Monday, January 21, 2013
In any case, we hit the slopes of Greenwich Park early on Saturday morning. Later, the hill in the background was heaving with sledders of all shapes and sizes. We like to get there early in the day when we have the place nearly to ourselves.
I took this picture on Saturday morning, and snow continued throughout that day and again on Sunday. London truly became a winter wonderland. But the sun is out now on Monday, so it won't last.
Monday, January 14, 2013
My son and I also had a go at doing our own ice sculpting. It was-- no big surprise here-- very difficult to do. Luckily, all of the hard work on our polar bear had already been done. We only had to do some minor work on it. Too bad it was so ephemeral, but at least I got to take a picture of it.
Thursday, January 03, 2013
This is the Guardian video of its 52 Weeks Photo project. Watch it!
Regular readers of this blog will know that I participated in the Guardian's 52 Weeks Photo project this year. I loved it. It was a great and easy way to record 2012.
I'm chuffed to say that three of my photos were included in the video roundup.
• The boys walking in Blackheath under some Olympic bunting from Week 27 appears at 1:25. Click on this sentence to see the original post here.
• A bike messenger carrying his bike over his head amid the crowds watching the Olympic victory parade from Week 37 appears at 1:34. Click on this sentence to see the original post here.
• My 12.12.12 picture of Big Ben from the train from Week 50 appears at 2:11. Click on this sentence to see the original post here.
Monday, December 31, 2012
Time: Just after finishing opening all the presents
Place: Next to the Christmas Tree and in front of the TV
Watching What: The 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony on DVD
Why: Because he got it as a present
For my final picture of 2012, I could have chosen the classy nighttime shot of the Greenwich Christmas lights in front of St. Alfege's, which we saw on 27 December when we walked the Advent Windows with our friends. Very classy. But no. I went with this one because I love it.
Yes, that's Christmas wrapping paper on the floor that really should have been thrown away. Yes, there are new presents strewn about, seemingly forgotten about just minutes after opening them.
I love this picture because here is Thing Two cuddling his Christmas present from Thing One while watching (again) the Opening Ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics. Thing One found the present at Hamleys in September and knew then that he wanted to get it for Thing Two for his Christmas present. I told him we should wait, because he might find something that would be better by December. But December rolled around, and he still wanted to get it. We dutifully went to Hamleys, but alas, the Tiger head puppet he wanted to get was no longer available. But I did some Internet sluething and found the manufacturer and ordered direct. Did Thing Two love his present? Did he ever. He's named him Caesar. Nothing like a brother to know the perfect present for his brother.
I also love this picture because of what we're watching: The Olympics. We loved every minute of it. August truly was the best of times and the worst of times for our family. But the Olympics were an experience of a lifetime.
And thus ends my 2012 52 weeks experiment. I'm thrilled I kept it up and was able to complete it. My 2012 photo time capsule is really something I will treasure.
For many years we've hoped to win the gingerbread house or Christmas cake at the Christmas fair, but walked away empty handed. But not this year. My No. 1 Kitchen assistant had to guess how much the cake weighed and he nearly got it bang on (it was 2.44 kilos, he said it was 2.5). Well done to him.
The funny thing about the cake is that we were sure it was a fruit cake. It looked beautiful, to be sure, but we thought the shape of the cake meant we were destined to be awarded something we didn't like. For one week, the cake then sat on the sideboard to be admired, but not eaten.
Finally, on 22 December, we decided to have a Cake Reveal Ceremony. We lit the whirlygig. We put Christmas carols on the CD. We all held our breath as I cut it. We were all thrilled to discover that it wasn't fruit cake at all, but delicious chocolate. Yum.
Merry Christmas, everyone.
Monday, December 17, 2012
For the 50th Week of 2012, I decided to go with the 12.12.12 at 12:12 shot. Those of you with an acute knowledge of times of days will notice that I say it was taken at 12:12, which here in London would mean the middle of the day, not nighttime. As it happens, i was sitting at my computer at 12:12 GMT, so I went with the 12:12 EST time instead, when I happened to be on a train that was passing Big Ben. I think it's a far better shot than a screen shot, which is what a lot of people were posting for 12.12.12 at 12:12. Can I just say: Yawn.
Maddingly, the time stamp above says that it was taken on 13.12.12. Let me assure that isn't the case. It got that time stamp because that's when I went to the Over App to add the above text for clarification. Believe me at 17:11 (GMT) or 12:11 (EST), my nine-year-old and I were staring at the screen, waiting for the change to 12.12.12.
After 12 years of repetitive dates, that's it. The party is over. I'm glad I was able to go out with a bang, even if I had to fiddle with time zones in order to do it. Surely it still counts though, right?
Monday, December 10, 2012
Twenty-four houses and businesses create windows that are unveiled every day through Advent. Some families (including ours) now include "walking the windows" as part of their Christmas traditions.
For this house, they not only decorated their windows with doves of peace, but hung some doves of peace in their trees too. Beautiful (if I do say so myself).
For more information about the project or to get a map if you'd like to walk the windows yourself, go to www.adventwindows.com.
Tuesday, December 04, 2012
This beautiful light display is near Seven Dials in Covent Garden. The beautiful full moon, which cooperated by being in the frame, was an extra bonus.
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
Apologies for the shaky focusing, but it was taken at the end of our Thanksgiving feast, which we celebrated on Saturday. We don't do it on Thursday since everyone has to work. Though our Thanksgiving feast was more low-key this year than in past years, we still managed to drink 1.5 bottles of wine per adult.
