Tag Archives: London Eye

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

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

8 Days In London, 2 Days In Paris – Day 3 Christmas Day (Dec 25)

The London Eye At Night

Christmas Day in London was rainy, all day long.  It was quiet, more or less, as well.  I walked up the street and discovered Pret A Manger was open for business (bless them) and took back coffee and breakfast to my room, where I worked on more photos

Pret A Manger

before heading out for a little walk around Trafalgar Square.

Trafalgar Square On A Rainy Christmas MorningTrafalgar Square FountainGift Horse And Trafalgar Square

That horse skeleton above is a part of a program called the Fourth Plinth (I think, I can’t exactly remember).  Every so often, a new sculpture appears on that particular spot.  When I was there July 2013, it was a neon purple cockerel from France.  This piece of art is titled “Gift Horse” and is a replica of a horse skeleton with an actual working neon Nasdaq-type stock ticker as the ribbon around one of the skeleton’s legs.

I was still a little sleepy from the previous night, where I actually remained awake to attend Christmas Eve Service at Westminster Abbey, then couldn’t get to sleep until around 1:30am.  So after breakfast, I edited a few more photos, including this one below that I took of the building sculptures across the narrow street from my room.

The View From My Room

After that, it was time to get ready for my traditional Christmas Lunch in the hotel.  Dress up, make up, heels, jewelry, the whole nine yards.

I will readily admit that while I totally enjoy all of my solo trips (I only travel solo unless it’s with an organized photo tour), I don’t particularly enjoy eating alone.  So, while the food was quite good, I felt like the odd one out as I watched other diners, either in pairs or in groups, enjoy the lunch in a holiday spirit.  I was glad to return to my room, change into my walking clothes, take my camera, and spend the remainder of the day walking the meal off (which consisted of an amuse bouche, ham hocks, sea bass, turkey with the trimmings, plum pudding, a glass of Tattinger, pre-meal and a glass of chardonnay with the entree).

Night Scene Along The ThamesRainy Christmas Night Over Big BenThe Night View During My PromenadeRainy Christmas Night

Still a little rainy – enough so that it made some of the lights look a little “runny”, but a lovely Christmas Day nonetheless.  I was right where I wanted to be on that holiday.

Becky At The London Eye In The Rain

 

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Filed under 5DSR, Canon, Christmas, holiday, London, Photography, rain, Seasons, Travel, Travel and Photography, Uncategorized, Weather, winter

8 Days In London, 2 Days In Paris – Day 2 (Dec 24, Christmas Eve)

A Stroll Along The Thames

Still suffering from jet lag, I slept until about 7AM, got up, dawdled around, then grabbed my camera and set out for a day of walking and photography.  My first trip was via the Underground to Hyde Park to see what the Winter Wonderland was all about.  It was rainy and gray that morning – not at all like the late afternoon photo above.

Pirates AdventureRainy Christmas Eve At The Winter Wonderland

After that, I took the Tube back to my hotel room where I warmed up with some hot tea before heading out again.  The rain stopped, the sun was out, so were some clouds.

Dazzle DesignOld And New In The Afternoon SunSt Pauls CathedralCathedral DetailStained Glass FiguresHeiroglyphic DetailCleopatras ProfileBikes For RentFull Moon And Blue Hour Over The Thames 2 CROPLondon Icons In The EveningBright Lights On The ThamesChristmas Eve Along The ThamesThe London Eye At Night

London Eye-Becky-Big Ben 2

I bought something at one of the many Christmas markets and took it back to my room to eat.  After that, I changed out of my day clothes, got all dressed up, and attended the midnight Christmas Eve service at Westminster Abbey.  It was wonderful.  Not only the service itself and the heavenly voices of the choir, but also the chance to be sitting there in such a historic piece of architecture, with the soaring vaulted ceilings, the carved stone pillars and statues, and the huge, stained-glass windows.  What an experience!

Christmas Eve Service At Westminster Abbey

 

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Filed under 5DSR, Canon, Christmas, holiday, London, Night Photography, Photography, Travel, Travel and Photography, Uncategorized

8 Days in London, 2 Days in Paris – Day 1 (Dec 23)

The View Along The Queens Walk

2015 was a horrible year.  So I wanted to do something to send off the year end with a bang.  I happened to see a photo of the 2014 NYE London fireworks over the London Eye, and I knew that was where I needed to be for the final days of 2015.  To that end, I took a 10-day trip to Europe:  8 days in London and 2 days in Paris.

Camera Equipment

What did I take with me for this trip?  Too much.  I’ll have you know, however, that I used almost every single piece of photographic equipment I lugged with me.  So there!

  • 3 camera bodies, all Canon: 1DX, 5DSR, 5DS (in case one body didn’t work, I had two others – redundancy is a photographer’s friend)
  • 1 small flash: Canon Speedlite 270EX II
  • 3 different wireless shutter releases (that redundancy thing, again)
  • 5 lenses, all Canon: 11-24, 16-35 f4L IS, 50mm f1.2L, 24-70mm f2.8L, 24-105mm (I used the 24-105 by far the most as it was the best walk-around lens)
  • My Induro 8X CT-414 carbon fiber tripod and BHD3 ballhead
  • A gazillion memory cards (8, 16, 32 and 64 GB)
  • All of my spare camera batteries for both the 1DX and 5DS cameras
  • A couple of polarizer filters (which I think I used only once, but at least I had them)
  • Lens hoods for each of the lenses

Of course I took my laptop, 2 portable HDs of 1TB each, and 2 memory card readers.  I made copies of the photos onto both HDs and the laptop itself, since – again – redundancy is a photographer’s best friend.

Day 1 (Dec 23)

Iconic View Toward The ShardThe GlobeThe Golden Hinde IIThe Millennium BridgeThe Millennium Bridge And St Pauls CathedralMillennium Bridge And St Pauls Cathedral At NightNight View Of St Paul CathedralFull Moon Over The ThamesNight View From Jubilee Bridge

Royal Horseguards Entrance

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Filed under 1DX, 5DSR, Canon, Christmas, Equipment, Holidays, London, Night Photography, Photography, Travel, Uncategorized

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