Shutter speed experiments!

I recently had a great day out with my Dad. We went to a beautiful photography exhibition of trees at the V&A followed by a delicious lunch and then a walk around Hyde Park. We headed to the Diana Memorial Fountain and were soon both crouched down on the floor playing with the shutter speed on our cameras to capture the beauty of the fountain and the different ways that the water flows around it.

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A Snowy V&A!

One of my absolute favourite places in London is the V&A, so it was a treat to pay it a visit with my camera when the ‘Beast from the East’ arrived in town.

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The Natural History Museum was looking quite beautiful in the snow too!

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Escape to Dartmoor!

A couple of weeks ago I boarded a train expecting to go to Exeter for a weekend away with my boyfriend. We planned to stay at a Premier Inn and explore the city and maybe some local countryside! So imagine my surprise when we stayed on the train to Newton Abbot, got in a cab and pulled up outside Bovey Castle in the heart of Dartmoor. I was taken aback, to say the least. A weekend in a 5-star hotel and spa wasn’t what I expected but it was a wonderful birthday treat – and the perfect chance to take some photos in the heart of stunning Dartmoor.

Our home for the weekend:

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On our second day in Dartmoor we decided we needed to go exploring, so we got dropped off at Two Bridges (Dartmoor without a car was a bit of a challenge) and set off to find Wistman’s Wood. We were well prepared with waterproofs and layers but remarkably the weather held off for the duration of our walk! Although the wind did howl in a very ‘Hound of the Baskerville’s’ way.

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Wistman’s Wood is an incredible place, quite a bizarre landscape and is known by some as the ‘most haunted place in Dartmoor’! There’s more to read about the legend of the wood on this fascinating website.

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You can’t see it very well in this format but I managed to get a panoramic shot of the moors which I’m quite pleased with.

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And here’s my boyfriend surveying the landscape from Longaford Tor. Once I found a sheltered spot away from the howling wind, it was incredibly peaceful and I enjoyed sitting on a slightly damp rock, admiring the scenery and enjoying the peace.

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We were fortunate enough to stumble upon some Dartmoor ponies sheltering from the wind.

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Check out the mane flying in the wind on the pony below!

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This was the view from our bedroom window on our last morning – it was stunning! Sunday started off with a massage in the spa and some time to explore Exeter before our train back to London. What a lovely weekend!

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Finally, some Lisbon sunshine!

After a lot of drizzle, our final day in Lisbon was beautiful, and warm enough to take off the coats despite it being December. We took advantage of the weather and headed up to the castle to take in the views of the city.

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Despite the sunshine, the threatening clouds didn’t disappear completely!

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Just one more note before my Lisbon posts come to an end, don’t queue for the Santa Justa Lift. We queued for nearly an hour without getting particularly close to the lift and then realised that you can also get to the viewpoint by going up some steep streets! Although I did take the photos below while we were waiting so all was not lost.

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Off on a few UK weekend trips away next and I also plan to do some more photography projects at home as it’s been a while, so watch this space.

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Lisbon & the Tagus River

Before heading to Lisbon I have to admit that I thought that the city was on the coast, with the Atlantic lapping at its feet. But it actually sits on the northern bank of the River Tagus, not far from where the river meets the sea.

We enjoyed walking along the river which does feel more like the coast at this point as it is so wide. The 25 de Abril Bridge is a landmark of the river and with The Sanctuary of Christ the King on the other side of the river overlooking the city you’d be forgiven for thinking you’re in a mix of San Franciso and Rio de Janeiro!

We got the train further downstream to Belém, which is just 100km upriver from the Atlantic. Belém is home to some beautiful architecture and also the famous Pastéis de Belém – and yes it is worth the queue. We had a lot of custard tarts on this holiday and that was definitely the best.

The weather wasn’t on our side once again, but I really like these shots of the 25 de Abril Bridge and the solitary figure in the foreground.

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The images below are of the Padrão dos Descobrimentos which celebrates the Portuguese Age of Discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries.

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The looming threat of rain did make for some atmospheric photos!

The Belém Tower is a beautiful sight and with its ornate decoration I had thought it might just be a decorative feature, but with his Wikipedia searches during the trip, my boyfriend filled me in on its history. The painting below brings alive its history, as a defence for Lisbon and a gateway to the city.Combat_du_Tage

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Look out for the next post with photographs from when we finally got some sunshine and headed up to the castle for the views of the city on our last morning.

 

A drizzly day in Lisbon

If you’ve read my post about our trip to Porto, you would know that the next stop on our trip was Lisbon! We got the train between the two cities and soon found ourselves in the hustle and bustle of Portugal’s capital.

Despite hoping for some crisp and bright winter days in Lisbon, and arriving in gorgeous sunshine, we were then treated to an endlessly drizzly day! But, undeterred by the soggy conditions, we explored the Alfama district of the city. It’s one of the oldest parts of Lisbon and was originally an area of extreme poverty outside the city walls. Now it is, as one guide puts it, a ‘fashionable artisan district”. We took the advice of the guides and left the map behind, keen to get lost in the maze of cobbled streets!

I like the atmosphere the weather gives my photos from this part of the trip, even if the conditions weren’t quite as pleasant for exploring the streets!

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I love this display of artificial flowers!

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There was a lot of graffiti in the Alfama District and I loved this one in particular! I wasn’t so keen on the graffiti telling tourists to go home, but it does seem to be a sensitive issue in the city. I’m not one to comment as I was a tourist myself, but if tourists start having a detrimental effect on the residents of the city or driving people out then it is understandable.

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It’s a fantastic area to explore, and we headed back at night to find some Fado! We had visited the Fado museum earlier that day but nothing beats sitting in a dark bar with a glass of port and the intensely emotional sound of voices and guitars filling the air. Despite not understanding a word, I was in the palm of their hands! And despite knowing it was a tourist trap (we’d been beckoned off the street with an English leaflet thrust into our hands), the music itself certainly felt authentic.

A couple more posts to come on Lisbon as there was so much to see, including the views from the castle on a much brighter day, and our trip to Belem (and yes, we did queue 45 minutes for a pastel de nata…)

Porto

 

Back at the start of the month, we spent 5 days in Portugal. I hadn’t been to Portugal before and was looking forward to exploring somewhere new – especially the food and drink!

Our first destination was Porto. Porto is a beautiful city, piled on top of a very steep hill which runs right down to the Douro river – the link between Porto, the port wine houses where the wine ages and the vineyards further upstream where this delicious wine starts its journey. We visited Caves Ferreria for a tour and of course a tasting. This has started a bit of a port drinking habit but it’s just so delicious!

I tried lots of bacalhau (cod) during the trip cooked in a variety of ways, and of course plenty of pastel de nata (Portuguese custard tarts) but they truly came into their own in Lisbon – our next destination!

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This beautiful square and church were just minutes from our Airbnb.

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The city – piled up high!

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The sunsets over Porto! I love the light in this shot.

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As the sun set, I captured this shot of one of the boats that was once used to transport the Port down the river. I had a bit of a play with Photoshop on this one, and although some may say it’s overused, I like the way this effect brings out the vibrancy of the boat against the striking structure behind it.

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A surprising encounter when exploring the streets around the Port wine houses.

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This derelict and possibly burnt out building caught my eye as we were admiring the view of the city from the other side of the river.

Porto was great fun and we really enjoyed exploring this city with its stunning views and steep hills. Look out for my next post with my snaps from our time in Lisbon!