(Belated) Monday Monthly Mentions – December 2021: Belated Posts, Holidays, Birthdays and Select 21

Before I start this post, I would like to send my condolences to the families and friends of both John Whitmore and Boris Pfaffenzeller, who sadly passed away last month. They were both photographers, very active in the film photography community, talented at their craft and Twitter friends of mine. May they rest in eternal peace.

I would also like to pay my respects to American fashion designer, Virgil Abloh, who sadly passed away last month after a battle with cancer. Abloh was the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear, as well as founding his own label Off-White back in 2012. May he rest in eternal peace, my thoughts are with his family and friends.

Lake Lugano from top of Monte San Salvatore
  • I haven’t been blogging as much since September, quite unusual although I wanted to do a few posts the following month but never got around to. I have been so busy with work, plus most of my rare down time was mainly recovering from work during my days off. Don’t worry, I will try to attempt to blog as much as I can before the end of 2021.
  • Turning 30 and Swiss Birthday Trip: I officially turned 30 back in September, so to celebrate my milestone birthday I went on a solo trip to Switzerland; travelling through to Lugano, then Lucerne and ending in Zurich. On my actual birthday I went to Burgenstock, however it was raining heavily throughout the day. Also I didn’t get to go on the famous Hammetschwand Elevator, due to my on/off fear of heights, however I did manage to see a beautiful view of Lake Lucerne. The next day the weather was slightly better, I went to Mount Pilatus via cable car to the top, although I didn’t reach the highest peak. I must say it was definitely a memorable experience, something I would do again in the future. And of course, I did capture all this on film!!
  • For the last couple of months, I haven’t done much film photography. There were times when I wanted inspiration and motivation to pick up my camera(s), but many ideas and plans were thrown out the window. I do have quite a lot of film that needs to be developed at some point, maybe in the new year…
  • Not all motivation isn’t lost, I went to the darkroom for the first time in over a year, over a month ago. First session was in October, when I used the colour enlarger. It did take some time to get used to it, thankfully with some help I managed to make a few prints. The next session I was printing in Black and White, which was a breeze as I was confident in what I was doing. Many of my prints came out good, although I need to improve in some areas.
  • Good news to end this year: Select 21 is finally here!! After a year of delays, the show is on the road – with yours truly exhibiting the famous Petrol Station Series, alongside with other photographers and their work. I am so proud of this achievement, after all the drama and stress throughout the last year. If you are interested in seeing Select 21, booking is essential via Eventbrite and it’s free. Show ends on Friday 21st January 2022.
The hard work has finally paid off after a year of delays and stress

Take care and stay safe

Tried and Tested Thursday: Celebrating My Birthday in Switzerland!!

For today’s Tried and Tested Thursday is going to be a little different, as I will be discussing celebrating my birthday recently abroad at the very last minute. Slightly related to photography in a way, as I brought along a film camera and ten expired rolls of Kodak Ektar (yet to be processed). Although I did use my Samsung phone as my digital camera. It was my holiday abroad of 2020. I was initially meant to go to Malta earlier in the year, however was cancelled due to the pandemic.

Mount Rigi, also known as ‘Queen of The Mountains’

Before I continue, I must mention that it’s my dad’s birthday today! It was my brother’s last week on the 24th September. So all of our birthdays are quite close apart by a week.

For my birthday I went on a 12 day solo trip to Switzerland; starting from Zurich, Lugano, for the day; Lucerne (where I spent my actual birthday) and finally ending in Geneva. It had been three years since I was in Switzerland, and the last time I was there it was pouring heavily in Lucerne!

I turned 29 on the 16th September while I was in Lucerne, I was already there for two days. My plan was to spend the big day in Mount Rigi, then treat myself to a nice meal in the evening.

Luckily my hostel sold tickets for the boat plus funicular ride to Mount Rigi at a discounted price. Certainly worth the money and definitely the experience. I do believe I can use the ticket again until 2023, so might be worth keeping just in case I would like to revisit Lucerne in the near future!

My birthday adventure started nice and early from the boat stop, directly opposite the main train station. For Mount Rigi, I had to get off at Vitznau to take the funicular all the way to Rigi Kulm. Before I did that, I made a quick stop at Weggis to take a few snaps on both my phone and film camera. The last time I was there, the weather was absolutely miserable and there was nothing much to do while it was wet, apart from taking a few shots on my film camera.

Lake Lucerne from Weggis

Walked around for a bit until the next boat arrived for Vitznau, which it did and it was packed! Thankfully everyone was wearing their face masks however social distancing was a hit and miss while on board.

Finally arrived at Vitznau! I have to admit, I was a little nervous before I went on the funicular train despite being on one a few days prior in Zurich, enroute to Uetliberg, not as high as Mount Rigi but still had stunning views from the top.

There were a few stops before reaching Rigi Kulm, which took less than an hour to get to. The funicular wasn’t too fast when going up. From the train window, there were views of other surrounding mountains from afar, not forgetting Lake Lucerne. I was no longer nervous, I was probably excited and anticipating heading up to the top.

The last stop was Rigi Kulm, the highest peak. When I stepped out the funicular, I was absolutely speechless and amazed. I did make it in one piece! I immediately went to the actual high point and took photos, including a few selfies. The views were stunning – the mountains from afar as well as the surrounding lakes Zug and Lauerz, even Lake Ageri from a distance as well.

I made the most of my time in Mount Rigi, even attempting to hike down all the way back to Vitznau. I had initially followed the ‘flower trail’, however I decided to do a detour. I had no hiking experience nor any suitable equipment but I did somehow make it as far to the station stop, Romiti-Felsentor, where I waited for the funicular heading towards Vitznau. From there I took the boat back to Lucerne. It had been an incredibly long day, but I did have a good time and was worth it!

Later that evening, I went to a vegan Thai restaurant called Cha Cha Thai, where I had a tofu green curry. It was so delicious! The flavours kicked in, both the coconut and peppers. I regret not having the coconut tiramisu for dessert, as I could imagine it would have been nice!! I did buy two sugary Berliners from Coop at the train station as an evening sweet treat afterwards.

I left Lucerne on Friday 18th, heading to Geneva where I would be staying until the following Monday, then back home to London.

I was so happy that I was able to celebrate my birthday abroad! It was something I wanted to do for a while, with Switzerland being the perfect place for it. I would certainly go on another solo trip for my birthday again, possibly back to Switzerland or somewhere else like the USA, Spain, Italy or Portugal. With what has been happening for the last few months, the future is uncertain but I do have hope that there will be light at the end of the tunnel. There will be a solution in the works.

Take care and stay safe