Have you ever made plans with your friends and gushed about how very excited you are about them and then have them not happen ? It sucks doesn’t it ?
Something similar happened to my friends and me a few days ago. We had planned on visiting the Highgate Cemetery where, not only would we get to enjoy the change in landscape (since it is located in Zone 3 of London) but I would also get the chance to practice and improve my photography skills. Unfortunately upon arriving there, we realised we had to pay 4 pounds to enter. The only way to wander around and enjoy the cemetery was to pay for a private tour of it.
Luckily, right next to it was situated Waterlow Park and I am so glad it was because I had the best time taking pictures of my friends there. The park provided not just a wonderful excuse to relax by taking some time off studies but is also home to some beautiful sights.
The gates at the entrance itself were so ornate that I couldn’t help but take a picture of it. I know that there is nothing fancy about gates and there are prettier gates somewhere in the world but (call me weird) I found it pretty.
Having been extremely influenced and inspired by the amazing photography of Alessio Albi, I really wanted to try my hand at the kind of photography he is so skilled at. If any one of you are interested in his work, you can check out his Instagram account here. I intended to at least try capturing the beauty of human features against the background of nature with a contrast of light and colours influenced by seasons and elements of weather.
So, like a woman on a mission, I entered the park only to catch sight of a section of the wall dividing the cemetery and the park almost hidden by massive trees and a huge bark of wood lying on the grass like a crude bench. I looked towards Sarah who was one of my two muses for the day, and she got to work or well not, since it doesn’t take her much effort to look beautiful really.
As we walked further into the park, we came across patches off daffodils planted all round, gently swaying to the breeze that had started up. I loved the bright yellow of the flowers against the greenery and somehow I got transported back to third grade, when I helped my mum paint daffodils and cut them out to stick them in her classroom to make it more brighter and beautiful.
I know, I’ve been reminiscing quite a bit these past few blog posts.
As we were strolling around, Sarah found a spot that not only gave us an amazing view of the cemetery and some of the more intricately carved headstones but one that was surrounded by wild cherry shrubs and forsythias. Sarah very candidly pointed out that the flowers had no smell. Despite all efforts, the pictures of her smelling them weren’t that convincing and one could almost read her expression regarding the lack of fragrance except this one.
Right opposite the shrubs was a gigantic oak tree with a hollow bark and I knew I wanted to photograph it having seen countless pictures all over the web of people standing inside the trees. Unfortunately it was fenced off. That didn’t stop us though. After looking around and seeing no cops, Sarah jumped the fence and we got to work pronto ! Toothless did pull a prank on us though during this crazy stunt of ours. Just as we were letting our guard down, she screamed ‘cops’ and we nearly jumped out of our skin.
Not cool Toothless, not cool.
Just when we thought this park couldn’t get any prettier, we came across small ponds with ducks swimming around in them. It saddened me to see that some people had carelessly thrown their litter in these ponds which justified why the ponds were sealed and had fences all round them. The landscape though was so pretty with water pouring down rock terraces and flowers of various kinds growing all around.
Here are some of my absolute favourite views of the park greenery.
Toothless, who was hoping I had forgotten about my intention to photograph her, tried to camouflage with the flora but she didn’t quite succeed.
If I had to mention one thing I absolutely love about Toothless, it would have to be her smile. She has the most free and warm smile I have ever seen. One flash of it and you’ll be smiling yourself the rest of the day and no matter how bad your day was, one glimpse of that amazing smile and your day will definitely brighten up. Hopefully, I captured that amazing feature of this wonderful human being through my pictures.
I will admit, I can be picky sometimes when I want to take pictures which means I often ask my muses to do pretty weird or difficult stuff. Toothless had to suffer through this as well. Having found a very different Jungle Gym, I asked Toothless to climb on top of it so that I could have a different view. Mind you, this Jungle Gym was built out of barks of wood that were haphazardly nailed together. Climbing on top of it wasn’t the hard part. Not falling down from it was though. Toothless succeeded with flying colours. If only this was the only hard thing she had to do…
Right next to the Jungle Gym was a very unstable ‘bridge’ made out of slabs of stone. It was quite wobbly and I think the main intention of the bridge was to test your balancing skills. After a few failed attempts, Toothless crossed the bridge without stumbling or tripping. I was beaming at her like a proud momma by the end of it.
We decided on retracing our steps since we wanted to go see the ducks one more time. Only this time, we came across a different pond next to which was nestling a beautiful Weeping Willow. Toothless’s hair and the branches of the Weeping Willow made quite the contrast I feel.
As luck would have it, as we were looking for a spot where Sarah could sneakily pull her tights back on, we bumped into the most adorable puppy. He was out for an afternoon walk and he was so tired, he couldn’t stop yawning !! It didn’t help his situation when all of us couldn’t stop petting and cuddling him.
He also led us to a part of the park where small land slides had occurred and the trees that had grown there, cast extremely dark shadows. I ordered Toothless to run up one of these slides and pose for me and one of my favourite pictures of her came out from it.
Soon though it was time to leave. We trudged back towards our bus stop which let me tell wasn’t fun. The journey back was a steep trek uphill and by the end of it all of us were panting with me complaining incessantly about my back. In my defence, I was carrying a bag full of camera equipment and I had a cold.
What made the trek worth it was the view we came across just as we were exiting the alley.
It was one of the entrances to the cemetery. Despite the fact that the gates were sealed shut, we had an amazing view of it. Somehow, as I looked on, the voices all around me subdued and for a moment, I felt as though I were one with the spirits of the cemetery. I left the place with a sad smile on my face, a part of my soul mourning and praying for the souls that had left the earth and had found peace in the afterlife, even though I didn’t know them.
If someday, you plan on visiting Highgate Cemetery, take my suggestion into account. Go visit Waterlow Park as well. I bet you, you won’t be disappointed.
Till then Mavericks…