365 Day Photograph Challenge: September Part II

16th September 2017 – Morpeth Riverside

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The famous view of Morpeth once again. The autumn edition this time! I tried to vary the composition of this photograph in each season. Although it was mid-September, the weather was still mild and the leaves had not really turned very much. There were a few autumn leaves in the horse chestnut which I picked up on the lower boughs of the tree in the top left of the shot.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 3/5 sec exposure
  • f/16 43 mm
  • ISO 200

18th September 2017 – Morpeth Town Hall

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In fact it was so mild in September, that the hanging baskets full of annuals such as petunias and fuschias were still looking great way into autumn. The floral display on Morpeth Town Hall looked particularly excellent.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 6 sec exposure
  • f/8 31mm
  • ISO 200

Earlier in the year I took a close-up of one of the ground floor arches on my smartphone. One can see the clean lines of the masonry and the details of delicate wrought iron work in the arches. We are very fortunate in Morpeth to enjoy a fine piece of early 18th century architecture by one of the most famous architects of the time, Sir John Vanbrugh. He also designed Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, Castle Howard in Yorkshire, and Seaton Delaval Hall in Northumberland.

17 May

19th September 2017 – Carbon Capture Garden, Science Central, Newcastle upon Tyne

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This garden was a package from my research group at Newcastle University. The substrate on which the wild meadow seed was sown was a special engineered soil, designed to enhance carbon capture from the atmosphere. The garden is also underlain by a series of remote sensors that record real time carbon dioxide concentration and fluxes within the soil. All super nifty stuff! I took this photo looking towards Newcastle’s famous football stadium, St James’ Park. Sadly at the time I photographed it, there were a lot of buds waiting to flower. If I had been a week later, there would have been even more colour in this photograph!

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/125 sec exposure
  • f/13 95 mm
  • ISO 200

23rd September 2017 – Warkworth Village and Church from the Castle Keep

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Shot through one of the windows of the ruinous castle keep of Warkworth Castle. Warkworth is a very picturesque village on the Northumberland Coast. It is brimming with arts and crafts shops, tea shops, pubs, hotels and B&Bs. It is a great spot for a weekend getaway. Quite an overcast day, but at least it was finally starting to look more seasonal!

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/60 sec exposure
  • f/9.5 40 mm
  • ISO 200

27th September 2017 – Queen Red-Tailed Bumblebee

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Whilst out conducting fieldwork, I spotted this Queen Red-Tailed Bumblebee. The queen would have hatched late on in the season and after having mated, would go into hibernation for the winter. I got somewhat distracted from my work as I attempted to photograph her on my phone. Although she was not flying, she was moving around a lot. In fact, she was moving too quickly for the phone’s camera to adjust and focus and many photographs came out blurred. This was probably the best of the photographs I took. This was the last of the phone macros I shot of fauna over the summer/autumn of 2017.

  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • 1/250 sec exposure
  • f/1.7 4.2 mm
  • ISO 50
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365 Day Photograph Challenge: September Part I

Moving onto September 2017 photographs. Writing in January 2018, I am reminded that September was a mild month and that the foliage throughout this month mostly remained green. The onset of autumn was particularly late owing to the mild temperatures in September and October. In the NE, there was not a particularly spectacular autumnal display.

1st September 2017 – St Robert of Newminster, Roman Catholic Church, Morpeth

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Opened on 1st August 1850, this building was 167 years old in 2017. Its style of architecture is Early English (Gothic) and was designed by T. Gibson of Newcastle. Its spire rises an impressive 119 ft and is a prominent landmark in the Morpeth skyline. Its patron, St Robert of Newminster, was a 12th century priest who founded Newminster Abbey near Morpeth in 1138. Every year the church has a pilgrimage to the abbey ruins.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/100 sec exposure
  • f/13 21 mm
  • ISO 200

7th September 2017 – Jesmond Dene

2017-09-07 Jesmond Dene

An oasis in the middle of Newcastle. This deep and narrow valley runs to the east of the city centre and is a popular recreational spot. It was a particularly wet evening when I had a walk up the dene (I got soaked) and there were not many folk about. Not that it is obvious in the photo, but the rain was lashing down! The rocks on which I was standing were very slippery and I did question the lengths I was going to get a good photo that day!

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/10 sec exposure
  • f/4.5 40 mm
  • ISO 800

8th September 2017 – Newcastle/Gateshead Quays

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The vantage point for this photograph was the Sage, Gateshead. The Tyne Bridge was decorated for the annual Great North Run (held on 11th September 2017). Therefore, this photo was seasonal!

