Compare and contrast, both journeys being of similar distance (45mls vs 65kms).
- England: parking at LB station, £7.90 – off peak travel card to Kew Gardens, £21.00;
- Spain: parking at Xeraco station, FREE – return ticket to Valencia, ~8.50€.
This was my first visit to Kew Gardens since childhood. I must say that, despite the costs, a trip on the train, three trains actually, was fun, especially as we didn’t end up waiting for too long on cold, windy platforms. We were also lucky enough to be meeting friends with membership cards so they could sign us in to Kew for nothing. Very nice.
[Aside: Just for the record, I do find £7.90 an exorbitant Parking charge at our local station. If we are ever to encourage people out of their cars and onto public transport, we have to stop making it so expensive.]
Lurking around the external gardens at Kew in early February is probably not the most appealing of pastimes. The reason for our visit was twofold, though. Firstly, there was a display of orchids in one of the glasshouses; secondly there was a display of photographs, also indoors, of entries into the Garden Photographer Of The Year competition. Yes, there’s WPOTY (Wildlife), LPOTY (Landscape) and GPOTY. What a lot of POTYs.
Unusually, I went armed with my camera. Remembering trouble at The Eden Project when lenses were changed inside the tropical biome, I picked one lens and stuck with it: a 100mm macro. Having recently had my camera fixed, yet again, and the flash now functioning, I thought I’d try using flash to try and make the backgrounds fade into darkness. This turned out to be largely successful. Without my trying to identify these subjects (I know one is an Hibiscus), here’s a few of my favourite shots from the day.
I don’t often use flash and it didn’t fire on the first shot – the droplets would’ve sparkled more with it – but I like the line-up. I got it going eventually but the line-ups weren’t as appealing.
At one point there were very long flower garlands hanging vertically from the ceiling/roof. Shot straight, they looked a little less than interesting so I tried a rakish angle and superimposing it on some post-processing motion blur courtesy of Photoshop Elements. Better – well, I think so.
Meanwhile, Carol, who has become keen on in-camera multiple exposures when it comes to the creative, was having a play with that technique. It’s a bit hit and miss – some work out and others don’t – but this one appeals to both of us.
‘T was a good day and provided something to do with a camera in the depths of winter.
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