Audley End House, Saffron Walden

Audley End house is a magnificent example of a 17th century stately home near Saffron Walden in Essex. The property was also once a royal palace in the time of Charles II (1668) who purchased the property for £5 in order to be able to attend races at Newmarket. Audley End is now managed by English Heritage but all paintings and period decorations are from the original time and form part of a private collection. 

Audley End House. Essex
Audley End House. Essex

HDR composed of three bracketed shots at -2, 0 and +2 exposures and processed in Photomatix Pro. Please click on the photo for a larger version.

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Moving up in life!

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Steps on the River Walk, San Antonio. Please click on the photo for a larger version on Flickr.

HDR of a set of steps leading from the River Walk to the city above. San Antonio, Texas. Photos taken at -2, 0 and +2 stops, then merged and processed in Photomatix Pro.

The forgotten treasure!

In any other city but Agra, home to the famous Taj Mahal, this architectural beauty would be classed as one of the wondrous feat of art and architecture. A pity then, that this beautiful marble building often gets overlooked by visitors to the Taj and Agra fort. And a blessing for providing plenty of opportunities for quiet photography!

Itmad-ud-Daulah, Agra
Itmad-ud-Daulah, Agra, India. Click on the photo for a larger version on Flickr

The Itmad-Ud-Daulah was commissioned by Noor Jehan, wife of the mughal emperor Jehangir and built between 1621 and 1628. This building is considered to be the precursor of the Taj Mahal and utilises similar design element, albeit on a smaller scale. The relatives of Noor Jehan (including her father) are interred in this mausoleum. Like in the Taj Mahal, the buildings and grounds are built to exquisite symmetry, disrupted only by the positions of the cenotaphs of Noor Jehan’s parents (similarly followed in the Taj Mahal, built almost 30 years later). The building is made of white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones.

The Taj Mahal – Recovered after 9 years!

I recently re-processed a picture of the Taj Mahal that I photographed in 2004. The original photograph was taken as dusk and fog and pollution added to the haziness of the photo. Re-processing the picture has brought out the details, what do you think?

Taj Mahal, Agra
After re-processing! Click on the photo for a larger version on Flickr.

The original photo (before processing) is below.

Taj in the Mist
Before reprocessing! The haze overwhelmed the Taj!

There is something to be said for the merits of going back and looking over old photos and trying to improve them using modern post-processing techniques.

The reality dysfunction

Spot the reality!! With due apologies to Peter F. Hamilton for his fantastic book of the same name as the title of this post..

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Can you spot the difference between the real and the painted? Check out a larger picture on Flickr by clicking on the photograph. In Belgrade, Serbia

The suffering of conflict..

A touching statue by Käthe Kollwitz’s of ‘Mother with her Dead Son’. This sculpture is situated in a stark bare room right under the open oculus, and so is exposed to the rain, snow and cold of the Berlin climate, symbolising the suffering of civilians during World War II. At the New Watchouse (Neue Wache). Unter der Linden, Berlin.

Mother and her dead son..
Mother and her dead son.

In 2014, there are stories of conflict and suffering all around the world, and I can’t think of a better message to post on as the first blog post for this year!

Star Gazing!

The Jantar-Mantar is a cluster of 18th century astronomical instruments that formed an observatory for observing the celestial skies in Delhi. These were built by the Maharajah of Jaipur Jai Singh II. Today these buildings sit as an ochre and green oasis in the centre of New Delhi.

The photo below is that of the Ram Yantra, a cylindrical building that is used to measure the movement of stars.

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Inside the Ram Yantra – a star observatory at the 18th century Jantar Mantar complex in New Delhi. Click on photograph for a larger version on Flickr.