Pictures by Walter

A View With Every Picture


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Cultural Cities of Northern Europe – Sailing Days

As I watched Tallinn fading into the horizon I realised we had a whole 36 hours of cruising before we reached our next port of call, Kiel, Germany.  I did mention in a previous blog I hated the feeling of being confined to a ship for more than 12 hours when all one has to see is the endless horizon and the empty sea (weather permitting). However, that was a simplistic statement.  We are not confined to our cabins, there is plenty of entertainment, bars, decks to stroll round and observation room to site a gaze at the “Oh so open sea”.  You are assigned a Dining Room and table  for your evening meal at other times you are free to go A’la Carte, eat at the buffet, grill.  There is entertainment twice a night in the main lounge.  Whilst the early sitting is at evening meal tye late sitting have the opportunity to enjoy the evening show. The same show is presented to the well fed and sated early sitters.  The Black Watch entertainers/dancers were far to energetic, especially on a rolling , yawning ship.

Monday 26th September “Golden age of Rock

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The talented team also performed a tribute entitled “Legends” in which the they paid tribute to “Freddy Mercury – Queen”, “Elton John”,  “Cher”, “Grease”, “Elvis”, “Abba”, “Cabaret”,  “The Rat Pack” and .

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“Queen & Freddy Mercury”

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“Elton John”

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“Gypsy, Tramps & Thieves – Cher”

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“Grease”

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“Elvis”

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“Abba”

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“Carbaret”

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“Rat Pack”

Gallery

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Gallery of 55 Images of “Legends” show

 


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Cultural Cities of Northern Europe – Tallinn

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Historic Centre (Old Town) of Tallinn The origins of Tallinn date back to the 13th century, when a castle was built there by the crusading knights of the Teutonic Order. It developed as a major centre of the Hanseatic League, and its wealth is demonstrated by the opulence of the public buildings (the churches in particular) and the domestic architecture of the merchants’ houses, which have survived to a remarkable degree despite the ravages of fire and war in the intervening centuries. (Extract from UNESCO) (Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0)

Early Saturday morning saw us docked near the Estonian city of Tallinn. Tallinn is a contrast of modern and medieval – the outer part is modern verging on ultra modern but the heart of the city is sited on a hill, the medieval town.  Our ship was dock well outside the city and we had to bus into the modern part to be dropped off at the foot of the hill for a long walk up through one of the medieval gates into the small cramped streets. The old square is surrounded with medieval buildings with some fine attachments. I’m sure that the talk given by the tour guide was interesting and informative, however, we where on top of a hill, exposed to the wind which added a windchill factor of Freezing.  We stood there for 5 minutes before setting of on our own for bit of a wander around the centre before going for a sample of mid morning tea and folk dance display.

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Susan and I enjoyed our little meander around this old town.  Looking at how the old buildings were being used for modern business without destroying the outer facade of the building. We spotted  dragons, a Scottish Pub, some intriguing statues, carved doorways as well as a few Irish pubs

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After about an hour we made our way back to the meeting point in time for the “Cultural Treat”.  The folk dance was interesting unfortunately it was very vigorous and too fast for me to capture via my camera, as I had not taken my fast lens.  (Oh well lesson learnt there). 30 minutes later we were heading back to our coach for the return trip to the ship.  Like all shore excursions there does not appear to be enough time to explore places in detail.  It takes so long to get between places and so little time at the destination.  What did stick in my mind is that Tallinn is a town of two parts the ancient surround by the modern. This can be summed up with the opening image and the closing image taken as we departed the docks.
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20170930 - If it's Saturday it Must be Tallinn

Click on this image to see Flickr Gallery of 37 images from Tallinn


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Cultural Cities of Northern Europe – St Petersburg

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The Admiralty building is the former headquarters of the Admiralty Board and the Imperial Russian Navy in St. Petersburg, Russia and the current headquarters of the Russian Navy. The edifice was re-built in the nineteenth century to support the Tsar’s maritime ambitions

