Meleah Reardon Photography

“Use Tripod, Yes. One Minute Only”

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.

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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.

Sun in the Spanish Foothills

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.

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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 …

Waiting for the Sun

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.

Sleepy in Suffolk

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.

Frostbite for a Photo

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.