Horse and cart Antwerp

Antwerp

Street Performers

On a recent trip to Antwerp, Belgium I came across some street performers of the human statue variety.  It was fun seeing children and adults alike jumping after the initial ‘Are they, Aren’t they’ real.  The town wasn’t that busy on that particular day but there was a great atmosphere nonetheless.

Cullenary street performer Antwerp.

The statues are alive in Antwerp.

Belgium Beers

Grote Markt

The Grote Markt is a town square situated in the old city quarter of Antwerp, which has an enormous City Hall and some Guildhall buildings dating back to the 16th century, exhibiting some absolutely fantastic architecture.

Grote markt Antwerp.

There are also some great cafes, restaurants and bars in the town – hence the beer shot and what a fantastic beer that was too!

Horse and cart Antwerp

Christmas

Apparently I visited at the wrong time of year because in December the Square is taken over by Christmas markets and even a festive ice rink.

It’s a great place to spend time and if you are anything like me and enjoy a flavoursome beer whilst watching the world go by and a spot of architecture photography, then Antwerp is well worth a visit.

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Poppies

Poppies in a field

Poppies in a field was one of my favourite photos this year. I was trying out a new camera body and accidentally picked up my original 50mm kit lens from 1987.

First Canon EOS

1987 was the year Canon first bought out their EOS system on a film camera and this 50mm was the lens it came with. What Canon did at that time was forward thinking.  They developed a system which evolved into the digital era of photography and this lens is still fully compatible with todays Canon camera bodies.  Even though there is now the EOS R which has a new mount, they created an adaptor to which the older lenses can attach.

Here is the photo taken a few months ago using a 32 year old lens. They may well be expensive things lenses but, looked after, you sure get your moneys worth.  Long may its aperture blades keep closing!

 

 

beach hut

Beach Huts

Beach Huts

Beach huts are quite a photographic cliche – every photographer tends to snap a colourful beach hut once in a while.  For me, whenever I came across a possible subject, it was always a murky day.  However, last week on Hayling Island as the sun was going down I spotted these. I didn’t have a tripod to steady the camera so an ISO of 800 was set to allow me to use a faster shutter speed and stop any camera shake. Not a bad image to get just as I was on my way to the chip shop for dinner.

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Horse Agility

Horse agility

Horse agility…….. its like dog agility but with………. yes a horse!

This is a great idea, as horses are flight animals and scare very easily.  This short agility course enables horses to push themselves through unnatural obstacles like soft coloured balls and foamy flexible pipes all with different sounds and textures which hopefully makes them more settled when out and about with their rider.

 

Shaky Start

Over the weekend I took some images of this event and much fun was had by everyone with lots of bonding going on with horse and rider. Here are just a few images from the event.

Everybody seems to be having a great time after what was quite a tentative start understandably because it was new to both horse and rider.

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On the nature trail

 

The Orchard

I recently took an afternoon out with my big friend called Dave. He showed me some of the wildlife nearby and I had a great time trying to get a shot of fast moving Birds, Dragonflies, Damselflies and (not so fast moving) Butterflies.

The key here is to take your time and look, proper look at your surroundings and it surprising what you can find in the right habitat. 

Right Lens

On this occasion, I used my 100 400 f5.6 zoom lens and with a bit of cropping I managed to get quite close.  Next time I will be taking my 100mm macro lens. The problem then being camera shake. A strong tripod would be needed although this lens does have good image stabilisation. It is just a matter of hoping the subjects sit still for long enough while the image is being composed. Come on, it’s all part of the fun of it so they tell me haha.

 

 

 

 

I.D. Parade

Any entomologists out there would like to name them for me feel free because I’m no Chris Packham.

So after an hours wander round the orchard it was off to try and get some swifts in a pond over the other side but on this occasion none were sharp enough for my liking.

Home we went then. Some nice weather good company and some images I was pleased with. All in all a good afternoon walk.

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RAF 100

RAF 100

Veterans reflect at the service for lost airmen on the site of the old Gravesend Airport. Credit A Beck

This year marked 100 years of the RAF and to commemorate that our local leisure centre had some benches made for the occasion.  The names of those who perished in the Second World War were engraved on brass plates for each bench.

 

Gravesend Airport

The site used to be that of Gravesend Airport which dates back to the early 1930’s. In its day it had a major role in the Battle of Britain as it was one of the satellite bases for the famous Biggin Hill.

Flypast

A restored spitfire was due to flyover and it did, albeit a bit later than scheduled.

It was a fine sight to see the beautiful aircraft performing victory rolls just above our heads, and the distinct sound of that Merlin engine made the hairs on the back of your neck rise.

Gravesend Kent Uk 14th April 2018, People walk passed Gravesend clocktower en route to the town center, Credit AG Beck/Alamy live news

Vaisakhi

Vaisakhi Parade Gravesend

Gravesend Kent Uk 14th April 2018, Ceremonial swords on display as the parade leaves the Gurdwara, Vaisakhi parade, Credit AG Beck/Alamy live news

The colourful Vaisakhi parade took place in Gravesend this weekend, on a warm day for this time of year.

Gravesend Kent Uk 14th April 2018, women taking part at the Vaisakhi parade, Credit AG Beck/Alamy live news

As usual the place was buzzing with atmosphere and the site and splendour of this annual event didn’t disappoint. Plenty of music accompanied the event also.

Invitation

The Sikh community put on a big show with singing, dancing and martial arts – a display that brings the whole community together. It is an historic event where Vaisakhi marks the Spring harvest in the Punjab for farmers in Northern India. It also celebrates Vaisakhi day when, in 1699, the 10th guru of the Sikhs Gobind Sing Ji established the Khalsa Panth which is the community of the committed Sikhs, and this is still practised today.

Route

The Vaisakhi festival runs from the Gurdwara on a circular route around the town centre.

Gravesend 14th April 2018, UK, Boy gets instruction at the Gurdwara temple

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Isle of Skye

 

Isle of Skye

I have just returned from a recent trip to the Isle of Skye where I was hoping for a photo of the Old Man of Storr – a large Pinnacle of rock standing 50m high. Unfortunately, as usual in these parts, the weather closed in. Luckily, when the ship left Portree and took to sea again, the mist cleared and I just managed to get this shot in before it appeared again.  You may have to squint at the image on the right to see the Old Man of Storr.  It is near the top of the mountain in the centre of the photo.

There is no doubt that I will visit the area again – the Isle of Skye is where I proposed to my long-suffering and patient girlfriend, Claire.   Let’s hope we have better weather next time!

Old Man Of Storr Isle of Skye

My patient Girlfriend with engagement ring.