Sea Monsters

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Sometimes that shark looks right at ya. Right into your eyes. And the thing about a shark is he’s got lifeless eyes. Black eyes. Like a doll’s eyes. When he comes at ya, he doesn’t even seem to be livin’… ’til he bites ya, and those black eyes roll over white and then… ah then you hear that terrible high-pitched screamin’. The ocean turns red, and despite all your poundin’ and your hollerin’ those sharks come in and… they rip you to pieces.
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A couple of weeks ago we found ourselves on a little boat steaming out to waters around the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea in search of sharks! Armed with my trusty fake GoPro we set off under a blistering sun and the knowledge that these beasts might not even be out to play today.

Not long into our journey our boat develops engine trouble, thankfully not like Quint’s Orca and destroyed by an angry shark. It’s more likely we have seaweed around the propellor. Another shark hunter comes to our rescue and we are once again on our way.

“OK! Who’s Team 1?” our little Mexican shark expert needs volunteers to get in the water, this is shark diving without cages and there’s not many takers for the first in. So I volunteer myself and the good lady to be the shark bait.

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“When the captain says jump! You jump. OK?”
We’re in the water on command and seconds later the largest fish in the ocean emerges from the gloom. A whale shark and a plankton eater means we’re reasonably safe but at 20 tonnes and 40 foot in length you probably don’t want a slap from one.

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Apparently a slow fish but cuts through the water with ease and a lot quicker than I can splash through the sea. You’re not allowed to touch them but they come by so close you have to move out of their way, a truly amazing experience to see a creature swim past you that is the size of a bus.

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There must have been at least half a dozen of these fish swimming around scooping up as much plankton as they can but we’re limited to how long we can be in the water and we’re back on the boat heading for Isla Mujeres where our Mexican adventure started out. Apparently this is going to be the last year you can swim with the sharks and in the future you’ll only be able to view them from the deck.
Before we climbed back aboard a manta ray glided below like a ghostly blanket into the darkness.

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These are all screen grabs from the video I’d taken on the dive, I’ve given them a little boost in Lightroom to make them pop a bit more.

The Tourist Trap

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Loved the old mosaics pointing the way on the streets of Venice, although in the future they may be pointing to the exit for tourists.
Having enjoyed a week touring the old streets I feel a bit bad after reading the New Yorkers’ article on how much misery we bring to people on our travels.

I can’t help but wonder what happens if you suddenly turn away tourists, especially when you’re relying on them paying 100 euros for a half hour gondola ride. Don’t forget the 30 second photo opportunity with two women in Disney dresses for 20 euros!
I’m also curious as to where the people that complain about tourists take their own holidays without they themselves becoming tourists?

Anyhow Venice is a great place and if you haven’t you should visit before you’re locked out!

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I should really have written down the location of these photos or get a new camera with GPS. Below was walking away from the Jewish ghetto which was surprisingly empty of tourists and had a nice little photography exhibition.

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This one below is from Doge’s Palace, it’s all starting to come back to me now.

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Bianco e Nero

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More from Venice and there will probably be more from Venice to come. A while back I was looking at the photographs of Josef Koudelka which led to me stumbling across the works of an Italian photographer, his name I can no longer remember. Anyway he had shot a lot of work in Venice may even have been from Venice himself, it was all in black and white and I think it’s the kind of city with it’s little alleyways and courtyards that look fantastic in black and white.

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Impossible not to take a photo of a water when you’re on a city surrounded by the stuff.

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St Mark’s Square shot for around 10 seconds. I was tripodless on the trip so I made do with whatever was flat and sturdy.
Below I found flat and sturdy but messed up the focusing and with being on one of the busiest bridges in Venice you don’t get a lot of time to be messing around to get the perfect shot.

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Next Stop Africa

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Last week I’m in Spain for our final holiday of the year. I was struck down with a little bout of food poisoning so getting out and about wasn’t ideal.
The above shot from the beach front from Fuengirola to Torreblanca across that sea somewhere is Africa, nice weathered boards made me think it would make a decent black and white image.

Malaga

A stack of chairs above makes for a decent wee black and white too. This one was in Malaga where they were getting ready for the beatification of Padre Arnaíz who had once performed a miracle. A crowd of ten thousand was expected for the event.

Where the river boat swayed beneath the sun . . . .

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Finished a roll of film the other day from the Canonet QL17. ISO was set at 400 and I didn’t remember ever having 400 colour film, turns out it’s been so long in there it was actually black and white in the back.
A couple of shots from Amsterdam tells me that the film has been in the camera for two years.

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For a little while I was on Google Street sipping a beer by the side of a canal but it seems that image is no longer available.

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Stumble Bumble

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If I’d known then what I know now I’d have gotten all the bees in the image.
This is a plaque on the bottom of the Ferdinando I statue in the piazza Santissima Annunziata, Florence.
The circle of bees facing the queen represent the industrious Florentines ruled by the grand duke.

Apparently local legend says it’s impossible to count the bees using only your eyes, no pointing or touching you cheaters. Good fortunes is said to find the person that can count the correct number whereas bad fortune follows those that are a bit sneaky in how they came to the correct number. You’ve been warned!

Turns out I did grab all the bees in a photo. Good luck counting and remember no cheating.

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More From The Dam

Power to subdue what all dread

Power to subdue what all dread

Some more shots from Amsterdam, not my best efforts but I’m chucking them up anyway.
The one above is the gate to the former prison, didn’t know that until Googling and I like the translation from Latin.

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Athenaeum Illustre of Amsterdam

This gate above was originally built in 1571 and moved to its present location in 1631.
Below padlocks on a bridge. If you’re struggling for work you might want to find a bridge within a tourist location and open up a little padlock and engraving service.

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