Thanksgiving, Shoreham Beach

Swimmers, Shoreham Beach November 2020

I was going to write about life on the beach – but then I noticed the date – and decided that I would write about Thanksgiving instead.

In the UK we tend to slowly take on things from the US – liablity lawyers, Adam Sandler – all the good stuff. But I do think we should get the British Museum to borrow Thanksgiving from the US and forget to return it – or take molds from it so we can cast our own.

I think in the UK we do lots of things well, but if we had this holiday, it would help us to recognise them too and then maybe when New Year’s Day comes around we wouldn’t feel quite so down.

In a moment I will go for a late night walk and think about things I should be grateful for – what would you choose?

Double Rainbow, West Sussex

Rainbow in the Park, West Sussex – June 2020

People tend to think of landscape photography as a fairly leisurely persuit, but in my experience it is anything but. I took these two pictures within a few minutes of each other – and then the light went!

Two Shadows, West Sussex – June 2020

If you are curious, I took these on my phone, which I bring on my daily walk. Moments after I took the rainbow picture it rained quite heavily, which made me glad that my phone is water resistant. To my eye, these photos are quite close to how it looked, the Sun was very low in the sky, casting long, dark shadows.

Riding a Bicycle in Bejing

Riding In Bejing, 2011

Thanks to Katie Melua, most people tend to think of Beijing as a place with lots bicycles and 30 years ago, that was probably true. No so much now. Mostly cars.

But, there is lots of street life, which I was trying to show a little bit here. And there is a bicycle.

Sometimes, when I look at my photos I try to imagine a narrative about what I can see. In this case, I imagine that it is a mother and son, coming home from dinner. And they seem happy, which I like.

I’m afraid it isn’t perfectly asharp. A few years before I did a session with Gavin Goff (a noted travel photographer), who became known for a while for doing sharp panning shots of street life. To make it really work you need a fast wide-angle lens, be quite close and use a slowish shutter speed. Done just right you get a sharp figure moving through blurred surroundings – which looks good.

Motorbike Couple – Christmas 2013, Ho Chi Minh City

In a bike

        Couple – Christmas Eve, Ho Chi Minh City, 2014

One of the things I really like about Ho Chi Minh City, is the amount of life that goes on at the street level. Sometimes there are motorcycle traffic jams, where the riders are shoulder to shoulder at the traffic lights, and when the lights change, they move off en-mass, rather like a swarm of grumpy bees. Strangely, if you are feeling brave, you can still cross the road, if you keep a steady pace and DON’T STEP BACKWARDS! I can’t emphasise that enough. The riders will miss you, but only just. Even crossing the road is an adventure in Ho Chi Minh City.

In photography, there are two schools of thought: those who want to carry everything with them, so they’ve “got it covered”; and those who carry the minimum, just “enough”. On this occasion, I was just carrying a Pearl River tlr (twin lens reflex), loaded with some old Shanghai GP3. Neither is great for photographing at night (slow lens and slow film) – but I still managed to take this picture.

I had been hovering photographing people coming to see the Christmas decorations opposite the Tax Centre (a famous landmark department store in Ho Chi Ming City). It was Christmas Eve and lots of young people where just cruising around – when I saw this couple and asked for a picture. They seemed bemused, but I like it and there is the Tax Centre behind them.