Lines of a City Part III

I first shot ‘lines of city’ in Canterbury and then again in a Sussex village. Looking for patterns and repetition is a great way to take in your surroundings and as I am back in  Brighton for a few months before I start my MA in London I thought it’d be a great way to look at my hometown from a new perspective.

If you’re in a creative rut or struggling to find something to photograph try this out, it’s a great excuse to get out with your camera and enjoy exploring.

Other images in this series:

Canterbury 

Sussex

Where to Shoot Street Photography in London

London has long been one of my favourite places to shoot street photography. No matter the time of year the streets are always filled with opportunities to photograph people. In this post I’m going to break down my favourite spots in London.

First up: Trafalgar Square. The square is home to both the National Gallery and Nelsons Column. This provides a great space to photograph people interacting with the architecture and environment around them.
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Leicester Square/China Town

Located next to each other, Leicester Square and China Town provide plenty of colour. If you find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of people and finding it hard to spot scenes to photograph, try and focus on shooting one thing such as dogs, the colour blue, people wearing hats etc. Whilst I was here I focused on photographing couples..

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Leading you from Oxford street to Leicester square is Regent Street. It’s a wide road filled with shops such as Apple and Hamleys. If you get there during golden hour the light hits just right through the buildings to create some striking portrait opportunities.

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Outside of Buckingham Palace you’ll find the full spectrum of emotions from vloggers and excited tourists to stressed parents and tired children..

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Street photography takes lot of patience and you have to be prepared for people to watch you taking pictures. But its a great way to see a city and when you take your shoes off after a long day walking theres nothing better than flicking through the photos you shot and coming across your new favourite photo.

More Street Photography

Camden  Prague Golden Hour  How to Use the Background in Street Photography

Dougie Wallace When the Subject Spots You  East London

Lisbon Travel Diary: The Oldest Bookshop in the World!

Our second full day here in Lisbon started with a free walking tour I had booked. I had done them in Prague and Bratislava a few weeks ago and really enjoyed them. Learning about the history of the places we stood really helped me feel more connected to the city and understand the city in the context of Europe.

The meeting point was in the Chiado neighbourhood- named after Antonio Ribeiro, a 19th century continually drunk poet with a high-pitched voice (Chiado means squeaky).

Antonio Ribeiro Statue

The tour was led by Luis, a small but energetic 25-year old local who has lived in Mozambique and all around Europe before moving back to Lisbon to lead walking tours.

The tour was 3 hours long, but they really did fly by. Lisbon has enough interesting history to entertain for days from numerous invasions, revolutions and finding Brazil to how they stayed neutral in the Second World War by selling tungsten to the Nazi’s and lending land to the allies.

The tour also took us pass a bookshop, but not any old bookshop. The oldest bookshop in the world! (or universe as Luis put it).

On every travel website or book you look in the Santa Justa elevator is recommend as a much do. Yet both our tour guide and hotel receptionist said that it is overrated- yes it provides great views at the top but it’s not worth paying €5 to queue for half an hour to then go in a lift for a few seconds. So instead Luis led us to a staircase- after climbing for a few minutes we were right at the top of the elevator! No queues and no charge! The panoramic views gives you a real sense into how the streets of Lisbon were designed and you can pick out all the different, individual neighbourhoods.

After the tour ended at 2pm we grabbed some lunch and our first Portuguese custard tarts. As it was sunny we decided to catch a boat across the river to explore the city of Almada and walk up to Christ Rei (a 25m high statue of Christ which sits at the top of a hill). With my embarrassing seasickness in tow (it was a 5 minute river crossing) we started our walk. The Hill was deceptively huge and took a sweaty 45 minutes to reach the top. But boy was it worth it, although not religious myself it’s hard not to be impressed with the sheer size and architecture.

It costs €5 Euro’s to get a lift to the top, and if you’ve made it this far you might as well pay. Once you get to the top you are faced with a breathtaking 360 view.

After taking in the view at all angles and gawping at the ginormous statue ( which is based on Christ the Redeemer in Rio) we headed back down and started on the long walk home…

Photography on the Streets of Prague

While inter-railing through Eastern Europe the sun was not on our side. We went a week without seeing it and when it did make an appearance from behind the clouds it was still -4 degrees! This made photography really hard as it made images look flat and dull.

