As I said in my Cambridge post, I was so impressed by the King's College Chapel, I wanted to dedicate an entire post to it.The chapel is world famous, being one of the finest examples of late perpendicular Gothic English architecture. The chapel was built between 1446 and 1515, and the stained glassed windows were completed in 1531. Photographically, the architecture is a paradise of wonderful geometry, leading lines and fascinating light. I spent quite some time trying to capture the windows and high ceilings from a variety of angles, as well as capturing some small details as well. The magnificent stained glass windows reminded me of the those in Saint Chapelle in Paris.Most of these images were taken with the Nikon D600 and Tokina 11-16mm F/2.8 at 16mm (as a DX lens the Tokina will vignette heavily at length less than 16mm), and some were taken with the Nikkors 50mm F/1.8G and 35mm F/2 AF-D.I hope the images are good enough to encourage you to make your own visit to this architectural marvel.
My friend Natalia and I decided to take advantage of the sunny weather and headed to Cambridge. I had already explored Oxford with my friends, Genka and Petar, but this was my first visit to Cambridge.Much like Oxford, Cambridge is replete with colleges sporting architectural marvels from centuries past. The various chapels were particularly ornate, and the King's College Chapel, famous for its stained glass windows, deserves a blog post to itself. Absolutely stunning.Thankfully, Cambridge is a walkable town, bustling with either tourists or students, and we managed to explore quite a bit of it. We took in the River Cam too, full of punters punting, but the air was a little too cold for us to sit in a boat for any length of time.All the images were taken with the Nikon D600 and one of Nikkors 35mm AF-D F/2, 50mm AF-S F/1.8G, or the Tokina 11-16mm F/2.8 (at 16mm).Well, I hope you enjoy these photos and make your own visit to Cambridge one day.
Yesterday Jena and I decided to see the butterfly collection at RHS Wisley. The freezing cold outside was a stark contrast to the necessary humidity inside the glasshouse where we enjoyed a multitude of butterflies fluttering around us.The exhibit was extremely popular and people of a full spectrum of ages were there. For reasons passing understanding, I was slightly comatose yesterday, but I still managed to eke out a few shots. I used mainly my Nikkor 18-200mm attached to my Nikon D40. I hope these images demonstrate that what can be achieved with a consumer zoom lens and a 7 year old DSLR. For sure, some had macro lenses, and there was a time when I owned a very good macro lens myself, but I think these images capture the butterflies in their full body glory and colours.I have also included a shot of Wisley House and a few samples of the many plant varieties on display.The butterfly collection is on display until February 24th, so I would get down there as soon as you can to enjoy it.
Snow is a great excuse to photograph animals, and while the rest of the United Kingdom shut down, Jena, Natalia and I decided to brave the snowfall to see the beautiful cats at Paradise Wildlife Park in Hertfordshire. We were not disappointed. I had been to Paradise Wildlife Park many times in the past, and this was just as enjoyable as previous visits. The excellent keepers there not only let us in, despite the weather, but they also fed the cats so that they would emerge from their enclosures to be photographed. They even asked us where they should place the meat so that we could get the shots we wanted! Thank you keepers!There are many fantastic exhibits at the park, but we focused mainly on the cats. It was a noticeable irony that the only cats that were willingly outside were cheetahs, ordinarily designed for the African savannahs. By curious contrast, the snow leopard and Siberian tigers were nestling indoors. The snow leopard and white bengal tigers were eventually coaxed outside by the promise of meat. Between photographing them, we found some respite in the warm reptile house, home to the snakes and Chinese alligator.Despite the freezing conditions, the three of us had a great time and Jena very skilfully navigated the icy roads to deliver us home. I hope these images will encourage you to make your own visit to Paradise one day.
