Capturing Urban Texture

I love taking photographs and have been looking at ones that I have taken in different parts of the world that capture what I call urban texture. That is, the colours, textures, lighting, brickwork and contrast that my photographs captured within urban landscapes.

I have run these through filters available on Instragram to try to exaggerate the textures to increase their impact and then compiled them in a section that I have created within Flickr.

The images compiled so far cover places such as my home town of Wakefield, Siena, New York, Portofino, Paris, Warsaw, Provins, Beverley, Rome, York, Bridlington, Verona, Zurich, Copenhagen, Sorrento, Venice, Leeds, Pisa, Cefalu, Luca, Berlin, London and Jerusalem.

The following is my progress on this small project that I have achieved so far (click the image below to see the collection):

A) Urban Texture


Treasures of Tuscany – The Piccolomini Library

Above: Close up of the vaulted ceiling of the Piccolomini Library

The Piccolomini Library is located within the magnificent Duomo di Siena in one of my favourite cities in all of Italy.

I used one of its illuminated manuscripts to give a bit of colour to the article I posted yesterday. Today I thought it would be good to show people more of the library’s cultural treasures. It also gives me the excuse to showcase some of my photos.

Wikipedia describes the library as follows:

“Adjoining the cathedral is the Piccolomini Library, housing precious illuminated choir books and frescoes painted by the Umbrian Bernardino di Betto, called Pinturicchio, probably based on designs by Raphael.” (1)

The library is named after Enea Silvio Piccolomini  who became Pope Pius II. The frescoes on the walls by Pinturicchio depict his life. According to an article at

“The Library itself was built by Pope Pius II’s nephew, also a cardinal who also later became Pope Pius III…, the library was in memory of his uncle and to conserve the rich collection of manuscripts he had lovingly collected.” (2)

The Illuminated manuscripts on display are impressive in and of themselves but the library’s delights don’t end with the books. The vibrancy of colour is a veritable feast for the eyes.

Untitled Above: Illuminated manuscripts (choir books) on display

Above: Close up of an example of the illuminated manuscripts

Untitled Above: Vaulted ceiling and statue of the Three Graces with Pinturicchio’s frescoes in the alcoves. People looking at the choir books at the bottom of the shot.

Above: Piccolomini receiving his cardinal’s hat from the Pope

Untitled Above: Part of the fresco where Piccolomini introduces Eleonora of Portugal to Holy Roman Emperor Frederick III

Above: Part of the fresco depicting the Diet of Princes at Mantua where Pope Pius II (Piccolomini) proclaimed a new crusade in 1459

If you are wandering around Italy and find yourself in Siena be sure to check this place out, it is well worth a visit.


(1) Sienna Cathedral:

(2) The Piccolomini Library, a Treasure within a Treasure

Old World Charm on The Bay of Naples: Albergo Lorelei et Londres

One of my favourite panoramic views in the world is one overlooking Mount Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples from Sorrento.  In the foreground is a wonderful looking pastel red coloured hotel.  You can just about make out the cracked lettering to see the name of this old hotel  – “Albergo Lorelei et Londres”. This hotel helps make a magnificent view even better.


To me the view and this particular hotel represent the essence of Sorrento.  To find it you need to go to the eastern side of town a short walk from the main Tasso Square. It is located on Via Aniello Califano and set at the top of a shear cliff face, high above the main port, Marina Piccola.

I must admit, when I first saw this building it was love at first sight. Its vivid red colour contrasting perfectly against the blue Mediterranean sky. Nevertheless, I have never actually experienced the hotel itself. On the two occasions I was in Sorrento it was closed up and falling into disrepair.

I googled it when I returned home and it seems that it closed in 2007 (1).  A Trip Advisor forum speculated about what had happened to it (2). An article at implies that it was particularly popular with budget travelers and that the roadside rooms were noisy (3). refers to it as ‘one of the Secret Hotels of the Amalfi Coast, a tattered olde worlde budget gem’ (4). It made The Telegraph travel guide in July 2004 which said it had 50 rooms, 30 of which had a sea view and it refers to a price tag of £65 (5).

