Sonntag, 21. Juni 2015

My very own London photowalk

The Blogtacular event was a very good excuse to plan a short trip to London and to squeeze in some quality time with my  friends. The three who I was lucky enough to meet have been my close friends for more than ten years and took time off to meet up with me.

I arrived on Friday around lunch time and spent the afternoon and evening ambling around town, stopping only for Lunch, coffee and dinner.

On Sunday I headed towards Canary Wharf on the DLR - the Docklands Light Railway. I just love that there is no driver as it's automated and if you're lucky you can sit right at the front with a perfect undisturbed view. It's been a while since I last visited Canary Wharf but its architecture is always impressive. This time I discovered the great Jubilee Park, a green and tranquil haven for all those office workers.

After taking lots of pictures I jumped on the DLR again to Greenwich, another one of my favourite spots full of history and atmosphere. Especially the grounds of the Old Royal Naval College were amazing and full of photo opportunities.

After a restoring tea break I made my way to Oxford Street for a bit of shopping (DVDs and a T-shirt) and then onwards to Victoria Station to meet my friend. We headed towards Waterloo and Southbank for dinner. Unfortunately it was too cold and windy for a walk so after dinner we boarded the London Eye.

On Monday morning I dumped my luggage at Paddington Station and took the Underground to Lambeth to visit the Imperial War Museum for an exhibition called "Fashion on the Ration". For lunch I met my friend near Baker Street and after a walk and coffee headed back to Paddington to board the Heathrow Express.

All in all I have to say it was a very successful trip, full of inspiration, new impressions, meeting friends, old and new.

Mittwoch, 17. Juni 2015

And finally: Blogtacular 2015

Photo courtesy of Mollie Makes

Although the Blogtacular event happened last Saturday I can only write down my impressions now. It was such a full-on day that I needed some time to digest everything.

Wow - what an absolutely amazing day jam-packed with adventure, excitement and incredible people!

It turned out that I was one of the lucky fifty (check out the photo above) participants chosen for the photowalk, which meant, turning up at 7:00 am beneath the London Eye. If you have no idea what a photowalk is, get yourself on Instagram immediately. According to Wikipedia:

"Photowalking is the act of walking with a camera for the main purpose of taking pictures of things that the photographer may find interesting.
It is often a communal activity organised by camera clubs, online forums or commercial organisations, sometimes in the form of a walking tour. Often the aim is to practice and improve one's own photography skills rather than a specific focus on documentary photography.
While the camera need not be a digital camera, in practice the low cost of digital photography and the ease of digital photo processing and online photo sharing allow a casual approach in photowalking.
While related to street photography, photowalking is differentiated by its impetus to photograph things of interest rather than people specifically. As with any walking that may go a few miles or kilometers, photowalking can also promote physical fitness."

We were met by the lovely Xanthe and Samee, who split us up in two more manageable groups, and started tramping around the South Bank Centre area. We posed, jumped, pretended to be Zombies (not hard after a nearly sleepless night), posted our shots on Instagram, in short, having a whale of a time!

And it broke the ice. In no time we were exchanging names, blognames, business cards, compliments and what-not. The result: Fantastically wacky pictures uploaded to Instagram under the hashtags #blogtacular #westelmlondonscenes.

At around 9:00 am we hopped on the tube to the conference location, the Royal Institute on Abermarle Street in Mayfair. There were refreshments waiting for us and more unfamiliar faces to meet.  The opening keynote held by Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge was titled: "The Power of Fear: How to embrace what scares you most and use it to grow your personal and professional life." How inspiring.

Grace Bonney

I managed to attend four talks, a lunchbreak and a coffeebreak before I ran out of steam, due to my sleepless night. So in order to be fit for the party I left all the fun, opportunities and sadly the goodie bag behind, went back to my hotel, had a nap and a shower and made my way to the West Elm branch on Tottenham Court Road. West Elm, one of the sponsors, is an US company selling furniture, tableware, soft furnishings and all sorts.

There was great food, drinks and several more craft stations where one could sew, paint, cross stitch and more.

And of course mingle and chat with all the other like-minded, creative geniuses. I managed to corner Igor, one half of the Urban Jungle Bloggers and Munich resident and got invited to the next Blogging Round Table  he organises in our beautiful home town. Igor and Judith (his collaborator) had also given a talk about their project and "Creating Community". I'm very excited about meeting fellow bloggers on my home turf.

So what did I learn from this full-on day?

  1. Don't be shy, talk to strangers.
  2. Embrace change and new technologies.
  3. Don't worry about the small stuff.
  4. Network, network, network.
  5. Be proud of your achievements.
  6. Have fun!
Do I want to go again?
Hell yes, time and money permitting I'd love to come to the event next year or any other blogging party worldwide! 

PS: Thanks to Mollie Makes for the picture.