Recently my friend and colleague David (who knows South Bristol a lot better than I do) recommend I head up to Dundry for a great view of Bristol. Dundry is a small village several miles South from Bristol, and perched atop a large hill. It has several radio masts and I believe one of them broadcasts BBC Radio Bristol.
This was also the first proper outing with my Sigma 100-300mm f/4 telephoto lens, which was an upgrade from a Tamron 70-300mm f/4-5.6. I’m delighted to say it’s in a different league – amazing. There is basically no chromatic aberration at all, which was one of the major flaws of the Tamron lens. The limiting factor I ran into was the haze of a hot Summer’s day, and the heat shimmer from shooting over a city.
One of the most prominent features on Bristol’s skyline is Brunel‘s famous Clifton Suspension Bridge – glorious in the sunlight. The small white tower just behind the bridge is the Clifton Observatory. The Avon Gorge traditionally marks the county border between Somerset (on the left) and Avon (on the right) although the county of Avon no longer exists, and is now the City of Bristol.
The sun was darting in and out from the clouds so some of these images have a bluish cast in certain parts that were under cloud at the time. This next image shows the high rise central area of Bristol. The tallest building you can see is Castlemead. On the very left of the picture you can see the Purdown comms tower, on the right you can see the wide blue and yellow Ikea building, and up a bit from Ikea is the distinctive Dower House, more commonly known as “the yellow castle near the M32”.
This picture, centred on the University of Bristol, is panned a bit left of the one above. There are so many buildings in such a small area that it’s hard to describe the picture in words, but I’ll try anyway. From left to right:
- To the let of the green park area, the building with the steep roof and green bell tower is the great hall of Bristol Grammar school
- At the top of the green park area you can see Cabot Tower
- Immediately overlapping Cabot Tower is the blocky Senate House, the University administration building
- The Gothic tower is the Wills Memorial Building, home to the law and geology departments
- The tower with the four turrets is the H H Wills Physics laboratory
- Between Physics and the white chimney you can see the construction site for what will be the Life Sciences building which should be open for use in 2014
- The white chimney belongs to the veterinary school on Southwell Street
- Immediately below the chiney, the two-tone sandy building is the Queen’s Building which houses most of the engineering faculty
- Just right of the Queen’s Building there are two similarly-coloured orange buildings. The one closer to us is the Chemistry department, and the one further away is the Medical faculty. The Chemistry department also owns the pale buildings to the right.
- All of the buildings along the bottom of the picture are apartments on the floating harbour
- That’s more bullet points than I had expected to write. Maybe I should just have annotated the picture. Ho hum.
Probably of relevance only to people who live in mostly-low-rise East Bristol, the green area is Troopers Hill Nature Reserve. It has a wonky chimney dating back to the 1700s when the area was quarried for coal, clay and copper. The steep terrace of houses immediately to the right of the nature reserve is Troopers Hill Road. The only distinctive building you can see in this picture is the domed clock tower of Cossham Hospital, Kingswood, visible in the top-left of this picture.
Whilst I was at Dundry I walked along a public footpath in a field which had some cows in it. I thought they deserved a photo, but decided not to get too close after our comically disastrous trip to Gloucester last year.
This buttercup was also photographed with the Sigma 100-300mm lens. It doesn’t have a macro setting so the picture was taken from about three metres away. The sunlight was bright enough that I was able to keep the shutter speed fast and shoot this hand-held!
I hadn’t realised how close Dundry is to Bristol Airport until a plane went over quite low. I like aeroplanes but I can’t tell you what kind this is. It’s orange and white, and it was coming in to land.