I have photographed this tree at the Giant’s Ring Belfast a number of times, of course at different times of year and in differing lights, however, I have always turned it into varying B&W effects. Perhaps my first attempt was “the original and best” but I am posting a selection of them as it seems to me that this tree naturally tells me that it needs to be in B&W to do it justice and create the atmosphere. For that reason it seems to me to be the obvious choice for Cee’s B&W Challenge Open Topic this week.
The first is “Rhianna’s Tree”… This tree (now sadly deceased) made the headlines here in Northern Ireland when the farmer, having previously rented his field to Rhianna for her to film her latest music video, discovered that she was ” was in more of a state of undress than a bikini top” in his field. When she appeared to be topless (she may indeed have just been wearing a bikini top unlike any one he had ever witnessed) he drew a close to proceedings and sent them packing, after telling Rhianna that she and her film crew should become acquainted with God. The filming later appeared in Rihanna’a We Found Love video which went on to win the best video of the year award at the MTV VMAs.
The second is a view of downtown Calgary, Alberta Canada taken from the Olympic Park Calgary, a distance of approx 15km.
Huge, I hope you like my first venture into your world of blogging. I’m just in the early stages of blogging and trying to learn and build.
So, this is my first adventure into Lori’s weekly letter challenge and I see that I am joining rather late – perhaps I can fill in the letter ‘a’ to ‘g’ in due course, although with the letter ‘d for dog’ I just might get stuck in there for a while 😉 Nevertheless here I am. As usual I have difficulty focusing on and staying completely on one track on my blog and I, therefore, tend to diversify but I do offer variety I HOPE some decent photos for everyone to enjoy. I am consistent, however, in that I usually include something of my home land, Northern Ireland, trying to show it off in it’s better light, and also my love of animals, in particular dogs. I’m a keen photographer with a huge archive of photos and I admit to enjoying having the opportunity to share a few of them in these challenges.
OK so, the letter H… I came across a photo that inspired me to choose a few others on the same theme – Hanging!
Having at last found a use for this photo I then found a few others along the same theme albeit much more fun than this kind of Hanging 😉
The first was taken through the railings of a skate park in New York, this little lad pictured Hanging from the the edge of the bowl, maybe 5 or 6 years old was there with his dad. Clearly neither of them had any sense of fear. The second is one of my boys at this point Hanging during pull ups whilst training at the gym.
Below, just some scarfs and safety gear hanging…
And back to promoting ‘our wee country’… the beautiful Headlands on the North Antrim Coast – photographed from the west and then the east
So now some animate ‘H’s from home and beyond…
Some of the connections to ‘H’ are obvious but for the sake of indulging my fastidious nature let me say in the above collection I have a pet Hamster I photographed many moons ago, a rider on Horseback, Banff Canada, a Hare, Calgary Alberta, swans in Hillsborough Lake Co. Down NI, Heron Strangford Lough Co Down NI, a Hairy chimp, a very Happy wren on my Hedge at my House, a Hawaiian Goose a lady Hunting in a bin for food Calgary Alberta and two beautiful Horses San Roque, Spain. Fairly random selection.
So now a few inanimate ‘H’s…
The cranes you could not miss if you ever visited Belfast. They are Harland and Wolf gantry cranes, previously used in shipbuilding, now more for heavy lifting during the building of of wind turbines and refurbishment of oil rigs. Then there is a very sad Headstone for a baby, St Andrew’s Scotland, a collection of cowboy Hats on sale Downtown Calgary a Hand-knitted Hat on a Head in St George’s market, Belfast – (another place worth visiting) and finally Stormont Building known colloquially as “The House on the Hill” (where all our politicians work). I have blogged previously about Stormont if you would like to read more. Again, worth visiting.
And finally for my indulgence, no selection of ‘H’ photos would be complete without a of one of my boys playing Hockey, in this case for a team called Harlequins!
