That there London, again

I’m basically an adopted plastic cockney now.  I know all the slang including “apples and pears”, “ruby murray”, “trouble and strife” and “i’m off for an Eartha Kitt”.  So it goes without saying that London is going to feature quite a lot in the blog, but I don’t want to tire the same places out all the time unless I find new angles or new themes.

New theme #1 that I came up with for 2018 was “the rat’s eye view”.  A simple enough concept: take photos from low down as if you were a rat.  Maybe it could give a different perspective on the world from what we usually see approximately 5 to 6 feet higher up in most cases.

I’ve only just started with this so I’ve only a few snaps to share, but here they are:

27697121388_ab74a96a98_o

St Paul’s Cathedral at night

39758538150_313e84099b_o

Classic Red London Bus

41604303792_04f2aafc8c_o

More London and Shard

41637621702_dd1b195cc2_o

On Tower Bridge

41637623342_b6f46a4746_o

Shad Thames

Of course, spending 2 whole evenings on your knees in London without suitable payment would be ludicrous, so I did manage to take a few shots whilst stood upright.

Maybe it’s also worth pointing out that I was apparently walking through the place that’s recently been described as a “war zone” and has “no go areas”.  What a brave soul I am, or of course I could be being fucking sarcastic as neither of these things are true.  Nowhere in London is a “no-go zone”.  It is bullshitio.  The orange man and his supporters are full of shitio.

You’re more likely to have a hipster spill a mocha-choca-gluten-free-synthetic-hazelnut-fairtrade-parrot-friendly-soya-latte-espresso-combo-hybrid over you than you are to get stabbed or attacked in any way.  If you find yourself in London and being aggressively shouted at, the chances are some one is trying to sell fruit and veg to you.

Back to real life and photographs.

I took a cracking stroll from Tower Bridge all along the river to Tate Modern and then across to St Paul’s Cathedral as you have seen in the first rat eye view pics.  The lights of London really do shine brightly once the sun has gone down, and this is when I really like to have fun with the camera.  Street photography is fairly difficult during the day and an extra challenge at night, but when the neon lights are on it’s hard to resist.

First stop in Soho was the Windmill International, which used to be a theatre.  I thought it was still a theatre, but no, it’s a table dancing club.  Look closely below and you can see the bouncer on the door giving me a huge thumbs up and welcoming smile.  Aye.

 

27697119478_42f43e7475_o

Windmill Soho

Just around the corner, still in Soho, was this barber shop.  It was closed, obvz, but the neon lights at the back gave a very soft glow to the grooming chairs and were begging to be photographed.  I obliged.

39758535450_4041303b90_o

Teds Grooming Soho

Mere feet away from there was this quaint record store.  I don’t know much about the place but the design and tiling on the building suggested to me it may have been something to do with the London Underground in a previous life.  It had that Underground station feel to it.

39758536830_a12376b8a4_o

Soho Record Store

And if you’re going to photograph a bloke outside a record store you might as well do the same outside a book store, right?  Fifty Shades and Extra Strong Pills?  Suits you, sir.

39836255000_81be9fb71a_o

Soho Original

41526054582_f6cdc086a6_o

The posh bit

If you’ve enjoyed this, you can find these snaps and a few more that didn’t make it to the blog, over on Instagram @iamtheinstadan or on facebook 

Cheers for reading.

Advertisements

Gogledd Cymru

Wondering what that title is about?  Phonetically, it’s “gog-lethh cum-ree”.  It’s Welsh for North Wales.

In 2017 I decided to celebrate turning 35 in style by spending a few nights in the most beautiful 17th Century Welsh cottage that you ever did plonk your eyes on.  Cross Keys is a Grade II listed building that sleeps 6 and was previously a late Georgian hostelry.  Now it’s an idyllic spot to get away from the big city lights and just chill in Welsh history.

This isn’t some subtle advertisement or sponsored post.  I was genuinely in love with the place as soon as we walked through the door.  The link is here if you fancy finding out for yourself.  http://www.carolscottagesinwales.co.uk/cross_keys.htm  Carol was a star, making sure that we had absolutely everything that we needed.  The only thing that Carol didn’t provide was our clothing and food.  We had to bring that ourselves.

