Town and Gown – and a camera!

I recently visited the fascinating city of Oxford.  Normally when I’m there I’m rushing around with lots of stuff to do, but this time I was not in a hurry, so I was able to take my time and treat it as a sort of Photographic Trek.  There’s lots of photographic opportunities in Oxford; the buildings, the people, the contrasts, etc.

Creative imaging by Derek Gale

One contrast is between practicality and protecting the architectural heritage.  There’s need to keep the entrances to the colleges clear of the many bicycles in the city.  Bikes are great but they can get in the way when parked (though not as much as cars!).  I liked the threat of the sign and the way the bike had been left there anyway.  Those rebellious students!  I used Perspective Crop in Photoshop to get the railings’ lines parallel.

Creative imaging by Derek Gale

There had been some sort of graduation ceremony that day, so there were quite few students around in academic dress.  I took advantage of the more interesting viewpoint into Radcliffe Square afforded by the gardens of Exeter College.  It looks as if this photographer had missed her subject!  There’s a nice range of road textures and angles, and the waste bin reminds us that it’s not all ivory towers; the rubbish needs to be collected too.

Creative imaging by Derek Gale

It had rained overnight, and just up the road, in the grounds of the church of St Mary the Virgin, there was a very small puddle.  With a bit of serious crouching and bending I was able to get the dome of the Radcliffe Camera, (the camera of the title), reflected in the puddle.  I used a Sigma 60mm f2.8 lens on my Lumix G3, and set the aperture to f2.8.  This gave a small depth of field to make the puddle edges all fuzzy.

Creative imaging by Derek Gale

It wouldn’t be Oxford without some quirkiness.  I wanted to visit the Pitt-Rivers museum, and to get to it you go through the Natural History museum.  That museum is having its fabulous glass roof reglazed so it’s closed, though you can still visit the Pitt-Rivers musuem.  All the N-H museum exhibits have been moved or covered up.  One thing that caught my eye was a bird in a glass case that had plastic wrap on it for protection.  The shape of the bird was still quite clear but the translucent plastic made it somewhat mysterious.  The B&W conversion and Contrast lift in Photoshop added a bit more mystery.

Oxford?  It’s a great photographic location!

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