A Second Year In Photos: 50 Shades of Grey(scale)

Of all the wonders of photography and all the joy and vibrancy that colour brings to an image, I still love a good bit of black and white. Perhaps it’s the drama that they create, but there’s something about black and white images that I really like. Not all the time, that would leave you feeling a bit… uhm… grey, but if done occasionally it really makes it stand out.

Over the past year there have been quite a few black and white (or greyscale, if you prefer) photos on the blog, but unlike many of the other categories for A Second Year In Photos, I had no problems selecting which two images to use. In fact it was quite the opposite; I thought of these two before anything else, then found a category that would fit them both.

The first is the wonderful Edinburgh Castle and Princes Street Gardens, as see one sunny lunchtime in early March.
Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street Gardens, Sunlight, Walk, Spring, EdinburghThe second was taken during the Olympics when I was walking up the bank of the Thames. It’s of St Paul’s Cathedral, the millennium suspension bridge, and (possibly most importantly) the clouds and sky above it.
Black and white St Paul's Cathedral over the Millennium bridge.I hope you enjoy these photos as much as I do.

Tomorrow, for the final instalment of this year’s favourite photos, I’ll be returning to my old, but never tiresome (to me, at least), favourite: sunsets.



A Second Year In Photos: A Golden-Diamond-Jub-Olympic Summer

Let’s be honest, we’re never going to have another summer like 2012. Not only have parts of the country gone from being drought-stricken to being underwater, but we had the second ever British Diamond Jubilee (Victoria’s was the other one, if you’re wondering) and London made history as the first city to hold the Olympic Games for the third time. In tribute to this once-in-a-lifetime summer I’ve decided that day 4 of A Second Year In Photos is to be dedicated to celebrating our Jub-Olympic summer (as horrific a name as that is) and inspiring a generation.

Despite the official anniversary being in February, it was decided (presumably because of the trustworthiness of the British weather) that all of the official celebrations would take place over a long weekend in June. Obviously this meant that it rained for a large part of that weekend, but with a bit of stiff upper lip and our handy collections of waterproofs we made it through.

I was in the little Yorkshire village of Bramham for the weekend visiting a friend (tall tales over here) where we were lucky enough to catch a bit of sun for a very British tea party in the street. It was certainly an entertaining weekend, even if some of my memories are a little hazy (I blame whoever thought drinking G&Ts from a pint glass was a good idea).Bunting down the High Street, Bramham.After the right royal piss-up that was the Jubilee, we geared ourselves up once again to invite the whole world to come and have a snoop round the country. Despite ‘scandals’ about security, budgets and all the political back-fighting, the Olympics were an outstanding success for the UK – both on and off the medal table. I was lucky enough to follow in my great uncle’s footsteps (him and my great aunt having been at the last London Olympics back in 1948) and got to go down and soak up some of the atmosphere. My friend and I ‘only’ had tickets for a day of the tennis (although Olympic Wimbledon Centre Court tickets aren’t exactly something to be sniffed at), but we spent the week revelling in the Olympic spirit (gin, obviously) – even managing to watch the men’s 20km road walk race outside Buckingham Palace. I had an incredible time in London that week, and became an expert in so many sports and members of Team GB.

The Olympic Rings became a familiar site to most Britons over the course of the summer – the closest set to me being the ones in Edinburgh, and of course the Paralympic Agitos afterwards – but the rings on the Thames were also pretty special.

Olympic rings and St Paul'sAlthough not quite as impressive as my favourite set – those on Tower Bridge.

Tower bridge and the Olympic RingsI don’t think I really need to say that I had a fantastic time during all our celebrations this year, so it seems only fair to give them their own special day here.

Leading on from the Jub-Olympics, tomorrow’s A Year In Photos will be more of my favourite holiday snaps from this year.


London 2012 – A Golden Dream for Our Greatest Team

Despite getting back from my Olympic adventures in London on Sunday evening I’ve only just managed to sit down and put all the photos on my laptop. And delete those that could only be described, charitably, as a double fault.

Here are a few of my favourites images and the moments they’re from:

There was, of course, the trip down to SW19 to see the Olympic Tennis – to soak up Murray Mania and the Team GB chants (I’ll save you the photo of me impersonating a picture of Pride the Lion, Team GB’s mascot). It was incredible, and Murray going on to clinch the gold just makes it even more special.Centre court at moonrise

We went to see the stage version of my favourite children’s film, the Lion King; something I’ve wanted to see for years. It was incredible. I’m still singing the songs.The exterior of the Lyceum theatre, London.

We sat down by London Bridge for a drink, and to soak up the view of HMS Belfast and the Olympic Rings on Tower Bridge.

There was then the matter of being a bit of a tourist to take photos of St Paul’s Cathedral and those interlocking rings on Tower Bridge.Black and white St Paul's Cathedral over the Millennium bridge.Tower bridge and the Olympic Rings

I had an incredible time in London, something I will remember for the rest of my life. I’ve been excited for the Olympics long before I realised I was going, and through the national cynicism I’ve always said that when the time came Britain would love the Olympics. We would all get very much into the Olympic spirit. And boy have we done that, I’ve never seen London, or the country as a whole, so jubilant about sport. And this is, without a doubt, being spurred on by the success of our athletes. Team GB have performed truly spectacularly and done us all proud – congratulations to one and all. Whoever it refers to, ‘Generation‘ I hope you are inspired – I know I certainly am.

Team GB: 500 Athletes, 60 million strong. Our greatest team.


Instagrammers Anonymous: Olympic Fun in London

In case the last couple of posts didn’t make it obvious I’m currently in London for the Olympic Games. I was at the tennis on Tuesday, but it’s not all been sport, sport, sport – oh no – there have been lots of non-Olympic fun.

There was an extra Instagrammers Anonymous for the first half of the week, but here is the more traditional Friday edition with the second half of the action.

We were at the tennis on Tuesday, and this was the last match we saw – the Bryan Bothers of the USA beat off Russia in a fairly tight match.

A trip to London wouldn’t be complete for me without a trip to the Natural History Museum in South Kensington. Being a biology grad, I feel it’s acceptable to have a little bit of a geek out once in a while.

If that wasn’t enough of an animal-themed day we went to the spectacular Lion King, down at the Lyceum Theatre.

Then yesterday we went over to the Barbican to see one of the best exhibitions I’ve ever seen – Designing 007: Fifty Years of Bond Style. Set sketches, dresses, Oddjob’s hat, Jaws’ teeth and gadgets galore – if you get a chance I recommend you go to it.

The fun is not over yet, but this weekend I guess I have to go home and get back into the swing of life in Edinburgh. Oh, and it’s festival season! Look out Fringe, here I come!