Street Photography

European Travels: Oxford, London, Manchester, Dover, Bath and more!

So I have been living in Europe / England for three months now!  With that I have noticed a fair few of the places I visit here really could never provide enough for a whole blog post.   Given that I have come up with the idea of loading up a highlight reel of the travels and shoots I do in a given month.  This will keep content on the blog steady with monthly posts as well as allow me to showcase some smaller day trips that I have been doing!  Bigger trips will still warrant their own posts so if you like that don't worry I will still be doing those as well.
 

I think I have visited London the most in the past few months, either to link up with friends for drinks, pick up camera gear, or to shoot the city.  Most of these shots were snapped down at the riverside near the Shard, probably one of the most photographed areas of London next to Big Ben.  I however did get some great shots of Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace while walking the streets on my first trip.

Something else I have spent a lot of time doing is sitting on trains and driving across the country.  Typically this can leave me pretty bored playing with the camera on the train or at the station.  Luckily with these shots I managed to capture something nice!  The image on the top left was snapped on my way into london, and the ones to the right and bottom left were captured traveling to Scotland out of Kings Cross.

I have noticed that London and european cities in general have a wild amount of street performance compared to most US cities.  It really helps bring the cities to life and can make walking around them so much more enjoyable so if you see them out there be sure to throw some change their way, some do it for fun and others rely on that small amount of income.  The top pano image is of a sand dog and its mastermind.  The man standing created a super realistic sculpture from sand right there on the street!  I almost didn't even realize it was not a real dog!  The bottom two images were snapped with the 135 but both are in the same band playing some really nice tunes in Piccadilly Circus.  So happy I was able to catch their gaze for a shot.

Another day trip to London for some Chipotle landed me this image.  It really is nothing special but I loved the messege the guy was trying to send, spending his day out standing next to a subway entrance holding this sign "you are beautiful".  A little bit can go a long way and in a world filled with negativity it was really nice to see someone spending their time reminding people to be a little more positive.  A lot of people coming into the station took notice of him and every time it instantly brought a smile to their faces.. 

Both the images below were captured near Carnaby.  Massive shopping area for sure and I really loved the big plaza that I managed to stumble into.  However some really good food and souvenirs can be had by staying out of the storefronts and having a chat with some of the local stands or trucks like the one pictured below.

Swapping locations to something a little more local to me, Oxford is one of the other places I keep going back to.  With the english weather it can be a bit hard to get stunning images in the city but I have managed a few pictured below.  The first image is of the Radcliffe Camera building.  Probably one of if not the most photographed buildings in Oxford but still a really cool building to check out while in the city.  Be sure to hit the Turf Tavern nearby if you can find it as well, it has quite a lot of history and is a great place for a pint.  Speaking of pints if you are looking to check out another old pub give The Bear Inn a go, and bring a tie.

If street photography Is your thing then I must say Oxford is a perfect place to spend a day.  Tons of beer gardens, alleys and people walking about to fill up a portfolio.  Grab your camera, some money and go out for a day shooting and drinking!  Most of the images were captured just wondering the streets however the top image was a planned stop, the dungeon / castle in Oxford is worth stopping by and does offer a nearby hilltop view of the town.  Also if you are looking to see some of oxfords many spires, take a walk over the The Varsity Club and grab a pint or cocktail on the roof!

Staying local and not far at all from Oxford is Blenheim Palace.  This 18th century palace built to celebrate the victory over the French in the War of the Spanish Succession has a lot to offer on its grounds.  You can also tour the inside of the palace but I have yet to take the time to do so even after two trips walking the large estate.  Something else to note is that the palace was the birthplace of Winston Churchill and the estate has more than a few monthly events always scheduled.  If you have not been down yet and live locally I really recommend it! 

The images below are all of just the palace its self.  The palace has more than a few courtyards, fountains, and small private gardens and is kept in wonderful condition.  The rear fountain area facing the pond is the best part of it all however.  With 5 massive fountains on the higher portion and even more on the lower end leading to the pond it really is amazing to take in.  Now as grand and beautiful as it is my favorite part of the area are the grounds themselves.

The grounds are massive and would be a wonderful place for a morning or afternoon jog.  Also rain or shine you can almost always find folks enjoying a nice picnic on the grass here.  The bridge from the palace to the victory pillar from across the pond is one of the better views in the area as well as the small waterfall and pump room at the very back.  I have yet to take my lee filters out for the waterfall or go inside the palace to do some interior work so this will for sure not be the last you see of this location from me.

