365 Day Photograph Challenge: May Part II

The joys of Spring

Some of my favourites from the second half of May 2017.

14th May – Berwick upon Tweed Town Hall

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Berwick’s impressive Town Hall was built between 1750 and 1756 and is Grade I listed. It is a fine example of Georgian architecture. Lindisfarne Castle, shrouded in scaffolding, can be seen in the distance on the horizon to the right of the Town Hall.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/125 sec exposure
  • f/19 50 mm
  • ISO 200

18th May – Morpeth Court House

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I’ve photographed this building many times before. It dates from 1822 and is Grade II* Listed by Historic England. I found a little raised spot which gave quite a pleasing vantage point. I also liked the shadow of the trees from the street light on the building. Photographed in RAW format.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 2 sec exposure
  • f/5.6 55 mm
  • ISO 9

23rd May – Morpeth Castle

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The gatehouse is all that remains of Morpeth Castle (along with fragments of the curtain wall). It was restored in the mid-18th century and again between 1857 and 1858 by the Earl of Carlisle. I photographed the gatehouse from Ha’ Hill, which is a former motte castle. The gloom was gathering but I managed to capture the last rays glowing on the side of the castle.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 8/5 sec exposure
  • f/13 55 mm
  • ISO 200

27th May – Cambois Rowing Club Regatta

27 May

Pronounced, “Cam-us” the rowing club (founded in 1911) is based on the River Wansbeck in Ashington, Northumberland. The village of Cambois is further downstream at the mouth of the river. I got the recommendation for this photograph opportunity from my boss who happens to be the secretary of the club. Although not the prettiest of bridges, North Seaton Railway Viaduct (built in 1926) formed an impressive backdrop to the finish line of the regatta and I felt it had an amphitheatre-like quality about it.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/125 sec exposure
  • f/16 150 mm
  • ISO 200

29th May – Tyne River God

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This massive bronze statue is attached to Newcastle upon Tyne’s Civic Centre. The sculptor was David Wynne and it was made in 1968 (the year the Civic Centre opened).

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 8/5 sec exposure
  • f/9.5 125 mm
  • ISO 200

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

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

365 Day Photograph Challenge: March Part I

All the photos (1st – 15th March 2017)

  • 1st March – Morpeth Clock Tower Clock, floodlit at dusk.
  • 2nd March – Star Wars night (original theatrical release, naturally).
  • 3rd March – Bandanas for Brain Tumours (brain tumour awareness month).
  • 4th March – Bothal Castle, dusk.
  • 5th March – Morpeth Riverside.
  • 6th March – Morpeth Courthouse, night.
  • 7th March – Gateshead Millennium Bridge and Quayside, dusk.
  • 8th March – Newcastle Airport, sunset.
  • 9th March – Unsolvable Rubik’s Cube (clue is the yellow and white squares).
  • 10th March – Blagdon Bridge (ugly 80s’ engineering, grafting a modern bridge onto the side of an old estate bridge).
  • 11th March – Wallington Walled Garden Crocuses.
  • 12th March – Sycamore Sunset.
  • 13th March – Horse Entry (one of Morpeth’s curious old alleyways).
  • 14th March – Newcastle Castle, sunset (I preferred the old one haha!).
  • 15th March – Unity (modern art raising HIV/AIDs awareness, designed by Lilian Nabulime).

5th March – Morpeth Riverside

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Perhaps one of the most photographed scenes in my hometown. Morpeth riverside looking towards St George’s URC Church (opened 1860). Oliver’s Mill, the tall red brick building on the left is a former flour mill powered by a water wheel connected to the weir. Notice how the north bank premises are protected with a flood wall. The last flood occurred in 2008. Hard to imagine the river as a raging torrent on a beautiful, clear day such as the day this photograph was taken on.

  • Device – Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/1,000 sec exposure
  • f/6.7 43 mm
  • ISO 200

8th March – Sunset over Newcastle Airport

08 March (2).JPG

Perhaps not the most exciting subject matter. The airport control tower does, however, produce some interesting shapes against the sunset. I quite liked the haze in the distance, it gave the composition a little extra interest. I deliberately chose a white balance setting to emphasise the colour of the sunset. I further enhanced this by increasing the saturation in post-editing.

