I’ll let the photo speak for itself.
Photo by Anna Allport. This is a week-and-a-bit early, I suppose. But it is certainly challenge appropriate.
Our relatively spontaneous trip to New York in January (the result of stars aligning – cheap flights, accommodation with friends, an intense desire to see New York City) still sometimes feels like it was just last week. My own expectations were so high, I never thought the place could live up to them. But as is always the way with these things, it sneaks up with you in ways you don’t anticipate, even as some things seem muted when you see them up close for the first time.
On our first day, after the Times (and the map), we made our way into the city. The Flatiron was our first point of interest. What we didn’t expect was the dazzling display of hanging, hand-painted coffee cups. They added immensely to the sense of occasion, and my excitement went into overdrive. The buildings, reflected in the glass, and visible through the glass hammered home that we were in the city of the skyscraper; we felt right at home.
We then covered a lot of ground on foot. We headed past the New York Public Library (we looked inside on another day), craned our necks up at the Empire State Building and the Rockefeller Center, before we arrived at MOMA.
As we wandered about, we enjoyed the inside of the building as much as the art.
At the end of the day, we wandered back to Times Square. Because everyone has to go to Times Square. Don’t they? Even if they don’t, we did. And it was awful. And crass. And overrated. And most of all, it was awesome.
Some reflections on my first day in NYC (CIA had been before, and was lucky enough to visit again since!) only cement how much this city means to my imagination. In the end, it also affirms my sense of optimism. If New York is possible, almost anything is.
Luxembourg City lies at the confluence of two rivers. The remains of the old city fortifications rise ominously above the Petrusse, allowing for great reflective experimentation. Across two days, we wandered above and below the walls, along and above the river.
Tips: Think about using different perspectives and viewing angles to modify a reflection’s impact on your composition. For beginners: You can face a reflective surface head on to compose a creative self-portrait, or you can change your perspective so the reflection focuses on another part of the area around you. For advanced photographers: I’d also recommend playing around with the exposure of the reflections. For instance, if you use a wide aperture and meter an area in the reflection, you can creatively alter the appearance (depth of field) of the areas outside of the reflection.
As the photos we took were before the challenge was issued, the tips have little relevance on the outcome in our case. However, I think Jared (I hope he doesn’t mind if I call him Jared) wrote such excellent tips, that they were worth quoting. We will think of them in the future, especially as we get more tangled in this photography web.
And so, a fortress, reflected.
Colour challenges are easy, in the sense that finding photographs with a certain colour in them is usually straightforward. But, that being said, the harder task is finding a theme that can bind otherwise disparate images together. And so today I am looking at the alliterative joy of green and gothic.
Incidentally and tangentially, I always grew up with green associated with envy; a German colleague of mine in the Netherlands told me the colour is associated more with hope. What else does green make you think of?
Photos by PJD or CIA or others, in diverse European locations. Today’s post was brought to you by the letters G and P, the number 11 and the colour green.
As the Northern Hemisphere descends towards Winter, through the Fall, this image speaks to the renewal of Spring. CIA took this photo of the bulbs which spring up everywhere in the Netherlands as the snow melts, and the sun starts to make itself felt.
Photo by CIA, near Da Kooi; we were completely surprised when this otherwise ordinary stretch of public space was suddenly transformed into this verdant field of flowers.
Weekly Photo Challenged?
Geometry isn’t always an inspirational subject. I remember struggling with trigonometry, eventually reaching a point where I could reliably get the correct answer, with absolutely no understanding of the mechanics underpinning the calculations. Geometry in photography though, is a much more attractive proposition.
The geometrically complex concert hall in Reykjavík, Harpa, provides a good setting for studies of geometry. The building itself, constructed of steel-framed polygonic windows was (and is) controversial. A product of the Icelandic artist Ólafur Elíasson, as well as Henning Larsen Architects and Batteríið, construction began before the 2008 crash which triggered world-wide economic difficulties.
The expensive building was the subject of considerable debate in Iceland, before the Parliament eventually agreed to fully fund the construction of the building. I’ve been told there was some discussion that the foundations of the building should be left unfinished, to remind Icelanders of their economic folly, and as a tribute to hubris. We can, should, and must be grateful that things turned out differently, and that we have instead a beautiful, striking building which could be thought of as a Sydney Opera House (another exercise in geometry, budget overruns, and for which we can now all be grateful) of the North.
The interaction between the mirrored ceiling, the lights — which were designed to evoke the Aurora Borealis, and the optical-illusory nature of the various internal levels are astonishing. It is hard to imagine that the designers knew exactly what effect their design would have, but the building stands, gorgeously, as testament to geometry and architecture.
Photos by PJD, on a cold evening in early September, 2012.
Weekly Photo Challenged?
Before we moved to live in the Netherlands, people warned us that as vegetarians, we wouldn’t have much luck with (or get much joy out of) Dutch food. Whilst it is certainly no vegetarian paradise, we didn’t find it all that bad. Certainly, there were even some Dutch foods (mainly of the sweet variety, such as appeltaart and stroopwafels) of which we became huge fans during our time living in Holland.
Moving to the Netherlands equipped with only limited Dutch language skills meant our trips to the supermarket in the first few months were quite challenging and made for some interesting exchanges as we navigated the payment system at the checkout, as well as navigating the aisles (such as when I eagerly utilised my fledgling Dutch language skills and asked a supermarket staff member “How are the eggs?” rather than “Where are the eggs?”). Being foreign in a country suddenly adds a level of challenge to daily tasks and interactions such as going to the supermarket which you’d otherwise take the ease of doing for granted. As a tourist, it can be fun, but when you are trying to integrate into a different society for an extended period of time, it can be tiring and frustrating. Read more
I was pretty excited about this week’s photo challenge theme, until I realised that probably the two best silhouette photos that I have ever taken, I have already posted previously, here and here. Nevertheless, PJD also has something of a penchant for snapping the odd silhouette photo, and I think the photo below, taken in the Tate Tanks is pretty awesome. The silhouettes of the strangers, walking in, through, amongst the art in the eerie space of the Tanks are captured in a pretty unusual way, and the presence of shadowy silhouettes as well, without it being clear who they belong to, only adds to this effect. I also love how the pink of the woman’s trousers pops against the murky darkness, and the the movement of her silhouette contrasts with the stillness of the other silhouettes in the scene.
Photo by PJD, The Tate Tanks, Tate Modern, London, United Kingdom, September 2012.
I’m always happy in an art gallery (or as they tend to call them in the Northern hemisphere, art museum. Here are a few of my favourite pieces of art spotted in galleries along the way on our travels over the past few months. Looking back on them certainly makes me happy, as I remember how happy I was standing in front of these beautiful, inspiring and creative works. So, I hope they might make you happy too, in some small way. The common denominator seems to be, for the most part, vibrant colour. Colour certainly does make me happy (the brighter the better!), as does trying out this new gallery format…
In an attempt to catch up, here’s the photo challenge we missed. Initially, then I saw “Mine”, I thought mining. Like this:
And then I thought, hey, let’s google “Mine”. Which brought me to Taylor Swift’s song of that name.
Which then made me think of this clip, which is much better than the song, at the very least, it’s much funnier:
But none of this really refers to the challenge. And so, here is a view that’s mine (or, rather “ours”). This is at dusk, using my tripod that’s now out of storage at long last (leaving me to wonder why I ever put it there), and is the view from our balcony, across Wellington, towards the University. Home is ours, the view is ours, but the photo is mine.
Photos by PJD, this week, missing the feeling of hitting the “Publish” button.