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The beginning of a journey.

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Welcome all to my new blog. I started this blog to share my photographs with a wider audience. On 1st January 2017 I embarked on a 365 day photograph challenge. The aim is to take at least one photograph on every day of the year. It has been done many times before and there are many examples of blogs that have documented this fun challenge. I first heard about the challenge in 2009 from a housemate at university.

Having recently inherited a DSLR, I thought this challenge would be a great way to make use of it, practice using it, and hopefully improve my photography. Please follow to see how I am getting on. Please respect that these photographs are my own and that if you would like to use or share them, you will need to ask for my permission to do so.07-jan

Coquet Island, Northumberland, 7th January 2017

In addition, I will be exploring and discovering the less well known spots in the beautiful county of Northumberland on my photographic journey. This segment of the blog will be called, ‘Hidden Northumberland.’ I hope it encourages you to go out and discover the gems of your local patch, too.

A final project (if I ever manage to find time) is to digitise and archive old 35 mm slides belonging to the family. We have 30 years’ worth of slides dating from c. 1960 to 1990 (when slides were all the rage). In the digital age it is important to preserve these precious windows on history. They offer a fascinating glimpse of social history in the mid to late 20th century – when we could only have dreamed of a global digital archive.

Phone Macros

I’m sure there must be many blogs that are dedicated to wildlife photography on smart phones. Smart phones today undoubtedly have quite high spec cameras. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t more than pleased with my Samsung Galaxy S7. It is particularly good at taking macros with little post-editing required. As I’ve been working with an ecologist for the past year or so, I’ve (unwittingly) embarked on an education of pollinators and such like. This is one of the great things about life, you can always learn new things and learn from other people.

Here are some of my favourite phone snaps from the year so far.

15th June – Drone fly (Eristalis tenax) on an Ox-Eye Daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare)

15 June.jpg

1st July – Nigella

1 July.jpg

24th July – Chrysanthemum

24 July.jpg

 

13th August – Female Furrow Spider (Larinioides cornutus)

13 Aug.jpg

27th August – Honeybee (Apis mellifera) on Geranium ‘Roseanne’

Aug.jpg

19th September – Queen Wasp mating with Male Wasp

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27th September – Queen Red-Tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius)

27 Sep.jpg

365 Day Photograph Challenge: Day 283

I returned to the scene of my photograph of 6th January this year. The subject was the stepping stones (formally The Bakehouse Steps) crossing the River Wansbeck. They connect the High Stanners on the west bank with Mains Place on the east bank. The view is from the High Stanners looking east towards Mains Place. It is said that to be a ‘true Morpethian’, that one must be ‘baptised’ by falling in the river here. To date, I have not managed this feat, although many members of my family have!

Sadly, this photograph didn’t make the final cut as my ‘photo of the day’ but I thought it was useful to compare the photographs 9 months apart now that I have had more practice at night photography. They both have their merits, but I think I prefer the earlier one as it is more atmospheric.

10th October 2017

Stepping Stones

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 20 sec exposure
  • f/8 28 mm
  • ISO 200

6th January 2017

06-jan

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 6 sec exposure
  • f/5.6 35 mm
  • ISO 400

365 Day Challenge: Day 282

Practice really does pay off.

I returned to the scene of my photograph on 13th February 2017, or Day 44 of the 365 Day Challenge. The subject matter was Morpeth’s impressive 13th Century Chantry. It is now home to the only bagpipe museum in the country (make of that what you will). I am always keen to return  to places to take new photos to see if my skills have improved. Even more so with interesting subject matter as the possibilities for finding new angles are limitless.

9th October 2017

Chantry 1

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 15 sec exposure
  • f/9.5 20 mm
  • ISO 200

Chantry 2

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 6 sec exposure
  • f/9.5 18 mm
  • ISO 200

13th February 2017

Chantry 3

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1 sec exposure
  • f/5.6 18 mm
  • ISO 200

Note the old light has since been replaced with a LED light in the intervening months.

Hidden Northumberland: Middle Earth?

Middle Earth may be found in rural Northumberland…

This was brought to my attention earlier in 2017. Somehow it had escaped my radar five years ago when The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey was released in cinemas. One of the teaser posters from the film features Ian McKellen as Gandalf walking through The Shire. However, on closer inspection, it is clear that the rolling hills in the distance are part of a distinctive view in the wilds of Northumberland. One can clearly see a railway viaduct and ruined castle in the middle-right of the image. This is Edlingham Castle which is located on the moors between Rothbury and Alnwick. A nice little hidden find!

