Painshill in winter

Surrey landscape


A shot from Tuesday’s visit to Painshill Park in Cobham, Surrey.  Those eighteenth century landscape designers knew a thing or two!  Two of Painshill’s famous follies are visible in this view, the Gothic Temple and the Chinese Bridge. For the techies, I used a .6 ND hard grad for this shot, and a circular polariser, of course. I have written several other posts about this favourite location of mine.  Just click on the tags, Painshill or Painshill Park to find them.


Desborough Island flooded 2
As some of you may have read on the news, here in Surrey we are experiencing some seriously epic flooding as the Thames bursts its banks.

floods in Surrey

This is usually a meadow.

We are safe and dry at home here, safely removed by a small hill from the danger, but I have friends who are anxiously watching as the water level rises ever higher.
Surrey floods

Desborough Island is now Desborough Lake

I could hardly resist popping out today and yesterday to capture the changed landscape, or should I say waterscape, of my local area.
Surrey floods

A swan claims new territory

Surrey floods

We’re going to need a bigger bridge!

Poppies, again

poppy field

Poppy field near Send, in Surrey.

In July, I shared some images of a poppy field I had found near the village of Send. I couldn’t resist sharing a few more. It was really special being there, among all the flowers. Three whole fields were covered in poppies. The first shot was taken in the morning, but I popped down again in the evening for some better light.

poppy field

Poppies mixed with other wildflowers and grasses

As the sun set, the poppies began to close, but the light was more interesting.

poppy field in evening light

Poppies start to close

poppy field at dusk

Everything changes in evening light

In low light like this, a tripod was essential. Needless to say, the camera was not set up for a moving deer, so when one bounded across the field I was working in, all I could do was react and take the shot with the wrong settings. At least I have something vaguely deer-like to jog my memory; I have a picture in there that needs no settings.

deer in poppy field

Royal Holloway

University of London
I thought I’d share some images of the college where I am currently studying. The Royal Holloway is a college of the University of London, but based a little outside London itself, in leafy Egham.University of London
The main building, known as ‘Founders’, was designed by William Henry Crossland for Victorian entrepreneur and philanthropist Thomas Holloway as a women’s college. It became part of the University of London in 1900 and accepted its first male students in 1945.
University of London
The magnificent Victorian building seems a very fitting background for my particular degree, a Masters in Victorian Literature and Art. I am in the final stages now, with just my dissertation to go.
University of London
I have for some time now been promising a review of my latest acquisition, the Fuji X-E1, to follow up on my review in January of the Sony NEX-7. I hope to write it this weekend so if you are thinking of investing in a mirror-less camera, watch this space.

Still Autumn, just…

Painshill Park, Surrey

Today the leaves have begun to fall in earnest.  Flurries billow under the wheels of passing vehicles and the windscreens of parked cars are patterned with a tapestry of gold and orange.   Although the season is nearly over,  I thought I might share some more Autumn shots, taken during my recent visit to Painshill Park in Cobham, Surrey.

Painshill Park

The Mausoleum

Painshill Park

The Gothic Temple

Painshill Park

Autumn foliage

Painshill Parkm


Painshill Park

Coot on golden pond

Painshill Park

Painshill Lake

For an earlier post where I talk about some of the history of Painshill and share some more images, see here.

Celebrating Autumn


St. Aubin, Jersey

But then fall comes, kicking summer out on its treacherous ass as it always does one day sometime after the midpoint of September. It stays awhile like an old friend that you have missed. It settles in the way an old friend will settle into your favorite chair and take out his pipe and light it and then fill the afternoon with stories of places he has been and things he has done since last he saw you.
― Stephen KingSalem’s Lot

Windsor, England

Windsor, England

For man, autumn is a time of harvest, of gathering together. For nature, it is a time of sowing, of scattering abroad. –Edwin Teale


Clandon, Surrey

Spades take up leaves
No better than spoons,
And bags full of leaves
Are light as balloons.
I make a great noise
Of rustling all day
Like rabbit and deer
Running away.
But the mountains I raise
Elude my embrace,
Flowing over my arms
And into my face.
― Robert Frost

Windsor Great Park

Windsor Great Park

Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn–that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness–that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.
― Jane Austen, Persuasion

Last light at Kimmeridge

Another photo from my evening shoot at Kimmeridge Bay last month. The iconic landmark on the headland is Clavell’s Tower.
Built in 1830 by Reverend Clavell as an observatory and folly, the tower has inspired writers ever since. Thomas Hardy took his sweetheart, Eliza Nicholl, to the tower and included an illustration of it in his Wessex Poems. It was also the inspiration for P. D. James’s novel, The Black Tower and was used as a location in the television adaptation of the story. Moreover, it appeared in the music video for The Style Council’s single, ‘Boy Who Cried Wolf’.

Between 2006 and 2008 the whole tower was painstakingly moved, stone by stone, 25 metres inland to save it from cliff erosion that threatened to send it crashing into the Bay. It is now operated as a holiday let by The Landmark Trust.

Bamburgh Castle

Several people have recently asked me about the header image for this blog. It is Bamburgh Castle in Northumberland. In August 2009, we spent a very enjoyable week in Northumberland, England’s most Northern county and its most sparsely populated. Even in the midst of the summer holiday season, it was easy to find peace and solitude.

We stayed in Seahouses, just down the coast from Bamburgh, and with spectacular views of the iconic castle. Despite Northumberland’s reputation for terrible weather, we had a week of sunny days and, every night, spectacular sunsets.

Bamburgh Castle stands on a basalt outcrop. The first written record of a fort on the site dates from 547CE but a fort had probably been there for at least a century. The Vikings destroyed the original fort in 993. At the heart of the present castle stands a Norman structure. Further building took place over the next several centuries but the castle finally fell into neglect in the 1700s.

The Victorian industrialist William Armstrong completed restoration of the castle and it is still owned by the Armstrong family. It is open to the public and has also been used as a location for several movies, including most recently the 1998 film, Elizabeth.

If you are ever in the area, Bamburgh Castle is well worth a visit, but beware: last admission is at 3.30 and the castle closes at 5 but the staff were so eager to get home that they started clearing us out at 4.30. An hour is most definitely not long enough to see the castle and admission is not especially cheap!