Category Archives: London

HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017!

Happy New Year London 2-15-2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYBODY
(yes, one day early – at least it’s not one day late as is my usual timing)

As I look back on 2016, I see a mix of good and bad, as is usual over the course of a year. The good stuff had to do with travel and photography and getting closer to what is left of my family. The bad stuff – well, let’s just say 2016 was marginally better than 2015, which was a horrible year.

Sooooo, I’m truly hoping that 2017 makes up for all the bad stuff. And I also hope the New Year 2017 is a start of many good things for all of you out there.

Now, for this photo: I had the great good fortune to stay in London over Christmas and New Year. It was my last hurrah to close out that horrible 2015 year I mentioned earlier. I deliberately chose that time of year to fly to London because I wanted to especially see the fireworks over the London Eye.

I remember joining the hordes to wait about 45 minutes for the security lines to open up so we could go find a spot around 7pm (nothing ever opens up exactly on time, you know). I went through 3 checkpoints before squeezing into a spot along the Thames in front of the Royal Horseguards Hotel and across from that great wheel on which one can get an amazing view of the surrounding land. It was a good thing I didn’t have to go to the toilet because we all stood there, cheek-by-jowl, for about 5 hours, waiting for the countdown to begin. I got acquainted with the family from the Midlands and the young lady from Dubai standing behind me who was there for some sort of news service.

It was worth the wait. The 10-minute display of fireworks was amazing and I alternated between having the camera up to my eye and then putting it down so I could just enjoy the fireworks without looking through a lens. It was such a neat feeling to realize I was actually standing there, in London, watching the New Years fireworks from a prime spot, surrounded by people from all over the world.

Again, Happy New Year! I hope everybody’s 2017 adventures far surpass those embarked upon in 2016.

 

 

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Filed under 1DX, Canon, Events, holiday, London, New Year, Night Photography, Photography, Travel, Travel and Photography

Happy New Year, London – It’s 2016!

Happy New Year From London

My last post described my New Year’s Eve experience in London.  This post shows you the results.  The fireworks display lasted around 11 minutes. I used my Canon 1DX and 16-35mm f/4L IS lens, set the ISO to 5000, shutter to 1/50 of a second, aperture was f/4 and I just left it at that for these photos.  I had to use some noiseware (Imagenomic) reduction software during the editing phase.

Happy New Year London 2-15-2016Happy New Year UK 2016Happy New Year UK 2016Happy New Year UK 2016Happy New Year UK 2016Happy New Year Longon 2-15-2016Happy New Year UK 2016Happy New Year London 2-15-2016Happy New Year London 2-15-2016Happy New Year London 2-15-2016Happy New Year London 2-15-2016Happy New Year London 2016Happy New Year London 2016Happy New Year London 2016Happy New Year London 2-15-2016

Some of these images bring to mind an abstract painting.  All of these images bring to mind an incredible event.

 

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Filed under 1DX, Canon, Canon Lens, holiday, London, New Year, Night Photography, Photography, Travel, Travel and Photography, Uncategorized, Vacation

Countdown to 2016

Countdown

I can’t remember if I mentioned this in a previous post or not (without going back and re-reading my posts), but the main reason I took a December vacation to London was because I saw a photo, earlier in the year, of the 2015 fireworks over the London Eye. I was so taken with that image that, as a photographer, I knew I had to be right there for the 2016 fireworks.

In case you aren’t aware, they now ticket this event (£10), and if you don’t have a ticket to present at the event, you don’t get in.  After I’d purchased and received my ticket to the Embankment (blue) section, it turns out the hotel at which I stayed bestowed to its guests wrist bands to the same section, lol.  I definitely was assured entrance to the event.

I spent about 45 minutes waiting my turn to go through security at the first checkpoint, and then went through a couple more checkpoints before being lucky enough to squeeze in between a Chinese tourist on one side and a family from the Midlands on the other.  I then waited 4 hrs 15 minutes in that same spot (no, I never once felt like I had to pee, thank goodness).  I could feel the press of the crowd behind me.  I had a nice visit (should I say “chat” instead?) with the young lady behind me and the father of the family beside me.

Color On The ThamesColor On The Thames

During the long, chilly wait, a kaleidoscope of colors kept splashing against the London Eye and the buildings beside that iconic landmark.

A Line Of Lit Smartphones

At one point, to keep the crowd from getting too restless (remember, it was a 4-hour wait), the speaker challenged us all to turn on our smartphones and show the bright screen to the sky and the BBC helicopter.  To the right of the London Eye in the image above is a line of bright smartphones all along Westminster Bridge.

And then, the countdown …

OneHappy New Year London 2016Happy New Year London 2016

The show was INCREDIBLE!  And I was right there in front, taking it all in.  I can’t describe what a cool feeling that was – all I can say is that every time I stare into space and think about the fireworks, my smile gets wider and wider.  When I do this at work, people wonder what the hell is going on with me (grin).

Oh, and that white semi-circle you see in the mid-left portion of the photos:  that’s the waning gibbous moon.

Happy New Year London 2016

I’d capture a series of photos with my Canon 1DX and 16-35mm f/4L IS lens, then take the camera away and drink the experience in with my eyes, then take some more photos.  I did this for the next 10-11 minutes as the fireworks and music and cheers and ooohs and ahhs carried on around me.  At one point, I remember looking down at the young son of the family next to me standing a little bit in front of me, who in turned looked up at me to see me with wide eyes and a silly grin on my face as I watched this spectacular pyrotechnic display.

These photos are just the start.  I captured a gazillion different fireworks images that I’ll publish in the next blog post (ok, maybe not all gazillion of them, but a few).

Happy New Year, London and Everybody!

