January 31, 2013

Streets of London: Soho

Just a few random shots of Soho, while out and about with the husband on Sunday. I like walking around these parts and there are two cute little coffee shops we'd like to try in the area, so we'll probably be back there soon.

As you will see from the last two photos, quirky names are everywhere in London.

January 23, 2013

Winter Accessories

So, oddly enough, being a South African in London, I actually find the Winter here a lot easier to cope with. In fact, I prefer the Winters in the UK, as opposed to Cape Town. On my recent visit back home, my family found that to be oddest thing ever, but it's not as strange as you might think.

Here's the thing: Even though temperatures can plunge below zero here, its... manageable. Central heating makes a bigger difference than I ever thought it would. The only time you really feel the cold, is the 5 minute walk to the tube station/bus stop/supermarket etc. Other than that, you're warm. Whereas, in Cape Town, where central heating is not the norm, you wake up cold and you go to bed cold, dragging the heater from room to room. Also, Cape Town has really violent storms, with rain coming from every direction, leaving you drenched. Not to mention gale force winds! The kind that knocks trucks over. Over here, well, its icy, that's it. No violent storms, no wind, just snow and pitter patter rain. Perfect.

I was told that I would need to learn to layer my clothing in the UK, because of central heating, but honestly, I dressed that way in CT, simply because I hated being too warm. I get claustrophic tendencies, if I wear anything that's too thick or restrictive. So often, I'll wear a few layers and if need be, remove one or two when too warm.

So let me chat about 3 of my favourite accessories to wear in Winter. First, a scarf that my mother knitted for me, about 8 years ago (I think). I never wore it back home, it was just way too thick, chunky and long, but it's perfect for London. It's ironic, because almost all scarves in the UK, kind of looks like this :)

I have many scarves, but this remains one of my favourites and not only for its sentimental value.

Next, my wrist warmers. I am not a huge fan of gloves, regardless of my hands being ice blocks half the time. I hate the feeling of not being able to use my hands, so I tend to wear wrist warmers more often. It covers half my hand and goes up to my forearm. And, for someone like me, who tends to whip out a camera at any random moment, my fingers are still usable :)

Lastly, another something I brought from South Africa - my brown leather boots with fur on the inside. Another item which was way too warm for Cape Town weather. Trust me when I say this. The fur is warm! You can pretty much find any kind of boot you dream of in the UK at low prices (due to it being an essential).. and I have a few now, but this is still one of my favourites.

What's your favourite winter accessories?

January 22, 2013

Falling snow in London?

Yes, snow has actually been falling in London... during the DAY! This is a rare thing for London. London and most of the south of England, does not get much snow in the Winter. Usually, it falls overnight and Londoners wake up to find a blanket of snow outside and most of the time its not too thick either. The snow on the ground, usually doesn't last very long, because the weather is just not cold enough and within a week, it's already melted.

Well, this year, London actually had falling snow for 2 days straight, during the day and 3 days later, it still hasn't melted :) This gave me plenty opportunity to take some shots.

Here are some of my neighbourhood, while walking to and from the supermarket, 2 days ago.

And then, walking back, it started to get dark, hence the blue-ish tinge.

I had to take a pic of this car...

January 7, 2013

A bit of an Adobe rant and some pastries

Before I start venting about Adobe, I do hope the new year has started well for you. I love how we all use the beginning of the year as a way to start new resolutions. I think its a handy psychological tool :) I too, have my "resolutions". One of them being, to improve my photography and shoot more often.

Speaking of which (cue: rant), I have weirdly started having colour issues with Adobe Bridge CS5 and Camera Raw 6.7. At first, the colours in ACR seemed duller, as if I lowered saturation, as compared to the Bridge preview. I was completely baffled and checked everything from preferences to colour profiles, changed a few settings (perhaps also incorrectly), but nothing changed it. I then reset everything back to its defaults and started researching this online. One suggestion, was to reset Bridge preferences. I did this, even purged its cache and yes, there are now no differences between the Bridge preview and how it appears in ACR... BUT.. now both Bridge and Raw are showing a duller version of my photos. I am so frustrated.

Granted, I do know that Bridge shows the in-camera embedded jpeg preview and RAW actually builds a new preview using the raw data from the photo. So, it might not match up completely, but the difference I have is quite huge. The histograms are not even remotely similiar. .. ??

I have now resorted to using ViewNX and converting to TIFF and then using Photoshop, so that the colours are preserved. Most times, I don't do much editing anyway, except histogram fixing (such as the pics below), but you know, sometimes I want to add actions too. A little annoyed, but I will stop ranting now.

If any of you, more experienced photographers can help me, I will be forever grateful!

Anyway, on to photos of course. Sometimes, I just want to take shots of food... Hubby and I love something sweet at night with a cup of tea or coffee and because we pretty much do this a few times a week, buying treats can get a bit pricey. I mostly make sweet things myself now, but I must admit I'm not a fan of baking - too messy. So, I went the easy route and filled some puff pastry squares with homemade custard and then drizzled some icing sugar over top. Simple, but it did the trick.