Blog @ Meleah Reardon Photography

What to do when I’m bored on a Saturday night in England?

Visit a beautiful cathedral, of course! Hubby and I had spent most of our Saturday chilling on the couch watching TV, when I suddenly got the “photo bug”. It’s that feeling I get sometimes when I really want to take a picture. So we decided to spend the evening in nearby Peterborough. Best part? They light up the cathedral at night. I didn’t know this, and was pleasantly surprised upon arrival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Picture: Night shots like this can be tough, especially when the artificial light illuminating the subject is not even. I took 5 exposures, and processed in photomatix as usual. But the sky is a single, long-exposure shot masked in photoshop. Otherwise, the sky would be quite grainy.

About the Place: Peterborough Cathedral began as an abbey, established at Peterborough in 655 AD. It has been a site of Christian worship for almost 1350 years. The first abbey was largely destroyed by Viking raiders in 870. In the mid 10th century a Benedictine Abbey was created from what remained of the earlier abbey, with a larger church and more extensive buildings. Only a small section of the foundations of the Saxon church remain beneath the south transept but there are several significant artifacts including Saxon carvings from the earlier building. A new church, the present building, was begun in 1118 and finally consecrated in 1238.

England is Old

I’ll never cease to be amazed by the sheer oldness of this country!  I drove past church the other night on my way home from a friend’s house. It was built in the 13th century! It’s located in Fornham All Saints, just outside Bury St Edmunds, a small village that once hosted a very important battle in ancient Britain. This area was once known as the Kingdom of East Anglia, but ceased to be an independent kingdom when the Vikings defeated the East Anglians in battle. The exiled Æthelwold of Wessex induced the East Anglian Danes to wage a disastrous war on his cousin King Edward the Elder. The final battle took place in this small village, and East Anglia was forced to submit to Edward. As a result, East Anglia was incorporated into the kingdom of England

St. Mary in Castro, Dover

Perched on top of the white cliffs of Dover with a 360 degree panorama of the English Channel and surrounding countryside lies St. Mary in Castro. The church sits within the English Heritage site of Dover Castle and from its Saxon beginnings has served the army garrison within the castle and the surrounding area for many centuries. The age of the church is uncertain but the current building dates from 800 to 1000AD. However, it is likely that an earlier Roman building sat on the site – Roman building materials were incorporated into the walls and arches of the church by the Saxons.

Saved by the Canadian

The Icefields Parkway in Alberta, Canada is considered one of the scenic drives in the world. And I can see why! Every inch of this stretch of 144mi highway from Banff National Park to Jasper National park is lined with mountains such as these. We drove for hours with my face pressed against the window and my neck straining skywards at the peaks. It was like stepping into another world – a world much prettier than I could imagine in any books, or have seen in any movie.

I almost missed my opportunity to photograph this or any other point along the highway. I had forgotten to charge my camera battery the night prior (this was back when I was a newb and had no backups!). I remember with certain clarity the sheer panic when I realized my camera was dead. We were in the middle of nowhere, miles and miles from any place with a power outlet. Or so it seemed.

Suddenly, as if out of nowhere, a lodge appeared off the side of the road in the distance. I was desperate, and my brother is insanely supportive, so we pulled off the highway to scope out this place. We were greeted by an enthusiastic man behind a desk. The lodge was nearly empty. It was just this kind man who was clearly glad to see anybody. He welcomed us in, and I explained my situation. He offered me a seat near a power outlet, and I charged my camera for nearly an hour while he brought us cookies and hot chocolate.

It was a surreal interlude in our day, and it stands out as a memory I won’t forget quickly. Every time I look at my photos from that day, I’m reminded of the friendly Canadian who saved the day.