Snow in St Albans

•3 February, 2009 • 3 Comments

Six inches of snow fall in the South East of England, all traffic (including the tube!) grinds to a standstill, schools are closed and commuters are stuck at home. The worst snowfall for 18 years. Catastrophy! Much worse than in January, when the BBC warned that some cities are due to suffer lows of -5 degrees C. Arctic snap indeed.

st_albans_winter_167   st_albans_winter_173

Adverse weather conditions? What adverse weather conditions? Half the town turned up in the St Albans park next to the cathedral. No one seemed adversely affected. Quite the contrary, all generations were clearly enjoying themselves:

St Albans and its citizens on a wintry day

The rest of the town was mostly deserted. Of course, most people were in the park.

st_albans_winter_155   st_albans_winter_146
st_albans_winter_160 st_albans_winter_189 st_albans_winter_166

The Verulamium park is known for housing birds and the oldest inn in England:

st_albans_winter_203   st_albans_winter_181

The walk to Gorhambury House is pleasant at any time of the year. It passes a farm, so there are often sheep around, and the views are of Hertfordshire countryside at its best. And then there is the Gorhambury park, too.

st_albans_winter_213   Winter view from Gorhambury walk at Maynes farm
Gorhambury park in winter   Gorhambury park in winter

Due to its location, one day’s travel by coach from London, St Albans used to have several streets lined with inns. Some of them still survive, like the Six Bells and the Rose and Crown in Fishpool Street.

The Six Bells pub in St Albans under snow   The Six Bells pub in St Albans under snow   The Six Bells pub sign under snow   The Rose & Crown pub sign under snow

Today was the second day of “adverse weather conditions”, so the trains still did not operate, the sky was cloudless and the sun shone. The cedar planted next to the cathedral by some Duchess or other was still covered in snow:

St Albans Cathedral St Albans Cathedral French Row, St Albans

The bricks which the cathedral tower is built from are recycled Roman bricks. The Normans took them from the ruins of the old settlement, Verulamium, when they decided to build a grand cathedral on the place of a smaller Saxon one. (A propaganda job, as one of the city guides puts it.)

St Albans cathedral under snow   Snow in Fishpool Street, St Albans

More photos (many more) in this Flickr set.

Hummingbirds

•31 January, 2009 • 3 Comments

You don’t get hummingbirds where I come from, so it was fascinating to be able to watch them from a living room window in California, sitting on a plant I had until then seen only in botanical gardens:

Hummingbird on Crimson Bottlebrush  Hummingbird on Crimson Bottlebrush

I do not know what the neighbours thought if they saw me pointing a camera into the depths of a crimson bottlebrush for a good quarter of an hour, cursing quietly from time to time, but who cares…

Old beech tree

•20 January, 2009 • 3 Comments

Finally a new watercolour. A beech tree from Hertfordshire.

Beech tree

LED poi

•18 January, 2009 • 1 Comment

As we found out at the light graffiti Flickr meetup on Saturday, light streaks made by the LED poi cannot be very well photographed if there is any background light. Here is what they look like in the dark.

LED poi  LED poi

LED poi  LED poi

Light Graffiti or Alien Invasion in London!

•18 January, 2009 • 2 Comments

It was Gaetan‘s idea. Painting with light. Short winter days, a lot of darkness… Yes, you spotted the keyword: winter. Cold. Very cold. And rainy and windy, too. Still, well worth it.

I managed to break by tripod on my way there, so I was limited to holding my camera on what was left of it and quickly decided that using the SLR would be too much bother in the circumstances. Especially because you cannot check the result immediately with a film camera – which usually does not matter but in this particular case it would obviously have been very useful. The Coolpix performed gamely, though, even though the longest exposure time is 8 seconds, which was too short for the larger graffiti.

Here are the aliens coming to Southwark Cathedral, smiling, bringing flowers, going berserk, invading London Bridge and hiding under the bridge.

An alien at Southwark Cathedral  Smiley face at Southwark Cathedral
Light bouquet   Light Graffiti at Southwark Cathedral
An alien starts to form on London Bridge  Spooky face next to London Bridge

You can find flowers growing in strange places in London… and you never know what you’ll meet in the dark.

Two light flowers growing next to London Bridge  Light Graffiti, Southbank, London

It turned out that to photograph the LED poi it would have had to be completely dark (see examples in this post). For those who were interested in the poi, I got it at Oddballs in Camden, which is worth visiting even just to have a look at the amount and variety of different circus things they stock. I wish I had the chance to go there when I was a kid.

There are more photos in the Flickr London Meetup group, such as Paolo’s alien, SJ’s super heroine, or LPM’s light battle.

More winter photos

•6 January, 2009 • 4 Comments

More winter photos from Dĕčín. From the top: a park, bells of a baroque church, the park again, a 17th century sala terrena which stands in the Rose garden, and the roof of the baroque church with sculptures.

Winter evening in a park Baroque church under snow Winter evening in a park
Decin Rose garden in winter  Baroque church under snow

All the winter photos are now in the set Winter in Dĕčín.

Winter in Dĕčín

•5 January, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Finally, snow. English weather, take note: this is winter! The shots are from Dĕčín, Czech Republic.

Garden in winter Conifer in winter Berries in winter
Rose hips in winter Trees and snow Apple tree under snow

More photos in this Flickr set.