Continuing on the theme “Roman Holiday”; we went into the Vatican during our visit to Rome. Here are a few images.
The first image is Michelangelo’s La Pieta, which is the only sculpture that he ever signed. It depicts the body of Christ in Mary’s lap after the crucifixion.
The second image is the Main Dome inside the Vatican. Michelangelo designed the dome in 1547 and it was completed in 1590 by Giacomo della Porta and Fontana.
The third image, the Cathedra Petri or ” the Throne of St Peter” is surrounded by an enormous statue of bronze produced by Bernini.
More information can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St._Peter’s_Basilica
The Swiss Guard has existed since the late 15th century. As guardians of the gates to Vatican City, the Papal Swiss Guard, founded in 1506, is the only remaining Swiss Guard in the world.
More information at http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/swiss_guard/swissguard/storia_en.htm
We visited Oban during a recent trip to the Scottish Highlands. Oban, located on the mainland, at the northern end of The Firth of Lorn near the entrance to Loch Linnhe, is known as the “Gateway to the Isles”. It is also recognised as the “Seafood capital of Scotland”.
And while I love fresh seafood, for the chocoholics like me, I recommend a visit to the Oban Chocolate Company, who offer a range of delicious hand made chocolates manufactured in their factory in Oban.
More information at http://www.oban.org.uk/
A few weeks ago my youngest daughter, Julie married Kenneth at the Lochside House Hotel in New Cumnock, Ayrshire.
We all had a great day, with sunny weather, at a superb venue, in the company of 130+ good friends and family.
We hired a photographer for the celebration, but I just had to take my own camera with me. The images below are just a few shots that I took when I had a spare moment from my “Father of the Bride” duties. Looking forward to seeing the “official” shots
The fishing port of Mallaig is the destination of the “The Jacobite” the vintage steam train, featured in last week’s post.
This peaceful view over Mallaig Harbour, shows the islands of Rum and Eigg on the horizon. In the foreground is the Caledonian MacBrayne car ferry to Skye
“The Jacobite” is the vintage steam train which runs from Fort William, through some of the most beautiful countryside in Scotland, to the picturesque fishing port of Mallaig.
While this trip has always been a popular attraction with tourists visiting the Scottish highlands, the “Harry Potter” movies where the ” Hogwarts Express” crosses the Glenfinnan Viaduct has helped boost the popularity of this nostalgic journey. On its journey the “Jacobite” does cross the Glenfinnan Viaduct just like in the movies.
The image of the train below, was captured last week, during a short visit to the Scottish Highlands, as it travelled along the shoreline of Loch Eil, 4 – 5 miles from Fort William, on its way to Mallaig
More details at http://www.westcoastrailways.co.uk/jacobite/Jacobite_Details.html and for a journey across the Glenfinnan Viaduct on “The Jacobite” click on this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M_GjT9nlAeM&feature=related
This image of Sir Walter Scott’s Monument, erected for his contribution to Scottish Literature is captured, just before sunset, from “The Mound” (the old Bank of Scotland Headquarters; Edinburgh)
The monument, inaugurated in 1846, is 200ft high. A sculpture in marble, of the man himself, can be seen through the centre arch.
More information can be found at http://www.edinburgharchitecture.co.uk/scott_monument.htm
Just thought I’d also post the monochrome “close-up” version. What do you think?
One of the most beautiful and most photographed scenes in the Scottish Highlands.
Because of the wide variation in weather conditions, in this region, the “character” of this peaceful tranquil scene can quickly be transformed, into one of the bleakest, stormy, landscapes in Scotland.
This owl is probably known better as the “common” barn owl, which unlike other owls does not “hoot” but produces a deafening screech.
