Copenhagen Harbour Copenhagen Harbour Area

Copenhagen, Nyhavn Walkabout

Posted by on Jan 26, 2018 in Europe, Photography, Travel

With only a few hours to kill in the port of Copenhagen i was still able to take in a few of the more obvious ‘picture postcard’ sights and attractions. The mermaid statue of course is on of those ‘must sees’ but it’s surprisingly small and would be easy to stroll straight past but for the hordes of tourists from cruise boats that congregate around her taking endless selfies. If you need to find her – you simply look for a crowd.

I had to get my feet wet by jumping closer and onto some boulders before i could frame -out the tourists for this photo……

copenhagen mermaid statue

The Little Mermai, Copenhagen

After taking your obligatory shot of The Little mermaid in the harbour it’s easy to walk straight to the cafes, shops and tourist centre of copenhagen, best represented by the iconic area of Nyhavn….


Copenhagen – NYHAVN

Even on a fairly crappy day and with a constant fine drizzle in the air you can enjoy the covered cafes and small shops that line the streets here.


Copenhagen Harbour Area – nyhavn


Nyhavn Copenhagen

Copenhagen Harbour Area – nyhavn

The pretty coloured houses are what we’re all here to see – but there’s also scope to get your ‘art’ on and photograph smaller sights and oddities. I seem to have some kind of fixation with signs and stickers….. a semiotic fetish. This picture is artistic… you can tell because it’s in Black & White…. if i collect enough of the shots I should open up a Fine Art Gallery and fill it with stuff like this for some sucker to buy.

Of course the real question here is….. who is Reverend Screaming Fingers ?

Copenhagen Harbour Area B&W

Not really the weather for it today … but you can take a very pleasant harbour cruise …. the one below is (strangely enough on this sodden wet day) completely empty.

River cruises Nyhavn Copenhagen

Nyhavn Copenhagen

Moving on ….  who wouldn’t point the camera at a wall with lifejackets stuffed into it…… very colourful… but could do without the building skip in front of it.

Copenhagen art

Copenhagen Nyhavn

A hop skip and a jump from Nyhavn is Frederik’s church (Frederiks kirke). It’s also known as the Marble church and is a pretty prominent part of the skyline and a good reference point for when you’re wandering about. It’s slap in the Frederiksstaden District and pretty much neighbours the Amalienborg (see more on that below).

Frederiks Kirke

Frederiks Kirke

Frederiks Kirke or church

Frederiks Kirke

Another of the sights to tick off your list is Amalienborg.

This is the winter home of the Danish royal family, and features of four symmetrical palace façades facing around an octagonal cobbled courtyard. It’s literally right next door to Frederik’s Church – just due west.



Entrances are guarded by some splendid  looking soldiers or guards, dressed in royal blue and sporting the busby style hat. Perfect for that cold winters day. It’s not a look i could pull off though.

Amalienborg guards

Amalienborg Guards

By this stage i had only been walking around for about an hour… but the constant fine drizzle had got through my rain cover and was starting to creep through the seams of my clothes. It wasn’t a cold day either so i felt hot and wet… like a race-horse. Time to go home.

Liberty Bridge, Budapest Liberty Bridge Photo by Grant Pollard/Films.Gb

Budapest – Metro Traps, Ruin Pubs, and Gun Ranges

Posted by on Sep 8, 2016 in Europe, Travel

Budapest is a popular destination in Europe – there are cheap flights to and from Budapest provided by the usual budget airlines such as EasyJet. The language is a little impenetrable  & although I speak fluent enough French and decent Spanish it doesn’t help as the language is really quite unrelated.

Getting around on the metro, trams & buses is easy enough  – one trap for the unwary tourist though is the ticket validation trap……

It’s not enough to buy a ticket… you MUST validate it on entering the metro line or on getting on a bus or tramcar. You simply push it inside the little orange box ….and if the first one doesn’t work…move down inside and try the second which is usually just a little way inside the bus or tram. The orange boxes don’t work brilliantly and the tickets tend to bend and not register…. so keep trying until you hear a good ‘thunk’ and a portion of the ticket is nibbled away. That’s the validation and the Hungarian subway enforcers are very keen on finding tourists without validated tickets and fining them on the spot. Trust me..they are bored out of their minds and the moment they spot anyone looking like a tourist they will think it’s payday. I disappointed a few with my beautifully validated tickets….. they looked really crestfallen when they realised i’d punched the ticket and they couldn’t fine me.

