Thursday, September 30, 2010

La Cure Gourmande

La Cure Gourmande is candy store where they sell a wide variety of home made sweets. First opened in 1989 their initial idea was to reintroduce the good old ancient traditional products that were popular a hundred or so years ago. They have since branched out around 25 stores around France and Belgium and now most recently opened a new outlet in Barcelona. This store was in the centre of Brugge, Belgium.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Medieval Style Living in Brugge

This is a wonderful example of a medieval style house on the banks of the canals in Brugge. The easiest way to move around and acquaint yourself with the layout and architecture of the town is to take one of the boat tours along the canals. 
Brugge is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium. It is located in the northwest of the country.
The historic city centre is a prominent World Heritage Site of UNESCO. It is egg-shaped and about 430 hectares in size. The area of the whole city amounts to more than 13,840 hectares, including 1,075 hectares off the coast, at Zeebrugge (meaning "Brugge aan Zee" or "Bruges on Sea"). The city's total population is 117,073 (1 January 2008), of which around 20,000 live in the historic centre. The metropolitan area, including the outer commuter zone, covers an area of 616 km² and has a total of 255,844 inhabitants as of 1 January 2008.
Along with a few other canal-based northern cities, such as Amsterdam, it is sometimes referred to as "The Venice of the North".

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Old Kirk Graveyard

The oldest church in Kirkcaldy, Scotland is the Old Parish Church (otherwise known as the Old Kirk) on Kirk Wynd. The earliest record of the Old Kirk was the consecration in 1244 to St Brisse and St Patrick by Bishop de Bernham of St Andrews. The present Old Kirk was re-built between 1807 and 1808 in a Georgian style, when the former church fell into disrepair. Only the square western tower of the former church was retained. This medieval tower, which dates from around 1500, has played both religious and defensive roles in its history.
The building in the background is the Allen Lithographic printing company

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ballindalloch Castle

I'm off to Scotland tomorrow for a visit to my homeland ... my own "Balik Kampung" so here is an image to get in to the spirit of the trip. 
Ballindalloch is one of the most beautiful and renowned castles in Scotland. Known as the Pearl of the North, it is located in the heart of Speyside, near to the famed local whisky distilleries of Cragganmore, Glenlivet, Glenfarclas and Glenfiddich. Surrounded by majestic hills, and with the tumbling waters of the Rivers Spey and Avon flowing through the grounds, the setting is truly magnificent.
A much loved family home, Ballindalloch is one of the few privately owned castles to have been lived in continuously by its original family. The Macpherson-Grants have resided here since 1546.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Notre Dame

Notre Dame de Paris (French for Our Lady of Paris), also known as Notre Dame Cathedral, is a Gothic, Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. It is the cathedral of the Catholic Archdiocese of Paris: that is, it is the church that contains the cathedra (official chair), of the Archbishop of Paris, currently André Vingt-Trois. Notre Dame de Paris is widely considered one of the finest examples of French Gothic architecture in France and in Europe. It was restored and saved from destruction by Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, one of France's most famous architects. The name Notre Dame means "Our Lady" in French, and is frequently used in the names of Catholic church buildings in Francophone countries. Notre Dame de Paris was one of the first Gothic cathedrals, and its construction spanned the Gothic period. Its sculptures and stained glass show the heavy influence of naturalism, unlike that of earlierRomanesque architecture.
Notre Dame de Paris was among the first buildings in the world to use the flying buttress (arched exterior supports). The building was not originally designed to include the flying buttresses around the choir and nave. After the construction began and the thinner walls (popularized in the Gothic style) grew ever higher, stress fractures began to occur as the walls pushed outward. In response, the cathedral's architects built supports around the outside walls, and later additions continued the pattern.
The cathedral suffered desecration during the radical phase of the French Revolution in the 1790s, when much of its religious imagery was damaged or destroyed. During the 19th century, an extensive restoration project was completed, returning the cathedral to its previous state.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Blue Saree at the Red Fort

This was definitely was one of those Steve McCurry moments ..... lining up some shots inside the Red Fort in New Delhi, India when out of nowhere came this women in a blue saree breezing through the fort right in my path. No idea who she was and where she was going but the contrast of the saturated blue costume against the dark hues of the inside fort walls added a little more interest, scale and impact to this shot.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Hotel Colon

While wandering the streets of Barcelona in Spain I came across this hotel with a unique name ... just wondered who chooses to stay in a hotel called Hotel Colon, maybe those with special dietary requirements, or maybe they just like shitty service, I just don't know.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

