Cooling down

Dog in the fountain

We’ve had a cracking few days weather-wise this week in London. It’s been hot hot hot. I would’ve preferred to be sitting on the beach in Brighton than sitting in the office in London, but there you go. The heat made me think of a picture I took in Madrid last month when a walker let her dog paddle through a fountain to cool off. It must’ve felt heavenly.

~ Spotted Cow


Having a drink outside

My balcony in Madrid had a view onto the outdoor tables of a bar. I loved looking out onto the street, watching the comings and goings, and spying on the people who sat down to have a drink. Looking back, I now wish that I had made a project of it as I am somewhat frustrated with the short series of unsatisfactory pictures I took. Hmph. It will have to keep for next time … and I’ll have to make sure that I have a balcony that is as advantageously situated.

~ Spotted Cow

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare

Palacio de Cristal

Palacio de Cristal, Parque Retiro, Madrid

The Crystal Palace edifice isn’t rare like a diamond, but there are not so many of them around. Certainly, I’ve only ever seen pictures of the London Crystal Palace which was destroyed by fire, and upon which the Madrid one is modelled. It was originally built as a greenhouse – and it reminds me of the Kew Garden greenhouses – but these days it is used for art exhibitions.

I shouldn’t have been surprised, but it was very hot inside when I went to have a look at what seemed a disparate set of exhibits, including a swinging pendulum that looked like an upside-down Empire State Building, a model ship hoisted at an angle and various retro electronics. The greenhouse wasn’t much respite from the heat outside, but it was a beautiful building to admire. I lingered to take some photographs indoors and had to be patient for what I thought was the right grouping and movement of people, with the right space between them. Such is the character of street photography that you can’t direct people around as you would like !

Weekly Photo Challenge: Rare

~ Spotted Cow

Detail on the Crystal Palace

Model boat exhibit

Pendulum exhibit

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fun!

Street art chase

I love the creativity of street art on electricity boxes that you see in many cities, but I don’t tend to take pictures of them. Until today, that is, when I saw a composition that made me laugh. The stationary bicycle looks like it’s chasing the cartoon monster downhill. I snapped the picture quickly with my camera phone … and hopped out of the way of a beeping car. I’m going to have to come back with my proper camera and hope that a bicycle is there again.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fun!

~ Spotted Cow

Waiting for the bus

Lamp post

Ten minutes till the bus turned into another 10 minutes and yet another 10, because it was stuck somewhere in Sunday traffic on the winding road into Amalfi.  This looks like an intentional picture of people waiting for the said bus. But in reality, what I saw was the evening light filter into the street lamp and it contrasted sharply with the misty hillside. Hence, in fact, the people were merely useful props to make up the picture composition.

~ Spotted Cow

Cycle ways

Cycle lane

How many times have you walked over a cycle lane symbol? One unemployed spring, I spent an early morning photographing cyclists wheeling their way to work through London Fields in East London. Most didn’t seem to mind that I was crouched with a tripod in the middle of the cycle path. I didn’t get knocked over … that would’ve been an occupational hazard.

~ Spotted Cow

Stripey scarf


I was thinking about writing a post on India’s varied forms of transport, i.e. bicycles, trishaws, tuk tuk taxis, cars, camels, etc. But then I remembered this Jaipur man with the multi-coloured stripey scarf.  We love stripes here on the Wandering Cows, but it doesn’t tend to come up much as a theme. So I thought Jaipur Man with Stripey Scarf warranted a standalone blog post, given his sartorial elegance.

~ Spotted Cow

Travel photography. Obliging objects

Ginger cat

In Marrakech, I encountered lots of beautiful tiles, doorways, and terracotta walls and my photo library is full of stills to record the details.

In atmospheric places like Marrakech, where you have lots of architectural detail, you need an obliging object to make your travel photograph that little bit more interesting. It could be a ginger cat, a donkey, a man in a traditional djellaba – something, anything, to give your picture a focal point but still bring out the cultural elements you intended to capture. It requires some patience and alertness. Cats and donkeys don’t conjure up out of nowhere.

Here are some examples. I think the images would’ve been serviceable without the said obliging objects. But they would’ve been less interesting and less personal. Everyone can shoot the tile image, but not everyone will have the ginger cat. That one thing will make it your picture.

~ Spotted Cow

Tiles and ginger catMan in djellaba through doorwayTerracotta wall with donkey and motorcyclist

Hanoi’s Old Quarter

Hanoi’s Old Quarter is a photographer’s paradise because everyone plies their commerce on the pavement. Historically, each street had its own trade – Cloth Street, Silk Street, Tinsmith Street – although sadly many do not exist anymore and some have changed custom to keep up with the times. Still, it remains buzzingly atmospheric – not least due to the regular hum of motorcycle engines – and you can spend hours walking around, shooting pictures.

~ Spotted Cow

bamboo shop Hanoifan repairer Hanoi restaurant Hanoi food shop Hanoi