Majorca

Having visited Majorca numerous times, it was nice to have a change of pace and stay inland, instead of by the coast. We rented a finca for the week (and a car) and enjoyed the peace and tranquility, and it was nice having our own private pool. We managed to find some lovely quiet beaches that were less commercial, this allowed us to swim with the fishes and capture some great images.

 

Cala d'Or

Cala d’Or

 

A Day out in Palma

 

 

Sant Salvador

 

 

Port de Pollença

 

Port de Pollença

Port de Pollença

 

Santuario de Lluc

 

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Santuario de Lluc

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Santuario de Lluc

 

Serra de Tramuntana

 

 

Cala Sant Vicenç

 

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Occitanie, France

It has been quite some time since I last visited my blog, and I was astonished that it has been about 8 months since my last post. I have been busy with work (and the occasional trip away), that I have found it difficult to find the time or the motivation to make an entry, but finally I have found the time and some motivation, so here goes!

Back in February I travelled to the Azores and spent an amazing week there, and managed to take some lovely images, but I will be sharing these at a later date. Last month I spent a week just outside of Toulouse, and with a hire car, travelled around the region of Occitanie. A lovely part of France, and I look forward to returning in December.

 

 

Toulouse

 

 

Montbel

 

 

Rocamadour & La Forêt des Singes

 

 

Cité de Carcassonne

 

 

Pyrénées-Orientales

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360º Stereographic Photography

Having visited 360º stereographic photography in the past during my studies at university, I was keen to revisit this genre. Previously my work with 360º photography involved me taking numerous amounts of images, stitching them together and editing in them in the relevant software. All of this could be time consuming and in certain situations it would be difficult to set up my tripod without attracting unwanted attention.

If only there was a way that I could quickly and discreetly take images that would allow me to photograph a 360º landscape…and there I saw it advertised…the Nikon 360 Keymission. This was the answer that I had been looking for. I added it to my Amazon wish list and waited…and waited…and waited…and waited further more, but the release date kept being pushed back and there was no way that I was going to get this in time for Christmas. I even contemplated buying one from the U.S, even though it would cost considerably more. I then done some research on the internet to see why it hadn’t yet been released in the U.K and it seemed that there were some issues surrounding the software and the reviews that I had read were not great. This lead me to look at alternatives and I found the Ricoh Theta S. Initially I had concerns, as it was cheaper than the Nikon Keymission and I thought that this would compromise the resolution.

At Christmas I received the Ricoh Theta S and couldn’t wait to start shooting. After adjusting the settings and getting them to my liking, I am finding that it is a great camera to have and serves as a great alternative to the traditional photograph, capturing the whole scene as opposed to a fraction of it. It is a lightweight, fun camera to have and is a great addition to my camera kit. I will point out that the resolution is not the best I have ever seen but for the price you pay and for the convenience of not having to stitch the photographs together, I can overlook this.

A great camera for the novelty value and the software is easy to use and allows for some interesting and creative edits. I have not used the video function much but if you are looking for a 360º camera with a high resolution, then is would possibly not be your best bet and I would suggest looking for a product with higher videoing capabilities. This is a good gateway product into the world of 360º photography.

Here are a few examples of the images that I captured on one of my days out:

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Castle Acre, Norfolk

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Castle Acre, Norfolk

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Castle Acre, Norfolk

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

A week ago I visited the southeastern region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur in France and stayed in Cavalaire-Sur-Mer in the department of Var. With a hire car and a camera, I explored what the region had to offer and I was not disappointed. This was my second visit to the region and it was just as beautiful the second time around as it was the first.

 

Bonporteau Beach, Cavalaire-Sur-Mer

 

 

St-Tropez

 

I couldn’t visit Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur without making a trip into St-Tropez. Saint-Tropez is a town about 100 kilometres (62 miles) west of Nice and is located on the French Riviera. After the war it became an internationally known seaside resort, well known for its influx of artists of the French New Wave and it also became a resort for the European and American jet set with the occasional chance to do a bit of celebrity spotting.

Away from the hustle and bustle of the ports, boats and the busy high streets, you can take a stroll in the side streets where you feel like you have been transported back in time, being surrounded by beautiful old buildings.

 

 

Castellane & Gorges du Verdon

 

Taking a drive to the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, I decided to revisit Castellane. Castellane is a charming place to visit, very scenic and a very peaceful place. Here you can visit La Chapelle Notre Dame du Roc…if you can handle the climb!

 

 

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

 

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is considered to be one of the most beautiful villages of France and I have to say that I agree. The views are simply breathtaking.

It lies at the western entrance to the Gorges du Verdon. The village has been a centre of the pottery trade, especially faïence, for centuries. A spring flows out of the cliff and creates a waterfall in town, providing water power. The village was built on platform terraces a hundred or so metres up the side of a limestone cliff.

 

The Gold Star

“Moustiers evokes a Nativity scene: confined between two rock ledges, a star dominates the village from a great height…”

According to Frédéric Mistral, the star is an ex-voto dedicated to St. Mary. The knight Blacas decided to hang a star there as a homage to the Virgin on his return from the Crusades.

