Posts Tagged ‘ photographs ’

Somebody got married last week

Yup, Presteigne has celebrated in style, with bunting, balloons and sandwiches. The high street was impressively packed, and a lot of people had worked hard to feed the five thousand (or thereabouts). A van was selling plastic tat which neatly divided the hordes of children into two camps, tiara’ed pink princesses or riotous small boys with machine guns – gender stereotyping, anyone? A good time had by all, I think.

More party pictures can be seen on Facebook here

In other news, the M5 is becoming far too familiar as I beat a path down it to continue work on my Cornish gardens book. I do find myself in some incredibly beautiful places at the far end of it, though, so I’m not complaining unduly. Some pictures below, with more to be found here

Magnolia petals and primroses

Bluebells at Glendurgan

A champion magnolia at Trewidden

The perfectly composed view at Trelissick

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A new feature (Oslo) and other matters

A new feature in the April issue of The World of Interiors on Oslo’s extraordinary City Hall, or Rådhus, filled with murals and frescoes as dazzling as anything to be found in a medieval council chamber in Tuscany. Also an article and a mildly scabrous book review in the first issue (out now) of the excellent Marine Quarterly, a new journal covering all matters seafaring.

mural in Oslo City Hall

German invaders attempt to destroy the state of Norway

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying shooting at The Judge’s Lodging here in Presteigne for a magazine feature. The sepulchral gloom of the servants’ quarters, lit only by the occasional flare of gas, presented some interesting technical problems.

victorian kitchen

The kitchen at the Judge's Lodging

candles

handmade candles in the pantry

As a break from the darkness and the smell of gas I followed a friend’s suggestion to explore a local valley unknown to me, where a ruined cottage stood surrounded by snowdrops at the foot of the still bare woods.

snowdrops

The long awaited sun is fetching us all outside at last, blinking but grateful.

Tony Bird, Presteigne antique dealer, and Sally

A quick trip to Oxford to go to the local launch of James Attlee’s new book Nocturne: a Journey in Search of Moonlight, timed to coincide with the appearance of Saturday’s ‘super moon’. Helena and I waited expectantly on the cold hills above the White Horse at Uffington, but a cloudbank rolled in and nothing could be seen. Then as we drove towards Oxford the huge and impossibly apricot-coloured disc hung over the city like the star over Bethlehem.

Many thanks to all those who’ve kindly responded to my fundraising effort for the disaster in Japan. Your prints will be sent out later this week – I shall be in touch where necessary regarding payment, addresses etc. It’s not too late to order – click here to find out about it.

And finally I believe an explanation has now been found for the shortage of wildlife in our rivers here – see below

Wassail, wassail

A new year, and this infant blog reaches its first anniversary. Quite soon it will be capable of stumbling forward on its own two tiny feet and one day perhaps breaking into articulate speech. That, however, is in an uncertain future. What we do know for certain is that Spring will return and the sun will be seen again – for Presteigne has held its Wassail, without which the world (Radnorshire, anyway) would remain forever in winter darkness. A good crowd gathered in the town orchard to drink quantities of mulled cider and eat everything possible that can be made from apples.

wassail

wassail

wassail

wassail

Under a clear starry sky and lit by blazing torches, songs (ancient & modern) were sung and the trees’ good health was drunk. All traditions have to start somewhere, so the songs included that antique ditty We Are Wassailing (trad., attr. Mr. Rod Stewart). Then the sun’s continued rising was ensured in a fiery ritual.

wassail

wassail

The Apple Queen lights the Sun

wassail

Spring will come again

A happy New Year to all

Some new features and other matters

empty chairAn empty chair to begin with – a tiny gesture of support for Liu Xiaobo, a remarkably courageous man whose enforced absence from the Nobel Peace Prize ceremony last week was marked in this way.

Now to more parochial matters which should be of at least local interest – a couple of new Herefordshire features. First, in the January issue of The World of Interiors, a piece on the wonderful Gothick interior of Shobdon Church, written by Sophie Barling.

Shobdon Church, Herefordshire

Shobdon Church, Herefordshire

One of the great pleasures of photographing churches is the opportunity to explore the frequently eccentric furnishings of the vestry or sacristy. Shobdon was no exception.

Shobdon Church, Herefordshire

Shobdon - the vestry

The other local story is in the January issue of Country Living, where I take a look at the latest work of Marc & Tia Swan, whose converted granary now blazes with colour.

The Granary

It’s available to rent – full details at the Crooked House website.