The Old Louvre

The Old Louvre occupies the site of the 12th-century fortress of King Philip Augustus, also called the Louvre. Its foundations are viewable in the basement level as the "Medieval Louvre" department. This structure was razed in 1546 by King Francis I in favor of a larger royal residence which was added to by almost every subsequent French monarch. King Louis XIV, who resided at the Louvre until his departure for Versailles in 1678, completed the Cour Carrée, which was closed off on the city side by a colonnade. The Old Louvre is a quadrilateral approximately 160 meters on a side consisting of 8 ailes (wings) which are articulated by 8 pavillons (pavilions). Starting at the northwest corner and moving clockwise, the pavillons consist of the following: Pavillon de BeauvaisPavillion de Marengo, Northeast Pavilion, Central Pavilion, Southeast Pavilion, Pavillon des ArtsPavillon du Roi, and Pavillon Sully (formerly, Pavillon de l'Horloge). Between the Pavillon du Roi and the Pavillon Sully is the Aile Lescot ("Lescot Wing"): built between 1546 and 1551, it is the oldest part of the visible external elevations and was important in setting the mold for later French architectural classicism. Between the Pavillon Sully and the Pavillon de Beauvais is the Aile Lemercier ("Lemercier Wing"): built in 1639 by Louis XIII and Richelieu, it is a symmetrical extension of Lescot's wing in the same Renaissance style. With it, the last external vestiges of the medieval Louvre were demolished.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Postcards from Paris

A colourful set of nostalgic postcards on a stand outside a shop in the Place du Tertre in Paris adding to the atmosphere of the surroundings. This place in Paris is where you can find many artists showing off their paintings and sketches and is always a great location for people watching ... but don't forget the smaller details like this.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Rome Wasn't Built In a Day

The inside of this church in Rome shows you why Rome wasn't built in a day ..... just look at the detail and design in this church. We just don't build things like that these days. This photo was taken back in 2003 with my first digital Canon D30, a 3.1Mp sensor. I must return to Rome sometime with my 5D MkII to capture all the detail in this architecture with the higher resolution sensor.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Tehran Panorama

This was a panorama created from 8 individual images looking north over the mountains that surround Tehran in Iran.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Stairway to Heaven

This stairway inside the Opera House in Paris leads the eye up to the beautiful, intricate ceilings, arches and balconies. If you get a chance to visit Paris this is a must see place.

Alternative to HDR?

There are usually two fairly strong factions when it comes to HDR .... that is those who love it and those who hate it. I have sat on both sides of the fence having dabbled with HDR for some time then looked at the results and have been sometimes unhappy about some of the final images. However if done correctly and in moderation HDR can produce some pretty spectacular images but usually needs a set of bracketed images to cover the dynamic range of the particular scene and shot preferably using a tripod
The following image is an HDR image I composed in Chiang Rai, Thailand as the sun was setting over the Mae Kok River. I took 3 shots at -2, 0, and +2 EV and combined the 3 images in PhotoMatixPro application.
The 3 bracketed shots that the final HDR image was created from are below for reference.
0 EV
-2 EV
+2 EV

Recently I have using Topaz Fusion Express as a plugin for Aperture and have found that the results can produce images that are as good if not better than HDR images and only using one exposure rather than a number of bracketed shots.
Taking the same image as above, i.e. the 0 EV exposure image and running it through Topaz Fusion Express I got the above result which is equivalent or in my view even better than the HDR image produced from the 3 bracketed images.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Dinner in Tehran

This is one of the oldest and most traditional restaurants in Tehran and was packed with customers there to eat dinner, socialise and listen to the local musicians. I guess I arrived in Iran with some pre-conceived ideas about the country and the people but left with a completely different perception. I found the people very friendly, warm and with a great sense of humour and fun. They certainly enjoy an evening out and this venue certainly demonstrated that.

Friday, September 03, 2010

The Golden Hall

This fabulous golden hall is in the Opera House in Paris. The Paris Opera (FrenchOpéra de Paris) is the primary opera company of Paris, France. Currently the official name is the Opéra national de Paris. It was founded in 1669 by Louis XIV as the Académie d'Opéra and shortly thereafter became the Académie royale de Musique. The company primarily produces operas at its modern theatre Opéra Bastille which opened in 1989, and ballets at the older Palais Garnier which opened in 1875.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Storm in a Beer Bottle

In this case not a storm in a teacup ..... but a storm in a beer bottle! A local beer made in Bali which as you can tell from the empty contents was put to good use after a hard day out on the Bali tourist trail.