Tag 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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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

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

A Few More Images From My London Dec 23rd Walkabout

As is usual when I publish to my blog site, I don’t realize until after the fact that there are usually more photos to include that I haven’t even edited yet.  Like the ones below.  They go with my Dec 23rd walkabout.  I stayed around the Globe area that evening because I had a ticket to see Cymbaline that night.

All That Remains Of Winchester Palace

All that remains of Winchester Palace.  Note how sunken the floor of the palace is next to the present-day walkway.

Southwark Cathedral

Christmas Decorations At Southwark Cathedral

En Route To The Clink

En Route To The Clink.  Lights on the ceiling overhead emulated fireworks and I stood there with my camera trying to get an expansive “fireworks” shot.

Christmas Market At The Tate

A Christmas Market In Front Of The Tate (one of the many markets sprinkled over London)

The Corinthia Hotel

The Corinthia Hotel.  I stayed there for business back in 2013, but for this trip, I opted to house myself in the building to the left – the Royal Horseguards.  I was a little disappointed it was not as lit up as the Corinthia.  To the right of the Corinthia is a theatre where I saw Spam-A-Lot back in July 2013.  Good fun.

 

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Filed under London, Photography, Travel, Travel and Photography, Uncategorized, Vacation

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