Places of Interest, Walks

Getting to know Farnborough

Welcome to a new series of guides and walks in and around the UK and I am going to start close to home, I live in Farnborough and the town has some really interesting places that you may not know of. You will discover Saxon history and the town’s connections with more recent War Time history and I would be foolish not to talk of aviation!

Continue reading “Getting to know Farnborough”
Walks

Google My Maps

A selection of the maps I’ve created over the years with Google Maps!

Whilst preparing some other articles for future publication on this site, I needed to add some maps using Google and it was whilst doing that I found myself falling down that internet rabbit hole of things I created ages ago and forgot all about. It was like going into the loft and finding a whole load of old Vinyl albums, well maybe not quite that nostalgic but a pleasure nonetheless.

Continue reading “Google My Maps”
Journal

Frosty Canal

The forecast last night predicted that it would possibly drop as low as -5C and it was pretty close to be honest, as we hit -3 locally. I decided to head down to the Basingstoke Canal that passes just behind Farnborough Airport where I captured this image.

I was originally looking for a wider landscape image but the sky was boring as you like, not a cloud to be seen which doesn’t make for great shots. However I noted the surface of the canal had frozen a little bit and with the glorious blue sky, things were looking far more pretty under my feet. The water had this deep blue to black look about it which I have accentuated in Lightroom a tiny bit.

Journal

New Shop (coming soon…)

I have introduced WooCommerce to the equation, though the shop is not ready to trade yet. I am going to sell a range of large print products in 2019 and I doubt the shop will really be ready before the end of January. I have yet to buy the new printer I’ve been eyeing up for some time and it is most likely to be the Canon Pro 1000 and it means I could produce prints up to A2 in size which will be quite exciting. Other products are an option of course but I shall take small steps at a time!

Journal

R52 – Wind Tunnel

Farnborough (where we live) is famous for it’s aviation history and we often take a walk around an area that is called “The Hub” or “Heritage Quarter”, which is more of a business park nowadays. To think however that this location was out of bounds to the public until comparatively recently, puts it into perspective.

The site was more or less redundant up until about 8 years ago and was once the hub of the town’s aviation activity. The RAE (Royal Aircraft Establishment), until it closed some decades ago. It remained abandoned for some time. However now it has been restored, the historic wind tunnel buildings have been preserved and other buildings have been converted into fabulous workspaces. So what was once the home of our aviation pioneers, has been transformed to house our modern Tech pioneers. It is something of a synergy!

The photo featured above is mounted on the wall just outside one of the Wind Tunnel buildings, you can read up about it here https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1390502 and it is rather interesting. It reminds me of a project I ran some years ago where I looked out for interesting wall signs. I found some around London and I turned one or two of them into prints.

UPDATE: Since publishing this article on Twitter, a follower of mine reacted with this. Take a look at the conversation that followed, it was fascinating. I learnt a bit more about this historic building!
Journal, Photography

Stourhead

Autumn is definitely a great time to visit Stourhead and it was busy today when we arrived with scores of photographers traipsing around with their tripods. I on the other hand was quite content with capturing my photos handheld, I rarely use a tripod at the moment. However I do want to get back to using one as the Winter kicks in, so that I can dust off my Lee filters and take just that little bit more time with each shot.

It has been great to see my parents too, we are staying with them for the weekend at their home in Dorset. Stourhead is about an hour from Wimborne, such a beautiful drive up via Shaftesbury and the colours starting to make their appearance across the landscape.

The light today has been crisp and the wind biting. We were all very pleased to be wearing decent coats! I have recently purchased a ‘Rab’ coat which is very well insulated and Tina with her Swedish made ‘Didrickson’s’ long coat. We were well protected from the icy cold wind that is for sure!

Journal

Italian Scooters

You cannot go far in Italy without seeing a Scooter or two, they are iconic and deeply entwined in the country’s soul. I love them, yet have never ridden one, let alone owned one myself. They are one of those things that evoke recognition of where you are. Mopeds are to Italy what bicycles are to The Netherlands, what sunflowers are to the Dordogne or just as iconic as a Pizza!

Somehow, subconsciously I have found, whilst going through my collection of photos taken from the trip, a whole host of images of these two wheeled wonders. In fact I wish I had taken more, as I am sure there is a project here for another time.

So in the interests of sharing some possibly useless facts, I gleaned the following (from Google of course!)

  • Enrico Piaggio was not a fan of conventional motorcycles, he hated them! In fact he asked his chief engineer, Corradino D’Ascanio to design the first model on his behalf!
  • The Vespa was an instant hit but it wasn’t untilĀ  they featured in the Hollywood feature film “Roman Holiday” that their success really took off
  • It was inspired by an American military motorcycle, The Cushman Model 53, better known as the Airborne, was a rugged, lightweight motorcycle with small wheels, which was designed to be parachuted into war zones during WW2. Many were dropped into Italy around Milan and Turin to be used by Italian resistance fighters and, as a result, were a common sight.
  • Originally parts for the Vespa scooters were manufactured by Alfa Romeo
Journal

Heavenly light

Having just been to the Pantheon we visited the Basilica de Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, just one block away. The church is named after what stood on the same site beforehand, the ruins of an old temple dedicated to Minerva, the Greco Roman Goddess. The word “sopra” meaning “over it” when translated into English.

The Church is the only extant example of Gothic architecture in Rome where many others assume the Baroque style.

The light was just heavenly and helped me create this photo without which I doubt it would have been anywhere near as effective.

Journal

Rome at first light

Those early hours of the day cannot be beaten for the subtle hues of light they present us with. It was worth setting the alarm for and leaving the hotel early, as after all they would still be serving breakfast until well after 10am. We could head out, take our photographs and be back in time for some food and coffee.

We took the Metro from Termini station to the Piazza di Spagna which is close to the Spanish Steps. We climbed the steps which were dead quiet compared to a couple of days before. The only people present were wedding couples having their photos taken. The light was still muted twilight and the air pleasant with a crispness to it. It belied the intense humid heat of the previous day (though that soon graced us with it’s presence).

We were also pleased to note that the hawkers had yet to arrive and nobody was thrusting goods we had no need nor interest in to our open hands. We could walk in peace and the only people around were those setting off to work, runners and dog walkers in their office suits.

Tina was taking photos of various things she was seeing and I had with me my Manfrotto BeFree tripod with it’s fluid head. It’s super light and easy to carry. I’d transported it in one of our cases without any issue. It came in handy on this morning. I had been shooting handheld most of the time which nowadays is so easy to get away with when you consider how good image stabilisation is and the breadth of ISO settings available. It’s rather liberating!

I still use a tripod for some things though. It still helps enforce some discipline in my work. So I was pleased I took it with me and it was useful for some video too.

Having reached the top of the Spanish Steps we headed up towards Villa Borghese and the viewpoints that overlook the rooftops and out towards Vatican City.

This shot was taken along the way, as the light began to break through and the sky started looking considerably more interesting than it had done only minutes before. The sunlight bathed the buildings with a delightful array of pastel colours.

We did make it back for breakfast and we certainly had more of an appetite than usual. It was well worthwhile and this is one of my favourite shots from our trip.