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/200 sec exposure
  • f/11 21 mm
  • ISO 800

9th September 2017 – Jesse Window, Church of St Mary the Virgin, Morpeth

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The crowning glory of the local parish church is the east window, depicting Jesse’s dream. The stained glass is thought to date from 1377 and is a rare example of a Medieval Jesse Window in the United Kingdom.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/15 sec exposure
  • f/4 24 mm
  • ISO 400

12th September 2017 – St Mary’s Lighthouse

2017-09-12 St Marys Lighthouse

One of the most photographed locations in the NE, St Mary’s Island lies off the coast near Whitley Bay. It is accessed by a causeway at low tide. It is a very photogenic spot and every time one visits, the conditions are always different and the number of different angles are infinite. This, my second visit to the island during 2017, was photographed on a gloomy afternoon and the light was fading rapidly.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/50 sec exposure
  • f/8 35 mm
  • ISO 200

14th September 2017 – Simonside Hills

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Another beauty spot in rural Northumberland, the ‘stepped’ mountainside of Simonside is an instantly recognisable sight for locals. As I was driving up to Rothbury this particular evening, I pulled over to take this photo on top of the moors road between Rothbury and Alnwick. A lovely view.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/20 sec exposure
  • f/6.7 24 mm
  • ISO 400

365 Day Photograph Challenge: August Part II

Memories of summer exploring and the first signs of autumn.

We start the second-half of August in Devon in SW England as I was spending time on holiday catching up with university friends. Devon is famous for its very changeable weather conditions. It can be bright sunshine on the south coast while on the north coast it can be pouring rain. I think the first two photographs in this series demonstrate that perfectly. Sadly, I was unable to take the DSLR with me so the photographs are shot on my Samsung Galaxy S7.

20th August 2017 – Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway

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This photograph really does not do any justice as to how wet it was. I love how the parents on the cliff railway are sensibly wearing their hoods while the children are not!

The Lynton and Lynmouth Cliff Railway opened in 1888 and is powered by hydraulics. Both cars, with a capacity of 40 people (seems a bit of a squish!), have a 700 imperial gallon water tank mounted underneath the floor between the wheels. The upper car water tank is filled with water from the West Lyn River. Once full, the water in the lower car’s tank is discharged. The heavier upper car begins to descend while the energy created pulls the lower car up the cliff. The speed is regulated by a driver who controls the breaks. A great piece of Victorian engineering that is still enjoyed in the 21st Century.

22nd August 2017 – The Most Photographed Cottage on the River Dart

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Hastily snapped on the smartphone while on a guided river cruise of the River Dart. This cottage is located on the banks of the picturesque River Dart between Dartmouth on the south coast and Totnes. The guide was right, it is very photogenic!

23rd August 2017 – The Finest View from a Train in the UK

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This view, immediately south of Durham Railway Station, according to Michael Portillo (former Conservative politician), is the finest from a train in the UK. (Today he is perhaps better known for his BBC2 documentary ‘Great British Railway Journeys‘.)

It is rather an impressive view of the cathedral. The view has been marred throughout 2017 with the scaffolding and shrouding around the cathedral’s central tower’s belfry. Also perched on the mound above the city is Durham Castle which has been the residence of members of University College, Durham University since 1840. Also, I must have been sat at the cleanest train window in the UK when I took this snap!

Of course, I dispute that this is the finest view on the UK rail network. I prefer the southern approach into Newcastle Central Station across the River Tyne looking at all the bridges. It also indicates that I’m almost home.

27th August 2017 – Honeybee on Geranium Roseanne

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Another experiment with macros taken on Samsung Galaxy S7. I covered this is an earlier post about phone macros.

31st August 2017 – Signs of Autumn on the River Wansbeck, Morpeth

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The last day of August 2017. From memory, it was quite a cool evening despite there not being a whiff of a breeze. The river was like a sheet of glass it was that still. The horse chestnut trees along the river bank here are amongst the first trees to start turning at the onset of autumn. I was quite happy with the reflections in the river. Sadly, I was unable to capture this scene with all the autumnal leaves later in the season.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 4 sec exposure
  • f/9.5 24 mm
  • ISO 200

365 Day Photograph Challenge: August Part I

August 2017 was a busy month. Most photos seem to have been shot on my smartphone which indicates that I didn’t have much time to explore with the DSLR. It is nice to look back at the photos from August (and July) 2017 because they show that the weather for the UK’s summer, on the whole, was not too bad. OK, in the NE of England the weather rarely gets beyond 20 C in the summer, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Most of the photos appear to have been taken on sunny days with few overcast days. Most importantly, there was little rainfall in August. As a British summer goes, not too shabby at all.

