Well, not really but it was a fun drive from Eastern Slovakia through the Czech Republic, Germany, Holland, Belgium and France until finally returning home to the UK. Keeping to our schedule meant little time or opportunity to take photos, but we did stop at a friend's place in Stara Lubovna in Slovakia and in Breclav in the Czech Republic. Most of these are of the High Tatras Mountains in Eastern Slovakia, a beautiful part of the world peppered with castles and fortress ruins. Thus, as much as I would have enjoyed spending more time to see the scenery and in varying light these were all shot on the fly, some from the car.It was a great time and a surprisingly enjoyable drive back, and we made excellent time. All these images were shot with the Olympus 12-40mm F/2.8 or 60mm F/2.8 mounted on my E-M5.
With the recent fascinating, turbulent and, at times, momentous unfolding of our nation's ongoing political tapestry I decided that being a spectator was not quite enough. So a few days ago I ventured down to the heart of our political capital, Westminster, to spend some time amongst the past masters of human political destiny and enjoy a little historical reflection. There are decades when nothing much happens for weeks and then suddenly a week when a decade's worth of events thunders down in a blurry, breakneck deluge. Instead of trying to keep up with the speed of our evolving future it can be useful to take a moment to revisit the past, to consider how we got here and why, who we are and who we want to be. Gazing up at celebrated figures might offer some perspective and broader philosophical ponderance. Of course, Westminster and its surroundings are a big place with much going on so I couldn't help but capture a few shots along the South Bank and of The Houses Of Parliament themselves. And the bubble guy is always fun.I committed micro-four thirds infidelity on this occasion by using my dusted off DSLR. A Nikon D-something-or-other-blah-blah-who cares? All shot with either a fast 35mm or 50mm lens.
Had a day off last week so at my friend's request I decided to visit Hughenden and West Wycombe. I had been to Hughenden before a few years ago but it was pleasure to be reacquainted with the home of former Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. And perhaps even more appropriate to reflect upon some history in the present turbulent times. The favourite room for me was his magnificent and compact library, but there were plenty of mementos and gifts from Queen Victoria who seemed to have a particular fondness for Mr Disraeli. The grounds were immaculate as before and vibrant despite the overcast skies.West Wycombe is a quaint little village overlooked by some beautiful hills, themselves under the watchful eye of gracefully gliding kites. The house is still occupied and thus no photography was allowed inside, but the rooms were typically ornate and adorned with the usual assortment of paintings and ceiling murals. all images were shot on the Olympus E-M5 and the 12-40mm F/2.8.
Normally I'd suggest choosing only the best of the best of one's images but I'm indulging myself here with a few more shots from the car show. I suppose I enjoyed it more than I realised and found the challenge of shooting everything with just the one prime lens quite rewarding. As before these were processed to emphasise the form, lines and colours of the cars. Again, everything was shot with the Panasonic 20mm F/1.7 mounted on the Olympus E-M5.
I happened to stumble upon a local summer festival yesterday, part of which was a car show. I'm not especially fussed about cars although I can appreciate the beautiful lines and form on their anatomy. It was a bit of a challenge finding interesting and original ways to shoot these cars and I'm not entirely sure I succeeded. And I was remiss in not taking my polarising filter with me, although I ultimately quite liked the reflections in the metal and the windows. In the end I took many shots that I was pleased so I will feature more of them in another post. All I used to photograph these cars was a single pancake lens, the Panasonic 20mm F/1.7 mounted on the Olympus E-M5.
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.