Last weekend Brubaker and I enjoyed a short road trip through the Welsh countryside en route to seeing a fellow professional. We weren't especially lucky with the cloudy and rainy weather but even so the beauty of the Welsh landscapes shone through the mist and fog. Especially impressive was the mighty Clywedog Dam, watched over by birds of preys (alas I didn't have my telephoto lens) and itself standing like a huge sentry over the the old Bryn Tail Lead Mine. The views from here were most impressive and I am sure I will return to capture some more on a sunnier day.On the way back to London we took a longer scenic route to enjoy the stunning views over the Shropshire plain.All images taken with the Olympus E-M5 and 12-40mm F/2.8.
I figured these little guys on the Isle of Wight deserved their own post, being the indigenous but underdog species of squirrel in the United Kingdom. They have been almost been completely driven from the UK mainland (save for a few protected sites) since the introduction of the larger American grey squirrel, which not only carries a disease that is toxic to reds but also forced reds from their habitats. I have nothing against the grey squirrel, which is now ubiquitous and common everywhere, but it was a rare treat to finally photograph the smaller and more exotic red. Fortunately, there are no greys on the Isle of Wight to threaten the reds.Most of these were taken at the rear of the hotel where we stayed as they had feeders with monkey nuts out for the taking. There were at least two squirrels, one of which understandably bolted at the sight of me, but the other seemed fairly oblivious and allowed me the privilege of getting closer. That was lucky since I did not have my zoom lens with me, and all of these were taken with the Olympus 60mm F/2.8 (120mm equivalent FOV).
One of the best places to visit on the Isle of Wight has to be Queen Victoria's palatial holiday home, a magnificent building and vast grounds that include a private beach and museum for her grandchildren. The lavish interiors provide a window into the history of Queen Victoria's era and their opulence is matched by the ornate design of the exterior building and its gardens. A truly wonderful place to spend the day and soak up some royal history and grandeur.All images taken with the Olympus E-M5 and either the 12-40mm F/2.8 or 60mm F/2.8.
Spent a lovely weekend on the Isle Of Wight just off the south coast of England. We stayed at the unique and fantastical Enchanted Manor, a wonderful hotel with its ubiquitous fantasy theme, and from where we ventured out to see the island. As I was travelling as the third member of the company of three (who were kind enough to invite me along!), I didn't have a completely free reign to shoot as I wanted and many of these were taken on the fly. Nevertheless, the Isle of Wight has some beautiful sites and towns to take in.On our trip we visited the magnificent Osborne House, to which I will have a dedicated post soon, Queen Victoria's holiday home and the place of her death. We took in a lot of the small sites such as the Pepper Pot (St Catherine's Oratory), from where the views are quite magnificent; the Bembridge Windmill, built in the 1700s, Quarr Abbey, Shanklin Chine, a natural gorge with small waterfalls, and of course the Needles of the north west coast.We also managed to see the rare red squirrel, the UK's indigenous squirrel which has been wiped out from the mainland since the introduction of the American greys. But there as there are no grey quarrels on the island the red squirrel is able to thrive. Another great road trip to add to our list, which includes Lincoln, The Isle of Man and Yorkshire.All images taken with the Olympus E-M5 with either the 12-40mm F/2.8 or the 60mm F/2.8.
The Stone City at Vasastan in Gothenburg is a wonderful and labyrinthine district of colourful masonry. Walking around here it is easy to become lost as you are constantly looking up and around at the ornate stone buildings. I did not see this part of the city during my previous visit so I am very grateful to Christina for introducing me to it this time around. All image taken with the Olympus E-M5 and 12-40mm F/2.8 or 60m F/2.8. In some shots a polariser was used to deepen the blue sky.
