There is a tunnel in Utrecht that leads from the Ganzenmarkt to the Oudegracht wharves. I discovered the tunnel by chance after a late night in the town as part of the conference dinner. Walking back to my hotel, I passed by the restaurants and the bars. My eye caught a flashing light and I looked over the railing and saw colourful lights radiating out of a tunnel close to the canal. I walked down and found this colourful psychedelic tunnel. The lighting of the tunnel kept changing and there were three people dancing in what looked like a trance. They were oblivious to my presence and so I took some pictures and then headed home.
The next morning I retraced my steps to the tunnel. The location is a photographer’s dream site for pictures especially as the colourful lights are constantly changing on a regular cycle. The street art is colourful and the illumination provides a changing backdrop. I asked a colleague to return with me so that I could place him at the entrance then use his silhouette to provide a focus to the pictures. Enjoy the result. Sorry if it is somewhat self-indulgent but it was such a great place to photograph.
I had the opportunity to take pictures during a recent visit to the streets and canals of Utrecht
Utrecht in the Netherlands was the base for the Ultrasonics Industry Association conference. My research group were presenting at the international conference and I was there to support their activities. We stayed in the Karel V hotel which has a picturesque view of the adjacent canal. There were many opportunities in the early morning or during conference breaks to explore the streets and canals. This Dutch city is very photogenic and I had brought along my Fujifilm x100v to accompany my iPhone13 for the photographs. For the readers of this blog, I will just show a selection of the many pictures that I took during my short stay. At the end of the blog, I have provided some links to Utrecht which provide ideas for your travel to this ever-surprising city.
So many pictures of this city and here are some more from both iPhone and camera.
Scotland is a wonderful place to always visit and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to spend a weekend on Loch Lomond in February with Sandy. Having flown up on the Friday morning, we picked up our hire car and made our way to Duck Bay on the bonny shores of the Loch. A magnificent rainbow greeted us set against the backdrop of Ben Lomond. I knew then that it was going to be a lucky weekend.
So much to see around the shores and following Duck Bay, we headed over to the east side of the Loch. When we arrived at Balmaha, the low sun was reflecting off the water creating beautiful light reflections. I love visiting such places out of season as the places are quiet and you have the place to yourselves. Balmaha houses the Loch Lomond coffee house and the pub serves a tasty bowl of soup. After a stroll around the Lochside we drove back to Balloch.
Our destination for the end of the day was Loch Lomond shores. Whilst it is very commercial and more concrete than aesthetics, it is redeemed by the views of the Loch. Also I saw that renovation of the Maid of the Loch steamer was gathering pace and that the paint work had been stripped off and the metal was showing.
Saturday morning threw up some colours in the sunrise and an early morning photographic stroll allowed for some interesting long exposures. We were staying at the Cameron House hotel and the grounds gave excellent access to the loch shore.
After breakfast, we set off for Inveraray to visit the prison museum. This attraction was excellent and gave an insight into the past society and the harsh life people led in the Highlands especially if they broke the rules. There was a restored black Mariah which Bill one of the staff, showed us and also provided an excellent account of life at the prison. It was an enjoyable drive along the Loch. After every turn on the road, there was spectacular scenery just asking to be photographed.
My favourite picture of the day was stopping at the layby “Rest and be Thankful”. There was a glimpse of the sun which lit up the valley and highlighted the old military road and the roadworks on the side of the mountains. I just stood there for several minutes taking in the beautiful scenery.
On our last morning, the weather was dull with a great deal of cloud cover. As I wandered along Duck Bay looking for photo opportunities, I passed by many people huddled together talking in low voices. I wondered what they were doing. Undeterred, I found a good spot on the Loch shore and set up for a long exposure. I found an interesting stone in the water and lined it up with the island in the background. A very peaceful scene. As I was taking the photograph, two women in wet suits ventured into the loch and I found out that they were freshwater swimmers. They agreed to have their photograph taken. Whilst they were well prepared for the cold waters, a man followed soon after and he looked unprepared and a likely candidate for hypothermia from the low temperatures.
On my way back I then realised that all the people who were standing in huddles had transformed into swimmers. I realised that a favourite Sunday morning pastime is to venture into the cold waters around the Loch. This is not something that I would enjoy.
My final picture is from Firkin Point which I had not stopped off at before on my visits to Loch Lomond. I discovered the lone tree over the Loch. The afternoon had closed in and so the picture leant itself really well to a black and white processing.
I you enjoyed this account of Loch Lomond then be sure to read these as well.
The streets of Edinburgh lend themselves to street photography. The natural backdrop of old buildings and captivating views of the surrounding countryside help to frame the people as they go about their everyday life. The winter light is strong and directional. The stonework reflects the light and makes for some interesting pictures. Here is a selection for you to enjoy.
If you liked my take of the Streets of Edinburgh then please search for Street Photography in my blog. Here are a selection for you to look through and enjoy.
I have been to Brussels many times but never to the Atomium and it is one of the places on my travel bucket list. We were in Brussels for an intensive feedback with Marie Curie funding at the European Research Council. Our visit was not helped by delayed and cancelled flights with Brussels Airlines. When we eventually arrived, the conference went well and we were able to catch up with the program. Once the day was done we took a taxi to the north of the city and walked up to the Atomium.
The Atomium was part of the world’s fair held in Brussels in 1958 (the year I was born) and consists of nine iron atoms in the shape of an iron crystal. This is magnified over 165 billion times. It is an impressive structure and immediately commands your attention.
