York, UK

As old towns in the UK go, York is up there with the best. The compact city centre is easy to see in a day and has some wonderful little cobbled streets to explore, cosy old pubs to relax in, and a wealth of restaurants and cafes to try. And the old-town architecture makes it one of my favourite cities for night shots.

I’ve spent a lot of time in York over the years. From 2007 to 2009 it was a regular commute from Glasgow for work, and I’ve visited for work a few other times over the years (including another stint here – likely to be a full year – as I write this). And York was my first stop on a trip which took me all the way around the world.

Comparing my visits here in the late 2000s to now, the city centre hasn’t changed a great deal but the atmosphere seems to have. Perhaps it’s selective memory, but tourist numbers seem to have increased significantly and the crowds around Stonegate, Petergate, and the Minster, they can get frustrating at times. The low thunder of a trundling wheelie case along the old cobbled streets is never far way in such a dense tourist area.

But for all it’s busy during the day, York is a pretty tranquil place in the evenings. There are busier areas where students tend to gather, or around the takeaway spots late in the night, where it’s exactly as you may expect from a UK city. And there is no shortage of bars, pubs and restaurants open into the night and beyond. But the old streets of York can fall wonderfully quiet after dark, and that can make for some great low-light and night photo opportunities.

I’ve taken advantage of my time here with some nights out wandering and taking photos of the city. Night shots remain my favourite, always an interesting challenge and a chance to be a little creative at times. I’m using an older camera (my Olympus OM-D E-M5 mark 1) that I feel I’m now pushing to its limits when taking these kind of photos without a tripod, but that only makes for an interesting learning curve. Despite the low-light limitations of the sensor, I’ve managed to snap a few night shots that I’m really happy with. And I like to think they show off York quite nicely.

Here are a few of my favourites from this beautiful little city.