Saturday, 7 May 2011

York - The Yorkshire Museum ... and a bonus

Following on from the previous morning post, this midday start was an organised opportunity to meet up with friends I had made on a previous occasion to tour this venue. The visit was intended to see some of the changes made to the museum and to enjoy some food and company afterwards.

The Yorkshire Museum was built in 1828 to increase the space available for the archaeology collection of the local Philosophical society.  The land used for this project was adjacent to St Mary's Abbey and one of the stipulations was that the grounds would become like a botanical garden. The local council acquired the site in 1960 and a further merger of most of York's museums took place in 2002.

A major refurbishment took place where the building was closed during late 2009 and opened on Yorkshire day (1st August 2010).

We were given two hours to look around which is ideal if one wants to examine all the exhibits. However, I was a little distracted (as usual) by the camera and a blog post that I read in the previous week to this visit from mountain lyon that examined the experimentation of higher ISO settings to eliminate indoor flash or the use of a tripod.

It was also a chance to photograph things that are virtually impossible to see far less photograph .....

The Red Squirrel
The Farne islands Puffin
Unsold or just well stocked ?? !!
Although there were some interesting exhibits, there is only a limited amount of excitement that you can put into a static museum & it seemed like they were a little ambitious with the gifts on display in the shop. Even though they may attract end of term school trips, I think they still have a long way to go to rival other child friendly inter-active museums.

After just over one hour, I decided to explore the grounds and came across some real wildlife ! ...

 ...before studying and capturing St Mary's Abbey. The Benedictine Abbey was originally built in 1055 and the present remaining structure dates back to 1271. Down through the centuries, the Abbey was never far away from controversy as a reformed group of monks had a severe dispute that turned into a riot and subsequently moved to set up their own monastery at nearby Fountains Abbey. Later the Abbots became all powerful as they were the largest landowners in Yorkshire... that was until 1539 when a certain Henry VIII came along and had other plans.

Nowadays with the advent of private weddings in a nearby historic Hospitium building, it would appear that it is now the scene for the ultimate photographic moment.  Lets hope that the happy couple, who are no doubt oblivious to the history of the Abbey,  don't re-enact the activities carried out in the past on this site and that the marriage will be held together better than what Henry VIII did to this building !

There was just time for me to check out St Mary's (12th - 14th century) Lodge Gatehouse at the back entrance of the Museum / Abbey grounds and capture these two images.

Once we all agreed to meet outside the museum at a specific time, two suggestions were made by the organiser about where to go for a late lunch / early tea.

The pub Harkers (opposite the Mansion House) was chosen and I opted to have dinner inside a large Yorkshire Pudding !

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I promised in my last post to publish these earlier but didn't get around to it through lack of time so as a bonus I'll finish my day in York with another evening attempt, some of which I have tried before in the January 2011 post "York at night". Another reason for completing this set now is that I don't want this blog to be all about York (wonderful as it is)... this is the 6th post with some spare material from another museum from an earlier time to add to a future occasion.

(I'm away next week again from Monday to Saturday so I'll catch up with you all at the beginning of the following week)

Whitby Jet
After the event some of the group left as they had evening functions to attend while 5 of us had a walk down to the river taking in the views that you have seen before next to The Kings Arms public house in "York arrival" post. I then had to retrace my steps earlier in the day with them (previous post) but I found  a bit of interest photographing the occasional shop front.

Pandora tourist shop
It is a sad state of affairs when you can purchase numerous London objects inside this shop and I have on one occasion seen an Edinburgh castle fridge magnet in here too. Why bother travelling if you can buy everything in the one shop !

Despite being on a major tourist street, this is the Betty's Cafe and bakers that people do not notice. One of the group stopped to buy some bread to take home.

This newspaper sign outside the newspaper shop made me smile as maybe he wanted the shop door left open for him at night !

The event finished at closing time of 7pm in Costa coffee shop after spending about an hour there.

As my train home was at 8pm, it was another opportunity to re-visit and improve or experiment on some locations that you may remember from earlier in the year.

Mansion House

Bootham Bar
All too soon, it was time to make my way back to the railway station and leave The City of York alone for a while.


  1. The night shots are can keep coming back here as far as I'm concerned.
    What ISO were you on for the Red Squirrel. It's remarkably noise free. The colour cast is a blighter to remove unless you shoot RAW then it's just a matter of cooling the temperature.

  2. Thanks Adrian. I started with an experimental setting of 800 but had to go a lot higher than I would have liked ... all interior shots & animals were 1250. Squirrel - 1/50 f3.5. Other exhibits were f5.6 with a mix of 1/15 - 1/30... is my hand that steady ?!!
    Bootham Bar was 1000 and market stall was 2500 ! All other night shots were tripod. Sorry I didn't give that information.

  3. I like the abbey ruins...that would give me an hour of photographic play time on it's own.
    Also the shop fronts- this has given me an idea for a whole new photo set. As Adrian say's your night shots here are really very good....!


  4. This was an amazing post, I enjoyed the words and photos. Thanks for the shout-out, I love the indoor shots! (I love the outdoor ones, too.) I also like the local history you weave into your posts. It's inspiring to me to read how local historians and collectors contribute to the museums where they live.

  5. PS, I read Adrian's comment and thought I'd toss this in. Correcting a color cast is very easy if you use Lightroom--I'm told it's like editing in RAW but much simpler, and without the enormous data files. Lightroom's drawback--its sharpening isn't as good as Photoshop. I think most people who use lightroom still keep Photoshop or Photoshop Elements as a back-up.

  6. Very nice night shots! Very quiet there at night, good to explore some great spots!

  7. I love the Yorkshire Museum. Wonderful pictures!

  8. Great pictures from this beautiful museum! I love the architecture and the yorkshire pudding:-)) I wish you a happy sunday and a perfect new week. Hugs from Luzia.

  9. The night photos are wonderful! I love the Abbey ruins and the squirrel photo.

  10. I enjoy your "tours" and photos so much. A world away for me...literally. Great night shots.

  11. Awesome place!Great photos!

  12. The Little Betty's Cafe is a beautifully looking shop!
    BTW Was the squirrel sitting among the crocuses really alive? You write about the "real wildlife" so the answer will probably be yes but it looks like stuffed, patiently waiting there for you to take the photo. It's a nice child friendly picture. :-)

  13. I love those golden night pics, especially the train station! So that's what Yorkshire pudding looks like?? Why did I think it looked like a fruitcake? Looks like what we call a pot roast dinner. Since reading this post, I decided to experiment a bit with the ISO on my own camera.
    I especially like the photo of Bootham Bar with the Minster in the background. Ah, York!

  14. It is always nice to travel with you and you give
    the explanations, so we can learn something about
    your country!!
    Thank you for that, J.!!!

  15. Ciao J., I did not know York and I regret not having visited it, the remains of the abbey are of exceptional beauty and streets very charming!

  16. I like the ruins of the abbey-they look misterious! The night pictures are also superb!

  17. Comment test (sciarada & ola ) that didn't show up here... trying to work out why.


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