We had a little family trip to the FINA World Series Diving at the London Aquatics Centre yesterday. It was my daughter Esther’s idea. She bought the tickets as a birthday treat for my wife Naomi who had enjoyed watching Tom Daley et al on TV competing at the Olympics two years ago.
My best picture was of Ivan Garcia about to hit the water having dived from the 10m platform.
This guy is maybe better known to UK readers. Tom Daley was not on his best form yesterday although he did execute a few truly excellent dives.
Not so easy to recognise from this picture, maybe even to his own fans. It’s Chen Aisen, but you’ll just have to take my word for it.
In between taking pictures of the sculptures I spotted this couple enjoying a bit of quiet togetherness on a bench, overlooking Chatsworth House.
They were just there, enjoying the view. In an odd sort of way, it reminded me of when Naomi and I just sat for an hour admiring the totality of Machu Picchu.
Another sculpture by Tony Cragg. This one is Tongue in Cheek.
I was trying to work out whether the title was supposed to work on a number of levels. That is, was it supposed to look literally like a rolled up tongue inside a cheek, as well as representing something intended as fun and playful?
Questions of interpretation apart, the sculptures in the Beyond Limits exhibition were in general very accessible in the sense that they were eye-catching and enjoyable for their own sake. Just back in August, Naomi and I had been to Venice and were somewhere between bemused and sickened by some of what passes for art at the Biennale fringe events.
I had some holiday to use up at the end of September, so Naomi took a few days off as well. We used one of them to visit Chatsworth House, to see the Sotheby’s sculpture exhibition “Beyond Limits” on display in the gardens.
This is Current Version by Tony Cragg.
We enjoyed the trip very much and luckily the weather held up, just. The Chatsworth gardens are quite beautiful and the fact that the 20 sculptures are strategically distributed around the garden area means you end up exploring the whole of it. The gardens set off the art and vice versa, so the experience as a whole was more than the sum of the parts.
On the minus side, I think my Sony DSLR is on its last legs. The electronics went very wobbly at one point and I was shooting “blind”. The problem righted itself but I think I may need to delve back into the camera market quite soon.
It is now well over a year since my trip to South America and my good intentions, in terms of documenting it all on this blog, are well and truly in tatters. But what the hell, I’ll keep posting some of the more memorable images.
I’m not sure Machu Picchu was the exceptional highlight I thought it would be. Not because it wasn’t as wonderful as it’s cracked up to be; more because there were other experiences which rivalled it or matched it. Still, my abiding memory of that quintessential Inca legacy is the hour my wife and I spent sitting at our chosen vantage point looking down over Machu Picchu and just drinking in the vista. This is the view we had:
We didn’t have great weather or great lighting for photography. There was a lot of low* cloud and it rained most of the time. We only had two or three hours of dry weather, from around ten in the morning till lunchtime, on the two days we were there so no chance of a dramatic dawn or sunset. And there are so many pictures of Machu Picchu that it’s hard to come up with anything truly new. Having said that, I haven’t seen many (or any?) other pictures that show the whole topography of the place, right down to the Urubamba River below.
* relatively speaking, bearing in mind we were around 8,000 feet above sea level
The cruise itinerary took us past the wreck of the Santa Leonora. It was very misty so I was quite pleased to get a usable photo.
There is a story to the demise of the Santa Leonora which was related by the captain over the PA as we passed the wreck. His story matches the explanation in the Kauer’s Korner blog, reproduced below:
Around 4:00pm we approach Isla Shoalon where the Santa Leonora was shipwrecked in 1964.
The ship was on her maiden voyage carrying Chilean pilots northwards through the area. She was a passenger ship of around 18,000 tons. At that time, aboard the bridge, helm orders were given using the terms ‘left’ and ‘right’ instead of ‘port’ and ‘starboard.’ As they transited Shoal Pass the pilot and the captain were engaged in conversation and on completion of their talk the captain said, “Alright pilot!”
The nervous helmsman responded to what he thought to be a helms order and applied full right (starboard) rudder. The ship veered to starboard and mounted the nearby shallows at full speed.
Fortunately, no lives were lost. The passengers were rescued the next day. The investigation into the incident revealed that the use of the words ‘right’ and ‘left’ were the cause of the accident. As a result of that incident, all directions on the ship are given as ‘starboard’ (right) and ‘port’ (left).
The Amalia glacier is something like 2km wide as it reaches the sea and has a striking blue colour. You can see the upper stretches of it as it comes down the mountainside.
I was having trouble snapping Naomi with the glacier in the background. She either came out too dark or the background was overexposed. The ship’s official photographer came out with his DSLR and took a picture which had both us and the background correctly exposed. I was stumped until I realised he’d just used fill-in flash. I tried the same trick and my snaps were suddenly as good as his.
Well I did say my blogposts would not be following a linear narrative. We’ve jumped a number of days to the cruise section of our trip. This picture was taken at dawn while we were cruising the Chilean fjords. The rosy dawn light was reflected in the zig-zag pattern made by the ship’s lateral wake. I spotted an opportunity for an abstract picture. It features a lot of water so I call it an aquabstract.
Another journey, another series of blogposts. South America this time, starting in Peru.
This particular trip started over a week ago but it is only now that I am on board ship (the middle section is a Holland America cruise), with a few “at sea” days, that I have the time to start putting up some blogposts. The first few posts will be a retrospective, covering Peru, including Cuzco, Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu, and part of Chile. I will go straight in to some of the highlights so the narrative may not quite be linear.
Just to make the point, the first post covers day 4 which featured a visit to the Inca town of Ollantaytambo. Just to put timescales in context; Day 1 was Manchester to Heathrow, Day 2 was Heathrow to Lima via Madrid, and Day 3 was Lima to Cuzco where we just had enough time to visit one of the historical Inca sights, the Golden Enclosure or Qoricancha. Day 4 took in the trip to Ollantaytambo in the “Sacred Valley” that runs between Cuzco and Macchu Picchu and the town of Pisac which is basically a tourist market, if rather cleaner and better than most.
On the way from Cuzco to Ollantaytambo we stopped at a vantage point overlooking a town in a valley with glacier carved slopes and snow-capped Andes mountains in the distance. There was the usual clutch of locals selling traditional goods. The locals had a baby with them in traditional dress.
Have no fear, we will find ourselves airborne in the next post. But I did want to include this last picture of preparation for flight.
This shows a whole balloon on the ground, before even the cold air fans have been used to start inflating it. I guess I just liked the cluster of airborne balloons in the background. The largest (red) balloon is, I think, the same one that appears below in post #8 of the Egypt 2010 series.
Some very early risers were already airborne and heading off into the grey dawn sky.
We had to wait while our balloon was inflated.
According to Wikipedia (see photo of yellow balloon in the article) the balloon is first partially inflated using cold air from gas-powered fans, as in the picture above. The inflation process is completed using the propane burner mounted at the top of the passenger gondola (below).