Today I thought I would take a very short trip (7 miles) to the wonderful little town of Bradford On Avon. I spent just over an hour there and I have to say it was most enjoyable and what's more photographically speaking it was very productive. As the name suggests this small town has the River Avon running through it and sits in the Avon Valley. There are some fantastic shops (more of that in a moment), an ancient bridge, gardens, 19th century Cloth Mill, a Canal and even a Roman Villa. Nearby is the Woolley Grange Hotel where I have carried out many photoshoots, my recommendation for anyone looking to stay in the area. There's a huge amount of history, this place is awash with it. As an example here's a couple of photos - my motorcycle is parked outside Wallington Hall, on closer inspection I found that it was built circa 1500, I'd left it there to visit the Saxon Church which was founded in 705, I went inside the tiny chapel and found some divine light!
As you might imagine Bradford On Avon is inhabited by some very nice people and that includes the shopkeepers. Surely none nicer than my friend Christophe Bonneau owner of "The Cheese Shop" (see where the title came from now!). Obviously if you need someone to run a Delicatessen then it's of crucial importance that they know their stuff. Christophe is a Frenchman and I can assure you he is extremely knowledgeable. I asked him if I could take some photographs for my "Shopfronts Project" and he was happy to oblige. Waiting for him whilst he was busy serving customers, I witnessed someone who was professional, helpful and cheerful. He offered advice to a lady looking for a particular cheese who left looking very pleased with her purchase and when asked by a family if he could make a baguette for their son who was a fussy eater the answer was "no problem, what would he like in it?", they left the shop smiling too. So, "say cheese" here's Christophe;
and here he is in front of The Cheese Shop;
Now, I had to practically stand in the road as I took that shot and as luck would have it a gent with a vintage Austin decided to park up...
I can tell you that there were lots of strange noises emanating from that car as it balanced in reverse to park up hill and some of those came from the driver as he fought the steering wheel!
Now we need to show a few more photographs of Bradford On Avon so I'll group these together without further explanation, although I must just say this - when I headed off to the canal for a quick look I couldn't find anywhere to park the bike, a guy who was stood on his drive said "Trouble parking? Be here for long?" No, I replied, just ten minutes, I want to take some photos. "Park it in my driveway if you like", now if that doesn't restore your faith in humanity I don't know what will!
When I returned the bike was gone...ok, just kidding, it sincerely was most kind of him.
A few words photography related. In my last blogpost "So Good They Named it Twice" I spoke of how the Noctilux 50mm was a one trick pony and that I much preferred the little 35mm Summicron. All of these images were taken using the 35mm and I hope it demonstrates the versatility of this lens. I took some in low light, a moving object, architectural, landscape and a portrait. I honestly believe no other lens in necessary, it's complete and all you'll ever need.
I'll leave you with my favourite from this outing. A guy fishing from his Canoe I spotted crossing a bridge, almost missed him down there;
As usual I would be delighted to read any comments and my sincere thanks go to anyone taking the time to read my blog.
All images can be opened by clicking on the thumbnails and are taken using a Leica M with a Summicron 35mm lens fitted.