"I happily passed an hour or so here, taking various shots and angles and making the most of fewer people wandering around. The clouds swept across the hillsides and the afternoon sun warmed the intriguing structure..."
With a week off work and the weather looking promising, I made a few plans to get out to some reasonably local places to get some new photos. One of those on my list was Broadway in the Cotswolds, not too far south of Stratford Upon Avon.
It's fair to say that my day did not initially go to plan, but thankfully ended successfully enough with some nice images. So it's all the more worthwhile for me to share the story with you in my blog, right?
I packed up my camera gear and headed south on what should have been a 55 min car drive to the town of Broadway. But, being the first week of school holidays and the fact that most people are having 'staycations' this year, the traffic stopped me for a while in Stratford amongst the tourists.
Once past Stratford, it seemed plain sailing. The sun was shining, the main roads gradually turned into winding lanes lined with sheep fields. The buildings gradually started to turn into the yellow of Cotswold stone. Finally, I reached the town of Broadway.
But I almost didn't bother with this planned trip on that day. Perhaps I was feeling down about the inability to do the things I 'really' wanted to do (my usual week in Spain, or a trip to The Hague) and the weight of the life change was heavy on me (lack of local connections and the changes to my usual favourite pastimes in The Netherlands). Nevertheless, I wanted those photos! So I still pushed myself out the door (when you feel like not doing something is when you really should).
The main street of Broadway was buzzing with visitors - small pubs, cafes and quaint shops were all embracing the post-lockdown economy boost. Those yellow-gold stones were shining bright. But that's when my 40 min parking nightmare began, culminating in a near dispute with someone who took the parking space that I had been waiting for for eternity. Why did I do this today, I asked myself?
As I was about to give up my hopes of a lunch at Broadway's Trip Advisor top-rated cafe, another space opened up. My nerves and patience were rattled and, ambling through a shopping arcade running towards main street, I stepped into the first cafe I came to. Now I just was not feeling up for my day trip at all and a coffee and nice lunch was all that could redeem it. It just so happened that my first-stop cafe was in fact that Trip Advisor favourite.
After lunch and still reeling from events (and with little time to explore the town in the way I might have liked to), I decided to leave the busyness of the street behind and head up to Broadway Tower. It was what I mainly wanted to photograph so I still had some optimism that my difficult day would bring some positive results!
Arriving at the tower, beautiful views adorned the horizon. Parking was easy (hooray!) and it was calm. A light breeze blew and the sun was shining down through scattered clouds. Following a stoney path through a gate, I could see straight away that I could get some nice shots here!
I really love taking long exposure shots and getting the time and opportunity to set up my tripod and use some landscape filters. I happily passed an hour or so here, taking various shots and angles and making the most of fewer people wandering around. The clouds swept across the hillsides and the afternoon sun warmed the intriguing structure, apparently designed by Capability Brown and built in the 18th century. One day I'll return and buy a ticket to have a look inside!
As I headed home on the equally lengthy journey with more traffic and obstacles on the way, I was relieved that I had some good shots to show for the day. Of course, my favourite shots will soon be in my gallery!
Not every trip out for photos goes successfully and not every day is easy when you are trying to adjust to a new way of life. But the important thing in both cases is to keep trying.