England – Spirit of the Fenlands, Cambridgeshire

England, Autumn 2018: The fens, an expanse of low lying fertile lands extending from the North sea southwest across 3 counties. back in time, before the middle ages infact, the fens were little more than a giant bog of marsh and quicksands with very little value other than producing reeds for roofing materials. Then one day, early 1600’s a group of smart folk had the idea of draining the place to expose the fertile soils from which delicate crops would grow. Their legacy today is a plethora of canals and waterways, pump houses and sluice gates to control the excess waters, much like we would see across the North Sea in Holland. (Google Map)

Travel to Britain

Travel to Britain

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The Fenlands are crisscrossed with a network of waterways and channels ensuring that excess water has a place to flow thus keeping the cultivated fields free from flooding. The channel depicted here would have been constructed sometime in the late middle ages, 1700′ era.

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The Fens, featureless but with big wide open skies.

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On a landscape such as the Fens, one can see a rain shower way ahead of it reaching ones location. This shower is about 20 minutes away!

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Big skies means great sunsets such as this one at Parsons Drove, Cambridgeshire.

Click the thumbnails for larger, clearer images…

 

England – British Village Snapshots

England, Autumn 2018: Quaint, quiet and historic – descriptions that can be applied to just about any British village or rural settlement. Here in Norfolk, many rural communities find their beginnings way back in the dark ages when life was basic and rudimentary at best, that is unless one was the local farming baron or other form of gentry. Back then, sometime around the 1600’s, farming techniques improved. more of the population had food to eat while the barons had more to sell. Consequently, villages  expanded into cultural centres with its cottages and dwellings often tied to local farms.

Nowadays, Norfolk villages are occupied mostly by the rich – folk from London seeking peace and quiet at weekends. Many rural properties and village dwellings are way off the price range of ordinary folk who are generally forced to move away towards cheaper areas. Here’s  few snapshots of some villages around the rural county of Norfolk, England (Google Map).

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England – Snapshots of Rural Britain

England, Autumn 2018: A series of quick posts depicting rural England. Fields, villages and churches all go to make rural England some of the most enchanting spots on the planet! The images here are all taken in my home county of Norfolk (Google Map) where we have a diverse landscape of forest, low lying marshlands and an extensive coastline.

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Steams away: A steam train speeds through the English countryside harking back to the days when public transport linking towns and villages consisted of an extensive railway network, driven on coal and steam power. This train is maintained and operated by a group of enthusiasts who run the line from the seaside town of Sherringham, North Norfolk. During Summer the line is open for tourists rides and those seeking a nostalgic experience on the North Norfolk Railway.

 

 

 

 

Photography Like A Pro With A Canon Compact

England, Autumn 2018: I’m definitely no pro when it comes to photography that’s for sure but thanks technological advances over recent years just about anyone can take a half decent picture, yes, even me!

While the pro’s will run around dragging bags of heavy and expensive kit behind them, amateurs like me will find that a simple point and shoot compact will do a pretty decent job – even ones mobile phone will take a nice neat wide angle photo with crisp, clear results.

Over recent years I’ve been drawn to brands such as Panasonic, Fuji and more recently Canon. Canon compacts are slightly more expensive but have the edge when it comes to quality. Their feature packed cameras will make any amateur pass as a decent photographer.

The photo’s presented throughout this blog are the product of a Canon compact, the SX710 HS. Light weight, small enough to carry around in ones pocket and with around 300 clicks on a single battery charge, its the ideal companion to record those unique travel  adventures.

Here’s a look at the Canon SX710 HS…

 

 

How to make those amateur photos look professional

While the base image from the Canon compact is pretty good in itself more often than not there’s room for some improvements. A little lighter, more colour and perhaps a bit sharper too, especially if the photo was taken on a dull day, as it often was in Hong Kong! Here’s how I achieve the images you see throughout this blog.

Take the photo…

  1. I’ll keep things simple by using the cameras AUTO function – good for landscapes and still or very slow moving objects. Good for close ups of bugs and flowers to.
  2. For fast moving subjects such as aircraft, birds or snakes I’ll turn the dial to the SPORTS function and just click once the image is focused.

Edit the photo…

  1. To post edit images I use a program called IFRAN VIEW. A powerful and free image editing tool to enhance original photos.
  2. first, zoom in to fill the laptop screen and SAVE AS. Next, AUTO ADJUST COLOURS and finally SHARPEN. Now the resulting image should be something half decent!

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Further editing…

In low light conditions or if I’ve been a little to enthusiastic with the digital zoom, images may show some graininess, also referred to as noise, especially in close-ups. To fix this I use another free editing program called Photoscape which has a function to smooth out grainy photos.

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Here’s a few before and after images to illustrate the above.

 

 

 

So, with a cheap camera and some free software one can attain some professional looking images even if one lacks the technical knowledge and know how! Ideal for web pages and blogs where images can be small in size, where a  high resolution is not a necessity.

England – Planning The Next Trip

 

Norwich,  Norfolk, England, Winter 2017: I will always use the online booking agent Skyscanner as a guide and would never contemplate actually making a reservation. Online reviews quickly establish that those obscure names offering rock bottom bargain airfares are rarely what they seem. I don’t know about your country, but here in England scamming the gullible is big business!

