Only 30 minutes by train from Edinburgh, North Berwick was an ideal place to visit. With a charming seaside atmosphere, the little town was chock-full of visitors and locals enjoying the sunshine.
I haven’t posted in … well let’s say a while. Life happened and somehow I kept losing motivation for a lot of things. I’m still not sure if I’ll find it.
Anyway, I finally had a weekend off, and on a lovely spring Saturday M & I decided to go on a spontaneous trip to North Berwick.
Only 30 minutes by train from Edinburgh, it was an ideal place to visit, especially since we haven’t been there before. With a charming seaside atmosphere, the little town was chock-full of visitors and locals enjoying the sunshine.
We wandered about the town and by the seaside, enjoying a scoop of Luca’s ice cream, staring at kids splashing about in the cold North Sea. While the town seemed to be full of exciting shops, cafes and restaurants almost everything was closed by the time we actually wanted to grab a bite. We managed to get a table at Herringbone, and had some great burgers (though mine was a bit challenging to eat). The place was really busy and at one point a customer pushed into our table and sent my camera flying. Needless to say, I almost had a heart-attack, but turns out my Nikon D800 is one tough cookie.
I wanted to try my new filters by the sea, however it was too bright, even with stacking! I was hoping to catch the sunset, but alas I didn’t realise how much later the sun sets now and we didn’t want to miss the train back. Maybe next time.
My first week in Paris was kind of blue. I spent a lot of time walking in the rain, trying to find a place with inexpensive coffee to hide in and write. The city with its cold white skies seemed unapproachable, almost hostile, it is only in at dusk, during the blue hour when it started to come alive and I began taking pictures.
Brussels was my favourite town which is why I was looking forwards to going there again. But from the moment I got of at the train station, alone and confused it was different, it was cold, rainy and I took the metro in the opposite direction. Once in town I forgot how much of Brussels I actually remembered and walking around the city felt effortless but strange as half-forgotten memories hit me as I walked past a familiar looking street, square or shop.
It’s difficult to be alone and miserable at a place where you were once in love, no matter how long ago it was.
Thankfully I didn’t feel lonely for too long as I made a new friend with whom I went out for some beer & waffles which yet again improved my opinion on Brussels & travel. Though for a better experience I recommend visiting during summer.
Winter arrived to Murat before the end of November and snow covered everything. Thankfully, most days it was still sunny which made for some great landscape photos. Here are some pictures taken in and around Murat, Saint Flour and Dienne in the Auvergne region in France. Enjoy.
How can one describe the roller coaster that was Barcelona?
Between october and november I had a 2 week holiday and thought it would be great to go to Barcelona… my friends agreed and what I thought an idle dream could become a reality. The main problem, however was getting there from a tiny french town in the middle of nowhere. We arranged a car sharing trip from our town to Montpelier and from there to Barcelona, though a few days before it seemed like we might not go anywhere as the first driver’s car broke down. So we were in the awkward position of having to arrange a new ride the day before we were supposed to leave. I started packing at 1am and went to sleep worried about whether we’d actually make it there.
Thankfully, both of our drivers were very nice (especially our ride from Montpelier to Barcelona, whose car was tiny and uncomfortable but had great conversations). And I couldn’t believe my luck when we were walking dazed at the Ramblas getting hopelessly lost while trying to find our hostel. We were in Barcelona!
Barcelona was amazing, great atmosphere, tons of colours and warmth. You could just wander around the streets all day and find new and amazing things to look at, narrow streets, food vendors, we even stumbled upon a protest. And the beach… the beach was just amazing.
But it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows. My handbag was stolen on the beach at night after a night out, I was talking to someone and I had it on me and then it was gone (and so was my phone, wallet, & ID in it), thankfully the guy gave me 10€ for a taxi home. After spending the next day hungover and miserable I went out again as it was our last night in Barcelona. I went out with nothing but 2,20€ in my pocket and still managed to score booze and fags. Later that night I also managed to lose the friend I was with and had to spend my last 2€ on a metro ticket home and shout on the street so that my friends would let me in to the hotel room (no one trusted me with a key after my bag was stolen). So yeah, Barcelona was definitely a roller coaster experience…
The city made me feel awful and paranoid at times yet I can’t stop loving the epic joi de vivre that seemed to envelop the place…
On our last day I was tired and shaky as I barely got any sleep the night before and even tried to sleep in a park in the middle of the city (at some point you just stop caring), and couldn’t wait to go back. But the moment we got out of the car at a sleepy train station in France, with cold wind blowing through the sweater and a jacket I was wearing over my t-shirt I wished I was still in Barcelona…
I haven’t posted in a while, but I had a good reason to be busy- I moved to France. I now live in the central region of France, Auvergne in a tiny city called Murat. I’ll be staying here for about 3 months, though my first month has gone by already.
