Saturday, 9 August 2014

The best pictures of my year abroad

People keep asking me if I’m ever going to come home. And it’s with mixed feelings and a little chuckle that I tell them yes. My year abroad will be over in a few weeks. And what a year it’s been.

But this isn’t the time for a deep, meaningful end-of-year-abroad blog. Not yet.

My university, Bristol, have a Year Abroad photo competition. It pretty much is what it says on the tin, so I don’t really think I need to explain (I know you Handbags and Cupcakes readers are a smart bunch.)

There are three categories: People, Places and the Unexpected. The deadline was the end of July, and of course, I entered. For each category. (Most people have finished their time abroad by the end of July so let’s hope I don’t take a cracker in my final few weeks!)

I don’t expect to win – there were a lot of entries and the winners from previous years have been amazing – but I was keen to enter anyway. Over the past year, thanks to getting what I deem a “proper” camera, I’ve tried to improve my photography, and have really enjoyed doing so. What better than a year travelling Europe for practising your photography skills?

You may have realised that I am extremely snap-happy (Instagram, anyone?), so it took me a frightfully long time to go through Every. Single. Picture from the past year.

I finally drew up a shortlist, but choosing just one picture to enter for each category was too much for me alone. I needed back-up. HOSIE FAM, ASSEMBLE!

And assemble they did. Via Facebook, at least.

We decided on my three entries, but while doing this we realised I had, if you’ll excuse me blowing my own trumpet, taken some rather nice photos. Looking through them all brought back so many wonderful memories and also reminded me just how much I’ve done (and to how many places I’ve been!) this year.

So, dear friends, considering I probably won’t win, I thought I’d share my photo shortlist with you all. I hope you like them! (You can make each one bigger by clicking on it, by the way.)

First up: People.

The above photo was taken in Desenzano, by Lake Garda, Italy. The little girl was watching the ducks with her brother. He got bored and left, but she stayed, clearly enthralled by the ducklings and their parents.

 I imagine you can guess where this was taken: Venice. The city is always portrayed as classic and timeless, so I thought it was quite ironic to see the gondolier, in his traditional outfit, talking on his phone waiting for punters.

The final photo on my ‘People’ shortlist was also taken in Venice (geez, evidently Italy is where all the people worth photographing are!) Two young lovers, sitting by the water, out of the hustle and bustle of the tourist city. Who knows what they were talking about, but notice she’s more turned inwards than he is…

Next category: Places.

This photo is of Frankfurt, by the River Main, at night (obviously.) I like it not only for the pretty reflections, but also because it shows a different side of the city: it’s not all shiny skyscrapers.

Staying in Germany, this is Heidelberg. I was there in late autumn, visiting my good friend Stef, and I took this photo after we climbed up the hill to visit the castle. How great are all the vibrant colours? I love how the leaves of the trees match the rooves of the houses.

Next up, La Trinité sur Mer. Blue sea, blue sky and bright coloured boats on a summer evening.

Back to Germany and back to winter we go – this is Schloss Neuschwanstein. It’s the ultimate fairytale castle, but seen from a more unusual angle. I like the blue sky, bare trees, snowy mountains and sun breaking through – I can almost feel the crisp winter air. Can you?

Final photo in this category, taken in the Tuileries garden in Paris. I was sitting in the shade of a tree and I like how the leaves catch the sunlight and frame the top of the picture.

Category three: The Unexpected.

I took this photo in Coburg, Germany. The view was gorgeous - I'm a big fanof pastel houses and don’t you love the ‘café’ writing on the wall of that pink house? - but I didn’t realise until afterwards that I’d caught a flock of birds soaring into the sky.

Another Paris shot, this was taken outside the town hall. Most of us have seen street entertainers making giant bubbles before, but I thought this looked particularly beaut set to a backdrop of perfect blue sky and Parisian architecture. The way it catches the light of the sun is pretty too.

There’s a reason raindrops on roses were one of Maria’s favourite things – they’re so pretty! This was outside our holiday cottage one morning in Brittany.

And finally, back to Desenzano in Italy, this troupe of Vespa-riders whizzed past us out of nowhere. Vibrant, colourful and so very Italian. Love it.

If you had been questioning it, I hope this may have reminded you all just how beautiful the world is. I LOVE photos. It’s a cliché, but capturing a moment is something really quite special.

So, my dears, which are your favourite snaps? I’d love to know!

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  1. Wow your pictures are amazing, so vibrant! :)
    I was just wondering what camera/phone you used?

    Maria xoxo

    1. Thanks Maria. I use a Canon Lumix GF5 :) x

  2. Such wonderful photos! Love them all,Rachel. So hard choice! My faves are the one from Coburg, with the castle, boats and both from Venice! Wish you to be a winner!

    1. Thank you, Kate. That's really kind of you :)


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