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Vibrant Hong Kong

A handful of images from the former British colony, handed back to China in 1997 but still very much retaining its own unique and edgy identity.

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Street in Mong Kok

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Night view of Victoria Harbour, taken from the Star Ferry
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Street in Central
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Hong Kong tram
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Victoria Harbour, abstract version.  This is what happens if you move the camera in a circle whilst holding down the shutter release

©Square Lamb 2016.  All rights reserved.

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Streets of Bangkok

I haven’t posted anything for a while and this is the reason why…I’ve been out giving my camera some exercise 🙂

Here’s a collection of images taken in Thailand’s vibrant and decadent capital.

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Locals in Khao San Road
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Feeling hungry?  Try a scorpion on a stick
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Street food
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Shrimp
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Colourful fabrics in a local market
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An old woman pushes a cart along Khao San Road
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Tuk tuk

©Square Lamb 2016.  All rights reserved

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Street Food: A Taste of Xi’an

Asia is synonymous with street food and Xi’an is no exception.  In fact, this city in the north east of China is somewhat famous for its food vendors whose stalls and carts can be found on almost every street corner and spare patch of pavement.

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Each province in China boasts its own local flavour; Xi’an’s is typically spicy and features meat skewers, noodles, peppers and pomegranate – the latter of which was introduced to the city via the Silk Road.

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One of the best places to sample the food is Beiyuanmen “snack street”, located in the Muslim quarter and seemingly dedicated to street food.

The taste is not the only thing you can enjoy here, though; equally as enjoyable is watching the chefs prepare the food, from traditional wok cooking to the highly entertaining process of making hard candy.

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A tiny woman is almost obscured by the smoke and steam from her cooking pots

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Hard candy: first the mixture is stretched on a hook…
…folded…
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…then beaten with mallets to flatten it.
Obviously a career with a decent amount of job satisfaction

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A bit spicy?

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©Copyright Square Lamb 2016.  All rights reserved.

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Street Photography: Moments of Now

I do a lot of street photography so I’m constantly looking for “now” moments to record.  (In fact I’m probably guilty of being too caught up in the moment and not planning ahead…I only decided to move to China 6 weeks before I boarded the plane).  For me, photography is all about capturing fleeting moments in time, expressions on faces, moods, emotions and interactions.  So here are 5 “now” photos taken in the last 24 hours in Xi’an, north east China.

Pushchairs are something of a rarity in China, most babies seem to be carried in arms.

 

A pilgrim burns incense outside a Buddhist temple

 

Got your back….a man takes his girlfriend out for lunch

 

Three friends walk arm in arm along Beiyuanmen “snack street” in the centre of Xi’an

 

Hello….if anyone knows where I can buy this coat please tell me!

 

See more street photography from China here.

 

Inspired by The Daily Post’s Now challenge.  ©copyright Square Lamb 2015. All rights reserved

 

Image gallery (click on image to enlarge or scroll)

 

 

 

 

 

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One Billion People

On the day I arrived in China the Communist Party announced that Chinese couples were to be permitted to have two children, abandoning its decades-old one-child policy in the face of an ageing workforce and concerns about possible economic repercussions in the future.  The population of China currently stands at around 1.3 billion people.  Here are a few of them.

Queuing for lunch at a food stall in Xi’an
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Hutong in Beijing
Queuing for lunch
Making candy
A perilous pedestrian crossing: don’t expect anything to stop for you
Men about town
Cycling in the smog
A romantic stroll
A young couple shares a bowl of hot pot in a street restaurant
A busy food vendor enjoys a brief lull in trade
A woman tidies the baskets outside her shop
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Chef in Xi’an’s Muslim quarter
Xi’an bird market

 

Bustling city streets
Single child

 

©copyright Square Lamb 2015. All rights reserved

 

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This is 2015

Taking photos is, as you might have realised, a pastime that I absolutely adore and I estimate that I’ve taken around 8,000 – 10,000 shots this year.  A great many were deleted from the camera before ever reaching the computer, more were dumped in a file entitled “originals” (which I should probably rechristen “graveyard”) never to be viewed again…but every so often the shutter will click on an image which you’re thrilled to have taken, not only as an image that you’re happy with as a photographer, but also as a memory of a moment to be cherished forever.  These are few of my favourites from 2015; I hope you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed taking them.

 

It seems a very long time since I took this picture of some beautiful graffiti in January – one of the first of the year. (Granada, Spain).

 

2015 was the year when I really started experimenting with street photography and candid shots; this was one of the first, taken on a freezing morning at a local flea market in Seville, Spain.

 

Another one from Seville and a flamenco dancer performing outside the city hall.  I took about 100 shots of her; most were rubbish.

