Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts
Showing posts with label photography. Show all posts

Monday 13 February 2017

Planning Research Trips...

The arrival of the latest newsletter from the Fashion Museum in Bath reminded me that I'd planned to go back this year so I could see A History of Fashion in 100 Objects. It runs until 1st January 2019.

Alongside the main exhibition there's always a second. Recently opened is  Lace in Fashion, which features items from the 16th century up to the 21st, and  runs until the 1st January 2018.

I hope to go in May for a long weekend, but it's not guaranteed, it depends if I can fit it in around other events and some major work at home.

There were a few other museums that I didn't have time to get to on my last visit, The Holburne Museum- you can walk the length of Great Pultney Street and admire the Georgian architecture as you pass by, then you reach Sydney Place and see the Museum across the road- very impressive.

Also the Bath Postal Museum was missed out last time.

If you're going on a research trip, near or far, do you do any specific planning ahead, so you make the best use of your time? Or do you take a more easy-going pace?

If I'm travelling any distance and need to stay overnight then checking rail fares and hotel availability- within budget- is the first task after deciding I'm going.

If you're travelling by car, parking can be an issue in popular locations, and another cost you need to take into account. On our York trip last year we chose a hotel with its own parking, and walked everywhere...

Many places put on festivals and events during the year, which almost guarantees limited hotel choice- plus more people who may be visiting the places you are, so I try to work around these if I can.

Of course there may be a particular occasion/festival taking place that you're interested in so plan and book well in advance.

The websites of the places I intend visiting will usually have a lot of relevant information- especially if it's a large city that gets a lot of tourists and visitors. Other smaller places are sometimes run by councils so may have limited details.

So it's always a good idea to see what available, opening times, entry charges, and directions. There are less well-known gems around the country...

If you have any difficulty walking it's important to know if there's any areas you can't access, or if there's any lift access- many museums have done work to make as many places as accessible as they can, but that's not always been possible.

Likewise photography can be another issue, so I either ring or email the place via their contact details and ask what their policy is.
I'll also check when I get to the venue as sometimes there can be a few areas within an exhibition that are a no-no for cameras, even if the rest of the place it's okay.

Print off a street map of the central area where museums and places of interest are located if there's one available online. You may even be able to buy a small fold-up map when you get to your destination.

Last summer in York, the hotel had photocopies of the map for city layout at the reception desk, making it easy to find which way to go if you got lost, or were aiming for a particular venue.

Weather you can't do much about, but be prepared for it when you pack (unless you're going hiking in the hills or the wild of somewhere when extra precaution are needed) a waterproof jacket that can be folded up into its own bag is ideal.

Don't forget the chargers for your various essential devices (camera, mobile phone, laptop or tablet) or if applicable, spare batteries.

Plus the ever trusty notebook and pens, and something you can put your receipts and leaflets/brochures into for referring back to later, or for recording in your accounts.

Over the years I've learnt to take a photo of information boards connected with the other images I'm taking pictures off.

Information on stonework
being restored at York
You think you'll remember but you won't, and you might just need to confirm something when you're writing.

But most of all, leave time to just take in the atmosphere and enjoy the place you're visiting. It shouldn't all be work...

A lazy Sunday morning in York...

Is there anything you always do when you're planning a visit somewhere, or do you go with the flow?

Perhaps I plan too much... :-)

Monday 20 June 2016

Back from York...

On Friday I travelled up to York to visit a couple of exhibitions, as well as take advantage of a short break with my husband, minus the family- who are now all adults and can look after the house and themselves.

I must admit there was a pile of dishes in the sink when we got back today... :D

I took lots of photos in York- some for blog posts now, others for later in the year, and a few for Serena's blog; and more random images that I'm sure I'll find a use for.

Having just checked how many, there's 600+. That's going to take me some time to sort out, choose, and label.

I'm amazed I can actually move, as I did so much walking while I was away. Each evening when I got back to the hotel and finally stopped still, my muscles stiffened up and I just wanted to lie down and watch the TV.

After hearing about Betty's, I actually got to experience the tearoom. We were downstairs, but the service was the same as upstairs, and we didn't have to queue up as long either.

We stayed about five-ten minutes walk from the Minster, so we got to admire the amazing craftsmanship, past and present, several times a day.

More soon.

A View of York Minster...

image from Pixabay.

Thursday 22 October 2015

Sci-fi Night Review...

If you saw my recent post about the Sci-fi night that was taking place at the writers club I attend, last night (21st), then you might be interested in a few things I learnt.