Cross Keys cottage was, as you’ve already gathered in the first 2 paragraphs, a lovely base to have just south of the edge of Snowdonia National Park.  The plan of attack was to check out Bala, the local town, as well as Barmouth on the coast, Llangollen, Ruthin and to go deep in to the mountains.  Welsh weather doesn’t always allow your best laid plans to execute, but we did alright.

First up was Llyn Tegid, the local lake.  I like lakes.  Sometimes they are big, and sometimes they are small.  The very very small ones are usually called ponds or swimming pools.  Llyn Tegid is MASSIVE!

The weather forecast for morning #1 was looking average to alright, so I set the alarm early, way before the sun was ready to rise, ready for the whole house to wake up and join me at the lake with my camera.  Then I closed the front door alone, and made the 10 minute drive down to Llangower, alone.  On my own.  This either says that my friends and family hate me, or prefer the beds in the cottage to a cold morning at a lake.  Or both.

Llangower was a lovely little spot with its own mini train station right on the edge of the lake.  It also had its own jetty and this was where I got set up for some early morning long exposure work.  Unfortunately the sun wasn’t going to be making an appearance thanks to the clouds but the light actually helped me out a bit, to create this calm and tranquil image of the lake and the rolling hills in the distance.  The smoothness of the water was created by putting a 6 stop neutral density filter in front the lens and leaving the shutter open for a long time.  The filter is a bit like putting 6 pairs of dark sunglasses on your camera.  It takes a while for enough light to get through to create a decent image, and the water is passing by during that time, ending up looking like a sheet of ice.

Llyn Tegid - Bala

Llyn Tegid – Bala

After a bit of a wander and a few more shots at the lake and Llangower, I headed back up to Bala and then on to Llandderfel, where the others were still sleeping.

Llangower Railway Station

Llangower Railway Station

The next time the camera came out was when we hit the narrow, windy mountain road over to Pistyll Rhaeadr; Wales’ tallest waterfall.  When we first arrived at the cottage, Carol recommended visiting here, and it didn’t disappoint.  The initial drive over the mountains was incredible, but the final long lane up to the car park was quite a pain in August.  Worth it though:

36868002275_8fdca13381_b

Pistyll Rhaeadr

From there it was on to the A494 to Barmouth for a spot of grub, some souvenirs, some time in the amusement arcades and a stroll along the very beautiful and very windy beach:

36728207661_a59bc55ff4_b

Barmouth Beach

36609968992_c883dff088_b

Barmouth Harbour

35878766614_b793b527fa_b

Barmouth Harbour

And then it was time to head home (the cottage felt like home by now) for curry.

Over the weekend we spent a nice amount of time in the towns and villages of Ruthin and Llangollen, and found 2 of the greatest shops in the whole world, in Bala – Stori and Aran Hufen.  Stori is a Welsh off license where you can buy local lagers and ciders poured from taps in to 1 litre plastic bottles to take home.  Aran Hufen creates and serves the smoothest, tastiest ice cream in the world.  If you’re in Swansea reading this, and there’s a good chance you are, please forget that Joe’s rubbish.  Verdi’s is fine, but nothing compares to Aran Hufen.

But what I really want to show you is the huge array of photographs that I took one evening as we ventured deeper in to Snowdonia National Park, along the A5 to Llyn Ogwen where we parked up and walked the Cwm Idwal route to Devil’s Kitchen.  The weather stayed dry for us on the walk, but the sun was a little shy and it was getting late in the day so I ended up with some pretty moody apertures.  The photos do the talking from this point onwards:

This wasn’t the most recent trip to North Wales for me.  The Snowdonia National Park was barely ventured in to and it looked like it needed more of an explore so I returned in November for an evening of astro photography, before catching sunrise over on Anglesey the next morning.  Those images will be saved for a future blog post so feel free to hit the follow button on here.  It should be in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.

Thanks to Sarah, Oliver, Caroline, Josh and Nanny Mumtaz for coming along for this brilliant birthday break.