I probably can't pronounce the name properly but Sweden's leading Arts and Craft property, Tjoloholm Castle, is a delightfully peaceful place to spend some time, particularly as there was not a soul around, and especially after one's keys have been locked in the car. (Although typically heroic Swedish efficiency meant said keys were retrieved in under twenty minutes.)Located on a peninsula on the Kungsbacka Fjord and built at the turn of the last century, the castle is a stunning example of its architectural genre. Although we couldn't venture inside, the indecisive weather allowed the exterior to lend itself to a variety of photographic moods, hence some of the black and white renditions here. Thanks go again to Christina for bringing me here. It is a day we will remember for some time, I'm sure ;)All images taken with the Olympus E-M5, 12-40mm F/2.8 and 60mm F/2.8.
In the city that keeps on giving, Oscar Fredrik Church is a stunning example of 19th century neo-gothic architecture. As exquisite as it is on the outside, inside is a stunning design of geometry and form allowing light to navigate through columns and pulpits, to say nothing of the vibrant stained glass windows. I'm not remotely religious but I always enjoy seeing the photographic potential inside churches and cathedrals, and Oscar Fredrik Church was certainly full of opportunity. At the time, Christina and I were lucky enough to be the only ones inside, enabling me to get the shots I wanted.Definitely worth a visit if you make it to Gothenburg.All images shot with the Olympus E-M5, 12-40mm F/2.8, 45mm F/1.8 or 60mm F/2.8.
One of the more tranquil parts of Gothenburg, Haga District is a picturesque old part of town with quiet streets populated by pretty shops and eateries. A very peaceful place to walk through, overlooked by the mighty Skansen Kronan fortress, one can find below the stunning architecture a small cafe full of character and vintage charm to relax in with an afternoon 'fika'. I'm not much of a pastry eater myself but the mouth-watering selections on display everywhere were hard to ignore before capitulating to their allure.I hope you enjoy the images as much I enjoyed walking and eating there with my friend Christina.All images in this series taken with the Olympus E-M5 with either the 12-40mm F/2.8 or 45mm F/1.8.
It may have been fortuitous that the Museum Of World Culture in Gothenburg was closed that day or we may never have had the chance to see the Universeum, a terrific science museum aimed at enthralling its visitors with both the scientific and natural world. I can only assume it is renowned for its aquaria, all of which were very impressive, especially the sharks. I had a great time here with my friend Christina and a lot of fun photographing the exhibits, all of which were fascinating.All photos taken with the Olympus E-M5 and one of either the 12-40mm F/2.8 or the 60mm F/2.8.
Mostly big cats, anyway. I recently visited my local wildlife park to photograph some big cat portraits, partly because I hadn't done it in a while and partly to use the hefty DSLR and 70-200mm lens I had lying around gathering dust. I hadn't used the DSLR gear in eons and once I started lugging it around I remembered why. But while the weight was cumbersome the bokeh from the 70-200mm F/2.8 was pretty good. And having phase-detection AF was a bit of a long-missed luxury, although I can say that my keeper rate was not necessarily higher than with my mirrorless gear. Perhaps I have just become accustomed to working around the limitations of contrast-detection AF.Anyway, I hope that my images provide some inspiration to others that these beautiful creatures need to thrive and survive, and are worthy of our awe, reverence and protection in the wild. All the images below were taken with the Nikon D600 with Nikkor 70-200mm F/2.8 VRII and TC-17E attached.
Just when I thought I'd shot London to death my good friend and fellow photographer Parrish suggested taking some shots of the city 70 storeys up inside the United Kingdom's tallest (Europe's fourth tallest) building, The Shard. I must admit I was never wild about views over London from a height, especially in the daytime. The city is a mess of chaotic construction where seemingly any available space is rapidly swallowed up by a concrete behemoth. But after sunset the vivid lights and colour bring London to life and it was a great pleasure to see the city vista and shoot it with Parrish.We both had trouble getting clear shots through the double layered glass, which was determined to spoil our images with reflections, despite using polarising filters. However, having such an effective image stabilisation on the Olympus E-M5 allowed me to take 1 second exposures hand-held at the lowest ISO. We shot from before sunset to after dusk, enjoying the full range of light over the city. I took some images in black and white but the majority are processed with an almost pop-art vivacity to them, attempting to showcase the brilliance of the lights.I must extend huge thanks to Parrish for bringing me to this venue and shooting with me, even lending his bag to lean on for some long exposures. I hope you enjoy the results. All image shots with the Olympus E-M5 with either the Olympus 12-40mm F/2.8 or 60mm F/2.8 attached.
