Bodnant Revisited

One of the reasons for heading to North Wales was a desire to go back to the National Trust garden at Bodnant. We went in September last time, so quite fancied seeing it earlier in the year - we were particularly pleased that the Laburnum arch was in full display. Bodnant is quite possibly my favourite garden - so many different parts, and well worth a visit. ...
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Hidcote

The last trip of the week off was to Hidcote in Gloucestershire. SWMBO had never been been, while I last went over 10 years ago - having been a few times as a child. The lily pond is part of a family legend - from the time that The Brother managed to fall into it... The "bathing pool" had great photographic potential, if I'd had a step-ladder. The water was gently rotating, and a long exposure of the whole pool would have worked wonderfully with the circular blur....
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Gnaargh!

So, I'd got this smudge on the sensor, which buggered up a few reasonable photos. I also discovered a downside to the long exposures - the longer you leave the shutter open, the more chance of dust landing on the sensor. I spent the afternoon at Buscot Park in Oxfordshire, and at one point it clouded over a bit - this shot is a 1 minute exposure and is pretty much everything I wanted to achieve with the 10-stop filter - you get the movement of the clouds and the water smooths itself out. And a couple of bloody great dust sports. I really like the picture, but it's been ruined by dust and the mystery smear. ...
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Bodnant

Having said that the weather on the Friday was awful, it was in parts. Fortunately we had decided to head to the north coast, and ended up at Bodnant Gardens - the weather had cleared up as we passed (we were originally headed for Penryn Castle because some of it was indoors) so we decided to go in. And what a good decision that was - one of the best gardens I've been to. Thoroughly recommended. It's made up of several levels. At the top, there's a fairly traditional formal flower garden With more butterflies! Below that, there's a rose garden, then there's this lily pond And below that, there's *another* lily pond And then below all that, there's a path through the woods, with a stream. And a particularly photogenic waterfall. ...
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Tyntesfield

In lieu of a "proper" summer holiday this year, I had a couple of weeks off and we pottered about a bit. We had a week in Wales (pics to follow), but started off with a visit to Tyntesfield The National Trust have done a massive amount of restoration since they acquired the property in 2002, and the whole building is currently covered in a mass of scaffolding. Interestingly, they've built a viewing platform, so you can actually go up and see what's going on. It's fascinating to be able to look out over the roof! The garden had an excellent array of flowers in bloom, so out came the Panasonic compact camera in macro mode. I'm told they're dahlias. To me, the natural world consists of lilies, roses, tulips and "flowers". ...
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