This would be my fourth city on the River Great Ouse – King’s Lynn, a sea port and market town in Norfolk in East England. An uneventful night for me – no rain, no goose bully, no stepping on animal poop, just a still night under merry ‘ole England’s usual dreary winter skies. Enjoy!
I found another small town that sits by the River Great Ouse, the third one in this series – St. Ives, Bedford, and now Godmanchester. And I’ve said it before, the trouble with these small towns is that most of them are very dark at night. Having seen very little of Godmanchester online, and even on Flickr, I did not have my hopes up as far as lighting goes. But I like to challenge myself that way and explore the possibilities I can come up with.
I’ve seen quite a few oriental bridges but never one like this; maybe it’s because I’m more familiar with the Japanese ones. This Chinese bridge, which is Godmanchester’s main landmark, was named so because it was built in Chinese architectural style in 1827. It has since been replaced a couple of times because of bad condition. Not a spectacular bridge by any means, as compared to the mighty old bridges of Europe, but these gems in smaller towns make photography a little less mundane and fresher to the eyes, albeit more challenging.
Hope everyone’s New Year started out nicely. For the first day of 2011, I thought I’d visit the town of Bedford, and there I was greeted by a group of swans by the river. Swans are known to be symbols of beauty and grace, but new to me is that they are also regarded as masters of earth, wind and water.
I thought I’d share with you this poem I came across today:
Swan of beauty, swan of grace / A queen among her ancient race / She glides across the mirrored lake / No ripple does the surface break. (Susa Morgan Black) [...Wait, more photos!]
St. Ives is a small little-known town in Cambridgeshire which I’m sure not many of you have either visited or seen pictures of, as I have not until last night. But I’m pretty sure you’ve heard of it. The name St. Ives has been popularized in the famous riddle or song.
St. Ives is not much of a photographic town either and not many landmarks to speak of, but there’s a bridge there that intrigued me and I wanted to give it a shot. It is the second bridge with a built-in chapel that I’ve visited this year; I believe there are only 4 of its kind here in England. The other bridge I’ve visited was in Bradford-upon-Avon. [...Wait, there's more...]
You’ve probably watched or read the news about the student protests in London the other day, which turned pretty violent, even putting Prince Charles and Camilla in harm’s way as they drove down Regent Street. Students rallied the streets hours after the House of Commons announced a triple tuition hike in universities. They even set fire to the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square which fortunately police had stopped before it completely burned down. See: Student protesters set fire to Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree
I had planned on shooting the tree at Trafalgar Square the same night, and had been looking forward to it since the lighting ceremony last week, but decided to do it the next day. Reading the news that night, I was worried that the tree would not be there anymore, but still went to see it anyway. Getting there the next day, clean-up crew and repairmen were on the scene fixing the lights on the Christmas tree while I patiently waited. Even with a back-up plan, I still had my mind set on this. Fortunately, they had the tree back to normal in time for twilight, which was just before 4 p.m. Inspite of that, I still found it challenging to shoot there as there were many distractions: scaffolding on the left side of the National Gallery, the work crew had not left yet, and some news reporters and carolers were on one side of the tree setting up stage. Not to mention, the light in the sky was not ideal. But I did manage somehow.
I was editing some photos of mine from last summer and came across these from Caen, a city off the Normandy coast. It is a port city located 15 kilometers inland from the English channel where one can hop on a ferry across to England. I remembered it had rained in Normandy that afternoon while visiting the American cemetery in Omaha beach, but luckily – as what seems to be the story of my life – the skies cleared in time for twilight and gave me nice cloud textures and overall beautiful tones.
Caen is a nice quiet town with its own share of antiquated structures and was said to be the favored residence of William the Conqueror. It was devastated during the second World War but a few of its important structures remained, such as what you see here:
Yet another rainy day in London. There was some promise of sunlight for a few minutes in the afternoon but that simmered down to false hope as dusk was drawing near. You knew there was a storm coming – in fact, they had issued a gale warning today – if you look in the sky and follow where the clouds were headed to. Although the sunset brought in some colors with it, it was cloudy and eery for the most part. At sunset, I took some shots in Trafalgar Square and headed down to the nearby Golden Jubilee Bridges at which time the rain fell hard. Luckily, it stopped after a few minutes, and I picked up where I had left off.
Despite the nasty weather, I’m still glad I went to Trafalgar Square today. It’s probably only once a year I’d get a shot like this with the poppies. Today, England celebrates Armistice Day. The entire week, I’ve been seeing people wearing poppy ribbons on their lapels, and today at Trafalgar Square, paper poppy wreaths and flowers are strewn into the fountains. In several parts of London, at the “eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” people stopped for a couple of minutes for a moment of silence. Even in the always busy streets of Trafalgar Square, cars, buses and cabs hushed to a stop when traffic lights turned red.
Here’s my take on this solemn occasion, with a little help from the poppies and the weather.
We just turned our clocks an hour back this past Sunday, and that only means one thing to night photographers like me – I get to to go home an hour earlier ! In fact, how’s 5:00 p.m. for civil twilight? Yes, it gets dark early in this part of the globe, and for convenience reasons (photographically speaking), that’s a good thing for me. The only downside I could see to that is it’s rush hour in London around that time, so the trains are packed and the volume of people on the streets is more than normal.
By 5:20 p.m., my gear’s all stowed away and I was done for the day, after squeezing in every bit of that blue light I could get from the sky. I had finished off on the bridge where both foot and vehicular traffic were busy, which equates to lots of unwanted movement. I think I still got decent shots though – it’s just all about timing!
I had been wanting to go to St. Katharine Docks since moving to England. The first time I was there, the side of the bridge facing the pier was undergoing renovations and had unsightly scaffolding and wrappings. This time, everything was clear and ready for some photography, so there’s really nothing to gripe about (well except maybe the overcast skies, but that’s normal around here.)
Hope you like them!