Storm Brian

What a stupid name.  All storm names so far have been stupid.  If we have to go alphabetically, Storm names should be as follows:

Alphonso

Big Barry

Crusher

Dan Davidson

Elyseum

Ferrero

Gertrude

Hermes

Ignacio

Jackie

King Louis

Leona

Megatron

Ohmygod

Poseidon

Quincy

Raphael

Superman

Tarantula

Uganda’n Policeman

Victor Meldrew

Wonder Woman

Xcalibur

Yoga Extreme

Zeus

Are you actually still reading this rubbish?

Here’s some pics I took last Autumn during Storm Brian.  If you’re a child reading this, please don’t try to take similar photos as it was pretty dangerous being on the seafront and by this particular bit of harbour wall.  If you’re an adult reading this; whatever, I’m not your mother.

26043072578_f2d95a33d8_o

Storm Brian Black and white

37157313613_de33f970a9_o

Storm Brian Porthcawl

37813215786_95abd238ff_o

Storm Brian Porthcawl

37855531972_782c0ac6c0_o

Storm Brian Porthcawl

37886647301_8fac454515_o

Storm Brian Porthcawl

It’s quite rare that I get an opportunity to go back to Wales these days, but when I do I like to take advantage of the views and the good weather… or really bad weather in this case.

The advice that day really was to stay well away from the coast, and a webcam had been set up at Porthcawl lifeboat station so that we could view the storm from the safety of our own homes, but I wanted to go and see for myself.  My mate, Fil, came with me.  Stupid and reckless, maybe, but I never felt in any real danger.  For info, I can’t swim and have a fear of drowning, so would never have taken a massive risk anyway.

I think the results are decent here and really shows the power of nature, the sea, the weather, when it decides to put on a show.

My advice is stay indoors though.  My boxer shorts took a few hours to dry out after these were taken even with heated car seats.

In total contrast to this, I then headed to Cardiff 24 hours later and captured these lovely images of Bae Caerdydd, or Cardiff Bay.

37157310193_f47c038dfc_b

Mermaid Quay and the Pierhead Building

37176835044_738696b030_b (1)

Wales Millennium Centre

If you’re still here and seeing these words then leave a like or a comment below, or maybe even share on social media for me.  Follow the blog if you really want to.  There’s an option on this page somewhere.  You’ll find it.  You’re clever.

If you have Facebook, be sure to follow my page http://www.facebook.com/dandavidsonphotography and try and find me on instagram under whatever name I’ve decided to use this week.

Plenty more to come on the blog in 2018 including a recent visit to North Wales.  I think I’ve already blogged about Snowdonia last August, but I returned for a 24 hour road trip to cover astrophotography in them thar hills, and to explore the coast of Anglesey including South Stack Lighthouse and Ynys Llandwyn (there’s a chance I’ve not spelt that correctly).

Laters.

Caldecotte Lake

Hello

As usual I have slipped with the blogging but I needed the time to get out and get more images, and now that the weather has improved massively it seems like a good time for some quality snaps.

This is meant to be the warmest May in history or something, and I do actually remember there being at least 4 more-than-tepid days in a row so that must have been Summer.

Warm weather means 2 things to me.  No, 3 things.  First of all, the barbecue comes out of hibernation and the grass gets cut.  Then of course the bike gets a wash and a liberal covering in WD-40.  Finally, but by no means least, no one looks at me when I’m walking around in shorts.  All through the Winter you’d think I had personally shat on their cats as they slept, with some of the looks I would receive wearing shorts.  I have legs.  Get over it.

Back to the point of today’s blog; Caldecotte Lake.  I hadn’t really given the place much chance as I always thought it was a big splodge of water and nothing to  do there apart from drink at the pub and get bitten by those annoying midge fly things.  I’ve already mentioned warmer weather, shorts and bikes.  If this is a surprise to you, for God’s sake, it was only the previous paragraph!  But anyway, me and SWIWWWTGFM decided to hop on our bikes one evening and pedal down to the lake.  When we got there we took the brave deicision to turn left and go round the lake instead of going right and directly in to the pub.  What a lake!  It’s a fantastic size, not too busy, very pretty from every angle, and nice and flat to get around as it was my first bit of exercise for 2016.