With just a couple of days left a miracle happened.. I woke up to sun shining through the hostel windows. I didn’t take my Sony A7RII on the trip as I knew how cold it was going to be and that I’d have to leave it in the hostel when we went out partying.

So with just my phone I headed out to the main square in Prague. My old iPhone performed really well and I got some shots I’m really happy with. Only problem was it killed my battery within the hour and I was meant to be meeting Emily. Despite a lack of map, google maps and an internal sat-nav we managed to find each other.

So here are my favourite images from my hour in the middle of Prague draining my phone battery:

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72 Hours in Prague

The longest day of my life started at 9am at Krakow bus station, waiting for a bus that was already in the station but had the wrong number on the front. After eventually coming to the conclusion that that was indeed our bus me and Emily got on and sat in the last two remaining seats. Both were single seats next to people who I can only assume had forgotten to wash for a number of days.

But then more people boarded the bus- it had been overbooked. The 8 hour journey consisted of 3 people sitting on the floor of the bus, due to the overcrowding, blocking the way to the toilet. So every time we stopped to pick up more passengers to squeeze onto the bus, me and Emily sprinted to use the bus station toilets.

Thankfully just as the sun was setting we arrived in Prague and not only that, we got a free room upgrade at our hostel!

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Our local metro station had the longest escalator in the EU. It took 2.5 minutes to go up.

Day One 

After the first good night sleep we had had in weeks we made our way to the start of a free walking tour. The tour was led by Michael, an American 25-year old. At first we were sceptical about having a Prague tour led by an American who had not yet lived in the city for a year. But he was extremely knowledgable and personable. Although his timekeeping was not the best- the 2 hour tour lasted 3 hours in the bitter cold. But we did learn a lot about the Prague’s history and the famous architecture which contributes to the capital being known as the ‘city of a hundred spires’.

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Students taking a break

After warming up in a cafe we made our way through the narrow streets and crowds to the famous Charles bridge. It was incredibly busy but it was worth it to see the beautiful statues that line the bridge and a very enthusiastic busker.

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The busker on the bridge

All the sightseeing took its toll on us so after an amazingly tasty burger (which we go on to eat for the next two nights running) we headed back to the hostel for an early night.

Day Two 

By complete coincidence Emily’s dad was also in Prague. So while she went to meet him to drop off all the stuff she had bought on our trip and couldn’t fit in her case I went to the main square, which was draped in sunlight, to do an hour of street photography. It was the first time on the trip the sun allowed me to do some street photography. I will be posting them to this blog on Thursday but if you can’t wait till then you can head over to my instagram.

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After miraculously meeting up with Emily after my phone ran out of battery we headed over the Charles Bridge and up to Prague castle. Again it was very busy and the queue was so long we decided to take in the view of the city rather than go inside the castle. We then wiggled our way through the alleys and streets surrounding the castle. This was the first time in two days there were no tourists in sight and we felt like we were seeing an authentic side of Prague.

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Emily on our way up to the castle

We spent the rest of the evening trying to get lost to see a different side of Prague but kept ending up at the main square!

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A consumer of a ‘traditional’ chimney cake

My first impressions of Prague was not what I expected. Some places were so busy and full of tour groups you literally couldn’t move and we witnessed how a select few locals have capitalised on this. With ‘traditional’ cakes being sold (which are from Hungary) along with signs put up by the council warning tourists of not using taxi’s due to how much they will overcharge. We were also on the end of some very poor customer service in a couple of restaurants and a cafe (think 1/5 on Trip Advisor worthy). And we saw road rage so extreme the two drivers took to the street to ‘sort it out’ in front of a historic statue.

Day Three

Our final day consisted of no plans- just to wander. We felt very safe to explore the different suburbs. We ended up walking along the river and up to a huge pendulum at the top of a hill. The pendulum represents moving forward and the end of communism. From here we had one of the best views of our whole trip. You could see the river wind round the city, all the bridges and hundreds of church spires.

