Nina (Stranger #39/100), Oxford

(Alternative in the comments)

I met Nina and Adam walking along the Cherwell up towards the University Parks on a sunny Oxford Saturday afternoon.

The Hooded Accomplice (not hooded on this occasion) had set out to shoot Snakeshead Fritillary on Magdalen Meadow, but didn’t think it right to pay an admission charge for what we remembered as freely accessible land.

Way back in university days I remembered a running route around the meadow. So, figuring the front gate was only intended for tourists we set off on the backwoods route to pick up my old running circuit.

Things have changed in fifteen years. The rickety old gate I remember being open is replaced with a stout, sealed door housed in spiked iron railings and emblazoned with a stern notice boasting of the diligent use of CCTV in defense of Magdalen’s rear portal.

Turning around, the river walk back to the park was nonetheless pleasant with the sun dipping gold. The last time I remember walking it was also with the HA when we were students, testing my first SLR, acquired on my 21st birthday.

I saw Nina and Adam ahead of us, and as we passed them, regretted that the lack of obvious background. She had an artsy “new age” style, with an off the shoulder cardigan. A couple of hundred paces on, however, we came across the broad remains of a long dead tree, weathered and rutted, with a stud of ivy in the shade. I tested the light with the HA as a stand in. By the time we had the background and an exposure organised, Nina and Adam rounded the corner… and kindly agree to stop.

Nina is an art student at Oxford Brookes, strolling up to the parks with Adam, enjoying this first blush of summer.

Nina’s in the shade, with a 1.2m golden reflector to camera right zapping in the warm, late afternoon sunlight.

Chatting about our expedition to the back gate of Magdalen, Adam noted the improved defenses to keep the “ruffians” out. He also offered some sage advice; “next time bring a punt”. Which we shall.

Thanks so much for stopping Nina and Adam, and for agreeing to take part! I’m really glad you like the pictures I emailed. It’s fantastic when people do get in touch with us and we have the chance to share the photos we shot together!

This is portrait #39 of my 100 Strangers Project – check out the group page and get involved.

I’m a day or two behind on Flickr thanks to quarter end and a weekend largely away from the computer. Catching up today and late tomorrow!

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