Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Alps in all their many guises...

Greetings dear readers.

I decided that, what with living in Switzerland, it was utterly inexcusable that I have thus far deprived you of any of those picturesque, cow-eating-grass-in-an-Alpine-pasture-whilst-gazing-at a-cuckoo-clock type shots that everyone associates with Switzerland. So here they are, no more chomping at the bit, the wait is over my friends.

These first two photos were taken on an ill fated 'International Award - Adventurous Journey', which, for the uninitiated is a 3 day excursion into the unknown with a couple of your gormless friends. Most people do the original 'Duke of Edinburgh's Award' but as this is an exclusively English thing I, in Switzerland, had to partake of the disappointingly unpatriotic international denomination of the award. Furthermore, the DofE award typically involves tromping around the New Forest for a couple of days (the New Forest is in the South of England and is pretty un-threatening; as Mark Corrigan says in the BBCs Peep Show: "No one dies in the South of England". However our trip was high into the Swiss Alps, starting in Andermatt (1444m) and travelling up some god-forsaken mountain to a maximum altitude of 3700m.
They were taken on the first day and the morning of the second respectively, when we were blessed with lovely weather. Sadly later that day, at the top of the afforementioned and god-forsaken mountain, storms quite unlike those found in the South of England meant we had to call for extraction and eventually arrive at a hotel with our tails firmly between out legs.

I think ideally I would have liked to have had more of the lake in the first one, that way I could've cashed in on the cool clouds and sky some more, however mountains/cliffs behind weren't being very forthcoming and I didn't have a wider lens. I like the second one for the clouds which I think add some 'drama' to use a pretentious photographic word, to an otherwise standard image. I think it works well in black and white, what with the snow and scree combining to create a zebra-mountain type effect which I find quite pleasing.

This next one is a good old sunset-over-a-picturesque-town photo which, using the magic of Adobe Lightroom, to which I was able to apply a grad filter in oder to bring out the wonderfully pinky sky that happened to be gracing the sky over Adelboden at New year.

Last but not least, what would a 'Mountains' post be without at least a token mention of that most bizarre of past-times that attracts so many, sliding downhill at high speed on two planks attached to your feet. This particular devotee of such recklessness happens to be my sister.

So I hope you've enjoyed this small but mountainous offering. I've tried to cover everything in the space of a short blog unit. You've got black and white, lake reflections, sunsets and skiing all in one blog. Show me another where you can find all that variety in one place and I'll eat my film.

Next time: Basel's sights and local populus.

Until then, faithful few.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

A call for more...

Since my last post I have been inundated with requests for more posts. I received one, from my girlfriend. Nevertheless, it still counts so I'm pouncing on it.
I like going to new places and even have a 3 month trip to Asia planned for the beginning of May which was one of the main motivations for my adding to the clutter of cyberspace. Recently, I went to England and Scotland to visit a few friends, and I know it doesn't count as travel because it's where I'm from, it's still dif
ferent from where I live and I had to get on a plane, so there.
Visiting my sister in London I took a picture of the filaments in some light bulbs. Gripping stuff I know, but I thought they were pretty stylish as far as filaments go.

Ok so it's not fantastic, but I like the minimalist look it has, it's just the bulbs and nothing else. Can't argue with that. This was taken on Aristacolour 100 film which I loaded myself into reusable cassettes. Being thrifty I've taken to this habit as it brings the price of film right down to around $2, which is quite good all things considered. Following this I wound my way South to stay with some friends in Salisbury. I say 'wound my way down' as it propagates the image I have of myself as a traveller much wearied by long days on the road. In reality I took the train from Waterloo to Salisbury where I was met by my friend Matt.

The unprecedented snow in England, that had caused huge upsets and logistical problems without managing to completely cover the grass in a field, gave an uncharacteristically bleak look to the normally pleasant English country side.

See what I mean? This gave rise to many a witty remark about the recently released film of Cormac McCarthy's The Road. On 'Pepperbox Hill', which is far too steep for tobogganing in case you were wondering, the pepperbox itself made for a welcome change from the dirty snow everywhere. This was mostly because it was red.

Following this epic excursion into the unknown we retreated to lick our wounds, play guitar and dry our socks on the aga. Pasttime of many a seasoned traveller, obviously.

Following my foray into the darkest depths of Southern England I took another plane, so again it counts, to Glasgow to see my friends Tom and Sam who happen to be identical twins. That's right, there's nothing more interesting to say about them than that they share genes more than most. I'd never been to Scotland before so that was a good experience. Having been there I feel Glasgow gets a bit of a bad press as it's often thought of as some sort of modern day Gomorra. However this is probably welcomed a bit by its inhabitants who like to feel they're a bit more hard core than most when really it's just your normal city in that respect. In other ways it's abnormal. It has some pretty impressive sights and a lot of the buildings are most certainly worth a butchers. Given the chance I'd suggest you go there at once, particularly if you're into the bohemian side of things as it seems to be a bit of a hub for creativity. It gets dark at about 4pm so obviously something's needed to pass the long winter evenings. Taking this into account I rarely saw the city by daylight but made the most of the city's unique nightlife.
Twas nothing short of a joy to stay in the twins apartment which was pretty bohemian in its styling, as previously hinted at.

See how they're nearly identical!? It's uncanny.

The other two shots are meant to show the bohemian-ness of their apartment, though I'm not sure to what extent this is achieved really. They're stairs and a silhouette.

Following this, and an unmitigated cock up that led to me missing my flight courtesy of the moronic bus station advice chap, I arrived back in London for a night before catching my flight back to Basel. "What an adventure!" I hear you breathe. Yes friends, what an adventure. Until next time.

In the beginning...

Having settled on, what I consider, an appropriately alliterative 'blog' name, I'm now left with little else to do but to think that perhaps documenting my life and photographic interests on the internet wasn't such a great idea after all. However, I've got past that now reasoning, no one's making you read this, and yet, perhaps you are, so I must be doing something right. This small encouragement has thus convinced me to give it a crack and see what comes of it. So here I am, joining the millions of others in the self-absorbed realm of the blogosphere.
I've been taking photos of things for a good while now and, for no rhyme or reason, I've even managed to make a petty sum of money out of it. I think mostly I take photos of people, I like to try to catch those moments that people don't really notice but look good if you manage to capture them on film. You know the kind I mean. Here for example is a picture I took of my mum in the mountains of Switzerland.

Tis but a simple shot, but I feel this kind of thing is much more pleasing to view than 1000 shots of your gormlessly grinning mates taken on a night out. This was one of the shots on the first roll of film (Ilford HP5 400) through my new Nikon FM2n which was generously gifted to me by my girlfriend Margi this yule. It's a lovely thing and I'm extremely fond of its mechanical insides and its basic function. Whilst I'm also an avid user of my digital SLR, using it I'm able to convince myself that I'm "getting back to basics" and seemingly I enjoy that kind of thing.

I think that's enough senseless drivel for now so, dear reader, I shall return later with more useless prattle interspersed with a bit of photography.