So – assuming you arrive at the airport…. turn immediately left on exciting the passport control and there’s a lovely English speaking guy/lady at the tourist counter who will give you maps and sell you a bunch of ten public transport tickets  – it’s cheaper to buy in tens.

There’s a bus to the outskirts of the metro system –  bus number 200E commutes between Terminal 2 and the Kőbánya-Kispest metro terminal (metro line M3) – remember to punch the ticket on the bus!

The bus leaves from just outside and the stop is clearly marked…it runs until 11.00pm.

At Kőbánya-Kispest metro (don’t worry the stop is obvious) get off the bus and walk up some stairs and over the road to find the metro entrance…… – remember to punch a NEW ticket at the bank of little orange validation boxes that form a before the escalators!

All is well.. you are getting the hang of this…. just be SURE to validate those tickets and thwart the transport goons…who are Not helpful and won’t cut you any slack for not understanding the system.  This is not just my observation… it’s pretty well known and is just one of those tiny foibles you find in any city.

Tram Outside Budapest Market Hall

(Photo: Grant Pollard)

Now you know how to use the transport – avail yourself of the extensive (and cheap) network of trams, buses and metro trains that will whisk you pretty much anywhere you need to go within Buda or Pest.

(Photo: Grant Pollard)

(Photo: Grant Pollard)

Worth checking out is the Market hall – near Liberty bridge – there’s some tourist ‘tat’ there but on the whole it’s a genuine market hall for locals who come to buy produce. On a rainy day it’s a good place to hang out, & browse the stalls.

The Market Hall, Budapest

The Market Hall, Budapest
Photo by Grant Pollard/Films.Gb

Budapest Market Hall

A Meat forest at Budapest Market Hall
(Photo: Grant Pollard/Films.Gb)

The market Hall is a good place to come if you like Wine… or meat. Actually though it’s a good place to buy quality fruit food and vegetables if you’re after something quick and easy to eat.

….There are plenty of choices for eating out but one of the biggest draws to Budapest are the ruin pubs – basically bars built within older blocks in the Jewish Quarter. They have that kind of ‘Berlin wall’ grunge hippy feel that those of us of a certain generation will recognise…. the clue is in the name… they aren’t called ‘ruin pubs’ for nothing.  If you find Kazinczy u. on the map and head there you’ll find a selection of cool cafes and one of the largest ruined pubs called Szimpla Kert.

Eat and drink to you hearts content in these places .. they are a far cry from the crappy clip-joints with strippers that set out to trap the Stag Party set in the major Tourist part of town.

Trabant on Display at Szimpla ruin pub, Budapest

Trabant at Szimpla Kert
(Photo: Grant Pollard/Films.Gb)

A fabulous Goulash with a couple of craft beers is going to come in at under $6  – basically you can eat and drink in these places  and not worry about remortgaging your house when the check comes. Budapest was cheap in the good old days of communism ( i got drunk here and ate a huge meal in the 1980s for about $3) and the place still retains a whiff of an austere Eastern European feel that i rather love.

Liberty Bridge, Budapest

Liberty Bridge, Budapest
(Photo: Grant Pollard)

Liberty Bridge over The River Danube

Liberty Bridge
(Photo: Grant Pollard)

Budapest Parliament Building

Budapest Parliament Building
(Photo: Grant Pollard)

Graffiti in The Danube, Budapest

Yeah – tell those Nazis where to go 
(Photo: Grant Pollard)

I actually came back to Budapest with  view to firing off a few small arms in one of the various gun clubs. I chose Celeritas shooting club which is a little outside the very centre of Budapest but is highly accessible via taxi (The website gives you the number of a reputable taxi firm that speak English and have a good relationship with the club – you simply ring them and ask for pick up at your address. 30mins later you’ll be on the range.

