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Taking it to the street. Part 1.

I'm more into landscape, coastal and sea photography but when I'm travelling I enjoy street photography as well. Anonymity is much easier found away from home in bustling cities and towns. What I like is the vibrancy of colour and the pulse of life on the streets. It's a beautiful world. It can be a visual feast and possibly no more so than in Ireland. 

 Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland

I'm often (well, maybe always) looking for a picture and that's not difficult in the Emerald Isle. It's the out of the ordinary scenes like the one below. We all register scenes from different perspectives. To someone living on this street, its just everyday life. For me, its like eye-candy because it is not an urban sight I have ever seen or would expect to see back home. I just loved the colour. 

 The colour of Dublin

The colour of Dublin

Photographing people is not easy but in a large city bustling with tourists, it is barely noticed. One of the keys is not to carry around a camera the size of an over the shoulder missile launcher, or large enough to cast a shadow across the street, but to keep it small.

 Social justice. Dublin. (I feel there's a bit of a tartan theme going on here). 

Social justice. Dublin. (I feel there's a bit of a tartan theme going on here). 

This year in the travels from Dublin to West Cork in the very south of Ireland the colour in the towns was a visual delight. The streets were invariably clean and there seemed to be a sense of pride maybe engendered by the tidy towns competitions held in Ireland.

 Tidy indeed. Eyeries, Beara Peninsula, West Cork.

Tidy indeed. Eyeries, Beara Peninsula, West Cork.

It's pretty rare to see these sort of in your face colour schemes lining the streets at home in New Zealand. Any sort of paintwork like these on a New Zealand home would more likely consign it to being regarded as an eyesore. In Ireland, it just works. Maybe it adds colour to what might be an otherwise monotone streetscape as annual sunshine hours are not that flash. Actually, thinking about our dreary wet weekends this winter a bit of colour like this might lift the spirits.  

Eyeries has often been referred to as the most colourful village in Ireland and has often been honoured in the National Tidy Towns Awards. I can say from experience that someone in one of the homes here makes a mouth-watering lemon drizzle cake. I'll exercise my right to silence as far as the coffee goes though. 

 Beautiful Eyeries, Beara Peninsula, West Cork. Who would need street numbers? You'd just say 'I live in the yellow house' or 'I live in the pink house' etc.  

Beautiful Eyeries, Beara Peninsula, West Cork. Who would need street numbers? You'd just say 'I live in the yellow house' or 'I live in the pink house' etc.  

They call West Cork "A Place Apart" based on its striking landscape, community, and culture. Sitting at the head of Bantry Bay is Bantry, an old fishing port and heritage town and once again a happy snapper's delight. The only downside to these beautiful towns is they have more than enough women's shoe shops which meant I kept losing my wife.  

 Bantry, West Cork, Ireland.

Bantry, West Cork, Ireland.

It's hard to keep your camera in a restful state when you are confronted by such vibrant streets.

 Colour my world. Bantry, West Cork, Ireland.

Colour my world. Bantry, West Cork, Ireland.

There was a conversation outside the bike shop below in Clonakilty between these two that went on and on and on and on. I wouldn't have been surprised if it had still been going the following day. Well, I guess it is Ireland after all.

 On ya bike. Clonakilty, Ireland

On ya bike. Clonakilty, Ireland

Its all about the colour of life and it sure abounds in this land including dear old Skibbereen. Skibbereen and surrounds was one of the worst affected areas in the devastating Irish famine 1845-1852. 

 Skibbereen, Ireland

Skibbereen, Ireland

 Who took the Mickey out of Mick Finn? Clonakilty, West Cork.

Who took the Mickey out of Mick Finn? Clonakilty, West Cork.

The phrase al fresco is borrowed from the Italian language meaning 'in the cool air'. It was anything but cool in seaside Baltimore, West Cork. That vibrant colour on the ground and in the sky once again made for a photo opportunity. This time with an iPhone.

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I see red. Something in the photo below would point to it indeed being a street scene in  Ireland.

 It must be Ireland.

It must be Ireland.

So there you have it. The world is your oyster when it comes to street photography. For me it's a nice diversion from my 'normal' photography. I'd be reluctant to get into it in a big way at home, but when away, its a different story.  

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......and street photography so often tells a story.

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Next time I have to show a few just as colourful 'shop front' scenes from the UK. Until then, I'll leave you with this main street scene proving not everyone has a cat or a dog. 

 Until the cows come home. Eyeries, West Cork, Ireland.

Until the cows come home. Eyeries, West Cork, Ireland.

Land of hope and glory

I was fortunate to escape a month of winter this year travelling again to the United Kingdom and Ireland. This trip was primarily to spend time with our family. Firstly there was the wedding of one of our daughters in Kent in the UK and later we’d fly across the Irish Sea to Dublin to reconnect with another daughter, partner and our delightful grandchildren. It seems an inescapable fact these days that families are often scattered across the world and so it is with two of my three kids residing some 18000kms away. I am so looking forward to the imminent arrival of another grandchild right here in Tauranga. As always I was conscious of how much photography gear I wanted to take and lug around. Being indecisive and full of ‘what ifs’ when out with my camera, I ended up taking the lot which added about 7.5kg to my shoulder burden. 

