Media City UK is the number one waterfront destination in Manchester. Media City is innovative in its combination of digital technology and communal leisure activities. As well as the BBC and ITV studios that reside there, ample opportunities are provided for watersports enthusiasts, avid learners and even gardeners. I've lived at Salford Quays now for nearly two years and I am quite used to the industrial yet horticultural surroundings of the Quays and Media City. To others who come to visit, I imagine it is quite a surreal little section of Salford, especially considering it was once a very poor area that functioned only for the sake of the Manchester docks.
The exotic plants that function as borders throughout the garden maintain the modern and innovative ambience of the area. The winding paths that lead you through the garden are accompanied by striking birch trees which keep it somewhat closed off from the hustle and bustle of the television studios. At a glance from the entrance, you would be hard pressed to point out many flowers within the garden. It is this reason that I love the layout so much, as it encourages you to hunt for hidden colour and accents. One somewhat hidden element in the garden is the Blue Peter Garden. It features a large statue of Petra, the first ever Blue Peter Pet, a pond and even the hand and footprints of past presenters in the concrete.
The garden provides a perfect haven for office workers, tourists and construction workers (who can usually be spotted in their high-vis jackets setting up something exciting for the telly). The aesthetic of Media City benefits greatly from its garden. Moreover, the group that owns the site consciously creates measures to develop sustainable energy sources that run the buildings, and a green travel infrastructure through its cycle routes and tram ways. Walking through the gardens at Media City really is breathtaking; the vivid colours and varied species that are found there are a pleasant reminder that beauty can be found even in the heart of such a traditionally industrial area.
I find that photographing animals can be incredibly difficult. Luckily, I have been blessed with three pets that are not only unbelievably cute and cuddly, but are also more than happy to model for me, should I ask them to. My two cats, Luigi and Mario, are seven years old; they are both Abyssinians, although their distinctive colourings and characteristics set them apart.
Rufus is our four year old Tibetan Terrier, a breed which is typically very amiable and loving. One of their most irritating characteristics is that they tend to be quite clever and this leads to them being incredibly stubborn. For instance, Rufus does not do anything that he doesn't want to do unless bribed with cheese or roast chicken. Even more annoyingly, he has powerful puppy dog eyes which are impossible to stay mad at (even after he has consumed two whole trays of your freshly baked gingerbread cookies). This photograph of Rufus seems almost as if I'd used a miniature wind machine to blow towards his face. Tibetan terriers are shaggy but beautiful breeds who are difficult to catch straight on (because of their excitable nature). His position on the grass allows for a really nice contrast between the colour of his coat and the darker shade of the grass beneath him. You can tell by the position of his feet that I was lucky to get this shot before he leapt up to jump on me.
In general, I find the best way to photograph any of them is always to stay far enough away that they aren't distracted by my presence. If I get too close to photograph them, they start scratching themselves on my camera or tugging at me to stroke them. I find the best rule to be using as much natural light as possible, as it will only enhance the texture, colour and movement of their markings.
I’ve lived in Manchester for two years now and even though I was homesick for a long time, it has really grown on me. However, Manchester is - without a doubt – severely lacking in green space. The red brick of the city centre buildings is beautifully striking. Along with the street art of the Northern Quarter and the gothic architecture in Spinningfields, these aspects of Manchester give it a distinctive style like no other city I’ve lived in. It is for this reason that I find the lack of public parks and large green spaces to be strange. Manchester is always full of people, whether they are students, city workers or tourists, yet so much of the city is paved. I raised this concern to my boyfriend, who I might add is a very proud Northerner. I compared the amount of green areas in Manchester to that of London, where a park can be found around almost every corner.
Tucked behind the semi-modern, semi-traditional Whitworth Art Gallery, the garden always remains quiet and available to those who seek its peaceful surroundings. In the few visits I’ve paid I’ve seen yoga classes, finger painting and plenty of other photographers admiring the view. I was desperate to tell my boyfriend that I stood corrected, and that Whitworth Park was exactly the kind of green space I had been looking for, and the captivating design of the art garden kept me coming back again and again.
So the name of my Mother’s house in the Cotswolds is almost as obscure as my own. You’d think it would be annoying to have people smirk at you when you recite your address aloud to them, but to me it’s nice to have something that makes people want to know more. Awkward Hill Cottage takes its name from the 'awkward hill' on top of which it sits. Perched at the top of a charming village in the heart of the Cotswolds, it is quintessentially English – although you wouldn’t know it from the overwhelming stampede of tourists that travel from all over to visit the village every day.
It’s no surprise then that so many of my photos are of plants, wildlife and landscapes not only in the Cotswolds but all over the country. As a teenager, I didn’t get the gardening ‘thing’. I didn’t understand why my Mum would spend hours on her hands and knees only to come in with filthy clothes and a sore back but now – I get it. My Mum moved to the Cotswolds when I moved out of our London home to go to University in Bristol. At first, both my brother and I protested the move, but now use it as our own personal holiday retreat for when our respective degrees get too tough (or when we fancy some decent home cooking). The most striking aspect of our home is the wrap-around garden that leads you round the entire cottage. This, I imagine, clinched the deal for my Mum when she bought the property. Having spent her career as a journalist, my Mum struck gold with this country house and garden – and has since not only created her own backyard paradise, but has published three gardening books to boot!
Hi there, my name is Nevada and I'm a twenty-five year old music teacher. The Little Green blog centres around wildlife, gardening and lifestyle photography. All photos are my own and represent the portfolio of an amateur photographer!