St Pancras Renaissance

For a friend’s birthday in the SUMMER (for goodness sake), we went on a history tour of the ‘new’ St Pancras Grand hotel. It opened a couple of years ago following an enormous and expensive refurbishment which took the building from severely neglected Victorian station hotel to one of the most high profile venues in London, and for good reason because it’s quite breathtaking. The tour, which may have been an unusual birthday gift for some but fits right in with my oldest friend (er, by which I mean we have known each other since we were 6, not that she is 102) and the kind of things we enjoy, was very interesting and gave us the chance to see inside a hotel that we could never afford to actually stay in without a lottery win. We also learnt a lot about carpets.

It has now been such an embarrassingly long time since this visit that I can offer no good explanation as to why my aperture values seem so off. Well, that’s a bit of a lie. It was really quite dark inside so I suspect I had tried to open up the aperture as much as possible. Fortunately, it didn’t seem to cause too many problems.

34mm, f/4.5, 1/12 sec, ISO 1600

34mm, f/4.5, 1/12 sec, ISO 1600

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December arrives

Although I am making slow and steady progress through the backlog of photos from months past, I thought it was time to share something a little more up to date. Winter, it seems, has been switched on in the UK. This week I am not sure that temperatures have made it more than one degree above freezing where I live. However, combined with a week of working on an evening shift pattern, this means fun with the macro lens in our icy garden. I am starting to get the measure of both this lens (although I curse it for not having IS) and my own ability to hold completely still whilst taking a macro shot. It’s still a skill very much in need of practice, but these shots are some of the sharpest i’ve managed yet and I’m quite proud of them.

100mm, f/6.3, 1/160 sec, ISO 400

100mm, f/6.3, 1/160 sec, ISO 400

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Photos from another garden

I like taking garden photos. This is because I have a garden that I quite like, generally. I also like my in-laws garden, which has recently had a bit of a horticultural make-over that looked fantastic when we visited in August (yes, still on the backlog…) This wasn’t long after I’d got the macro lens and I wanted to have a play with the f2.8 aperture it offered.

100mm, f/2.8, 1/160 sec, ISO 640

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Spectating at London 2012: Paralympics Closing Ceremony

My ticket for the London 2012 Paralympics Closing Ceremony may be the best £100 I’ve ever spent. I can’t really explain how good this night was. Good company, amazing performances, a feel of celebration and appropriate closure, and the best send-off to an incredible summer. If I can’t explain it in written form, I can come a little closer with photos.

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Force India F1 car

Interrupting the enormously belated Olympics-related posts – although I say ‘interrupting’, it’s hardly been a speed of light experience – I take you back to the beginning of July. It was, as it happens, torch relay day in Northampton, but also a day when there was a Formula 1 car from the Force India team on display at our local theatre*. Enjoying both Grand Prix and having my camera on me from the aforementioned relay, it seemed stupid to ignore such an opportunity…

48mm, 1/30 sec, f5.6, ISO 800

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Olympic GamesMaking photos

So, a mere 3 months later, I finally share with you some of my Olympic photos. This post is devoted to photos which will not stand out technically, or in many cases even visually. These are all taken on my iPhone 4S and represent photos as memories – to me, it doesn’t matter that they’re perhaps the wrong speed, too grainy, slightly blurred and/or wonky. Besides, I couldn’t exactly turn up ‘at work’ with my 60D and lenses, tripod, flash, filter system etc. etc. So I didn’t really have a choice in the matter. But this means there’s a honesty to these photos – although some were fractionally enhanced using Snapspeed or Instagram, I will confess – because I took them without thought to “photography” and with the thought of, “I want to remember this”.

 

 

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The Peak District: Kinder Scout

(3 posts in two days? ‘What is this madness?’, I hear you cry. It might be something to do with clearing a backlog before I go on a two week holiday to Italy tomorrow, and if two days in the Peaks mean 3 posts then God help you all when I come back from a country I’ve never visited before after a fortnight…)

We wanted to do a slightly longer walk on our one full day in the area, and thanks to a book of walking routes we’d picked up last year we’d earmarked having a look at the route to Kinder Scout. The whole thing was probably longer and harder walking than we particularly wanted to do, so we planned to trim it down to 4 or 5 miles around a reservoir and up a river valley before returning in our footsteps.

Well.

We had clearly forgotten what happens when we go for a walk. Especially where there are high points involved, because the trouble is that you get to the top of one and then see another on the horizon. And suddenly you MUST see what the world looks like from there. Because it’s higher. And therefore, somehow, better. And because then you will have achieved something. Another deciding factor on this occasion was a desire to not repeat our footsteps, partly because it was a bit boring to do so, and partly because it would be a trickier descent than ascent.

This is how we came to walk 9 solid, and sometimes not very easy, miles. This is nothing to many people, but for those of us who only really do any kind of walking maybe three or four times a year it was definitely an achievement and also an interesting experiment in just how much lactic acid can build up in leg muscles during a 15 minute car journey back to the B&B.

That is the story of the day, the story of the photographs was governed by changeable – although not rainy – conditions, interesting landscape changes over the course of the walk, and the occasional wildlife. I shall let them do the talking, save to say there are quite a lot of them and so I shall select a few for highlighting and post a gallery at the end.

Av, 55mm, 1/80 sec, f/20, ISO 160

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