What have you been up to so far this summer? Did you get to go away somewhere nice, warm (and sandy, perhaps), or are you someone who stays in the city and works through the summer, taking your vacation in the Fall instead?
Apart from an end-of-the-month Italian get-away, planned several months ago, I did not have anything going on this summer. So when Lorna, friend and former fellow co-ordinator of Vienna Photo Walk, invited me to visit her in Oxford I jumped at the opportunity. For several reasons:
One, I’ve missed Lorna since she left us in April, and it was a great chance to catch up. Two, I’d never actually been to that part of the country before, and was excited to visit Oxford, Bath, and anywhere else my gracious hostess was willing and able to take me. Finally, Vienna in August is definitely not ‘the dream’ (I don’t cope well with heat), so ‘an English summer’ sounded perfect to me.
Lorna moved to Oxford a couple of months ago, settling back into her lovely home, a new job, and an exciting fresh project: Oxford Photo Walk. Running along the same scheme as our group, OPW hosts monthly walks, regular contests, photo challenges, and much more. Our young sister group is still at the beginning of her life – OPW’s first photo walk is, coincidentally, tomorrow! – but already there’s been huge interest, and their upcoming event is completely sold out. Lorna will be taking her photo walkers on a tour of Oxford city center, and I know they are in for a treat because I got the five-day version of it myself, as we roamed Oxford, Bath, and the towns and villages of the Cotswolds together.
So, having seen everything I saw, what do I think will Oxford Photo Walkers especially love capturing on their future walks?
I am a city girl. I love architecture, fashion, busy streets, and coffee shop chains. But findings myself in OPW’s part of the world I was lulled into submission by nature. Everywhere you looked, there it was, bursting into life: endless emerald parks, lush shady country roads, vast green fields, exotic flowers, colossal old trees, and gorgeous private gardens. I had heard that Oxford was ‘green’, but I guess I just wasn’t ready for quite so much beauty. I smell a “Nature Photo Walk” in OPW’s future, and I know they are going to love it (and possibly go crazy on the macro).
There was water everywhere we went: in Oxford itself, as well as the many neighboring towns and villages we visited. Vienna has its canal, the Danube, and the old Danube, but nothing quite as charming as a series of small, winding canals… especially ones you can go boating or punting on! Clearly, that’s got to be a topic for OPW, and they are going to love all those dreamy reflections. I know I did!
3. Pretty Facades
I just loved the streets in Oxford, Bath, Bourton-on-the-Water, Upper Slaughter, Burford & Co. The houses are so picturesque you’d think they were straight out of a fairytale, with their immaculate gardens drowning in flowers, cosy brick and sandstone cornices, and those doors…!
4. Colourful Doors
… Those bright, colourful doors! I’d walk by each new door, proclaiming, ‘if I lived here, THIS is the colour I’d paint my door!”, only to change my mind two minutes later upon seeing another one. My personal favourites were the sky blues, the teals, and the ceruleans, but I can see how people would rather go for the fireman-red or black; those are certainly statement doors.
5. The Devil’s in the Details
Now, this may be because my personal preference lies in photographing details (food, plants, architectural ornaments, textures, etc.), but I found this trip to be particularly satisfying for the close-up photography I was able to practice. There were just so many delightful details all around me: a vintage set of coffee cups at a Sunday flea market, a jar of strawberry jam cooling off on the window sill, an expressive cat in a window, an ornate rake leaning playfully against a flawless white fence… any detail-lovers out there joining OPW will, no doubt, feel their heart skip a beat at the sight of such charming mementos and moments.
This blog post was, really, just a bit of fun, and my chance to both introduce OPW, and share some of my photos from the trip. I, of course, have no idea what Lorna has planned for Oxford Photo Walk, but I am excited to find out. Best of luck to you, guys, and we at VPW look forward to seeing your work!