Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Sculpture on the esplanade at St Jean, Cap Ferrat

sculpture st jean cap ferrat
There are several sculptures installed on the esplanade in St Jean, Cap Ferrat, mostly created from bronze. I've no idea who the artist is, as there was no information displayed.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Dan, he's a pretty cool cat.

Dan the cat
When I started this blog, I made a mental note to myself - "don't fill it with pictures of the cats!". Well, unfortunately, we lost one our dear cats, Jack, a couple of months ago, and poor wee Dan has been feeling quite lonely. As I was off work today, I spent the afternoon in the garden, just soaking up the sun and reading the paper. I kept my camera handy, as I knew Dan would come out and join me at some'll forgive me this one photo (I can't promise there won't be more...)

My 11 year old Toyota Celica, still looking good...

Toyota Celica
I gave my 11 year old Toyota Celica a thorough wash, wax and hoover today, and as it was such a beautiful day here in Edinburgh, decided to capture this rare moment of cleanliness up by the Pentland Hills...its not looking bad for its age, and is still quite a head-turner.

Last few photos from Hearts Victory Parade

Hearts Victory Parade Scottish Cup 2012
Hearts Victory Parade Scottish Cup 2012Hearts Victory Parade Scottish Cup 2012

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Using every vantage point - Hearts fans, foot of Ardmillan

Hearts Victory Parade Scottish Cup 2012
I wish I'd thought of that - would have got some great photos from up on that wall!
HDR image, comprised of three exposures.

A birds eye view - Sat on dad's shoulders

Hearts Victory Parade Scottish Cup 2012
This wee lad was getting an excellent view of the Hearts team on the open-top bus, courtesy of his dad's shoulders. HDR shot from three exposures.

Heart of Midlothian 5 - Hibernian 1...Cup Parade, foot of Ardmillan

Hearts Victory Parade Scottish Cup 2012
I went down today to watch the Hearts team on their open-top bus Scottish Cup victory parade through the streets of Edinburgh (well those that are not closed for tram works, or deep in Hibees territory!). I caught this shot of the open top bus at the foot of Ardmillan Terrace, just along the road from the home ground, Tynecastle. I took three bracketed exposure shots, not really expecting an HDR image to work very well ,as there was a lot of movement, but it did! Incredible scenes, and what was so noticeable was the ages of fans...everything from babies in prams, right up to the very elderly, it felt like a real family occasion. There are going to be some sore heads tomorrow...

Saturday, 19 May 2012

Heart of Midlothian 5 - Hibernian 1...The crowd in the Golf Tavern

football crowd watching match in pub
The crowd in the Golf Tavern, Edinburgh, watching the closing stages of the Hearts v Hibs Scottish Cup Final...some nervous faces there.

Heart of Midlothian 5 - Hibernian 1...bit of a red letter day

hearts hibs cup final fan
The last time both Edinburgh football teams, Heart of Midlothian and Hibernian met in a Scottish Cup Final was 1896, today that "once in a lifetime" (if your lucky!) clash happened again. Although I was not at the actual game, like the rest of the city, I had to watch the game, and preferably in a packed pub with many others...mission accomplished.
I'm a closet Hearts supporter, but a lot of my closest friends are season ticket holders, attending all the games, and were at Hampden for the match.

Hearts won today, 5-1.
I took a lot of photos this afternoon, but wanted to get this one up first, as I felt it summed up the afternoon, and the euphoria at the final result. I was snapping away capturing some of the post match scenes of the TV screen, with the crowd in the stadium celebrating (I know, daft...I'd had a few beers), and this guy in front of me stuck his hand up with his iPhone, trying to do the same. I only realised when I got home, and was reviewing the photos from my SD card...I like this image.

I'll post some more once I get round to reviewing the rest of the images, I have tomorrow to sort out first, when the Hearts team will parade through the city on an open top bus, more photos no doubt.

Friday, 18 May 2012

My First HDR image experiment - wierd, but I kinda like it

HDR image
As its pissing with rain here again, I have been mucking about with my Panasonic Lumix TZ7, and decided to try a test HDR photo, where you set the camera to "bracket" three shots, one proper exposure, one under, and one over (tripod required). You can then merge these into one image, using software such as Photomatix, to produce some wierd and wonderful this, shot out my upstairs windows. I can only achieve +-1 exposure on the wee Lumix, but need to try this with my Canon D60 DSLR, where I can force +-2 exposures. Certainly open up some new possibilities though...

