Somewhere North of the Wall

Today, Candice and I drove to Torridon.

The drive up is insanely beautiful.  Our first stop from Cambridge was Glasgow, where we stayed in the YHA on Park terrace.  Pretty swanky part of town.  As we drove on Xmas day, we had a really good run up and made it in 5 hours.  We would have made it in less had we not entered the wrong address and ended up in the….uh….not so nice part of glasgow…lets just call it that.

Not wanting to waste the opportunity we went for a walk through the park and found the Kelvingrove Art Museum and Gallery…obviously not open but pretty impressive building!

Kelvingrove Museum
The Kelvingrove Museum

After this and with a hasty exchange with some locals (no idea what was said, they were both drunk and Glaswegian) we headed to the river.

River Clyde in Glasgow
River Clyde

 

Turns out Glasgow is quite a pretty city, even if the weather was a bit “Meh”.

 

 

Scotland here we come

This Christmas, instead of tucking into an array of food and cocktails (starting at 8am) Candice and I will be hopping in a car and driving to Scotland.  We both have the time off work, Candice is finally in the UK visa in hand (well purse at least), and we figured why not visit one of the most beautiful places on earth?

First stop: Glasgow for the night, just passing through here on our way to Torridon.  I cannot wait.  After Torridon, we will drive south towards Fort William for two nights.  Just outside of Fort William is the Glenfinnan Viaduct.  Known to most of us as “That bridge from harry potter”, I can;t wait to try and get an image out of this area.  Looking up at the train times, it may even be possible to get an image of the Jacobite steam train passing overhead, we will have to see.

After Torridon we continue to head east to Comrie.  NYE (or Hogmanay in this part of the world) the small village of Comrie holds a fire festival (Flambeaux).  Thought to date back to pagan times, this fire festival welcomes in the new year through the burning of torches.

This trip is going to be a great experience and I cannot wait to take lots of images to share with you all.

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As you can see, a long way to travel over 7 days, but we will do it.  I’ll try to update as I go but I’m not promising anything here!

Have you been to Scotland?  Is there anything we simply MUST see/do?  Please comment below!

The London Eye

London's Eye from St James' park

This weekend I visited London again. I know there seems to be a theme of constantly visiting the one city but it really has many opportunities for different images.  I had originally planned to get an image of Buckingham Palace at sunset.  Buckingham Palace is crawling with people, it is absolutely heaving with tourists.   Unfortunately, I stupidly left my cable release at home and so couldn’t take an exposure longer than 30 seconds. This meant that no matter what I did, and barring some heavy post-production which I really didn’t want to do, there would always be some tourists lurking in the image.  I really wasn’t that happy with the image I did get, and the sky just didn’t light up with colour that was being promised by the interesting cloud an hour before.  I stayed through the blue hour and ended with an image I am sort of happy with and will share next.

On my way back to the tube station I happened to walk through St James’ park.  It was by pure chance as I had originally intended to go back via Trafalgar square, but not having my cable release I would end with the same tourist issue.  As I rounded the corner and walked over the bridge I caught a glimpse of the top of the London Eye.  Such a beautiful and iconic sight.

If you like it or have some constructive feedback, please leave a comment.

London's Eye from St James' park
London Eye

Swiss Cottage

Swiss Cottage tube station

I love the underground.  If you’re in London and need to go anywhere you just pop down some stairs, jump on a train and then pop back up for air at your destination.  It is so much quicker than trying to get a bus anywhere, and not too expensive.  Today I was at Swiss Cottage on the Jubilee Line (the silver line).  I found myself here after the England vs South Africa ODI Cricket match at Lords.  Normally you would get on a St John’s Wood, but getting thousands of people onto the train at the same time seemed ludicrous, so I walked the extra stop up the line.  These older stations are beautiful.

Swiss Cottage tube station
Remarkably, if you walk one stop from the busy St John’s Wood, you get to the less busy Swiss Cottage and can get on the train with no problems.
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Yorkshire Dales

Yorkshire Landscape photo

A few weekends ago I spent some time in Yorkshire. On my way home I randomly searched for places to visit on google and found “Malham Cove”.

