Hot day shooting the parade at Pride in London

Pride in London

This year's Pride in London parade was celebrated in the sun on one of the hottest days this summer.  Everyone was in a great mood as they were participating in what is now the world's largest Pride parade with an estimated 30,000 people from 258 groups in the procession.  Additionally, the day before the US Supreme Court had ruled that same sex marriage should be legal across the whole of the USA.

You can see my pictures of the parade in my Demotix story which was full of colourful characters, many of whom I recognised from previous years.

It was also an important day for the British Forces with representatives from the Royal Navy, Army and RAF taking time away from their own units to celebrate Armed Force Day at Pride.


London Chinese New Year Celebrations

Flying Dancing LionToday, the annual celebration of the Chinese New Year took place in London’s Chinatown and nearby Trafalgar Square. It has growth to be the largest celebration outside of Asia. In the unexpected morning sunshine, the parade was headed up by the Money God and a traditional dancing dragon as it made its way from Trafalgar Square around the border of Chinatown.

Later, there was a extortive programme of performing Chinese art organised by the London Chinatown Community Association, including many performers who had travelled from China especially for the event.

My personal favourite was the amazing Flying Dancing Lion who performed dangerous leaps from stilts to splits between the tow fountains in Trafalgar Square. The sheer athleticism of the two performer leaping in unison was alone worth the trip to the celebration.

Gong Xi Fa Cai - Gong Hey Fat Choy - Happy New Year.


Looking forward to tomorrow’s London New Year’s Day Parade

LNYDP 2015The University of Texas Longhorn Alumni Band, The Lake Highland Wildcat Wranglers dance troupe and James Bowie High School Marching Band have have been invited to head the annual London New Year’s Day Parade. All three groups are from the Lone Star State in the USA.

Earlier this week, on Tuesday lunchtime, these three groups performed for the crowds in Trafalgar Square as a preview to the main parade. My images of the event can be found at Alamy News and more images at Demotix News.

The parade starts at 12 noon on Piccadilly (near the Ritz Hotel) and proceeds along to Lower Regent Street, through Trafalgar and onto Whitehall. It is free and a great day out for all the family.


Completed the Paddington Bear Trail

Paddington BearOver last weekend, Emma Jones and I completed photographing all the 50 Paddington Bears which turned out to be 56 different bears as a number of other ones had been added.

In particular, the NSPCC, who are the sponsored charity for this street art, had held a competition which was won by a 13 year old called Maya. "Maya’s Bear” is outside the NSPCC Headquarters but sadly this bear seems to have lost it head.

The Paddington Bears have added a great deal of colour to the London streets over the festive period. They are fairly widespread with bears in Greenwich, Primrose Hill and Heathrow airport so visiting them all in a day is virtually impossible.

The bears are still here until 30th December and there is time to buy one through the online auction which is being run by Christie’s to raise funds for the NSPCC.

Please look at my Paddington Bear gallery where there is an image of each of the bears in situ.


More Street Art in London

PhotoThere has been plenty of Street Art in London over the last few years … Elephants, Eggs, playable Pianos, Gorillas, Book Benches, London Buses and now Paddington Bears. These bears are actually quite small and not as easy to spot as some of the other sculptures.

Along with one of my London Photography friends, Emma Jones, we are planning to photograph all 50 Paddington Bears before 30th December. We made a good start on Friday and managed to shoot 20 bears which included ones in Greenwich, Bethnal Green, The City and West End. Please check out my new Paddington Bear Trail gallery to see the ones I have already captured.

The Paddington Bear trail has been timed to promote the release of the new film Paddington the movie. Additionally, the bears are also supporting the NSPCC and its ChildLine service through an online auction starting on 10th December 2014 and running until 7th January 2015. The auction is being run by the world famous auction house, Christie’s and expected to raise over £500,000.


Fall in and around Vancouver

Totem Poles in Stanley ParkFor the second week of my visit to British Columbia, I was staying with good friends in North Vancouver just down from the base of Grouse Mountain. Vancouver is definitely my favourite city to visit and I have been there numerous times in different seasons but I think that fall is my favourite time of year.