Another amazing city I managed to visit in the past few months was Manchester!  The city has a lot going on and the cathedral was a real highlight as it was my first one ever stepping in.  It was shocking to see how well all the stained glass was kept and the ceilings have been an always impressive work of art.

Not to far off as the more modern shopping areas where I gave taco bell outside the US a try for the first time and picked up a pint glass at the hard rock for my growing collection.  I did manage to snag a few cool shots of the escalators, skylights and a popular intersection near the entrance to The Printworks.  I will say that the football museum was a pretty big let down though!

From The Printworks we headed off to the city council plaza where I managed one ok shot.  The plaza is rather large and expansive so it was pretty hard to capture.  We also tried to check out the library before heading through chinatown and hitting a park for golden hour.  I really love how well used the parks in Europe are, people actually go out and lay in the grass like it is a beach.  Reading, talking with friends, having a picnic or even napping you will always find folks using a cities parks in Europe.  The images pretty much go in order of how we traveled with the large circular building being the library.

The last stop in Manchester was to a more modern area of town down by the river called Media City and it is one area I can't wait to return to for sunset.  Media City and the Lowry Hotel are both on my list for my next trip up to the town as I didn't get enough of the area with these shots before time and light ran out!

My final places are Anyhoe, West Illsey, Dover, and Bath.  With Anyhoe and the shots of the country near West Illsey being small but very rewarding trips I am going to start with them before going on to the final two larger locations!  Anyhoe is a small english countryside town not even a 15 minute drive from my home.  But it does have Anyhoe park and some wonderful picturesque english countryside. 

I started this trip on the way to Banbury for some food but after driving through and spotting Anyhoe Park I decided to stop and ended up spending a few hours of my day there.  The large jacobean home is usually closed or gated up but do to a Ford event the grounds were open for exploration.  The home is absolutely breathtaking an absolute symbol of wealth and power without question.  The front features a large roundabout with the rear facing a large open yard.  I would happily spend a day capturing all of the crazy interior so if anyone wants to grant me a press pass reading this feel free!  After walking around the home for a few hours it was near sunset and I ended up running through town to get to a field full of sheep I had spotted on the drive in to capture the wonderful sunset you see at the very bottom.

Another day spent out capturing the english countryside lead me down to a small town called West Ilsley.  Besides grabbing a pint of cider at the pub the town didn't offer much but the rolling hills all around it were fantastic.

Next up is Dover!  Obviously the trip was planned to go capture the famous white cliffs.  However the city did have a bit more to offer and I will have to make a return trip to see the castle up close due to my arrival being a bit on the late side.  Although I did get to check out the Western Heights and capture a nice little landscape of the town from there before driving home.  Back to the cliffs though, they do not disappoint.  I was really worried that they would be full of people due to the fame they have acquired but that was not the case.  Walking the cliffs was one of the more calming trips I have taken around the UK and is extremely enjoyable.  I also managed to get really lucky with an amazing clear golden hour for my time there.

Last but certainly not least for this post is Bath!  I spent the entire day in this city and still could have found more things to love.  The river that runs right through it is absolutely stunning in some places.  The roman baths although crowded are still a very worth while experience to check out and will not disappoint.  I also recommend making the trek up to Alexandra Park for the amazing views of the city.  I really do wish I had not went hiking through the hills and had just stayed there for sunset as I ended up being in the wrong angle and to far from the city later.

Although the sunset shot did not turn out to be what I really wanted I did manage to capture these nice images of the countryside around Bath because I was scouting for a location to shoot the sunset from!

Well I apologize for the lengthy post and if you were hoping it would keep going on forever then I will see you back next month for The August images!  Travel will be a hair light this coming month due to the stolen camera scenario that lead to me swapping to the Fuji X system.  So far I am really happy with it and some of these images were captured with the Fuji if you can tell the difference I would be impressed!  If you do enjoy my work then do your part to help me keep traveling and give this post a share, like, retweet, review, offer up some comments or critisisms, tell your families, buy a print, donate some spare change do whatever you can!  Thank you again for stopping in, come back next month for more!

Photographing Taipei: Day 2


What you are looking at above is the first 5 minutes of what came to be a very awesome day two in Taipei.  As you can see the weather was still no cooperating but I would not let that stop me and shot out of bed bright and early to hit some temples and markets before heading down to one of the cities biggest icons, Taipei 101.  I stepped out of the hotel and right then started to take the city in on my walk to the Taipei Confucius Temple.

