Winter with a Twist of Lime

I.e., I've been to England

Is that rude? Hope not.

And England hasn't been all that's going on, but how odd to have temperatures verging towards +10C in mid-February, coping with torrential rain and flooding.

And did you know that although England is further north than most of us in Canada live—Brockville for example being at a latitude of 44, London, England at 51—the climate is more moderate mainly because of the warming effect of the Gulf Stream, bringing Caribbean waters all the way up and across the Atlantic Ocean? In fact, according to the fascinating book Oceanography and Seamanship, by William G. Van Dorn, even though the Gulf Stream and its extension, the North Atlantic Drift, don't actually reach Scandinavia, their effect does, without which the area would be uninhabitable.

Enough geography.

Still in the colonies

Before going overseas, I hopped out of bed pre-sunrise and, for the first time in a while, headed onto the Thousand Islands Parkway, finding a scene which had previously escaped me.

This is my favourite time of day, just before sunrise, few people around, and so often conferring a mystical light. This was also a Sunday, so there was precious little road traffic.

I again wish to thank my father, who casually mentioned a few years ago how beautiful he found bare Winter tree branches. "But Dad," I corrected him (which is my life's mission), "it's just scruff!" I am on a righteous and lifelong Campaign Against Photographic Scruff (charitable status pending). But he jogged my biases, and I now see profound beauty and intriguing patterns in sleeping trees.


I had personal reasons for this visit, not even close to primarily a travel-photography excursion, but I did manage to work a little in.

First, I went to visit my friend and photographic mentor, Peter. We've known each other for several years, but had never met, and it worked out phenomenally well.

He of course wished to facilitate me in my work, and then it rained. Then it rained, and rained.

So, what are two young, hot-blooded photographers going to do but head out into the rain and mud, hike off-piste, and check out the Purton boats. These small ships, near the end of their lives, decades ago, were intentionally beached along a little stretch of the Severn River (near Purton), in an attempt to halt bank-erosion.

A Purton Hulk

It seems to have worked. The wooden ships of course have largely disintegrated, but some of them were made of cement(!), which has weathered remarkably well.

Careful observers aka art-critics will note that the photography that day was ... challenging. But this is what I got, and I have such a happy memory of an amazing historical site, and of time spent with a kindred spirit.

What else does one do in England? As in the rest of Europe: visit a cathedral! (We also bopped into an Abbey, but didn't get back to it.) Gloucester Cathedral is an impressive structure (and we got out of the rain), and among many other features has these evocative cloisters.

Also, some scenes from Harry Potter were filmed here.

I almost began to chant.

On leaving the Cathedral, across a little paving-stone courtyard, Peter (knowing my proclivities) said, "Charles! Reflections!"

Teaching point #1: I had my camera with me, but with the wrong lens on it, and I wasn't about to open the camera in the rain, so this is from my old cell-phone. If I hadn't told you, there is no way to know. They have excellent cameras!

Teaching point #2: I almost missed it entirely. One of the ways I find photographic scenes which appeal to me is by actively looking for them. Sometimes that includes looking up, and sometimes down.

After a few days, Peter and his lovely wife and I said farewell, and I soon found myself with a scraggly set of dodgy travel-companions in London, i.e. wonderful people who so much enrich my life. We had a great visit, and they indulged my photography. Twice, as circumstances would have it, we walked by the Albert Memorial in the Kensington Gardens. Queen Victoria apparently was inconsolable when her husband Prince Albert died, at the tender age of forty-two in 1861, and had this built in his honour.

It is absolutely the most amazing monument I have ever laid eyes on in person.

I have asked, since then, what people think about photographing art and then calling it your own? It's a good question, on which I do have opinions, but I did it, and will show two.

Above, I aimed to bring something worthwhile to this iconic art-installation by using this specific vantage, with an ultra-wide-angle fisheye lens. For the following, the opposite: I got way back, and used a telephoto lens.

I got my first ride on the London Eye. It was good. Do it.

This is the south bank. I made some photos of the north bank, but ... well ... I will spare you.

Now, it may have been the light that day - pretty flat - but I'm going to go out on a limb ... er, a viewing car ... and say that London is visually more impressive from the ground.

It's good to travel

And it's good to get back home. I have had an interesting photography commission since them, of which this is one image, but ... more on that some other time perhaps.

A red squirrel, on protected land—it graciously posed for me.

While You're Here ...

Photography in rain and mud (and hawthorns)

Reminder: I make photographs and I sell photographs.

Art - Most of the photographs which you see on this web site are for sale. Prices at the time of writing, for example, for an 11x14" fine-art print with a generous white border would start at about $65, and you can go up or down from there. Check the rates page. More importantly, check out my gallery. I would love to provide you with a work of fine-art photography, or to discuss a commission.

Portraits - Book a sitting - the right frequency with which to commission formal portraits is a bit more often.

Anything (almost ...)! Please inquire for photography categories such automotive, industrial, charitable ...

Another reminder: kindly leave a comment, or contact me to sign up for new blog notifications. I will very much appreciate referrals to potential new subscribers, or links on your website to my blog. I am very careful and respectful with your privacy.

Thank you so much for reading.

Charles T. Low


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