Author Archives: Nick

Too hot

Hello all, Nick here again while Frances heads back home to Shetland today.

It’s too hot. I’m not a fan of temperatures in excess of 20C at the best of times. We are on our third day of this heatwave and it sucks all the energy out of me. Even Danny doesn’t know where to put himself.

I was reminded on Facebook that it’s exactly 6 years now since I visited Frances in Shetland – that was my first time on the archipelago, and I had a lovely time. I even got to ride one of her Icelandic horses!

You might have seen my photos from that trip when I posted about it back in 2013.

Anyway I’m stuck indoors today working on an edit for some portrait shots a friend of mine took last week. So I thought I’d share some of my more unusual images with you, just for something different.

I’ve been wandering around London with my camera photographing some of the more unorthodox, possibly overlooked architecture of late. One of my favourite new buildings is the Switch House extension to the Tate Modern museum. It’s an odd shape, a bit like a twisted pyramid made of bricks, and has to be seen to be appreciated.

The Barbican estate, on the other side of the Thames, is a grade 2 listed estate in the Brutalist style. I know not everyone likes this bold architecture, but I’m a huge fan, and I like to think that I might be able to convert some people to its charms by showing it through my eyes in this way.

One of London’s most famous landmarks is of course St Paul’s Cathedral and with the Millennium Bridge spanning the Thames directly south of the cathedral, the following is a much photographed view. I’ve added my own twist to it however, with the blur of people walking across the bridge looking like ghosts:

Finally, one cold January evening I met some friends by the Houses of Parliament for some night time photography by the river. That was a very cold, but very enjoyable evening, trying to find new angles on something that gets photographed thousands of times a day.

Anyway, sorry there are no animal photos today. In order to photograph any of them I’d need to go into the garden, and in this weather it’s just not something I’m prepared to contemplate! But suffice to say they are all well, we are still getting two eggs a day from Helga and Cinnamon, and they all pass on their best wishes to Frances’s fan club.

Thanks again to Frances for allowing me to share the stuff that interests me here on her blog. Please do remember to stop by and check out my own site if you like what you see here – most of my photography is for sale as prints there. For now, that’s all from me, and see you again soon!

A walk in Watford

It’s Nick here again today, as Frances is at a funeral.

I’ve been scratching my head over what to write about today, however I decided I’d take photos with my phone while out walking Danny this morning. It’s not until you get a dog that you discover so many interesting places to walk near your home, and I was surprised at just how much there is near us, so I wanted to share this with you.

First up, we’ve known about this field for ages; it’s home to loads of skylarks (which is a good thing as these poor birds are in decline across the country due to changes in farming methods). I know you can’t see any in this photo, but it’s the first taste of rural scenery on the walk after I cross the busy road near our house

There’s a footpath alongside this field that leads to the Ebury Way – a converted railway line that now acts as a footpath from Watford to Rickmansworth (I mentioned this in a previous post). The connecting path heads through some trees, then up some steps to the Ebury Way:

If you turn left at the top of the steps, the path crosses the river Colne, with beautiful views downstream

It looks particularly nice when there’s a layer of mist hanging around – this is from a few years ago:

Further along the Ebury Way there are sites of interest that you can go and visit, such as Lairage Land. A Lairage is an area of land set aside for resting cattle en route to market, and the one in Watford is now a nature reserve. I didn’t visit it today, but it’s only a short walk from the footpath.

The path crosses a road leading to a farm, which is where I leave the Ebury Way on my morning walk and head into the meadow where the footpath runs alongside a lake, which is often teeming with terns, herons, geese and grebes.

The path then crosses the river Colne again, next to Hamper Mill, and old mill that is often used as a filming location.

We cross the road into the large, former golf course that is now Oxhey Playing Fields, a wide open space where Danny can run free with all his friends

It has plenty of woodland too, and Danny loves to pose on the felled trees

After a good three mile walk, and a quick drink, he loves to cool off by rolling around in long grass for a good scratch

So there you have it: Watford, not quite as bad as you might expect!

Thanks again to Frances for letting me share this with you. See you all again soon!

Off the wall

Hello everyone. Nick here, standing in while Frances heads South for a few days. I’m afraid I don’t have cute animal photos to share today, but instead will tell you about an exhibition I held recently.

My agent, Emma, lives in Oxfordshire and had decided to open up her front room as an art gallery for Oxfordshire Artweeks. She got in touch about exhibiting some of my photos too, so I had a selection printed and mounted, with some of them framed, and put them up for sale in the exhibition.

The green photo on the wall is an aerial photo I took in Iceland in 2013. It’s been very popular on my various social media sites and I sold it during the exhibition.

The house looked amazing with art from various artists all over every available space. Screen printed landscapes competed with abstract giclee prints and perspex art and there might have been the occasional photograph too.

Apart from the hung artwork, there was a rack full of unframed art that visitors could browse through at their leisure.

