Buy Two, Get One Free

So it’s Saturday morning and I am sat here with my coffee, thinking about my week that I have just been lucky enough to experience.  A week away from the rituals of work, that included a few days away in an area I had not spent much time in before; consisting of castles, harbours, old&new architecture, history and technology.  I’ve loved it.

So it all started a few months ago when we renewed our car insurance and our insurer delighted us with the gift of a free stay at a selection of hotels.  My partner and I decided on the Salford Hall Hotel in Warwickshire.  Our hotel is below….not bad digs for our little road trip.

Salford Hall Hotel

Discovering Something New

This week I think I have learnt a new passion of mine too – one to add to the list – architecture…..or to be more precise, the appreciation of it.  On the way up from the Isle of Wight, where we live, we stopped in the city of Oxford.  Now yes I know the first thing that comes to mind is the world famous university but there is so much more to this town.  A great shopping location, nice coffee shops (another passion of mine) and a really photogenic city that is walkable.

Bridge of Sighs

The above photo is of the Bridge of Sighs.  This was a difficult shot to get as there were always lots of people around it with the same focus as me – taking a shot.  Some creative editing here when I got home and thank god for On1’s Perfect Photo Suite 9, that allowed me with ease to remove most of the people.  If you look closely you can still see the remains of two girls that the editing out affected the image quality too much – I’m not perfect!  I loved the elegance of this bridge and the buildings around it.  Reminds me of Venice – another place I’d love to visit and photograph.

History Geek

When I was at school – over 20 years ago now – I enjoyed history, but I am not totally sure I engaged with the subject.  We studied everything from Henry VIII to the American West.  Warwick Castle combined three of my passions – Architecture, History and Photography.

Warwick Castle

This place is a must visit for all that come to Warwickshire.  It’s official website is where we began our journey.  This drew us in and I must admit I was very excited about visiting.  From Kings and Queens, to birds of prey and Horrible Histories this place will make you appreciate history more.  The building is stunning too.  We are lucky enough to live near a really good example of a Norman Castle and this place blows that to pieces.

Bird of Prey Show
Bird of Prey Show
Water Wheel
Water Wheel
Peacock Showing Off
Peacock Showing Off

Take time out to really appreciate this place – don’t rush this visit.

Weird Residents 

We also visited a couple of other cities whilst we were out an about – all researched from our hotel room on the trusty IPad Mini.  Leamington Spa and Gloucester.

Royal Leamington Spa really is a very nice city with interesting residents in their parks.

Grey Squirrel
Grey Squirrel

This grey squirrel seemed to enjoy posing for my shots.  I think he thought the camera would eventually feed him.  The above shot is a RAW image straight out of my Sony A6000, that I have developed in Lightroom.  Loving this camera so much.  It’s small, light and the quality is second to none even with the kit lens which I used for all of the shots in this post.

Architecture – Where Old Meets New

Gloucester had one areas that I loved – Gloucester Quays.  This provided both my partner and I with all our likes.  Shopping, Coffee, Architecture old and new (combined in fact) and an area we could walk through and experience.  All I will say is yes, do your shopping in the Outlets, but get out and walk about.  For someone who predominately shoots in HDR this place was amazing.

Gloucester Quay
Gloucester Quay

I love the way they had developed this place to combine the old and new.

Old & New Architecture
Old & New Architecture

Not far away from the Quays is Gloucester Cathedral. Whenever we travel, whether it’s UK based or abroad, a tour usually includes a look inside some form of place of worship.  Now when we went to Barcelona I was blown away by the Sagrada Familia but I was equally stunned by Gloucester Cathedral.

Gloucester Cathedral
Gloucester Cathedral

Harry Potter fans will love this place.  The Cloisters, located at the base of the building above, was used during the filming and is absolutely stunning.

The Cloisters, Gloucester Cathedral
The Cloisters, Gloucester Cathedral

The above shot is not HDR.  This is a single RAW shot straight out of the camera, that I have developed using Lightroom and Perfect Photo Suite 9.  More love to my A6000 for producing such good results to work with.

So what have I learnt this week?  Well, passions can be fuelled locally without the hassle of airports.  Technology allows me to bring this memory to life without lugging huge backpacks of lenses around.  All shots over the last week are taken with my A6000 with two lenses.  Everything was researched on my IPad on the fly and, finally, I feel that I may also be moving from taking so many landscapes to having a real passion for shooting architecture.  I may have to start a new gallery on my portfolio site.

So my coffee needs refilling and I really must get on, so whatever your weekend brings you enjoy and thanks for listening to my ramblings.

P.S. One last thing – this week may have been the final nail in the coffin for my Nikon D7000 and lenses – it may be online for sale sooner than I imagined!


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