I hope you have enjoyed my first entry into Lori’s Letter Challenge. I would love to receive feedback,
I relished the chance to photograph a firework display last year in Calgary. Having travelled from Banff (about two hours drive) just for the event, we got caught up in a long traffic hold up so at the risk of being late for the display we tried to bypass the traffic only to realise we were trying to cut through a First Nation Reservation. It was reminiscent of the time in Northern Ireland where the Orange Order blockaded roads in protest against the rerouting of one of their parades. On meeting one of those road blocks it was prudent to turn the car around and not engage with those involved 😉 I have to stress that the the First Nation blockade was a rather more simple, civilised affair – no bonfires, balaclavas or lorries requisitioned for the purpose – just a couple of First Nation men leaning menacingly against the hood of their car with their arms folded ensuring that the world and his wife did not drive through their protected land. The effect, however, was the same. We promptly turned around rejoined the traffic jam and our two hour journey turned into a four hour endurance. We arrived at the park in Calgary (hungry and busting for the loo) with only minutes to spare before the start of the display. I had no time to make any preparations for my camera before the start so just had to guess shutter speeds, exposures and began shooting.
We all agreed that it was worth the effort. The display was put on by the team who did the Beijing Olympics, it was a feast of wonderful colour, choreography and of course themed to some beautiful music. The combination of sight and sound was a quite emotional jaw-dropping experience.
As most of my photos were taken using my rucksack as a makeshift tripod, I hadn’t realised that the couple in front were in shot. Lucky break and thankfully they sat pretty still on most of the long exposures!
I have lots of red flowers and yellow flowers, however, I decided to post these two instead. Yes, I do realise that the daisy is well past it’s best, but there is still beauty there, something akin to photographing and old beat up car I suppose. The leaf stood out to me one day as the sun was shining through it.
Born in 1964, pretty much all of the childhood that I can remember (i.e. from the age of 6) and well into young adulthood, was a life surrounded by ‘The Troubles’. Don’t worry, I do not intend to be political in my posts, however, there is no doubt that living in Belfast during this time was a different and often difficult way of living, but life it was and we just had to get on with it. Perhaps sometime I will write about some of the very negative things we had to live with as a matter of routine, but not now.
Since the whole ‘peace process’ thing, life here has certainly changed for the better in many ways. For me, one significant improvement is to be able to have much more freedom to safely enjoy the lovely little country in which we live. In the past we were often compared to Beirut, ironically now with everything else going on everywhere else in the world perhaps we are one of the safest cities/countries to be in.
As a keen photographer, I am happy to go off with my camera most places and try to capture the atmosphere of what we have on offer in and around Belfast and other places in NI. Actually we are such a small country that almost everywhere is ‘on our doorstep’ – an hour and 15 minutes will take me from Belfast to the furtherest point on the beautiful North Antrim Coast, home of the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Royal Portrush Golf Club, filming of The Game of Thrones, not to mention the Titanic (we like to remind people that it was fine when it left Belfast!) and many of the most beautiful beaches in Europe.
One of the places I have enjoyed exploring over the last couple of years has been St. Georges Indoor Market, right on the edge of Belfast City Centre. I had always known it was there but until my son began to frequent it for the fresh food on offer I had never been. Having benefited from one of the National Lottery Heritage Projects it was named UK’s Best Large Indoor Market 2014 by the National Association of British Market Authorities. So, I took the plunge (and my camera) one Sunday morning to see what all the fuss was about…
I discovered that it is a vibrant, happy, cosmopolitan place, busy with traders, eateries, musicians, locals and many tourists. A place that underlines how far we as a little country have come in the last number of years.
A place with colour and vibrancy, local crafts and food from all over the world
Browsing or buying local fresh food and crafts and enjoying cooked food from all over the world (including Belfast Baps (aka buns) filled with a mountainous supply of bacon, sausage, eggs and of course ketchup) to the sound of a live musician is a real pleasure.
The opportunity to browse with my camera is what I tend to do there – other than maybe buying a ball of wool or two every now and then ;). I always liked to photograph the mundane and see the beauty in it…
As a photographer I always prefer to capture the candid, and what a great place to do this.
However, what strikes me most when I pop down to the market is that the range of both stall holders and visitors make it a truly cosmopolitan place. Tourists from all over the world, China, Germany, America – everywhere, huge countries coming to ‘our wee country’ to to enjoy what we have to offer. Perhaps this is one of the biggest changes our country has seen since the ‘peace process’, not only can I, who had to endure the many years of The Troubles, enjoy life here but so also can so thousands of visitors from every corner of the world.