The morning of Friday 29th September 2017 saw us docking at St Petersburg – I was up very early and watched the ship manoeuvring up stream to the docks near the city centre.  We had been briefed, via a ship’s newsletter, as to how we approached Russian Immigration.  I thought UK Immigration staff were poker face but the Russians had them beat for deadpan face.  I will admit to slight trepidation as I entered the room, passed my visa and passport across, after a few minutes of being scrutinised and my passport checked, an entry visa was stamped into my passport.  (After 46 years and going through four passports my fifth was the one that had a visa stamp stamped onto it).  Anyway I digress, having passed through immigration we made our way to our tour bus – Everyday St Petersburg – and it was everyday St Petersburg.  We did see some of the historical/touristic sites but only externally.  We explored the city centre, enjoyed a trip on the Moscow Metro, walks along “Nevsky Prospekt” bought a few gifts.  As far as the cruise went St Petersburg was the highlight and the Metro trip was the bonus.  Unlike the last two cities with quick tours St Petersburg was 8.5 hours and we enjoyed every  minute of it.

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The Church of the Savior on Blood commemorates the spot where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated personal collection

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Saint Isaac’s Cathedral or Isaakievskiy Sobor in Saint Petersburg, Russia, is the largest Russian Orthodox cathedral in the city. It is the largest orthodox basilica and the fourth largest cathedral in the world.

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One of the many mosaics on the St Petersburg Metro

 

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St Petersburg Metro Station. The cleanliness and upkeep of all the staions and art work are of a very high standard

 

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Puskin’s Statue at Metro station named after him

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Click on Image for St Petersburg Gallery of 51 Images

We left St Petersburg early evening and watched the lights of the city fade as we sailed down river to the Baltic See and an overnight cruise to our next port of call Tallinn in Estonia


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Cultural Cities of Northern Europe – Copenhagen

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(1) Gefion Fountain by Anders Bundgaard

On Monday 24th September 2017 Susan and I set of on our first sea cruise.  I say our as Susan has made three previous sea cruises, this was my first.  We had book on the Fred Olsen “Cultural Cities of Northern Europe” cruise.  This ten day Baltic Sea cruise took us to Copenhagen (Denmark), Helsinki (Finland), St Petersburg (Russia), Tallinn (Estonia) and Kiel (Germany) the back to Rosyth, Scotland via the Kiel Canal and North Sea.  We set sail at 5 pm Sunday evening and cruised the North Sea To Copenhagen (Denmark) and docked Early Tuesday morning.   After breakfast we boarded our City Tour (with Canal Cruise) to explore Copenhagen city and harbour. We were taken to the usual tourist sites such as:

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Little Mermaid: At Langelinje Pier you will find one of Copenhagen’s most famous tourist attractions: The sculpture of The Little Mermaid. On 23 August 2013 she turned 100 years old. She has been beheaded several times, dubbed with red paint – in all for a statute she has had an eventful 114 years

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St. Alban’s Church, ( the English Church), is an Anglican church in Copenhagen, Denmark. It was built from 1885 to 1887 for the growing English congregation in the city. Designed by Arthur Blomfield as a traditional English parish church in the Gothic Revival style.

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On 6 September 1982, a Danish frigate, the HDMS Peder Skram, accidentally fired a Harpoon missile during maneuvers in the Kattegat.[1] The missile traveled 34 kilometers at low level, severing several power lines before striking some trees after which it exploded. The fireball and subsequent shock wave destroyed four unoccupied summer cottages and damaged a further 130 buildings in the immediate vicinity. No human injury was reported.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Copenhagen Opera House is the national opera house of Denmark, and among the most modern opera houses in the world. It is also one of the most expensive opera houses ever built with construction costs well over US$500 million

 

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Copenhagen Gallery – Click on image to view 46 images


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20170708 – British 1-Act Open Festival Final

Belfast Hosts 84th British Festival Final 8th-9th July 2017

The time had come for the four champions to meet for the title of  British 1-Act Champions. Four clubs would fight it out to be crowned the British Champions.  These teams had survived from District > Divisional>Country and now going head to head at the MAC (Metropolitan Arts Centre) Theatre, Belfast.  The festival would be over two days and Walker Ewart, a well respected Adjudicator would be landed with the task of picking the overall Festival Champion . Teams from Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England were ready to give the best performance to win the coveted Howard de Walden Trophy. I was asked to be official photographer for the event.  The festival would be over two days with the presentation of the trophy at the end of the festival.

