So the Belfast Telegraph is running their second annual One Summer's Day photography competition. The premise is to enter a photograph you took in Northern Ireland on Saturday 18 June 2011 (last weekend) and say why means something special to you.
Those of you who read my hubby's blog will know that he is a keen photographer. He's also rather good at it and repeatedly puts me to shame as he fiddles with ISO and exposure settings (I still am not clear on what these are despite repeated explanations) to capture the moment perfectly, with soft and sharp focus and bright and dark colours all in the right places and amounts. I, on the other hand, immediately turn the camera to the auto (i.e. idiots) setting when it's my turn to take a photo because otherwise it ends up a big blurry mess. My hands just are not steady enough. However I am not fond of the idiots setting on the Yorkshireman's new camera because everything ends up harshly bright. I'm probably not using it right, even on the idiots setting.
However I am always willing to give things a go even when I suck at them (see my recent adventures in ice-skating for example), and so last Saturday afternoon we set off into Belfast city centre, the Yorkshireman with his trusty digital camera and me with, well, my mobile phone. We couldn't find spare batteries for the Yorkshireman's old camera (which I loved - its idiots setting was very good!) and I refused to pay actual money for new ones so that I could take photos for a competition that I would definitely not win anyway. Hence: lower resolution phone camera to the ready!
Last Saturday was actually the day of the Lord Mayor's Parade, which is always pretty good fun, with a sort of carnival atmosphere taking over the city centre for an hour or two. The perfect opportunity for some community-themed photography! Unfortunately we slept in a bit late and completely missed it. Oops. Never mind, eh? Instead we headed up towards the City Hall where there seemed to be some kind of residual festivities still ongoing. We snapped a few photos, I tried to avoid the men on stilts (creepy and wrong, just like clowns and mimes) and resisted the urge to enjoy an Irish stew-filled bread bowl from one of the food vans (which seems pretty much like the ultimate in comfort food).
Next we walked down towards Corn Market. As usual the area was teeming with shoppers and tourists.
I snapped a few photos of some kids "breakdancing" on the Spirit of Belfast, wishing I were as cool as them… *sigh*
Actually though it depresses me somewhat that these children are indeed the future of Belfast but, as I am often forced to remind myself when confronted with my own dear baby brother, teenagers' brains are actually chemically different than adults', so they'll grow out of it eventually… right..?
Whilst in the Corn Market vicinity I was tempted to take a photograph of Starbucks, being that it is of fundamental importance in my life and, indeed, very special to me. However the Yorkshireman wasn't convinced the Belfast Tele' would really go for that explanation, so I gave it a miss. Shame.
Then it was on to the gym, which is indeed another place that means something to me - namely pain. However I didn't think that photographs of sweaty, grunting people would be greatly appreciated by the competition judges (or indeed the sweaty, grunting people themselves) so I left my mobile in my locker and ran the afternoon away on the treadmill, shamelessly eyeballing some young student-types who were filming a scene for something in the courtyard of St Anne's Square.
So all-in-all it was a pretty typical Saturday in Belfast, right down to the grey skies and drizzle. In fact the photo I took that was probably most appropriate to the competition title of "One Summer's Day" is this blurry little snap of a poor, sad umbrella, abandonned on the bus.
I'm keeping my competition entry under wraps for now but the Yorkshireman and I are both entering and will eagerly await the results, which will apparently be announced in September. I don't think I'll exactly be holding my breath, but it will be interesting to see what everyone else in Northern Ireland happened to be up to on that rainy Saturday in Northern Ireland.
For those who wish to compete against us, the deadline is 30th June, but do bear in mind that your photo had to be taken on 18th June. Bon chance!