It has a “flat” heart shaped face with dark eyes and large powerful talons. It is found in every continent of the world except Antarctica
For more information click on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barn_Owl
I fell in love with Venice, when I first visited some 10 years ago. At that time, I worked for a company that had a manufacturing site in Bologna and I was attending a factory tour along with some UK clients. Venice is only a 60 minute train journey from Bologna, so we took the opportunity to visit that weekend. I was “hooked”
This amazing visit to Venice, a few years ago, was a birthday celebration for Doreen, my better half.
We spent 4 nights at the Dona Palace Hotel, in the centre of Venice. A great hotel with lovely large room, fabulous breakfasts and only 2 minutes walk from St Mark’s Square.
This famous Italian city, built originally on a mosquito infested lagoon has it all; ambience, history, and an “olde world” feel to it that is totally unique.
When dining out, if you can eat in a restaurant away from the main tourist areas, the food and service is usually superb. Although it tends to be expensive to eat in the San Marco and Rialto areas, to enjoy the romantic atmosphere, that “is” Venice, I recommend that you eat in a restaurant on the Grand Canal, near the Rialto Bridge and take a gondola ride, at least once during your visit.
We visited early October, when the temperature was around 24C (~75F) which was very comfortable for sightseeing and for “chilling out” with a nice bottle of wine in the cafes at the front in San Marco or on the Grand Canal.
Entertainment at night was provided at different hotels and restaurants throughout the city. We found that the small orchestras, playing in outdoor cafes and at hotel entrances in St Mark’s Square, were excellent and created a superb “classical” fun atmosphere in this most famous historical square.
We purchased 24 hour water bus (Vaporetto) passes and jumped on and off on a regular basis. A great way to see round this “magical” place. On several occasions we stayed on the water bus and had a tour of the whole lagoon. A good few of my images were shot from the rear of the water bus which was completely uncovered.
I can’t wait to go back, maybe later this year or early 2013.
I hope you enjoy the images which were shot with my smaller EOS 30D – 8MP camera. (I didn’t have my EOS 5DMK2 at that time)
For larger images, please “click” on the photos below.
Classified as a “near threatened” species, this vulture, named after the German explorer and Zoologist, Eduard Ruppell. is believed to be the worlds highest flying bird and has been found at altitudes around 36,000 ft (~ 11,000 metres), although they are found more often ~20,000 ft (~6,000 metres)
As inhabitants of North Africa, America, India, Australia and Nepal, they tend to nest in large flocks in the dry mountainous regions.
Additional information can be found at http://www.phoenixzoo.org/visit/animal_news.aspx?ARTICLE_ID=100566
Coal miners of the 19th and early 20th century worked below ground in difficult hot humid and cramped conditions, manually extracting coal from the seam which were often no higher than 3 – 4 ft high.
In this image, which is a re-creation of a 19/20th century pit, showing a coal miner ” shoring up” the roof of the mine, I have tried to create the dark and dank atmosphere of the working conditions that he endured, in order to feed and clothe his family. Additional information at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coal_mining
This image was captured in total darkness, illuminated only by low level flash and processed in CS5
The interior of a typical miner’s cottage showing the poor standard of living conditions compared with todays “comfortable” “hi-tech” environment.
And of course the “communal” wash house, showing the coal fired boiler and the “mangle”
All above images captured at Summerlee Heritage Park, Coatbridge. http://www.monklands.co.uk/summerlee/
The Eurasian Buzzard’s habitat tends to be in forest or mountainous regions, but always close to open spaces. This raptor, which breeds in Europe, tends to eat mainly small mammals caught on the ground but also does eat birds, small reptiles and insects.
For more information, please follow this link http://www.oiseaux-birds.com/card-eurasian-buzzard.html
Since 1782, the Bald Eagle has been the national symbol of the United States of America (as if you didn’t know).
This is an image of an immature bald eagle with its mouth open wide in anticipation of being fed. When fully mature, about 5 years old, the head feathers become completely white, and when viewed from a distance give the eagle its “bald” appearance.
More information at http://www.dgif.virginia.gov/wildlife/birds/bald-eagles.asp
The Tawny Owl is one of the most common birds of prey in Britain.