For a random Sunday afternoon this place was REALLY busy, but then, it was a gorgeous day!  I did have plans to hang around till sunset, but finding out that sunset wasn;t until 8 pm and still having 4 hours to drive made me think twice.  On my walk back from the cove I managed to get this image.

Yorkshire Landscape photo
The view from Malham Cove
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Lloyds of London

London is known for its financial district.  One of the most notorious well-known companies to reside here is Lloyds of London.  Now without condoning some of their past insurance-based practices, I’d like to present their outstanding building!  Completed in 1986 this “Inside out” building houses the majority of its services such as lifts, stairwells and ducting on the outside, allowing for an unencumbered space inside.  A similar building exists in Paris called the Pompidou centre housing the Musée National d’Art Moderne.  We are hoping to visit Paris Museum of Modern art next week on our Paris trip.  As it was a Sunday I was unable to look into the Lloyds building…and I’m not even sure I would have been allowed.

LloydsofLondon
The Lloyds of London building. 

This post also makes up my entry to the weekly post photo challenge with the theme of “Wish“.  My wish is that these posts will start to inspire others to pick up their camera, get out there and take some great photos to share with the world!

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Tower 42

The building Tower 42
The building Tower 42
Tower 42

Taken in London on a solo photo walk.  Entered into the Dailypost  weekly photo challenge .

Walking around London is a great way to get shake yourself from the creative slump.  This image was an after though, I had just finished at the Leadenhall Market when I saw this colossal glass lobby.  Standing on the other side of the road I was able to get the whole lobby.  The tower it self stands back and rises high above.  Be Careful taking images around th city in London that you stay on the public footpaths, or you may be trespassing.

Ely Cathedral

Cathedral in Ely

Ely (pronounced eee-lee), Famous for Oliver Cromwell also contains a magnificent cathedral.  Founded in 672 by Etheldreda, this cathedral has undergone many facelifts over the years. The story of Etheldreda is fascinating and can be read here.

The cathedral in its most recognisable form took 112 years to complete and this can be seen in the architecture.  The bottom of of the cathedral reflects a much older period with rounded simples arches.  These arches become more ornate as the levels increase, with interlocking arches and pillars.  Interestingly the top arches reflect a much more stable and newer design with a more pointed top.  In one wall you can see 112 years of architectural history and innovation.

Time wall Ely
The Time wall – Unseen is the first layer with rounded arches. At the bottom you can see the interlocking arches, then the more ornate (but still rounded) arches and above, the small classical revival pillars mimicking the romans. Lastly you can see the pointed arches that reflected the better knowledge of architecture after 112 years since the start of the build.

Candice and I took the West Tower tour which I highly recommend. It is 15 pound for the tour and cathedral general admission fee.  The tower tour also includes an excellent history on the cathedral and the west tower, and with our guide, a history of the local fens too!

Amazingly Ely Cathedral is built on only 6 ft of foundations.  That is incredible, but over the years this has caused some major structural issues.  Here you can see where the original arch used to be before strengthening with these newer pointed…and thicker arches were implemented.

New Arch
The original and the new arch

On the west tower we were able to climb to the top where we we treated to great views of Ely and the Cambridgeshire.  Here you can see the octagon tower, which is unusual for a normal church.  This tower was created after the original tower fell down.  The foundations for the Lady Chapel, seen of the left, caused the lowering of the water table and the drying out of the clay beneath.  This then caused the tower to collapse at about 4 am.  The octagonal chase was the formed by building just outside the original footprint of the previous tower.

ely-outside-1

The stone used to create the cathedral is not local stone, which is too hard and brittle and cannot be shaped, but was shipped down river from Barnack in Northamptonshire. Barnack stone is more easily sculpted, however some of the local stone can be seen in the walls as infill.