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Water droplets on McLaren, Indianapolis Motor Speedway

mclaren formula one car covered in water droplets
One of the McLaren Formula One cars covered in droplets of water, after a sudden shower at the 2002 USA Grand Prix, Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Canon D30, F2.8, 1/125 sec.

Hotel de Paris, Monaco

A quick snap I took on my iPhone of the Hotel de Paris in Monaco, another one of these places to stay on my "Lottery Win List" should that ever happen. One of these rooms with a nice balcony would be fine, during Grand Prix weekend...

Monaco - panoramic black & white

panoramic image of monaco
A black and white panoramic image of Monaco, comprised of three separate images, taken from high up on the hill where the palace sits. Obviously, this was not taken around the Formula One Grand Prix time (it was taken in August, the Grand Prix is in May), so there are no signs of the grandstands etc. However, the ever present luxury yachts are still in abundance.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Better the devil you know - Street performer in Barcelona

Yet another street performer from The Ramblas in Barcelona. You've got to give it to these folk, they don't half put a lot of effort into their costumes. This devil bloke had massive wings, big clawed hands certainly wouldn't want to bump into him in one of the dark, narrow lanes off The Ramblas, late at night, before he's had a chance to get home and take his clobber off!

And yes,  he is looking straight at me, and saying "by all means take a photo with your fancy big camera, but you had better cross this outstretched hand with coin afterwards".

Villefranche train station - panoramic image

villefranche train station
A panoramic image of the train station at Villefranche, situated between Nice and Monaco in the Cote D' Azur. This is the very station used in the opening scenes of "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels", the movie about two con men operating in the South of France, starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin.
You get a glorious view of the bay, with Villefranche on the right and Cap Ferrat on the left, from the station platform, although the steps up to the station can be a killer on a hot day (cold beer recommended before you tackle these).

The Movie Star fresco's in Cannes

actors mural cannes south of france
Dotted all around Cannes are wall fresco's of movie stars, after the city instigated a programme of mural painting in 2002, to reflect its history. By far the most impressive one is at the west side of the port, covering the whole side of a building. It is called ‘CinĂ©ma-Cannes’, by the first and foremeost renowned freso artist Patrick Commecy, and features 20 duos of famous actors.
actors fresco in cannes south of francefresco of actors in cannes, south of france
I love the Buster Keaton hanging off the clock, and the forced perspective on the windows, balconies, window section on a chain, and the crane with the cameraman -  they are all painted on flat surfaces but give this fresco a real"3D feel". How many movie stars can you spot?

Saturday, 12 May 2012

My name is Marlboro Lighteous - Centurions at the Coliseum, Rome

centurions at coliseum rome
I had to laugh at these guys, the fake centurions at the Coliseum in Rome, who hang about there for the tourists - they charge a fortune to have your photo taken with them, 7 to 10 euros apparently. Obviously, this particular solidier had decided it was time for a fag break. I'm lucky I took this shot without paying, I see in this article, one gladiator tried to con a Japanese tourist after they snapped a photo and physically threatened him when he wouldn’t hand over $130!

The marina in St Jean, Cap Ferrat, Cote D' Azur

marina at st jen cap ferrat
The marina in St Jean, on the peninsula of Cap Ferrat in the Cote D' Azur. These are some excellent cafe's & restaurants you can see on the lower level at the left hand side of the image, the perfect places to stop for a coffee or a bite to eat. In the background, you can see Beaulieu sur Mer, and the Grande Corniche road snaking along the top of the mountains.

Lobster pots, Seahouses harbour, Northumberland

lobster pots in harbour
Empty lobster pots, ready to be loaded onto a fishing boat once the tide comes back in, Seahouses harbour, Northumberland on the North East coast of England.

British Grand Prix fans - They know how to put the effort in

formula one fans with home made helmets at silverstone
These guys certainly put the effort in, at the 1998 British Grand Prix at Silverstone, making their own Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve and Eddie Irvine helmets, complete with authentic "fluid intake systems". Great guys, who were happy to pose for a photo, this was taken on some dodgy old film camera I had at the time (pre digital days), so I had to scan it from the original photo, came out not bad though.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

The Coliseum in Rome - panoramic image

coliseum in rome panoramic image
A panoramic image of the inside of the Coliseum in Rome. A must stop on any visit to Rome, but I highly recommend you pre-purchase your tickets online beforehand, the queues to get in if you just turn up on the day are horrendous. Still an awesome sight to see though, and there are plenty of exhibition areas inside, detailing the history...just watch out for the fake Gladiators outside, who charge an arm and a leg for a photo with them.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Roses are,! (and white), Princess Grace Rose Garden, Monaco

pink and white rose
I've no idea what the name of this rose is, but it's a stunner. One of just many breathtaking examples in the Princess Grace Rose Garden in the Fontvieille area of Monaco. The garden is a nice, serene place to spend time walking around, and the Columbus Hotel is right beside it, should you fancy popping in for a drink.

