I had a wonderful 3 nights in Venice, Italy this Summer on a personal trip. It was my first visit to Venezia, and it really is a fantastic and awe-inspiring city to walk around.
The architecture and canal system with gondolas provide a perfect backdrop for photography, and you can find great lighting at any time of the day due to the narrow streets and tall buildings providing great contrast between shadow and sunlight.
The city is small and can easily be walked around during the day, although you have to navigate through the bustling crowds and over small bridges. Whilst you can become lost very quickly, you are never too far from a familiar point.
Piazza San Marco (St Mark’s Square) was always busy but not uncomfortably so, even during our visit in the height of the summer. There were long queues to visit the Basilica, and it is worth getting up early to go to the top of the Campanile di San Marco (St Mark’s Bell Tower).
I started off 2018 with a few more trips to Norway, when the weather was still cold with snow covering the higher areas. I used my Fuji X-Pro1 with 18mm, 35mm and 56mm collection of prime lenses, as they are easy to pack in my carry-on baggage and provide fantastic image quality.
Traditional grass roof homes at the edge of a Fjord in Alesund.
Alesund harbour at night. It is amazing how much light in the sky there still is in the evening, captured with a camera long exposure, which has also smoothed out the water.
The mountains around Alesund. Shot whilst waiting for my colleagues to finish skiing in the area.
An aerial view of the harbour from Aksla viewpoint in Alesund
Residential properties are dotted around the base of many mountains in Norway, the glow of orange light giving away their position.
Industrial buildings on the edge of the water in very cold conditions.
Aksla viewpoint after a gentle dusting of snow the night before.
Residential and commercial properties at the waters edge in winter.
Alesund harbour lighthouse at night with a long exposure.
Alesund fisheries museum in the harbour, with the yellow building of Aspoy School in the background.
Local Norwegians depend on ferries for their day to day transportation.
A residential area against a backdrop of a wooded area signalling the start of a lovel walk back to the centre of Alesund.
A walk through the woods can be slippery in Winter without the right walking gear.
A view of the mountains through the trees. there are great viewpoints along the walk back to town.
Even though the snow and ice in town has disappeared, the slightly higher ground on the scenic walk showed the difference in ground temperature.
The statue Mot Havet (Seaward) in Alesund town centre overlooking the docks.
This large cruise ship appeared on the Saturday morning, providing activity for an otherwise very quiet weekend for Alesund.
Snow capped mountains lit by the morning sun.
Alesund at dusk, with the gorgeous blue light.
Alesund harbour at dusk.
I was fortunate to be able to make three separate trips to Norway as 2017 came to a close, and I took my fantastic Fuji X-Pro1 with my collection of 18mm, 35mm and 56mm lenses and a small mini tripod. I was working during the days in Norway, but managed to find some time to capture some of the scenery with my photography. I had never been to Norway before, but it has left a lasting impression on me – the people are very friendly, the scenery is awe inspiring, the food is of a very high quality, and everything is very expensive. I am looking forward to further trips in 2018.
Getting to Norway is not as easy as you might think, certainly not from the UK. Each trip included two transfers – I certainly got to see a lot of European airports.
Flying into Norway gives you a taste of the wonderful scenery, especially in Winter with snow on the ground everywhere. The water was starting to freeze over here.
A quick 5 min walk from the office in Alesund, and I found this little gem of a scene.
Another couple of minutes walk, and another great scene, although this was taken on the second trip when snow had fallen.
The time was midday, but the sun is already very low in the sky.
A very cold and frosty Magdevagvegan !
The dark evenings were another opportunity for more photography – in the cold. In the background you can jsut make out the ‘Town Mountain’. 418 steps to the top and there is a great viewpoint of Alesund waiting for you.
Alesund has some great architecture and sculptures.
Another view of the Alesund archipelago at night on a clear starry night.
Lovery architecture on a dark night. There are very few people around the streets during the evening in the winter.
A quick iPhone capture on the road at dusk.
The rugged landscape looks even more dramatic with snow on the ground and a cloudy sky.
Another iPhone 6 capture with the sunlight falling on the snow capped mountains.
Travelling past a farm on the way back to the airport at dusk.
The landscape feels like the edge of the world.
Oslo airport lit up at night on a clear night.
Over flying the warm lights of the Norwegian highways snaking through the cold landscape on my way back to the UK.
I was lucky enough to spend 3 weeks in Florida this summer with family and friends, and even managed to meet up with an ex work colleague from 20 years ago. I do enjoy staying in the USA, with its weather, service orientated culture and fantastic facilities. Everything just works. This is my third time in the state of Florida, and we had a truly amazing holiday. I cannot wait to go back again.
