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Tag Archives: united kingdom

One of the best ways to see a large city is on a bicycle.  For someone with my level of fitness, this means taking a bike onto a train then spending the day exploring, remembering of course to take regular breaks.  It was the last day before Ramadan so I had to take my chance despite the forecasted wet weather.

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This has to be one of the most fun activities for a family: on horseback through the woods.  The weather was beautiful and so was the place.  The people (and animals) at the Riding Centre were very welcoming, which made the afternoon even more pleasant.  They managed to fit us in on a busy day , which was just as well since I had already promised the kids.

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Lines are not always clearly defined between work and life.  I’m a great believer in mixing the two to a certain degree – but not all the time.  Photography allows me to do this when I’m traveling for work.  On my current business trip, I’m visiting customers in west Wales; the first time I’m this far west on the British Isles.

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It’s more flying and less visiting, at least for this week.  I’m tired of Dubai Airport. This is not in any way a criticism, far from it in fact.  I’m just bored of it.  For this trip to France, I chose my old friend British Airways so I stopped at Heathrow – a refreshing change. Our local park is visible in the above photo, the green space behind the five tall buildings.  It was funny being so close to my family and unable to meet them.  I will, God willing, see them on Friday.

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I took this photo last year when we spent the day at an animal park just outside London.  I posted this, and a few other images, on the National Geographic website soon after.  Earlier this week, I received an email from them asking me to add it to their stock website.  It’s a great feeling to get recognition from an organisation that I respect and admire – even if it’s only for one image.  It’s like a pat-on-the-back from a close relative.

I like National Geographic.  I don’t tend to watch much of their channel, but I love their magazine.  I even managed to subscribe electronically earlier this year – which has been fantastic. Recently I saw their advert for their back-issues from 1888 to 2008.  When I mentioned it to my dear father, he kindly offered it to me as a gift. We’ll be ordering it soon.

The last of my Scotland posts comes to you from Sumburgh.  It’s not a secret to anyone who knows me that I like birds.  In fact I love birds, always have done.  Puffins are a special case for me.  Ever since I was six years old, I saw a picture of one in a book and kept it for years.  Every time we visited a zoo, aviary, or if I came a cross a book, I would seek them.  I even bought a tacky Swarovski model of a pair of puffins – which I probably like a little too much.

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The world sometimes feels smaller to me than the small Shetland Islands, north of Scotland.  I live in Kuwait, I work for a Houston-based American company, with a head-office in Sens (in France), and I cover the Middle East and the UK.  Last week, I had a meeting at BP’s Sullom Voe Terminal. I later spent the late afternoon exploring the place including an hour of bird-watching.

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My wife and I visited Aberdeen a few years ago, and my limited memory of our visit is of a very grey city.  As my plane landed, I could see the long beach, the river, and grey!  Rows and rows of buildings and homes covered with local granite.

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My travel has increased dramatically this month and I just don’t have any spare time.  I was in Bahrain and Saudi last week, Qatar and Dubai this week, and finally France and Germany next week.  March should be a little lighter.

I was going through our photos and found this one.  I took it back in 2006, when Yousef was just over two.  I had been trying out a new lens in the garden as Yousef watched from the doorway.  When I realised I had the keys in my pocket, I asked him to close the door.  He hesitated, as that would have left him alone inside… His confusion created a wonderful natural expression – which I had to capture.  As mean as it was to do, I’m so glad I did it.

I’m out of the snow and back home today.  It’s around 20ºc in Kuwait, which is a welcomed change for me.  This was London yesterday.  I woke up to a white blanket all over London Town.   Lucky my flight was late evening, and the weather calmed down considrable,  Apart from a twenty minute delay for de-icing, the rest of the flight was perfect.

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Last week, I was on the DLR looking out at great views of the place that runs the world’s money.  It had been a few years since I was in the City, so I stopped to take a couple of quick shots.  It still surprises me how much, and how little, this place impresses me.

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I lived in London for more than fifteen years, but this was the heaviest accumulation of snow I’ve seen.  My trip has changed and I’m back in London over the weekend for some meetings during the week.  Colleagues, new to London, were asking me what to do on Saturday morning.  I offered shopping, but they preferred to join me on my ‘photo walk’.

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If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration for your photography, read the flickr blog. Back in June, I read a post titled Past Present(ing), and I immediately started my research.  I looked for old photographs of Ealing, where we live(d) in London, printed them in Kuwait ready for this post.  Today, I took some time alone and went on a shoot walk.

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With a slightly better understanding of the focusing capability on my camera, I was able to achieve the above shot.  It was a best of twenty which is a significant improvement especially considering the motion of the horse – both the obvious rotation and the not-so-obvious up-and-down movement.

Our day started with a tube journey into Central London, followed by a walk by the Thames. Then we watched street performers near the Shell building (one named Richard was particularly good), and went on to see London through her Eye.  For lunch, we took the bus to Wigmore Street’s Wagamama (it’s bigger than the Picadilly one) – and had ice cream (99) just prior to taking the tube home.

The day was very much like this mary go round.  Nothing particularly new, nothing original, but loads of fun.

I had some time while at this rather attractive station so I decided to take a few shots.  I can never work it out: Is it that designs were better and bolder in days gone by? Or is it that the effect of time helps add a soul?  The supporting structure for the sheds at Paddington Station are both simple and elaborate.  Try achieving this mix – in today’s straight line madness.

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