Photographs of the Middle East

A Great Day (and Night) in Abu Dhabi and Dubai

That fine day spent photographing Dubai and Abu Dhabi in 2014 was very much down to a chance meeting. I had been exhibiting with my good friend Sami Nabeel. There we met Ziyad Alarfaj – who kindly agreed to show us around and with that vital gift to the photographer – help to get access.

The day started very early at the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, a short drive from Dubai. As day broke over the mosque the blue light of dawn set off the white building beautifully.

Our host got us private access. It was hard to believe this magnificent structure had been constructed just a few years ago. We spent the morning watching the light change and the sun casting stronger and stronger shadows.

We watched the sun go down over the Persian Gulf and nightfall over the Burj Al Arab. As the light changed another series of memorable photographs resulted.

After dark we travelled into Dubai for a night shoot. We were given access to the 40th floor of an apartment building. The views over the city were remarkable. The lights on the world famous buildings and traffic trails on the highway below made for some wonderful cityscapes.

There was more to come. As we packed up the clouds and mist fell. A spectacular vista took on a deeper mystical feel. Clouds made a superb frame for the Burj Khalifer, the world’s tallest building, almost a kilometre high.

That’s enough words. I’ll let the images do the talking with a sincere thanks to Ziyad for his hospitality and for making the day such a success.

Photographs of the Middle East: The Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi

Photographs of the Middle East: The Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi

Photographs of the Middle East: The Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi

Photographs of the Middle East: The Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi

Photographs of the Middle East: The Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi

Photographs of the Middle East: The Grand Mosque of Abu Dhabi

Photographs of the Middle East: Dubai Skyline

Photographs of the Middle East: Dubai Skyline

Photographs of the Middle East: Dubai Skyline

Photographs of the Middle East: Dubai Skyline

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Flying Scotsman and Union of South Africa

Flying Scotsman and Union of South Africa are iconic locomotives. My railway enthusiast friends tell me that when these two engines visited Didcot together in August 2017 it was a big deal. A very big deal. Apparently it is the first time these fine vehicles have been seen together since the 1960s.

Flying Scotsman is known the world over. It is the nations favourite locomotive. The loco – part of the A-3 class – was built in 1923 and was retired in 1963. Since then it has had various private owners and is now owned by the National Railway Museum.

The Union of South Africa is part of the A-4 class and was in service between 1937 and 1966. It is in private ownership.

I took the opportunity to visit Didcot this week. Here are a few images created which evoke the golden age of steam of more than half a century ago. They feature Flying Scotsman, Union of South Africa as well as a handful of other locos.

Please get in touch if you would like more information on any of these images.

The Flying Scotsman and Union of South Africa

Flying Scotsman and Union of South Africa

Steam from The Flying Scotsman and Union of South Africa

Flying Scotsman and Union of South Africa

Pink photo of Union of South Africa at dawn

Union of South Africa at dawn

Union of South Africa steam train under cloudy sky

Union of South Africa

The Flying Scotsman on Shed

Flying Scotsman in the shed

Orange photo of Union of South Africa on shed

Union of South Africa in the shed

Outside the engine shed at dusk

Outside the engine shed at dusk

Locos inside the engine shed

Locos inside the engine shed

The Cookham Manor on shed

The Cookham Manor on shed

My thanks to Timeline Events and the efforts of Neil Cave, Peter Zabek and the team of people who made these photo shoots possible.

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Photographs of Santorini

Surely one of the most beautiful of Greek Islands, Santorini is nestled in the Aegean Sea. Here are seven photographs of Santorini that will make you wish you were there right now.

It’s a place where white houses hug the cliff face and where blue domed churches can seemingly be found around every corner. The island is built on a caldera (crater) formed by a volcanic eruption.

In this post I am featuring a series of photographs of Santorini created during a short visit in June 2016. They feature the picturesque towns of Pyrgos and Oia and of Megalahori, Pori and Emborio.

