Smartphone SIG field trip to Oxford: Saturday 22nd April 2023


Magdalen College by Jeff

Despite long-made plans, only Alan and David managed to join me on our field trip to Oxford, perhaps in part due to the problems with the rail link from Reading.  This, though, had the unexpected benefit for Alan and I of sharing the rail replacement coach with a load of voluble and excited Spanish teenagers, with one applying mascara to her friend’s eyelashes – remarkably brave on a moving bus, we thought.

Mascara by Alan

On arrival we were captivated by the architecture in the town, not just the classical like the c15th Magdalen College shown above and the c18th Radcliffe Camera

Radcliffe Camera by Jeff

but the c19th Northgate Hall and Keble College.

A few other buildings caught our attention, including the Red Lion pub in Gloucester Street, captured by wide angle.

Red Lion by Jeff

but we spent much of our time wandering round St Catherine’s College (Alan’s alma mater) which is a c20th Grade I listed complex designed by the Danish architect Arne Jacobson and includes the only Grade I listed bike shed in the UK – probably in the world! – captured here in pano mode.

The moat is a surprising and unusual feature, and an ideal subject for capturing our recent theme of reflections.

Moat by Alan

Recently built student accommodation for the college, while not designed by Jacobson, was built in sympathy with his style.

Student Flats by David

There were few students on campus just before the beginning of term and a walk through the grounds and along the riverside gave us long views and let us turn our attention to the well-kept planting, including some unusual species such as the Sophora microphylla ‘Sun King’ below (incidentally, identified using the iPhone’s ‘Find Plant’ feature).

Sophora by Jeff

Returning to town we were impressed by the c21st Blavatnik School of Government building, an interesting structure and a wonderful source of reflections, with an unusual sculpture just outside, looking towards the Oxford University Press building.

Another c21st building is the striking, and RIBA Award winning Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin building, with its coloured glass panels and intriguing windows.,

Of course, Oxford doesn’t only have buildings, it has a river with people-powered rowing boats, kayaks, punts and pedalos, all of which were on view for our cameras.

And everywhere were bicycles, with just two which caught our eye shown here.

As all our SIG members know, smartphones are ideal for street photography, of which we took full advantage on a busy Saturday afternoon. Alan gets my vote for the best one of the day. – “Who,her?”

Speaking for myself, I have several hundred images still to work through and could readily go back to Oxford and take hundreds more, not just of its buildings ancient and modern but its monuments, its three museums, its Botanic Garden and its very lively street scene.  Altogether, it’s a photographer’s delight.

Jeff Lawrence
SIG Leader

Jeff Lawrence

I'm a former scientist and engineer who took up photography after retirement and became captivated by it,