Anyone who knows me well will be aware that walking anywhere with me will often mean pausing as something catches my eye and I feel compelled to take a photograph of it. As my Instagram account can attest to this happens on a fairly regular basis.
I love finding beauty in the world around me not just in iconic scenery, although I am a landmark fiend, but also in the everyday world that some people take for granted.
The invention of camera phones has come on leaps and bounds in recent years and with my click happy habit in mind I chose carefully in April 2014 when it was time to renew my phone contract.
The Lumia 1020 phone could easily be best described as a camera with a smart phone attached. And for me that is absolutely perfect. It also contains my entire music collection which no other phone has been able to handle so I’m more than happy with it.
I’ve taken many photos on phones over the years but the ones from this phone, edited with a mix of the in-built Creative Studio and Instagram filters are of a far superior quality to anything iPhones or Androids can offer.
I don’t profess to be a professional photographer but I do have a keen appreciation for framing a shot and enhancing its best features.
Below are what I feel are the 12 best photographs I have taken on my Lumia this year.
View across the River Thames from the Tate Modern Art Gallery, London, UK
London is the city I live in but it is so much more than that. The city is a living, breathing entity which has a skyline filled with classic and modern architecture that changes every year. This photograph was taken from the sixth floor of the Tate Modern art gallery which is located south of the river. For me the view of the city is better than any work of art that the gallery holds. The Millennium pedestrian bridge leads across the river Thames to the north of the city where St Paul’s Cathedral keeps a watchful eye over the inhabitants and workers who occupy the more modern buildings like the curvy Walkie Talkie tower that can be on the far right of the picture.
Umbrella Art in Bodrum Town, Bodrum, Mugla, Turkey
Bodrum is a Turkish town that I have come to know quite well since my parents retired to live out in a village close to it. Located on the Aegean coast Bodrum is a tourist haven but it has a sleepy charm and is peppered by stone streets such as this framed by arches and colourful Bougainvillea vines. The best parts of it for me are the hidden side streets like this one which someone had taken the time to make into a piece of public art.
Chain Link Bridge over the Danube River, Budapest, Hungary
I was lucky enough to visit the city of Budapest as a part of a long weekend to watch the Hungarian F1 Grand Prix. The city charmed me so much that I would love to spend more time there. It is full of a rich mixture of architecture thanks to historical influences from Russia, Turkey, France, Italy and Austria and its people are friendly and helpful and the food is a culinary delight. It deserves far more tourism than it currently receives but lets just keep that our little secret.
Grand Anse Beach, St Georges, Grenada
The little Caribbean island of Grenada really is a slice of true paradise. Whenever I visit I struggle to imagine why anyone would ever leave. However leave many did in the 1950’s when work on the island was scarce. This included my in-laws. My mother-in-law still faithfully visits the island every year to spend time with the family that remained and this year was the second time we have joined her on that journey. If you want to spend time somewhere warm, beautiful and slow-paced than Grenada is a place I would strongly recommend.
Uxbridge Lock, Grand Union Canal, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UK
For the last two years I have worked in an office that backs onto a stretch of the Grand Union Canal. This is a blessing in the summer as it means I can escape the office for a walk beside the water. The quiet tow path is often shared with a plethora of water birds, including the area’s resident swans and even a couple of friendly canal boat cats who enjoy a fuss. When the lock is in action it can be quiet fascinating to watch from the bridge where I took this photo.
Eiffel Tower, Paris, France during the 2014 French Open
The Eiffel Tower has to be one of the most instantly recognisable landmarks in the world. For two weeks every year a giant tennis ball is suspended from its centre whilst the city welcomes the world’s top tennis players to compete for the French Open title on the clay courts at Roland Garros. This year a giant screen was erected in the park so that people could watch the action in the centre of the city for free. Maria Sharapova and Raphael Nadal were the victors who had their photographs taken in front of the tower with their trophies this year.
Autumn in Northolt, London, UK
This is a very personal photograph to me for two reasons. Firstly it was taken five minutes walk from where I live and secondly it evokes exactly why I love Autumn so much. The last gasp of colour before the season changes has fascinated me since I was a child and this year this tree inspired the following description:
“The flames of autumn consume the bows of a tree in winter’s firm embrace.”
Kos Town, Island of Kos, Greece
Kos is a Greek Island that I have visited twice in my lifetime. The first time I was in my late teens and with a group of friends who partied all night and spent all day in the pool. In more recent times I was better able to take the time to appreciate the traditional Greek architecture rather than the allure of the aniseed flavoured liquor Ouzo.
Henley Business School, Greenlands Campus, Henley, UK
Henley Business School is situated on the same part of the river Thames near where the famous Henley Regatta takes place. I was there as a part of a team building exercise with work. However if I’m honest I think I got more from the beautiful quintessentially British countryside scenery than I did from the course we were on. Britain on a sunny day really can take the breath away. All that green almost, almost, makes you grateful for all the rain we endure at other times of the year.
Torquay Beach, Torbay, Devon
The UK can surprise you on a long hot summers day which inevitably sends city dwellers to the coast to soak up some sun. Torquay, on the south-west coast, is a brilliant place to be on that sort of day as it can rival any Mediterranean resort with its beaches, bars and restaurants. It’s just a shame it dies such a death every winter. I know this is true because I lived there for two years. I still enjoy a visit but I try to keep those visits to the summertime to see it at its best.
Tower of London taken from the river Thames, London, UK
London has a lot of landmarks but one that has taken a lot of publicity this year is The Tower of London. It played host to the frankly awe-inspiring installation of ceramic poppies to commemorate those members of the armed forces who died during world war I and drew unexpectedly huge international crowds to it. The day I took this picture I was on a tourist boat with my husband and you could see the crowds surrounding the tower. I have never seen so many people there. Aside from the poppies it has always been one of my favourite London landmarks anyway because of all the history tied to it and the fact that it houses the Crown Jewels. If you visit London I thoroughly recommend putting it on the itinerary. Although I suggest ignoring your partner if they suggest, like my husband did, that you be dragged through the Traitors Gate that can be seen here.
Bodrum Town Harbour, Bodrum, Mugla, Turkey
The final picture of my 2014 collection is a study of bright colour from the patriotic Harbour of Bodrum town near the beautiful Bodrum Castle. Turkey flies its national flag with real pride and it is seen everywhere you go. I think the British could learn from that. Also if you ever do visit Turkey be sure to take a trip out onto the ocean on a Gulet. It is a wonderful way to explore the waters of the area and enjoy a tasty lunch whilst you’re at it.
So there you have it. The 12 scenic pictures that sum up my year and make me incredibly glad I bought my new camera phone. Let me know which one is your favourite and why.