May, could this be summer in our sights and freedom to enjoy it? 

If you need any photo inspiration take a walk on the wild side and visit your local park.  In the olden days (medieval)  English deer parks were just for the rich.  They were walled or hedged to keep the deer in (to shoot & not by camera) and the common people out.  Landscaped parks evolved around stately houses again only for the rich to appreciate.  Some were designed by the famous Capability Brown (eg Blenheim Palace 1764).  Thankfully, as time moved on, there were some nice people about like Joseph Strutt who commissioned and donated Derby Arboretum to the public in 1840.  Prince's Park, Liverpool was designed by Joseph Paxton and James Pennethorne (1843) and given to the public in 1849.  A nifty link here.  Paxton influenced Olmsted & Calvert who designed New York's Central Park (1857).  Lou Reed (musician) was inspired by Central Park and wrote Perfect Day (1972).

A song I think of when I look at this photo of Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.  A favourite park because I photographed it during and after construction, more or less. (I would have like to have seen the soil being cleaned as I can only visualise a bucket and a scrubbing brush.   I suspect that's not how it was done.) A park brilliantly transformed from industrial wasteland to gold medals and a beautifully designed landscape open for all to love and enjoy.  I've spent lots of perfect days here.

Go visit one with your camera- you've got at least 27,000 to choose from in the UK.  Just think how inspirational parks have been in:  art (Georges Seurat's 'A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte' or 'Bathers at Asnières'), theatre (Stephen Sondheim's 'Sunday in the Park with George'), literature (Jane Austen's 'Mansfield Park'), film (Martin Cruz Smith's 'Gorky Park'), photography (Ansel Adams & Yosemite National Park) and more music (Blur's 'Parklife' inspired by Hyde Park).               

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park

Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London

Tips from a (well-seasoned) photographer:

1)   Pack in your old kit bag: suncream, waterproof, water, batteries, spare memory card.

2)  Check access times:  gates & fences are a clue that mean you could get locked in or out.

3)  Photo permission:  I photographed a bride & groom in Battersea Park and nearly got fined for not having the correct permission.  Domestic use is normally ok but check if you're taking photos for commercial use.

4)  Common sense:  you can photograph people without their permission in the UK in public spaces.  Although think carefully about this and apply common courtesy.  Would you like a complete stranger photographing you as you run, red-faced, dripping with sweat and looking nothing like a supermodel during your daily exercise in the park?  Can you run like Usain Bolt, loaded down with photo kit and tripod, when confronted by people who really don't want to be photographed despite the legal angle?

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