Sunday, 14 August 2011

Fog-bound on Departure Day

Just like the last time I visited Guernsey, departure day dawned wet and foggy.  This was the view from our hotel room windows.

We knew this was bound to result in delays at the airport, but this kind of weather is part of everyday life on the island.  A quick look at the arrivals board on the internet showed that the mail had been diverted to Southampton; the newspapers had fared slightly better, being sent to Jersey instead!  As no planes were coming in, it seemed reasonable to assume there wouldn't be any leaving.  Nothing for it but to have a hearty breakfast and go around taking pictures with my new toy (a Sony NEX-5 which I'd bought in St Peter Port the previous day).

We then took a taxi to the airport.  The driver was extremely friendly, which was just as well as Harriet had forgotten to return her room key and he needed to go back and do it for her!  We shared the taxi with Alexandra Wood, who had been writing a guest blog for the Visit Guernsey website.  You can read about her previous visit here, and hopefully her most recent writings will be posted soon.

Nothing was arriving or leaving the airport; in fact, looking out of the window, it wasn't even evident that there was an airport outside.

When the going gets tough, the tough take pictures.  Amazingly there was absolutely no problem with me using the camera air-side.  In fact, a very nice lady came over to explain to me that I was welcome to take pictures in the shiny new airport, providing I kept away from the "security" area.  I wish other airports were this accommodating...

 The final picture was taken hand-held at 1/5s, which show how impressive Sony's OSS (optical stabilisation system) can be.  After a couple of hours, after which we'd completely exhausted the Duty Free shop and WH Smiths, we noticed that the fog was starting to clear.  Not only that, there appeared to be planes on the tarmac.

Half an hour later and it was possible to see some houses on the far side of the runway, and the next thing we knew was that a plane was landing.  It had originally come from Gatwick, and diverted to Jersey after getting bored of circling overhead.  Izzi then got caught out, as she'd just bought herself an enormous sausage sandwich with spicy chips when the departure board announced that the newly-arrived plane was being turned round immediately and sent to Stansted!

The scheduled journey took us via Jersey, and the plane was almost empty on this first leg.  Among our fellow passengers were some ageing "rockers" who we discovered later were part of a tribute band called Gums and Roses.  A fitting end to our holiday on Guernsey...

Friday, 12 August 2011

The Little Chapel

I know it's a cliché that, when one is a child, everything seems bigger than it really is; and, revisiting a location as an adult results in everything looking rather small.  Well, I'm pleased to say that I've found the exception which proves the rule: the Little Chapel seemed absolutely tiny when I was 8, but I was pleasantly surprised that I was able to stand up inside it.  More than that, there was room for me, my camera bag and tripod, and several other people who wanted to get in the way of 30 second HDR exposures!

My memory from 1968 was that the chapel was completely covered in sea shells.  While there are some shells used for decoration, the majority of the surface - both inside and out - is actually made from pieces of broken pottery.  Based on some of the comments from other visitors who seemed to be knowledgeable about such things, the bits of pottery had come from all over Europe.

Despite having to run the gauntlet of all the visitors, I did manage to take a few shots inside the chapel.

A rather strange place, all told, but clearly one which has a lot of significance to some people considering all the pieces of paper and assorted offerings left by its many visitors.

More information about the Little Chapel can be found here.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

St Peter Port Town Church

Initially, when I went into the St Peter Port Town Church, it was a haven of peace.  It was also cool, unlike outdoors which was quickly heating up in the warm sun.  Another chance to practise my neophyte HDR skills, although the very high contrast range makes it difficult to achieve a natural result.  I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that the best HDR images are made on dull days, both indoors and out.

Not sure why I used the fisheye in the church, other than it already being on the camera.  With hindsight I'd probably have been better with the 17-40, but it's a bit late to go back now!

A few more people came into the church, so I decided to beat a hasty retreat.  It turned out to be not quite so hasty, in fact, as a person came in carrying a kind placard on a stick, closely followed by dozens of Germans in close-packed sheep formation.  Presumably a cruise ship had just disgorged its contents into the town, and this was one of the organised tour groups.  Eventually, when all the sheep were safely lined up to listen to their leader's spiel, I managed to slip out unnoticed.

St Peter Port Harbour

Our last full day in Guernsey was probably the best as far as the weather was concerned.  Warm sun, but with a gentle cooling breeze off the sea, fluffy white clouds, and very clear.  I spent the morning wandering around the harbour in St Peter Port taking pictures.  To give a sense of the place, here is a panorama taken from one of the jetties.

Guernsey is clearly a play area for rich people, given the number of luxury boats in the harbour and the preponderance of "Wealth Management" companies.

By this point is was starting to get busy - and warm - so I decided to head into the Town Church to escape from the crowds and cool down.  I couldn't resist my favourite blue postbox before doing so, however.

More pictures to follow of the church interior...

Sunday, 7 August 2011

April and George

A big thank-you to April (and George, of course) for making our trip to Sark such a memorable one.  As a postscript to the day, here are a few pictures I took of the two of them together.  George is particularly fond of vegetable crisps, apparently.  While being given his treat, the neighbouring horse decided he wanted to muscle in on some of the action!