I usually fly from London, but this year is going to be different. Yes, I’m flying from my local airport and connecting through Amsterdam and Istanbul. I’m heading back to Nepal and it turns out that flying with Turkish Airlines from Amsterdam is about £100 cheaper than flying from London! So, with all the transport costs to and from London and the flight from Norwich factored in the flight to Kathmandu from my local airport is only marginally more expensive.

I’ve booked directly with the Airlines, bypassing online agents as I prefer to have my booking confirmation instantly, not next week or next month!

So here it is – leaving 2nd January 2018 from Norwich to Amsterdam with KLM dutch Airlines. Later, connecting with a Turkish Airlines to Istanbul with a plane change to Kathmandu, arriving 1130 the next morning. Then i’m taking a local flight to Pokhara – Lets hope  after all of that, I arrive in one piece. I shall be returning late  July, pretty much the same route in reverse.

And inbetween, I shall be visiting Malaysia, Hong Kong and Japan, plus one or two other destinations yet to be decided.

So until next year…..

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year From England!

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Great Britain – This is Norwich, England

Norwich, Norfolk, England, Autumn, 2017: My home city, Norwich has plenty of historic interest. From original cobbled stone streets lined with Tudor era buildings to the Edwardian and Georgian developments in the hart of the city. Reconstruction after the ravages of World War 2 has seen theses buildings preserved to pristine condition making Norwich city centre popular with domestic tourists and international students.

Over the next few posts I’ll attempt to share the sights and hopefully the sounds of life in a small English city that you’ve probably never heard of before now!

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For now, here’s a set of general images from our fine city and if time permits I’ll home in on features such as the historic Castle and our magnificent cathedral, oh and of course we’ll walk around the market!

England – Back on Home Ground

London, England, June 2017: Its been a long flight, leaving Kathmandu nearly 24 hours ago with a change of aircraft at Abu Dhabi. Etihad flight 11 is a red eye, leaving at 2.30 in the morning! I try to avoid these flights but a I needed to change my ticket and this was all that was left! Etihad operates a standard economy cabin with the same amount of leg room and seat size as all the other operators – not very much of either. Unfortunately for me I didn’t eat much much in the ultra expensive Abu Dhabi airport in the hope of some decent food on the flight. So it was pretty disappointing to be served with 1 small plastic sandwich shortly after take off. Yes, the inside was pretty grim being furnished with processed everything. Zero points for Etihad on the EY11 bound for London!

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Over London at last!Yes, in about 20 minutes we’ll be on British soil for the first time in 6 months. Here are some views of the city as this Airbus 380 meanders towards the final approach the London’s Heathrow airport.

Turning around London’s East End here are some pretty good views of the City Airport.

So how many London landmarks can you spot from these photos?

And that dear readers ends this travel season for 2017. I need to recharge my bank account and plan for travel season 2018 – perhaps you can inspire me with some interesting destination suggestions. Once again thanks for tuning into my random jottings and I hope the casual nature of the dialogue wasn’t too boring 🙂

England – Another Jotting From Norwich

Norwich, Norfolk, England.  Good news and bad news: The good news is that business is good and money for next years travels is rolling in nicely. The bad news is that the Pound Sterling has lost significant value among the worlds currencies since brexit thus I will need to review that bucket list.

Because I’m working so hard, there just isn’t time for any comprehensive blog updates and so I’ll just continuing sharing a few photos of my home city  – Norwich, England.

So please enjoy the views of our historic city and these images capturing the city’s medieval past starting with the river wensum quay side, once the hub of commercial Norwich.

Next is a gentle stroll along quaint street of the preservation area known as Elm Hill and Tombland. More about our preserved historic district here

And finally for this session here’s a few snaps from around the Cathedral grounds.

 

England – Backyard Motography

Norwich, Norfolk, England, Summer 2016. Norwich is my home city, my  backyard and the photos presented here are all taken with my Motorola G4 Smart phone.

Views of Norwich City Centre – a mix of history and modernisation that showcases the city’s evolution through time. More about Norwich here….

 

A Random Jotting from England

Norwich, Norfolk, England, October 2016. A very green, pleasant and insanely expensive country! It is however my homeland, my back yard and where I can make some money to fund my next round of travels. The harder I work the further I can travel – well, that’s the philosophy I keep in mind at the days end when the only thing to do is collapse into bed with exhaustion. Since arriving back in the UK end of June I have been extraordinarily busy. The British economy is booming since the Brexit vote and there appears to be a shortage of labour in some industrial quarters. This of course leaves little time for the kind of extensive blogging I have been writing, but not so much that I can’t share a few images of England and particularly my Back yard – Norwich and the surrounds (Google Map)

So, as I work hard and plan for my next exciting adventures in Asia lets take a look at England!

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Lets start with this rather nice photo – a typical English village. Cottages, a green and of course the church, every village has one! Tydd Saint Mary is the village, located on the fens near to the town of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire. (Google Map)

Its becoming increasingly common for country folk to keep Lamas as pets in the backyards of their pink thatched cottages – another fact of English country life.