Up and In, in Paris and London

Does anyone get the reference in this blog title?  I hope you do.  Last year I failed at one of my New Years Resolutions to read at least 4 books in 12 months.  4 books should be easy for anyone but I didn’t manage it.  Even a week by a pool in Spain didn’t help.  I got through about half of On The Road and gave up.   I did manage to pick it up again in the Autumn by reading Who Is Tom Ditto by Danny Wallace.

In January of this year I took my lovely lady over to Paris to celebrate her 30th birthday and one place that we just HAD to visit was the Shakespeare and Co bookshop near Notre Dame.  She insisted, and I really don’t mind a good bookshop.  I decided that I’d buy myself a book and maybe get 2015’s resolution completed in 2016 instead.  So that’s what I did, and I purchased George Orwell’s Books Vs Cigarettes as well as William Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

It had completely slipped out of my mind just how much I had enjoyed Orwell’s writing style back when I was studying for my English GCSEs and reading Animal Farm.  Books Vs Cigarettes reignited my admiration so it’s only right that I have now purchased 1984 and next on the list of course is Down and Out in Paris and London.  That’s that explained.

But this is a photo blog so what on earth does this have to do with the price of film?  Paris is great for the street art scene, and so is London, so I’ve decided to put together a few of my favourite images taken of graffiti and street art in 2 of my favourite cities.

The feature photo at the top here is of a face popping through the wall and the French flag, by Gregos.  You can find him on facebook and instagram quite easily.  I don’t know all of the other artists but Banksy, Stik, Invader, Sweet Toof and so many more talented artists always pop up in the right places when I’m out and about.  Talking of instagram if you want to follow I’m under the handle of @dangleberrydan7

Most of these photos were taken with my Sony Xperia Z1 phone but a few were captured with a canon 550D.  On that note – I have the new Sony Xperia Z5 coming this week which apparently has an incredible camera.  I may mention that in future blog posts!



London Calling

From previous posts on here, and if you follow me on facebook, twitter or anywhere else you’ll probably know that I’m Welsh.  I don’t live in Wales, however.  Last year I decided to push forward on a few fronts and move to Engerland, so here I am half an hour from Central London.

One of the biggest things I miss about Wales is the scenery;  in particular the Brecon Beacons and the Gower Peninsula.  I’ll be posting loads of images from the Gower over time, and I produced a calendar for 2015 but just a limited number which have all been sold or given away.  There’s not a massive amount of Brecon photos but enough to keep the eye pleased.

So, there are no beaches around here and no fancy hills, mountains or waterfalls but there’s still plenty to capture.  Actually there is so much that I’m slightly lost.

The key to photography is to plan ahead.  That’s also the key to enjoying London!  You could head East and find some incredible street art and graffiti, as well as some of the best food in the capital.  A slight trip North takes you to Camden, absolutely buzzing with all walks of life, as well as some of the best food in the capital.  Alternatively there’s the touristy beehive hotspots along the Thames like Southbank, Tate Modern, Tower of London and The Shard, and just a few steps away from the Thames Path is Borough Market in Southwark, which has some of the best food in the capital.

Today’s photo blog post is all about the tourist trail, but I’ve tried to capture something a little different from the snapshots that every visitor to London has on instagram, or in a photo album if you’re over 35.

First up then is the Palace of Westminster and the Elizabeth Tower that houses Big Ben.  The shot below was achieved using a 10 stop neutral density filter.  Lee do them, but I’m too tight to buy them so it’s Haida for me.  If you’re looking for one check it out on ebay.  The slim one.

big ben

Palace of Westminster and Elizabeth Tower

The weather was pretty rubbish and it wasn’t deterring the big crowds so I moved out from here pretty sharpish and headed further down stream to the Tower of London.

The amazing Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red installation marking the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War is going to feature in another blog post, but I spent about 20 minutes there before moving down towards Wapping where I continued the experiment with the neutral density filter.

Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge and Shard Long Exposure from Wapping

The one above was about a 2 minute exposure which means the camera has to be absolutely still on a very expensive tripod.  Failing that just balance it on a bench like I clearly did.  To get the shot below I just used the railings.

Shard and Tower Bridge

The Shard and Tower Bridge in London

The light was dropping by this point and I guess it must have been close to sunset.  Like I said earlier, it’s all about the planning, and you have to know where the light will be, and more importantly where it won’t be at certain times of the day.  Tower Bridge at sunset… that had to be planned.  I hadn’t planned that the cloud would be there but hey ho.

So night caught up soon and those clouds decided to dump their load.  As long as it’s not baltic I’m usually in shorts and a hoodie.  Waterproof jacket?  Nah.  When the heavens open I get soaked, but I also dry off quickly too.  The next shot was taken in the rain and I did my best to stop the rain drops hitting the lens but one or 2 are still visible.  I still think it’s a great shot, this time of St Paul’s Cathedral.

St Paul

St Paul’s Cathedral in the rain

Not many places to shelter on this side of the river so a quick run across Millennium Bridge took me to a FAIRLY dry spot underneath the bridge.  I say fairly, but no it was pretty horrendous there too.  I did manage to get this cool snap of the top of St Pauls Cathedral.  The only way to shelter the camera from the rain was to hover over it.  Decent result again though!

St Pauls Cathedral

The top dome of St Pauls Cathedral

By this point it was time to call it a day, and really time to dry out.  There were more images taken through the day and if you’d like to see them please visit my page on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/dandavidsonphotography and check out a selection of my images for sale at my etsy shop – https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/DanDavidsonFineArt?ref=hdr_shop_menu