Northern Ireland – Bangor Drama Club: The Galway Girl by Geraldine Aron

Bangor Drama Club opened the 84th 1 Act British Final on 7th July 2017 with Geraldine Aron’s “Galway Girl”. Two actors portray marriage between two different classes through the years using  a small set.

(1) Galway Girl – Bangor Drama Club

(1) Galway Girl  – Technical details: Pentax K-1, Sigma f2.8, 70-200 mm Zoom @ 180 mm,  Shutter 1/30th sec ISO 3200

 Scotland – Aberfeldy Drama Club: Ring Road by Anita Vettese

Set in a run- down hotel.  Lisa whose marriage to Paul was breaking down over their inability to have children had arranged to meet Mark, her brother in law with a view to getting her pregnant.

(2) Ring Road – Aberfeldy Drama Club

(2) Technical details: Pentax K-1, Sigma f2.8, 70-200 mm Zoom @ 200 mm,  Shutter 1/80th sec ISO 3200

The completion of the Aberfeldy play signalled the end of the competition for that night.

Civic Reception: Belfast City Hall.

Saturday saw the clubs and representatives of the 4 nations at a Civic Reception hosted by Belfast City Council.  The guest of Honour was Dame Mary Peters CH, DBE and a former Lord Lieutenant of the City of Belfast.

(3) Walker Ewart (Adjudicator), Mary Peters, President of AUDF and the High Sheriff of Belfast

(3) Technical details: Technical details: Pentax K-1, Sigma 150-200 mm Zoom @ 35 mm, f2.8,  Shutter 1/80th sec ISO 400

England – Total Arts Community Theatre: Lear’s Daughters by Elaine Feinstein & the Women’s Theatre Workshop

Total Arts Community Theatre presented Lear’s Daughters by Elaine Feinstein & the Women’s Theatre Workshop opened the second night of the festival.

(4) Total Arts Community Theatre: Lear’s Daughters

(4) Technical details: Technical details:Pentax K-1, Sigma 150-200 mm Zoom f3.2, Shutter 1/160th sec ISO 3200

Wales – The Unknown Outcasts: Future Shock by Richard Stockwell

The Unknown Outcasts: Future Shock by Richard Stockwell

(5) Technical details:Technical details: Pentax K-1, Sigma 150-200 mm Zoom @ 180 mm, f2.8,  Shutter 1/125th sec ISO 3200

Presentation of Howard de Walden Trophy

Walker Ewart (Adjudicator) had the daunting task of  marking these four plays, not an easy task.  The final decision made and the All British Champion of the 2017 Open 1-Act Festival was:

 

 

Total Arts Community Theatre


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20170313 – Zoo Visit

Zoo Visit

We hoped to catch a glimpse of the Bears, Fishing Cat and of course Lions

On our visit to Five Sisters Zoo in January  we enjoyed looking at the 4 lions enjoying the sun (Sun Cats) as well as the Lemurs and meerkats.  On this visit we hoped to see the bears as they came out of their winter hibernation and we were in luck.  The challenge of zoo photography is to attempt to get natural shots without including any signs of cages/fence etc.  Not easy by any means.  However, I do enjoy the challenge and am very pleased when I get the shot right.

African Grey Parrot

 

African Grey Parrot: taken through glass.

 

Technical details:  Pentax K-1 (full Frame), f6.3, , Sigma 18-270 mm Zoom @ 58mm, Shutter 1/125th sec ISO 200

 

 

Brown Bear – one of three rescued bears

 

 

 

 

 

Brown Bear… Taken though Double Link Fences.

Technical details:  Pentax K-1 (full Frame), f6.3, , Sigma 150-500 mm Zoom @ 500mm, Shutter 1/500th sec ISO 800

 

Ex Circus Lion

 

 

 

 

 

Let Sleeping Cats Lie….

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 150-500mm Zoom Lens set at 400mm, f6.3 ISO 400 shutter 1/500th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

 

 

Artic Wolf

 

Artic Wolf – Howling Time

As we walked around the zoo we heard the wolf howl – one of the wolves was in fine vocal voice that day.

