It was a dark and stormy . . . day.

April 2006, Oxford University. We experienced everything from sunny spring weather to rain, hail and snow as our tour bus made its way from stop to stop. It was cold and damp at Oxford. We got led around from room to room, space to space.

I was not in much of a photographic mood, but I did manage a handful shots that weren't terrible. A few were terrible and won't likely be seen in public. This one is on the edge. The pedestal is cut off at the bottom, and there isn't enough head room. And the original was dark and noisy. If anything, it proves how good I've gotten at Photoshop rescues.

#Travel #England #Oxford #Mercury #Fountain


Warwick Castle

April 2006

Of the stops on our day-long bus tour, this was the longest and, possibly, most interesting. The castle has an interesting history all around, but its recent history is almost as fascinating as the ancient bit.

It seems that the owner got into some difficulty over gambling debts and had to sell. The castle is now owned by Madame Tussaud's, of wax figure fame, which itself is owned by an entertainment conglomerate. In all fairness, there are only a handful of wax figures placed in suitably educational spots.

It is well worth the afternoon, or perhaps a full day visit. Even though it was April, it was also a school holiday week and the place was teeming with families and kids. The abundant educational exhibits and live demonstrations provided plenty of things to see and do. I highly recommend a visit.

#Travel #England #Warwick #Castle


Pretty Little Flowers

Hyde Park/Kensington Gardens

April 2006, the weather on this day was mostly sunny, if cool. We toured Kensington Palace, then headed on foot toward the Albert Memorial and Royal Albert Hall. Even though it was still barely spring, there were flowers and blooms everywhere. I bent over and took this close-up shot of some pretty little blue flowers that seemed to be enjoying the sun.

#Travel #England #London #HydePark #KensingtonGardens #Flowers


Looking Up

Beneath the abbey.

I love old stuff. Castles, cathedrals, historical sites of every kind. Sometimes, though, it is easy to miss a feature because we naturally look around. We may even obey the photographer's rule of looking behind us when facing some outstanding feature. But it is easy to forget to look up.

In the Battle Abbey ruins there are places that once served as storage, or as dormitory, or . . . I read all of the plaques and markers, but I didn't take notes. In this case, the vaulted ceiling of a basement or cellar area revealed some interesting designs.

I don't often attempt this kind of shot since, as a tourist, I don't work on a tripod for stability. This time, however, it was dark and it seemed like I might get a decently stable shot by using the on-camera flash. And it worked! Because I got my positioning right, the shadowing from the flash was also minimized. I do get lucky sometimes.

Photo taken 6 May 2007

#Travel #England #Battle #BattleAbbey #Ruins #Abbey


After The Storm

Cold, quiet.

During the week before this photo was taken we had some pretty major storms pass through. Heavy rains, high winds, local flooding in some areas. But by the time I made my way to San Bruno Mountain for my weekly maintenance visit, things had cleared up. There had been freezing overnight in sheltered areas.

I had intended to hit the pier in Pacifica for sunset. Just missed it by about 20 minutes. but the pier and beach were still beautiful in the afterglow slipping over the ocean horizon.

#SanFranciscoBayArea #SanFrancisco #Ocean #Beach #Pier #Sunset


A Country Cottage

Or else Windsor Castle.

April 2006. After a couple of trips to London under our belts, we got adventurous and just took the train to Windsor without pre-booking something. It turned out to be a very nice full-day visit, before returning late-afternoon to London.

In spite of being a beautiful historical site, it can be hard to get a decent shot without tourists elbowing one another everywhere. That's the problem with it being a popular royal residence. As it turned out, the Queen was in residence at the time, but of course, we didn't see her.

#Travel #England #WindsorCastle


Twenty Minutes to Get Your Photo!

The bane of bus tours!

We literally had twenty minutes to get up close and personal with the Eiffel Tower. I took a few shots, but my best ones were actually from the bus window. This is a photomerge of two shots, with some cloning out of unsightly objects and people.

This was taken in the first week of May, 2004. In spite of how the sky looks, we were later hounded by a hailstorm- the very same one that had attacked us and left us damp for the rest of the day while we visited Stonehenge earlier in the week.

#Travel #France #Paris #EiffelTower


A Man's Castle Is His Home

Or it's a conference center.

This is Leeds Castle, which is nowhere near the town of Leeds. It's near Maidstone, Kent, halfway between #London and Folkstone on the way to Dover.

I've visited there twice, in 2004 and 2005. Different seasons. In spite of the cloudy weather, this was early July 2005. Tuesday the 5th or Wednesday the 6th; I don't remember exactly. I lost a day on the trip to Stonehenge. Didn't even get pictures.

#Travel #England #LeedsCastle


Harry, Ron and Hermione Ate Here

Sort of . . .

It's been ten and a half years since this trip, and a few details are lost to history. What I remember about the day is that it was off-again-on-again rain, sunshine and snow. April 2006. Oxford was definitely damp.

Some scenes from Harry Potter were filmed in this room, and through movie magic, it was tripled in width. You remember Harry and friends in the great hall? Here it is in the original. Just outside are some stairs where some other scenes were filmed. Very clever, these movie makers!

Of course, being on a fully-loaded bus tour, there was never a moment when there weren't people in the shot, and no tripod or other support to allow a series of shots that could be run through Photoshop's median processor. But, for all that it is a tourist snapshot, it is my tourist snapshot, so I'm OK with it.

#Travel #England #Oxford #HarryPotter


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