  • Device – Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/125 sec exposure
  • f/13 160 mm
  • ISO 200

12th March – Sycamore Sunset

12 March.jpg

I quite liked this photograph because it is possible to turn fairly unexceptional photographs taken on the phone camera into more vivid ones by carefully playing around with the brightness, contrast and saturation. Before editing the tree definition was not as clear and the colours of the sky were very washed out.

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Before editing

  • Device – Samsung Galaxy S5
  • 1/30 sec exposure
  • f/2.2 4.8 mm
  • ISO 40

14th March – Newcastle Castle at Sunset

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The fortress that gives Newcastle its name. Literally the New Castle. It was built in 1080 as a Motte and Bailey Castle after the Norman Conquest and replaced the Roman fort of Pons Aelius. Today, only the (later) Medieval castle keep and Black Gate (Gatehouse) survive. In Victorian times the railway was ploughed between the two structures. That’s progress for you!

  • Device – Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/50 sec exposure
  • f/6.7 20 mm
  • ISO 200

Hidden Northumberland: Alnwick

More than just the Castle and Harry Potter.

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The Bailiffgate Entrance to Alnwick Castle (a rarely used image in publicity photos)

Most people who have heard of Alnwick immediately associate it with its Castle, Garden and Harry Potter. The broomstick flying lesson was filmed in the grounds of the castle for Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001). The castle is owned by the Duke of Northumberland. Some of the castle is open to the public, but most of the keep is the Duke’s private residence. Opened in 2001, the Alnwick Garden is a labour of love by Jane Percy, Duchess of Northumberland. Together, the Castle and Garden are undoubtedly the highlight of a visit to this rural market town. Alnwick is perhaps not an obvious candidate for Hidden Northumberland. However, there are some other hidden gems to visit in Alnwick that are worth a look.

Bailiffgate Museum

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The Bailiffgate Museum Exterior

Set in a former Roman Catholic church, the Bailiffgate Museum is a local history museum that is run by local volunteers. Exhibits tell the history of Alnwick from ancient history to the present time. There are many local artefacts on display that give it a personal touch. Importantly, it is very child-friendly with many activities to keep the little ones entertained.

Bailiffgate Museum Series.jpg

Market Place and Town Hall

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The Market Place is overlooked by Alnwick’s Georgian Town Hall

Town Hall Series.jpg

In the summer many cafés have outdoor seating in the market place and one can imagine one it sitting in a continental square – weather permitting!

Barter Books

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Barter Books, one of the best, local second-hand bookshops

Barter Books Series.jpg

Situated in the former Alnwick railway station, Barter Books is a tremendous establishment. Their stock of second-hand books covers all genres and all reference books. It is a great place to spend a couple of hours on a cold, wintry day. The station buffet is lovely and serves food throughout the day. Perfect if you want to cosy up to the fire with a hot drink and a good book! I find the setting is just right for a spot of Agatha Christie.

365 Day Photograph Challenge: Day 63

Bothal Castle at Dusk

Bothal Castle lies in what feels like a hidden valley. In truth it is only a mile or so downstream from Morpeth on the River Wansbeck, but it feels like it is in retreat from the world. The surviving castle, gatehouse and curtain wall are medieval. It was restored in the 19th century and is the private residence of the Cavendish-Bentinck family.

I hope to do a Hidden Northumberland segment on Bothal village as a whole when I have more photographs. The (former workers’) cottages are very quaint and the parish church can trace its origins to Anglo-Saxon times (with some surviving material of this age). The village’s war memorial is located outside the church and is flanked by a weeping ash (representing the tears of the bereaved) and a gorgeous Japanese maple that turns flame red in the autumn (symbolising the blood of the dead).

In the mean time, here is the castle at dusk on 4th March 2017.

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Bothal Castle, Northumberland, 4th March 2017

Almost a year ago, I took a very similar photograph of this scene. However, I was shooting hand-held in poor light and the resulting photograph was not as satisfactory as I would have liked. Like the earlier post on St Mary’s Church, Morpeth, I went back and had a look at my earlier work to see how my skills have improved. I’m quite pleased with my progress as the colour and detail are better one year on.

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Bothal Castle, Northumberland, 29th April 2016

Comparison of Camera Settings:

2016

  • 1/15 sec exposure
  • f/5.6 55 mm
  • ISO 800

2017

  • 10 sec exposure
  • f/5.6 73 mm
  • ISO 200