A rainy City walk

As you may have spotted on our Twitter, we decided to venture on a rainy walk around the City, taking in some lesser-known historical bits and bobs and ending up back at the Tower, before the poppies exhibition that we’ve blogged about before is finally taken down. This time, we aimed to see them from an angle we’d not previously spotted – around the ‘front’ of the Tower, nearest the river. Here, there was another ‘wave':

Wave of poppies at the Tower of London

It was fascinating to see the poppies up close, via the means of some rather heavy camera zoom:

Rain on the poppies at the Tower of London

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Cambridge at night

By the time we reached Cambridge itself, had done some wandering and had a pleasant late lunch at Harriet’s (great food, less great service) [they have a pianist though!], it was starting to get dark. An excellent opportunity to practise some night photography techniques, including some long-exposure shots of the Cam – punts included…

View from Magdalen Bridge at night

He even managed to capture some beautifully soft light quality (I think, anyway!) in this shot, taken of Mathematical Bridge at Queens’ College.

Mathematicians Bridge at night

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American War Cemetery, Cambridge

So we decided another trip to Cambridge was in order, to give us a bit more time to explore. First on our list, and a rather sombre start to the day, was the American War Cemetery. Commemorating a large number of Americans killed in the Second World War alone [almost 4,000 people are buried here, and many more whose bodies were never found are memorialised on the Great Wall], it was exceptionally peaceful, beautiful and immaculately-kept – a fitting tribute to the surprisingly (for me, at least) huge sacrifice that country made.

Leaves amongst crosses at American War Cemetery

It was also a wonderful time of year to visit, with the brightly-coloured autumn leaves adorning the gravestones. Inside the Chapel, there was a concept map of the various air and naval attacks the Allies undertook. Although interesting in content, it was the execution and craftsmanship of this enormous map that really stood out.

Air Operations model in American War Cemetery chapel

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November at the Imperial War Museum

On Remembrance Sunday we thought it was an appropriate time to go and visit the Imperial War Museum, now back open after a while undergoing renovation. Especially poignant given the day, it was a fascinating trip and well worth a visit, especially to the moving [and pretty devastating] Holocaust exhibition on the top two floors. Cameras weren’t allowed inside the exhibitions, but Lambeth North tube was looking rather industrial and photogenic [usually I don’t edit my photos except for a bit of cropping, but this one uses an effect built into the camera that I was playing with as we were walking]:

Lambeth North tube

The light-filled central hall, going up through the centre, features transport and weapons from battle scenes throughout the modern age.

V2 bomb at Imperial War Museum

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A wander around London Bridge

With my other half away this weekend, you’re stuck with just me this week, as I took a brief stroll around London Bridge during a glorious Saturday afternoon, and decided to have a bit of a play with shooting in black and white. This is on the Jubilee line as I was warming up:

Tube carriage

For those who haven’t been there, London Bridge has seen a lot of regeneration in recent years (most noticeably with the building of the fairly epic Shard skyscraper as part of the London Bridge station redevelopment), with a strong focus on glass architecture, particularly in places such as More London Riverside. As I walked from the station to the riverside, I spotted a nice image of the old warehouses reflected in one of the new glass facades:

Terrace reflection

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A rea-Ely pretty cathedral

As we’ve mentioned before, we’re musical types. This is great, because it takes us to some of the country’s most gorgeous cities and cathedrals. Last weekend, we were in Ely – not somewhere I’d ever been to before [I’d sung there once before when at university, although I’d forgotten just how stunning the cathedral is]. It’s one of those places that isn’t much of a city beside its cathedral; nonetheless there were some great pubs and places to while away our (limited) free time.

More noteworthy, though, was the cathedral. Oh wow. I have a book on the world’s cathedrals (yup, I’m cool like that) and this place makes the cover. We went on a tour of the roof and up into the Octagon tower, so were lucky enough to see the views from above as well as below. To anyone visiting Ely, we’d definitely recommend the tour – £8 well spent, with a fascinating and lovely guide, and access to some breathtaking parts of the building.

The main quire, with rood screen and altar behind:

View into Ely cathedral quire

Quite a colourful cathedral, apparently the Victorians restored the original colours – amazing to think all cathedrals were this vibrant when newly completed!

Ceiling of Ely cathedral nave

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Not long enough at Longleat

Be prepared for a bit of a bumper post today. We have no self-control when it comes to animals [I’ve been waiting ages for a chance to try my hand at some nature shots], especially with a zoom this good…

We spent the day at Longleat as part of our Bath/South West weekend. I’d been there a few times before, but couldn’t wait to see the variety of exotic wildlife at this world-famous safari park. [I’d never been before, but it had certainly had its praises sung.] And it didn’t disappoint.

First on the trail – the giraffes, of varying ages and sizes…

Giraffes

They were being kept company by some zebras, sporting their fashionable monochrome.

Zebra

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