The Island has been photographed by millions of people. These photographs of Santorini are a few images made in the places I visited. For further details, or to see more please get in touch.

Photographs of Santorini Pyrgos

Church at Pyrgos

Photographs of Santorini Oia at Sunrise

Dawn at Oia

Photographs of Santorini Oia

Sunrise over Oia

Photographs of Santorini Steps at Church

Steps in the Churchyard at Pori

Photographs of Santorini Pyrgos

Blue Domed Church at Pyrgos

Photographs of Santorini Chapel

Chapel near Emborio

Photographs of Santorini Church at Megalahori

Church at Megalahori

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Photos of New York City – Brooklyn Bridge

New York City is one of the greatest cities in the world. I have visited and photographed the city many times. This is the first of a series of posts featuring some of my favourite photos of New York City. The location selected for this post is the Brooklyn Bridge. The structure is truly iconic and is one of the sights which immediately comes to mind when people think of New York City.

Photos of New York City: Brooklyn Bridge in black and white

I have chosen five photographs from our World Cities collection. The first is taken from the Brooklyn Bridge during daytime. It shows the manhattan skyline viewed through the cables supporting the Brooklyn Bridge.

Photos of New York City Brooklyn Bridge and manhattan skyline

Brooklyn Bridge and manhattan skyline

The second image shows the walkway across the bridge. It was shot early in the morning. At other times you will find many pedestrians and cyclists along the walkway.

Photos of New York City Brooklyn Bridge Walkway

Brooklyn Bridge Walkway

The third image shows a series of signs next to the ramp allowing vehicles onto the bridge. This urban shot captures the feel of the area around the bridge.

Photos of New York City Brooklyn Bridge signs

Brooklyn Bridge signs

The fourth image is an iconic view of the Manhattan skyline from Brooklyn. This is one of my favourite views in the world and the subtle patterns in the sky add atmosphere to this picture.

Photos of New York City Manhattan from beneath the Brooklyn Bridge

Manhattan from beneath the Brooklyn Bridge

The final photograph in this selection features a classic Cadillac in front of the Brooklyn Bridge. Note also the manhattan Bridge in the background.

Photographs of New York City Cadillac and Brooklyn Bridge

Cadillac and Brooklyn Bridge

Please get in touch if you would like to know more about these images or others featuring New York City.

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About the Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge is a suspension bridge which was completed in 1883. It took 14 years to build and crosses 1600 feet of the East River. The bridge was designated as a national historic landmark in 1964.

Brooklyn Bridge links Manhattan with Brooklyn.

I have walked the bridge many times and prefer to start on the Manhattan side. It takes around half an hour to reach Brooklyn. The rewards for completing the crossing include spectacular views of Manhattan as well as the beautiful architecture and vibe of Brooklyn Heights. Then there’s the eateries. I have celebrated special occasions at the River Café restaurant and enjoyed ice cream at the Brooklyn Ice Cream factory.

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Hertford Heritage Trail

A few months ago a number of blue plaques appeared in and around the town centre of Hertford. Each was attached to a significant building which became part of the Hertford Heritage Trail.

Hertford is a charming town 25 miles north of London with an interesting history. As the county town of Hertfordshire it is home to twenty thousand people. I became one of the twenty thousand a few years ago.

As a resident of Hertford I had captured a number of images of the town over the years. In August 2017 I decided to use the Hertford Heritage Trail as a basis for adding some more. This selection features several images created recently with a few older photographs interspersed where I had them in my library. There are also a few gaps. Please check back occasionally as these will be filled over time.

The trail can start anywhere, but I have followed the route suggested by the Tourist Information Centre in the centre of town. A map and description of the Hertford Heritage Trail can be found here.