After the tour we browsed the rest of the cathedral and boy is it HUGE!

The choir Gallery of Ely Cathedral
Choir gallery
Ely Cathedral
Lectern in Ely Cathedral
ely-small-room-1
Bishop West’s Chantry Chapel
Cathedral in Ely
Ely cathedral

Many a grand palace has been built in the name of ones god and this is no exception.  I’m not a religious person, intact I am atheist, however Ely Cathedral is an excellent example of grand design and beautiful architecture.  At least, in my non expert opinion!

The wooden box in the above photo is a mirror allowing you to view the magnificent painted ceiling.

Ely Cathedral Ceiling
The decorated ceiling of Ely Cathedral

Lastly, and although we didn’t go in, there is a stained glass museum on site.  If the window depicting the crowning of Esther are anything to go by, the stained glass at Ely Cathedral is just as ornate and magnificent as the rest of the building!

Stained Glass at Ely Cathedral
The Crowning of Esther – Stained Glass

 

 

Wicken Fen

Wicken Fen Wind Pump

Approximately 16 miles outside of Cambridge is a national trust nature reserve called Wicken Fen.  We arrived at about 3pm with my idea being to set up for a sunset image of the wind pump.  These wind pumps were used to help drain the Fens in a similar manner to the techniques used by the dutch, and are partly why the netherlands are so famous for their windmills!  The draining of the Fens is a really interesting story and you can read more here.

Wandering around the nature reserve and up the board walk brought us to a bird watching hide.  Unfortunately nothing of interest was actually going on and I didn’t have time to spend waiting there for bird photographs as sunset was around 5:15. So we wandered off up the nature trail.  To say that we were under prepared for marshland is an under statement.  I guess the clue is in the name “Fen” but still, that place is boggy!  We attempted to make it up one of the dirt tracks only to be blocked by a some pretty deep water and mud, and with Candice nor or having Gum boots (and a rental car!) we decided to turn around and stick to the board walk.  That’s when I saw a huge barn owl swoop from the trees (no photo sorry).  Such a majestic creature though and for the rest of the evening we saw a couple flying high searching for prey.  Just after the barn owl we saw a Muntjac Deer.  Look at him, he is so adorable!  He was bouncing up and down the path about 100 meters away from us.  In fact I think there were several deer with only really one being spotted at any one time.

Muntjac Deer
Look at his adorable little legs!

 

Candice decided she didn’t want to stand in the cold while I took sunset photos so she kept on the board walk trail.  I, on the other hand, decided to head to the wind pump to set up for what I hoped would be a big reveal.  The day was fairly cloudy but sometimes all you need to be is patient and a burst of light at the right time can really make a photo.  Unfortunately I was out there for over an hour watching the light and that cloud would not budge.  There was no colour and no interest in the sky.  As I was setting up I tried a few different things with focal lengths and lenses. Due to the lack of interest from the sky at any part of sunset, I was happiest with this image converted to black and white from the 70-200.

Wicken Fen Wind Pump
Wind Pump at Wicken Fen

I guess this means I need to go back and try again.

Kudos to Hertz car rental though for the cheap car for the weekend.  No sponsorship here, they’ve just been the best deal and I’ve used them twice now.

All in all Wicken Fen is a great place to go and see some wildlife and I highly recommend spending an afternoon there.  I wouldn’t go during the school holidays if you want to enjoy a peaceful wildlife experience as kids tend to be noisy, but during normal days I’m sure it would be much quieter.

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Dear Deer, Why are you so majestic?

Deer in the New Forest

My last trip to the UK had me back to my roots in the New Forest.  Set aside by William the Conquerer, as a hunting ground, this National Park on the south coast of England is home to 4 different species of deer.  This guy was quite happy to roam free and flaunt himself in front of us safe in the knowledge the only shooting I’ll be doing is with my Canon 6D!

Deer in the New Forest
The Majestic Deer of the New Forest

Canon 6D 70-200 EF IS F4L at ISO 2500 200mm f4 1/125