Wednesday, 4 July 2012

The Last Day

Our last full day in Moscow was spent at a much gentler pace, by this time we were all very tired. The main party returned to Poklonnoya Gora and Voenspec, but Oliver and I spent several leisurely hours at the Tretyakov Picture Gallery. I was pleasantly surprised at how much Oliver got from the gallery visit, art not really bring his thing, but many paintings depicted famous events and people in Russian history, and as I studied art history at college, I could add something to the mix as well. An excellent collection, worthy of a return visit if we ever get the chance.

We strolled towards Luzhkov Bridge where we saw these metal trees covered in Lovers' Locks.

 There must be thousands of locks of all different shapes and sizes, mostly placed there by newly weds. There are similar locks in various locations around the world, but I had never seen them before.

We saw two newly-wed couples that afternoon, a stretch hummer brought some of the wedding party, along with two large 4x4s, all decked out is lilac and purple. The bride and her friends are dancing to loud music coming from a car parked out of shot. The tailgate is up and a buffet is spread out in the boot. Russians wear their wedding rings on their right hand, not their left.

A view of St Basil's Cathedral from Bol'shoy Moskvoretskiy Most, with the GUM department store beyond.  A few days earlier we had been in Red Square opposite the store for the Dress Rehearsal of the Victory Day Parade and I had not photographed the cathedral at the time because of the harsh lighting condition - the sun shone from a cloudless sky at the wrong angle. What I would really love to do is photograph is at dusk! There are many overhead cables around Moscow , only one here, but some pictures are impossible to capture without a tangle of wires.

Gathered to celebrate on our last night, with our generous Russian hosts and friends: Oliver didn't know at the time this was taken, but he was soon to receive gifts, cards, a promotion and a Russian birthday cake! The next day he turned 14, and we travelled home very tired, but bursting with fantastic memories and new friendships.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Moscow Metro, Thursday 10th May

One of the more modern stations on the Moscow Metro, no less grand, but in a contemporary style. I love the reflective polished marble floor and the hallway that echoes the tunnels themselves.

A Soviet era train pulls alongside a sparklingly clean new station platform. I would love to spend an entire day just photographing the metro, I had to keep up with the group, this wasn't my trip, so I hope one day to go back! It can't happen soon enough, amazing place, wonderful people.

Design classic: mind the doors.

Lines as we descend the escalator. The older escalators travel noticeably faster then ones in the UK.

In the building we visited to purchase uniform items from a period supplier, the stairs are well worn.

Outside the Museum of Russian Imperial / Red/ Soviet Army.
Eugene, Sergei, Paul, Brian, Phil, Steve, Neil, John, and seated, Oliver & Scott.

 In the garden of a monastery, an oasis of calm in the busy city. So much to photograph, so little time.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Victory Day at Poklannoya Gora

On Wednesday 9th May, Victory Day, we travelled in convoy to Poklannoya Gora, the site of Victory Park. In period uniform and vintage vehicles, members of the 13th Guards and of Club Divizion proved popular with visitors to the park, so much so that many of our party missed out on looking around the Museum of the "Great Patriotic War" [WW2]. There was a ceremony, flowers and wreaths were laid at the eternal flame, and there was international TV coverage including one of our party, Scott, being interviewed for Russain tv. Traditionally, red carnations are laid, but only in multiples of 2.

On Victory Day the park becomes the centre of Moscow's celebrations, and as many of the remaining veterans and survivors as can do so make there way there, along with scores of the younger generations. In Russia the emphasis is on celebration rather than remembrance, and this is one of the most popular public holidays. We were honoured to be a part of this day with our new Russian friends.

Inside the Museum, at the end of a long Hall of Remembrance where books of remembrance containing the 26,000,000 names of the war dead are housed in glass cases, stands a statue of a mother and her dead son in a circular room. Along the hall and in that room there hang from the ceiling fine chains, some with a crystal teardrop attached, one for every day of the war - 1,418. I was impressed by the ways in which the enormity of the war's duration and the extreme loss of life were represented.

The museum is vast. A number of our party returned a few days later to have a proper look around.

 Many many Russians wanted to have their photograph taken with re-enactors.

 There was a performance of traditional balalika playing.

A stranger smiles - he paused while I was taking a photograph and smiled back when I smiled to thank him. A smile is the same in any language.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

A trip into Moscow

I would have liked to spend an entire day just on the Metro stations, they are something to behold, but as part of a group, with my photography nowhere near the top of the agenda, I had to grab the shots I could without getting separated from the group and lost with no Russian words apart from thank you and goodbye!

I became adept at changing lenses more swiftly. These are taken with a 10-20mm wide angle lens. In the black & white one, I am standing in front of a huge statue - the one in the picture below, above the mouth of the tunnel.

There was disappointment at the market because some stalls were closed due to anti-Putin protests (no evidence of which we saw) and a large number of militaria stalls were closed.

After the market, we experienced another extreme of shopping experiences on a street in a different part of the city. By this time, the sun had gone and it was raining quite heavily. 

Brian does a quick rendition of Gene Kelly's most famous routine!

 Architectural details.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Kubinka Tank Museum, Moscow

The nicest bunch of Tank Anoraks I have ever met - a day spent at Kubinka Tank Museum was a highlight of our visit to Moscow. 

Playing with a new toy in a puddle.

 I was interested to see this visitor recording video clips of tanks on his iPad. Note also the two youngsters with their phones, ignoring the tanks!

Friday, 1 June 2012

Red Square, Moscow

This is one of my favourite shots from Sunday morning's Dress Rehearsal of the Victory Day parade which would take place a few days later in the presence of Putin et al. Even without the main officials in attendance security was high, with numerous checking of passports and official tickets.

 Troops had been standing in the heat for a long time before we arrived. The military band was 1,100 men, each block of troops was 400 we think, but we didn't keep count of how many of those marched by! I read later that 14,000 troops took part.

 There was a silence of several minutes at the point where Putin would make a speech. I would not have understood it, I was thrilled to be there regardless - I never expected to be in Red Square in my lifetime, but we were there, my son and I.

Intercontinental Ballistic Missile.

After the parade we stood in the middle of Red Square in awe and wonder at what we had just witnessed. It would have been worth the exhausting travelling and the stress of getting our visas for this morning alone!
There was more to come.

Early in the morning, at the airport...

 We got up at 3am and left at 4 to drive to the airport. 

The adventure began - a week in Moscow staying with real Russian re-enactors.

We didn't know what to expect, but we did know that Red Square would be Sunday's major event.

A turbo prop!

Overnight stay

Jodie was very keen to take part in an overnight adventure with school at the end of April. I think she started packing about a week in advance!

Thursday, 31 May 2012


I appreciate architecture of a religious nature, I regularly feel awe and wonder at the magnificence of a church or cathedral, built by generations of stonemasons, maintained and repaired at huge expense, all to the glory of god. I can find plenty to photograph inside and out. I have no faith of my own, except faith in myself to navigate through what life throws at me with dignity and with care for others as well as for myself and those close to me.

These images were taken at Derby Cathedral on a photo walk with the theme of Faith.

Jodie and Blue

Jodie has been riding since she was 7, over half her life. Just. Ownership is costly, but she's learning life skills and life lessons...