All posts filed under: Travel

Lumix DMC-GX8

Costa Rica Bound

It’s not very often that I hanker after a new camera – I’ve always been far more interested in pictures than shiny new equipment. Lately though, I’ve been looking at the merits of Compact System Cameras for travel photography, and with a three week trip to Costa Rica on the horizon it seemed a good opportunity to give one a try. My trusty Nikon D300s serves me very well for macro, flower and garden photography (usually paired with a 105mm Micro-Nikkor) but is relatively heavy and not at all discrete for reportage and street photography. My Fuji x-10 on the other hand, although a handy little compact, seems a little inadequate for such an epic trip. I’m expecting to encounter a wide range of subjects in Costa Rica; plenty of exotic plants and gardens of course, but also atmospheric landscapes (jungles can be very rainy and humid, even in the dry season) and cameos of local life.  In short, I was looking for a mid-priced lightweight yet versatile camera with an element of weatherproofing, small …

Upper Barrakka Gardens , Valletta, Malta

Upper Barrakka Gardens

Wandering the narrow streets of the historic Maltese capital Valletta just a couple of weeks ago, my wife Janet, two friends and I made our way slowly upwards to the Upper Barrakka Gardens, the highest point on the ancient city walls and one of Malta’s most spectacular viewpoints. Our efforts were well rewarded – the panoramic view of the Grand Harbour across to the Three Cities is simply breathtaking… The Barrakka Gardens themselves are of historical and architectural interest, as well as being a tranquil haven for foot-weary travellers. Originally constructed as a place of relaxation for the Italian Knights of St. John, the gardens are now a public open space and home to a collection of commemorative statues, including a bust of Sir Winston Churchill and a replica of Les Gavroches by Antonio Sciortino (the original was removed and is now housed in the National Museum of Fine Arts).  

The beautiful Chihuly Glass and Garden in Seattle.

Chihuly Garden and Glass

There’s a city centre garden in the North West corner of the USA that is, I would suggest, totally unique. Whilst there are plenty of gardens worldwide that feature contemporary art installations – gardening and art are natural partners after all – this combined garden and sculpture gallery in its space age setting is something really rather special. Chihuly Garden and Glass at the Seattle Space Center combines the work of world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly with creative modern architecture and innovative garden landscaping. The overall effect is truly spectacular. You can read about the background to the exhibition, the dedicated building and how the designers arrived at their choice of planting in this Seattle Times 2012 web article here. My October visit was rewarded with a showing of late-season grasses in full flow, and timed for dusk so as to experience the best combination of daylight and artificial lighting on the colourful sculptures and carefully crafted planting schemes. There’s only one word to describe the garden, and that’s ‘breathtaking’! I hope my photographs will …