Some of my observations so far:
The French love their cheese, okay, this is one is not too groundbreaking as I knew that before but completely underestimated their cheesy obsessions. Here we get cheese with every meal, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Though strange I quickly got used to it, and now I’ve even got my favourite regional cheese – the Cantal.
2. Speaking of food, the French spend a lot of time at the table. Most meals contain 3 courses, the desert being usually – yes you guessed it – fromage.
3. Wine is cheap, lovely and plentiful. Bordeaux is the most popular in my region.
4. Yes, you can buy escargots in the supermarket
Sundays are hell. Yes, there have been many a song written on the subject of boring sundays but I don’t think you’ve experienced a proper boring sunday unless you stayed in a small french town in the mountains. The french do love their sacred sunday family time and usually have a big sunday meal etc, which all sounds just lovely until you realise that you’re not french and you barely knowanyone in your town. There is nothing to do because everything is closed and as a rule it’s usually too rainy or cold to have a walk in the mountains, and you don’t have a car or a bike so it’s not like you can go anywhere exciting. Thank god for that single bar that’s opened even on sundays. Don’t think I’d survive without it otherwise (love you Guillaume!). Though I am going to cry my eyes out now the bar is being closed for the winter…
In a small town like Murat, you quickly find a favourite bar and few weeks in you already know most of the staff and are on the first name basis with the owner (see above). I also have my favourite cafe and a bakery. The downside is that even if you nip down to the supermarket on a bad hair day the likelihood of meeting half the people you know is very high.
French greetings (bisous) was invented just to torment me. Yes you all know the peck on two cheeks the French people are so fond of, we sometimes do it in Slovakia too but in my mind is always linked to greeting elderly relatives who keep asking me when I’m getting married (hint. Never). Not like that’s bad enough, in Auvergne they traditionally do the bisous three, THREE times! Probably just to prolong my embarrassment.
8. The countryside is god damn beautiful. Sometimes it feels like I never left Scotland, because of the gorgeous mountains, lovely views and ridiculously unpredictable weather.
9. The people here are amazing. Seriously. I know most people think that French people are rude or aloof. I never noticed that, (until my September stay in Paris that is, which involved me having a bit of a breakdown due to general incompetence of the hotel staff) but I never thought I’d meet so many lovely and generous people here. Some let me stay in their homes, made me meals and made sure I’ve got everything I need and am enjoying my stay and were genuinely interested with interacting (or helping) a foreigner even though my french is not the best.
I know everyone is doing this now, but I really like the idea of reviewing the past year so I thought I’d share some highlights of my year.
– got a MacBook Pro which made editing a dream as my laptop would no longer crash when opening Photoshop.
– done lots of fashion photoshoots, like this one with Rachel below.
– visited Tiree a small Scottish island which was very beautiful. I managed to break my tripod and damage my lens (both are still functional even though I haven’t repaired them yet, maybe something to do in 2013)
– moved to Russia for 2 months in April, lived in Tver, visited Moscow and St Petersburg and had a great time.
– did a photoshoot with an amazing Slovak band the uniques who are currently working on their second album. It was a very fun shoot which involved pouring water on the band members and an encounter with a swan.
– Summer Roadtrip with my parents – Visited all the countries of Benelux (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg) and France. Luxembourg was the only one I haven’t been before and I was pleasantly surprised by it, it was beautiful and almost without tourists. Another highlight was taking a self-portrait in Monmartre in front of Sacre Coeur and pretending I was Parisian.
Did some fun photoshoots in the studio, like the one with Debbie or Graham, trying to get the hang of artificial lighting. I really enjoy working in the studio as it’s warm and it doesn’t rain in there, also there’s various exciting lighting opportunities available, although I still prefer natural light.
– The Kennedy Cupcakes shoot. It was a lot of fun and a great experience shooting this many people. One part of the shoot was in the studio and the other one outdoors, I’ll post pictures of the second part later.
Winter. Went to Milan and Venice with my boyfriend. Went home to Slovakia for holidays, stopped in Prague for a few days and went for a day trip to Vienna to check out some art and have some mulled wine.
Other than that, I’ve been taking a ton of self-portraits which I rather enjoy although I still prefer shooting other people. I’ve done a lot of fashion photoshoots this year have a look at my 2012 Facebook album if you want to see more. For next year I’m planning to continue improving my portfolio and try and do more conceptual work and maybe some art nudes. I already have quite a few photoshoots planned for January and got asked to do some exciting projects so I hope it works out. I’d also like to continue working in the studio and ideally buy some of my own lights so I’d be more self-sufficient. My dream would be to earn enough money for a new camera I desperately need so I need to be more proactive about getting jobs and selling prints. And I’d like to update this blog at least once a week. Speaking of the blog, make sure to have a look at my most popular blog posts below. And don’t forget to share your goals or resolutions for 2013.