Year end…

Last weeks of 2022 brought proper, continental winter weather to Hertfordshire. Knee-deep snow, below zero temperatures round the clock, and, most importantly, golden hour quality light even at mid-day. I haven’t seen such conditions in the UK since the infamous Beast from the East, when the actual snow only lasted a couple of days. I simply had to do my favourite walk – turns out my waterproof Clarks boots are excellent on snow and ice. It took me twice as long but the scenery blew me away:

I did not travel anywhere for Xmas. Instead, I invited my dear friend and fellow blogger E. to Chester. At last I was able to host her at my own place and although she had been to Chester before, I wanted to show her some hidden gems and took her for a few long walks where most tourists rarely go: along the river Dee and over the bridge to Curzon Park; the canalside, Hoole, both parts of the Overleigh cemetary (we even went inside the small Orthodox church which, unusually, was open to visitors). We did the touristy bits too, starting with an evening walk on the 23rd December, when I proudly showed E. our shiny new Market. We got to see the Christmas trees in the Cathedral but the Tower was sadly closed on Xmas Eve. We were charged 拢2.50 entry fee, a bargain compared to so many other cathedrals in the UK.

Chester streets were pretty much abandoned on Christmas day. For once we could take a proper look at the wonderful architecture. Chester is such a charming and yet underrated city. I really hope their recent marketing campaign will reach wider audience in the UK and abroad. It took decades to build a new market etc. but at least we’ve got it.

Our pre-booked Airbnb experience/tour got cancelled so instead we booked a Ghost Tour with an official city guide on Christmas Eve. No shortage of ghosts in this city, I tell you!

I spent the rest of my festive break watching Netflix and my favourite You Tube travel channels 馃槈 I also purchased and binged iPhone Photo Academy. Needless to say, on January the 1st I was out and about trying out various techniques and applying tips I learned from the course. I don’t have the latest iPhone 14 with 48 megapixel AppleProRaw camera (yet!), but hey, my vintage iPhone X I bought 4 years ago still does a pretty nice job.

I have added some really good apps to my phone recently, namely Pro Camera which allows for shooting RAW format (not otherwise available on iPhone X) and much better control of focus and exposure, and Slow Shutter for long exposure and light trails. The costs of these were minimal and they possibilities they offer are endless. I took some random pics just for fun at Westfield shopping centre before I went to see ‘The Menu’ film (a fantastic one, by the way), and I rather like the results.

Happy New Year and may we all have countless amazing photography and travel opportunities in these next twelve months 馃檪