Posted on April 20, 2018
One of MB’s favourite cities is Istanbul. With a population of over 15M people, the locals need to be prolific food producers. And they certainly are. The street markets and city food shops are jaw-droppingly spectacular and are not just for shopping. They are for ambling around, gazing, sampling, and enjoying. And for taking zillions of photos of course!
MB could show you zillions of Istanbul food photos, but a gives you just one, of a simple basket of cheeses:
Posted on April 15, 2018
If you go down to the woods today,
you’re sure of a big surprise.
Yes indeed ladies, if you go down to the Irish woods around this time, be prepared for some strange goings-on and some big surprises. It’s not beyond the realms of possibility, at this time of the year, that you will encounter some real live Irish fairies. Following an unusually nasty winter when the weather was wacky as hell, and fairy activity was subdued and minimal, the fairies are now rarin’ to go and full of mischief and trickery.
Are the fairies like the Leprechauns MB? What a stupid questions ladies. The fairies are nothing like Leprechauns. Leprechauns are good-hearted, generally go about their business in as humble a fashion as possible, and are even willing to hand over their pots of gold to anyone (like MB) who is fast enough and clever enough to catch them while a rainbow momentarily blinds their vision. And there will be absolutely no hard feelings from Mr Leprechaun if you do manage to snatch the gold. You can just waltz off into the distance with the pot of gold in your grasp, considering how much bitcoin you might invest in, and Mr Leprechaun will just wave you off and wish you well.
The fairies, on the other hand, can be nasty, it must be said. They like to play tricks on the natural people, who are expected to grin and bear it. The only protection from fairy nastiness is to scatter some primrose flowers around the perimeter of your farm and they will never cross the primrose line. Don’t ask MB why ladies. That’s just the way things is.
May eve is fast approaching when fairy activity will be at its peak. Be warned. You may find that your cow has run dry and can not produce any more milk. Or you pet goat isn’t feeling very well. Or your sheep gets a sore throat and ‘baa’ suddenly sounds like ‘baaaggghhhh’. Yes, dear followers, should any of the aforementioned happen to you and yours, then for sure its the fairies at work and you need to tread very carefully indeed.
And for the good of your health, just play along with them. Don’t screw around with the fairies. Pretend you’re impressed with their fairy powers, and only a tad annoyed at their trickery. Otherwise much nastier things can happen. Such as your goat disappears completely some night without an earthly (or non-earthly) trace. Or worse. The very last thing you want to do, MB means the absolutely very very last thing you want to do, is to awaken the wrath of a bunch of fairies. No siree. No way. It’s the last thing you want to do.
Anyway, now that MB has given you all some advice on how to deal with the Irish fairies, he is happy to share an image with you all of a fairy house he managed to capture in recent times back in the HX heartland. For sure MB is not a liberty to divulge the exact location of the shot, as he is mindful of the health and welfare of his sheep and goat herd. He will only say, that he wore a crown of primrose flowers, granting him invisibility from the HX fairy hoards, and beat a hasty retreat from the fairy village back to the natural world in the immediate aftermath of the shot. And lived to tell the tale.
Herewith (and be warned – sharing any shots of a fairy house is not advised):
Posted on March 28, 2018
The Grange Stone Circle lies in MB’s HX homeland and dates from the Neolithic era, estimated to be approximately 5,500 years old. The circle is 150 feet in diameter and contains 113 stones, the largest weighing some 40 tonnes. Because of an embankment around the entire outside of the circle, it is thought that the circle had ritual purposes. But who really knows?!
On summer solstice (21 June) and on winter solstice (21 December), local (& not so local) people gather at the circle before sunrise to watch the first rays of the sun appear for the day that’s in it. Assuming cloud cover does not spoil the occasion, which it often does!
MB took this photo on early morning, 21 December 2017. A candle glows in the centre of the circle as people await the sunrise.
Posted on March 7, 2018
If ever a picture could tell a story, then a picture of Reardon’s pub back at the HX crossroads could tell a plethora of them. And that’s an understatement. Read More
Posted on March 1, 2018
No, it’s not Wakanda! The night skyline of the Westbay area on the Doha Corniche is impressive and otherworldly. Most of the architecturally spectacular buildings are office blocks owned by big local companies or government organisations. The building on the extreme right on the below shot is the Sheraton Hotel.
Posted on February 22, 2018
The Appearance of Christ Before the People or The Apparition of the Messiah is a famous painting by Russian artist Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov. (1806 – 1858). The painting hangs in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow, and MB had to good fortune to visit the gallery and view the painting during his May 2017 trip to Russia’s capital city (where he grabbed a few shots!).
There are many faces in the crowd by the banks of the River Jordan in the famous painting, which depicts many stories from the Bible; John the Baptist, Apostles John, Peter and Andrew, and others. The artist has also included a self-portrait in red headgear sitting not far from John the Baptist who has his hand and staff raised in the direction of Christ. For further info on the painting, take a read of the Wikipedia link.
Herewith: two shots of the painting from MBs trip, both giving a sense of scale and size of the painting which took the artist 20 years to paint.
