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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The Alamo!

The battle of the Alamo (1836) has attained a mythical status in american culture and history. The story of this battle has been told many times in print and on film, so much so that it is now difficult to separate truth from hype and fiction. Either way, the remains of the Alamo mission is a historical legacy of the wars between american forces of the Texas colonist and Mexico leading to the establishment of the Republic of Texas. The story of a few embattled soldiers fighting against an overwhelming force resounds throughout human history and the Alamo is one such example of exemplary bravery in the face of all odds.

The Alamo Mission, San Antonio
The Alamo mission. Ruins from the Battle of the Alamo (1836). Click on the photo for a larger version.

 

Photographed at ISO100, f/14 20 second exposure. Sigma 28-70 f/2.8 lens perched on a bottle cap!

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.

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.

19877566_d200aa1f6d_o
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.