participate in a round table article for The ‘Photography 101’ series on The Daily Post.  You can read this article here. Part one is photographers discussing our workflow, part two is coming early December. I will share the link once it has been published. In the meantime I am praying for some good snowfall in the Lakes like the winter of 2010…

Grasmere

 

Haunted by Humans…

I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality.  But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race – that rarely do I ever simply estimate it.  I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.

None of those things, however, came out of my mouth. All I was able to do was turn to Liesel Meminger and tell her the only truth I truly know. I said it to the book thief and I say it now to you. “I am haunted by humans.”

The Book Thief, Narrated by Death, written by Markus Zusak

The Langdales

Have you ever heard the wonderful silence…

Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven’t the answer to a question you’ve been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you’re alone in the whole house…..Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.  – Norton Juster

Lake District

Why you need to SEE Art…

My passion for Art and Art Galleries began over fifteen years ago on a long weekend, birthday trip to London, I found myself in Trafalgar Square, in the pouring rain with a few hours to fill before catching my return train (back up north) . There I was at the steps to the National Gallery thinking ‘What shall I do ?’  A few hours later I was starstruck.

Scale is surprising – the Mona Lisa is an tiny A4 piece, Turner’s canvases are huge and Mucha’s illustrations are over six foot tall. Beauty is breathtaking – Klimt is iridescent, the beauty of Degas’s pastel chalky Blue Dancers are enchanting and finally Van Gogh is the king of texture, the God of Gloop. Another of my favourite artists is Frank Auerbach, his painting are so thick and heavy with texture that most are not hung but laid flat. All of this can never be translated well onto a museum postcard or a photo in an art book. So give yourself a visual feast and go and see some art.

This is Van Gogh’s Wheat Field with Cypresses shot close up at The Met, New York.

Van Gogh

My ART Bucket list completed so far:

  1. The National Gallery, London
  2. Musee Matisse, Nice, France
  3. Museum of Modern & Contemporary Art, Prague
  4. Mucha Museum, Prague
  5. Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
  6. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam
  7. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA
  8. The Louvre, Paris
  9. Musee d’Orsay, Paris
  10. Musee Rodin, Paris
  11. Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris
  12. Musee de l’Orangerie, Paris