Featured

Welcome

The beginning of a journey.

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.

365 Day Photograph Challenge: April Summary

My apologies it has been some time since I last updated my blog. I have been very busy of late with work and finishing the corrections for my thesis. I will do my best to bring my photography back up to date over the coming days and weeks. Expect bumper editions with lots of photographs. Starting with all of April’s photos!!

  • 01 – Early flowering Rhododendron
  • 02 – Telford Bridge, Morpeth
  • 03 – Newcastle University Quadrangle dedication plaque
  • 04 – Woodhorn Colliery pit wheels
  • 05 – Morpeth Clock Tower (at blue hour)
  • 06 – First new £1 coin
  • 07 – Northumberland view of the Cheviot Hills from Cockle Park Farm
  • 08 – The Bathing House, Howick
  • 09 – Morpeth Cenotaph
  • 10 – Morpeth Riverside (at astronomical twilight)
  • 11 – Thesis corrections!
  • 12 – Tea collection (helps with those thesis corrections!)
  • 13 – Cockle Park Tower
  • 14 – Garden patio before and after cleaning
  • 15 – Warkworth Castle
  • 16 – My niece
  • 17 – Cherry blossom contrasting against a stormy sky
  • 18 – View of Bridge Street, Morpeth, from the Clock Tower roof
  • 19 – Muller fruit corner
  • 20 – Acers in Carlisle Park, Morpeth
  • 21 – Church of St James the Great, Morpeth
  • 22 – Wood carving
  • 23 – Scarborough lily
  • 24 – Scarborough lily (more fully open)
  • 25 – Mitford Castle under a stormy sky (just before the rain started!)
  • 26 – Gothic arch inserted into an earlier Norman arch!
  • 27 – Aztec Hotel and Spa artwork (Concorde)
  • 28 – Alex and Caroline’s Wedding
  • 29 – More Aztec Hotel and Spa artwork
  • 30 – Documenting new house building in the local area

1st April – Early flowering Rhododendron

01 April (2).jpg

Down at the bottom of the garden, this lovely Rhody is one of the first Spring flowers to bloom. Sadly, its flowers last only about a fortnight. This close-up was captured after a little April shower

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/800 sec exposure
  • f/6.7 180 mm
  • ISO 200

2nd April – Telford Bridge, Morpeth

02 April (2).jpg

The main river crossing in Morpeth, the Telford Bridge opened in 1832. It was designed by the famous 19th century engineer, Thomas Telford. The church on the right is St George’s URC, and the tall-red-brick building beyond the bridge on the left is Oliver’s Mill. The weir still exists but the mill has long since closed. The whole building burnt down in 1994 but was, thankfully, restored, and is now riverside apartments.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/125 sec exposure
  • f/19 45 mm
  • ISO 200

4th April – Woodhorn Colliery Mineshaft Headworks

04 April (2).jpg

A former coal mine that closed in 1981, it re-opened as museum in 1989. In 2005 the whole centre was refurbished and re-opened. The site is also home to Northumberland Archives.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/60 sec exposure
  • f/19 80 mm
  • ISO 200

10th April – Morpeth Riverside (astronomical twilight)

10 April (2).jpg

I took a similar photo of this view in early January on a very dark night. At that time I really wasn’t good at night photography and was very much learning the skill and learning the capabilities of the camera. I’m a great believer in practice makes perfect, so I had a second go at this photo and I’m much more pleased with the second result.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 4 sec exposure
  • f/8 50 mm
  • ISO 200

13th April – Cockle Park Tower

13 April (2).jpg

Cockle Park Tower is a 16th century pele tower in rural Northumberland. I took a photograph of it in the snow in February. I really liked the cloud formation and the brightness of the yellow oilseed rape. I grabbed this snap on my Samsung Galaxy S5.

