Royal Topiary

Royal Topiary by Webminkette
Royal Topiary, a photo by Webminkette on Flickr.

In England and the Commonwealth, everyone is celebrating our Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It is a great time to be in London and, even if you missed the the main weekend of celebrations, there are still plenty of interesting extra touches to see that make me smile.

This photo is but one example. It is in St James’ Park, just off The Mall (that leads to Buckingham Palace); I thought it was wonderful and hope you enjoy looking at it too.

Yosemite High Country

Crossing the Tuolomne River by webmink
Crossing the Tuolomne River, a photo by webmink on Flickr.

If you’re heading to Yosemite National Park this summer, don’t forget to visit the high country. There’s year-round tundra in Tuolomne Meadows, wonderful walks along the Tuolomne River, fewer visitors, more granite domes and the opportunity to skip across Tioga Pass to visit Mono Lake and maybe even Bodie ghost town.

Putrajaya

Putrajaya Panorama by webmink
Putrajaya Panorama, a photo by webmink on Flickr.

Malaysia has an evolving purpose-built administrative capital, called Putrajaya. It’s rising from what was jungle, complete with artificial lakes and enormous official buildings. This picture gives a view of the new mosque and the prime minister’s house, but there’s much else to see in the area.

There were so many fish!

There were so many fish. by Webminkette
There were so many fish., a photo by Webminkette on Flickr.

This is just a few of the many fish in the pond at Hillier’s Gardens.

It was such a very bright day that I could not see the image on the view finder. However, the shot was worth the risk because there were so many fish that I could not work out how I could fail to capture some of them on the photo.

Usually, I find fish hard to take photos of. By the time the shutter has responded to being pressed the fish have moved and ruined a well set up picture. This one was not well set up, I blindly held the camera high above the water and pressed the button (unable to see anything.)

My instincts were correct! When the photos were transferred to the computer, there were the shoals of fish. I hope you enjoy this image; better still, go and see them for yourself.

Padstow

Padstow Harbour by webmink
Padstow Harbour, a photo by webmink on Flickr.

Cornwall, the part of England that’s the far south-western point of the country, is a rubbed land dominated by fishing and historic industry. The town of Padstow nestles on the coast around a delightful harbour, and has become a gastronomic destination since chef Rick Stein has set up shop there in several places.

I’m thinking Monet…

I'm thinking Monet... by Webminkette
I’m thinking Monet…, a photo by Webminkette on Flickr.

This beautiful pond is part of the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens near Romsey. Best known for its arboretum, it has many interesting nooks and spaces.

The pond is home to a vast number of orange/brown fish, ranging in size from small to massive. They can be coaxed out, from under the lilly-pads, with bread crumbs. Groups of excited children stare with fascination at the teeming hoards.

There is a spacious cafe in the relatively modern buildings which offers welcome refreshment after a stroll around the grounds.

Currently, the grounds are show-casing a varied collection of sculptures which add to the enjoyment of a visit.

American Castle

American Castle by webmink
American Castle, a photo by webmink on Flickr.

Dusk in Chicago is a great time to enjoy the architecture. This is the Chicago Tribune building, with its gothic flying buttresses and ornamentation yelling permanence and wealth to you. Let’s hope the newspaper can survive the onslaught of new technology better than the mediaeval european buildings it mimics…

Pilgrim Memorial, Southampton

Pilgrim Memorial, Southampton by webmink
Pilgrim Memorial, Southampton, a photo by webmink on Flickr.

It’s possible that you think the Puritan colonists who settled the US east coast departed from Plymouth, but that’s only partly right. It turns out their journey was already fraught by the time they got that far.

The Mayflower (together with the Speedwell) originally departed from Southampton with the Pilgrim Fathers (and presumably some Pilgrim Mothers as well) – Elizabethan religious misfits whose departure probably went unremarked at the time. After stops at Dartmouth and Plymouth to repair storm damage the Mayflower went on to the New World – the Speedwell was too damaged to make the voyage. And the rest is history. More details can be seen on the plaque at the bottom.

What would you protect?

What would you protect? by Webminkette
What would you protect?, a photo by Webminkette on Flickr.

These fortified walls in Venice form part of the defence of the old Arsenal, where the shipyards and armouries were located. In those days its power and wealth came from its ships and its ability to control trade in the Mediterranean as well as the trading routes to the East.

Having wandered round most of Venice, where being islands seemed to be protection enough, it was surprising to come across such solid defences. It was even more mind-blowing to realise they enclosed an old harbour…

The wall really made me think about Venice’s history and what was important to its people.

Bodie

Bodie Wagon by webmink
Bodie Wagon, a photo by webmink on Flickr.

After visiting Yosemite a few times, one gradually becomes aware that there’s more to see if you travel further afield. Just outside the eastern entrance to the park, a few miles to the north of Lee Vining up US-395, there’s a very well preserved gold rush ghost town called Bodie.

While it was already know as a ghost town before the first world war, it was still occupied until the last mine closed during the second world war and as ghost towns go, it’s pretty modern – there is even a well-preserved gas station. There are full streets of “wild west” wooden buildings in a good state of repair, and you can definitely imagine the spirit of the place when it was a bustling and rowdy mining town.

It’s definitely worth a visit if you venture out of Yosemite, as is Mono Lake (visit the Mono Lake Committee store) and, much further to the south, the small town of Bishop where you’ll find Mountain Light Gallery, the photography base of the late Galen Rowell.

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