Winter is officially over and the crocuses are in spring bloom! In an attempt to escape the flooded plains of the countryside, Dan and I joined a guided walk (highly informative with quirky anecdotal tales, run by London Walks) in St Albans, AKA Verulamium - that's the Roman name of the old town. Yes, its about two millennia old! Here's an extract of their blurb: "The most fascinating small city in England... St. Albans is an essence of England. You can stand on the bank of its little river, the Ver, and suddenly feel yourself touched, saddened by the great passage of time – Romans, and Saxons, and Normans, and Lancastrians rode across this stream, galloped up that hill, and disappeared into the centuries. And the same goes for the little town itself (little town, hell, long, long ago this was the most important city in Roman Britain!) – here you see it all – from the Legions of Julius Caesar to the dynasty of the Churchills. These streets are corridors in the vale of time. Here's the only Roman theatre in Britain; here's the oldest street market in this sceptered isle – it dates back to the Saxons; round this corner there's a 600-year-old Moot hall; round that one a clutch of mediaeval and Tudor coaching inns; hard by, a rare curfew clock tower; up these lanes a sprinkling of half-timbered Elizabethan houses; over there, streets and buildings that are essays in Georgian England; here, a Victorian prison. Let alone all sorts of hidden, curious places and things – and a skein of enthralling history. Not to put too fine a point on it, St. Albans is England in miniature and London's best kept secret!"
The photos below were mostly taken around the centre of the historic market town, the clock tower and the St Albans Abbey.
Technical details: Fuji X-M1 with Olympus OM 28mm lens.
A bumper set (primarily referring to the the quantity - perhaps I've been lazy to filter down) of photos taken around the square mile and the City of London. After the first photo set in Baker Street station (on one of the original first 150 year old platforms) the journey starts in Farringdon and heads towards the Barbican Centre (photos 4-7) via Smithfields Market. Photos 8-10 are taken at and around the London Wall - which used to surround the city of London for many centuries until the great fire in 1666.
The next set of photos are taken outside the main entrance to St Pauls Cathedral before reaching the southern courtyard of Guildhall, London's ancient town hall, with its funky flooring. The nearby road names share a glimpse into the town-planning of old London: Masons Avenue, Ironmonger Lane, Milk Street, Wood Street and Gutter Lane to mention a few. In fact, there is not a single Road in the City of London. Plenty of Streets, Alleys and Lanes and Squares but no Roads. Why? Because "this sense of the word ‘road’ was not coined until the late 16th Century, after nearly all the thoroughfares in the ancient City had already been named" (Londonist.com).
Our next stop takes us the the aptly-named Bank area within the City - outside the Bank of England and the Royal Exchange. The ultra-modern skyscraper near the gherkin is Tower 3 belonging to Lloyd's. The penulatimate destination is attractively decorated and one of London's oldest markets - Leadenhall Market. Lastly we end our route crossing London Bridge - older wooden versions dating back to the medieval times (although this box girder bridge replaced the stone one that followed the timber predecessors).
I feel like I've built a bit of a relationship with this strange lens over the duration of this afternoon! It certainly made me think more creatively about my composition and how I could shoot a series of photos without getting tired of the special effect it gives. Although I'd intended to crop the photos and remove the vignetting, the curved edges have grown on me - especially as I took them into consideration when composing the shots.
Technical details: Sony a850 with Samyang 8mm lens.
A new toy! The Samyang 8mm fisheye lens with a detachable hood - usually a diagonal fisheye so you wouldn't see the black vignetting but I enjoyed trying it out on the full frame a850 for a >180 degree angle of view. It certainly took a little while getting my head around using it as it was almost impossible to avoid flare on a sunny day or my own shadow in the photo!
Further (and more varied) experimentation in a more urban setting later this week!
Technical details: Sony a850 with Samyang 8mm lens.
Apologies for the delay folks... I have been taking lots of photos but just slow to update the blog so expect to see lots of updates soon!
Photos taken during the flooding in the Aquadrome (shouldn't have been a big surprise... although wasn't expecting some of the paths to be knee-deep in water!) Obviously some just show life on the canal which wasn't as affected except for the first photo where it overflowed into a stream leading down to the car park! The sixth photo shows a lovely rustic swing hung from a large tree which we often used to ride... perhaps not any more.
Technical details: Sony a850 with Sigma 50-500mm (Bigma) lens.