Other versions talk about love stories, the Three Kings or Chivalry… Although many versions exist about the origin of the star none have been verified to date. The mystery remains total on the origin and meaning of the star above Moustiers… The size of the star we see today dates from 1957. It is the eleventh to hang above the mountain road. In 1995 it was covered in gold leaf before returning to its vigil over the village. The size of the star, which originally had five points has changed over time from 1.80 to 30 cm. Today, the chain is 135 m long, weighs 150kg and the star covered in gold leaf measures 1.25 m.

(Office de tourisme Moustiers Sainte-Marie – Gorges du Verdon, 2016)

 

 

 

Lac de Sainte-Croix

 

 

Domaine du Rayol

 

Towards the end of the trip I visited the Domaine du Rayol, also known as the Jardin botanique du Rayol and the Parc botanique à Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer, a botanical garden and arboretum located on the Avenue des Belges, Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer.

 

 

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur and can’t wait until I return again sometime next year.

 

Au revoir France, à bientôt…

 

 

 

References

Domaine du Rayol. (2016). Le jardin des méditerranées. [online] Available at: http://www.domainedurayol.org [Accessed 5 Oct. 2016].

Office de tourisme Moustiers Sainte-Marie – Gorges du Verdon. (2016). The legend of the star. [online] Available at: http://www.moustiers.eu/?Legende-de-l-etoile&lang=en [Accessed 5 Oct. 2016].

Wikipedia. (2016). Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpes-de-Haute-Provence [Accessed 5 Oct. 2016].

Wikipedia. (2016). Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provence-Alpes-Côte_d%27Azur [Accessed 5 Oct. 2016].

Wikipedia. (2016). Saint-Tropez. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint-Tropez [Accessed 5 Oct. 2016].

Birdworld

Birdworld is one of England’s largest bird parks. Covering approximatley 26 acres it is located in the county of Surrey near Farnham and also includes an aquarium (Underwater World) and the Jenny Wren farm. Here you can find more than 150 different species of birds, over 11 of which are endangered and several of these are critically endangered.

This was a great place for me to visit in preparation for my new role as a photographer at the Wood Green Animal Shelter which I start next week. Animals can be a challenge to photograph, but they are also a pleasure!

 

 

Birdworld first opened its doors to the public in 1968 and was run as a family business by Roy Harvey, his wife and children.

 

 

Throughout the next 28 years the park grew in size and a children’s farm and aquarium were added.

 

 

In 1996 the neighbouring business owners, Denys E. Head Ltd, who still own the park today, bought Birdworld to become the third division of their already well-established company. With Forest Lodge Garden Centre next door and Garden Style specimen plant nursery just a short distance away, the company was now very firmly set in the beautiful surroundings of Alice Holt Forest.

 

 

Birdworld continued to grow throughout the next few years with the addition of the Crescent Aviaries and Parrots in Flight, as well as the award winning Penguin Beach and Outback Landing. There are plans to develop the park further in the near future.

 

Underwater World

 

 

References

Birdworld. (2016). Birdworld – Home. [online] Available at: http://birdworld.co.uk [Accessed 16 Sep. 2016].

Devon & Cornwall

What better to do whilst the sun is shining, than visit Devon & Cornwall. I visited the Eden Project and some National Trust sites during my stay and took plenty of photographs. Please enjoy!

 

The Eden Project

 

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© Google Maps 2016

 

 

Lanhydrock

 

 

Lydford Gorge

 

 

Buckland Abbey

 

 

Cotehele

 

 

References

Eden Project Cornwall UK. (2016). Eden Project – Home. [online] Available at: http://www.edenproject.com [Accessed 14 Sep. 2016].

National Trust. (2016). Buckland Abbey. [online] Available at: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/buckland-abbey [Accessed 14 Sep. 2016].

National Trust. (2016). Cotehele. [online] Available at: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/cotehele [Accessed 14 Sep. 2016].

National Trust. (2016). Lanhydrock. [online] Available at: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lanhydrock [Accessed 14 Sep. 2016].

National Trust. (2016). Lydford Gorge. [online] Available at: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/lydford-gorge [Accessed 14 Sep. 2016].

Trentham Estate

The Trentham Estate is a great place to visit all year round, especially the gardens. The new-look gardens have matured into some of the finest in Britain according to Alan Titchmarsh, where he is quoted as saying “one of the UK’s must-see gardens”.

There has been a contemporary revival of the famous Italian Gardens which was led by renowned designer and multi-Chelsea gold-medal winner Tom Stuart-Smith.

To the east of the Italian Gardens are the Rivers of Grass and the adjacent Floral Labyrinth. Both these schemes were designed by eminent Dutch plantsman, and Chelsea gold-medal winner, Piet Oudolf.

At the centre of Trentham Gardens is the mile long, Capability Brown designed, Trentham Lake. There is a circular lakeside walk all the way round as it takes you aside the River Trent.

Trentham Gardens is a photographers dream, with lots to photograph.

