A pause. Have not been posting here or on Flickr for the past while. Every now and then it is good to stand back and take stock of where you have come from and the direction of your destination. I have been posting images from the trip to Asia in spring for the past five months. In that time, I have posted a couple of hundred images from Hong Kong, Korea, Taiwan and Japan to my iPhone and DSLR Flickr accounts. I still have hundreds more and of those hundreds there are a few I would like to share.
When I came back from Asia, my plan was to stop posting to Flickr and begin to work on portfolio. Five months later and I am nowhere nearer that objective. I can point to the discovery of themes I am working on, and that is a positive I guess. But I would like to have a portfolio together.
Last week I was in Copenhagen with work. Copenhagen is a city I had always dreamt of visiting and it did not disappoint in any way. Any city that prides itself on its cycle lanes has to be great. Since I first learnt to balance on a bike, I have cycled whenever possible. I am lucky in that I can cycle to work in about 10 – 12 minutes (it would take as long, if not longer to drive). So, having the use of a bike in Copenhagen was simply perfect. I cycled about 3 – 4 hours every day listening to music and stopping whenever something grabbed my attention to take photographs. It is a very picturesque town. Situated so closely to water it has many bridges, none better than the two-lane elevated orange Cykelslangen – cycle snake. I converted this shot to black and white. Click here to see it in orange.
I first encountered this delight when I was making my way from my Airbnb-rented apartment in the trendy Vesterbro area out to Islands Brygge where the University of Copenhagen is situated. It was a sunny Sunday afternoon and I was trying to make sense of the map I had. I cannot understand maps. I do not know how to read them: which way is up? – which way is left? – which way is right? I have no idea. I usually do not even bother with maps andI have never tried electronic maps. What I do is rely on humans and enquire of them how to get to my destination. This usually involves having to ask many humans because as well as not being able to deal with maps, neither can I deal well with directions. I tune out after hearing the first turn right or left. I get that far and then ask the next person, and on I go like that until I reach my destination. It works! For me.
So there I was cycling along the cycles lanes in Copenhagen crossing this bridge and came to my very first roundabout for bicycles. Carefully staying in the right-hand lane I got around and then to my amazement I saw this beautiful curving orange cycle bridge extending over the water. Wow!
I have never seen anything so practical and beautiful. To the right of the bridge there is this glass building with a spiral staircase in its centre. Passing that you get out on to open water. To your left is the old town of Copenhagen with its skyline speckled with church spirals. Copenhagen is how I would like Cork to be. Flat first of all. Cork is very hilly. Then with proper cycle lanes and throw in some of the beautiful blonde Danish ladies on bikes would be a great bonus.
When I am in a new place, I don’t have a set idea of what I want to photograph or how I want to photograph; I prefer to approach it without having set limits or targets. This works for me. It results in my getting hundreds of images and then having to wade my way through them when I get back. The wading through them is a very enjoyable part for me. It relaxes me. I put on some nice music – lately this has been Arvo Part or the new U2 album – and spend sometime transferring the images I want to work on from iPhoto, which I use for storing all my images, to Lightroom, which I use for processing images. All iPhone images I process on the iPhone.
When I was away I got to use the iPhone 6 for the first time. I cannot say that the camera is better than on the iPhone 5. The phone itself is bigger and until I worked out a way to hold the phone when shooting (I use the volume button as the shutter release) it was difficult to use. I cannot put into words how upsetting I find it that it is now almost impossible to create good quality blur photographs on the iPhone. Try as I might with the technique I use to blur images, the iPhone now delights itself in its ability to correct and stabilise images. Why!? I got what I thought were some beautiful blur images on the iPhone only for the blurred figures to come into focus before my eyes. So sad.
This has led me to experiment with new iPhone apps. One that I like is Manual. This is an app that gives you full control over the functions of the camera and does allow for out-of-focus photography. Not perfect, but.
The first photographs I am posting from the trip to Copenhagen were taken on the pedestrianised shopping street – Strøget which runs through the centre of city. In evening time, the sun from the west streams directly on to this street and makes for wonderful photography opportunities. Will be posting a few from this street in the days to come.