Finally, should you be looking for a suitable Christmas present for the sailor in your life, whether practising, retired or simply the armchair version, consider giving a subscription to the Marine Quarterly. A brand-new venture by the author Sam Llewellyn, packed with stories to amuse and alarm.

still at it

Another busy patch with the deadline looming for Great Gardens of Britain. First to Northern Ireland and the garden at Mount Stewart, filled with eccentric statues and topiary, including an Irish harp and the Red Hand of Ulster laid out in begonias. Sounds naff, and indeed some of it is, but much more is amazingly beautiful and wildly ambitious. The setting is good too, on the shores of Strangford Lough looking across to the Mourne Mountains.

The Mourne Mountains

The mountains of Mourne

Concrete statues abound – dodos, pigs, monkeys and even a benign Disney dinosaur, below.

I pulled off the road in the evening to admire the view at a point plainly favoured by couples in cars. Overlooking this spot an offended member of the local church had made their feelings known.

Then home and immediately up to Yorkshire to shoot Scampston Hall and down to London to snatch some autumn pictures at Kew. Finally to the joyous venue of Heathrow’s Terminal 4, to meet Helena on her return from a research trip to Calabria and coincidentally to wave off some friends on their way to India. What a depressing and banal building for somewhere that should be buzzing with anticipation.

Heathrow Terminal Four

Heathrow, Terminal Four

 

Heathrow Terminal Four

Heathrow, Terminal Four

Most unusually for me, a line of verse came into my mind while driving north. It wouldn’t go away, so that by the end of the day I not only had some satisfactory pictures but also the better part of a clumsy sonnet – on the short side, so a sort of reduced-fat sonnet. I’m not sure what to call it – ‘Photographer at work’? – ‘Lines composed while on the M62’? I haven’t attempted a poem since I was eight; anyway, at serious risk of ridicule, here it is:

The rising sun strikes sideways. Pixels sing.
Each leaf and branch reveals its own true form.
I put the icy burden of my camera down
With fingers rendered clumsy by the cold.
A chilly hour waiting through the dawn –
No price to pay for this small shard of time
Unlike all others since the world began
And different from all those still unborn.
A homage paid to beauty, I give thanks
That I was here today and I saw this.
One day, an epitaph. Yes. I SAW THIS

 

magnolia

Kew Gardens: magnolia acuminata

A new feature – more Italian gardens

In tomorrow’s Telegraph Magazine (Saturday October 9th), the first extracts from Italy’s Private Gardens. I imagine this means it’s now officially out there in the wide and savage world – please be gentle with our latest infant. The Telegraph has chosen to feature some of the Sicilian gardens we visited – a good choice, as they’re not often visited and completely different to anything you’ll find elsewhere in the country.

 

stena paterno

An expectant Stena Paterno next to a Chilean wine palm in the Paterno garden

 

 

garden photography often requires patience

 

 

Behind the scenes at San Giuliano

 

 

helena attlee

The author at San Giuliano

 

I’m just back from a few days in Oslo, shooting a gigantic building in the city centre for The World of Interiors. Less than straightforward, having to shoot on film with the most mixed collection of light sources imaginable, most of which could not be turned off. The building was the size of a young power station, and it also rained continuously for three days. Not an unmixed delight, all in all.

 

laughter

actually it read 'slaughter', but I was feeling optimistic that day

 

By The Time We Got To Woodstock . . .

. . . we were roughly fifty strong. I’m speaking of course about the Woodstock Literary Festival, where Helena Attlee was ‘in conversation’ with Victoria Summerley of The Independent, talking about our latest production, Italy’s Private Gardens, (out in a couple of weeks). The interview went well – you can read one blogger’s views here.

helena attlee

Helena faces the gentlemen of the Press

It was a bit of a race to get to Woodstock, as the previous day we had driven back from a brief holiday in the Limousin – river swimming through autumnal woods and much reading.

starry night on the Creuse

Garden photography for the next book is starting to wind down, though not quite complete yet. I paid a flying visit to the Eden Project this week (horrible grey light and drizzle, sadly), Northern Ireland next and hope for a brilliant autumn to finish. (Though perhaps we won’t get one this year – don’t we need late summer heat to produce good leaf colour?)

Biome at the Eden Project

The Eden Project

dahlias

tidying up at Wisley

Finally, a film to recommend – Morris, A Life With Bells On. Very funny indeed, whether you love or hate this most peculiar of English customs.

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