1. Hertford Castle

Hertford Heritage Trail Hertford castle in Winter

Hertford Castle in Winter

2. 25 Castle Street

Hertford Heritage Trail 25 Castle Street

25 Castle Street

3. 12 – 14 Parliament Square

Hertford Heritage Trail 12 to 14 Parliament Square

12 to 14 Parliament Square

4. Green Dragon Vaults – the Green Dragon Inn

Hertford Heritage Trail Green Dragon Vaults

Green Dragon Vaults

5. 1 Fore Street

Hertford Heritage Trail 1 Fore Street

1 Fore Street

6. War Memorial

Hertford Heritage Trail Hertford War Memorial

Hertford War Memorial

7. Bayley Hall

Hertford Heritage Trail Bayley Hall

Bayley Hall

8. Shire Hall

Hertford Heritage Trail Shire Hall

Shire Hall

9. Egyptian House

Hertford Heritage Trail Egyptian House architectural detail

Egyptian House architectural detail

10. Samuel Stone

I have cheated here. The heritage trail includes a Samuel Stone plaque which now sits over a bar on Fore Street. This statue of Samuel Stone, found close to Hertford Theatre is much more attractive and was photographed last autumn.

Hertford Heritage Trail Samuel Stone Statue

Samuel Stone Statue in Hertford

11. Corn Exchange

Hertford Heritage Trail Corn Exchange

Hertford Corn Exchange

12. The Former Post Office

Hertford Heritage Trail Old Post Office Building

Old Post Office Building

13. Masters House

14. The Former Ram Inn

Hertford Heritage Trail Former Ram Inn

Dog and Whistle (Former Ram Inn)

15. Christ’s Hospital

Hertford Heritage Trail Bluecoats Christs Hospital

Gate Statues Christ’s Hospital

16. Hertford East Station

Hertford Heritage Trail Hertford East Station

Hertford East Station

17. The Priory / St John’s Church

Hertford The Priory St Johns Catholic Church

The Priory St Johns Catholic Church

18. Quaker Meeting House

Hertford Heritage Trail Quaker Meeting House

Quaker Meeting House

19. Hertford Museum

Hertford Heritage Trail Hertford Museum

Hertford Museum

20. Lombard House

Hertford Heritage Trail Lombard House

Lombard House

21. Old Cross Library

Hertford Heritage Trail Old Cross Library

Old Cross Library

22. McMullen and Sons

Hertford Heritage Trail McMullen and Sons Limited

McMullen and Sons Limited

23. Hartham Chapel

Hertford Heritage Trail Hartham Chapel

Hartham Chapel

24. Prince Albert Cottages

Hertford Price Albert Cottages

Price Albert Cottages

25. W E Johns

The former home of the Biggles author is the house to the right of the streetlamp.

https://i2.wp.com/www.mrsmithworldphotography.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/Hertford-W-E-Johns.jpg?resize=764%2C510&ssl=1

Hertford – Home of WE Johns

26. Old Cross Post Office

Hertford Heritage Trail Old Cross Post Office

Former Old Cross Post Office

27. Wallace House

28. Yeomanry House

Hertford Heritage Trail Yeomanry House

Yeomanry House

29. 50 St Andrew Street

Hertford Heritage Trail 50 St Andrew Street

50 St Andrew Street

30. 43 St Andrew Street

Hertford Heritage Trail 43 St Andrew Street

43 St Andrew Street

31. North Road House

I believe North Road House is a private residence, so only the sign on the gate is shown here.

Hertford Heritage Trail North Road House

North Road House

32. Former Ebeneezer Chapel

I need to do some more research to locate this building. Please check back later.

33. Elsden Photographer

I need to do some more research to locate this building. Please check back later.

34. Sele Mill

Hertford Heritage Trail Sele Mill

Sele Mill

35. County Hospital

Hertford Heritage Trail Hertford County Hospital

Hertford County Hospital

36. 37d West Street

37. Hale’s Free Grammar School

Hertford Heritage Trail Hale's Free Grammar School

Hale’s Free Grammar School

38. School of Industry for Girls

Hertford Heritage Trail

School of Industry for Girls

39. The County Gaol

No picture is shown here. The Gaol was razed to the ground before offices were built on its site.

