The Devil is in the Detail.......

April 17, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

....or so it seems.

I decided on an early morning trip to Cambridge to take advantage of the gorgeous early morning light we are currently experiencing; this after reducing my shooting in order to give my time to moving house. Trouble is I was missing the thrill I get from creating new images and as the move has been delayed a few weeks, needs must.

It is unusual of me to plan a trip to somewhere I have not previously recced but on this occasion I thought the research I had done would suffice, it did not involve any long treks or awkward locations. My visualisation was to get some shots before sunrise from the banks of the River Cam using the bridges and colleges as subject and background. Sunrise and it's direction were known so what could the problem be?

Setting off from home at 0400 it was still pitch black but as I turned off the M25 and headed north the first tell-tale signs of dawn started creeping through the sky in the north east. For some reason I always find my anticipation heightens when darkness starts to give way to light.

On schedule I arrived in Cambridge, parked the car adjacent to where I wanted to start my shooting only to find the devil in the detail! The many bridges across the Cam are actually direct access to the colleges and are closed at such early hours and on questioning a college Porter I found out that unlike most rivers one can not just walk along the banks. I did find the only bridge open but had to adapt my plan. Even after this inconvenience I still had time to prepare for the decisive moment, one reason why I always like to be in place well before dawn, contingencies. The picture below of the King's College Bridge is rather special; the calm, the mist and the newly risen sun hitting the treetops has created a wonderfully evocative image and having seen what I captured I forgave myself for my lack of detail planning. Perhaps luck will not be so kind next time!

I had parked about 10 minutes away, it was free at that time of the day but then at 0700 there was no parking for a couple of hours, thereafter it would be charged at 50 pence for each 10 minutes. I read it twice or was it three times? Rather expensive and helped explain why there were so many spaces later in the day. Cambridge does not encourage drivers! Below is a picture from another part of Cambridge but the price remains the same.

I had not planned to stay by the bridges much after sunrise but venture in to town to see what I could capture around the colleges before the place was overrun by tourists,(it was later on!) but I managed to find cheaper parking in town.

In visiting Cambridge I wanted to capture the essence of its history and character and for me this meant bicycles, architecture and punts so with these objectives in mind I set off through the deserted streets.

The sun played well on the varnished surfaces of these moored punts and this along with the names and chains came together well. It is one of my favourites from the morning.

I did not need to look for any bicycles, there were everywhere! I think it is one of the great Cambridge traditions but I needed to capture something slightly different. I was drawn to this scene at the entrance to Corpus Christi College. The low sun streaming towards me, warming the lovely stone found throughout Cambridge. I am not sure if this image is commercial but I rather like it and is part of the story I wanted to tell through my eyes.

Surrounded by magnificent historical architecture I was spoilt for choice although with most of the colleges closed to visitors some of the decisions were taken out of my hands. The detail again.

Clare College pristine in layout and appearance and a picture in itself against the blue sky. It was so good that they had foreseen my visit and prepared the lawns so immaculately.

Although I was unable to enter Corpus Christi I was able to use my 70 - 200mm to capture one of those images I had visualised. My attraction to doors comes a close second to windows surrounded by flowers enhanced by lovely stonework.

Despite my faux pas the morning turned out satisfactorily for me, capturing some commercial images as well as many which will go to my stock library managed by Alamy.

Before leaving for home I popped across to NT Anglesey Abbey Gardens and was delighted to see my favourite Himalayan Birch carpeted by miniature tulips, 'Little Beauties'.

The lesson I gained from my Cambridge trip was to ensure planning is done properly and for me not to leave anything to chance, I may not be so fortunate next time.

I only have a couple of events before September; Dedham Art Fair on 14th June and in a couple of weeks Essex Craft & Design Show at RHS Hyde Hall Gardens 3rd - 5th May. Always excellent and one of my favourite venues. Remember pictures can be purchased directly through my web site or you can e-mail your requirements and I will do my best to fulfil them.

Thank you for reading.


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