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 150-500mm Zoom Lens set at 190mm, f6.3 ISO 200 shutter 1/200th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

 

 

 

Eurasian Lynx

Eurasian Lynx

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 150-500mm Zoom Lens set at 500mm  f6.3 ISO 1600 shutter 1/400th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

 

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 150-500mm Zoom Lens set at 500mm  f6.3 ISO 1600 shutter 1/400th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

 

Fishing Cat

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 150-500mm Zoom Lens set at 500mm  f6.3 ISO 1600 shutter 1/400th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

 

Gallery

 


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20170212 – Feeding Our Souls

Feeding Our Souls

I’ve mentioned in my previous blogs that Susan has a love of the mountains.  She is an ex hill walker and has climbed various Munros, Corbetts etc.  Me.. I’m strictly sea level.  Susan was getting me to do some hill walking before her bout with cancer.  I know she misses her walks in the Pentland Hills (not far from where we live).  I can feel when her spirits begin to dip and all I have to say is Road Trip Glencoe.  Before I know it she has grabbed her boots, camera gear etc before I get my camera gear and car keys.  Funny for a lass from Manchester she has a deep love of Scotland’s people and countryside.  I uttered those fatal words on Sunday 12 February 2017 and zoom.. we were away.  Dependent on time of year, and weather of course, we have our favourite stopping off places when we do this drive but more of that later.  However, I’m going to digress here – the term Feeding The Soul came from Susan herself and was the tile of her blog. She let her blog lapse in 2012 but recommenced in 2014 with a blog title “Don’t Stop Believing” in September 2014.  A year later she was fighting a bigger battle and she did not stop believing.

Back to our feeding the soul trip:

Loch Lubnaig 3rd January 2015

 

Loch Lubnaig is one of our stopping places and at the first car park going north.  The loch is usually so still here it gives a mirror reflection (see image taken on right). Alas it was not so on this trip.  Our next stop is at the Golden Larches Cafe for a very welcome cup of coffee before our next regular stop Loch Tulla Viewpoint.  However, on this trip we stopped south of  Bridge of Orchy to photograph the Horseshoe Curve Viaduct near Auch.

Technical details:  Nikon D5300, Nikon 18-200 mm Zoom @ 22mm, f16, Shutter 1/5 sec ISO 100

 

 

Horseshoe Curve Viaduct

 

The Horseshoe curve… North of Tyndrum, South of Bridge of Orchy.

The railway builders hadn’t the money for a viaduct across the mouth of a broad valley. The result is the famous ‘horseshoe curve’, where the line enters, circles & leaves the glen at the foot of Beinn Dorain. We have crossed it on the train trip to Fort William.  Susan and her friend Debbie attempted to walk to Bridge of Orchy from Tyndrum but ran out of time.

Technical details:  Pentax K-1 (full Frame), Sigma 18-270 mm Zoom @ 29mm, f7.1, Shutter 1/320th sec ISO 200

Loch Tulla Viewpoint (A82)

On leaving Bridge of Orchy the A82 crosses over a small river by means of a single span steel bridge – which I have always taken as the start of a long climb with horseshoe bends raising to Rannoch Moor.  At the end of the first bend there sits a large car park with views of Loch Tulla and surrounding area.  During Summer and good weather it is a popular stopping place, especially with tourist busses.

 

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 18-270mm Zoom Lens set at 43mm, f9 ISO 200 shutter 1/500th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

Lochan na h-Achlaise

Lochan na h-Achlaise and Loch Ba are separated by the A82 road to Fort William. The lone trees and rocks with snow-capped peaks in the distance create one of the most atmospheric landscapes in Scotland.

Lochan na h-Achlaise

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 18-270mm Zoom Lens set at 80mm f9 ISO 200 shutter 1/320th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

 

 

 

The Great Shepard

Buachaille Etive Mor

I suspect that this may be one of the most photographed Munro in Scotland and Walkhighlands appear to agree “Buachaille Etive Mor is one of the best known and loved of all the Munro peaks. The epic view of the mountain from the main A82 road makes it appear quite unassailable and is one of the most photographed sites and sights in Scotland.  I also think it would be very hard to get a picture that has not been done before.

Technical details – Pentax K-1 fitted with Sigma 18-270mm Zoom Lens set at 29mm  f7.1 ISO 200 shutter 1/120th second. Image processed from raw in Lightroom

 

 

Feeding Her Soul…

Susan Feeding Her Soul

Doing this catch up blog reminds me we are overdue for another visit to Glencoe:)

 

Gallery

The road goes on.. To Loch Etive