The weather was sunny in the west country yesterday, so my friend Natalia and I headed to Bristol, a city that I have visited many times but never really photographed intently. Odd, because I really like the city. It's clean and spacious, full of beautiful architecture and quaint little roads and cobbled paths. As a university town, it has a fair contingent of students, so the place feel like a young person's city. Bristol has a busy history as a trading stop and port, and there are still plenty of reminders of its maritime influence along the quaysides of the River Severn.We took in the magnificent Bristol Cathedral, another incredible cathedral; we followed this with something completely different in the Bristol Aquarium. Impressive enough, but, alas, no large sharks.We worked up an appetite by walking along the quays towards the SS Great Britain, the famous steam ship designed by the celebrated engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. After lunch on Cabot Hill, we managed to quickly take in the views from Cabot Tower, and then, after a brief stop at the Wills Building of the University, headed to the Clifton Suspension Bridge, which always looks spectacular at night.I captured everything with my humble Nikon D40, and used mainly the Tokina 11-16mm F/2.8, and the 50mm F/1.8G in the Aquarium. Despite the high resolution sensors that are the norm today, the D40 still holds its own, especially the RAW files. The ergonomics aren't so great, with many functions requiring a journey through the menu, but it still captures pleasing images.Well, I hope you enjoy these photos and maybe make your own visit to this lovely city.
Yesterday was a slight break in the rainy weather we've been getting, so my friend Natalia and I went to visit St Alban's Cathedral. I have no religious subscription whatsoever but I enjoy photographing the ornate architecture that is usually found in churches and cathedrals.It was started in 739 AD by the Romans, but they ran out of recycled bricks. Then the Normans invaded and they found some stone and finished it in the 11th Century. One can still see the Roman brick work and Norma masonry in juxtaposition. Over the centuries it fell into disrepair as its maintenance was too expensive. During the Dissolution Of The Monasteries under Henry VIII, the many depictions of saints in the cathedral were defaced, and the building was looted. In the 19th century, some wealthy benefactors decided to restore and revive the Cathedral. It has the longest knave of any Cathedral in the UK.It is presently free to enter and relies on donations for much of its upkeep. We took a free tour inside that was given by a lovely and highly knowledgeable lady called Molly. All these images were shot at around ISO 800 on a Nikon D40, using any of Nikkors 50mm F/1.8G, 35mm F/2 AF-D or the Tokina 11-16mm F/2.8; the latter two lenses were manually focused as the D40 has no drive motor.I hope you will visit St Alban's Cathedral if you are ever in its vicinity. It is a fascinating and beautiful building.
Tallinn, the capital city of Estonia, is the oldest city in Northern Europe and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. A beautiful little city in the winter snow, although the coverage made it a little difficult to see anything. Most of my short visit there was spent in the Old Town, on Toompea Hill overlooking the view and around the Christmas markets near the town hall. I just managed to get the shot I wanted of the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral against the blue dusk sky. Walking up and down the cobbled streets, one can really appreciate the history in the old town and castle walls. The Christmas markets were bustling, shoppers were jostling, and all were entertained by the occasional bout of Christmas folk singing from the stage that had been set up. I managed to sample some rustic food, including elk and bear meat, the latter being expectedly tough. Many of the images presented here were quick snapshots in the freezing snow, and mostly taken with the Tokina 11-16mm F/2.8. I also used the Nikkor 35mm F/2 AF-D for a few shots. Some of the images show the vibrant colours of the town, especially draped in Christmas decorations. Other images lent themselves to a B+W treatment, which suited the historical quality of the buildings. A great place to go for a short visit, I am sure it is just as beautiful in drier seasons. It certainly looked like a fairy tale town in the winter snow.
Last week Jena and I spent a short while photographing the Christmas lights around Oxford and Regent Street in London. Nothing truly spectacular in my humble opinion, although I do enjoy light and colour. The Moon allowed for some interesting compositions. All these images were shot hand-held with my DSLR and phone at variously high ISOs and a variety of lenses. The last image was shot by Jena.
I took my dear friends Genka and Petar to Oxford for the day, a beautiful and historic university town. The weather wasn’t at its best, but we made the most of it, again making it seem like they were the only people there. The architecture was predictably ornate and resplendent, but we imagined that students at the various colleges must have a universal dress code, for they all looked the same in their chinos, loafers and scarves. Nevertheless, the poor souls have to tolerate the herds of marauding tourists trampling through their quaint city. As in London, I used my humble Nikon D40 with a variety of lenses, mostly the Tokina 11-16mm F/2.8, manually focused.
