Field of flowers, Olympic Park, London, Aug 2012

A Bouquet from Olympic Park

Today’s daily pic is a simple little fresh flower bouquet for any and all who happen to come across this photo or otherwise drop by Piran Café today. You’re always welcome. :)

Today’s Pic du Jour, the 201st (!) straight, was snapped at London’s Olympic Park exactly two years ago. The same day I snapped this full moon over the Thames and Tower Bridge. As always –at least until I can figure out a fix for this glitch– please click on the image to see the full uncropped version.

All images © Bob Ramsak 2012-2014. All rights reserved.
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Leicester Square, London, 07-Aug-2012

London Yawn (Pic du Jour)

Leicester Square, London, 07-Aug-2012

Leicester Square, London, 07-Aug-2012

I’m not a big fan of snapping people with GoPro cameras, but I was really happy with how this image, shot near London’s Leicester Square, turned out. There’s a certain intimacy, from the framing to the yawn, that another camera from the same angle probably wouldn’t have captured.  Thoughts?

London, 07-Aug-2012


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Recuerdo Profundo by Jimenez Deredia

Circles, in the Round

Recuerdo Profundo by Jimenez Deredia

In her travel theme this week, Ailsa asked for circles. Who am I to say no?

I threw in a few orbs and spheres, too, beginning with Jimenez Deredia’s phenomenal chocolatey sculpture, Recuerdo Profundo, which I was fortunate enough to see near the Colosseum in Rome in July 2009. A few more snaps from that exhibit are on my flickr stream here.

Istanbul, March 2012

This one I found near the Galata Bridge in Istanbul. What’s not to love about this version of the Crescent Star?

Musee Olympique, Lausanne, 31-Aug-2008

There are lots of circles to be found at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne that have nothing to do with the five rings. Above is the view up from the library level.

Sticking with the Olympic theme, this is a bit of graffiti decorating some shrapnel damage to a wall of the 1984 Olympic bobsled run on Trebević Mountain just outside of Sarajevo. The hour or so I spent there, strolling down the destroyed and graffiti-covered run with just the sounds of forest birds and bugs as a soundtrack, remains the most surreal I’ve experienced in recent memory. There’s a high-speed video –and a few more pics– of that stroll here.

1984 Olympic Bobsled run, Trebević Mountain, near Sarajevo.

Vietnamese People’s Air Force Museum Hanoi, 27-Oct-2010

This is at the Vietnamese People’s Air Force Museum, or Bảo Tàng Phòng Không – Không Quân, in Hanoi. How many of these countries still exist? Below, a ‘Do Not Enter’ variation, seen in Paris.

Fun with road signs. Paris, April 2012

Istanbul, 14-Mar-2012

Above, Istanbul again, fresh catch caught from the Galata Bridge. Below was taken in London this past August, just before I watched this guy getting man-handled by private cops.

London, Aug 2012

Shanghai, May 201

This is a 10-second exposure taken inside the Bund Tourist Tunnel that runs under the Huangpu River in Shanghai. It’s hideously tacky but a fun place to take long-exposures. There are four more here.

Dicobole Lancant le Disque, by Mathieu Kessels

We return briefly to the Olympic theme with Mathieu Kessels’ Discus Thrower at the Royal Museum of Art in Brussels and conclude in Shanghai with these orbs that you’ll see when you exit the hideously tacky Bund Tourist Tunnel. Full circle.

Shanghai, May 2010

Now, go check out more circles, spheres and orbs at Ailsa’s Weekly Challenge here.

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Leicester Square, 07-Aug-2012

Tired? Or bored? Street Stills with a GoPro (Pic du Jour)

Leicester Square, 07-Aug-2012

So which is it? Sleepy? Or just bored with handing out leaflets for a London theatre?

This was taken near Leicester Square on a rare afternoon off while I was in London covering the Olympics in August. I thought I’d experiment a bit with how my GoPro Hero2 could be used for some simple street photography stills. It wasn’t so much that I wanted the camera’s compact size to allow me to operate in stealth mode – mostly I just didn’t feel like lugging around my DSLR.

I had few expectations. Since I wasn’t stopping to compose shots, but instead just shooting from the hip, I already knew that the results would be predictably lack luster. That kind of shooting always requires a great deal of luck to be on your side.

I was primarily interested in what the camera’s exceptionally wide angle would produce. The contorted perspective, upwards of 170 degrees, can yield some fun results. When people are the subjects –like the woman’s sidekick, pictured to the right— those exaggerations become a matter of personal taste.

Anyway, here it’s the yawning indifference that makes the shot, one I would not have gotten shooting from the hip with my DSLR. And one I certainly wouldn’t have captured had I actually stopped to compose. Dumb luck, that’s all.

For those of you not familiar with Go Pro cameras, suffice it to say that they pack quite a bit of bang into their tiny 3.3 ounce, 1.6” x 2.4” x 1.2” (42mm x 60mm x 30mm) metal frames. Most people buy these to attach to their heads or chests to make entertaining HD videos when jumping from airplanes or doing flips on snowboards. Besides some time lapses taken when strapped inside of an airplane and during a few ski runs, I’ve only used mine with two feet planted firmly on the ground. It’s likely to remain that way.

