The streets of Barcelona can be quite magical, especially in the ancient Barri Gòtic (Gothic Quarter). Around every winding, cobbled street corner there is something new to discover – old homes, small boutiques, beautiful churches, and courtyards such as this one pictured below.
It’s easy to get lost, so I can’t say for certain where I found this little gem. But I know it was somewhere between the Catedral de Barcelona and Santa Maria Del Mar. I stopped to take a picture, and a security guard quickly approached me. I was nervous, thinking he was going to shoo me away. Instead, he said “Use tripod, yes. One minute only”. That seemed fair! He clearly did not want me blocking the entryway for too long. I appreciated the reasonableness of his request. Rather than kicking me out before I could take some pictures, he simply requested that I make it quick. I wish other places were staffed by such reasonable people. Thank you, Mr. Security Guard, for letting me take this shot.
I snapped this shot while driving from Andorra La Villa to Barcelona. This little castle is nestled between the foothills of the Pyrenees, just along the E-9 in Spain.
I almost missed the opportunity to shoot this, because we were driving so quickly along the motorway. Luckily Luke spotted a turn out, so we pulled over, climbed down the hill, crossed an old stone bridge, and shot this from the motorway. I wish I knew the name of this place, but I do not. But it was beautiful moment to soak in together. I could go back to this area of the world again and again …
I hate waking up early. Always have. But if there’s one thing that will get me out of bed before the crack of dawn, it’s a sunrise photo. For this photo, I’ve been waiting several months for the sun to be in just the right position in the sky and for the weather to be clear. This morning was finally my opportunity to shoot Ely Cathedral reflecting in the nearby lakes. I woke up early (granted, only 6:30am but that’s early for me) and headed down to the footpaths around the lake. It was cold. Dark. Muddy. The weird things photographers do, eh?
This cathedral owes its existence to St. Etheldreda, who was queen and abbess of Ely. Etheldreda restored an old church at Ely, reputedly destroyed by Penda, king of the Mercians, and built her monastery on the site of what is now Ely Cathedral. After its restoration in 970 by Ethelwold it became the richest abbey in England except for Glastonbury.
I have traced my ancestry back to this city, and one of my great (great great…) grandfathers lived here and, being Catholic at the time, probably worshiped in this very church nearly 400 years ago.
Say hello to Kersey, a small picturesque village in the Babergh district of Suffolk. The district of Babergh takes its name from one of the old Saxon hundreds, referred to in the Domesday Survey of 1086. Although the name Babergh is not widely known, many of its historical villages are. The picture book villages of Lavenham and Kersey are very popular with visitors to Suffolk, and this area’s landscapes are made famous by 18th century painter John Constable.
Just recently, I read a study that said 24% of all houses in the Babergh district were built before the 16th century. The area remains largely untouched, and walking through the old village feels like walking back in time. There is a general quietness about this part of the countryside too. All one can hear is the distant sound of doves cooing, and an occasional resident walking through the snow.
It’s a magical place. You should visit sometime.
There’s something about snow that magically transforms the English landscape. Suddenly villages are quainter, cathedral are more majestic, and castles are grander. I love when it snows around here. I really do. Especially with photo opportunities like this all around.
But as much as I like how this photo turned out, I’m afraid my memory of this day will always be tainted by the traumatic experience in which it was captured. To reach the spot in which I’m standing, I had to hike through a large icy field. Little did I know that this field was actually a bog containing water up to my knees. I got stuck. I got stuck real bad. I was wearing the worst shoes you can imagine, and there I am standing all alone in this giant empty, icy field with my feet stuck deep in the freezing mud. When I managed to dislodge my feet, I realized my right foot was so cold I couldn’t feel it anymore. It was a solid, icy brick. I started to panic. I was so cold I could barely move, my foot was turning colors, and I was still a mile away from my car. Bad planning! Luckily there was a very nice man who approached me minutes later. He was also a photographer, out there with his tripod. And nice, warm boots. Smart guy. Dumb girl. He helped me put my shoes back on (because my hands were frozen), didn’t laugh at me while I cried there like an idiot in the field, and showed me the quickest way out of the field. After heating my foot in the car for an hour (a very painful process by the way), I was good to go. Thanks to the man who helped me, whoever you are. Thank you.
I wonder if this picture was really worth all that…
Yeah. I’m crazy.