Last week I had a wonderful and memorable time with my dear friends Genka and Petar who visited me from Bulgaria. Genka had lived and worked here before, but it was Petar’s first time, so we took in all the main sites in London. We also spent a day in Oxford, but I will present those photos on a separate post. These are just a small sample of the many photos I took, and all include Genka and Petar in the shots, both of whom are very photogenic! From the images it may seem like we had the whole of London to ourselves, but I tried to capture them with as few other people as possible in the shot, or from different angles. They were very patient with me!Jena organised a surprise birthday dinner for Genka at our favourite restaurant, Tas Pide, and they brought out a delicious cake. It was a great evening with excellent service as usual, and it was followed by a short visit to a salsa bar. I took many shots of the London landmarks themselves, but I may present those in a separate post also. All the photos were shot with my humble Nikon D40, and captured RAW, which helped capture the most possible detail and recover highlights and shadows. I hope you enjoy these images from around London, and maybe you will be inspired to make your own visit. And if you need a tour guide…… J
T'is that time of year again when the nights start earlier and the days get colder, but at least Guy Fawkes gave us reason to enjoy some fireworks. My friend Natalia and I went to a fireworks display in St Alban's a couple of nights ago, and we were most impressed by the display. I must admit, having photographed the London New Year fireworks up close, my expectations were somewhat moderate, but it really was a very impressive and enjoyable display.Below are the photos I took with my Nikon D40 (now 6 year old technology) and the Tokina 11-16mm F/2.8, manually focused. All images shot RAW at around 1/30 at F/2.8, ISO between 800 and 1600 (some lower), and then converted and edited in Lightroom 4.I have tried to post a variety of the different fireworks in the display. The couple standing in front of me in many of the photos proved to be a useful compositional element, and helped to give some context to the images.Enjoy!
At least for a short while. This past weekend, Jena and I attended the Star Trek convention in London, notable for having all five series captains at the one event. There were also a raft of other cast regulars and guest stars, all arranged in a seemingly humiliating hierarchy of stands. The entire event was really just a money-making exercise, with exorbitant fees for autographs and merchandise. Since I'm never particularly star-struck, I didn't indulge myself. We stayed for a few hours and captured some of the costumes and also the actors from afar. Some people came from far overseas to attend the event. Interesting how such a broad range of people are fans of the Star Trek mythology.Anyway, here are some of my shots. Almost all of these were shot at a very high ISO and with my walk-around zoom, the 18-200mm. A few shots were taken with the 50mm F/1.8G.
Sheffield Park And Garden, managed by the National Trust, is a wonderful landscape, famous for its lakes and vibrantly colourful foliage. The autumn colours were out in force on my visit, although the wind did unsettle the water, making it rather difficult to capture perfect reflections. The grounds really are a joy to walk around, and the people there were friendly and as enthusiastic about the colours as I was. There was also a waterfall connecting two of the lakes.As well as taking in the great views, I tried also to capture individual autumnal details, such as backlit leaves, berries and plant bulbs.I used four different lenses; the Nikkors 35mm F/2 AF-D, 50mm F/1.8G, 18-200mm VR and the Tokina 11-16mm F/2.8. All came in handy for various shots.I hope you like the photos below, and I hope they motivate you to make your own visit to this great park and garden.
Gothenburg is too beautiful a city to limit to just one blog post, so here are a few more. The city is a treasure of culture and vibrant colours, especially in the autumn, as well as some beautiful architecture and stunning gardens.Again many of the photos depended on having good lighting at just the right time (e.g. dusk), and I have also included a few more night time long exposures.In case my photos do not succeed in inspiring you to make your own visit, please visit http://www.goteborg.com/en/ for more information.
Autumnal colours in Gothenburg, Sweden, are quite spectacular. The botanical gardens and public parks are a perfect showcase for this seasonal vibrance. The public park even has a pool with seals, and further up is an enclosure for penguins!As lovely as Gothenburg is by day, it is quite beautiful by night too, and the abundance of structures and lights provided many shooting opportunities. You will note from the images below that I am a great fan of water reflections.Further out from the town are the beautiful Delsjon Lake and Vrango Island, which are definitely worth visiting.I was only there for a few days and presented here are only a small snapshot of the city and its surroundings as I saw them. I hope you will enjoy them, and perhaps make your own visit there one day. Please visit http://www.goteborg.com/en/ for more information.