I’ve shown you its softer side, but I still prefer the Salford Quays in blue. [...See more photos here!...]
The hotel I stayed at in Salford was right on the quay, and the window leading to the room even overlooks the Lowry footbridge and the Manchester Ship Canal. So getting up to shoot for sunrise was as easy as stepping out the front door.
We have been blessed with beautiful weather the past weekend, it’s almost surreal. I can not remember the last time I’ve experienced a day where it was sunny and clear through and through. It will almost be like sin if you did not get up for sunrise and capture what seems to be a very infrequent occurrence in this country nowadays.
For me, it’s so refreshing to see these soft pink and purple colors onscreen. I guess I’ve been so used to seeing nothing but blues that I think my eyes have been partial to that color. I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone for these pastel-colored tones, but I think they turned out alright. [...More photos here!]
I just returned from a short-but-sweet trip to Bilbao, Spain and will be working on my photos from there soon. In the meantime, let me share these ones from my return to the town of Bedford not too long ago.
I have not had the chance to shoot this bridge – the Butterfly bridge – the last time I visited Bedford. I was able to scout it at night and saw that it was another un-illuminated bridge. There were some floodlights on the bottom of the bridge but for some reason it did not light up. Anyway, with a little help from the sky radiating great pastel colors at dusk, I was able to capture the bridge with still some interesting light. [...Wait, more photos!]
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!]
Yesterday I attended a Christmas Choral Mass at the Norwich Cathedral which was a pleasant experience – the cathedral sounded like there were little angels singing Christmas songs. I was also able to catch some blue hour scenes by the other church – the St. Peter Mancroft you see below, where they had a huge Christmas tree and carousel rides by the Forum.
I’ll keep this short as I know most of you are perhaps busy unwrapping presents or having Christmas dinner, or if you’re lucky, you’re simply sitting by the fire watching the snow fall from your windowpane. It’s not a White Christmas where I’m at, but I don’t mind a BLUE one.
Merry Christmas all.
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...]
Where during the day, light is not usually a problem in taking photos, at night time, LIGHT – be it ambient or artificial, is a big factor in capturing successful images. In my case where 90% of time I shoot during twilight, and shoot mostly cityscapes, much of my photography depends on the last remaining light of the day plus sufficient artificial lights in my surroundings. In large urban and industrialized cities, that’s not usually a problem, because there is enough light and even light pollution coming from high-rises and office buildings, and even from popular tourist landmarks. In smaller and more laid-back cities where the city center and businesses close down early, and there are no well-lit buildings to speak of at night, producing a usable image is a challenge.
The historic city of Cambridge, being a university town, has most of its famous landmarks – including beautiful churches and bridges – contained within the school campuses. Although its prestigious colleges are open to tourists for most of the day, they still close down at sundown, or sometimes even earlier.
It’s no wonder that there are not very many images of Cambridge at night, and only maybe a handful of twilight images, if at all. Inspite of that, I still wanted to give it a try, and have even tried a couple of times in the past months only to retreat before twilight because I was not convinced with the light. Knowing that I have to do this sooner or later, this time I made sure I stuck around long enough to see what I can come up with in this sleepy town.
[...Bury St. Edmunds, England...]
The Christmas Fayre – that’s how they spell it here – is going on in the charming town of Bury St. Edmunds. It’s only a 3-day affair but judging from the amount of visitors, it’s one of the most successful fairs in England. I’ve been to quite a number of these in Germany – there they call it Christkindlmarkt or Christmas market, and they’re a good way of getting into the spirit of the season.
I had looked forward to this event not because of the fair, but because it’s probably the only time out of the year that the grounds of St. Edmundsbury Cathedral and the Abbey Ruins are open past dusk. I’ve wanted to shoot here at twilight since the summer, but like I said, they close down the gates before that. Much to my dismay, it wasn’t much of a spectacle after dark seeing that there were hardly any lights on in the Cathedral, and I had to fumble my way around the dark ruins on the slippery ground. It was so dark that the ruins were merely indiscernible silhouettes and focusing was a lot of guesswork and a bit of luck.
So there I was far away from the maddening crowd of the fair and in the middle of darkness by the ruins, when I saw two neon yellow figures walk towards me in opposite directions. One flashed his light briefly behind me, and asked,”Did someone run by you just now?”
I looked up behind me, put my frozen numb hands back into my coat pockets, and as I replied, white puffs of air billowed from my mouth. It’s a biting cold night, nothing that I wore tonight seemed to protect me one bit.
“No. Why?” I asked.
At this time, the other security – a female, had just inched towards us but said nothing.
“We received a report of a shadowy figure, dressed in black, running down here. Did you see anyone?” The man asked casually, as if trying not to alarm me.
No matter, I was still alarmed. I guess it didn’t help that not too long ago, I was just thinking about the Ipswich serial murders. I was in Ipswich on Wednesday night and was reading about the city this morning when I came across that article. I know that walking in the dark by yourself is never a good thing. That, and watching too much crime TV.
“Oh no, should I be worried?” I asked.
“No no no, we were just checking. Did you just get here?”
“I’ve been here about 5 minutes.”
“Were you down there earlier?” he was pointing further down at a different direction of the ruins.
“Yes I was.”
“So I guess it might be you then.”
“I guess it was,” I said, feeling much better with that thought. “I’m just taking pictures though, is that okay?”
“Oh no, you’re fine,” he said. “Carry on.”
And with that, they both left me alone in complete darkness for another minute or so of exposure that felt like forever.