They were getting ready for the start of the Tour de France so it was not possible to get a “clean” view of the front of the structure. There was fencing around the front of the structure with tents ready for the cyclists. However it was a warm evening and the sun was out. There were reflections on the metal structure of Atomium and with the low sun I was excited to be taking photographs. We arrived when the building was shut but it was still possible to wander around and enjoy all those wonderful photographic angles. It is a place where the locals gather and there were many people wandering around. I converted many of my pictures to black and white so that the lines and metal texture came through. Once I had done my photographs all taken with my Sony RX100v5, we headed back to the City for dinner. I was happy to have finally seen Atomium.
On the website the copyright of pictures is outlined as the creator of Atomium, the late engineer André Waterkeyn protected his design. So please be aware if you copy any of my pictures which are being used on my website for personal reasons only .
My photograph of the winter lights festival in Reykjavik that was taken on my visit to Iceland has featured in the Rove.me travel web site. Although I did not get to see the Northern lights, the Winter lights festival more than made up for it. Enjoy my picture and visit in person to photograph the experience. Thank you to Rove.me for the feature. Here are a few more of my travel photographs from Iceland for you to enjoy.
Next stop Singapore and it is 6 years since I have visited so I was interested to see what had changed. Looking out from the airplane window flying into the country, the success of Singapore’s trade is seen by the numerous ships waiting to enter the port. The flower lined drive from Changhi airport to the city brought back memories of previous times. For this visit, I was participating in a conference at Nanyang Technical University (NTU) which is to the west of the island. To the taxi drivers, it is the furthest distance from the airport taking 40 minutes and occasionally during my stay, there would be the occasional grumble that NTU was too far out for them. The University Campus is well planned and even in the heat and humidity, most of the places are easily accessible. There are some interesting buildings including the Hive (a student learning hub), and the School of Art, Design and Media with its curving double buildings. Other interesting NTU departments that I visited included the Medical School which had a mixture of old and new architecture. If you are interested, the conference that I attended was organised jointly by the University of Birmingham and Nanyang Technical University.
During the conference, there was also some downtime and I visited an old friend, Gareth Pearson, for a drink in the Marina Bay at night. He also arranged for me to visit Altitude which is the highest bar in Singapore with spectacular views over all the city and the Island. Following this I came down to Sea Level and caught a taxi from the Fullerton Hotel to an evening reception at the Tanglin Club which is one of Singapore’s oldest and prominent social clubs. The meal and company were great and the bar was well stocked as can be seen from the pictures.
In between my numerous meetings and the conference, there was also a chance to briefly visit Clarke Quay and the surrounding area of the Singapore Cricket club which not had not changed much since my last visit. The weather at midday is hot and humid so I took some photographs but did not linger very long.
On my last night in Singapore we had a reception at the National Art Gallery. The bar in the Gallery is called Smoke and Mirrors and has commanding views over the Cricket club and the Marina Bay Sands Hotel. Its central position allows for great photographic opportunities of the skyscrapers around the city both day and night.
Singapore is one of THE places to visit in the world and it does not disappoint. The place is always changing yet retains that British charm that made the place what it is today.
Visiting São Paulo is an experience. It is the third largest city in the world with 17 million inhabitants. As soon as you leave Guarulhos International Airport, you enter into wide multi lane (10 to 12 lanes each way) freeway which straddles both sides of the Tietê river. Slowly you do become aware of the smell from the polluted River as you drive into the city. The amount of traffic is incredible and they all drive as if they were Ayrton Senna. This was a business trip for the University of Birmingham and we had three dental schools to visit across the centre and outlying suburbs of São Paulo. We stayed in a small boutique hotel, Estanplaza Paulista on the Alameda Jaú near to Paulista Avenue. The hotel’s position gave us access to local restaurants and shops in the area. We arrived very tired on the Saturday night and woke up to sunshine in the morning.
We wandered up to Paulista avenue and found that the whole road was closed to traffic and there was a large street party taking place. People were dancing and generally having a great time. We walked along the length of the avenue chilling out and enjoying the atmosphere. There were many good photographic opportunities.
São Paulo Museum of Art
We also took time to visit the unique São Paulo Museum of Art. There is a wide range of interesting paintings and the Museum Web site on provides a good source of information. There was an exhibition “Imagens do Aleijadinho” which displayed statues of the African-Portuguese influence on the development of Brazil. Some of the exhibits were disturbing although the photographic record of the area the statues were found was fascinating. The Museum is on several floors and the paintings were imaginatively exhibited in a large exhibition area. There were canvases by both well-known artists plus fun contemporary exhibits such as “the Table”, where the blackboard was under the table.
Jungle Park We spent time in the “Jungle Park “called Parque Trianon (officially Parque Tenente Siqueira Campos) which is only small in area but is key how the Atlantic Forrest would have been in São Paulo. The high tree canopy with the dense vegetation makes it dark and gives respite from the noise of the large city around it. Then it was back out to the street party and we returned later in the afternoon and it had become even more crowded. Bikes, dancing, skateboarding on normally busy roads and underpasses and lots of street stalls. When there is an excuse for a party then Brazilians know what is needed to make it a success.
Reflections on São Paulo
Take home memories from this time in Brazil. The food and the drinks especially the Ciprihania made with cachaça (sugarcane hard liquor), sugar and fruit. The traffic congestion around the city, the picturesque University Sao Paulo campus with Capybara roaming free (previously I had only seen them in zoos). The Brazilian friendliness and positive view on life is also refreshing.
Hope you enjoy all the pictures as well. I may have taken a few too many!!!