Well, one post was never going to be enough to do this magnificent city justice so here are a few more photos from my brief trip.Gothenburg is truly a visual smorgasbord, not only of fascinating historical and modern sights but also of vivid colour and light, a real treat for photographers.As with my previous post I have tried to present my images as a series of postcards, showcasing the beauty of Gothenburg's attractions and locales and hopefully encouraging more visitors to this most deserving city. Again, I am most grateful to my dear friend Christina for her generous time and company showing me around the city. All images taken with the Olympus E-M5 coupled to one of the Olympuses 12-40mm F/2.8, 45mm F/1.8 or 60mm F/2.8.Enjoy.
As the typically stunning sunset reaches out around the Christinae Church and bathes the lions next to me at Brunnsparken in a golden glow I am reminded what a magical city Gothenburg is. A vibrant cosmopolitan centre inhabited by people of all creeds Sweden's second city and international centre of culture is a wonderful place to visit. I had visited Gothenburg before but this time I had the privilege of a several day tour around the city by a beautiful dear friend who introduced me to sights and experiences I had not encountered before. The delicate spring blossom flutters aside to reveal the elegant buildings as frequent blue trams whistle past in front of them. Suddenly one finds oneself ambling along one of the picturesque canals soaking in sun-blessed reflections. Walk along the main avenue through town, Kungsportsavenyn, past the shops, restaurants and Stora Teatern (Grand Theatre) and soon one is dwarfed by the grand stone buildings in the Vasastan District with their ornate and multi-coloured masonry.To the west is Haga Nygata, a tranquil pedestrian street through the Old Town Haga renowned for its wooden buildings and quaint cafes. Of the city's many green spaces the Botanical Garden was a colourful highlight during my previous visit but I think my favourite is still Slottsskogen City Park with its cute resident grey seals. Gothenburg boasts a rich milieu of architectural achievements and the Oscar Fredrik Church is an exquisite gothic example, just as sumptuous to behold inside as it is outside. But modern architecture is in abundance too, as exemplified by the striking Gothenborg Opera House overlooking the marina. Across the water is the Barken Viking ship, a hotel floating proudly in front of 'The Lipstick' at Lilla Bommen. One of my favourite bridges in the world is the Alvsborg Bridge, whose unassuming daytime appearance belies its vivid nocturnal glow against the cobalt blue dusk. Photographing it from the water's edge near Eriksberg was a simple exercise in patience waiting for the window of perfect blue light. Of the many excellent museums and galleries in Gothenburg I was particularly impressed by the Universeum, with its large aquaria and rich and varied collection of marine life. A genuinely quenching experience for those with a thirsty curiosity for the natural world.Food is a luxury of unlimited choice in Gothenburg and after the late afternoon 'Fika' of coffee and cake one can indulge oneself in any number of excellent restaurants. And of course no trip to Sweden would be complete without indulging in their classic meatballs.This is a mere sample of my photos from this terrific city and in the coming days there will be more posts from individual places. I am grateful for the customary warmth and hospitality of the native Gothenburgers, and especially to my friend Christina for her company, kindness and patience while I took my photos during the cold spring evenings. If you would like more information about Gothenburg please visit www.goteborg.com/en/All these images were shot with the Olympus E-M5 with the Olympus 12-40mm F/2.8, 45mm F/1.8 and 60mm F/2.8.
After photographing the bubbles along the Southbank I took a few shots of the scenery around me before finishing the evening with a few long exposures during the dusk. London always delivers great colours in the evening. Again, shot with the E-M5 and either the Olympus 45mm F/1.8 or the Panasonic 20mm F/1.7.