Margate

Margate Kite Festival

Kite mosaic

We took a trip down to Margate yesterday, to the kite festival.  Last year we got there at about 3.00pm only to find an empty beach and not a kite in sight.  The weather was awful, strong winds  – which, ok, could have been an advantage – but there was also a lot of rain, and it was freezingly cold.  It seemed they’d all gone home early and I can’t say we blamed them.

But yesterday was wonderful.  A balmy breeze, strong enough to be good for kites but not so strong it was annoying, blue skies with enough cloud to be interesting, and warm sun.  The star of the show was a huge octopus kite.  We walked along the beach to get to the arena, so we saw it first from the back and it looked as if some war-of-the-worlds-style alien creature was about to take over Margate.

Alien attack

From the front, and a little deflated, it looked a lot less threatening:

Deflated octopus

Kites over Margate 2

Octopus 2

We had just missed a giant gecko, but there was a parrot:

Parrot

I think my favourite was this little red horse.  Although it does look cute in the photo, you need to see it in motion to get the full effect as the movement of the wind made it look as if it was realistically galloping along.  Sometimes I really wish my camera did video.

Red horse

But if monkeys are more your thing, you could have had this one – and a banana.  (And they were trying to inflate a giant lobster as we left.)

Banana

Some of the fancier ones never made it off the ground.  This one looked fantastic, but floundered around getting nowhere.

Kite

Sometimes, though, simpler can be better and there was something very fresh and appealing about this plain white kite against the blue of the sky.

White kite

The next one wasn’t flown while we were there, but it looks amazing just sitting on the ground.  It was huge and the colours were utterly gorgeous.

Red kite

Red kite abstract

The Turner Centre, Margate

A friend and I went to the new Turner Centre in Margate last week.  From the outside the building is veering towards the ugly – rather blank, cube-like shapes with one edge elongated into a pointed roof – but inside is much better.  What immediately grabs your eye is the huge window overlooking the sea.  Everyone is drawn to it and I spent some time photographing people as they looked out.  The image above is taken on the second floor and I’m really happy with the way I’ve caught this elderly couple standing just to the side of the open circle.

In the picture below, I liked the huge wall of mirror that extends to each side of the window and the way it distorts everything.  The woman in the wheelchair was an added bonus that adds a sense of scale.

I enjoyed most of the exhibits and I particularly liked the kinetic sculpture with lights, although I don’t have a picture of that.  I also liked the work shown below; it reminds me of a flock of birds wheeling through the sky.  What look like shadows falling beneath each point are actually marks drawn on the wall in pencil.

What’s really great is that, for the moment at least, they’re allowing you to take photos inside the centre.  It’s a refreshing change from the usual prohibitions.  A friend told me he once tried to photograph the artist’s statement that was fixed on the wall next to the work it referred to and was stopped by a security guard.  When he asked if he could copy it by writing down what was said instead, the guard said yes, that would be fine!  I sometimes think the world is crazy.

Most of my shots were of the window and people:

When I posted this one on Flickr, someone suggested that it could be cropped to a square shape to emphasise the window circle, and that the figures would be better turned into silhouettes.  Although I feel it loses the sense of space I was aiming to capture, I think it really works like this (and also loses the person who’s crept in on the right side – I didn’t notice them till after I’d edited the picture).  It’s always interesting to see what variations you can get out of one image by cropping it in different ways.

When I went over to look out of the window myself, my eye was caught by a row of brightly coloured flags on the harbour.  I just had to walk down there afterwards and take a picture.  I do love these colours; they’re so cheerful.

Before we left, we had some fun browsing in the gift shop.  We decided to leave behind the ‘I’d rather be in Margate’ mugs but my friend did buy a rather stylish giant egg-timer filled with lime green sand.