Lasts, Osaka

Lasts, Osaka 2019

My favourite thing to do, if I go somewhere on holiday, is to spend time just wandering around. If you ever go to Osaka, chances are you will have a list of attractions you want to see (Osaka Castle, the Osaka Aquarium…), but I nearly always find that the journey there is more interesting than the attraction. The castle is quite fun though.

This picture of the lasts, is an example of something I saw on my way somewhere else.

Elvis Presley Birthplace, USA

Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum, Tupelo, Mississippi 2003

A road trip picture.

Once upon a time, for my holiday, I would pick 3 or places (in different states) and then spend a week or so travelling to each of them, stopping the car when I saw something interesting. Lots of time spent listening to the radio, watching the landscape slowly change outside.

I enjoyed my visit to the birthplace museum, I had a little chat with a member of staff as we looked at one of Elvis’s late jumpsuits. She was more late Elvis, while I was more early Elvis.

The house itself looked rather neat and trim. I wondered if it was like that when Elvis lived there.

Feet in the Water, El Salvador

Feet, Lake Ilopango, El Salvador 2007

Not a big picture, but I still like it.

Lake Ilopango is a formed in the mouth of a dormant volcano. I went scuba diving there once, but on this occasion, it was a cruise amongst the water hyacinths. As you can see a friend dipped her feet in water making a little plume as we went along. I didn’t take a camera, instead using a Nokia feature phone – less than 1 megapixel- but like I said – I like it.

Tammisaari, Finland

Near Tammisaari, Finland 2004

Sometimes, I think being from the UK makes the rest of the world seem a much more dramatic place. People start to moan when the weather even gets near to 0 and when it goes a couple of degrees below, certain newspapers start trumpeting about an”arctic vortex”, when really, it is just a bit cold.

In Finland by contrast, no one mentions the weather until it gets to about -15 degrees or so. A Finnish friend asked me why I thought it was strange to ride a bicycle in the snow – it was perfectly normal to her.

If the whole cold thing interests you, I recommend visiting the Culture Museum in Helsinki. I particularly enjoyed reading about Kai Donner’s adventures in northern Finland, where it gets really cold.

Anyway, when I took this picture, it must have only been about -10. And it wasn’t windy. So no macho points for me.

But it was very quiet and still, possibly silent.

Under the Seat, Vietnam

Under the Seat, Vietnam 2009

There was a time, when I used to travel by plane quite a bit, mostly short haul within South-East Asia. Most of the life to be seen was outside the window- hence my hundreds of views from above photos, but sometimes funny moments happened on the plane. My neighbour and I never really did meet. Might have been a character.

On The Bund, Shanghai

The Bund, Shanghai, China 2018

The title really should be “View from the Bund” because all the tall buildings you can see are on the other side of the Huangpu River. As you can see, there is a wide path for people to walk by the river, which is pleasant when there is a gentle breeze (perhaps with an ice cream in hand). On this day, although it was overcast and cloudy, you could feel yourself being burned by the UV!

River, Clayton, GA

Clayton, Georgia, USA 2003

I don’t find it easy to take square landscapes. Here I was trying to use the curve of the river’s edge to lead your eye through the frame, but I’m not sure it works.

I believe Clayton is in the north of Georgia where once you might have found bears in the countryside, but no longer. I did find some rather large deer which burst from a bush as I walked through the forest, making me jump. But that was it.

Take My Picture, Athens

Take My Picture, Athens, Georgia, USA 2000

Most of the time, people don’t want you to take their picture – or would rather you didn’t- but sometimes they do.

As I remember it, I had gone to Athens to watch a Georgia Bulldogs football game (I think it was against Ole Miss) and when I took this picture, I was trying to sniff out some tickets. Anyway, I was wandering around downtown Athens (which looked very nice) when this guy shouted,”Hey! Take my picture!”. So I did. And I quite like it.

For the technically curious, I was using a Holga camera (a lo-fi camera) and Tri-X.

Lynx, Shanghai

Lynx, Shanghai Zoo, China 2020

I went to Shanghai Zoo to see the red pandas, but on the way, I looked in on the big cats. The leopards had their backs turned, as they often do, but here as you see, the lynx was quietly cleaning itself oblivious to passers by (including me).

On this occasion, I was testing out a Canon Powershot S100, which is a premium compact camera from a few years ago. Although it has a fairly small sensor, here it has produced detailed image.

Tyrannosaurus Rex, Shanghai

Animatronic Tyrannosaurus Rex, Shanghai Natural History Museum, Shanghai 2019

The Shanghai Natural History Museum, is probably my favourite public building in Shanghai. It has an atrium, which brings a little natural light into what would otherwise be a rather large, dark museum.

Visitors start their visit at the top of the building, learning about the origin of the universe and slowly work their way down. They have lots of large scale models of large animals, some of which are reconstructed, stuffed animals. Sometimes the taxidermist got the expression the animals’ faces just right, on others, they have a slightly wide-eyed, surprised expression which doesn’t look quite right.

A few of the models, such as this one, are animatronic, which quite often draw large crowds of children as they roar and gesture menacingly.