  • Samsung Galaxy S5
  • 1/2,000 sec exposure
  • f/2.2 4.8 mm
  • ISO 40

15th April – Warkworth Castle

15 April (2).jpg

Warkworth Castle sits high above the waters of the River Coquet, guarding the small village and church. It is the property of English Heritage. The mound that the imposing keep is built upon is always covered in daffodils in early spring each year.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/250 sec exposure
  • f/13 115 mm
  • ISO 200

23rd & 24th April – Scarborough Lily

23 April (2).jpg

24 April (2).jpg

This plant sits on our kitchen windowsill. It produces this stunning scarlet display for only 7 days a year. It is supposed to flower in the late summer, early autumn, ours has always had a will of its own and flowers when it pleases! I took photos on consecutive days as it was more fully open on the second day and I wanted to take advantage of it whilst it lasted!

23rd April

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/1,000 sec exposure
  • f/11 55 mm
  • ISO 800

24th April

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/100 sec exposure
  • f/11 55 mm
  • ISO 400

25th April – Mitford Castle

25 April (2).jpg

The ruins of Mitford Castle moments before the heavens opened! I was very fortunate that the late afternoon sun was shining through a gap in the clouds to light up the masonry. Otherwise, the sky was very brooding and pendulous.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/100 sec exposure
  • f/13 50 mm
  • ISO 400

Hidden Northumberland: Morpeth in Springtime

The plants coming back to life helps to lift spirits.

Whilst on my 365 Day Photograph Challenge, I am always trying to find new places in my hometown to photograph. Usually, I rarely spend any time wandering around Morpeth as I spend most of my time working in Newcastle and commuting to and fro. But, with the impetus of having to find at least one photograph every day, it has encouraged me to get out when I can and find new and different angles.

It has also made me appreciate just how well our public spaces are cared for and maintained. Perhaps something we can take for granted, but this year’s spring displays have been stunning and I would like to thank everyone who has worked on them. They are truly appreciated!

Here is a selection of some of my favourites.

Morpeth Spring (1).jpg

Cherry blossom against a stormy sky (juxtaposition to the max!), crab apple blossom, and Morpeth Cenotaph peeping out from behind tulips.

Morpeth Spring (2).jpg

Tulips and cherry blossom on the Newcastle Road

Morpeth Spring (3).jpg

Morpeth Court House viewed from Carlisle Park

Morpeth Spring (4).jpg

Cherry blossom next to the Chantry Bridge and Acers in full leaf in Carlisle Park

St James (2).jpg

Church of St James the Great

365 Day Photograph Challenge: Day 95

First time shooting RAW

On my journey of discovery into the world of photography, I have talked to many people, some with knowledge, some with knowledge through another person. It was during one such discussion that I learnt about RAW image files. I decided to give shooting in RAW format a try (instead of JPG) and see what the difference was.

The subject matter was the Clock Tower, arguably Morpeth’s best-loved landmark. The time of day was blue hour. I can see the difference in quality between JPG and RAW file formats. And I can see how this will be beneficial when photographing certain types of photographs. I will be sure to use it again in the future.

Here are the results of my experiment.

Clock tower (1).jpg

JPG

Clock tower (2).jpg

RAW (pre-editing)

Clock tower (3).jpg

RAW (post-editing)

It is a shame about the wheelie bin on the left. It seems to be quite common for wheelie bins to be left in plain site of our landmarks. I may have to become the wheelie bin police if these antics continue. Either that or I’m going to have to become a Photoshop wizard!

Hidden Northumberland: Howick Bathing House

Built in the early 19th century by the 2nd Earl Grey, the Bathing House was specifically for his children to go bathing in the North Sea. With its dramatic setting on a remote headland, it is a Grade II Listed Building and is currently a self-catered holiday home owned by Howick Trustees Ltd. It is located within the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which encompasses 100 miles of coast from Berwick in the north to the mouth of the River Coquet in the south. The walk from the Bathing House along the coast to Craster and onto Dunstanburgh Castle is beautiful and is well worth doing on a bright, sunny day.

Geology.jpg

Interesting sandstone geology.