The-Hobbit-hq-wallpapers-1.jpg

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey Teaser Poster (2012)

Edlingham Castle.jpg

Edlingham Castle and Viaduct viewed from a similar vantage point

365 Day Photograph Challenge: July Part I

Summer time and cultural excursions.

A summary of the first half of July 2017.

  • 01 – Nigella
  • 02 – Broadway, Worcestershire
  • 03 – Snowshill Manor, Gloucestershire
  • 04 – Hosta
  • 05 – Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire
  • 06 – Stanway Fountain, Gloucestershire
  • 07 – Coughton Court, Warwickshire
  • 08 – Overgrown Back Lawn after a Holiday
  • 09 – Morpeth Clock Tower ready for Morpeth in Bloom 2017
  • 10 – Back Garden (following lawn mowing and weeding!)
  • 11 – Graduation Day
  • 12 – Stannington Church and Lavender
  • 13 – Carlisle Park Gates
  • 14 – Steel Magnolias Program Cover (amateur production starring my sister-in-law and friends)
  • 15 – Rothbury Handbell Choir at Rothbury Traditional Music Festival

1st July – Nigella

01 July.jpg

Shot and edited on my Samsung Galaxy S7. Nigella are more or less synonymous with English Cottage Gardens.

  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • 1/200 sec exposure
  • f/1.7 4.2 mm
  • ISO 50

2nd July – Broadway, Worcestershire

02 July.jpg

A typical Cotswold stone dwelling in Broadway, Worcestershire, covered in climbing roses.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/125 sec exposure
  • f/13 31 mm
  • ISO 200

5th July – Sudeley Castle, Gloucestershire

05 July.jpg

A Medieval Castle (15th Century) near Winchcombe in Gloucestershire. The chapel is the final resting place of Katherine Parr, the sixth and final wife of King Henry VIII of England. It was a blistering hot day on the day (30+ C) I visited as you can see from the photograph. The bright sunlight gave the added problem of high contrast between light and shade.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/250 sec exposure
  • f/11 26 mm
  • ISO 200

9th July – Morpeth Clock Tower

09 July.jpg

Morpeth’s most iconic landmark is the Clock Tower. It was built in the early 17th century out of recycled Medieval stone. Every summer Morpeth Town Council sponsors Morpeth in Bloom (which is judged in Northumbria in Bloom). I took this photo not long after the floral displays had been installed for the summer.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/125 sec exposure
  • f/13 55 mm
  • ISO 200

12th July – Stannington Church

12 July.jpg

I love the light at this time of day as it really creates some nice highlights and shadows. I was experimenting with the focus on the smartphone and was pretty chuffed with the result.

  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • 1/2,500 sec exposure
  • f/1.7 4.2 mm
  • ISO 50

13th July – Carlisle Park Gates

13 July.jpg

Carlisle Park opened in Morpeth in 1929 and is currently a Green Flag Award Holder.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/50 sec exposure
  • f/9.5 125 mm
  • ISO 200

365 Day Photograph Challenge: June Part II

Summer is here. Sometimes the weather is a bit too British!

A summary of the second half of June 2017.

  • 16th June – Rose ‘Thinking of You’ (first ever bloom)
  • 17th June – Seaton Sluice Harbour
  • 18th June – Alnmouth Village
  • 19th June – Church of St Nicholas, Cramlington
  • 20th June – Northumberlandia
  • 21st June – Armstrong Building, Newcastle University Campus
  • 22nd June – Back Garden
  • 23rd June – Chimney Mill, Claremont Road, Newcastle
  • 24th June – The Hoppings, Newcastle Town Moor
  • 25th June – Matfen Village
  • 26th June – Sand Shopping with Liz
  • 27th June – Interesting Reading
  • 28th June – Rain, rain, rain, just a typical British Summer
  • 29th June – A Farewell to a much-loved and respected colleague
  • 30th June – New Interpretation Board for Geotechnical Experiment

17th June – Seaton Sluice Harbour

17 June

Located in the far SE corner of the county, Seaton Sluice harbour is a picturesque little spot. It is a surprising find considering it is within a densely populated area that is full to the brim of former mining collieries and associated miners’ rows.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/100 sec exposure
  • f/16 38 mm
  • ISO 200

18th June – Alnmouth Village

18 June.jpg

Another picturesque spot on the Northumberland coast. Alnmouth village is located  within the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. In August it hosts an event known as ‘Volcano Night’ where teams build castles on the beach within a set time limit. The sandcastles are then set on fire and the winner is the last one on fire when the tide comes in!

