Berlin – Reichstagskuppel

I visited Berlin before Christmas in 2011, 2012 and here in 2014.  On this occasion we got tickets to visit the dome at the top of the Reichstag (Federal Parliament).  Our slot was in the late afternoon / early evening and without a tripod, I had to make do with handheld high ISO shots and a very steady hand!

Berlin 2012 – Night shots and Holocaust memorial

All within easy walking distance of each other, the Reichstag (parliament), the Brandenburg Gate – both fully restored after substantial damage during the Second World War and the Holocaust memorial, built some way to the south of the Brandenburg Gate, are popular tourist spots in Berlin.  Further away, at the Alexanderplatz is the Weltzeituhr (World Time Clock), showing the time in major cities around the world.

Belpmoostage 2011

I have another lifelong passion and that is aviation.  Normally I’m not much of a “people photographer”, but unusually, three of my best shots from this airshow were of people not planes.  The pilot shaking hands had just landed on his second attempt, having to go around on the first due to some gusts of wind.  The two girls re wing walkers.  I was thinking how relaxed, calm and disconnected they looked, given what they were about to do.

Bellinzona 2011

Bellinzona is the main city in the Swiss Canton of Ticino.  I first stopped here in April 2011.  A couple of “lucky” shots:

Autumn colours, Baden region, 2015

It often stays warm and dry well into the Autumn in Switzerland and there are some lovely colours to be seen in the trees.  The river is the Aare, where it is met by the Reuss, near to Lauffohr.  Other shots are taken in the vineyard in Ennetbaden.

A postcard from Fribourg, 2011

A couple of shots from the Swiss city of Fribourg, taken in 2011.  In one, I have used a combination of tone mapping, high pass sharpen and heavy saturation to give the impression of a 1960s postcard.  The steps in the black and white shot reminded me of some of M. C. Escher’s artworks.

Cats

I’ve always admired cats.  They don’t feel the need to make a loud noise, climb your leg or do other things that supposedly more intelligent dogs feel the need to do.  True, you cannot really train them much and they get themselves into fixes periodically, but they would fend for themselves better than dogs ever could.  The following suspects were snapped around the UK.

Silverstone F1 GP 2008

I was lucky enough to be given a ticket to the Saturday practice session of the 2008 British Grand Prix at Silverstone by a colleague who won them at work.  We had use of a hospitality tent, terrace and grand stand on the inside of the Hangar Straight.

River Thames at Night, February 2005

One cold February evening, a friend and I were standing around with tripods photographing some of the more famous London landmarks around the Tower Bridge area.  Here are the results.  These were taken with a Canon EOS5 and Fuji slide film (from memory, most probably Sensia).

Venice, March 2003

During my first year on the committee of the Southampton University Photographic Society, we organised a trip (on the cheap; Ryanair flights and campsite-style accommodation) for 36 of us to Venice.  At the last minute, I chose to substitute my then-new EOS5 in place of the two Olympus OM series manual-focus SLRs I had intended to take.  I don’t think I regretted that decision.

Paris 2008

Sometimes you go somewhere where there should be a thousand good things to shoot and end up taking a bunch of mediocre shots and then occasionally a brief moment of inspiration produces something that stands apart from all the others.

Somewhere I wanted to visit was the Opera Garnier, the “real” Paris opera house to see the inspiration for Gaston Leroux’s ‘Phantom of the Opera’.  I wondered if the sets for the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical (both stage and cinematic version) came anywhere close to the interior of the place itself.  There is a long gallery along the fron of the building which is magnificently decorated but unfortunately light levels precluded a shake-free shot, even at high ISO and I had no tripod.  This however was taken in the stairwell.

Concorde

The Sud Aviation-BAC Concorde served British Airways and Air France from 1976 until 2003.  In the autumn of 2003, I travelled up from Southampton to London Heathrow airport on a number of occasions to see the supersonic jet land and depart.  Following the unusually hot summer that year, the autum was surprisingly warm and dry until quite late on and it produced some spectacular sunsets, just in time for the Concorde arrival from and then departure to New York JFK, at around 7pm and 7.30pm respectively.  I was present both for the final landings of G-BOAE, G-BOAF and G-BOAG on October 24th for the last ever passenger flights and early, on the cold wet morning of 26th of November for the final depature of ‘Alpha Foxtrot to Filton where it was assembled.

Through an internet forum I was chatting on, I became involved in the “rescue” (transportation and restoration) of a Hawker Siddeley Trident airliner, which in 2007 was put on display at Manchester Airport, who also had taken delivery of the former British Airways flagship G-BOAC “Alpha Charlie”.  Here, she is pictured at night in January 2007.

 

Ireland tour August 2007

Starting in Dublin, we drove around 1600km in 7 days in a hire car clockwise around Ireland, visiting; Glendalough, Hollywood, Killkenny, Cashel, Cork, Killarney, Dingle, Limmerick, Galway, Cong, Clifden, Cliffs of Moher, Sligo, Enniskillen, Navan and back to Dublin.  Overall perception was of a rugged (and often damp!) island, but with a certain charm, not least because of its friendly inhabitants who enjoy partaking in locally produced beers and spirits and traditional music and dancing.

Prague March 2008

My first visit to the Czech capital revealed a bright city full of tourists, where a few relics from the Communist era can still be found hidden amongst the new cars and shops.

Innsbruck, December 2010

A pre-Christmas visit to this Tyrolean city.  Somehow the snow seems to suit it and having never visited before, I struggled to imagine it without snow.  One of the notable features is the Goldenes Dach (golden roof) located in the centre of the town.

Prague by night 2008

Prague is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe and in general lacks modern high rise buildings (with the notable exception of the television tower).  By night it is especially picturesque and romantic.

My first visit to Prague was in March 2008, where these photos were taken with a Canon EOS350D.

London in black & white

Architect Sir Giles Glibert Scott was responsible for the iconic red phone booths of the early 20th century and the Art Deco “Cathedral of Power”, Battersea Power station, the last part of which closed in 1983.  This example of the phone booth has been left on the north bank of the Thames near Pimlico, with the power station the other side of the river.  Although derelict and having changed owners several times as their development plans came to nothing, the coal cranes that would have unloaded the fuel from ships travelling up the Thames still stand.  February 2009.

Coal cranes outside Battersea Power Station

Welcome

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