Baku In Two Hours

Baku is the capital of Azerbaijan, the largest city on the Caspian Sea, topped and tailed by Russia and Iran. The name Baku is derived from the original Persian name, Bād-kube. This broadly translates to the rather catchy ‘Place Where Wind Is Strong And Pounding’. Which is fortunate, as when I was there it was consistently above 35℃. The breeze definitely kept things bearable. In the winter it can get quite severe.

Baku was part of the Soviet Union until its collapse in 1991. Russian is still spoken by a proportion of the population, and there’s definitely a slight soviet flavour. But the city also has both a European and a middle-eastern feel. If Paris and Dubai had an illicit fling, and the love child was shipped off to a Russian Uncle, then that’s Baku.

Baku / Fujifilm X100T

Baku

Baku

Baku

Baku

Baku

In spite of what the title says, I actually spent five days in Baku. But most of the daylight hours were spent working at the airport, and consequently I had just a single afternoon to look around. Ideally, I would’ve liked to take my Nikon F100, but I knew there’d be few chances to use it. And I didn’t want to put my film through at least two x-ray scans without even having used any. Instead, I took my compact and perfectly formed Fujifilm X100T.

The X100T was given to me as compensation a reward for 10 years service with the company. I don’t normally get on with digital cameras, especially compacts. I don’t even like using my smartphone for pictures. But Fuji’s camera has many of the things you normally don’t get in a compact. A viewfinder, for one thing. And ‘real’ controls; an aperture ring and a shutter speed dial. Best of all for me, it shoots natively in black and white, and crucially, the photos rarely need any editing. I shoot it much the same way I would any film camera, and don’t need to spend hours editing in front of a computer. Just like film, all the choices are made before and not after I press the shutter.

Baku

Baku

Baku

Baku

Baku

I see that some sources refer to it as the Democratic Republic of Azerbaijan, but my visa just said the Republic of Azerbaijan. Democratic in a country’s name is always a bit of a warning sign. Yep, I’m looking at you Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. Anyway, I’m not going to make any comment on the state of Azerbaijan’s democracy. But it’s worth mentioning the 2013 election, where the incumbent Government won with 72% of the votes. The one problem? The results were accidentally released via a mobile app the day before voting started. In the words of one of our greatest philosophers: “Doh!”

Baku

Baku

Baku

Baku

Baku

Baku

Baku

Baku

Baku

Baku

Baku

Baku

Baku

Go and visit Baku. It’s warm (in the summer), the food’s great, the people are lovely, the city is safe, and the atmosphere is relaxed. And even though the driving’s vaguely disconcerting, it still only scores about 5/10 on the Cairo Brown Trousers scale.

Bertie News – Episode 00: Pilot

This is Bertie. He’s a 7 week 2 day old Working Cocker Spaniel. When he reaches 8 weeks (that’s in just 5 days – count ’em) he’ll be going to live with Coco The Cocker. I believe this may become a source of joy for me.

I’m hoping the pilot will get taken up and Bertie News will be commissioned for a full series….

Bertie the working cocker spaniel puppy at 7 weeks / Fujifilm X100T

Working Cocker Spaniel Puppy at 7 weeks

That Was The Month That Was: May & June 2019

The usual semi-regular round up of random snaps, this time from May & June 2019

Ella having a Wild Hair Day
Nikon F100 / Kodak Tmax 400 / Kodak D76 1+1

girl trampoline

Coco The Cocker looking effortlessly gorgeous

Coco the Cocker Spaniel

I never thought we’d be voting in the 2019 European Parliament elections…

European Election Poll Card

Chocolate fondue night at Helen’s
Fujifilm X100T

Coco, the canine water diviner. If there’s water out there, she’ll find it. The dirtier the better.

Nikon F100 / Kodak Tmax 400 / Developed in D76 1+1

working cocker spaniel

Giving the whatchoo talkin bout willis look….

working cocker spaniel

Home and dry

working cocker spaniel

Other people sometimes have dogs too. Some of them are nearly as beautiful as Coco. Nearly.

Thought I’d order a few rolls of Kosmo Foto Mono now it’s available in medium format

Dorothy and Domino

I think the sky in the following two pictures shows how incredibly fine-grained Tmax 400 can be for a film of its speed, as long as you expose it carefully.

Some people have a garden or yard at the back of their house. Jane has the South Downs National Park.

The Witch’s Tree

Sunday morning, making bread and flapjacks

“Yeah, whatever. I’ll get excited when there’s something I can actually eat”

Enough excitement for one morning

Church of the Nazerene, just next to Clapham Junction

Nikon F100 / Kodak Tmax 100 / Kodak D76 1+1

I took this whilst walking over Battersea Bridge. That’s the remnants of Lots Road Power Station on the right. Turn around 180 degreees, and upstream you can just about make out the iconic chimneys of its much more famous counterpart.

And looking down, someone has decided to go wading in the Thames…

Lots Road Power Station is a disused coal and later oil-fired and later gas-fired power station in Chelsea. Built in 1905 and decommissioned in 2002. Since then seems to have been in a constant state of redevelopment.

Upside down in coach No. 7

Team Building At Thorpe Park

There are certain phrases that have the ability to provoke a feeling of deep apprehension within me.

“We need to talk”, is one that stands out, for the very good reason that…..well…..I’m a man. Obviously.

“I think now is the appropriate time to tell you I haven’t always been a woman”, once gave me pause for thought.

But worst of all, the one that really fills me with a sense of impending dread and brings me out in a cold sweat:

“We’re going on a team building day”.

I remember the 1990s. Running round the woods. Firing paintballs at a load of ultra-competitive, overweight and unfit middle aged men you really didn’t like. Wishing they were real bullets.

But things have moved on; now I’m the unfit middle-aged man. Bugger.

All photos shot with Fujifilm X100T

Team building thorpe park fujifilm x100t

That Was The Month That Was: July 2018

This month’s round up of random snaps

All photos Fujifilm X100T

Winchester, the weekend of the Hat Fair

Learning to unicycle #essentiallifeskills

Able Mable plays the Hat Fair

The ruins of the Cowdray Castle in the Golden Hour

England score against Sweden in the World Cup Semi Final