Something a lot of people fail to notice about the entrances and exits to a cities metros is that when looked at more deeply or in the right angles they really start to convey their purpose.  These places serve as gateways to the city for so many people everyday.  I hope this shot can be a reminder to slow down and notice the small things in your own cities once in a while.

When I arrived in the area of the Taipei Confucius Temple I actually mixed temples up and the one you see above is the first I visited, Dalongdong Baoan Temple.  The area had a couple surrounding shrines for various deities and was very well kept. Something also to be noted is that the areas are still very much in use daily by the local populace and some tourists wishing to try the rituals.  Almost all the temples I visited featured amazing detail and color, with lavish interiors.  When considering the age of some of the structures it really is leveling to think about how some things have been kept so nice or were ever constructed in the first place.

The Inside of the main hall at Dalongdong Baoan Temple.

Paper lanterns pictured here at the front of the main hall are also a very common theme in Taipei not just at the temples but also around the city and in the markets.

A somewhat different perspective on some of the details on the temples.

Next up came the Taipei Confucius Temple I had originally traveled to see.  I learned that the shrine was actually for teachers from some locals at the location and although it was not as populated with people it still did not disappoint.  The temple featured a couple structures but really shines at the main hall pictured below.  

If you were not able to catch some of the smaller details in that first photo have a look at a more closer angle with these photos.

After wondering the temples for an hour or two I started to get hungry.  My next stop would be a nearby market that I kept spotting signs for, let me start by saying the street food did not disappoint and the people were very welcoming and kind. Even more so the area provided an amazing opportunity for street photography.  Honestly Taipei has convinced me I need to give street photography a bit more time in my life, I really enjoyed it while in the city.  I must have spent at least an hour walking up and down the street looking at the daily life in the markets.  Trying different foods, talking to various vendors, and shooting some crazy characters I really made an event of it all.  I really hope the photos below can help to convey what it was like walking down the market street that day.

On my travels through the streets I could not help but notice the massive amount of moped and bikes getting the locals around.  It seems to be a rather efficient way to travel in the area.

After finishing up my surprisingly awesome time at the local market I headed over to another popular temple on the north side of town called Hsing Tian Kong.  The temple was extremely popular at least when I showed up and featured a totally different style of doing things than the others.  People would gather and have smoke wafted around them while also praying out to the walls where many sat with books.  It also featured some fairly awesome bright red doors with yellow knobs that still stand out to me.

A shot taken inside near the walls, notice the people far left in the shot standing in the middle praying out in the direction of the walls.

Next on the days agenda came the highlight for most peoples trip, Taipei 101.  When exiting the station under 101 you are greeted with the view below.  The structure is truly a feat of engineering and is staggeringly massive in size, you can even see the clouds dragging off of it in the photo below.  Due to the weather I did not go up the record breaking elevator to the top this day but I can tell you that it is worth the trip and the wait if there is one.  The view from the top is impressive,  The photos I took on day three from the top capture so much that they are uninteresting and come off as snapshots due to the massive amount of city covered in a single shot.  Just because it was a clouded rainy day did not mean that 101 had nothing to offer however, the building still features a 7 story shopping mall and massive food court to boot.  This building goes on my must see list for any travelers reading this for help planning our trip,  rain or shine 101 is a must.

After stuffing myself at the food court I headed over to witness the changing of the guard ceremony at one of the memorial halls.  That event goes on the must see list as well, being a service member I gained a lot of respect for the men standing guard up there.  In the photo you can see the sweat streaming down his face from standing like a statue for over an hour, and the change over was no joke either.

Look at those beads of sweat!  Dedication!

Next up after this I went back to the hotel to charge up my batteries for a night in Shilin Night Market.  The area was three or four times the size of the first market above, had some amazing places to eat (Hot Star Chicken is a must!) and again provided a hot bed for street photography.  I finished my night up at a bar in the city after this and actually made friends with a local waiter named Billy Yin that night before turning in to hit the city hard for one last day.

Lanterns covering the ceiling of a temple in the market. 

That is it for day two please have a wonderful evening and come back very soon for days two and three in Taipei.  Please leave any questions in the comments or contact me directly.  If you liked the photos or the story please share them on your favorite sites or with your friends!

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