Posted on February 14, 2018
Posted on February 2, 2018
Posted on January 24, 2018
The endless variety that one thing can contain – is one of Ben’s suggestions for a take on this week’s Variation theme. Ben chose a shot from the Gouda Cheese store in Amsterdam.
MB has also decided to use Amsterdam for his theme shot, selecting another product synonymous with Amsterdam, and Holland generally – Tulips.
Just across the street (and canal) from the Anne Frank house lies Amsterdam’s Tulip Museum. MB and daughter MB2 happened to spot the Museum only on account of the fact that they could not get into the AF House due to the huge numbers of people already in the never-ending queue. But the Tulip Museum turned out to be the silver lining on the AF dark cloud. It’s a real pleasure to visit and to learn the history of the tulip, brought by invading Ottoman Sultans back to Turkey from Kazakhstan and elsewhere, then brought to Europe by diplomats based in the Ottoman region. The Dutch then made it their own, so to speak.
The fact that Amsterdam had a large wealthy middle class at that time (for reasons MB will not get into here) permitted much trading and investing in tulip bulbs, the iPhone of their day. The years 1634 to 1637 saw a frenzy of such investment which was referred to at that time, and since, as ‘tulip mania’. People were investing approximately 50% of the price of a premium townhouse in Amsterdam on a single tulip bulb, whose particular colour might have been considered rare at that time. Three years passed before everybody work up and smelt the
coffee tulips. By then, large personal fortunes had been lost in the world’s first recorded financial bubble, as bulb prices collapsed to a fraction of their previous worth.
For the information of HX followers – anyone considering a trip to Holland to view (or photograph) Holland’s famous tulip fields, April or May are the recommended months to do so.
Shot from the museum:
Posted on January 17, 2018
Posted on January 11, 2018
There’s the trunk of an old tree a few hundred meters from MB’s mom’s house in south-west Ireland. It looks very much the worst-for-wear, weathered to a bare totem pole-like stick figure on the edge of the grassy field. Even most of the bark is now stripped bare. Where once upon a time birds might have nested or sung from the denseness of its branches and leaves, that possibility is now no more unless mother nature performs one of her regrowth miracles. But no sign of that yet. The tree itself, or ninety percent of it at least, succumbed to a storm some years back leaving only the forlorn and desolate looking trunk as a memory of greater and greener days.
Posted on January 4, 2018
MB took his awesome ‘8 Ducks A-Swimming’ photo one early misty morning back in HX-land over the Christmas holiday.
And what has the shot got to do with this week’s challenge MB? ie – Growth.
Well, not a lot lads to tell you all the truth. It features eight ducks a-swimming, and one can see some rushes protruding through the lake surface, growing, as it were. And remember, Spring will soon be here, when the mammy and daddy ducks will produce cuddly little baby ducks who will all grow up and continue the cycle of duck life, ad infinitum, unless Trump presses his ‘my button is bigger than your button’ button. Then the ‘ad infinitum’ thingy will be no more. And anyway lads, we shouldn’t always be bound by rules!
It’s far too early in the year to be turning the Photo Challenge into some sort of political statement MB, don’t you think?
Ok, ok lads. Let’s leave sleeping ducks lie for the moment, and just let’s concentrate our brains on the truly awesome nature of the photo.
Agree MB, it’s truly a wonderous shot. Truly ‘awesome’, to use your own phraseology, which should please you no end!
It does. Thank lads. You are an awesome bunch of followers!
Happy 2018 to one and all.
Posted on December 21, 2017
MB was in the Grange Stone Circle at 6am this morning, on account of the fact that it was Winter Solstice Morning. And where else would any self-respecting inhabitant of HX-land want to be at such a time on such a date? Correct – The Grange Stone Circle.
Go only knows how many photos MB took this year in Russia, Lebanon, Qatar and Ireland. So he is not going to tax his brain or work his index finger to the bone by flicking back through them all to pick a ‘2017 favourite’. He will, instead, give just one shot to this week’s photo challenge from his visit to the stone circle this morning.
As followers would expect, MB took many awesome shots at the circle. Any one of a dozen or more of them could easily win a NatGeo photo competition or a Pulitzer, if MB could be bothered winning such piffling awards. But MB is bigger than mere awards and is just humbly happy to share his general awesomeness with faithful followers, free gratis, without compensation, or medals or pats on the back. However, he just might review that ridiculous position in 2018, if he could figure out how to
milk his followers monetize his blog site. But that’s another matter. For another day.
MBs favourite photo from this morning (one of), caught a lucky split second one might think if one did not know MB so well. MB managed, by his sheer general awesomeness, to capture another photographer at the exact moment he fired his flash next to a candle that was burning in a small jar on the ground (thanks to friend MR, for that great candle!).
And there you have it lads. A brief history of one of the most awesome photos that any of you will see in 2017. Or 2018.
Will you send it to Nat Geo MB? No way lads. It would be completely wasted on them.
So happy Christmas to all. Thanks for all the crack in 2017. Have a great 2018.
Posted on December 13, 2017
MB has chosen a shot from his May 2017 visit to Moscow for this weeks challenge. The domed spires of the churches seem to ascend to the heavens at Cathedral Square, which lies within the Kremlin complex in Moscow’s historic city centre.
Posted on December 6, 2017