I have lived during three years in London, and have to say it is a stunning city where you can always discover wonderful places. No matter how many years have you been living there, you are always able to discover nice corners! One of the places I have always enjoyed is Saint James Park. I have taken there all my family and friends and whomever have visited me during my years living in that city.
Not everybody knows that Saint James Park is connected to both Green and Hyde Park, and these to Kensington Gardens.
I have visited all the green areas in London, but have to say this is by far the one I love the most. The reasons are that the location is wonderful: it is in the heart of the old London, so near of Westminster and the Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus… and the ambient you can feel in the park is stunning: tourists feeding the squirrels, cute benches next to the water shore, so many birds waiting to be fed and the adorable cottage where the grounds keeper used to live…
It was my favourite place to spend some hours reading a book either on the grass or, if it was chilly, on a nearby bench. No matter what season you go to London, just go to the Park and you will find a way to get relaxed.
In Autumn and Winter (London can sometimes be really chilly, even for a Norwegian girl!!!), grab a coffee or a hot chocolate from the Starbucks on the other side of Green Park, walk around and try to stay warm. As soon as the sun comes out, however, switch out that coffee for a 99 Chocolate Twirl ice cream from one of the stands, find a good bench and watch the people jogging, bird feeding or one of those guys (London is full of them!) who are simply always late and have to go hurrying to a very important meeting! In summer you can go there and enjoy the nice temperature of the city… you will even feel how locals change their mood when they see the sun shining bright in a blue sky.
Now let me tell you a secret. Before moving to London I had never lived in big city like London, so I began to miss desperately the Nature I had grown up with in Western Norway. It took me some time to discover my favourite green path in London, but when I did, I went nearly every week to hike all of it!
At first you cannot imagine you can walk for hours among trees and greenery protected from the traffic of a huge city like London. Not everybody knows (or realizes) that Saint James Park is connected to both Green and Hyde Park, and these to Kensington Gardens.
You can start walking on the nearest corner of St. James Park to Westminster. If you have to meet someone you can tell her to meet in the cute old cottage. Then walk across the following the water course in the direction of Buckingham Palace and get into Green Park. Continue across this beautiful Park from corner to corner and you arrive to Hyde Park, and from there you can continue walking until you arrive to the Kensington Gardens. Without even noticing you have walked several kilometres surrounded by green trees, grass gardens, water courses and birds, right in the middle of Europe’s busiest city! It is an absolutely amazing feeling, and a perfect break from the hustle of the city.
Getting to St. James’ Park is simple. Take the tube to Westminster (District Line) or Green Park (Piccadilly Line), and from one of those tube stations it is just a 5 minute walk. It is close to Buckingham Palace, Piccadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square as well, so if you are a tourist visiting London for the first time, you won’t have trouble finding it from wherever you are. If you are tired of the tourist hype in Oxford Street or Leicester Square, you now know where to go to have a rest.
I hope you will visit the park the next time you are in my favourite city! If you do, let us know!
I am LisaLDN, a 24 year old wanderluster who writes about my life and travels at lisaldn.com.
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EXPLANATION - TECHNICAL DATA OF THE PUBLISHED IMAGE
SHUTTER SPEED: 1/250
1/250 was the minimum speed I needed to freeze the movement of the bird. Even 1/500 or 1/1000 would have been more appropiate.
A complete wide open aperture was needed to minimize the depth of field and make the bird and tourist stand out of the background. In addition, opening so much allowed me to freeze the movement of the bird without using a high ISO that would have produced a lot of noise in the picture.
Althought I am happy about the freezing of the wingbeat of the bird, today with the Nikon D800, which produces cleaner pictures even at ISO 1600 than my Nikon D7000, I'd have used used ISO 800 to take this picture. I'd have used those two extra points setting the shutter speed to 1/1000 to ensure the freezing of the movement of the bird.
MODE: A - Aperture Priority
My priority was to shoot wide open, f2.8, so I fixed this parameter, letting the others fall wherever they felt (but checked them to be sure I was shooting below 1/250!)
FOCAL LENGTH: 185 mm (280mm on the DX sensor of the Nikon D7000 I was using)
You have to be far away from the subject to photograph this kind of scenes... a tele is a must. The Nikon 80-200 AF 2.8 is a great lens for this type of pictures.
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