Driving away from John O’Groats at the end of my recent long cycle ride (www.lejoblog.wordpress.com), we were following signs to Perth for a while. That was Perth, Scotland – not Perth, Australia as in this photo. Mind you, you could be easily mistaken – Shakespeare sign, turreted castle at the end of the street, Elizabethan era styled buildings, Olde English writing on the signs. For all the world it looks like it could be the UK, but the mid-twenties temperatures after nightfall on the 26th of December are a dead cert giveaway that this has to be elsewhere!
OK, the post is slightly contrived, but I had to have some link to getting back to posting on this site!
One of the architectural highlights of Songdo is the ‘Tri-Bowl’. Three interconnecting ‘spaces’ are meant to represent sky, sea and land and they provide a venue for exhibitions and recitals. With its distinctive curves, aluminium cladding, colourful lighting and positioning in a pool of water, this is a compulsive place for taking photos after the sun has set. However, even with a wide angle lens, I found it difficult to find an ideal position from which to capture it, as there is a lot of ‘clutter’ very close by.
Songdo is an emerging hi-tech city that is under construction in South Korea. Built on reclaimed land and, with its projected budget of $35 billion making it the largest privately financed construction project of all time, it should be fully ready and functional by 2015. The city incorporates design ‘ideals’ from some of the best known and well established cities around the World and combines them with super efficiency and green practices. There are wide boulevards reminiscent of Paris; a Central Park, a la New York; canals of Venice. All waste is sucked from every dwelling through an intricate piping system into strategically located waste re-cycling plants; every building is data connected to every other building – you could control your household electronics from your workplace office; the streets, traffic, and air quality are continually monitored and adjustments are possible centrally.
Unfortunately, right now, the place is less than half occupied and the city feels somewhat contrived and soulless. However, I can see the merits in design of a place like this and applaud the people who are trying to pull it off. The human population is growing at an alarming rate and there seems to be no conviction, will, or moral appetite to control this expansion at an International level. The only solution to such an increase in numbers would seem to be to house, feed and entertain them in a more modern, green and sustainable manner; in which case I hope Songdo either proves to be a success in its own right, or helps to better shape the blueprints of other future cities.
(self portrait, Olympus OMD, 12-50mm lens, tripod, wireless remote, f9, 5s exposure, iso 200, manual mode, much patience)
Yesterday was about a Hong Kong light show at one end of the day and today is about a Hong Kong light show at the other end of the day. Every evening at 8pm there is a light show from the buildings along the shoreline of Hong Kong Island. The show is best seen from the opposite side of the harbour and, if you view it from the area of ‘The Avenue of the Stars’, it comes with a little introductory commentary and then a musical accompaniment, which sort of binds the whole 10 minute display together. It’s free, it’s unique, its setting is spectacular – what’s not to like?
The overall view of Kuala Lumpur’s Twin Petronas Towers at night is absolutely spectacular, however, when you start picking out the detail of the building it becomes even more intriguing. Here is a view of the Skybridge between the two towers, which to my mind creates a pleasing combination of shape, line, contrast and colour. Fascinatingly (for architects I suppose) the ends of the Skybridge are not connected directly to the towers on either side. In high winds, when the towers can sway from side to side by up to a few feet, the Skybridge actually slides in and out of the towers to prevent the Skybridge from breaking.
Having woken up to the vista in my last post, I wanted to visit central Kuala Lumpur at night to witness the spectacularly lit views of the Petronas Towers. There are plenty of images on the internet which perfectly demonstrate the ‘wow’ factor of this building and I have to say that I was not disappointed when I got there. However, many of the photos I took of the Towers were just the same as those I’d seen on-line or in travel brochures. I wanted to capture something a little different and this is my first, and possibly favourite offering. Here the towers are caught ‘wobbling’ in their reflected view on the water of the nearby lake. The image has then been rotated to make it look the right way up. I hope you enjoy it.
The last in my series of ‘Framed’ photos from today was taken just after sunset. The view is of Darling Harbour in Sydney, looking across the water towards the Sydney Tower and the rest of the city centre skyline. “And what is it providing the frame then?”, I hear you ask. The answer is; “the window frame of my hotel room” – how lucky was I?