Category - travel

Today in #GameOfThrones #GoT
Middleham Castle – Yorkshire, England

Middleham-PA160036-2 Panorama-Edit

Before I went to the UK in the fall of 2014, I spent a little time learning how to make 360º panoramic photos (via Skype) from a guy in Australia, John Warkentin.  I haven’t done much with the files since, they’ve just been sitting on my hard drive and I’ve just about completely forgotten how the software that stitches these puppies together works (it’s kinda complex…).


Inside a ruined tower of Middleham Castle

But this morning as I was randomly, mindlessly scrolling through Facebook, I found a page dedicated to the English Wars of the Roses and Medieval Buildings. That got me to looking through some of the files I haven’t looked at for almost two years.  First I found an image from the interior of one of the ruined towers of Middleham Castle, a large fortress in Yorkshire, England that was one of the redoubts of the Yorkist faction during the Wars of the Roses, that 30-some-year civil war when the Yorks fought it out with the Lancasters for the Throne of England.

Then I went looking to see what else I have, and found all the files I shot for those panoramas (with a special tripod head that rotates the camera round the front element of the lens). Then I dug into the software that generates the panoramas to see if I could remember how to make it work.

The final result is the image at the top of this post, taken within the main courtyard of Middleham Castle.  The statue on the left side is of Richard III – he of “My kingdom for a horse” fame – who resided here for most of his life before usurping the crown from his nephew Edward V.

Edward V and his brother (also a Richard) were confined to the Tower of London, and once Richard ascended the throne, the boys – aged 12 and 9 – were never heard from or seen again, becoming instead the legend of “The Princes in the Tower.”

It was not too much longer before Richard III himself was dispatched in the Battle of Bosworth in August, 1485 – ending more than 350 years of the Plantagenet dynasty in England.  Bosworth is often cited as marking the end of the ‘medieval’ period of English history. Richard  and the Yorks were vanquished by Henry Tudor, who styled himself Henry VII and began the Tudor dynasty that ended a little over 100 years later with the demise of Elizabeth I.

Any resemblance between the stories of The Wars of the Roses and “Game of Thrones” is strictly intentional.  George R. R. Martin has even said as much

Jonesing For The Light

Barnard Castle

The castle ruin show at the top of this post is Barnard Castle in County Durham, northern England.

The photo was taken at 8:30 PM on June 2, 2013.

I have been thinking a lot lately about… the light.  At that latitude, at that time of year – late spring, three weeks before the summer solstice – the sun doesn’t set until after 9:PM.

The treasured “Golden Time” when the sun rests just above the horizon – shining it’s yellowest light and longest shadows – can last like two hours.

On this particular occasion, that meant that I had enough time to walk almost entirely around the grounds and see this edifice from numerous angles.  I just kept walking, and shooting.  As I walked west, from the nearby village, I found a bridge that went over a stream.  I crossed the bridge and made the shot above from that angle, using the stone wall of the bridge in lieu of the tripod I neglected to bring with me (stupid).

It was already 8:30 PM… but the sun was nowhere near setting yet.

So I just kept going.  I crossed the bridge, and started walking along the stream.  I crossed a green area, like a small park.  There was a stone wall at the end of the park, but there was an opening in the wall, and a stone step way that led down to the stream bed.  I kept going.

I walked along the stream for about 50 more yards, and then found another great vantage point, composing the stream in the foreground as the final golden rays lit up the ramparts of the castle ruin:

Another angle of Barnard Castle – Durham, England

Another angle of Barnard Castle – Durham, England

When I was in the UK in the spring of 2013, I made a LOT of great photos in those hours before the sunset.

I got shots like these only because I had the time to follow the light.

I am jonesing for this light again.

I need to make reservations soon….


Castles and Abbeys

Alnwick Castle, Northumberland England

Did you see the Series Finale of “Downton Abbey” last night?

Everybody gets a happy ending.  Yay.

Then we wake up Monday morning and it’s back to Trump and Hillary, etal.   Yuck.

I thought I recognized the location that was used for “Brancaster Castle” – the sprawling estate that the Granthams visited to meet the mother of Edith’s finance,  Bertie, aka the “Marquess of Hexham.” The location is Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, England. I haven’t been there but I did recognize it immediately as a location that also served for some scenes of ‘Hogwarts’ in the first couple of Harry Potter films.

The whole subject reminded me of my travels in the UK and I took a look for the first time in quite a while at the slide show I made of some of the photos from the trip that I took there in 2013 (when I discovered the whole “Portals of Stone” thing).

It’s making me want to go back again in the spring…. <*sigh*>

My First Book Cover !


That’s my friend Beth Richardson, holding a hot-off-the-press copy of her new book:

Christ Beside Me, Christ Within Me: Celtic Prayers. (Learn more about the book: Through the pages of Beth’s writing, we’re invited to connect with Celtic practices of gratitude and noticing of blessings in our everyday life. Drawing on her own Celtic heritage, Beth weaves personal story and written blessings into a book you’ll want to have ready for life’s ordinary and extraordinary moments.

…and that’s one of my photos on the cover.

The photo was taken at place on the northern tip of the Isle of Skye in Scotland called “The Quirang” – when Ann and I were there in the fall of 2012.  You can see more of the photos of this spectacular location here, and here’s the original photo:

The Quirang – Isle of Skye Scotland – October 2012

The Quirang – Isle of Skye Scotland – October 2012

Somebody Likes Purple

Partly since I have no idea when I’ll ever get back there again, I’ve been going through some of the photos from my last trip to the UK in October, 2014.

I spent the first few days on this trip in Glasgow, mostly because I wanted to see Glasgow Cathedral after learning of its architectural semblance to the Rosslyn Chapel (which was a pivotal factor in this whole quest, for reasons that I’ve outlined elsewhere).

But I didn’t really feel comfortable the whole time I as in Glasgow. I stayed at a nice enough AirBnB not far from the Cathedral, but the city doesn’t have the kind of visual focus that Edinburgh has around its looming castle. I took the open-air, double-decker bus tour, I could see it was a vibrant and creative place, but personally I just never quite connected with it.

Nevertheless, I made a few attempts to capture some of its essence. I put on my “street photographer” hat a few times, and this is one of the results:


Glasgow, Scotland – October, 2014#instatravel #travelgram #photooftheday #thebest_capture #nuriss_tag #pro_ig #global_highlights #igworldclub #ig_select #capture_today #waycoolshots #ig_great_pics #picoftheday #instadaily #bestoftheday #streetphotography #glasgow #scotland #bus #tour #splendid_people #phototag_people

©2014 aka @driver49

Autumn at the Faerie Pools

No, I’m not in Scotland.  Didn’t get across the pond this year.  <*sigh*>
We have a digital photo frame on the counter in our kitchen, and it plays a continuous rotation of photos from our trip to Scotland in October, 2012.
I saw this one a couple of days ago and it reminded me that fall is mostly faded now.  Here’s a glimpse of how the season looked back in that October, at an area on the Isle of Skye called the Faerie Pools:

The Faerie Pools – Isle Of Skye, Scottish Highlands
As fall fades… A look back at October, 2012 @IsleOSkye @visitscotland
#Scotland #photooftheday #thebest_capture #ig_masterpiece #nuriss_tag #awe_inspiringshots #pro_ig #global_highlights #igworldclub #ig_select #editoftheday #capture_today #waycoolshots #featuremeinstagood #igcapturesclub #ig_masterpiece #ig_great_pics #tweegram #picoftheday #instadaily #jj #beautiful #bestoftheday #followforfollow #f4f #like4like #likeforlike
©2015 aka @driver49