We stayed with friends during our 3 week visit, away from the traditional tourist hotels and rental areas, but close enough that we were never more than 30 mins away from the main tourist hotspots. This is the communal lake and walkway used daily by residents for relaxation and exercise.
The American flag, flown proudly outside a lot of residential homes.
Lizards, a daily frequenter of the pool netting.
On route to Jetty Park Beach at Port Canaveral. Car owners Obsessive Cat Disorder.
The white sands of Florida, even on the east coast. Jetty Park Beach on a hot hot day.
A favourite spot for sea fishing at Jetty Park.
A great day for sailing at Port Canaveral.
Lazy Sunday at Jetty Park.
Looking out on the east coast of Florida. There are lots of well built coastal management solutions on view.
The weather turns quickly in Florida. Darks clouds threaten heavy rain in the sunshine state.
Fitness must be the number one pastime in the USA. Surely…
…and eating must be number 2. Or maybe its the other way round.
And there is always a Starbucks just round the corner, wherever you are.
Palm trees tower above almost everything in Florida.
There is always something to do in Florida, morning day or night. Waiting for a table at Kobi’s.
A memorable meal at Kobi’s. Chinese food cooked in front of you by the resident comic.
This moment in time could not have been more American if it tried. Standing outside an ice-cream vendor at 11pm in t-shirt and shorts, surrounded by Taco Bell and all sorts of famous American brand signs, the Doobie Brothers’ Listen to the Music playing in the background, and then on cue a bunch of Harley motorbikes drive by. It was definately an inner peace moment.
The big parks of Universal and Disney certainly know how to make a moment. We had experienced the Disney parks on a previous visit, so decided on Universal this year. The Skull Island Reign of Kong ride was very well done. The mountains in the background are just a set made of wooden panels. It looked very real.
We spend a highly recommended day at Discovery Cove, a water park where you can experience swimming with the marine life.
Beer and steaks. What else do you need ?
Steak ‘n Shake – possibly the cheapest meal of the whole trip, and it was pretty good for the money. Must be doing something right – the company has been in operation since 1934.
Dusk by the lake. Watch out for the ‘gators.
The residential amenities are pretty impressive – pools, outside gym and tennis courts are just a few.
I had never driven in the USA before, but I very quickly came to enjoy it. General speeds are much lower than the UK roads, and most people driver at a more leisurely pace than what I am used to. Roads are big, clean and well signposted.
London is all about moving around – from A to B to C…and back again. Like ants building a nest on a spare piece of land. Scurring everywhere – building and doing. Travelling to tomorrow. And travel options are bountiful – on foot, bike, tube, red bus, taxi, pedicar. The choice is seemingly ours.
Westminster Bridge with the London Eye.
London has some fantastic modern architecture spread across the city. I love glass fronted building and the reflections created.
The gentrified Butlers Wharf. Once the world’s largest tea warehouse in the world. Now a mix of luxury flats, restaurants and office space.
Ice cream break by Tower Bridge.
A London Evening Standard newspaper distributor by the entrance to an underground tube station. How much longer will this be a scene on the streets of Central London in the new digital revolution world with instant media streams.
Taking a moment away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
The 39 Steps – and a lot more once you have spent a few hours in London.
A meeting place for those who are halfway between A and B.
Stop and chat waiting for the traffic to halt.
2012 is the year both my wife and I both reach the milestone of turning 40 years old. Time flies when you are having fun – first day at school, childhood birthdays and Christmases, family holidays, hot summers and ‘knee deep in snow’ winters are all distance memories. Modern life becomes all consuming, so it is good every once in a while to take some time out. To quote Ferris Bueller – “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
So the best place to stop and look around…Las Vegas !
Sin City is never a placed I have considered visiting, simply because I saw it is a neon lit artificial town filled with beer drinking gamblers on stag weekends. Lots of noise, lots of people, and lots of money down the drain. But my wife has always wanted to visit, and saw our 40th as a great excuse to go, so who was I to argue.
And I loved the place. Full of neon lights and beer drinking gambling stag weekenders, but I loved the place. America as a whole does everything bigger and better than anywhere else I have visited on the planet, and no more so than in Vegas. The hotels, the shopping malls, the roads, the food, the shows – everything is BIG. And the people are friendly, the service outstanding, the weather just perfect. We had a great time.
And I had plenty of photo opportunities during the visit. We had a great view from our lakeside room at the Bellagio. We visited the Eiffel Tower for an amazing view of the strip at night. And we went on a once in a lifetime helicopter trip to the Grand Canyon to get a 180 degree contrast in scenery.
And within two days of returning to the UK I was in the desert in the Middle East. Las Vegas casino to Middle East desert in 48 hours ! I felt like I was in the middle of a James Bond movie. But that is for another day.