Byron Bay, Australia – photography by HTC not SLR

Gallery

This gallery contains 9 photos.

It’s cheating right? I do own a SLR camera that I unleash from time to time. Trouble is that it weighs slightly more than my two year old child and when you have it tethered around your neck you tend to ‘fit … Continue reading

Hold the phone. NYC through the lens of my HTC

When it comes to photography I’m the wheezy kid who tries hard but ends up walking half way through the race. I am passionate – yes. I am skilled – um would love to be. I am dedicated – er have you tried lugging a SLR with two lenses around for long??

So recently I came home from a business trip to London via NYC. I did bust out the Canon for an afternoon or so but the beguiling allures of the West Village, the down right hipster-ness of Williamsburg and the cachet of the Meatpacking district meant that I wanted to lug a large camera and accessories around about as much as wearing a I heart Chechnya t-shirt outside the Kremlin.

Pixlr-o-matic

So you now know that I pretty much just snapped away with my Android phone. For the gallery below I have processed many, not all, with a super amazing app called Pixlr-o-matic. It’s free and available for both Android & iPhone. A word of warning – there is every chance that you will become addicted.

We’re going to Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Do you need a hug?

As we crossed under the East River on the L Line you could feel the pressure change in your ears. It was at this point that I turned to my good friend and said

Are you OK, do you want to hold my hand?

Once more unto the breach, dear friends

For this was but the second visit in eight years for my friend across into the great tattooed abyss known only to him as ‘Billysburg.

My buddy certainly puts the Man in Manhattan but I somehow managed to convince him to join me in a visit across the East River and promised to fight off any hipsters than may try to abduct him & tie-dye his polo shirt. For the purposes of this post let’s call him… er, Matt.

“How’s the serenity!”

Darryl Kerrigan’s immortal words in the classic Australian movie The Castle doth ring so true for Billysburg. As soon as you emerge at ground level from the subway you are enveloped in a serenity far from the pastiche of noise & movement that you left only minutes earlier across the river.

It’s low rise, laid back & bohemian and it’s quiet. Wow is it quiet compared to its high rise neighbour. Oh and facial hair is very de rigueur here too. In short I LOVED it and after enticing ‘Matt’ out of the subway and onto Bedford Avenue with a copy of The Economist he seemed to be warming too!

Checking the Markets.

Cleverly one of my enticements to get Manhattan Matt under the East River was by mentioning the ‘Markets’. What he didn’t know was I was meaning the Flea & not the Financial variety. I was touched by pangs of guilt as he checked his iPad battery & ensured that the Bloomberg app was working correctly before we embarked.

Visit on a Saturday and there is a seducing array of markets appealing to all tastes none of which are more than a 15 minute walk from the Bedford Avenue subway stop. Food & wine, vintage, book swap, art & craft, fashion it’s all here and all with that laissez-faire vibe & retro feel. Check http://www.artistsandfleas.com/ and/or http://www.brooklynflea.com/smorgasburg/ for more info.

Time for a coffee

It is a pretty well stated fact that that until very recently New York has been to good coffee what Osama bin Laden was to Gillette. The cavalry has arrived though & one of the key players amongst the emergence of decent coffee has been an Aussie bloke called Toby. Not surprising given the extreme coffee snobbery in Melbourne & Sydney.

Replacing Whadda Bing Whadda bang with What a Bean! coffee houses such as Toby’s Estate & Blue Bottle (est. in San Francisco) are coming to the rescue of decent-coffee-deprived New Yorkers.

Oh and get ready to queue. Like anything good in NYC you will line up. Whilst I generally find lining up an anathema it’s pretty much operation normal here. Ironic that you can have quality (the business) & quantity! (the number of people waiting)

Start spreading the news.

This is my 2nd time to New York and inasmuch I think you can leave your L Line ‘Billysburg quest until after you have done the icons like Rockefeller, Staten Island Ferry, Central Park, Greenwich Village & Times Square (urggghh if you must) on your first visit. That said if you love the likes of Fitzroy/ Brunswick in Melbourne, Newtown in Sydney or Camden/ Chalk Farm in London then include on your 1st trip.

My name is Matt & I’m an Manhattan-aholic.