Pictured: Framlingham Castle is considered one of the most important and beautiful medieval castles in the British Isles. It changed hands on several occasions and was at one time in the possession of Mary Tudor: here she waited during the summer of 1553 with a large encampment of followers, awaiting the results of the succession following the death of her brother, Edward VI.
If you read my previous rant, you know that I was unable to use a tripod in the fantastic King’s College Chapel in Cambridge. So my only option for this shot was to sit on the floor, and prop my camera on my legs. It seemed to work out alright. Still mad about the tripod incident…but look at the detail of this place! Almost too much to look at for too long.
King’s College Chapel is the chapel to King’s College of the University of Cambridge, and it is considered one of the finest examples of late Gothic English architecture. It contains the world’s largest fan vaulted ceiling. The chapel itself was built in phases by a succession of English Kings from 1446 to 1515, beginning with King Henry VI and ending with King Henry VIII.
During the Civil War the chapel was used as a training ground by Oliver Cromwell’s troops, but escaped major damage, possibly because Cromwell himself, being a Cambridge student, gave orders for it to be spared. Graffiti left by Parliament soldiers is still visible on the north and south walls near the altar.
Ah, King’s College Chapel in Cambridge. This is a splendid example of late Gothic architecture. It’s beautiful, isn’t it? If only my experience was as peaceful as this photo looks!
Upon entering the chapel, I saw a sign that prohibited film cameras, flash photography and mobile phones. It seemed like a pretty specific list, so I assumed tripods would be included if not allowed. Well, I was wrong. Mr. AngryFace immediately told me to put it away. Fine, fine. I’ll obey the rules. I begrudgingly put away my tripod, and continued to take handheld shots. For this particular shot, I sat on the ground and rested the camera on my legs. It seemed to work well, but it is certainly limiting. My friends and I left the chapel, and worked our way around the building as we left. I stopped to take a picture from the outside (using my tripod, of course), and Mr. AngryFace came running out of the building waving his hands in the air, shouting “I already told you NO TRIPOD!” …. what? I was confused. I was no longer in the chapel. Well, apparently the “no tripod” rule applies to everywhere within the grounds of King’s College. Though there were certainly no signs to suggest this. It didn’t even occur to me that I couldn’t use a tripod once I left the chapel. I’m still floored … why, exactly, are people so dead set against me taking pictures of their beautiful buildings, and providing free advertising via sharing said beautiful building on the internet?
I hope you enjoy this image, even if King’s College clearly does not want you to enjoy it.
I snapped this shot while hiking the appropriately-named Sheep’s Head Peninsula in County Cork, Ireland. The sheep wonder freely in these hills, and though they are a bit shy of people, this little guy was kind of enough to pose for the camera. Sheep’s Head Peninsula is full of Irish natural beauty, and the hike was worth every bit of the rain, fog and cold.
Bodiam Castle. This is just about as quintessential as it gets. Located near Robertsbridge in East Sussex, this traditional British castle comes complete with a moat and drawbridge. It was fortified by order of Richard II in 1385, for the purpose of defending the south coast from the French. For centuries this proud building was left to fall slowly into decay, only to be purchased in the early 19th century by local builder “Mad Jack” who stripped the castle for building materials. At last, the castle was purchased by Lord Curzon in the early 20th century. Lord Curzon showed great sensitivity in his restoration of the castle walls, and he also restored the surrounding landscape. At his death in 1925, Lord Curzon passed Bodiam Castle to the National Trust, and it remains in their care to this day.
Luke and I visited this beautiful castle back in March. He drove with me 4 hours just to take pictures. Is he the best husband or what? We are blessed to have such amazing travel opportunities.
William the Conqueror first ordered Lincoln Cathedral to be built in 1072. However, fire and an earthquake destroyed most of the original structure. What stands today was finished in 1280, but repairs and remodeling continue. Lincoln Cathedral is know for possessing one of the four remming copies of the Magna Carta (signed in 1215), which required King John of England to proclaim certain liberties and accept that his will was not arbitrary. The charter was an important part of the extensive historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law in the English speaking world.
With its tall spires, Lincoln Cathedral was reputably the world’s tallest man-made structure for 300 years, surpassing the great pyramid of Giza which held the record for almost 4,000 years. It remained the tallest structured until it was surpassed by St. Olaf’s Church in Tallin, Estonia in 1500.