Shooting a Taurus Handgun

Taurus Handgun
(Photo: Grant Pollard)

There are various packages to choose from – and once you have your package you can then add individual guns of interest. I chose the WWII package which comes with plenty of iconic handguns such as the Luger and Walther PPK followed by some serious automatic weapons.

WWII Submachine Guns

WWII Submachine Guns
(Photo: Grant Pollard)

Being a guy of a certain generation i only really wanted to shoot the World War II weapons which are beautifully maintained and are really a lot of fun.

As it turned out the German MP38 was my favourite weapon – with a fabulously pneumatic recoil and a very comfortable feel.

Shooting the ruger MKiii

(Photo: Grant Pollard)

Along with the older weapons there are a huge range of very modern guns and precision instruments.

Colt MK12-SPR

Colt MK12-SPR
(Photo: Grant Pollard)

Celeritas Gun Club

(Photo Grant Pollard/Films.Gb)

Look carefully and you can see the spent carriage being ejected far right…..

After a lot of gunfire i took a local bus back the centre of town – which turned out to be very easy and for the price of one transport  ticket it was a real bargain. Not that the taxi ride out was that expensive – about $12 i think. The bus stop is just opposite the club and buses are frequent.

Budapest Bus Stop

Bus Stop Budapest
(Photo Grant Pollard/Films.Gb)

The bus then drops you at the Hatar Ut Metro station at which point you shimmy downstairs and pick up the fast metro into the city centre. If you’re feeling adventurous then stick with a tram and get to see more of the city as you travel into town.

Budapest (Photo Grant Pollard/Films.Gb)

Hatar Ut – Budapest
(Photo Grant Pollard/Films.Gb)

Back to the banks of the Danube and a quick photo of before the light fades.

Budapest and the Danube

Looking across the danube from Pest
(Photo: Grant Pollard)

The river Danube dominates the city in part  and there are some dramatic edifices and hills to take in – Gellért Hill shown here is about 230 m high and is named after Saint Gerard who was thrown from the top to meet a tragic end.
On a cloudy day it may not look like much but the the area is listed as a world heritage site and the scale is evident from the photo above.

I wish i’d taken more pictures in Budapest but the weather was pretty overcast and dreadful – plus i was really there on a mission to relax and deliberately try not take pictures. I fulfilled my ambition to shoot some stupidly big guns though and made a vow to return soon.

Timanfaya and El Hierro

Posted by on Aug 15, 2016 in Europe, Photography, Travel

Twisty winding roads and a semi-lunar landscape mark out areas of the Canary Islands as being a little bit special.

Timanfaya 'Fire Mountain'

Timanfaya ‘Fire Mountain’ National Park in Lanzarote
(Photo by G Pollard / Films.GB)

An accessible location for solidified lava flows and (still active) calderas is in the north of Lanzarote; in the national park known as Timanfaya. There are some pretty good views across the lower ash plains and towards the larger volcanic basins.

Caldera at Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote

A Large Caldera at Timanfaya ‘Fire Mountain’ National Park in Lanzarote
(Photo by G Pollard / Films.GB)

A plus point of a visit to this area is that you can then pop over to the volcanic island of El Hierro – seen here from the mainland.

Picture of El Hierro Island

The Island of El Hierro seen from the Lanzarote Mainland
(Photo by G Pollard / Films.GB)

I used a 500mm mirror lens to enlarge the view of the port at E Hierro – the problem with this particular lens is that it’s not the sharpest… however it’s so small and light that sometimes i can trade resolution for the simple pleasure of being able to carry it all day without breaking into a sweat.

The Port at El Hierro

The Port at El Hierro with volcanic caldera in background
(Photo by G Pollard / Films.GB)

I may also have used a X2 enlarger on this shot…. to be honest i can’t remember. The problem with using the 1000mm lens this doubler produces is that the slightest wind or tremble produces noticeable shudder through the lens; making it hard to use for video except in very sheltered conditions.