We love Thanksgiving. All you have to do is get together the people you love and then eat, drink and give thanks all day. Perfection.
Monday, November 19, 2012
This past Sunday was an absolutely glorious morning: Perfect blue sky, bright sunshine, glorious autumnal colour. It was so nice that our 13-year-old was bummed that he didn't get to go on the walk too.
I was glad to capture the beautiful colours still in the park, because I don't know how long they'll last and it's been an epic autumn.
I think this photo also is a good example of what the 52 weeks project is all about. While I would love for every week to be happy-- with Olympic celebrations and bunting and sunshine and cake-- it's just a fact of life that that's impossible. So Week 45 was sad week for me, as it was for many others who loved my brother.
Please note: For reasons completely unfathomable to me, it says this photo was taken on 19 November, which is when I uploaded it to Flickr. I couldn't change it, but rest assured, it was taken on 9 November.
Monday, November 05, 2012
I took this shot on Friday, on our way to taking our son to his very first James Bond cinema experience. I may have also had Harry Potter on the brain, given that we'd been on the Studios Tour last week and have been watching the films incessantly ever since, and this looked like some sort of Dementor cloud.
As it was Halloween week, I thought for sure that I would pick a Halloween picture. But I didn't like any of them as nearly as much as I liked this one, as it reminds me very much of Magritte's "The Dominion of Light", where it is night in the lower half of the picture and day in the top half of the picture.
Monday, October 29, 2012
But that didn't deter my 13-year-old and I as we embarked on climbing over The Dome (or the O2, if you want to be all Corporate Sponsorship about it). We couldn't even see Canary Wharf, just over the river. As you can see, we only got half the view. Alas, we did not get half-price tickets due to conditions.
It was awesome, though. We highly recommend the experience.
Monday, October 22, 2012
We've been American expats living in London for nearly 14 years so I can't decide if voting in the US Presidential election is a big moment or a small one. But this shot dovetails nicely with my shot from week 18, when I voted for the London mayor in my first election as a British citizen. (See it here: www.flickr.com/photos/mastapleton/6992702796/)
I don't know which way the election is going to go, but we've done our part. Also, it's always nice to check in with the mothership and remind ourselves that we are American too.
Monday, October 15, 2012
It definitely was time to replace the old pair. Bought in 2003, the frames were selected by the then 4-year-old (now 13) while the baby (now 9) slept in the buggy. They were purple too, so I'm seeing a pattern here.
Monday, October 08, 2012
I really have loved the 52 Weeks project. Some weeks, like this one, I really struggle with picking my one photo to mark the week. This beat out two other pictures for Week 40. I captured this snap while taking a photography course with my son, who got a new camera for his 13th birthday. We both loved it.
This picture is also Exhibit A as to why you should never delete photos while out and about. I completely missed how this looked while I was taking it-- at the time, I felt I had missed the shot I really wanted. But I looked again at home on the view finder and actually turned the camera upside down because I thought I had taken it the wrong way around. Now, after downloading, I also noticed the arrow sign that seems to be pointing at the reflection and saying, "Hey! Look at this!"
Only 12 more weeks to go!
Monday, October 01, 2012
Monday, September 24, 2012
The Starflyer, for those who don't know, is a swing ride on steroids. It reaches half the height of the London Eye and then you swing around. It's a miracle that (a) I got a photo that was in focus (b) I managed to capture Big Ben and (c) I didn't drop my camera. This is when a point and shoot really shows its muscle.
In any case, we survived. I found that the important thing was to Not Look Down. Ever. The 9-year-old? He loved it. And he thinks he found the most fun way to conquer his fear of heights. It's not how I would do it, but hey, whatever works.
Monday, September 10, 2012
Where I stood, at the corner of Canon Street and Queen Victoria Street, in front of the Mansion House tube station, it felt like every office worker in the area had taken their lunch break and decided to go. I could not believe the crowd. You can just see the athletes behind the Tube sign. When I got home, my family asked me, "Who did you see?" I replied, "I have no idea."
Spare a thought for the poor teachers I saw who took their classes to the parade. I can't imagine the stress of keeping them together in such a crowd.
But even worse, this poor guy had to retrieve his bike and then carry it above his head through the masses watching the parade. I submit that this is its own Olympic effort and deserves a gold medal all its own.
HOORAY! This photo got picked by The Guardian in its weekly roundup of photos for the week. You can see the others that they picked by clicking through this hyperlink sentence (now that is a sentence with SKILLZ.)
Friday, September 07, 2012
2012: Week 36, a photo by MAStapleton on Flickr.
Sunset over the Thames, HMS Ocean & London. #nofilter #ilovelondon
The HMS Ocean has been with us in Greenwich all summer, as part of the security forces that were staffing the Olympics and Paralympics. I've gotten so used to it being there that I don't even notice it any more. But it's leaving this week, and we will miss it.
Also, i would like to say that I was able to capture both the sun and the moon in the same frame, but alas, I checked the moon cycle and that dot appears to be just a spot on my camera. Sigh.
I chose this for my picture of the week because in a week of such epic sunsets, I was glad I captured this one. I love a sunset picture, but so did my grandpa. He took one in the same spot on the same beach in Florida for years (he had multiple photo albums filled with sunset pictures), so I know that somewhere he is smiling.