 

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Filed under 1DX, Canon, holiday, London, New Year, Night Photography, Photography, Travel, Travel and Photography, Uncategorized

A Visit To The Shard – Day 4 Dec 26

Splitting The Sky

Continuing my 8-day stay in London.  The museums and many of the other sights were closed the day after Christmas, “Boxing Day” in the UK, but I had tickets to the observation floors in the Shard.  Yes, that’s two tickets.  As a photographer, I naturally wanted to see the view during both the day and at night.  Worth the price, IMO.  The view is amazing, both day and night (although I believe I liked the day view better).

During the first visit, I walked all the way there, stopping at Southwark Catherdral to capture a photo before continuing on. (I wised up and took the Tube for my night visit).

Southwark Cathedral

Morning is an excellent time to go to the Shard.  Crowds are minimal to practically non-existent.  My ticket was for 10:00am and I think during my time there, I could count maybe 10-15 people at most.  By the time I left, the crowd was starting to build.

Within The ShardThe View To The WestThe View Towards The East

Soft new-age mood music played both during the day and night.  You could visit two floors.  One is the main observation floor, totally enclosed.  Heading up a couple of short flights of stairs brings you to the 72nd floor where, while you are still safely enclosed, the top and sides have open spaces and you can feel and hear the cool wind filtering through.  It’s a neat feeling and I was a little sweaty after my walk there, so the breeze was a welcome relief.

Night View From The Shard Looking WestNight View From The Shard

The night view was lovely, but a little more crowded.  The inside of the viewing areas is lit with a little bit of mood lighting (as well as mood music) in the enclosed observation area, so photos without reflections are a little more difficult to achieve.  I brought along my polarizer filter thinking that would help, but it did not.  Artful cropping helped to an extent.

If you ever visit London, I recommend a trip to the Shard. It’s not free, but the view is amazing.

Becky In The Shard

 

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Filed under London, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized

Here’s To The 2012 London Olympics!

6780_Little Miss Tourist

I’m stoked for this year’s Olympics.  Well, I always love watching the Olympics, but this year, the event is being held in a city I visited back in 2011 and fell in love with:  London.  I only spent 3 days in that city before traveling on to Ireland, but they were 3 days jam-packed with sights, sounds, and plenty of photo ops, some of which you have seen in previous posts early on in my blogging career.

The view from the London Eye looking out over the Thames and Parliament:

6746_Almost to the top

The view of the stage from my seat in Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre:

6847_The View From My Seat

A view of St. Paul’s Cathedral at the other end of the Millennium Pedestrian Bridge:

6940_Millenium Bridge 6-4-11

Inside the British Museum:

6873_Museum Atrium

A whimsical armored sculpture inside the Tower of London:

7228_Armoured Dragon_lighter

London Eye pods and Big Ben:

7026_Eye Pods and Big Ben

Night lights along the Thames River:

6859_London at Night 6-4-11

Little Miss Tourist at the Tower Bridge:

7168_Becky and London Bridge_REV

Here’s to the 2012 London Summer Olympics!

Rule Britannia!

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Filed under London, Photography, Travel

More Monochrome Conversions

Heaven knows I have plenty to do around my home (cleaning, primarily, and trying to study Visual Basic….without much success).  What I generally end up doing on a weekend is work with my photos on the computer and then post them in my blogs because I am trying to make up for the dearth of posts during the work week.

I was converting some of my Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge photos into black & white when I realized that I had not done this at all to any of the photos I’d taken during my trips to London and Ireland back in 2011.  So, this morning has been spent with conversions and edit tweaking here and there.  Below are the results.  Some photos lend themselves quite well to monochromatic conversions, and others are best left alone.   I have noticed that the black & white photos have a better definition of light, dark, shadow, and texture.  I think sometimes the nature of color keeps the eye from noticing these other details.

What do you think?

The Thames and Parliament as viewed from the London Eye

_MG_6746

6746_Almost to the top-Edit

The view from Jubilee Bridge in London

6794_View From Jubilee Bridge

6794_View From Jubilee Bridge-Edit

Connemara “ponies”

9830_Connemara Ponies

9830_Connemara Ponies-Edit

Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland

7242_Dunluce Castle_REV_8-17-11_tonemapped

7242_Dunluce Castle_REV_8-17-11_tonemapped-Edit

Poulnabrone Dolmen, The Burren

1313_Poulnabrone Dolman

1313_Proulnabrone Dolman-Edit

Proleek Dolmen, Northern Ireland – this portal tomb is located on a golf course behind a lovely resort.

7622_Proleek Dolmen

7622_Proleek Dolmen-Edit-2

Calla Lily

7357_Calla Lily

7357_Calla Lily-Edit

Rulers of The Rockpile

7540-2_Rulers of The Rock Pile

7540-2_Rulers of The Rock Pile-Edit

Ladies View, a stop en route to the Gap of Dunloe

7150_Ladies View Panorama

7150_Ladies View Panorama-Edit

Connemara Mountain scene

7354_Connemaras Panorama

7354_Connemaras Panorama-Edit

Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

8711_Giants Causeway_Hi Sat

8711_Giants Causeway_Hi Sat-Edit

A different time of day and view of Dunluce Castle, Northern Ireland

8911_Dunluce Castle_tonemapped

8911_Dunluce Castle-Edit

Celtic cross headstone detail

9559_Celtic Cross

9559_Celtic Cross-Edit

Proleek Dolmen

7577_Proleek Dolmen

7577_Proleek Dolmen-Edit-2

Becky and the Proleek Dolmen (that top stone is estimated at 11 tonnes).

7593_Becky & Proleek Dolman

7593_Becky & Proleek Dolman-Edit

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Filed under Black & White, Ireland, London, Photography, Travel