“Chocolate Box” Photos …

Before going to England, I did some web searching to find places of photographic interest in the vicinity of Cirencester in the Cotswolds.  Running across the web site of the Cirencester Camera Club, I sent an enquiry via their comment form, asking for suggestions and whether anyone would be interested in going out on a morning photo expedition.  I got a reply from the club president, Syd Mathews, so that on the Friday morning I was in Cirencester, Syd, John Hanlin, and I went to Bibury, a location that has been called “the most beautiful village in England”.  The picturesque Arlington Row cottages that I show in this post were built in 1380 as a monastic wool store, and were converted into a row of weavers’ cottages in the 17th century. Arlington Row is probably one of the most photographed Cotswolds scenes, what Syd and John termed as a “Chocolate Box” scene.

The three of us did not get to Bibury until nearly 9am, meaning the sun was relatively high in a cloudless sky and the shadows were very harsh.  The only way around the extreme lighting was to shoot an HDR series to capture detail in both the highlights and the shadows. Not being able to spend much time with the subject before the light got even worse, I also decided to shoot a panorama in order capture the whole scene. The following image shows the almost the entire length of Arlington Row. It consists of four separate HDR images that were then stiched together in Adobe Bridge.

As the first of the tourists began to show up to get their snapshots, the three of us adjourned to shoot at the abandoned Thames and Severn Canal for a while, and then Syd and I took off for a cup of coffee.  It was very nice to be able to hook up with folks like Syd and John who share your interests, and I am very grateful for their hospitality and warmth.  But … the Bibury story does not stop there.

The next morning, I made another run to Bibury on my own.  I left at 6am, hoping to get the early monring light.  What I got was fog.

Both of the following images are stitched panaoramas. The first image was taken at the western end of Arlington Row, looking back down on the scene I had taken the day before from the other end.

This final image came from approximately the same location as the shot I had taken the day before, but this time I decided the foggy scene would look best in black and white.

I hope you enjoy these images.