Abbey Dore Court

This weekend we were lucky enough to stay at Abbey Dore Court in Herefordshire with of our friends and children. It was a brilliant weekend, great company with lots of laughter in an awesome setting. The house was the perfect place for us all to stay and a top find by Jonno who organised the trip.

It’s the first time I’ve ever stayed in Herefordshire. I’ve visited Abergavenny, Hereford and the surrounding areas many times but never explored rural Herefordshire.

Abbey Dore Court is built on the banks of the Dore River. The countryside here is beautiful with lush green rolling fields. Plenty of lambs filled the fields around the village of Abbey Dore with daffodils lining the country lanes, a sign that spring is well and truly here at last.

Nature trails along the banks of the River Dore and across nearby fields, provided a great opportunity to get out and explore.

Abbey Dore Court is a grand house, rich in history. The owner’s website details its past with links to the village’s Abbey dating from 1167. The house as it is seen today dates from 1837 with a background as a local inn. Modifications from 1861 onwards and its conversion to a house include a Jacobean staircase and a fireplace from 1621. It also has a 8 acre garden which you can visit from April to September, Thursday to Sunday for £5 entrance fee.

The features of the house were great for photos. From the head carved out of wood on the staircase bannister, to the feature bay windows in the ballroom, to the chandeliers and moulded ceilings throughout.

Here’s a few images of the house and it’s surroundings. It’s an amazing place and if you ever get the chance to stay here, do it! There were 7 children in our group and they loved their home for the weekend, loads of space to play and plenty of hiding places for hide and seek.

On the way to the house of Friday I made a quick stop at the famous Skirrid Inn just outside of Abergavenny. I’ve included a picture in the gallery below. Notorious for its history as a court, hangings and being one of the oldest pubs in Wales, it is well known by ghost hunters for it’s spooky goings on. The pub’s website has more info if you ever plan on visiting.

As always more of my images of the British countryside can be seen on my website: http://www.nathanaeljonesphotography.com

 

 

 

Here we go

It starts

For as long as I remember I’ve loved the outdoors. As a child most weekends were spent exploring. My dad had a motto that if you took kids to shops on weekends it made them unhappy, as all they wanted was stuff they couldn’t have, so getting in to the wide outdoors was the perfect solution. Endless fun that didn’t make us grumpy and it didn’t cost anything either.

Most weekends found us either in the mountains of South Wales or having a bonfire on the beach and cooking a tin of beans.

As the grandson of a Cornish man on my mums side and Pembroke man on my dads side, I guess I was destined to love the sea and the coast. The sound of the waves breaking on the shore, even the sand blasting me in the face when the wind is blowing, I love it!

Photography

In 2007 I went to Canada to explore the wild outdoors with my trusty compact Casio camera, which was about 2 mega pixel and ancient by today’s standard. One day sailing between Prince Rupert and Vancouver Island on the BC Ferry, a bizarre incident took place where a British woman approached me as she had been told I was a professional from England. She asked to see my photos of Canada and asked if I would give a presentation of my images to the Women’s Institute in Kent. Ever seen a pro photographer use a compact camera? me neither! I don’t know who told her that but I owe you a thanks, I didn’t do the presentation but it did make me think maybe I should do more photography.

Fast Forward…I decide to buy a digital SLR. teaching myself shutter speeds, iso and composition.

Motorsport

By 2010 I was photographing motorsport events with my brother. We had both always loved motorbike racing, so why not, it was fun for us. Our images got noticed and in a short space of time we had just under 3000 followers on Facebook. We covered major events, the UK motorcycle show at the NEC, the Isle of Man TT. We met celebrities like Murray Walker and Guy Martin, we got given food, hospitality it was a blast.

It all cost serious money though, every weekend up and down the country non stop. Weirdness too, people copied our shots, copied our captions, followed us to stand in the same spot, copied everything. You couldn’t make it up! It was all a bit cut throat. It was one big learning curve.

My Ford Fiesta was soon starting to disintegrate and generally shedding parts in various places around the UK, just from the miles we were covering. The inside of the passenger door would fill up with water every time it rained and then freeze as a solid block of ice on cold days. This was a rock n roll lifestyle. When I was dating my wife, she would always ask what’s that water sloshing around in the door…my water feature!

Remember the motto from earlier…..why do something that costs you if you can do something better for free.

Landscape

So I started taking pictures of Wales instead and people seemed to like them.

Waterfalls, coast, wildlife and nature.

Then I started to use filters, getting creative and making different shots.

“You don’t take a photograph, you make it” – Ansel Adams

Landscape is everywhere and it’s different everywhere. So many options of how you can take a photo. I became like the robot in Short Circuit…need more input, constantly reading and researching finding new places to go.

Why do I love it?

It means I’m out in the fresh air. My wife and our son who is 2 come with me.

In Wales, where I live I can be in the Brecon Beacons National Park in under an hour walking in the mountains or in an hour and a half walking on Rhossili Beach in the Gower, Newport Wetlands and marshes are 15 minutes away. All these places are different, have unique features. I could visit each one, every day for years and capture different things.

If it’s raining and I get drenched, so what it adds something to the photo.

And it’s not just Wales either it could be Cornwall, Yorkshire Dales, Lake District etc. the same applies.

This is why I love it.

Finally

I’ll end this post with one of my favourite quotes

There are always two people in every picture: the photographer and the viewer.” – Ansel Adams

Every photo I make has me in it, hopefully as you join me on this adventure you’ll find you in each photo too.

I’ll be posting about places I go, images I capture and all sorts, it’s going to be fun!