Monday, 25 June 2018

Tintern Abbey shadows

Tintern Abbey was the second  foundation by the Cistercians in Britain and the first in Wales. Like all the abbeys of this order it was built in what would have been a remote location - in this case, the valley of the River Wye. The structure was founded in 1131. Its present, ruinous state came about through Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries in 1536. The early proponents of the Romantic Movement were moved by its battered skeletal form alongside the river, overlooked on both sides by heavily wooded slopes.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M10

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Chimneys and pigeons

You have to really like pigeons to welcome them on your roof and chimneys in numbers of this order: the potential for mess is considerable. The group, of which these are two thirds, were flying around looking for somewhere they could all land. The chimneys were the favoured site but they couldn't accommodate them all and apparently the roof gables just weren't good enough. The symmetry of this shot appealed to me when I saw it through the viewfinder, and felt it might look better in black and white - but it doesn't.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M10

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Listening to the music

The two people in today's photograph look like they comprise the whole of the audience for the outdoor brass band recital in Ross on Wye. Nothing could be further from the truth. There must have been around 130 people in front, to the left and to the right of the bandstand. However, this well-prepared couple had the best front row position, and their parasols gave them the shelter that the mid-afternoon sun required.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M10

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Brass band reflections

The heyday of the band stand in Britain seems to have been the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Certainly most of the structures that I see gracing Britain's parks date from those times. Today's photograph shows a member of the Bream Silver Band playing in the band stand in Ross on Wye. Unusually this band stand isn't circular, octagonal or square, may be of a later date, and doesn't display the band members quite as well as most. However, the attraction of bright uniforms and the reflections in brass and silver instruments was as compelling as ever and prompted this photograph.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Olympus OMD E-M10

Friday, 8 June 2018

Old barn, new staircase

The conversion of old buildings to new uses is a common phenomenon in the UK today. And, regular occurrence though it may be, it still presents the owners and architects with a dilemma: should new additions mimic old examples, should they be contemporary solutions that acknowledge the building, or should they be new designs that pay no heed to their location. I always favour the second option, and that seems to be the most widely adopted approach too. Today's photography shows the staircase inserted in the medieval tithe barn in Abergavenny, Wales. Its sharp modern angles and steel are dissonant notes but the glass allows the old material to show through and the wood echoes one of the original building materials. My photograph required a strong silhouette to make the composition work better, and my wife obliged.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Monday, 4 June 2018

Old adverts, Ross on Wye

Old, enamel advertisements are much prized these days. People value their artwork and lettering that speaks of a different, simpler time. Some of these adverts have simply remained in the place where they were first fixed, their continued presence a testament to the durability of the materials from which they were fashioned. Others are deliberately placed in prominent places to catch the eye. This facade in Ross on Wye, Herefordshire, is a riotous example of the latter. Interestingly, few of the advertised brands are still extant.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Saturday, 2 June 2018

Votive candles

It seems to me that votive candles are much more commonly seen in parish churches than formerly. The practice of buying a candle, lighting it and praying or simply thinking has had a resurgence for reasons that I can't work out. In cathedrals and larger churches that actively invite visitors they have been a continuing presence, flickering points of light in the darkness of the interiors. Today's examples were in Gloucester Cathedral. My snap demonstrates that even a one inch sensor can offer a shallow depth of field and reasonable out of focus effects when it is coupled with a bright f1.8 lens.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Medieval fortified bridge, Monmouth

The medieval bridge over the River Monnow in Monmouth, Wales, is the only remaining example in Britain that is fortified. It links parts of the town at a point about 500 metres above the Monnow's confluence with the River Wye. Building began in 1272 to replace a timber bridge. It remains in use today as a pedestrian bridge and in the intervening years it has been used as a toll gate, gaol, munitions store, lodge and support for advertising hoardings! It was a subject much loved by seventeenth and eighteenth century artists and notable works depicting it were produced by Turner and Cotman.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Sunday, 27 May 2018

Almshouses, Ross on Wye

Almshouse, humble dwellings for the poor, are not uncommon in the towns of England. They were often built and paid for by a wealthy merchant or landowner, and it is quite usual to find them still fulfilling this charitable function. The individual dwellings of the Webbe's Almshouses in Ross on Wye, built in 1612 and enlarged in the eighteenth century, originally housed 7 people (or more likely families). Today the properties have been enlarged and are home to fewer people. The curved steps in the foreground form an entrance to the churchyard from which I took my photograph.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100

Friday, 25 May 2018

A May landscape

On one of a recent series of unseasonally hot days we visited a number of places in and near the Forest of Dean. A bright blue sky, the absence of cloud and a significant haze encouraged me to point my camera down. The top of one of the ruinous walls of Goodrich Castle near Ross on Wye provided this photograph of an oak tree in a field of wheat, the carefully tended crop contrasting with the pasture, trees and woodland beyond.

photo © T. Boughen     Camera: Sony DSC-RX100