Life on the Ocean Wave: the good and the bad

Travelling in Europe

We’re going on two virtual trips today. You might not want to come on the one where I took the featured photo. It was a channel crossing we made a few years go. Expected duration? An hour and a half. Actual duration? Six miserable hours which you can read about here. This shot shows the view as we neared the harbour in Boulogne.

Mainly though, a trip across the Channel – even the North Sea – can be part of the holiday. A chance to enjoy views of the waves, the sunrise and sunset, the salty breezes whipping at your hair. And that’s why I’ve chosen shots taken while at sea for Jude’s challenge this week: waves. After my nightmare voyage, I’ve preferred gentle rippling water playing with reflections from the sun, and vessels heading across the endless waters. That’s my kind of sea trip.

2020 Photo Challenge #43

#Kinda Square

Patterns Through the Window, on the Wall

Blogging challenges, photography, Travelling in Europe

Look out of that window.  Who wants to go out unless they have to?  Instead, I’m inside and cosy, seeing if I can find photos that fit Jude’s 2020 Photo Challenge for February, Patterns.

I decided to go with the built environment.  I looked not for deliberately created architectural motifs, or applied ornamentation, but for reflections, distortion, or for other elements that weren’t intended as the main event.  Except in one case, where reflection and baffling the eye was definitely the main story.  Which one was that do you think?

 

This challenge was provided by Jude, of Travel Words.  

‘Wish You Were Here’

Barcelona, Blogging challenges, England, London, Travelling in Europe

Summer used to be a time for postcards.  Sending them.  Receiving them. Receiving was better.  What to say to your friends and relations with only such a small space to play with?  ‘Wish you were here’ maybe?

The views were standard, wherever they came from.  The castle.  The cathedral.  The fisherman’s cove. The crowded beach.

Today I’m reviving the tradition, but with a different angle on the standard shots.

St. Paul’s Cathedral, seen reflected in Angel’s Wing (2000) by Thomas Heatherwick, Paternoster Square, London.

The Leeds-Liverpool Canal passing under a bridge near Gargrave.

The Port Olímpic area of Barcelona seafront, reflected in nearby buildings.

Hull Minster, as seen in a nearby office building.

An honest view of a British holiday? The countryside near Penrith on a soggy Sunday.

This is my contribution to Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #59, Angles. Leya so often joined in when I was contributing to the Ragtag Daily Prompt that it seems only fair to return the compliment.  Thanks, Leya!

 

Dirty Dutch Coaster and Other Ships

Blogging challenges, Travelling in Europe

Travelling from Rotterdam to Hull the other week, on a grey and breezy North Sea crossing,  I spent hours on deck, enjoying the busyness of the cargo vessels puttering back and forth, back and forth across the steel-grey waters.  I was reminded on John Masefield’s ‘Cargoes’ – the last verse of it anyway:

Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Road-rail, pig-lead,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.

My memories of our trip are of grey seas, grey skies, grey industrial coastal landscapes, grey wind turbines.  With red highlights –  those busy ships: the cargo of lorries on our ferry: and an almost lurid sunset.

Click on any image to view full size.

Linked to Debbie’s Six Word Saturday, which I’ve been following for a while.  Time to join in!

And also an entry for the Which Way Photo Challenge.

A new angle on a ferry trip

Blogging challenges, Travelling in Europe

Coming back on the overnight ferry from Rotterdam to Hull last week, I had a lot of fun playing with my camera.  Most shots celebrated the sea, the shipping, the grungy industrial shore side, and I’ll share some of those soon.

But as the sun was setting, my eye was caught by these passengers on the decks above.  They didn’t know it, but I thought they made quite fine silhouettes set against the angled railings of the deck.

My response to today’s Ragtag Challenge: Angle.

Click on any image to view full size.

The rapacious stillness of the heron*

North Yorkshire, Travelling in Europe, Wildlife

Herons seem to be a part of our lives.  It’s a rare week when we don’t spot one flying languidly along the river, or waiting on an exposed rock for the next snack.

Wherever we travel, we can go heron spotting.   We’ve seen them in Dordrecht in the Netherlands, Córdoba in southern Spain, l’Albufera near Valencia, and Busan in South Korea.  Town and country: herons are there.

We see them as we walk along the path towards West Tanfield, and spot them on the garden pond.

The other day after a stressful week, I needed a bit of space.  Nosterfield Nature Reserve just up the road was the answer.  I walked along the wetland paths watching water birds courting, feeding, simply being there, standing motionless or swimming peacefully.  Quiet fields formed the backdrop.

Nosterfield Nature Reserve, spotted through a hide.

I went to the farthest hide.  I became transfixed by the under-stated drama being played out between a heron and two or three egrets.  They were fishing.  All plodded gracefully in and out of what humans might see as each other’s personal space.  They didn’t care or even seem to notice one another. They simply co-existed, fishing.

This is what first caught my eye….and then I zoomed in closer…..

This series of pictures might not seem that different one from another.  They’re a record of a simple afternoon in the lives of a heron, three egrets ….. and me.

Click on any image to view full size.

* The Crow Road: Iain Banks

 

A window of opportunity

Barcelona, England, photography, Ripon, Spain, Travelling in Europe

I’ve always loved looking at the contributions to Thursday doors, where bloggers from around the world share images of their favourite doors. Somehow, I’ve never got round to joining in.  But looking through my photos for something or other yesterday, I realised that I had the makings of a post about windows. Here it is.

Here’s an image from the last March for Europe in London in June.  I’ll be there again, probably as you read this, marching for a People’s Vote on the Final Deal.  I’m not sure how much I believe in another referendum, but what other hope have we got to turn the tide against the national disaster that is Brexit?

Happier times, happier pictures.  I started off by including images from Europe too.  But I’ll do England today, and maybe travel further afield another time.

Hull Minster, as seen from the office buildings opposite.

And Ripon Cathedral glimpsed through a camera obscura in early 2017.

There’s an osteopath in Ripon who always has a delightfully quirky window display.  Here’s winter.

Through the car window, a snowy winter landscape near Kex Gill in Yorkshire.

Train windows:  a view of Canary Wharf through the windows of the DLR line.

And the more rural landscape from the Wensleydale Railway.

I’ll finish with the photo I found that started me off.  This was the view I took outside our house on Christmas Eve morning last year.

The road north……

Ariège, Catalonia, France, Pyrénées, Spain, Travelling in Europe

We left Barcelona.

Past Monserrat….

We drove north through the Pyrenees, both in Spain and in France…..

Used the mirrors to glance back and back till we could no longer see the mountains……

Through the edge of the Lauragais, south of Toulouse…..

….reaching Cahors by the evening.

Much of the next day was spent in the flatlands of central France, in the Touraine…..

And now we’re with friends in Normandy, on the border of both Mayenne and Manche.

Which landscape would you choose?