I haven't yet downloaded the photos I took- that's a job for the weekend when I have the time to go through and check each one- usually it's just a case of cropping parts of people or objects caught on the edges of the picture. And I promised a couple of the authors I'd send them a copy of those they appear in.

I found out:

That there is hard sci-fi and soft sci-fi; the former is the really technical stuff that requires a lot of research (and probably a lot of technical understanding). While the latter, soft version, is more about the story/characters, often using the issues of the current time on a futuristic scenario, but usually not needing research. 

(I'm working from memory here...)

World building; be consistent, even if you bend the laws of actual science. You can make your world do whatever you want, but you must be consistent.

Stephen Palmer (one of the guest authors) emphasised that for the mid-teen reader, plot and character were the things that mattered.

The good news is that sci-fi is no longer just male authors- as it was in the last century, and there are a few popular female authors in the genre.

Coincidentally 21st October 2015 was Back to the Future Day- the first film of the 'Back to the Future' trio.

There were lots of books for sale, and attendees had time to talk to the many authors who set up their table with their books. And every ticket holder got a goodie bag which included a couple of books.

Even though sci-fi isn't my thing, it was a good evening and I enjoyed it...

Friday 11 September 2015

Heritage Open Days- This Weekend...

A quick post about a nationwide visiting opportunity this weekend, Heritage Open Days- UK.

I mentioned this to a few writer friends and it was a 50/50 split between those who knew about it and visited place, and those who had not heard about it, so I thought I'd mention it.

In September each year, various museums, private homes and other buildings open their doors to allow the public to visit heritage gems that are not always available to be accessed and seen. Find out how it's brought about.

If you pop along to the website you can search for all the FREE events either by region, county, town or local council, and then print out the details.

Personally I'm hoping to get to see Bromley House Library in Nottingham. It's actually a few doors away from the modern Central Library in the city.

Hopefully I can then get to the places I'd intended to go to last weekend before my plans changed...

I hope to be able to take a few photos for mine and Serena's blog, though they will be different places of course.

So if you get to events near you, have fun...

Sunday 16 August 2015

The Fruits of Summer...

It's fortunate you can't see the traces of purple on my fingers, but if you could then you might realise I've been picking Blackberries.

Blackberry season...
As I grew up in the Garden of England- Kent, I was used to seeing hop-fields and fruit being grown and picked, especially in the summer when it was common to go and pick Strawberries when the farmers had fruit crops to get in.

Wild brambles grew in lots of overgrown places and country roads, and it was common to pick the ripe fruit on a country walk. It was then made into a pie when we got home, or if there was enough, jam.

This was probably being done for centuries...

This year has been very good for fruit, and this winter our garden will need sorting as we've got self-seeded Redcurrants and a Holly growing up among the Tayberries- a raspberry/blackberry cross.

Of course we're growing cultivated varieties of the fruit, rather than the wilder fruit that would have grown in hedgerows a couple of centuries ago.

One of my research points for my Nottinghamshire story, is what would be growing in the rectory's kitchen garden in 1802?

My heroine, Sarah, defends herself with her spade when confronted by the hero's unpleasant cousin, and I immediately thought what would it have looked like, and could she have hefted the spade in the way I describe?

I found some images for American garden tools of the time and also have a history of country house gardens- somewhere- that I can search; but I realised that living in a village attached to a smallish estate, there would likely have been a carpenter, and even if not there, then there would be a blacksmith in another village who could make a suitable sized spade section to attach to a shaft and handle just right for my heroine's needs...

There may perhaps be a small rose somewhere, grown from a cutting given to the previous occupant of the rectory as a kind gesture.

But it certainly won't look like the scented roses in my garden that seem to have gone crazy this year- these were opening when we got the heavy rain Friday night...

blown Roses...

And the Hawthorn has
ripening berries...

Sunday 21 June 2015

Every Picture Tells a Story...

Happy Father's Day.

Dad and I 
I've been playing around with images today over on Pinterest, so I thought I'd include a picture that's relevant to today.

My Dad used to carry a copy of this photo in his wallet when I was small, and after he died it was the one picture I especially wanted, but it was mislaid.

A few years later one of my brother's found this copy of that same picture and gave it to me, so it's now in a small frame on the windowsill above my desk.

The photo was taken by my mum, and on the back it says 31/7/1962, so we were either on holiday, or it was one of our regular summer Sunday trips to the seaside.

Even though the photo is black and white I can still remember my blow-up plastic boat. The outside was pillar-box red and the inside white. It took quite a bit of puff to blow it up... I've no idea what I have in the boat with me- possibly a blow up beach ball.