 

Barcelona, Spain.  I have to be honest, Barcelona doesn’t really inspire me.  However I couldn’t resist getting a snap of this old guy writing graffiti on the wall of church in the Gothic quarter.

 

Also in Barcelona…technically not the best, the focus is a little off, but I couldn’t be happier with the composition, snapped at just the right moment.

 

Everyone seemed to like this one.  I made it the header for this blog.  (Seville, Spain)

 

Metros and subway stations are among the most photogenic places in the world, in my opinion.  I just wish I was brave enough to get the camera out in the actual carriage….(Madrid, Spain)

 

In June I went to Finland to work for a couple of months…one of the things I loved most was the little green trams in Helsinki…

…the main railway station was quite nice too…

…and the 24-hour daylight was a definite eye-opener.  This picture was taken just after midnight.

I came across this man standing in an underpass, just standing there, I’ve got no idea what he was doing.  I don’t think he even noticed me taking his picture.  (Riga, Latvia)

 

The photo club of which I’m a member set a challenge to photograph “old buildings and ruins”.  I found this place next to the beach in Almeria, southern Spain.  Apparently a celebrity used to live there, but I can’t remember who.

 

It was worth getting up at the crack of dawn and heading to the beach before work for this shot…it was supposed to be a silhouette of some sun loungers, the girl was an unexpected bonus.  I think she’d been partying all night (Valencia, Spain)

Another one from Valencia, also involving a good party…

 

Cuenca, Spain….taken not long ago whilst accompanying a group of students on a guided tour of the town – at exactly the right time of day!

 

And finally, a few current ones from Xi’an, China.  It’s fair to say I’m very excited about the photo opportunities in this part of the world, so watch this space in 2016!

Thank you for following!

©copyright Square Lamb 2015. All rights reserved

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Streets of Marrakech

Morocco is undoubtedly the most photogenic country I’ve visited – however, photographing the people presents a bit of a challenge!  The usual response to a camera lens pointed in their direction is an arm raised to cover the face or, in the case of street vendors or local chancers, a demand for cash.  Nevertheless, here are a few scenes of everyday life that I’ve managed to capture on my visits to this amazing and delightfully shabby land.

Streets of Riga

First and foremost, I probably owe Riga a huge apology for photographing it in the way that I did.  All the research I did about the Latvian capital, prior to visiting, told me about a city which had fought hard to shake off the memories of its Soviet past and reinvent itself as the lively, vibrant jewel in the Baltic crown, and the vast majority of the photos I saw on the conventional travel websites showed me the pretty colourful buildings and cobbled streets of the old town. All of which certainly holds true.

I therefore wasn’t prepared for the impression that Riga made on me when I arrived for the first time.  Away from the old town and the tourist hotspots the streets told me a different story – of a grand city fallen foul of the Soviet occupation, much of which is still evident in the crumbling blocks, derelict buildings and the imposing communism-era tower which casts a grim shadow across the skyline on the east side of the river. It got under my skin in a way that I hadn’t expected and couldn’t avoid, so I set out to try to capture the feeling in the photos. Hopefully you will find them interesting….but please don’t base your impressions of Riga solely on these photos!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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©copyright Square Lamb 2015. All rights reserved

 

 

Symbol of London

I left England six years ago and haven’t set foot on British soil for the last four years, and it’s fair to say that I don’t have any intention of returning.  There are a few things that I miss about London though: the music scene, the eclectic mix of people and fashions – and this, the ultimate symbol of the city, Big Ben.  Even when I used to see it every day, it never failed to inspire me and I’ll never forget the iconic sound of its bells striking the hour. I can also remember the smell of the chestnuts roasting on the bridge in the winter – perfect!

Inspired by The Daily Post’s Symbol challenge.

Streets of Seville

My mother’s reaction, on seeing these images, was “the people in your photos are a right miserable bunch” and actually she’s got a point.  I’m not sure why the pictures turned out like this – especially when you consider that Seville is synonymous with colour, flamenco and fiestas – except that I’ve always honed in on people who break the tradition of airbrushed, made-up, Photoshopped perfection.  I’m not particularly offended by the endless magazine models that we’re bombarded with every day; I just find them very bland and uninteresting to look at.  Real beauty, in my opinion, comes from a faceful of character, an interesting posture, unusual clothes or anything which the eye can snag on and the mind create a story about.

So with that said and done, here is a collection of Seville locals very definitely NOT dancing flamenco or peeling oranges and clapping their hands…but no less endearing because of it.  Enjoy!  (I promise I’ll do an all-singing, all-dancing technicolor Spain gallery at some point).

©copyright Square Lamb 2015. All rights reserved