I didn’t take any photos on the day as we whizzed around but made a few mental notes of where to return with my camera in the future.  It turned out that the good weather didn’t go too far and returned quickly less than a week later so I took my chance and drove there an hour before sunset.  Then it was just a case of walking swiftly around the one edge so that I was doing a  lot of shooting back in to the sun.  That’s generally not a good idea but if you get it right, it is so so right.

Enjoy the shots below and as usual please feel free to find me and like the page at http://www.facebook.com/dandavidsonphotography and if you are an IGer then follow me on Instagram @dangleberrydan7

 

The Dungeness Monsters

Ever been to Dungeness?  It’s in Kent.  If you haven’t been and you are ever in the area, then go!  How good is it there?  The boyband A1 filmed a music video there, that’s how good it is!

The Prodigy made one there too by the way, just er FYI.

The headland and shingle beach are also home to some pretty impressive wildlife in the form of birds and over 600 plants.  I can name about 4 of them as nature isn’t really my strong point but I’m very aware that Kent is home to some fantastic wildlife photographers like Ian Hufton.

I wasn’t in the area to cover nature though.  I was there to see the boats, the fishermen, the cool houses and huts, the lighthouse, the nuclear power station and to simply be near the coast again.  I’d been meaning to visit for a while but never made the effort.  I had a lot of free time over the Christmas period so planned a day when I hoped that not many people would be out and about.  It had been so long since I had spent time working on landscapes so I was looking forward to this.

The M25 was pretty decent for a change and I was at the car park by 11am.  Plenty of time to wander around, get cold, snap what ever I see and get home again before the sun goes down!

As usual, this is meant to be a photography blog so as usual I would like the photos below to do the talking.   I’ve started off mean and moody but ended with a bit of colour.  These are just a small selection of my favourites starting with the abandoned hut next to the old railway tracks, a fisherman’s hut, the boardwalk that helps to protect the local wildlife on the shingle beach, a very cool Airstream caravan, a shy machine, Prospect Cottage, and the boat that also features at the top of this blog post.

IMG_7310aa

Abandoned

IMG_7215aa

Eerie

IMG_7194-2aa

Abandoned

IMG_7217aa

Airstream

Dungeness

Britain’s only desert

Prospect Cottage

Derek Jarman’s Prospect Cottage

IMG_7268aa

Boat RX435

 

Winter Wonderland

Snow.

Love it or hate it?

I discovered during the recent cold snap that opinions seem to be divided right down the middle.  Personally, I sit very comfortably in the love camp.  I do love the stuff.  I love the cold, I love Winter, but it’s not enough to convince me to watch more than 10 seconds of Frozen.

Rather unexpectedly, I woke up to a decent dusting of whiteness just last weekend and even more unexpectedly, I got out of bed.  On a Sunday.  The camera was already very well charged from a recent day trip to London (photos will come in a future blog post) so I was ready to go once I had showered and got dressed.  Ah, but snow melts quite quickly so maybe I don’t have time for that.  Other people may wake up soon and want to play in it or walk on it which would ruin my photos.  Having quickly brushed my teeth and put on more socks, I was ready to go and snap some magical winter wonderland snow scenes around this crazy little town.

First stop was to be Willen Lake, a spot visited so many times as a practice ground for me as there is a great big lake, a bit of wildlife, a fantastic Peace Pagoda and a lovely backdrop for portraits.  It’s also been a great training ground for running but that’s another story.

Tickling the South face of Willen Lake and park is Campbell Park which then links up with the town centre.  The next series of snaps are taken there after walking around the Grand Union Canal, adjacent parkland and around the Light Pyramid at the top of the little hill.

All in all I was only out for just over an hour but managed to capture some really lovely local landscapes.  Snow confuses the camera’s sensor though and when I got home to review the images they were so dark and grey!  Youtube came to my rescue, and a short tutorial from Anthony Morganti’s fantastic channel meant that I had a good idea of how to correctly process the scenes so that you see what my eyes saw on the day.

Enjoy!!!

As ever, please feel free to check out my facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/dandavidsonphotography

Instagram – @dangleberrydan7

Thanks for following

Dan