Sunday, 10 November 2013

Cruisin' past the Bay of Biscay

So you may have noticed that posting has been slow so far this year.

It's been an odd one to be honest and it may not come as a surprise to you when I say that I have been on another cruise... that's right! This year I have been on three long holidays two of which have been cruises.
The last one being the Baltic Cruise and now another cruise around the Bay of Biscay, this time with Royal Caribbean on the Independence of the Seas. We splashed out this year as it's the last year in our lives before our child starts school.
In the UK taking your children out of school during term time is punishable by fines now, the school even suffers lower ratings as a result of lower attendance and as such, holidaying out of term time is significantly more expensive. (Possibly to the point of making the fines more economical)
The number of holidays, along with some sickness and very busy workloads at the office has drained me to the point of not being able to post as much as I'd like or be as creative as i'd like sadly. (Even making these posts later than I'd like.)

Anyway. We went on a cruise around the Bay of Biscay. This time we dragged along some family and friends for good company along with the good times. (As usual I shan't post photos of family and friends)
I think, unlike the Baltic Cruise I can probably minimise this event to a single post.

To start things off I shall post the tradition boring image of a view from the ship as we leave the British port(Southampton). The most interesting thing about this departure was the weather, totally invisible in the photos, but the UK had been hit by some pretty bad storms around this time and there was some concern the weather would be too poor to make-way.

Marvel, if you will, at a British carpark,traditionally  furnished with an ice cream van, on a cold cloudy, autumn afternoon... Marvelous!
The Seagulls chased us, in the knowledge we were likely going somewhere nicer!
Some folks brave going on deck but not before grabbing a jacket and/or beer jacket.

DAY 2 - A Day at Sea

First morning on board and I snapped some weather from the Balcony.
I've said it before but I really find i mesmerizing when at sea, just the sheer scale of cloud formations, rain fall. The unhindered view from horizon to horizon it always captivates me, in the same way as a flame in a fire, it's so easy to just by hypnotized by it. Trying to capture that and present it in a photo is challenging.

There will be a few weather shots ahead...

The above shot has no lens correction. Notice how the horizon is so distorted? I have to fix that in each shot. :(
Shots from the balcony.
I shot this with a longer lens, which is a really nice lens but sadly it's a cropped DX lens on my full frame camera so it adds all that black vignetting in the corners.

That evening we watched the ice skating show. There was only a few of these and a couple of them got cancelled due to the bad weather. It's pretty impressive to see what these performers are capable of on board a stage that just won't stop moving and these in particular, doing it on ice with razor blades strapped to their feet?
I took it as an opportunity to experiment with low-light, non-flash stage-photography.
On returning to our stateroom we discovered the above chaps.

Day 3 - Cherbourg

The above shots pretty much sum up every trip I've ever made to Cherbourg... with the exception of a photograph of the Napoleon statue which I normally visit every other time however the cruise ship docks in a different place to the ferries so it wasn't as convenient.

On returning to the ship I had a bit of an explore and shot some of the interiors.

I had a couple of stabs at some night time shooting on this trip.
The weather was pretty poor. When it wasn't raining it was still either very windy or cloudy, the ship was constantly rolling around, also there was few spots I could go to minimize the motion of the ship. Most of the more convenient spots to shoot from was the sides of the ship where the motion is most pronounced while the rear of the ship was not very accessible and a bit too well lit.

I had a go though.

Day 4 - Another Day at Sea

This day at sea was full of very bad weather, a lot of external access was locked.
Obligatory drink shot... it's a bit out of focus but that's beside the point.
Some fancy ornaments that illuminate one of the bars on board the ship.

Day 5 - Halloween

Today we docked in Viggo, Spain.
First time I've ever been to Spain and it should be a fun day for the family as it's also Halloween.

For these shots I got up, near enough to sunrise, this is how I saw Spain for the first time.

Then we headed into town.
This is precisely what forklift trucks were designed for, lifting tiny chairs individually into skips.
We watched this guy from the balcony for about twenty minutes as he repeatedly failed to get this chair into the skip. If he'd just gotten out and picked it up, with one hand, and thrown it in, it would've taken him ten seconds but nope, he was determined! And he would NOT be defeated!

He eventually did it and we cheered!

The next set of shots are a little sample of Halloween festivities.

Day 6 Gijon, Spain

On this day we made port at Gijon, also in Spain. The port sits a fair distance away from town as we were lead to understand and so a bus/taxi ride would be required and the weather didn't look terribly great.

I took a few panoramas.
A moth I found, on a rock... on the mini-golf course... on-board the ship... because we couldn't be bothered to get off.

Day 7 Bilbao and Day 8 At Sea

The rest of the shots from the trip are a bit unfocused and hard to arrange so I'll just line them all up here.
The main stage where most of the shows went on.
It's colourful so I shot it...