Wednesday, 26 April 2017

My brief trip to the National Portrait Gallery in London

The National Portrait Gallery

I did not visit the National Gallery this time because I just knew I would spent the entire day there again. I have been to The National Gallery several times and decided to devote my time to exploring the National Portrait Gallery instead. I arrived in London at midday and I was short on time. Besides, the main reason why I decided to go to London on that day was to see ballet performance at Sadler's Wells Theatre. I have been a massive fan of Pina Baush's hugely dramatic works and her minimalistic yet deeply intense choreography for a while now and as soon as I found out that English National Ballet scheduled to perform Pina Baush's masterpiece The Rite of Spring I booked the ticket and set off to London! English National Ballet was only the second company in the world beyond Tanztheater Wuppertal to perform The Rite of Spring. Baush's masterpiece was a part of the triple bill that also included William Forsythe's In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated and Adagio Hammerklavier by Hans van Manen.

Pina Baush's The Rite of Spring
Photo Ulli Weis 

The video above captivates the essence of Baush's works intensity, passion and raw beauty - the qualities I truly enjoy. 

My evening was reserved for ballet, my afternoon for the National Portrait Gallery.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Day out in London

 Double deckers at Trafalgar Square

"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life" - Samuel Johnson.

I embarked on my long awaited trip to London yesterday to prove myself that I am not tired of life! No, I am definitely not. I came back home in a state of rejuvenation and exaltation. I love London for its life-pulsating atmosphere, vibrancy, music
& great art and interesting people. You can get best live shows and best street music in London. Every time I want to stimulate my vision, revive my senses and charge my socio-cultural battery I head off to London. I am pretty sure I will revisit London next month. I want to go to Tate, Tate Modern, Natural Science Museum, Royal Academy and many, many more! If you are curious (I bet you are, since you read my blog ;-) London is an amazing place.

Ladies and gentlemen, let me present a synopsis of my one day trip to the grand capital of the United Kingdom.

           Queen's Regimental Band
  These guys are supberb musicians! They surprised us  with impromptu rendition of "I dreamed A Dream" - a song from the musical 'Les Miserables'! (many of you may know the tune thanks to Susan Boyle and Britain's Got Talent). I ran after this royal orchestra with a big, beaming smile on my face, happy heart and my camera. The music they played was so, so cheerful ... could not get enough of it! 

Horse drawn carriage heading towards Buckingham Palace. I was in the right place and at the right time! A truly delightful sight. No engine vehicle can compare to an old majestic carriage. 

Buckingham Palace & the Victoria Memorial

Glistening grass and glorious flowers at Buckingham Palace. In the background you can spot the London Eye.

Buckingham Palace boasts over 40 acres of garden including 350 different species of flowers, 200 trees and a lake. The garden looks fabulous in springtime - everything is so fresh, shiny, fragrant and cheerful.


  Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

- Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace is the ceremony where the Old Guard hands over responsibility for protecting Buckingham Palace and St. James's Palace to the New Guard.

- The ceremony begins on the forecourt of Buckingham Palace at 11:30 sharp, following a march by a detachment of the Old Guard, with musical support, from St. James's Palace and the New Guard led by a Regimental Band from Wellington Barracks.

- The Queen's Guard is normally provided by one of the five regiments of Foot Guards from the Household Division, instantly recognisable in their bearskin caps and scarlet tunics.

- Musical support is provided by a Regimental Band or Corps of Drums with pipers occasionally taking part in the ceremony.

- The Guardsmen taking part in the ceremony are highly trained infantry soldiers, who in addition to their combat role undertake ceremonial duties.

 Queen's Regimental Band again ;-)

Royal cavalry, mounted on immaculately groomed horses, present a stirring sight as they ride through the streets of London to Change the Guard on Horse Guards Parade.

Royal Horse Guards  

Buckingham Palace

I finished off my trip to London with a quick visit to the National Art Gallery and then a lovely, relaxing walk along Gerrard Street. Gerrard Street in London's Soho is in the heart of Chinatown. It was an incredible experience to delve into this exotic and vibrant part of London filled with red lanterns, dragons and Mandarin street sign. 


Monday, 2 January 2017

Smithsonian Magazine Photography Contest

A few weeks ago I took part in a photo contest organised by the prestigious Smithsonian Magazine. It was a hasty and a spontaneous decision. I had never participated in any important contest before. I was reading a scientific article on Smithsonian and out of a sudden I noticed that the annual 14th photo contest was open and that they  were looking for exceptional photography in the following categories: The American Experience, Natural World, Travel, Sustainable Travel, People, Altered Images and Mobile. The Smithsonian will select 10 finalists per category, a winner for each category, and a Grand Prize winner from the 70 finalists. Submitting one of my pictures, taken with low-budget Fujifilm camera, was an act of bravado. The picture I submitted is not exceptional but in my opinion, it gives you a food for thought. The picture is well-known to my blog readers as I set it up as my profile picture (it is my favourite picture, I have to admit that). I titled it: Solitude in La Colina, Amsterdam.  All in all, I have submitted my picture and it has been approved! The 70 finalists will be notified of their status by February 20, 2017 and will appear on Smithsonian website in spring 2017. I can't wait for the results.

Click on the link to view the entry I submitted and to read the caption describing the photo's content, my personal interpretation of the photo and the story behind it. 

Happy viewing! 

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