 

trentham

© Google Maps 2016

 

Walk around the lake

 

 

Flowers

 

 

Dandelions by Amy Wight

 

 

 

References

Trentham Estate. (2016). Trentham Estate – Home. [online] Available at: http://www.trentham.co.uk [Accessed 12 Sep. 2016].

Moseley Old Hall

Moseley Old Hall is a National Trust property which is located in Fordhouses, north of Wolverhampton. It is famous as one of the resting places of Charles II of England during his escape to France following defeat at the Battle of Worcester in 1651.

A variety of 17th-century plants, a fruit orchard and a striking ‘knot’ garden adorn the graceful gardens.

 

Location of Moseley Old Hall

 

moseley

© Google Maps 2016

 

The inspiration for knot gardens

 

“Knot gardens are based on Renaissance designs used in many forms of indoor decoration such as fabrics, carpets, cushions and wall coverings.

Some gardens were intricate patterns involving low hedges intricately knotted together on a gravel base. These were small in scale and complete in themselves and were known as ‘closed knots’.

Others were simpler but more extensive and always enclosed and inward looking. These ‘open’ knots, like the one here at Moseley, were usually intended as a place to grow plants as well as an exercise in geometry.”

(National Trust, 2016)

As usual, during my visits to the National Trust properties, I took along my camera and captured some images.

 

 

 

 

References

National Trust. (2016). Moseley Old Hall. [online] Available at: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/moseley-old-hall [Accessed 9 Sep. 2016].

Clumber Park

For those who like walking and the great outdoors, Clumber Park is a great place to visit. Consisting of a beautiful expanse of parkland, heath and woods that cover more than 3,800 acres, it is easy to loose yourself here whilst exploring. In addition there is also an impressive lake. Clumber Park is host to a variegation of habitats which are home to an amazing array of wildlife and it is also a great place to admire it.

 

Location

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© Google Maps 2016

 

On and around the lake

 

 

Squirrel 

 

 

References

National Trust. (2016). Clumber Park. [online] Available at: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/clumber-park [Accessed 8 Sep. 2016].

Brittany & Pays de la Loire

10 years after my last visit to Brittany, I felt it was time to visit this beautiful part of France again. My first visit to Brittany was rather different, staying in a cheap hotel and eating fast food but my second visit was much more pleasant, this time staying with family in the comfort of their home and being treated to home cooked meals…what could be better? With a hire car I explored what the Côtes-d’Armor had to offer.

 

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Château de la Roche-Jagu

 

Pontrieux

 

Binic

 

Île-de-Bréhat

Bréhat is an archipelago composed of two main islands, separated only at high tide and many smaller ones. It is well known for its pink granite rocks, very mild micro-climate and Mediterranean vegetation, due to the warm Gulf Stream coming from across the Atlantic.

Visitors come to Brehat every day by the ferry service (les Vedettes de Bréhat) to visit the main tourist attractions which include the Paon & Rosedo lighthouses, the St-Michel chapel, the Guerzido beach, the Birlot water-mill and the Verrerie of Bréhat.

I took a trip to the island and was not disappointed. It is great for walks and escaping from it all.

 

 

Fort-la-Latte

 

Cap Fréhel

 

Nantes, Pays de la Loire

Nantes is a city in western France, located on the Loire River. The city is the sixth largest in France, with a metropolitan area of about 900,000 inhabitants.

Nantes is the capital city of the Pays de la Loire region and the Loire-Atlantique département, and it is the largest city in traditional Brittany and in the whole Grand-Ouest (northwestern France). Together with Vannes, Rennes and Carhaix, it was one of the major cities of the historic province of Brittany and the ancient Duchy of Brittany. Nantes is still widely regarded as its capital city.

 

Nantes & Brittany

The city of Nantes and the Loire-Atlantique département, were formerly part of the historic province of Brittany. Nantes was one of its traditional capitals, along with Rennes. Depending on who you talk to, Nantes is still considered to be a part of Brittany and there is still much debate on this topic. Despite this, Nantes is a fantastic place to visit with beautiful architecture and many sites to observe.

 

 

After visiting Nantes, it was nice to head back to the Côtes-d’Armor where the pace of life was less hectic. Brittany is a great region of France to visit, no matter what your interests are. For me personally, I love the countryside and the small quaint towns and villages. I look forward to returning in the not to distant future, as there are more places that I would like to visit.

 

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Chapelle Notre-Dame de l’Espérance

 

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Saint-Quay-Portrieux

 

References

Castle la Latte. (2016). Fort la Latte – Monument historique classé. [online] Available at: https://www.castlelalatte.com [Accessed 6 Sep. 2016].

Vedettes de Bréhat. (2016). Vedettes de Bréhat. [online] Available at: http://www.vedettesdebrehat.com [Accessed 6 Sep. 2016].

Wikipedia. (2016). Île-de-Bréhat. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Île-de-Bréhat [Accessed 6 Sep. 2016].

Wikipedia. (2016). Nantes. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nantes [Accessed 6 Sep. 2016].