Winter Wonderland

I am fully aware that it is (as near as makes no difference) spring in many parts of the world, but I’ve been outside recently enough to know that it still feels like winter out there, so I don’t feel all that guilty in posting, on the cusp of spring, this mostly untopical and alarmingly tardy post about a winter market.

As far as I’m aware, because I haven’t bothered to research this post, Winter Wonderland is a German-cum-Christmas market that happens every year in Hyde Park in London. There are craft stalls, food stalls, and rides, an ice rink and a Santa’s grotto.

I didn’t photograph a huge amount whilst we were there; it was absolutely freezing and I was with a small chunk of my extended family – including my five-year-old semi-cousin (I don’t understand all that eighth-cousin thrice-removed crap) – so I didn’t stop all that often to shoot. Still, I managed to get a few decent images.

1/125sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, 100mm
1/125sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, 100mm

This is my dad. Perhaps not the most flattering image of him, I’ll admit, but I really like the lighting and bokeh of the background.

One of the first things we came across (other than a churro stall, which was brilliant) was a helter-skelter.

1/500sec, f/3.5, ISO 100, 18mm
1/500sec, f/3.5, ISO 100, 18mm

We moved closer (I can’t remember if my five-year-old semi-cousin had a go on it, but that isn’t really relevant to the story) and I got a better view, with the sun behind the tower. I closed up the aperture to avoid blowing out the image.

1/100sec, f/20, ISO 100, 18mm
1/100sec, f/20, ISO 100, 18mm

With the sun behind my subject, I decided to try a HDR shot. Fortunately, when I bought my new computer I got another 14 days free trial on my HDR processing software of choice, HDR Efex Pro. I really need to get round to buying the full version sometime.

f/20, ISO 100, 18mm (HDR)
f/20, ISO 100, 18mm (HDR)

I’m not sure which I prefer; the former of these two shots has kept a fair amount of detail in the foreground, which was the point of doing the HDR shot in the first place. The HDR shot doesn’t look quite as natural as I’d like. What do you think?

The helter-skelter wasn’t the only interesting structure at the fair. There was… this thing. I have absolutely no idea what it is.

1/1000sec, f/4.5, ISO 100, 37mm
1/1000sec, f/4.5, ISO 100, 37mm

I also came across a ride that had a sign that amused me greatly, because I have a very puerile sense of humour.

1/100sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, 135mm
1/100sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, 135mm

The most visible ride, however, was the large ferris wheel in the opening image of this post. It wasn’t London Eye big by any means, but was pretty sizeable nonetheless.

1/2000sec, f/3.5, ISO 100, 18mm
1/2000sec, f/3.5, ISO 100, 18mm
1/1600sec, f/3.5, ISO 100, 18mm
1/1600sec, f/3.5, ISO 100, 18mm

The funniest thing I saw there was a big singing robot moose head. You read that right. It sang a lot, which was funny enough – it sounded like an off-key Willie Nelson and it sounded like he’d never heard the songs before – but he also was a bit confused as to his origins. Part way through his performance he turned from a Canadian to a German accent, and sounded like a different actor to boot. It was tremendously enjoyable to stand there listening to it, for all the wrong reasons.

1/400sec, f/5, ISO 100, 53mm
1/400sec, f/5, ISO 100, 53mm

We soon came across a few other rides; first, a zipwire, which you will never ever get me to ride. Unless you gave me a lot of money.

1/1600sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, 135mm
1/1600sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, 135mm

For this shot, I converted to monochrome and upped the contrast to turn the rider into a silhouette.

The other ride was a hell of a lot more colourful.

1/1600sec, f/4.5, exposure bias +0.67, ISO 100, 32mm
1/1600sec, f/4.5, exposure bias +0.67, ISO 100, 32mm

By that point, which was about lunchtime, the market was becoming so crowded you could barely move, so we headed out. It was pretty fun, despite the cold. I didn’t buy anything – or photograph much food – but my semi-cousin seemed to like it.

1/60sec, f/4.5, ISO 100, 33mm
1/60sec, f/4.5, ISO 100, 33mm
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