Tag Archives: travel

Viticulture

I’m used to labels on bottles of wine telling me that I should expect a ‘hint of blackcurrant’ or ‘subtle aromas’.

But in Portugal recently I had a (very drinkable) wine from a vineyard whose marketing department had, perhaps, become a little over-excited.

It’s nice to know there are still jobs out there for people with Literature degrees, isn’t it?

Once more unto the beach

Holkham Beach in Norfolk is an amazing place. It’s just vast.

Yesterday, the car park was packed, and the path from it to the beach a queue of people and dogs, yet when we got there and walked for just a few minutes, it looked like this:

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A few more, and it looked like this:

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(Yes, that’s Tilly – you can click for a bigger version.)

Looking away from the sea, you get this:

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And I’m fond of that, admittedly less exciting, view, because it features in the memorable closing sequence of my favourite movie.

Tilly absolutely adored it, and seemed to keep running, flat out, for about an hour and a half.

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All in all, a most enjoyable stroll.

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Well, that was a surprise…

If you saw my photos from yesterday, you’ll understand why we were surprised to wake up this morning to this:

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and this:

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Very pretty, though:

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By the afternoon, the weather had returned to something closer to what we expected:

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Photos often don’t, however, tell you anything about the wind, which was, at times, somewhat dramatic!

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All peaceful now, though.

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Mysterious Trees III

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Good times ready to roll

The smell of fresh Nikwax

For me, there is nothing quite so evocative of happy adventures to come as the sight and smell of freshly-Nikwaxed walking boots.

Going underground

Thanks to Tom Standage for pointing me at this fabulous collection of fake signs people have put up on the London Underground.

Some examples:

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Pram fans

I had to take a picture of these steps in Chicago’s Union Station recently.

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If you’ve seen The Untouchables, you’ll know why. The ‘pram scene’ is a brilliant piece of cinema; you can see it here, though this clip is missing the long build-up which is part of what makes the original so effective.

Of course, it is itself an homage to the scene in Battleship Potemkin at the Odessa steps, but I didn’t know until today that it too had inspired a later cinematic tribute.

Packing a punch

One thing I haven’t generally had to pack when going for walks in the countryside – until I went to Montana – is bear repellent.

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These are standard issue in that part of the world – you can buy them everywhere.

To an Englishman, an aerosol seems more appropriate for dealing with a small insect than a charging grizzly, but since the usual alternative advice is to lie down and play dead in this situation (which may cause the grizzly to ignore you), I can see why these are popular travel accessories.

From Falls to Autumn

Well, one quick transatlantic flight, and I’ve lost even more degrees of centigrade than I have hours of sleep!

For my more geeky readers, I can report that I return with a Scottevest Transformer jacket, and a Google Chromecast.

But the highlight of the trip was definitely the hikes we did in Yellowstone and in Glacier National Park. I leave you with my favourite picture from the Yellowstone Grand Canyon.

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(Click for a larger version.)

Beauty and the beasts

We’re in Montana, and it’s beautiful.

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No, I mean really beautiful.

Shadow Lake, Glacier National Park, Montana

We made some friends amongst the natives.

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The humans are friendly too. All in all, a lovely spot.

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More pictures are sure to follow soon…

White Balance

I was quite pleased with this shot, taken by the Marathon Petroleum plant in Dearborn, Michigan last night.

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(You can click it for a larger version, which looks much better)

This was handheld – I wish I’d had a tripod, but at this point the security guards pulled up and asked us to move on…

Part of what makes it ‘pretty’ is the use of two different types of lighting – given the industrial location, I imagine the golden light is sodium and the silver is halogen – and the camera’s auto white-balance did a good job of reproducing what I saw.

But when I got home and loaded it into Lightroom, I thought it would be fun to try calibrating the white balance based on a chimney lit by the sodium light. (I could have achieved a similar effect by selecting tungsten white balance in the camera.) The result was also pretty. Can’t quite decide which I prefer…

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The call of the wild

East Anglia seems rather tame today. This was the view, a few yards outside our door, last weekend.

View from Bull Point

© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser