72 Hours in London

I recently spent 72 hours in London seeing as many exhibitions and locations as possible. I hope you enjoy..

72 Hours In London 

The first place we visited was the Barbican. One of my favourite places in London. It’s a mix of brutalist architecture, flowers and world class exhibition spaces.

I was there to see Richard Mosses exhibition ‘Incoming’ for the second time. Made up of a few images and an outstanding triptych video installation.  The images are  created using military  cameras and focus on the migration crisis.

The video Installation

Food. Food is vital for having the energy to navigate around the busy streets of London. so we headed to the famous Borough Market. There was a great atmosphere and I was more than happy with my chocolate ‘mis-shapes’ I bought from an artisan chocolate stand and the 2 donuts I purchased (for myself).

DSC04967DSC04969

My ‘Mis-shapes’

The next day was a busy one; The Photographers Gallery, Tate Modern and Soho. I was at the photographers gallery to check out this years Deutsche Borse prize. This is where 4 photographers are nominated and shown at the gallery with one lucky photographer winning the £30,000 grand prize. (I should be so lucky). Most years I came away loving two pieces of work and two going over my head. This year was no different but my favourite without a doubt was ‘Imperial Courts’ by Dana Lixenberg. Photographed over 2o years Lixenberg returned numerous times to Imperial Courts housing estate in Southern LA. The portraits are consistently strong and often haunting.  A must see if your a portrait fan or just passionate about photography like me.

Visitors taking a break at the entrance of The Photographers Gallery

Just behind The Photographers Gallery is Soho, China Town and Leicester square. These areas are always super busy and not somewhere to go for a cheap meal. But it is perfect for people watching and a bit of street photography.

Next up Tate modern. This is a brilliant resource, filled with art and art lovers. And not only that its free to enter! The new building extension is a great draw for both artists and architecture enthusiasts, especially the 360 degree viewing platform.  Not one for those scared of heights or cramped lifts (you will be squashed against at least 3 other people)  then this is a London must see.

The Millennium Bridge leading to Tate Modern

Views from above

It was a great 72 hours fitting in as much as possible and of course we stopped for some much needed breaks at cafe’s and restaurants (Vapiano’s is always a crowd pleaser). I also fitted in time to go to a friends house party. Returning at 3am I got to use the night tube for the first time. I was a little tentative travelling on my own but the staff were as helpful as always and the carriages weren’t filled with lots of drunk people instead lots of Londoners suited up looking like their returning from a dinner party. But if you are in London especially at night, please don’t take anything for granted and stay safe! I am slowly working through editing all the photos and will be posting them on my Instagram @madisonbeachphotos. Please comment below if you want any London recommendations or if you have any for me!

Grabbing food at Camden Market

Camden has always been a tourist favourite but now the food is drawing the Londoners in. Every kind of food you can imagine is on offer here; pizza, thai, vegetarian, wraps, chips, the list is never-ending. I took a day to consume the delights on offer and photograph those enjoying it.

DSC04478DSC04465DSC04464DSC04445DSC04460DSC04503DSC04506DSC04530DSC04344DSC04347DSC04440

Catch me on Instagram to see more of my street photography around London @madisonbeachphotos

Brighton City Guide

During the week I headed to my hometown of Brighton and filled my time taking photographs.Since moving away I see Brighton from a different perspective, feeling more like an in-the-know tourist. So I decided to create a City Guide.

_____________________________

Brighton City Guide

Just an hour away from the hustle and bustle of London lays Brighton, a seaside city with a lot to offer. It’s famed for its quirky social scene, plethora of restaurants and pebble beach. Over a quarter of a million people call this place home and this might be why.

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-18-40-54

Brighton Museum

Being a resident offers many perks including free entry to the Brighton Museum. The museum is a mix of permanent and temporary displays with a heavy focus on local culture. Often referring to the local football team Brighton and Hove Albion, currently in the second tier. You can find them at the American Express Stadium; tickets are highly sought after for any games being played in this state of the art stadium. Designed by London based architects KSS who designed the redevelopment of Court No.1 at Wimbledon. The football club runs a successful charity, which aims to increase engagement and participation in sport in the local community.

dsc00840

Brighton is bucking the trend of having run-down areas surrounding the main train station. Adjacent to the station is New England Quarter, built on land previously owned by British Rail. It offers affordable housing; pedestriansed areas, cafes and some-much needed parking spaces.

dsc00835

dsc00830

Residents’ Apartments

A more controversial addition to the Brighton skyline is the British Airways sponsored i360. Offering a 360 view at 136 metres high its not been as successful as some may have hoped. It’s early days and something a bit of re-branding and ticket price reductions could potentially solve.

