Dear Old Ed

I was lucky to find myself in beautiful, beautiful Edinburgh again this weekend, a city I would happily spend every weekend in. As I emerged from Edinburgh Waverley onto Princes Street I was filled with the usual excitement that comes with arriving into Scotland’s capital. Immediately we headed to the City Cafe just off the Royal Mile, our new favourite food haunt. I gorged on scrumptious ribs and sweet potato fries, which refuelled me nicely after the train journey.


Deep down I felt embarrassed looking like the most obvious tourist in the world as I clutched my camera and shivered in what I thought was cold weather. I’ve been to Edinburgh many times, but it still feels new on every visit. There’s always a shop I hadn’t been in or a beautiful building I haven’t gazed up at. I’ll never take this city for granted, so will never tire of photographing it.


As usual the streets were buzzing with noise; bustling shoppers and laughter spilling from the nearby pubs, all accompanied by the steady hum of bagpipes. I’ve asked multiple Scots if they ever get bored of hearing the bagpipes and they’ve all said no. If I were a native I don’t think I would either – the sound reminds me of old holidays and unforgettable days out.



All too soon it was morning again and time to get the train home. My weekend visit was only fleeting, though I’m sure a month-long stay would have felt just as brief. Here’s to the next excuse I get to pay a visit!

Reykjavik – Day 3

Today was probably the highlight of the trip for me – the blue lagoon. As we were waiting for the bus to pick us up it was spitting with rain, the first bad weather we’d had. However, if it was going to rain, I’d rather it did it while we were soaking wet and swimming anyway.

As it turned out, it stopped raining when we reached the lagoon. We were ushered inside and wandered off to our separate changing rooms. We were given strict instructions to put liberal amounts of conditioner in our hair because the salts in the lagoon water would dry it straight out.


After only getting marginally lost we got out of the maze-like changing rooms and made it to the lagoon. I immediately fell in love. It was the most beautiful colour I’d ever seen, what I can only describe as candyfloss blue, spoiled only by the dark bobbing heads of other tourists. As I waded in, my body disappeared below the translucent surface and I found myself in nearly 40° water. If I closed my eyes I could have been in the tropics, but with my eyes open the hot steam meeting the cold air reminded me where I was.


It was one of the most romantic things I’ve done, swimming in one of the world’s wonders with the most special person in my life. I was initially reluctant to believe the lagoon had spiritual healing powers as I’d read, but as we bobbed about I felt the most relaxed I’d been in a long time.

There was a bar half-submerged in water, so you could lean on the counter and sip your drink while still floating chest-deep. We got cherry slushies, which were the tastiest I think I’d ever had. Mind you, in my state of ultimate chill anything would have tasted amazing.

Once excessively prune-like and ravenous, we showered and headed to the restaurant. Looking inside gave me a flashback to the Ritz – I’d got very lost one time – so we decided to get paninis from the much cheaper cafe instead, which were also very good.


Once back in Reykjavik city centre, we headed to dinner at the Lebowski Bar, which boasted a broad range of burgers and White Russians as well as the Big Lebowski playing on loop. I tried a white chocolate White Russian, but wasn’t a huge fan. The burger however, honey-glazed bacon and cheese, was pretty special.


The slight downer of the day was the email we received from Reykjavik Excursions saying that the Northern Lights tour had been cancelled tonight due to bad weather. Still, it’s a common fact that the aurora borealis are notoriously difficult to see, and much more experienced visitors than us hadn’t yet had the privilege of a sighting, so it was a long shot seeing in our first short visit. All the more reason to go back to beautiful Reykjavik!


Reykjavik – Day 2

When I looked out the balcony window this morning everything was blue. It turns out that Iceland is actually magical. With recharged camera batteries we headed out to explore.


The plan was to go straight to the shops, but down a side street I glimpsed a mountain and the sea. It was decided instantly that we’d put shopping on hold and go explore.

The natural light of Reykjavik is beautiful. Even at 11am there were still the diluted pinks and blues of early morning. We walked over the rocks and photographed the mirror-still water. Curse Iceland for making a cliche the only appropriate way to describe it, but the dirty old ocean looked like milk as it rippled against the shore. It was stunning, especially with Sólfarið (The Sun Voyager, below) standing proud against the city backdrop.


By this point we were getting peckish so we found a cute little creperie along the main street. Doused in Nutella, bananas and peanut butter, it filled the gap nicely.

Rejuvinated, we hit the shops. I bought gifts for family and friends then realised just how much money I’d spent. Iceland is expensive, as I’d been told many times over, but somehow being in such a beautiful part of the world made it all okay.


One thing I loved about Reykjavik was the street art. Nothing like the (mostly) ugly, scribbled graffiti that adorn the walls of London, Reykjavik buildings were covered in every colour imaginable. Giant painted eagles swooped overhead, while elsewhere a huge image of Frankenstein’s monster stood tall. It was a street photographer’s dream, and I couldn’t refuse the opportunity to capture my favourites.


We’d glimpsed Hallgrímskirkja, the tallest church in Reykjavik that dominates its skyline, so decided to get a closer look. The colossal structure looked more like a spaceship than a place of worship, standing 73m tall. The sun was beginning to set so we stayed for some photos. Once the light had faded it began to get chilly so we headed back into town and, after stopping off at the Noodle Station for dinner, chilled out in the hotel room.


Later on we went on one of our booked trips, to hopefully go and see the Northern Lights. We got all wrapped up and set off on the bus. For a while it was a struggle to find any breaks in the cloud, but we eventually got off in the middle of nowhere and set up tripods.

While we were waiting we got chatting to this lovely nurse from New York. She was interested in photography too, and we ended up talking about the migrating waxwings.

We waited eagerly for several hours but were eventually forced to abandon ship and get back on the bus. Naturally we were both pretty disappointed, but the Northern Lights are infamously sneaky and we can go again tomorrow night, so hopefully we still have a chance.

Media Skills Weekend

Last weekend was brutal, but strangely rewarding.

As part of our course, Wildlife and Adventure Media students attended a weekend trip to Ratlingate Scout Activity Centre to improve in all things media.

On the evening of our arrival, we were set our first brief at 9pm: capture images of the night sky. This was immediately a daunting concept for me; when it comes to photography there is no doubt that I am a daytime specialist, and struggle to even get a clear picture by night. However, I was here to try new things, so I grasped my monopod and set out into the wilderness.

It ended up being a fairly cloudy night, so there were few stars to see let alone photograph. I managed to capture a few scenes in focus, and now feel a lot more confident approaching this style of photography.

IMG_0293 IMG_0280

The following morning we were up at 5am, filming the sunrise! We had to create a time lapse in groups; here are some still shots I took when the sky finally started to light up.



For one of the photography tasks we had to shoot water, both still and moving. Here’s one of my more successful outcomes.


Finally, we had to go out and find some wildlife. In commercialised woodland designed for scout use, this was quite difficult. The only bird I saw during the whole weekend was a pigeon, so glimpsing the roe deer they boasted was less than likely. Instead, I chose the artsy approach. In both of the images below, I worked with a theme of contrast: harsh against soft.

IMG_0396 IMG_0418

Needless to say, I was exhausted when we got back Sunday afternoon, but Media Skills Weekend was a valuable experience and I know my technique has improved.