My Dad volunteered for the army at the start of the Second World War, and he was one of the many soldiers who were evacuated from Dunkirk; and having researched the regimental history, it's likely he was taken off the beach- he couldn't swim, and as far as I know he was very much older before he did learn, so this picture has a lot of meaning to me...

Every picture does tell a story...

Tuesday 20 May 2014

Part 1- Friday in Bath...

After a slight delay on my train from Cheltenham Spa to Bath, I arrived mid-afternoon, but was at my hotel in Henrietta Street a little over 5 minutes later by taxi.

Bedtime Reading Available
I immediately recognised street names from Georgette Heyer and Jane Austen's books; Laura Place and Great Pultney Street...Tall many storied houses lined each side of the road in uniform precision, but gently curving into the distance.

Fountain in the Middle of the Road at Laura Place...
My visit coincided with the UK-wide Museums at Night festival, so I had plenty of options for entertainment that evening.

I chose the talk by writer Lindsey Davis  in The Pump Room (her books have been about a Roman Detective- Falco. The first book, 'The Silver Pigs' has been on BBC radio many times).

The audience, of about 40, learnt about Lindsey's early career in the civil service, her first novel attempt- a civil war romance-that didn't win the Georgette Heyer historical novel competition, but did get sold to Woman's Realm (a magazine no longer in existence).

We were read an extract from her new Albia book, and heard about her stand-alone on the Emperor Domitian, that was written between the Falco and Albia series.

At the Q&A,  I asked Lindsey if she plotted or wrote as she went along? (She'd already said she kept firm control of her characters.) Her reply surprised me a little- "If I plotted I would never get a book written."

The entry charge to the talk also allowed me to go around the Roman Baths museum afterwards- they were staying open later than usual.

The King's Bath viewed from The Pump Room
I knew I wasn't going to have time to do a proper tour, so I wandered through the first part of the exhibition fairly quickly, having been told the museum was shutting at 9; but as it was so busy it remained open for longer. There was a large party of Brownies attending...

There was music everywhere, inside the museum a man playing a lyre type instrument- a mini harp almost, and a little further on from him, a group with a device that had a simple keyboard, small hand pumped bellows, creating notes by metal tubes in water...I can't play a note but got a reasonable sound out of it!

The rooms off the main pool showed the structure and design of the steam room, warm room and so on; and there were projected images on the wall of semi-naked men in the cold water pool area.

Looking down from the walkway
Outside, around the big pool - that you see in photos- there was a small bar, and a trio (singer, double bass and guitar) providing entertainment- they were very good; while people sat on benches in alcoves, or at the edge of the pool, enjoying the warm evening air, and the torches burned brighter as the evening sky dimmed.

Usually visitors only get to experience the pool in the evening in June and July, so it was a fantastic bonus.
It really wasn't difficult to imagine the Romans of the past lounging around the pool...
As night draws in

My next posts: 3 Museums on Saturday...

Sunday 27 April 2014

A couple of useful books...

image from

Easy Money For Writers And Wannabes
image from Kindle store
I've recently bought a couple of books to help me expand on my writing skills- and hopefully earn a little bit of money!

Both of them are easy to read, straightforward and very good value for money.

Easy Money for Writers and Wannabes by Maggie Cobbett. (£1.53)

If you've ever looked at fillers in magazines and thought you had something that would be ideal, then read this book.

I know I certainly read a few magazines that have slots for readers contributions- a letters page, household tips, funny stories, and photos.

With examples of her successful fillers, Maggie shows the reader how varied the opportunities can be; and if you don't know how to start then this is the book for you.

By the time I'd finished reading it, my brain was ticking over with possible ideas...

The second book I've bought and found very helpful is:

Photography for Writers: Using photos to sell more of your words by Simon Whaley.
(Paperback £7.99; Kindle version £4.32)

As you know I've recently replaced my camera.

Quite a few writers bought this book when it was released and recommended it, so I opted for the paperback version for easy reference in the future.

You can find out what sort of markets you can use your photos in- not just fillers, but articles, research and non-fiction books.

Simon's clear explanations on shutter speeds and aperture finally made sense to me, so I now understand how to use it when needed.

It's a book that you can refer to for quick reminders, or when you need helpful advice once you've got your images.

Chapter 5, on managing your photographic library, will be helpful to anyone who takes a lot of images. That is now something I will be doing with my existing photos- before I add any more.

Both these books have now been added to my essential writing reference shelf.

I'm studying the markets, and honestly my OH can't complain about the number of magazines lurking around the house when they're work related. :D

Do you have any recommendations from your reference shelf?