Howick Bay.jpg

Golden sands are a common feature of Northumberland’s beaches. The sandstone cliffs provide natural shelter making the cove a safe place to bathe (in the frigid waters of the North Sea!). The ruins of the 14th Century Dunstanburgh Castle some 5 miles to the north can be seen in the distance.

Girls jumping.jpg

Brave/foolish/crazy girls jumping into the sea from the cliffs.

Hidden Northumberland: Howick Hall & Gardens

Home to a 19th century social reformer.

Built in 1782, Howick Hall is the (former) seat of the Earls Grey. The most notable resident was Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, Prime Minister of the UK 1830-34. Perhaps better known for lending his name to Earl Grey Tea! A Whig Politician (Liberal), his government oversaw the Great Reform Act of 1832 which reformed the House of Commons and the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 which largely ended slavery throughout the British Empire by 1838. To date, he is the only UK Prime Minister to have hailed from Northumberland.

The west wing of the house is still inhabited by descendants of Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, but are of a different branch of the family that does not inherit the title, ‘Earl Grey’. The extensive gardens and arboretum are open to the public. Spring is a good time to visit the gardens as a number of spring plants are in flower, such as daffodils, rhododendrons, magnolias and camellias.

Entrance.jpg

A fire in 1926 devastated the interior of the main hall and it largely had to be rebuilt. The restoration was completed by 1928 and is recorded in the artwork above the main entrance.

SG1S3395 (2).JPG

Inscription on the side of the tomb of Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, in Howick Parish Church

Magnolia & Camellia.jpg

Magnolia (left) and Camellia in full bloom

Rhododendrons.jpg

The gardens are home to many different varieties of Rhododendrons that flower in spring. The photograph at the bottom is of Rhododendron Sinogrande which was flowering for only the second time since it was planted in 1990. (That’s a long time to be taking stock!)

Hidden Northumberland: Morpeth by Night

Pretty little Morpeth.

I’ve been out practising night photography a lot this year. I have now compiled quite an archive of my home town at night. Here are the fruits of my labour! I hope you enjoy them.

The River

Bakehouse Steps.jpg

The Bakehouse Stepping Stones

Telford Bridge.jpg

Telford Bridge (1831) with River Wansbeck in flood

Chantry Footbridge.jpg

Chantry Footbridge, a Victorian (1869) wrought iron bridge resting upon medieval abutments and central pier.

Carlisle Park.jpg

The riverside walk through Carlisle Park

The Market Place

The ancient market place lies at the heart of the town centre and remains the focal point of social life in Morpeth.

Clock Tower.jpg

The 17th century Clock Tower and (1885) Hollon Fountain, guarding the entrance to Oldgate

Market Place.jpg

Clockwise from top left: YMCA Building (1905), Market Place from NE Corner, Town Hall (1714), Hollon Fountain (1885)

Light Trails

Bridge Street.jpg

Bridge Street

Court House.jpg

The Court House (1822)

Curly Kews.jpg

Curly Kews

Miscellaneous

Misc (1).jpg

Carlisle Park Lodge, Sanderson Arcade and the 13th Century Chantry

Ephesus.jpg

Ephesus Turkish Restaurant

24 March

St George’s Church Rose Window (1860)

A Trip to Cleveland, North Yorkshire

A Grand Day Out.

I went for a day trip to the Cleveland Coast (North Yorkshire) on 25th March. It was glorious weather all day. By far the highlights of the trip were Guisborough Priory and Stockton Infinity Bridge. Naturally, I had the camera with me, and here are some of my favourites.

Guisborough Priory and Gardens, and Church

Guisborough Priory.jpg

The impossibly photogenic east end is all that remains of Guisborough Priory.

Guisborough Priory (2).jpg

The present day Guisborough Parish Church pales into insignificance next to its older relative. Undoubtedly some of the masonry from the former priory would have been used in its construction. The Priory Garden was springing into life and looked beautiful in the sunshine.

Stockton-On-Tees Infinity Bridge

Stockton Infinity Bridge.jpg

Opened in 2009, the Infinity Bridge is a part of the regeneration along the River Tees in the University of Teesside area. It is an impressive and clever design.