40. Former Addis Site

Hertford Heritage Trail Former Addis Site

Former Addis Site

41. Port Hill House / Post House

This post is (and will probably always be) in development. I will try to improve the images as I wander around town over time. If you would like to know more about these or any other images of Hertford please get in touch.

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Photographs of Leicester City Murals

Photographs-of-Leicester-City-Murals-1

Local Heroes

The 2016 Leicester City story was the stuff that dreams are made of.

In case you missed it this is what happened. Towards the end of the 2014 – 2015 football season Leicester City were bottom of the Premier League and seemed certain to be relegated. But they went on a run of seven victories and defied all the odds to survive. In itself a remarkable achievement but much bigger things would follow. Winning becomes a habit, and when the new season started Leicester kept on winning. Pre season odds of 5000 -1 surely meant that the team could not win the Premier League. They kept picking up points and found themselves at the top of the table. As the weeks passed the football world waited for Leicester to stumble, whilst hoping they wouldn’t. And they didn’t. A magnificent win away to Manchester City in February made people outside Leiceter start to believe. A really efficient run in followed. They kept picking cup points until they could no longer be caught and were crowned champions in May.

This was not just a story that appealed to football fans. It showed the world that dreams can come true, and that with the right mentality anything is possible. The Club’s manager and coach, Claudio Ranieri earned worldwide plaudits for leading his unfancied team to unprecedented success. Remarkably it was the first time he had managed a team to a league title. In a game dominated by money it was wonderful to see Leicester succeed on a low budget.

I found myself Leicester a couple of times in early 2017 and went in search of symbols of the Football Club’s triumph. These photographs of Leicester City murals were found around the city.

The murals will fade, but the memory of one of the greatest sporting stories of them all will surely not.

Leicester-City-Mural-5

Blue Army

Photographs-of-Leicester-City-Murals-4

Lineker Road

Photographs-of-Leicester-City-Murals-3

Thai Mural

Photographs-of-Leicester-City-Murals-2

King Claudio

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Bronx Photographs

The last few hours of my recent trip to New York City were spent with Alexandra Maruri of Bronx Historical Tours.

This proved to be a very rewarding experience as I was shown round some of the magnificent street art of the Bronx.

The work on display has been curated by the TAG Public Arts project. My understanding is that aims are two fold – to improve the urban landscapes within the Bronx and to give exposure to the artists who create the work.

The project was founded by J. SinXero Beltran. A highlight of my visit was the opportunity to chat with James Sexer Rodriguez who kindly dropped by to meet us. His works are a feature of the project.

There are many other blogs covering the TAG initiative. I hope that through this short post I can introduce a few more people to the project.

Most visitors to New York City do not include the Bronx in their itineraries. But my fleeting visit indicates that there is much to discover in the borough and I certainly plan to return.

A mention also for Bronx Historical Tours run by Alexandra. She offers various itineraries – I chose the street art tour but there are several others outlined at bronxhistoricaltours.com.

To her enormous credit she ran our morning tour even though I was the only guest. Many other operators would have cancelled.

Here are a few Bronx photographs depicting some of the scenes I encountered. I hope I have got the names of the artists right – apologies if I have made any errors.

Three Bronx photographs featuring murals:

Bronx Photos Murals

Bronx Murals – Daek William

Bronx Photos Murals

Bronx Murals – Sexer

Bronx Photos Murals

Bronx Murals – SinXero

Four Bronx photographs featuring street art reflected in vehicle windows.

Bronx Photos Murals

Bronx Murals – Sexer and Cope 2

Bronx Photographs Murals

Bronx Murals – Epic Uno

Bronx Photographs Murals

Bronx Murals – Werc and Cruz

Bronx Photographs Murals

Bronx Murals – Damian Mitchell

And finally, many thanks to this lady for posing in front of this mural!