Grand Central Station, New York

grand central station new york
A panoramic image of Grand Central Station in New york, comprised of three separate images. It took me quite a while to get the colour balancing right on this one, as there are light sources coming from all directions, and the three separate images all had their own thoughts on which one was correct!

Lewis Hamilton, Abbey Chicane, Silverstone 2008

lewis hamilton mclaren silverstone
Lewis Hamilton threads his McLaren through the old Abbey Chicane during the 2008 British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Canon EOS 30D, 1/500 sec, 500mm.

Pentland HIlls, Edinburgh

pentland hills scene edinburgh
A panorama taken just below the T-Woods, on a path up to the Pentland Hills, on the southern fringe of Edinburgh. I really must try and pick a day when its not grey skies!

The session is underway - Qualifying at the Spanish Grand Prix

formula one crowd opposite pit lane spain
An expectant crowd watches, as the qualifying session starts at the Spanish Grand Prix 2002, Circuit de Catalunya. A baking hot day if I recall, this shot was taken from almost the very back row in what was, a new grandstand opposite the pits. Canon EOS D30, 170mm at 1/2000th sec.

Forza Ferrari! - expect to see a lot of this over the weekend

ferrari formula one fans with flag
With the Spanish F1 Grand Prix on this weekend, and Fernando Alonso looking to deliver a solid result to his home crowd, expect to see a lot of this flag over Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This image was taken during the 2002 Spanish Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya, and is not as good as I'd hoped - I was shooting from a grandstand way up the back of the circuit, and this is the grandstand at the end of the start/finish straight, so a heck of a distance and it was asking a lot of my Sigma 500mm telephoto.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Beaulieu sur Mer - Cote D' Azur

beaulieu sur mer cote d' azur
A panoramic image of the small bay and port on Beaulieu sur Mer's western side, showing Villa Kerylos at the far right hand side, and the hills above Monaco in the background. Beaulieu sur Mer is situated between Nice and Monaco, just a short bus (20 mins) or train ride (10 mins) away from either. The building on the far left is La Rotonde, which doubled as the casino in one of my favourite movies, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin.
The Villa Kerylos was built between 1902 and 1908 in the period the French call the "Belle Epoque", it is a unique reconstruction of an ancient Greek home, which is open to visitors. You can read more about it here
This a a great area to spend a day, wandering around Beaulieu, Cap Ferrat and Villafranche, all within easy walking distance.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Anyone feeling hungry? - Khushi Heaven

khushi punjabi restaurant edinburgh
Going through some photo folders on my hard drive, I found this randon snap of Khushi's original menu - they have changed the menu's this year, same food but different cover, so a wee bit of history here. I've been going to Khushi's since 1984 - blimey, 28 years, and I've still to find an Indian restaurant that can match the Punjabi dishes they serve up. It is not to be confused with "the other" Khushi's in Edinburgh, there is no connection between the two. I have been placing pretty much the same order for those 28 years (I was taught it by the guys who took me for my first visit), and it just gets tweaked for however many people are there on the night.
If you ever visit, get these dishes (no starters), and share them around:

Murgh Massalam (seems to be the most popular), Keema Dopiaza, Chicken Bhuna or Pathia (depending on table choice), and side dishes of Daal, Mushrooms & Bombal Alu. If there's lots of you, double up on some of the dishes. For the especially hungry, add on a Keema Paratha or two, and of course nan breads...unfortunately, they have recently stopped doing their signature Sweet Nan, which was basically covered with a very thing layer of what I'm sure was melted sugar, although I keep telling them to get it back on the menu, so who knows.

I was here for a meal last month, with just one friend, and he was determined to have the Lamb Madras, I can report back that it was fantastic as well.

For the photo, I tried to make the border as close to the Murgh Massalam colour as I could :-)

Not a bad view out the office - River Cafe, New York

river cafe brooklyn bridge new york
This guys got a nice view to look out on every day. The barman at the River Cafe in New York, situated right beside the Brooklyn Bridge, overlooking the skyline of Manhattan. We dropped by for a drink in early afternoon one day, and almost had the place to ourselves bar a couple of late lunchtime diners.Friendly staff, the prices were not as high as you might think, and you get that excellent view chucked in. To learn more about the River Cafe, go to

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Trevi Fountain, Rome

trevi fountain rome
Panoramic image of the Trevi Fountain in Rome, with the inevitable tourists creeping into shot - the crowds here are incredible during the day, so I'm pretty pleased I managed to rattle off two images in quick succession with no heads at the bottom, to create the panorama!

