On the same day that Holly and I marked our 5th wedding anniversary, some 82,000 people descended onto our neighbourhood for the opening ceremony of the Rugby World Cup. Whilst this is an accepted hazard of living only a few hundred yards from a national sports stadium, our usual methods of marking our anniversary – either takeout or going out for dinner – are rendered largely inaccessible due to the volume of people clogging up restaurants and closing roads preventing delivery drivers from making it through. We have no objections to being house ridden, but not when there isn’t anyone to bring junk food to our door.
With this in mind, we decided to head away from Twickenham for the weekend and avoid all of the madness. You can probably guess from the title of this post where we decided to go.
We’ve been to Bath before, about ten years ago on a short break whilst we were both still at university. I was taking photographs back then, but on a tiny but decent point-and-shoot camera, with no real understanding or intention on what I was doing, so it would be interesting to go back there with my photographic eye having had ten years of learning and development. In theory.
Our first day was spent travelling before we took pause to relax and then went out for our anniversary dinner. The next day we travelled into Bath proper to wander around.
Bath is an ancient city, famous for its Roman baths and an apparently almost infinite number of churches, cathedrals, and the likes. Most of these ancient buildings survive in one form or another to this day (I’m not sure how much restorative work has been done to them over the years), filling the city with all sorts of astonishing architecture.
Our first stop was the Pulteney Bridge, a bridge crossing the River Avon that is unusually (especially for something built in the 1700s) lined with shops on both sides.
My first shot was a also a bit unusual for me: a 15-shot panorama of the riverside.
As you can see, the stitching itself is pretty incredible; I don’t think you could confidently say where one source image begins and the other ends. There is a bit of distortion, however, a result of attempting to replicate a very wide angle lens.
The day had started off pretty foggy, and the haziness and clouds were still lingering. Bath is in quite a hilly spot which helped emphasise the low mists rolling through. With the bright sunlight to contend with however I decided to try a HDR shot.
In processing the images, I made a few different edits from the exposures – quite a few of the presets in HDR Efex Pro gave great results. The one above is the closest to photorealistic. Below, my other favourites: a monochrome version, and one that is a bit softer and reminded me of a watercolour.
We walked a bit further up the river to get a better view of the bridge.
On our way we walked past a park, and realised there was no escaping the rugby.
Looking the other way up the Avon, there was another spire in the distance, the fog making for a picturesque scene.
We walked back into the city where I found yet another spire to photograph. Holly stopped to take a load off and I ended up taking more pictures of her because I loved the colour of her jumper.
I took another shot of the foggy hills, using Lightroom’s Dehaze slider to add emphasis to the cloud.
We took a seat outside a cafe next to the Pulteney Bridge. It was a lovely little spot, we had a view of the river, the buildings opposite and had the sun just poking through the trees as we had a drink.
The building opposite us was yet another impressive structure, so I again resorted to a multi-shot panorama to get it all in – this time, the resulting image is stitched together from six photographs.
I like playing about getting the star effect when the sun is poking through trees. that is why these last few shots have been at f/22.
I slapped on my 50mm f/1.4 just to play about (I still love using that lens) and took a shot of what we were drinking, just because. I like the result enough to share.
Suitably refreshed, we took a stroll along the opposite bank of the Avon. There we found a locked gate, which at first looked like it needed to be very, very secure but on closer inspection it appears to be an unusual solution to the problem of the chain not being long enough.
Being on the other side of the river we had another view of some of the buildings we’d seen earlier.
We soon came to a bridge, and I liked the way the sunlight was reflecting off the water onto the underside of the brickwork.
Just after the bridge we found a canal intersecting the river.
We looped up over another bridge that looked to be a footbridge into a secret garden. In reality it just looped us back into the main town. But at least it led us through this tunnel near the railway station.
Being back in Bath proper, or least what I assume to be proper, there was another opportunity to shoot the Pulteney Bridge.
I also took a different angle, taking in the cafe where we took break earlier, which is to the right on this image.
Clearly, my 24mm lens still wasn’t wide enough, so I took another panorama.
We once again continued along the river, this time walking past the bridge (admittedly this time because that’s where we’d parked, rather than for any sense of exploration), wherein we discovered that the other side is nowhere near as impressive.
And that marked the end of our little exploration of Bath.
We’ve not really spent much time in that part of the UK, so I’m sure we’ll go back at some point. It’s a very beautiful part of the country. Hopefully it won’t take us another ten years to get back there.