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Notting Hill Gate station, London, 10-August-2012

Solitary (pic du jour)

Notting Hill Gate station, London, 10-August-2012

Finding a wall of solitude in a busy London tube station on a Friday afternoon? Easy. Cracking it with a fleeting glance? Unforgettable.

I’m glad we made eye contact. It broke that momentary solitary confinement – her’s, waiting alone for the train, and mine, leaning against a wall, hiding behind a camera.

Notting Hill Gate station, London, 10-August-2012


Solitary‘ is the WordPress weekly photo challenge, ‘people’ is Jake’s Sunday post theme, and I inaugurated my own Pic de Jour yesterday. Triple play!

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Reflections on Trains

Jake‘s weekly email, this time on the topic of reflection, was the perfect prompt to break out, albeit briefly, from an 18-day postless stretch. Did y’all miss me? :)

I’m slowly working my way through a small pile of photos taken last month in London during the Olympic Games, and from quick trips to Stockholm and Zurich since. This one was taken at the UK capital’s Mile End tube station, my stop for 13 days. I really liked the woman’s still reflection in the train that was whizzing by.

One more week remains –Zagreb and Brussels still left on the schedule– before my summer travel officially winds down. Then begins serious reflection on plans for the next 14-18 months. That’s gonna be some seriously fun reflection.

And while on topic: about 20 more shots of reflections are on my flickr stream here.


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Dancing Nuns at the 2012 Olympic Closing Ceremonies in London

2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony – London Notebook III

If globalization had left you wondering what Great Britain’s primary export has been over the past 50 years, the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics provided a high energy reminder.

A few scattered notes from the what was certainly the best of the three Olympic Games finales I’ve seen:

Besides the brief speeches by IOC boss Jacques Rogge and London 2012 Chairman Sebastian Coe near the tail end of the evening, this extravaganza seemed to have little to do with the Olympics. It was a rock concert, dancefest and sing-along for a crowd of 80,000 spectators and some 10,000 athletes featuring some big names of pop music’s past. It was also part Broadway/West End, featuring more than 3,500 volunteer performers, and almost operatic in scope –we weren’t allowed up for air until the pause brought on by the pair of quick speeches.

The headliners were The Who – Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend with a few sidemen in tow– who brought the show to a rousing conclusion. There was Muse, Fatboy Slim, Ray Davies, George Michael, Annie Lennox, Nick Mason, Liam Gallagher, One Direction, the Petshop Boys, and many others. Madness sang and played “Our House” 29 years –to the week!– since I last saw them stomping and shouting that same song.

The archival footage of John Lennon, during a stirring rendition of “Imagine” performed by the Liverpool Philharmonic Youth Choir and Liverpool Signing Choir, fit in beautifully. There was Freddie Mercury, too, singing the opening lines of “Day-O” with the crowd swaying along. After shedding a few tears during that video memorial, Queen’s guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor got together “Brighton Rock” and “We Will Rock You”.

Eric Idle was terrific. Backed up by a Monty Python ‘Best of’ cabaret style review, he led the crowd in a “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” sing-along. I’ll admit it: I sang along with that, and “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka. “I am the Walrus” and a few others, too. (Spice Girls not included).

Here’s a brief slideshow, 21 pics in all.

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And finally, below is some admittedly crappy footage of the finale, The Who playing My Generation, shot with a dancing GoPro2. At least it’s not crappy footage of the Spice Girls reunion.


Jessica Ennis’s Coronation – London Notebook II

London, UK – Vultures.  :)

This is Great Britain’s Jessica Ennis just a few steps beyond the finish line of the 800 meters after she clinched the gold medal in the heptathlon last night.

For anyone who had the good fortune to witness Great Britain’s ‘Super Saturday’ in track and field yesterday at Olympic Stadium, there will be no shortage of indelible moments to be permanently etched into memory: from the capacity crowd of 80,000 strong who grew impossibly louder as the evening progressed to Ennis’s spectacular coronation as the world’s greatest female athlete. Throw in a surprise gold for long jumper Greg Rutherford and Mo Farah‘s dramatic victory in the 10,000m and you’ve got an evening that the hosts will find nearly impossible to top.

Hope y’all are enjoying. Usain Bolt and the men’s 100 meter final is tonight. If you’re the wagering sort, these were the odds a few days ago:

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London Notebook – Video of Arrest Near the London Eye

This is two minutes of footage of an arrest I witnessed yesterday (2 Aug) evening in front of the Sea Life Museum, near the London Eye along the Thames.

The man, who was bleeding from the mouth, was charged with illegal street trading and was being restrained until police arrived. I missed the start of the incident so I don’t know the entire context in which this type of force was deemed necessary, but on the surface it seemed excessive.

From what I gathered, he either didn’t have a license or was working in an area he wasn’t supposed to be. I did ask but my questions went ignored. I don’t know what he was selling. One of the restraining officers mentioned that the man assaulted two other officers who initially approached him.

Londoners: Is this standard operating procedure for dealing with illegal street selling?

FYI I shot this with a GoPro2 because it was the camera I had in my hand at the time, thus the emphasized wide angle at times.
London, UK, 8:10pm, Thursday 2 Aug, 2012.