Bronx Photographs Murals

Bronx Murals – SEE TF

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Photographs of Bradford in Yorkshire

I have just spent a few days in Bradford in Yorkshire, Northern England. The city was my home for a few years in the 1970’s. I have thought about photographing this location for some time and finally got round to it.

In this blog post I am featuring a few of the themes that interest me:

  • The beautiful Victorian architecture (limited by major renovations taking place in the city centre at the moment).
  • Some of the buildings in and around the University where I studied four decades ago.
  • Derelict locations which serve as a reminder of the city’s history.
  • Spectacular mosques which have become recent additions to the city skyline.

The city receives a mixed press. During my recent visit I could not help thinking that there are better days ahead for it. The new Westfield Shopping Centre due to open in 2015 will transform the city centre. Alongside this are other developments expected to change the city’s fortunes.

Here is  a selection of images created in August 2014. To see more, please get in touch.

Photographs-of-Bradford-Bradford-skyline-1

Photographs of Bradford: Bradford Skyline

Photographs-of-Bradford-Bradford-City-Hall

Photographs of Bradford: Bradford City Hall

Photographs-of-Bradford-Lister-Mills-Bradford

Photographs of Bradford: Lister Mills

Photographs-of-Bradford-Wardley-House-Bradford

Photographs of Bradford: Wardley House

Photographs-of-Bradford-Revis-Barber-Hall

Photographs of Bradford: Revis Barber Hall

Photographs-of-Bradford-Gumbad-Jamiyat-Tabligh-Ul-Islam Mosque-1

Photographs of Bradford: Gumbad-Jamiyat Tabligh Ul Islam Mosque

Photographs-of-Bradford-Al-Jamia Suffa-Tul-Islam Grand Mosque

Photographs of Bradford: Al-Jamia Suffa-Tul-Islam Grand Mosque

Photographs-of-Bradford-Salami-Manufacturers-Bradford

Photographs of Bradford: Former Salami Manufacturers

Photographs-of-Bradford-Shaheen-Restaurant

Photographs of Bradford: Shaheen Restaurant

Photographs-of-Bradford-Thorpe-Buildings-Bradford

Photographs of Bradford: Thorpe Buildings Bradford

Photographs-of-Bradford-Marlboro-Cinema-Bradford

Photographs of Bradford: Former Marlboro Cinema

I am grateful to the many people I met over the past few days who helped me with this photographic journey.

For more information on anything you have seen in this post please visit our website or call 01992 535344.

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Sacred Places – Spiritual Images

During the last decade I travelled to some amazing places. My travels through Asia and Africa took me to some remarkable religious locations. In this short post I am featuring some of the spiritual images created during those journeys. Ten photographs from a much larger collection.

The first four images were taken during a tour of the temples around Angkor in Cambodia in 2012. Here you can see the temples of Bayon, Preah Khan and Ta Promh. The fourth image features a temple on the jungle a few hours north of Angkor. These images really do speak for themselves – all feature remarkable scenes form many years ago.

Sacred places

Sacred places 1: Ta Promh, Angkor, Cambodia

Sacred places

Sacred places 2: Prea Khan, Angkor, Cambodia

Sacred places

Sacred places 3: Prea Khan, Angkor, Cambodia

Sacred places

Sacred places 4: The Temple in the Jungle, Angkor, Cambodia

The next image highlights the Taj Mahal in Agra, India. It was shot from the river behind the temple – a vantage point slightly, but only slightly off the tourist trail.

Sacred places

Sacred places 5: Taj Mahal, Agra, india

Images number six and seven feature scenes captured in French West Africa. The first shows a voodoo temple in Benin. The second features one of the remarkable mud mosques in Bani, Burkina Faso.

Sacred places

Sacred places 6: Voodoo Temple, Benin, Africa

Sacred places

Sacred places 7: Mud Mosque, Bani, burkina Faso, Africa

Image number eight was shot in Tehran, Iran. This photo depicts a religious mural.