Juggling the finances

street performer juggler beggar
This poor guy latched onto us, whilst we were sitting having a drink in Plaza Catalunya in Barcelona. He was very unobtrusive, and just performed his impressive juggling act for anyone that was sitting there, and when he noticed I was taking a couple of shots, faced on to the camera and gave me ample time to get a few decent images. Needless to say, I gave him a few euros...he looked in great need of a hot bath, as well as a square meal.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

A few famous faces - Formula One Drivers Parade, Spain 2002

formula one drivers parade spain 2002
One of my favourite drivers parade photos - for a change, they all seem to be acknowledging the crowd, rather than chatting away to each other! Quite a few famous faces here, with David Coulthard, Kimi Raikkonen, Jacques Villeneuve, Eddie Irvine, Giancarlo Fisichella and Jenson Button amongst others. Canon EOS D30, f/6.7, 1/750 sec, ISO 400 at 500mm.

Guadi mosaic at the Battlo House, Barcelona

A mosaic on the roof of Gaudi's Battlo House in Barcelona, made of broken ceramic tiles.

Isle of Skye, Scotland

isle of skye panorama
A paoramic image of the Isle of Skye, off the west coast of Scotland, taken on a chilly but clear day in early March. This image always makes me think of the "hobbit village" in the Lord of The Rings movies...and I promise you, the sea really was that blue on the day, I have not enhanced the colours in Photoshop at all!

Grande Corniche bridge, approaching Eze village

bridge grande corniche cote azur
One of the spectacular bridges (and tunnels) that you will find on the Grande Corniche. This one is just as you approach Eze from Nice. There are three corniche roads between Nice and Monaco/Menton, which run parallel with each other for around 30 km. The Grande Corniche was built under Napoleon's reign, and is the highest of the three corniches. Every corner seems to present spectacular views across the coast.

Entrance to The Grand Canyon

entrance to grand canyon usa
The entrance to The Grand Canyon (western side) taken from a helicopter trip we took at around 9:00am, from Boulder just outside Las Vegas. It was an amzing sight after flying over miles of flat desert, to see this range of mountains creeping up the distance, and to eventually fly up and over them, then landing on the canyon floor for a champagne breakfast.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Down in the tube station at midnight

penn station new york
I can't honestly remember what I was trying to do when I took this shot, and when I first looked at it on my computer screen, I thought "hmm...well that did not work very well" - but the more I looked at the shot (and cropped it a bit), the more I started to like it, its a bizarre effect. Obviously taken in the bowels of Penn Station, New York, on my Canon EOS D30.

Michael Schumacher, reporting back - Spanish Grand Prix 2002

michael schumacher returns to pit, spanish grand prix 2002
Michael Schumacher returns to the Ferrari garage, after one of his qualifying runs in the 2002 Spanish Grand Prix, at the Circuit De Catalunya. Michael was the biggest star in Formula One at the time, and as you can see from the photo, there was never any escape from the photographers (including me!). I took this shot on my Canon EOS D30 and Sigma 170-500mm telephoto, from high up in the stands opposite the pitlane, quite a distance, so am very happy with the way it turned out.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Times Square, New York - There is no off-switch

times square new york at night
Panoramic image of Times Square, New York, taken at night. I can't remember what time of night I took this, but it does not really's lit up like this pretty much all the time, although obviously looks even more striking at night! A hustling, bustling centre of humanity that never sleeps. I remember, whilst staying in the Crowne Plaza Times Square on this visit, nipping out to get a few slices of pizza from a takeaway across the street at 2:00am, some munchies to eat whilst we listened to radio coverage of a Grand Prix back in Europe...there were just as many people on the street, and shops open, as there was when we came in to the hotel at 10:00pm.
The two images that were used to create this panorama were taken on my Canon EOS D30, f/4, 1/60 sec, ISO 400 at 28mm.

Just a touch of pepper..

red peppers
Red peppers for sale, in Nice market. Just looking at this photo is making me hungry...

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Swanston Village, Pentland Hills, Edinburgh

swanston village pentland hills edinburgh
A panoramic image, created from three separate photos, of Swanston Village situated in the Pentland Hills, Edinburgh. These thatched cottages are from the 17th century, and the village is most famous as being the summer retreat of Robert Louis Stevenson. Canon EOS 30D, at 28mm, 1/350 sec.
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