Z is for zzzzz

It’s time for a snooze now after these long holidays. As with many festive family days, I have seen many a family member snoozing on the sofa after dinner. Have some amazing images, but will not post them 🙂

I hope you all have a great start of the year and I will be back soon with new ideas, blogs and photos.


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Y is Year

Love Heart

Welcome to the New Year! That it may be a wonderful, photogenic and awesome new year.

Love Heart The weather was so dreadful last night that I did not have the chance to take any firework pictures. Although it is a bit late for any firework image tips, here are some. Just in case you have some events coming up.

First of all make sure you have a good spot to take the images. You will need clear view of the sky and where possible of the firework display. Where possible have the option to see the firework in front of you, not above you. If available, use water areas for reflection!

Next, change your camera settings. Turn your flash off, drop ISO to about 100, set shutter speed on 2-3 seconds and if available, use the firework setting on your camera. As you use long exposure see if you have a tripod on hand. If not, be creative and find a stable flat surface.

Lastly, take many, many pictures and enjoy the show. Don’t check your images whilst you are taking them, just keep shooting. You can check them later. However do keep an eye on the first couple of pictures to make sure your settings are right. Once you are happy, just keep clicking.

Dram of Balvenie, Whisky from Scotland

Photo opportunities for 2013

Compared to 2012, 2013 seems to be a more quiet year. No big football event, no Queen’s jubilee, no Olympics. Although there are no major events planned, there are bound to be numerous small and local events. You probably will just have to be a little bit more creative and come up with your own ideas.

Some dates that might be worth looking out for:
10th February – Chinese New Year – good for firework!
10th March – Mother’s Day (UK)
31st March – Easter
12th May – Mother’s Day (US / Netherlands)
16th June – Father’s Day
3rd November – Total Solar eclipse

I will have some more photo series coming up for 2013, so keep an eye on this blog. If you have any ideas for photos, drop a comment 🙂

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X is for Xmas

Candle Light in the Darkness

There is not much to say about the letter X.

Not many words start with an x, the letter is more commonly used in mathemetical calculations and it gives you quite good points with scrabble if you go beyond the 3 letter word!

In recent year, Xmas has become a popular way of writing about Christmas. The X stands for the Greek letter Chi or Christ, hence the abbreviation. But apart from that, not much happens around this letter.

So I will leave it with that and work towards the last 2 letters of the alphabeth. Nearly the end of the year and nearly the end of the alphabeth. 🙂

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W is for Weather

Clouds over Isle of Wight
Golden Sunset

Golden Sunset

The saying goes that nobody talks as much about the weather as the Brits. Having lived here for several years now I can understand why. The weather here is probably the most unpredictable I have even experienced. In one day you can go through all seasons without physically changing location. Most countries will have a far more settled weather pattern.

Take for example the last couple of months. There was snow in November, far earlier than normal, followed by excessive rainfall in December with temperatures about 10 degrees Celsius. It is so wet at the moment that there are massive floods which has an impact on travel (train, car and plane), not what you want during the Christmas holidays.

This weird weather all year round means  Read more »

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V is for Vacation

Matrioshka Russian Dolls

Golden Domes of Russian Orthodox ChurchThe end of the year is a time when most people will take a vacation (or holiday). Often these days are linked with family gatherings, but some people might want to escape the home and go for places further away. With the beginning of the new year comes a time to plan the holidays for the coming year. When to go and where to go is in most households a common debate.

My list of holiday destinations seem to grow by the year as new ideas spring to mind. There are so many fascinating places to visit, it is difficult to decide what to do in any given year. One priority will always be exploring new places in the homeland, with a longer holiday dedicated to travels abroad. With the power of the internet, there is now the opportunity to explore places to visit before booking trips. This means that any holiday becomes better planned and organised. However the best holiday remains those that have large elements of surprise in them. Nothing better, than going to an unknown city, take a map and a backpack and just start walking around. Where possible through back alleys, away from the touristy places. You always find there a more true version of the country you are visiting.

With holidays of course comes the issue of photography. Thanks to the digital cameras  Read more »

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U is for Unwrapping

The only thing that children want to do with Christmas is unwrapping their presents. For days they have been looking excitingly at the tree, waiting for presents to appear. Sleeping is out of the question, especially on Christmas Eve. They will wake up really early in the morning on Christmas Day to see what Santa has brought them. Once they see the presents, mayhem commences.

This morning madness offers a great photo opportunity. That excitement when they open their presents cannot be repeated, so is great to capture on film or image. There are a couple of things  Read more »

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T is for Tulips

Yellow Tulips

Tulips might not be the first flower that comes to mind when thinking about Christmas, but many bouquets will contain these famous Dutch flowers. Most commonly they will be red or white, but there are many other varieties and colours available.

It is a bit rare to get tulips in the winter as they normally bloom in spring. They need to be planted in late summer, early autumn. However, with modern technology and the use of glass houses, you are able to get tulips (or any other flower) all year round.

Tulips are commonly linked with The Netherlands who made the flower commercially popular. The flower has its origins in Turkey (or former Persia) before it mades its way to Western Europe. In ancient time, when you gave someone a red tulip you declared your love to this person. Same as with roses these days. In the 1600’s the tulip became so popular  Read more »

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S is for Snow

Tree white with frozen water

The best Christmas for me is waking up early in the morning, opening the curtains and see everything covered in a layer of snow. Not that I am such a snow fan, but it just adds that little bit of magic to the day. It also means you appreciate a warm house and good food more than when it is a warm day. For this year it looks like it is going to be rain but let’s hope the forecast is wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time! 🙂


Snow photography can be very tricky due to the reflection of the sun on the snow. Luckily, here in the UK, you normally get quite overcast days when it snows. I have some great tips  Read more »

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R is for Reindeer and Red

Holly Berries against Blue Sky


Next to camels, reindeer are the most important animals in relation to Christmas. The story goes that Santa’s sleigh is pulled by 8 flying reindeer called Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder, and Blitzen.

The most famous reindeer is Rudolph, though he was not part of the original story. He is normally depicted as the 9th Reindeer and takes the lead when pulling Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve. The luminosity of his nose is so great that it illuminates the team’s path through very bad winter weather.

When you visit town centres in the run up to Christmas, Read more »

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Q is for Quaint

How can you realistically write an article about the letter Q in relation to Christmas?

Let’s have some facts first. Q, the 17th letter in the English alphabet, is the second most rarely used letter, with a frequency of just 0.09% in words. It is more frequent than Z, however. So that does not really help.

Let’s see what Q stands for. As abbreviation it stands for quarter (finance), question and queen (card games). Now with card games I can do something, which I rather choose than boring you with finances.

Many Christmasses we have spent as a family playing card games. Some were the more known ones like hearts, but others were once we defined ourselves. One of them was closely related to yahtzee. It seemed an easy and straightforward game, Read more »

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