Saturday was the 2014 Bristol World Naked Bike Ride – part of a worldwide series of rides to raise awareness of oil dependency, cyclist vulnerability and body image. And it’s an unmissable change to ride round the centre of town stark naked…
For the first time in my three rides we actually had nice weather – lovely and warm with plenty of sun. A couple of drops of rain, but no more. The ride itself was great – there must have been about 100 people taking part (including one couple who joined in as we waited at traffic lights!), and the reaction of the shoppers in Broadmead and Cabot Circus was fantastic.
What’s that, another set of photos from Abbey House Gardens? Well, yes – but this visit was a little different. SWMBO came along for the first time, and it was also the first time I’ve visited with my kit on – this wasn’t one of their clothes optional days.
I’ve not been this early in the year before, and unfortunately the masses of tulips that were out over Easter were past their best – we weren’t able to get there when they were in their prime. However the rhododendrons were out and the gardens were a lot quieter than on the naturist days – which made taking photos a lot easier! I need to visit when the Laburnum arch is in flower, preferably with someone to pose in it.
A few photos from the weekend’s trip to London – we spent most of the time in the V&A and I think we covered most of it! There’s also a brief detour into the Natural History Museum, which I think is just a fantastic building. And then there was the Status Quo concert – a second reunion tour for the original lineup, playing just their classic old material. Regardless of what it’s currently known as, the venue will always be the Hammersmith Odeon to me. Eventim Apollo my arse!
All of the photos were taken on my little Panasonic compact, which explains why they’re not quite as pin sharp a usual – the SLR kit would have been too much of a back-killer, as I discovered when we did a similar weekend last year…
There are a couple of large patches of daffodils just down the road from us, and every spring I thing that I should wander down and taking a few photos. I never have though, until today.
A couple of weeks ago a group of us got together for another studio day of arty nude photography, much like the one in December – this one was up in Barlow just outside Chesterfield, which meant a long day!
Again, some really good results, and some quite different effects with the lights and projections – many thanks to the models, and to the other photographers who brought along much more inspiration than I did!
I did some other nude portraits recently – I haven’t posted them up previously as I hadn’t asked the subject about it. They said yes, on the condition that they’re not identifiable – so here they are.
A couple of weekends ago I ventured up to London (a rare event) to take part in an art nude studio photography day. This was organised by a naturist friend and was a clothes optional event, which made for a really good environment with the models, and was probably a bit unusual for them – I think they’re used to being the only naked ones. What was very noticeable was that the day wasn’t just men photographing women – we had almost as many male models as female, as well as women taking photos. Several people did stints on both sides of the camera.
If you’ve seen any of my work you’ll know that I don’t photograph people very much, and certainly not in a studio, so this was quite a new experience. My main learning point is to come up with more ideas of my own, rather than relying on the models (who were excellent). On the whole though, I was very pleased with the results – and lots more b&w…
And one final warning – these images are Not Suitable For Work!
I spent the weekend at Alton Towers – the theme park is closed for their winter maintenance, but we were at the Splash Landings Hotel which has an indoor water park attached.
“We” were British Naturism, running their 7th Alton Towers weekend (Friday evening through to Sunday lunchtime), although it’s the first one I’ve been to. It was pretty much sold out, with approaching 400 naturists staying.
Strangely, Alton Towers don’t allow their name to be used in advertising the event, and it can only be marketed to BN members – so they’re happy to take our money (what’s known as the buff pound) but not to be publicly associated with naturists. Would their regular clientele be completely freaked out?
The waterpark was great fun, with a couple of good water slides – one of them was long, fast and dark. A real blast!
As well as various activities (yoga, tai-chi, paper plane making, a portrait photography workshop (not by me) and evening musical entertainment) there was also a guided tour of the gardens. If you’ve been to the theme park but not seen the gardens, you’ve missed something – they’re really impressive. The tour was clothes-optional, but it was only about 7 degrees on Saturday. However, that didn’t stop some intrepid souls in stripping off. The lack of wind meant it didn’t feel as cold as if could have.
It was strange walking through empty car parks and a deserted theme park, and it was a shame we didn’t get to see more of the rides as photographing then could have been fun.
The highlight of the gardens for me were the conservatories – the sort of decaying building that I love photographing, and they work so well in my favourite punchy black and white.
Some photos from a trip to the National Memorial Arboretum, near Lichfield – the national services memorial.
An interesting place, with several moving memorials. Worth a visit.
By the way, do please tell me if you think I’m overdoing the black and white. For some reason the photos from the new camera just seem to work really well – crisp and sharp and well suited to contrasty b&w.