I have a strong desire to hopefully upon retirement spend several months in the UK and Ireland, not only to have time with the family on the far side of the planet but to travel around indulging my photography passion, camera in hand, photographing the landscapes I really love. I view the countryside of England as a soft poetic romantic historic landscape with so much charm. In Ireland, it’s the rugged coastlines that attract me. Many moons ago a clairvoyant told me I was a priest in Ireland 600 years ago. Maybe it’s where I get my calling :)

We were so lucky to arrive in England at the beginning of a heatwave that saw temperatures hitting the low to mid 30C’s for a few days. Only problem was it wasn’t anticipated so we weren’t exactly well stocked with summer clothing and were really feeling the heat.

 Canterbury, Kent, and the crystal clear River Stour, UK.

Canterbury, Kent, and the crystal clear River Stour, UK.

 Hot town, summer in the city. Canterbury, Kent, UK.

Hot town, summer in the city. Canterbury, Kent, UK.

We were based at our daughter and son-in-law’s home in the beautiful historic city of Canterbury, Kent. 

One of the first excursions was a train trip to Ramsgate and a coastal walk of some 8km between striking white chalk cliffs and a very blue ocean under a clear blue sky. This Ramsgate to Broadstairs walk (16km return) was a real highlight and very much recommended. 

Charles Dickens visited Broadstairs regularly from 1837 until 1859 and described the town as "Our English Watering Place". He wrote David Copperfield while staying at Bleak House. Former UK Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath was born in Broadstairs in 1916. It would have been remiss to have visited Broadstairs and not sampled the best chips in Kent as voted by ‘The Potato Council’. In fact virtually every seaside town makes claim to the best fish and chips. The downside of that is that fish and chips can quickly become the default meal. 

 Whitstable fish fillet, Whitstable oysters and Whitstable Lager.

Whitstable fish fillet, Whitstable oysters and Whitstable Lager.

We drove from Canterbury across Kent, around the southern outskirts of London on the world's biggest car park, the M25, and west to Bath in Somerset and then on to the Cotswolds. Our first overnight stop was the stunning city of Bath.  The Georgian architecture, warm honey coloured stone buildings and the  River Avon flowing through the city paint a beautiful picture. It really is special. 

From Bath it was north through The Cotswolds to the historic market town of Chipping Campden. Here we stayed in several centuries old Badgers Hall. I expected a haunting but they were restful sleeps perhaps aided by a wine or two in very comfortable accommodation. 

 Chipping Campden, The Cotswolds.

Chipping Campden, The Cotswolds.

The Cotswolds exude beauty and are this photographer’s drug of choice A patchwork of picture postcard historic market towns linked by country lanes and set in beautiful countryside. I could live here but not having won Lotto, or been lucky enough to get and syndicate the first authentic photo of an extraterrestrial visitor that’s not going to happen. (Click following images for slideshow).

Heading back to Canterbury we made a stop at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire. The scale of this palace and estate is huge. Revered wartime Prime Minister Winston Churchill was born and raised here and is buried nearby in Bladon. 

 Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace

 Last resting place of Sir Winston Churchill (1876-1964) "We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."

Last resting place of Sir Winston Churchill (1876-1964) "We shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender."

I do like to be beside the seaside, beside the sea and have visited a few coastal towns and cities in the UK. On this visit it was Ramsgate, Broadstairs, Herne Bay and Whitstable, home of the revered Whitstable oyster. 

Its a a subjective thing and for me the beaches are not gob smackingly beautiful compared to those in New Zealand or Australia. The attraction to me with UK beaches is in the history, much of it still visible, and knowing so many generations have lived and worked in the ports, or operated or worked on fishing boats, in many cases launching them the hard way from rugged gravel beaches reflecting the lack of natural harbours along the coast.

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...........or just taking fresh air holidays beside the seaside. 

 Whitstable, Kent, UK.

Whitstable, Kent, UK.

The culmination of of this trip to England was our daughter’s wedding. The day dawned overcast, cool and drizzly. By mid-morning the cloud retreated beyond the far horizons and laid bare the most beautiful summer day adding the icing to a wonderful celebration.  

 The Secret Garden, Ashford, Kent with my daughter Dr Jennie Taylor-Prince

The Secret Garden, Ashford, Kent with my daughter Dr Jennie Taylor-Prince

 Let them eat cake! And what a beautiful creation this cake was made by my daughter and her bridesmaids.

Let them eat cake! And what a beautiful creation this cake was made by my daughter and her bridesmaids.

Welcome aboard Aer Lingus. It was hard to leave the UK but exciting heading across the Irish Sea to Dublin to spend time with another daughter and family and our grandkids. Oh’ and to a sneaky (and expensive) visit to a camera shop.  More on the Emerald Isle in the next instalment 'What's the craic?'. 

 Dublin bound

Dublin bound