You would probably enjoy bread and water with the breath-taking views on offer, but it also seems to have had a reputation for good eating and drinking back in the day. It was mentioned in an article by under the title ‘The Best Restaurants With the Best Views’ (6), had it as one of ’12 Restaurants with the Best Views in the World’ (7), and  an article published in May 2011 at rated it as one of the ‘top rooftop bars in Europe’ (8). Some other reviews can be found HERE and HERE.

You also get the impression that it would be the sort of hotel that people would have stayed at while undertaking ‘The Grand Tour’. Edwardian elegance at the hotel pictured HERE and HERE present an insight into the lifestyle of that period.

The hotel itself may, in fact, have had its ultimate origins in the world of Ancient Rome, the Rome into which those Grand Tourists wanted to immerse themselves at Pompeii and Herculanium. An article at entitled ‘Albergo Lorelei et Londres: un antico rifugio di pittori e letterati a Sorrento’, if I have interpreted the google translated version correctly, suggests that it could have been built on Roman foundations, probably the villas of the elite of that time – Senators, Generals, senior imperial officials, from where they could enjoy their leisure time, their wealth, and their privileged status in ancient Surrentum (9).

Above: View of Albergo Lorelei et Londres from on of the lidos at Marina San Francesco at the bottom of the cliffs.


Above: A closer shot of the hotel, with the remains of the old restaurant are in the foreground. The square structure is the lift that goes to the beach area at the foot of the cliff.


Above: A small pier and crystal clear waters at the bottom of the cliff.


I found photos of what the hotel looked like when it was operation and provide links to these below:

Outdoor restaurant on the terrace overlooking the bay: HEREHEREHEREHERE, HERE, and with Vespas parked outside HERE. In the days of what would assume to be times when people were stilll taking the the Grand Tour HERE (looking from the sea at the bottom of the cliff), inside what looks like the dining room HERE, and another indoor room HERE. Another great pic HERE.


(2) Trip Advisor
(5) The Telegraph

A Snowy Tour of South Wakefield

Last night we had the first snows of winter so I thought I would go on a photographic tour to capture the essence of this time of year.  I started at Sandal Castle, then moved to the area around Chantry Chapel, then went to Heath Common before finally finishing up at Crofton Church.  The following are the photos that I took:

Sandal Castle

Sandal Castle Sledging - Copy

Sandal Castle - Copy

Sandal Castle 2 - Copy

Sanda Castle Keep - Copy

Sandal Castle Ruin 3 - Copy

Sandal Castle Moat - Copy

Sandal Castle Ruin 2 - Copy

Views from Sandal Castle

Manygates Lane - Copy

Wakefield View 4

Wakefield View 3

Wakefield View 2 - Copy

Wakefield View 1 - Copy


Chantry Chapel

Wakefield Bridge

Chantry Chapel 3

Chantry Chapel 2

Chantry Chapel 1

Chantry Faces

Chantry Chapel Plaque

River Calder

City of Wakefield


Kings Arms and Snowman

Heath Hall

Heath Hall 2

Heath Tea Rooms

House at Heath

Heath Snow

Heath Telephone Box

Crofton Church

Crofton Church and Stocks

Crofton Church

Crofton Church 2

Poppy Fields View, Yorkshire

Written on 17 October 2013

I am quite a keen photographer, the following are some photographs that I took a few years ago in my local area.  The fields are different every year according to what crop is grown, etc.  The particular year when these photographs were taken seemed to cause poppies to grow.  I have not seen anything similar either before or since. I thought I would take this opportunity to showcase these vividly colourful photographs on my blog.

Poppy Field 1

Poppy Field 2

Poppy Field 3

Poppy Field 4

Poppy Field 5

Poppy Field 6

Poppy Field 7

Poppy Field 8

Poppy Field 9