1st August 2017 – Earsdon Village

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In the far northern corner of North Tyneside is the pretty little village of Earsdon. It was formerly in Northumberland until changes to local administration came into effect in 1974. It is barely half a mile from the modern boundary.

The parish church isn’t particularly old having being rebuilt in the 1830s. In 1862 it was the scene of a horrific mining accident at Hartley Pit. 204 men and boys were lost when the beam of the mine’s pumping engine broke and fell down the shaft where it wedged and blocked all means of escape. Those not killed in the initial impact were suffocated to death over the following days as oxygen supplies dwindled. This accident lead to a change in the law that stipulated all collieries had to have a secondary shaft in the event of accidents to allow workers to escape. An imposing memorial in the church graveyard is a sobering reminder of the tragedy.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/125 sec exposure
  • f/19 73 mm
  • ISO 200

6th August 2017 – Honeybee on Fuchsia

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Shot on my Samsung Galaxy S7, so not the best quality. I was still amazed at the level of detail modern smartphone cameras can produce. From the hairs on its abdomen to the pollen sac on its hind legs, it’s all there to see!

  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • 1/1,600 sec exposure
  • f/1.7 4.2 mm
  • ISO 50

10th August 2017 – Newcastle Civic Centre

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I shot this photo in the middle of the day on a bright and sunny summer’s day. Not ideal photography conditions as shadows become more exaggerated. This required a lot of reworking in editing.

SG1S7219.JPG

For comparison, here’s out it started out life.

  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • 1/250 sec exposure
  • f/11 26 mm
  • ISO 200

11th August 2017 – Female Furrow Spider

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Another phone macro. This little beastie was spotted whilst out doing fieldwork for my research. One of my colleagues spotted it and my ecologist friend and colleague managed to identify ‘her’ as a female furrow spider.

  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • 1/125 sec exposure
  • f/1.7 4.2 mm
  • ISO 50

13th August 2017 – Simonside Hills

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Another hot summer’s day (although the weather was on the turn). I could barely get parked in the car park as it was very busy that day (due to the good weather). August is heather season and the Northumberland hills turn to this stunning purple colour.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/200 sec exposure
  • f/13 35 mm
  • ISO 200

365 Day Photograph Challenge: July Part II

Happy New Year! Best wishes for 2018.

The great news is that I kept the 365 day photograph challenge going all the way through 2017. The bad news is that I was not able to keep the blog up to date. It turned out to be too much to manage. So for the first couple of weeks/months of 2018, it will be a welcome back and hopefully finishing writing about the second half of 2017!

What’s new for 2018? Well we’ll have to wait and see. I haven’t been out with the DSLR yet this year as I felt I had earned a break (and the rest of the family were quite fed up of it)! If you have seen this blog before, you will notice that I have a new watermark. What do you think?

Let’s resume with July 2017, Part II.

16th July 2017 – The Demolition of St George’s Hospital, Morpeth

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Built in 1859 as the County Lunatic Asylum. Over the century and a half since its construction, it has adopted the more politically correct name of St George’s Hospital. This facility was a psychiatric unit until it closed in 1995. More recently it has been purchased by Linden Homes for redevelopment. In theory, certain architectural features of the hospital are to be retained, including this, the water tower, which I photographed peering above the mountains of demolition rubble.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/500 sec exposure
  • f/9.5 55 mm
  • ISO 200

17th July 2017 – Potpourri of Dead Pansy Heads

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I had been out in the garden, honing my green fingers. The annual flower beds needed dead heading. I quite liked the collage of colours contrasted against the sky blue of the bucket.

  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • 1/100 sec exposure
  • f/1.7 4.2 mm
  • ISO 80

24th July 2017 – Chrysanthemum

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I do enjoy phone macros. OK, so you can’t precisely choose which part of the object you want to focus on like you can with a DSLR, but with a very little bit of experimenting, you can achieve the effect you want with varying focus.

  • Samsung Galaxy S7.
  • 1/30 sec exposure.
  • f/1.7 4.2 mm
  • ISO 200

25th July 2017 – 1950s Road Sign

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A rare 1950s road sign showing distances to destinations. I like how in the old days they felt the need to record quarters in their measurements. The flower bed, like all the others in Morpeth was looking immaculate at the time of the snap. I quite liked the dark contrast of the shade from the horse chestnut tree with the brightness and colour of the flowers.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/30 sec exposure
  • f/5.6 55 mm
  • ISO 200

27th July 2017 – Black and Grey

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This local pub easily had one of the best hanging basket displays in town in 2017. I felt the need to record this for posterity. The lighting conditions were quite tricky for shooting handheld as I shot it at 21:20 BST, but I think it adds something to the composition.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/30 sec exposure
  • f/4.5 95 mm
  • ISO 400