In April 22016 we went to New York for five days. It was a family break so although I brought cameras photography was a secondary consideration and I didn’t take anywhere near as many photographs as I normally would have. We did what people do in New York, we saw Les Miserables, we eat well, took a bus tour and we went shopping. I got an afternoon in B & H – what a place – I’ve never seen so much gear!
I had brought my Fuji X100 and Sony RX100. It was easier to bring those two cameras than my Canon. The Canon with the 24-105 lens would’ve been much more versatile and produced better images but I just didn’t want the weight.
I’ve included a few images below, taken mostly with the Fuji. I’ve processed them to black and white because I like monochrome and it makes these images work that much better than colour.
This is my wife sitting in a pew in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
We took an evening bus tour and I had to get a photograph of the Flatiron Building. Its always difficult to get an image of such a famous building that looks even slightly different from the many thousands taken before. The guy looking through the binoculars and the tour guide pointing add some animation.
The Belfast Titanic Maritime Festival was held over Saturday and Sunday, 19th and 20th May. I went on the Saturday. It was a great day, warm and sunny and busy enough, but the North West 200 motorcycle races and the FA Cup Final were on the same day and kept numbers down.
I think there were fewer ships than in earlier years but there were at least four tall ships and they’re always impressive. Ever popular, queues formed at their gangplanks quickly and remained fairly constant.
I’ve add a few photographs below and I’ll be posting more over the next few days.
Strictly speaking I don’t think HMS Caroline was part of the Maritime Festival but she sits in Titanic Quarter adjacent to the Thompson Dock and certainly deserves a mention. I hadn’t seen her for a few years and to be honest she was becoming a sorry sight. On seeing her I was delighted at the transformation.
Caroline is a light cruiser and was launched in 1914. She was active in the First World War and saw action in the Battle of Jutland. In 1924 she was moved to Belfast and became headquarters for the Ulster Division of the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.
In 1939, during the second World War, she became a depot ship to an anti-submarine striking force of patrol vessels and remained active throughout the conflict.
At the end of the war Caroline returned to Belfast and at her decommissioning in 2011 she was the second oldest ship in Royal Navy Service. Unfortunately she sat neglected for years until, aided by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, she was restored to pristine condition and opened to the public in 2016.
Last week I was in Scotland and spent a day in Edinburgh. It’s a beautiful city with plenty of sights, friendly people and things to do.There’s even a Tesla showroom!
Walking on Princes Street I photographed one of the City Sightseeing Tour buses with Jenners Department Store in the background. I would’ve liked to have taken the tour but I didn’t have time and to be honest it was a bit windy for an open topped bus.
It was only when I got home and was editing the photographs that I remembered that only the previous week I had photographed a City Sightseeing Tour bus in Belfast with the Albert Memorial Clock in the background. A Tale of Two Cities?
Its been a long winter. It wasn’t particularly severe, it felt like it was never going to end, but over the past few days we’ve had our normal April weather, sunshine and showers. It’s amazing how a spell of decent weather seems to improve peoples outlook.
I had a walk round Belfast in the sun and took some photographs, mainly in Titanic Quarter but also in Cathedral Quarter.
This is the Belfast Titanic Hotel that I think opened last October. The building was originally the Harland and Wolff Shipyard Drawing Offices and its just to the right of the Titanic Building. I think this is Belfast’s most recent hotel but probably not for long as there’s a lot more in the pipeline.
This is Queen’s Square. In taking this photograph I stood with the Albert Clock to my back. Most photographs you see of the square will feature the fountains in the foreground and the Albert Clock in the background. Face the other way and you can place one of the Harland and Wolff cranes in the background. It’s good to be different!
Today the Ford Capri Owners Club, Northern Ireland had a charity event in Bangor in aid of The Northern Ireland Cancer Centre. Although the event was organised by The Capri Club all Fords, old and reasonably new seemed welcome. Walking around the cars on display you cannot but be impressed by the work put into these vehicles both to get them to such a high standard and then to maintain them.
My first car was a Ford so I have a soft spot for the marque.
Bangor Marina is situated on the south shore of Belfast Lough and its like a magnet for photographers. I’ve photographed it many times and I went today intending to shoot some video clips. It was a bright, sunny Spring day with a mild breeze and I hoped to get some footage of boats, preferably yachts, entering or leaving the marina. As luck would have it as I walked towards where I intended to set up a small motorboat entered the marina from the lough. I wasn’t in position so gave it a miss. I wasn’t worried, it was a good day and I expected there would be others. Half an hour later and still no boats entering or leaving I decided to leave it for another day.
Not wanting to go away empty handed I shot some still images. I had expected there would be people working on boats to get them ready for the season. I like to get people doing things in my photographs but there was nobody around. People in an image add interest.
I’ve read that a photographer needs to develop the ability to make photographs where it first appears to many that there are no photograph to be made. I don’t think I’ve quite pulled that off on this occasion. In an attempt to create something even slightly different from the other thousands of photographs of the marina I used mainly a 45mm lens on my Panasonic camera, giving a field of view of a 90mm lens on a full frame camera. Most photographs I’ve seen of the marina are taken using a wider lens so these look a bit different.
I’ve submitted these and a few others to a microstock agency. We’ll see what happens.
The weather remains cold and wet, to cap it I’ve now picked up a cold and yesterday was the annual Horse Ploughing and Country Skills Day at the Folk Museum in Holywood. I try to go every year and I’ve made it for the last five or six but yesterday I couldn’t face standing in the cold in a mucky field sniffing and coughing and trying to take photographs.
Anyway with the Folk Museum in mind I continued organising my images and came across these photographs taken in the printers shop in the museum. They show printing frames with type. I have an interest in such things because many years ago I trained to be a Compositor or Typesetter and used similar tools, albeit not as old as these. I moved on to other employment and the memories faded until about ten years ago walking past the Belfast Telegraph I glanced in the window and saw a Linotype machine on display. A Linotype machine was a machine for casting type from molten metal. I know that sounds really dangerous but things were different then – not less dangerous just different. It was displayed in the window like some kind of ancient artefact with a mannequin sitting at it as if operating it. I had used one of these machines and seeing it on display like a museum piece made me feel a bit, well, uncomfortable. I suppose its part of getting not old, but older.
Castle Espie is a Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust Centre on the shores of Strangford Lough about 12 miles from my home. It is probably best known for being where nearly all the Brent Geese spend the winter months.
As well as being a relaxing place to simply walk around the centre is an educational resource for everyone, especially children, to experience the natural world at close quarters. There is a Duckery for hatchlings, ducks and geese are plentiful along with sea and shore birds and hides to watch them from. There’s even a cafe!