Archive for the ‘photography’ category

Tales of a city

June 21, 2014

We often hear that London (and its surrounding area) unbalances the island of Britain, and in particular its economy. Perhaps it does. However, London is also one of the really great metropolitan centres of the world, and it is possible to lose oneself in its sights and sounds and the great energy of its people and its culture. I don’t get to do this often, but I always enjoy it when I do.

Here are some fairly random sights from a recent visit. First, we have the view from the London Docklands Light Railway, on its way from London City Airport to Tower Gateway. I have, as you will see, done some editing on this photo to turn it from a fairly ordinary scene into a kind of fantasy.

Docklands

Docklands

Here is a dwarf’s eye view of Big Ben clock tower, followed by one of Westminster Abbey.

The Palace of Westminster clock tower, containing Big Ben

The Palace of Westminster clock tower, containing Big Ben

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

And here are two London icons, albeit in one case in modernised form. The wonderful telephone box designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, alongside a modern version of London’s traditional Routemaster bus.

London icons

London icons

The style of these photos reflects my sense of London as a place of dreams. There are other cities that I love, not least Edinburgh and my own Aberdeen, and of course Dublin, and Paris, and Berlin, and Vienna, and New York – but LondonĀ is drawn on such a wide canvas that it manages to be, in some ways, the whole world.

Another Newcastle

May 14, 2014

Readers of this blog will know that I am a supporter of Newcastle United FC, with all the ups and downs associated with that particular interest.

Newcastle is of course more than a football club. The city is interesting in all sorts of ways. Earlier this month my son and I visited the city to watch the last home game of the season in St James’ Park. To our surprise and delight Newcastle actually won the game. But I also used the opportunity to take some photos in the city, and these are below. On this occasion I had forgotten to bring any of my cameras, so what you see below was taken with my iPhone.

Hotel Beehive

Hotel Beehive

Newcastle Cathedral

Newcastle Cathedral

Newcastle alleyway

Newcastle alleyway

Central Arcade

Central Arcade

Reading time

April 27, 2014

On a Sunday, if I have no other commitments, I like to spend some time reading. And maybe taking photographs.

reading

Trinity College Dublin

April 5, 2014

Having been rather critical of the proposal to change the name of Ireland’s oldest university, I thought I might balance that with a photo I took recently. This shows TCD’s chapel on the north side of the Front Square.

Trinity College chapel

Trinity College chapel

Books

March 22, 2014

Aa some readers of this blog will have gathered, I am a technophile. I love gadgets, and in particular am fully immersed in the digital world. I read my newspapers on the iPad, and I have goodness knows how many ebooks and electronically stored documents and reports. But I have not completely left the analogue world, nor will I. So for example, whenever I read, in ebook form, a book I really like, then I buy it in hard copy, indeed preferably hardback if available. And in my family home in Ireland, I have a very large collection of contemporary and vintage books, several thousand by now.

I love books. I like the look, the feel, the smell. In older books, I love the knowledge of the procession of people who have read them through the ages. I also own some books printed in the 19th century or earlier that were never read – the pages were still joined together until I cut them. I love the sense that these leather bound volumes were prepared by some craftspeople 200 years ago to be read by me now, for the first time.

So here you can see a small selection of my books from one particular shelf: 19th century travel guides. They are a particular pleasure to read, and in this case, as you can see, they were much used long before I got to them. They are the inherited appreciation of the world we can visit.

travel guides

travel guides

City sights

February 28, 2014

This is really a photograph of the back of an Aberdeen street. It was taken earlier this week from Union Terrace. The trees in the foreground are in Union Terrace Gardens (the subject of much dispute and debate in Aberdeen), and beyond them you see the backs of various buildings located in the pedestrianised Belmont Street. This street was in fact a later addition to the original city, and contains a number of impressive historic buildings and churches. On the left of this photo is the back of the original Trades Hall, now an arts cinema. The church to the right is now (as are many former churches in Aberdeen) a nightclub.

Aberdeen: the view from Union Terrace

Aberdeen: the view from Union Terrace

Monument

January 26, 2014

In Scotland I live within sight of a monument called the Prop of Ythsie (pronounced ‘Icy’, with perhaps a hint of ‘th’ between the ‘I’ and ‘c’). It is part of the Haddo Estate, owned by Lord Aberdeen, and the Estate’s website describes it as follows:

‘It was built by the tenantry of Haddo in memory of the 4th Earl of Aberdeen, paying tribute to the extensive improvement works he carried out on the Estate for the local residents.’

The 4th Earl was a very significant historical figure; he was the British Prime Minister between 1852 and 1855, presiding over a cabinet with some extraordinary personalities. It included the later Prime Minister William Gladstone, who regarded Lord Aberdeen as a mentor and close friend.

Having long been interested in Victorian British politics (and literature), it rather tickles me that I can see the monument from my house. You can see it below, in a photo I took a week or so ago. It is already on a hill, but if you climb to the top of the monument (which you can) you get the most spectacular views of Aberdeenshire, including some of the Cairngorms.

propofythsie2-jan14

For those who might be interested, the place where I live (Ythsie) is just outside the beautifully designed (and preserved) village of Tarves (or Tarbhais, its original Gaelic name). Also in the neighbourhood are the remains of Tolquhon Castle, and the South Ythsie stone circle. It is an area full of history, and of some great beauty.

City pavements

December 20, 2013

I haven’t posted any photographs for a while, so here are two that showing one of my favourite photographic themes: paved streets. Both were taken in September of this year.

The first photo is of Correction Wynd in Aberdeen, just as it crosses under Union Street.

Correction Wynd

Correction Wynd

The second is in Temple Bar, Dublin.

Temple Bar

Temple Bar

 

A little bit of Scotland

September 29, 2013

Although I have now been in the North-East of Scotland for well over two years, I am still on a journey of discovery. Today a friend took us to see some fishing villages on the coast between Elgin and Fraserburgh. This stretch of coastline includes the location for the 1980s movie Local Hero, Pennan. But the place I found most wonderful of all was the the tiny village of Crovie – a gem that has been left largely untouched by modern development, although what were once fishermen’s cottages are now largely holiday homes, though beautifully maintained.

crovie1

For readers of this blog who do not know Scotland’s North-East, it is well worth a visit.

The hotel

June 16, 2013

A well known place in the centre of Aberdeen’s old Merchant Quarter is the Carmelite Hotel, a popular meeting place. It also has an unusual architectural shape, which you can see in the photograph below.

Carmelite Hotel

Carmelite Hotel

For readers who have never been here, Aberdeen is well worth a visit.


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