Hidden in this rack was a sunset photo I took on Lewis and Harris that sold on the second day. You might recognise it if you’ve been paying attention!

I’ve been taking a lot of black and white photographs of London’s modern and probably less famous architecture of late, and it was these photographs that made Emma interested in exhibiting my work at the exhibition in the first place. Above the mantelpiece was a photo of a car park behind Oxford street

And in the corner by a green pineapple lamp was ‘Weft’, a photo of an office building that recently appeared behind King’s Cross Station

We are hoping to have more exhibitions in the future. I really enjoyed talking to people about my work, and seeing how much people seemed to like it. And to thank you for reading this far, here’s a photo of Danny relaxing to keep you happy!


Shaggy Dog Story

Hello all, as Frances heads to hospital for her epidural steroid injection, it’s Nick here again to tell you about an auspicious day for Danny.

This is his “What do I care?” face.

We started the day with a walk, as usual, though the weather was more spring like than it has been this year.

Danny didn’t suspect a thing – too busy chasing imaginary squirrels to care about anything of this earth.

This last photo is of the Ebury Way – a dismantled railway line that provides a footpath from Watford to Rickmansworth. Away from all roads, it crosses three rivers (the Colne, Gade and Chess), a canal (the Grand Union) and the Metropolitan Railway. They are extending the Met Line so that it runs directly into the centre of Watford, and the new track runs very close to the Ebury way. They make sure you don’t accidentally stray onto the new works with what seems like an unnecessary number of “Keep Out!” signs:

On the way back home, we passed the site of what was possibly a failed reconciliation between former lovers:

Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh yes, Danny’s special day. It was time for his haircut! You’ve see the ‘before’ photos, now check out the ‘after’!

What a smart boy!

The Great Lakes

(Nick here, guest blogging while Frances is in Norway)

In case you were wondering, despite the title I haven’t been to Canada yet (I would love to go, but time and funds haven’t permitted to date). However we have our own great (small ‘g’) Lakes here in the UK, in the form of the Lake District National Park (green pin)

The highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike, is surrounded by glacial valleys leading off in all directions, forming a series of lakes, tarns, waters and meres, most of which have stunning mountain scenery as a backdrop. It’s an endless source of beautiful landscapes, so I go as often as I can. (In truth, there is only one ‘Lake’ that goes by that name – Bassenthwaite Lake, which is actually a man-made reservoir – most of the rest are meres, tarns, waters and reservoirs).

The largest of the lakes, and by far the most touristy is Windermere, which lies to the south and east of the region. I last visited Windermere with the family in April last year, and one evening I headed down to a jetty by the waterside that I had spotted on a walk earlier in the day, and took a gamble with a long exposure photo of the jetty, without a clue what I would see in the final photo. I knew there were a few stars, but I was not prepared for the layer of mist hanging over the water surface, or the orange glow from the other side of the lake (presumably from street lights).

I returned a few days later at sunset (once the cloud and rain that the area is famous for had cleared), now knowing just how photogenic the jetty was, and managed to catch the last of the orange light.

Not far from where we were staying is a small hill, Orrest Head, which was a pleasant if muddy climb, with lovely views over the lake, and the occasional Danny.

Towards the southern end of the lake, past the tourist hotspot of Bowness-on-Windermere, is another small hill called Gummer’s How. From the top of this peak the mist over the lake combined with the angle of the sun and created a surprising low rainbow hanging over the water surface,

Another popular area which is less touristy than Windemere is the town of Keswick, which sits on the banks of Derwentwater in the northern end of the national park. Castlerigg Stone Circle is just a short drive (or walk if you are so inclined) from Keswick, and sometimes if you get there early enough. you can catch an inversion layer where mist hangs over the Naddle Beck valley behind.

Later that same morning we headed to the lakeside in Keswick itself, as the mist was just starting to burn off the lake surface.

As Keswick sits on the eastern bank of Derwentwater, the sunset from the waters edge can be pretty special too. Even Danny enjoys having a good paddle when the sky is putting on a show.

On the same side of the lake as Keswick, but further south, there is Ashness Bridge, a small humpback bridge with a set of cascading waterfalls flowing underneath. It’s a fair way up a steep slope, so from the viewpoint near the car park you can look out over the whole of Derwentwater far below.

If you continue west from Keswick you get to Braithwaite, from where you can take a road through Keskadale down to Buttermere, with the famous Buttermere Pines at the southern end of the lake. I took this route early one morning, leaving while it was still dark, and catching the first hints of colour in the sky over the valley before the full light of the sun hit the Buttermere pines an hour or so later.

Half way through the dale is Moss Force, a waterfall tumbling down the back of Buttermere Fell that is an easy walk from the road.

The sheer variety of scenery in such a relatively small area is what keeps drawing me back to the Lake District time and time again, and more recently, I’ve enjoyed hiking up the many challenging fells that may not be as tall as what you can find in Iceland, but the views from the top are unbeatable.