Sacred places

Sacred places 8: Tehran, Iran

Image number nine shows the Jetvnaramaya Stupa in Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka.

Sacred places

Sacred places 9: Jetavanaramaya Stupa, Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

The last of my photos  features the magnificent golden stupas of Yangon in Myanmar. (Formerly Rangoon in Burma). The vista is dominated by the splendid Schwedagon Pagoda in the foreground.

Sacred places

Sacred places 10: Pagodas, Yangon, Burma

This short post on spiritual images is intended as just a taster. To find out more about a large collection of spiritual images please call 01992 535344. To see a range of fine art photographic prints please visit the online gallery.

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Devil’s Marbles in the Northern Territory – Australia

I’m featuring a series of images shot a few years ago during a couple of road trips I took through Australia. First off is the wonderful shapes created by the Devil’s Marbles in the Northern Territory. And to think that some people think there is nothing to see in the outback….

Devil’s Marbles in the Northern Territory

To see more images from around the world, please visit the Amazing places collection:

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Photographs of Texas – Baird

Baird, Texas, USA, Western Town

Baird, Texas at dawn

At the start of my recent trip to New Mexico I Planned my journey which would take me through Texas. My photographs of Texas included a number of small towns and had strong recommendations to visit Baird en route. This proved good advice – I passed through the town on my outward and inward journeys. This shot shows the character of Baird and gives more than a nod to its history as a Western Town.

 

Iceland

Pink skies, Waterfall, Iceland, Sunset, Photo

Sunset in North East Iceland

During my recent journey through Iceland I was accompanied by a talented group of photographers. Whilst many of my companions concentrated on the detail of Iceland’s natural wonders, many of my photographs featured the bigger picture. This sunset shot is a case in point – a busy shot but it worked for me iceland sunset.

Tulsa

Art Deco Buildings, Boston Avenue, Tulsa

I arrived at Tulsa during my latest trip along Route 66 and spent a little longer there than planned. Why? Because Tulsa is a real gem.  A vibrant city with stunning art deco architecture, lots going on and most of all some great people. I visited several places around the city with the help of some locals I would like to thank.

My base was the excellent Campbell Hotel, a beautifully restored 1930’s building where no expense was spared on the refurbishment. I was grateful to the staff there – Jackie, Alyssah, Justin and especially Emily, who took me on a guided tour of Route 66 in and around the city.

The city and surroundings has lots of  places along, or in the spirit of, Route 66. The blue whale and giant mushrooms at Catoosa, Tally’s and Hanks Hamburgers in the City, the Oasis and Brookstone Motels, the Meadow Gold exhibit, and the list goes on. The historic Cain’s Ballroom, where I was lucky enough to take in a show is a superb building. Fifteen minutes from Tulsa is the town of Sapulpa, well worth a visit, and where I was grateful for the assistance from the lovely ladies at the Chamber of Commerce, not forgetting Betty from the bank, for guidance on local points of interest.

The music venues of the city are numerous. I came across Soundpony, where the owners Josh and Mike encouraged a shot with a difference in the CBGB’s of Tulsa, and the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame where I was shown round by Jeff and Jason.

The fact that Tulsa surprised me reflects on its low international profile. As one gentleman said to me, “We kinda like it that way” but later on he added “Don’t forget to tell the folks back home about us”. Consider it done.

I look forward to exploring the city further on a future visit.

 

The Brady District of Tulsa, Oklahoma

Hanks Hamburgers, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Beer, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Graffiti, Soundpony, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame, Tulsa

Ghost Sign, Sapulpa Drive In, Route 66, Oklahoma

 

Morning Light, Route 66 Road Marking, Sapulpa, Oklahoma

 

The Icelandic Power Station

Power station against a background of winter snow

Power Station, Iceland

I travelled through Iceland to photograph the natural beauty of its winter landscapes, but could not resist a series of shots of this power station. I was attracted by its minimalist appearance against snow on the ground and white skies above.