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-18-42-11

i360

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-18-47-22

The Level

As with any busy city having well-designed open spaces and public parks is a must. In previous years finding a safe place to relax and let children play was a struggle in some areas, but this is beginning to change. The Level , underwent a much-needed restoration in 2013, it is now a vibrant open space, home to a skate park, play area and a diverse community. The purpose built £50 million library and 19th century theatre royal & Royal Pavilion offer greenery and benches for tourists and residents to take the weight off their feet.

dsc00985

Brighton Pavilion

The infamous pebble beach is a very popular choice for tourists in the summer and locals in the winter to sit back, take a break and enjoy the sea view. The art scene is thriving in Brighton and these open spaces are often utilised for art & photography exhibitions. Including the Brighton photo fringe and Photography biennial – the UK’s leading curated photography festival.

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-18-41-34

Photography Exhibition on the Beach

dsc00859

Stairs with added Graffiti

 Home to an annual food and drink festival the city is filled with food enthusiasts and has the restaurants to match. The diverse restaurants dotted around the North Lanes cater for almost everything dietary requirement imaginable. Including vegans and vegetarians at the highly recommended Wai Kika Moo Kau (literally pronounced as why kick a moo cow).

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-18-42-52

My Friend Amy Enjoying a Burger at Meat Liquor

 For those wanting to brave the Sea breeze there are a number of potential venues for you too dance or drink your night away. Voted the best venue in the south 13 times The Komedia is a safe bet with weekly comedy nights, a cosy bar now housing a picture house cinema. Alternatively you could follow the route of the oldest working electric railway along the seafront to one of Europe’s largest man-made marinas. A curved side-walk leads you around the 30 newly opened restaurants which sit beneath luxury apartments.

Brighton is an inclusive city that is moulded around its diverse residents. Although improvements need to be made like increasing the number safe cycling routes the laid back atmosphere and happy-go-lucky culture can make it hard to leave.

Key Brighton Dates:
Brighton Marathon: 9th April
Brighton Festival: 6th-28th May
Artists Open Houses: 6th-28th May
Brighton Pride: 4-6th August
Burning of the Clocks: 21st December
Brighton Food & Drink Festival 2017: TBC
Brighton Photography Biennial: End of 2018

________________________________________

I am very excited to be flying to Iceland in the early hours of tomorrow morning! I have packed both digital and film cameras along with a range of film; portra, lomochrome purple and ilford black & white. I will be posting an Iceland travel diary on this blog and photos on my Instagram so stay tuned!

IG:@madisonbeachphotos

Automatic Vs Manual//35mm Pentax

I’m often asked what film camera I would recommend someone starting out in film photography.  So i’ve created a quick comparison piece focusing on the common conundrum of ‘shall I get a manual or automatic’.  Here I am comparing two cameras I own and know well, a Pentax K1000 (manual) and a Pentax Espio 160 (automatic).  Both can be found relatively cheap and easily.                                                    

                                     Pentax K1000                                         Pentax Espio 160

Winding Film

K1000
img_20170107_0034

Due to its automatic winding mechanism the Espio takes the control out of your hands and makes it very easy to load your film and I am yet to have any trouble with it. The K1000 on the other hand, often has trouble with exposing the first couple of frames correctly (above) but this doesn’t affect the rest of the role.

A negative of the automatic winding system is the inability to create multiple exposures hassle free. Unlike manual which makes it (almost) enjoyable to take the leap of faith:

img_20161223_0025

Focus 

K1000
img_20161223_0020The manual 2.8/50mm lens allows great versatility with the focus, if your just starting out it’s great fun to play with the focus and see what results you can get. Although sometimes it can be more miss than hit:img_20170107_0012

Espio 160img_20161215_0019With the viewfinder not showing what the lens is capturing its hard to know what the automatic focus is going to literally focus on. Capturing something  up close is often helped by the use of flash. If your taking photos purely for fun then it can be great fun testing out a cameras capabilities by taking a few varied shots of the same subject. img_20161215_0018

I always take my Espio with me when I’m out at night (Below). It comes into its own as  you will really struggle focusing manually when you cant see anything. Instead use automatic, turn on the flash and wait for your surroundings to light up.

img_20161215_0016

Settings 

K1000
img_20161223_0006a

Although taking away the ability to snap a decent shot everywhere you look without thinking, manual settings allow you to take your time and really enjoy the process. Due to the low light conditions of the above shot I selected the aperture and shutter speed needed to capture the effects of the candle without bleaching everything out using flash.