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With a few hours left before our flight we decided to explore the suburb at the top of the hill- I’m so glad we did. It was understated yet beautiful and filled with Prague locals going about their day. The suburb was surrounded by well-maintained parks and an easter fairground. Until this point I could never imagine what it would be like to live in Prague, but here I got a small glimpse and loved it.

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My opinions on Prague changed from hour to hour. I loved the architecture and river but the mass of tourists and lack of customer service skills left us feeling a bit underwhelmed. But these are just my personal views from what we experienced and I would never discourage anyone from visiting. Prague and the Czech Republic have an intriguing history and the beer is not taxed like other alcohol which helps contribute to a (very) lively night life.

Sadly Prague was our last city on our trip! I am currently putting together a video of our Eastern European adventure which I’ll be posting to this blog, but until then I hope you all have great week, and please recommend where I should visit next!

72 Hours in Budapest

I am currently inter-railing around Eastern Europe so thought I’d put together a quick guide to each city I visit.

The trip didn’t get off to the best start as I missed the first city (Vienna) due to illness but I flew (along with 4 stag-do’s) to Budapest where I met my friend Emily to start our European adventure. Having visited Budapest for the first time around 4 years ago I was excited to return..

Day One

We woke up in our incredibly humid hostel around 9am, threw on some clothes and escaped to a bakery to get some air and food. From here we started our journey to the children’s railway- a railway run by children (?!).

Around 8km from the city centre it should’ve been a simple journey. But 4 trams, 1 cog railway and a bus later we found the station. We bought our train tickets from a boy no more than 12 years old and had a tickets checked by a girl who looked around 11 years old.

We went a few stops watching the beautiful snowy forests rush past the window as we gained altitude and then got off in what felt like the middle of nowhere. We slipped our way up an icy path through a forest to a chairlift. A chairlift that takes you down through the tree’s giving you a view across the entire city. It took at least 5 minutes giving us enough time to take some photos without dropping our cameras and soak in the view.

As the sun set we headed back into the centre of town to walk up to the citadella (some very grand statues) and along the Danube river to get some food.

Emily at a touch screen restaurant

A fully-packed first day but everything was well worth doing.

Day Two

As I drew the curtain back of my hostel bed I was greeted by a new arrival in our room. He proceeded to tell me and Emily how vodka is one the main components of the human body- 3 times in half an hour. Again we made a swift exit out our hostel to start the day. The first port of call was an old-school, Wes Anderson-style vernacular. It took us up slowly to the Hungary museum of art, an absolutely stunning building. Which we walked around the outside (the art was a bit modern for us) and then weaved our way through a village to Buda Castle. I had visited 4 years ago but it was just as jaw-dropping as it was before.

Knowing we wanted to try out the ruin bars in the evening we headed back to the hostel to have some rest and a shower, not before checking out the basilica and running around a Hungarian shopping centre looking for a toilet you don’t have to pay for.

As we are only in Budapest for a few days we decided to go for the most famous ruin bar. It’s made up of loads of quirky rooms, a mish-mash of items and variety of chairs (stools, signs, bathtubs..). After enjoying a few drinks we stumbled upon a music room. What first appeared to be a jazz band turned out to be an evening-long jam session where anyone can bring an instrument and swap out with another musician. It quickly turned into one of the best nights I’ve had in a long time and we even got to witness the most epic saxophone battle.

Day Three

The third day started slowly with some sore heads so we decided to spend our last day visiting the famous baths.

It’s just a 10 minute underground journey but it feels like you’re in a different city. Surrounded by grass, a frozen lake and huge statues it feels like a world away from the centre of Budapest.

We took many photos, had a walk and then entered into the baths. It was a great way to relax and warm up a bit. The baths were very busy but we never had any problem getting a seat in any of the them. After staying so long we looked like wrinkly raisins we decided it was for the best to go back to the hostel to pack our bags ready to check-out the next morning (and have a quick drink at our favourite ruin bar).

We are now on a train to Bratislava. The train is set out in cabins so we feel like we’re on our way to Hogwarts and have made many Harry Potter references much to the dismay of the fellow passengers in our cabin. I am really looking forward to Bratislava as I’ve never been before and have no idea what to expect!