Posts Tagged 'Tourist'

Empire State Pigeon

Just got back from a week in New York City and, after staying awake for 37 hours, have been saved from the effects of jetlag by a terrific headcold. Nice.

Luckily, I only started feeling unwell on our very last day in Manhattan, while wandering around 42nd street and 5th avenue, looking to photograph typical street scenes, and avoiding diamond shops.

It was cold, damn cold. But after a snowfall on our second day, we actually had very bright, sunny weather, which is good for seeing New York, as most of it is UP.

There is no further ‘up’ these days than the Empire State Building, which is an obligatory stop for us tourists. And it’s even colder on the 86th floor, particularly as you walk around to the North side where the sun don’t shine.

The building is so high, I was somehow surprised to see birds on the ledges getting in the way of our photographs. The funny thing was that despite the generally poor attitude we humans have towards pigeons when they’re scavenging on the ‘sidewalk’, nobody was shooing them away at 1000ft above street level – like they might get hurt or something.

The building just behind this chap’s head is the UN building.

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It Shouldn’t Happen to a (Wedding) Photographer…

…But it does. That’s why lots of highly successful photographers run screaming from the thought of shooting weddings, and why it’s a job that will always be underestimated. Dealing with people is an obvious skill when you decide to get into this particular photographic niche, but it’s not always the wedding guests we’re talking about. Last month, I shot a wedding at the church in Bowness right at the bottom of the hill and main shopping street. Weddings usually attract attention from tourists and this was no exception. I felt like a paparazzi as I framed a shot of the bride and her father entering the church doorway as the service was about to begin. Hundreds of people were watching behind me over the churchyard wall.

What I couldn’t see through my camera was that a ‘man of a certain age’ was about to walk straight across the back of the bride’s dress without a thought to anything but his own curiosity, but it wasn’t over yet. As I stood up I banged into two Japanese tourists who’d decided it was a good idea to lean over the squatting wedding photographer and get their own pictures.

The service itself was a welcome relief (!) and a chance to get good photographs before the mayhem began outside again. After some time in the grounds, bride & groom jumped into their vintage Bentley while I jumped into my car and waited to follow them. As their car came past, I indicated and pulled out into a decent gap behind them , much to the annoyance of Joe Bloggs in his red sports car who obviously wasn’t used to people doing that. And then I got screamed at by a cyclist who took exception to me taking the photograph below from the driving seat of my car. I know it was naughty and that it’s a bit bigger than a mobile phone, but technically I still had my eyes on the road – and through a very expensive lens. And it was all happening at such eye-watering speeds that the irate cyclist was able to overtake both of us. Some people have no sense of fun!

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Swan Dive

If in future you ever read about the Birdman of Bowness, it might be me. Once I saw the swans down at the lake pinching peoples’ chips out of their wrappers, I thought, “these aren’t your average birds” and soon learned to feed them out of my hand. This of course, tends to impress the tourists – particularly those who have a natural wariness of a bird that has a scary reputation. Their bills are serated, so your fingers get ‘rubbed’ when they snatch a piece of bread from your hand, but it ain’t going to get bitten off.

Ugly Duckling   Why did the Swan Cross the Road

But even I was surprised last night when I came across a family outing. Mum, Dad and seven cygnets were wandering around the park, nibbling furiously at the grass. A regular seller in my studio is a small print of a cygnet, which I took with a zoom lens from about six feet away a few years ago. But on this occasion I was allowed to join their dinner. I put myself in their path, thinking they would give me a wide berth, or that I’d be shown the door by mum or dad. But they came right up to me, sat down and carried on feeding. The adults were watching me, but not threatening in any way. It was a real priviledge. So much so that I felt really protective when all nine decided to cross the road back down to the lake. I crossed with them and kept my eyes open for cars.

Back at the waters edge, they hung around while dad sorted out an agressive interloper and then just plopped back into the water.


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