Lacking shutter speed and aperture settings the Espio does allow long exposures:

img_20161124_0022

Overall they are both great, reliable cameras. If you don’t want to worry about settings or fiddling with the focus than the Espio or something similar is a great choice. It is very light and a solid choice for that camera that you leave in your bag. It works really well as a snapshot camera and comes into its own at night.

If your looking to get more involved with the film process and want to learn what affects what then I couldn’t recommend the Pentax K1000 enough.

I regularly upload my film snaps to my Instagram @madisonbeachphotos

48 Hours In Verona

After catching the train from Venice we arrived mid-afternoon finding ourselves at a busy Verona train station. Using a printed map we found our helpfully central hotel after a 20 minute walk dragging our cases over the uneven marbled pavements. The receptionist was incredibly bubbly and pointed us to our first floor room. The twin room was above the  hotel entrance but despite this and the central location is was quiet and provided everything you would expect; toiletries, mini-bar, an underpowered hairdryer and a spare pillow-just the  one!

We left our heavy bags behind and headed out for some hearty Italian food. Piazza Bra is the main square in Verona housing restaurants, shops and the arena (a Roman amphitheatre, the 3rd largest in the world). All the food on show in the outdoor eating areas of the restaurants looked delicious. Finding it hard to pick somewhere to eat I was swayed by a restaurant named ‘hippopotamus’ that had a TV at the back providing updates of the Chelsea-Man Utd. match (4-0 if you’re wondering..). The menu was literally the biggest I’ve ever encountered and was much cheaper than we expected considering its location.  After consuming Pizza, salad and a giant Fanta, a food coma ensued so we headed back to the hotel.

img_3997

img_4044 According to legend this whale bone hanging underneath the arch will fall on the first truthful person to walk under. Needless to say it’s still there, despite both me and previous Popes having walked below..

For our first full day in Verona we decided to see as much of the very walkable city as possible. We decided to follow a route mapped out by our bubbly receptionist which takes in all the main tourists sites and some magnificent architecture off the beaten track. The route followed the river and led us to a church, a Basilica, over a bridge dating back to 1354  and to an Amsterdam inspired chip shop with a choice of 12 Mayonnaise based sauces..

img_4069

The walk led us to San Zeno square around 2 miles out of town with empty cafes and shops surrounding it. It seems not many people veer out of the centre and choose to stay with the shops and restaurants in the Piazza Bra area. But boy are they are missing out, for at this square I had the best/most sickly hot chocolate I’ve ever tasted.

img_4147

img_4117

img_4142

Heading back to the buzz of the Piazzas we stumbled upon the entrance to the courtyard below  ‘Juliet’s balcony’ which it has been said inspired Shakespeare. As it was  a weekday evening the square was relatively quiet and we got a good view of both the balcony and statue. Unless you are a huge Romeo & Juliet/Shakespeare fan I would suggest just a couple of minutes is enough to take in the square and balcony especially during the day when it’s extremely busy. After walking all day and taking in the impressive and photogenic architecture we had an early night in preparation of our early start to see Lake Garda the next morning.

img_4006

Verona is 40km bus or train ride away from Sirmione, a lakeside town on Garda.  As we arrived fog covered the towns pastel colours, bridges and mountains surrounding the lake. But this didn’t prevent the beauty from seeping through. The water was clear and calm and the people were bright and happy. The town is located on a peninsula so it’s surrounded on both sides by water. The streets themselves are a maze and only just wide enough for a car. Among the weaving streets and lanes there’s hundreds of independent shops and restaurants with every one seemingly serving local ice-cream (not complaining).

img_4205img_4236

img_4249

Even without any sign of the sun it was a brilliant day wondering around the foggy shoreline and looking (and buying) the local goods. After a good couple of hours of walking around the town, taking in all the views, photographing the best bits and consuming yes, more pizza we jumped on the hour long bus back to Verona.

Planning on  having a last wander before leaving the next day we were greeted with the biggest rainfall I’ve ever experienced. So drenched were we by the time we got from the bus to our hotel a pair of shoes were unsaveable and ended up in the bin!

Despite the loss of shoes I loved my time in Verona, although a whole day is enough to see the main sights you still want to go back to experience the buzz of the Piazzas, the pastry shops and the charming customer service in the restaurants.

img_4383

img_4285

 www.madisonbeach.com

IG:@madisonbeachphotos