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/100 sec exposure
  • f/13 80 mm
  • ISO 200

21st June – Armstrong Building, Newcastle University Campus

21 June.jpg

The Armstrong Building is easily the most impressive building on campus. A Grade II listed building, the foundation stone was laid by Sir W. G. Armstrong in 1887. It was opened by King Edward VII in 1906. It was built in three phases over the 19-year-period and was designed by, you guessed it, R. J. Johnson. Sadly neither Armstrong or Johnson lived to see its completion, having died in 1900 and 1892 respectively. The architect’s remit was subsequently taken up by F. W. Rich and W. H. Knowles.

  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • 1/3,200 sec exposure
  • f/1.7 4.2 mm
  • ISO 50

23rd June – Chimney Mill, Claremont Road, Newcastle

23 June.png

Chimney Mill and Mill House (built 1782), Claremont Road, not too far from Newcastle city centre. Built as a 5-sail windmill, the golf club front was added in 1892. It is a Grade II Listed Building.

  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • 1/1,250 sec exposure
  • f/1.7 4.2 mm
  • ISO 50

24th June – The Hoppings, Newcastle Town Moor

24 June

According to Wikipedia, The Hoppings is an annual travelling funfair held on the Town Moor in Newcastle upon Tyne, during the last week in June. It is one of Europe’s largest travelling funfairs. I was perched upon Cow Hill on the Town Moor to get this vantage point. From here, one can see all the way down to the coast (some 10+ miles away). Newcastle must be the only city in the UK where cattle are grazed in the city centre!

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/1,600 sec exposure
  • f/11 138 mm
  • ISO 800

25th June – Matfen Village

25 June.jpg

Matfen village is an estate village (for Matfen Hall) located in rural western Northumberland. It is quite an attractive little place and I enjoyed exploring around here for an hour or so. The parish church was built in 1842 by Sir Edward Blackett of Matfen Hall.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/100 sec exposure
  • f/16 26 mm
  • ISO 200

365 Day Photograph Challenge: June Part I

Long, long days.

Some of my favourite photos from the first half of June 2017. Enjoy!

1st June – Seaton Delaval Hall

01 June.jpg

Completed in 1728, Seaton Delaval Hall was designed by the famous architect, Sir John Vanburgh. Amongst his works are Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, perhaps best known as the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Many comparisons in design may be made with Blenheim. Barely 100 years after its construction, the central hall burnt down in 1822 and has never been lived in since. The Delaval family lived in the west wing until 2009 when the Hall and its grounds were sold to the National Trust. It opened to the public for the first time on 1st May 2010.

  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • 1/2,000 sec exposure
  • f1.7 4.2 mm
  • ISO 50

4th June – Corby’s Crags

04 June.jpg

Located on the road between Rothbury and Alnwick, this is a tremendous view point from the top of Corby’s Crags. It is quite a popular spot with climbers.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/60 sec exposure
  • f/19 28 mm
  • ISO 200

9th June – The Grave of Emily Davison

09 June.jpg

Emily Davison was famously fatally injured at the 1913 Epsom Derby when she attempted to pin the suffragette colours to the King’s horse, Amner. She died from her injuries four days after the event, having never regained consciousness. She was buried in the graveyard of St Mary the Virgin, Morpeth on 15th June 1913. Her epitaph is the WSPU slogan, ‘Deeds not Words.’

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/50 sec expsoure
  • f/4.5 125 mm
  • ISO 200

10th June – Bust of the Seventh Earl of Carlisle, Morpeth Town Hall

10 June.jpg

I quite liked the effect of the perspective and foreshortening that the balustrades of the grand staircase produced in this shot.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/60 sec exposure
  • f/8 50 mm
  • ISO 400

12th June – Woodlea, Morpeth Riverside

12 June.jpg

An interesting early 20th century dwelling on the bank of the River Wansbeck in Morpeth town centre. Fun piece of trivia, one can see the position I was stood at to take the photograph on 26th February. It is the corner of the road as it turns up the bank. This photograph was taken at 10:25 p.m.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 2 sec exposure
  • f/8 23 mm
  • ISO 400

13th June – Morpeth Riverside (Civil Twilight)

13 June

Perhaps the most photographed view of Morpeth, and quite rightly so! It is very picturesque. This view has appeared many times throughout my photograph challenge as I particularly love this view. I have tried to vary my position and the times of day. This shot was taken during civil twilight at 9:35 p.m. in the evening. Not quite as late as the previous day’s effort!

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/6 sec exposure
  • f/8 68 mm
  • ISO 200