I was in Bristol recently, visting family, but while I was there I took advantage of the weak Sterling and treated myself to a lens I've been coveting for a long time: the Sigma 10-20mm f4-5.6. I've led myself to believe that an ultra-wide angle lens is an indispensible tool for my main interest, landscape photography, but also one that will be great for other stuff like architecture and 'enviromental' portraits. My first impressions of the lens are good - the wide angle is very dramatic and different, just as I had hoped. Of course, paying such a reasonable price for a lens with such an extreme focal length means there will be certain compromises, and it does not seem to have anywhere near the contrast or sharpness of my personal 'gold standard': the Sigma 105mm f2.8 Macro, which puts everything else I own into the shade. I knew all this, however, so I'm extremely happy with my purchase.
I haven't had much of a chance to try it out yet, but while I was in Bristol I took a few snaps - unfortunately I wasn't in the city long enough to get too involved photographically. I love big cities, and the best ones have a certain character that makes them inexplicablly yet undeniably unique. Even with the advent of identikit high-street shops, and architecture that could be almost anywhere on the globe, places like Bristol somehow seem to exude a one-of-a-kind identity that can be picked up even on a passing visit.
I'd love to tell you that I chanelled some of this through the photographs I took there, but that is unfortunately not the case. It's partially due to the time constraints, but mainly because I have never been much of an urban photographer. I have never progressed past taking snaps of buildings which interest me aesthetically, or that I think would make an interesting photograph. A couple of these are below. The first is a random building and the second is part of Bristol University: