Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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SEASON’S BEST wishes from David and Shirley here at photoclubalpha! You know how the pursuit of photography can take over your plans? Well, we were offered a short break in Portugal (inspection visit terms, 2 hours wasted time and iron constitution to resist sales pitch) and took it up for the week before the holiday. A chance of some sunshine and different subjects for the Alpha 100 and 700! Of course, it rained so hard the entire Algarve coast was flooded, and the only sun we saw was the sunset as we landed. However, back at home, the world was in wonderland mode even as we drove back through the Lake District with the moon rising over frosty hills lit by the last pink light of the sun. The next day, Kelso was in full sunshine but -7°C and freezing fog had coated everything for three nights in pure white. So here are our Christmas cards from Kelso, courtesy of the A700, 16-80mm, and Minolta polarizer.

Bridgend Park

Millennium View (from a viewpoint built in 1999)

Ednam House Hotel from over the River Tweed

Friarsuagh fishers and fishing hut

Fishing cobles at Friarshaugh

The Junction Pool, St Andrew’s Church and the Anna viewed from Rennie’s Bridge

Frosty tree on the Mayfield riverside haughs

Frosty tree and the steep bank of Maxwellheugh from the Mayfield walk

These are just a few of around 80 shots taken in the space of as many minutes. I encountered about a dozen photographers on my walk, several with tripods, and countless people with camera phones or compact digitals. Midway I met my neighbour (business neighbour, owns a litho printing works) out with his Nikon D200 and 18-200mm VR, but no polariser – the secret to shooting on this particular day was the polariser, both to change the sky density and adjust water reflections. He told me he had just ordered his new camera, a Nikon D3 with 14-24mm and 24-70mm, the day before reading my review of exactly the same gear in the British Journal of Photography. I nearly took it over to show to him but had not enough time, and had thought – there’s no way a family photographer is going to want this sort of kit anyway… shows how little I know the real market for pro gear!

Update in 2020: shots from this picture set have been used in several town and regional calendars and sold well as stock. There has never been another day exactly like this since.

– David


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