I think ‘Matt’ actually had a pretty good time across the ‘East. Certainly the convulsing subsided markedly as the hours passed. I even made him confront his fear head on in the most forthright manner I could think of. Much like someone with arachnophobia handling a spider I got Matt to Check-In from the Williamsburg Flea Market.

Pleasingly he tells me that he has only been defriended by 17 people to date.

Let your (facial) hair down & enjoy chilled out ‘Billysburg

Vibrant Vietnam

You know even today Vietnam is still inextricably entwined with the ‘war’ almost 40 years on. Of course its just an opinion & I have only been once but my feeling after a few days in Vietnam is that that Allies were never going to win because of one overwhelming factor. Time. Timepoor populations of timepoor countries watching atrocity in their loungerooms have very little…

Patience!

No I don’t mean you, I mean the great patience & the laissez-faire attitude of Vietnam’s beautiful people were key to victory then & to your enjoyment now. You see it in their faces.

A stall holder setting up at 5am knowing they are to finish at 6 or 7pm or maybe a lone figure flowing across a tide of traffic that seems to foreign eyes so chaotic & out-of-control but is actually the complete opposite to the locals. Measured & expected. In Vietnam a car or motorcycle horn toot isn’t anger it’s genuine helpfulness. ‘Just letting you know I don’t wish to deposit myself, my scooter & this cargo of chickens into your bottom. Just saying Toot, toot’

Saigon has eight million inhabitants & six million scooters, give or take. In most Western countries (certainly where I’m from) that would also be accompanied by four million daily roadrage incidents. Not in Vietnam. I only heard one ambulance in five days! Ironically however as it raced to attend an accident I was certain it was about to cause another seven on the way. Of course it didn’t, it just works. Tolerance.

I have never seen such contentment, patience & humility in potentially very stressful situations. It’s very humbling & I would love to capture its essence & apply it back in my world. But I wont. I’ll still mutter at the bloke who takes 1 second too long to swipe his train ticket or tisk if there’s a queue to get a beer at the airport lounge. Yes ill go straight back to my first world problems.

From my brief glimpse of this beautiful country my greatest takeout is that in a place of such seeming rush & chaos I can’t actually remember ever feeling less of either.

Halong before I return?

Say Freeze

OK I just noticed something. I have started sorting thru a cosy 18,000 photos or so dating back to 2007 in search of a good shot. I’ll let you know when I find one. But folks I have certainly detected one thing as I virtually sift through my iPhoto library.

I hate having photos taken of myself.

Ohh and doesn’t that just show.

There really is very little woo and a whole lot of wooden in the sampler of shots below. But believe me I could have embedded dozens of others just like these. How could I have imaged such a photo suite of shame & to think I’m in Marketing. Tisk, horror. Must work on my whadda bing! Worst of all is I do actually think to myself – OK yuck a photo so I’ll just slide my hands in my jeans pockets, yes that will look relaxed & street. Hmmm…

Goreme in Turkey. Tall, immovable & frozen in time. And behind me is a hill

Look what's on the menu in St Leon sur Vezere. Crap Saxette

Motionless, attached to the red earth for eons oh & Uluru. (Ayres Rock)

Forget my hands for a second. Why the hell have I got a scarf & a T Shirt on? West Scottish Highlands...

The worst of all. Poignant and scared shitless in equal measure. Even when shot from behind the hands find their sooky photo nest. Castle Stalker, Port Appin.

A bit tongue in Jeep

A spare tire that is actually appealing!

I do so love a good play on words! The above photo nails if for me. A couple of Empty-Nesters travelling around Tasmania, Australia in what looked to be the bastard love vehicle of a Jeep & a Winnebago.

Pretty sure that they were ticking off their Bucket-list with a visit out to the beautiful Maria Island. I’ve included a couple of shots below of this restful island, located off the east coast of Tasmania, as that was where I was going too with some colleagues. If you are not familiar with the term Bucket-List then check out this link for more information or list ideas. I haven’t noticed ‘be a roadie for Motley Crue’ on any lists yet but that would definately be a must on mine!

Maria Island, East Coast Tasmania.

Painted Cliffs Maria Island

Seclusion & escape