It is very easy to get out of Vancouver and into nature - Stanley Park is a great place where the city literally meets nature. The image in this post shows the beauty of the totem poles against the fall colours of the trees. Then across the Burrard Inlet you can see the huge cargo ships unloading either in Vancouver docks or on the north shore against the shadow of the mountains.

One change since I last visited was on Granville Island. Rather unusually there is a cement works in the middle of downtown Vancouver on False Creek. The previously grey silos have been painted as colourful giants by the Brazilian artists Os Gemeos as part of this year’s Vancouver Biennale art display. They are definitely worth visiting and brighten up the whole area.

Outside of Vancouver, there are plenty of walks through the forest and trees on the north shore. Finally, I also visited the tranquil town of Deep Cove where the clouds were hanging amongst the trees.

Please check out my Vancouver in Fall gallery.


The beauty of Victoria and Vancouver Island

Rainbow over VictoriaFall is a great time to get out and about to take photographs … the colours are amazing at this time of year. Of course, the weather can be a bit unpredictable but it also produces moments like the one shown here (right) when a rainbow formed over Victoria.

I really enjoy my trips to British Columbia in Canada for two reasons; firstly, I have some great friends out there who I enjoy catching up with. Secondly, the landscape and wildlife is some of the best in the world which I find truly inspirational.

On my latest trip (October 2014), I stayed in Victoria for the first week and managed to visit some great locations in the south of Vancouver Island. Additionally, I took a whale watching trip which was a real challenge for me as I have seen whales before but never got a decent image of one. The images from this part of my trip are in my Victoria & Vancouver Island in the Fall gallery.

I will be posting more images from the second part of my trip in and around Vancouver city in the near future.


Volunteers brave heavy downpour to dismantle poppies’ installation

Removing the Tower PoppiesSince Wednesday, volunteers have been dismantling the amazing “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” installation created in the moat of the Tower of London to commemorate World War I. The plan is to have complete this exercise in approximately one week.

This morning, I managed to get down to the Tower to see how they were progressing and despite the rain there were lots of volunteers working in several teams removing the ceramic poppies. These poppies have all been sold so they need to be boxed up, sent back to the potteries for cleaning, re-packaged and sent to the buyers.

The images of this mornings actives can be found in my story titled Volunteers brave heavy downpour to dismantle poppies’ installation on Demotix News, where it made their front page.


Gog and Magog in the Lord Mayor’s Procession

Gog and Magog in the Lord Mayor ProcessionYesterday, I was honoured to be the guest of the Master of the Society of Young Freeman in this year’s Lord Mayor’s Procession, which is the public highlight of the City of London’s year.

In their red robes, the members of the Society of Young Freeman escorted the traditional guardians of the City of London, Gog and Magog, who have appeared in the procession since the reign of Henry V.

This year saw two new wicker giants which have been created by the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers over the last nine months. These magnificent figures stand over 14 feet high and are heavily armed to protect the City. Following the procession, Gog and Magog were returned to the Guildhall where they are stored together with the Lord Mayor’s ceremonial coach.


Butchart Gardens in the Fall

Rose at Burchart GardensThe Fall is an amazing time to get out and photography nature, especially trees, flowers and other plants. The variety of colours always inspires and excites me.

During my recent visit to Canada, I was able to visit the famous Butchart Gardens which are near Victoria, British Columbia. My first visit to the gardens was when I visited Victoria in the Summer of 2012 so the contrast between Summer and Fall was fascinating. Whilst the gardens are always beautiful, I think that the Fall colours make it a very special and memorable place.

The history of the gardens are also very interesting … they were the idea of Jennie Butchart over one hundred years ago when she created the Sunken Garden in the worked-out limestone quarry which was the result of her husband’s nearby cement plant. Over the years, the gardens have grown to cover more than 22 hectares (55 acres) of the 53 hectare (130 acre) estate. In addition to the Sunken Gardens, there are a Rose Garden, Japanese Garden and Italian Garden as well as linking parts to the gardens.

My personal favourite is the Rose Garden … mainly because roses are probably my favourite flower. Given that it was October, I was very surprised to find a number of roses still in bloom as well as some wilting and dying. They still make beautiful images which were enhanced by the rain that had recently fallen.

I would highly recommend visiting Butchart Gardens as well as nearby Victoria.


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