I just could not resist making an image of this little chap. But don’t be fooled in by the cute appearance. Tawny Owls are silent efficient killers which hunt their prey during the hours of darkness.
One of the most photographed castles in the world, Eilean Donan Castle can be found on the road to Kyle of Lochalsh; where Loch Alsh, Loch Duich and Loch Long combine.
The historical beginnings of Eilean Donan are believed to date back as early as the 7th century AD, at a time when Christianity was just being introduced in this area of Scotland. Details can be found at http://www.eileandonancastle.com/home.htm
This famous castle features in a number of Hollywood movies. The ones that come to mind are “Highlander” in 1986, with Christopher Lambert and Sean Connery http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ErjCcqKzr0k and more recently, in 2008, “Made of Honor” with Patrick Dempsey and Michelle Monaghan. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E72ZeWEMP90
Today the castle is a beautiful, historical and romantic setting, owned by the Conchara Charitable Trust. It is open to the public during the months of March to October. It is also a popular wedding venue.
It took me ages to capture this one. Unfortunately bees do not fly in a predictable flight path and are constantly “buzzing” in and out behind the flower heads.
So again I just had to wait for one to pass in front of the camera viewfinder to capture it.
One of my few attempts at “macro” …. exposure settings – iso400, t1600, f4.o (subject distance 0.4m, lens focal length 105mm)
I visited Bruges with a small group of work colleagues, about 18 months ago.
This beautiful walled city is located in the Flanders region of Belgium. It is often called the “Venice of the North” as a canal encircles the city. For a modest sum of money, you can take a boat tour which passes through some very picturesque areas.
If you are a chocoholic, like me, you will of course want to sample the famous Belgian chocolates. I brought home about 4 Kgs of the addictive confectionary and managed to eat them within a few weeks. (I did, of course share a few with my family)
The image below is known as Canal Rozenhoedkaai and shows the Belfry of Bruges (bell tower) illuminated in he background.
Image captured at 22.35 on a July summer evening (hand-held, leaning against a post for support, with image stabliser on, at iso800, f8 / 0.8s)
This image, captured last year, is a view through the skylight window in my attic.
The mixture of deep reds, yellow and blue along with the dark “threatening” tones convey a sense of anger in the sky.
While travelling through Glen Etive, in the Scottish Highlands, during a field photography trip, in autumn 2010, we came across this old rusty bicycle, leaning against an old locked shed. (probably set up for us “budding photographers”)
Apart from the quaint appearance of the rusty old fashioned bicycle, the “bleached” wood on the shed had the appearance of having been neglected for many years. It did however have some very interesting textures that I have tried to bring this out in this image.
I hope you like it.
The image shows a cob and pen “walking/treading water” after mating.
The Edinburgh Fringe is world’s largest Arts Festival, held annually in Edinburgh during August. In 2011 there were around 2,500 performances over 25 days.
It is a Festival predominantly for the performing arts, where theatre and comedy are the main ingredients.
Among the wide variety of shows, this year, there were productions based on Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” and “Hamlet” and pantomime based shows like Aladdin, Alice in Wonderland and Red Riding Hood. There were also a wide range of more “modern” productions.
While these shows are performed at various venues in Edinburgh, the public get the opportunity to see a preview of some of the productions, in various locations, centred in the Royal Mile, on the streets of the Scottish capital.
This is an excellent opportunity to get a “taste” of the shows on offer and gives me, the opportunity to make images of some of the performers amusing, comical, horrific and unusual expressions
Here is a small selection of my images from the Fringe 2011. (Click the image above to see the all of the images)
Hi – A few Scottish landscape photos for your comments.
Please click the image to see this image full size. Other landscape images are also available
And before anyone asks; yes I did get out of bed at at 5.30 am on a wet November morning to photograph Stob Dearg – Autumn Sunrise.
I think I made the right decision here. What do you think?