365 Day Photograph Challenge: December Part II

Almost the end of 365 days of photographs!

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Gosh! I can’t quite believe this is nearly the end of the challenge. Here are some of my favourites from the second half of December 2017. I took the D7200 out for some experiments with night photography. I also got out exploring a bit more, sometimes forgetting to take the D7200’s memory card with me! Just a little bit of a fail. Thank goodness smartphone cameras are so good these days.

18th December 2017 – Beechfield House

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The derelict Beechfield House in Morpeth town centre. It was built in 1853 for a wealthy timber merchant, Nicholas Wright, who went on to be a two-time Mayor of the Borough. For 50 years this view had been obscured by the town library (a somewhat ugly 1960s building). In the dying weeks of 2017, the empty and dilapidated library building was demolished, revealing the side of its older neighbour for the first time in half a century. I took this opportunity to take this photo. There had been access to Beechfield from the library hence why there is boarded up entrance.

On the other side of Beechfield, across a courtyard, is its identical twin house, The Willows. This building is also derelict and was previously home to the Brumell family who were solicitors in Morpeth. Members of this family served as Mayor and Town Clerk. I find these buildings very attractive although they are not particularly old. The eclectic architecture of these symmetric buildings harks back to the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods.

  • Nikon D7200
  • 20 sec exposure
  • f/4 26 mm
  • ISO 200

23rd December 2017 – Newbiggin Bay Sunset

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This bay is quickly becoming one of my favourites to photograph. Like many bays in Northumberland, it is a vast sweep of sand that extends for many miles. However, Newbiggin is the odd one out as its beach was swept away many years ago. At a cost of £10,000,000, 500,000 tonnes of sand from Skegness was deposited here to protect the eroding beach. The sand here is noticeably different from all other Northumberland beaches as it is derived from a different geology.

  • Nikon D7200
  • 1/500 sec exposure
  • f/8 28 mm
  • ISO 125

25th December 2017 – Christmas Cactus

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Christmas Day. I could have gone for the obvious Christmas Tree or unwrapping of presents photo, but decided to return to the flora theme. This is one of our Christmas cacti and for once it was actually flowering on Christmas Day. It was pertinent to the festival celebrations. This was a smartphone pic.

27th December 2017 – Bolam Church

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A very cold day, the frost did not lift. This photo was taken around 2 o’clock in the afternoon. I had intended to take this on the Nikon D7200, but I managed to forget the memory card (again!). Bolam church is very ancient, the oldest part of the structure is its tower which is over 1,000 years old and is Saxon.

28th December 2017 – Newbiggin Church

2017-12-28 Newbiggin Church

Another foray into night photography with the D7200. This time the subject matter was St Bartholomew’s Church in Newbiggin with its dramatic setting on the headland at the north end of Newbiggin bay. The church was largely rebuilt in the 1846 with a north isle added in 1912. However, the tower is very old and is of 13th century construction with a later 14th century spire.

  • Nikon D7200
  • 5/2 sec exposure
  • f/4.5 18 mm
  • ISO 200

29th December 2017 – Bothal Castle

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Another old favourite, Bothal Castle. We had a fluttering of snow and many of the country roads were consequently treacherous. I did have a few kind and concerned locals ask me if I was stuck as I had abandoned the car at the side of the road whilst I took photos, but it was fine…. driving in the snow is easy! And worth it when you can snap a beauty like this one.

  • Nikon D7200
  • 1/50 sec exposure
  • f/10 58 mm
  • ISO 320

365 Day Photograph Challenge: October the Second

A month after the equinox, the clocks return to GMT and the long winter nights draw near.

14th October 2017 – Church of St Mary Magdalene, Mitford

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This has always been one of my favourite spots in Northumberland. I spent many a happy Sunday walking the short two miles upstream from Morpeth to Mitford and back again with my family. The very handsome church in this idyllic setting is mostly Victorian in age having been restored between 1874 and 1877. The oldest part of the church is the chancel and dates from the 12th/13th century.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/30 sec exposure
  • f/8 55 mm
  • ISO 400

15th October 2017 – Obligatory Autumn Leaves

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Had to be done at some point!

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/30 sec exposure
  • f/9.5 40 mm
  • ISO 400

16th October 2017 – Saharan Dust Sky

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This was a quick snap on my phone to record the red sky over Newcastle upon Tyne on this day. I took this looking out of a window of a laboratory on the fourth floor of my building. The tall building on the left is the Civic Centre which features in other photos throughout the year. This photograph was taken a little after 2 p.m. and you can see that the street lights were on. This strange and eerie looking scene was created by ex-Hurricane Ophelia that had tracked across the Atlantic, picking up Saharan dust and dragging it north to the UK.

21st October 2017 – Thurne Mill, Norfolk Broads

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Another phone snap. I was in Norfolk for the weekend, cruising the Broads with my university friends for a group member’s birthday. Unfortunately I didn’t have the DSLR with me as I didn’t have enough room in my luggage for the weekend. I’m quite pleased with this phone snap. It was a gorgeous day!

25th October 2017 – The Long Sands, Tynemouth

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Another famous NE England view, the Long Sands at Tynemouth. This photo is looking north towards Cullercoats. The impressive church in the distance is St George’s Cullercoats and was opened in 1884. It is a Grade I Listed Building. In the late 19th century, the tall spire served as a navigational reference for ships and boats. Unfortunately, the low angle of the sun due to the time of year and time of day has left almost all the beach in shadow.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/250 sec exposure
  • f/11 55 mm
  • ISO 400

26th October 2017 – St Mary’s Island at Dusk

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I really made life difficult for myself for this shoot.  I left the office later than I would have liked, the traffic was heavy, so by the time I arrived at St Mary’s Island, it was already becoming very dark. Added to which, I had managed to leave the tripod at home. I had to shoot handheld using a railing to rest upon to keep the camera steady. I really had to push the camera settings to their limits in order to shoot this one. It hasn’t come out too badly as there appears to be no noise.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/8 sec exposure
  • f/4.5 105 mm
  • ISO 800

Here’s the original image before editing.

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365 Day Photograph Challenge: October the First

Here is the first instalment of October 2017.

1st October 2017 – Grey Day at Cambois Beach

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Pronounced ‘KAM-əs‘, this is one of many sweeping Northumbrian beaches. One that I had never set foot on until undertaking the 365 day photograph challenge. It is not a particularly picturesque beach. The grey day did nothing to help my opinion of it. Having said that, it is a moody shot with a heavy sky. This shot is facing south towards Blyth. The former Alcan aluminium ore vessel unloading facility at the Port of Blyth can be seen in the distance.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/60 sec exposure
  • f/9.5 24 mm
  • ISO 200

2nd October 2017 – Plessey Woods Country Park

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A favourite childhood haunt. Many Sundays were spent walking and exploring with the family in these woods. I especially remember many trees that my brother and I used to enjoy climbing. A real hidden gem in SE Northumberland Although it was October, the weather was still very mild and the autumn had not progressed very much. The foliage in this shot still looks very green and lush!

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/30 sec exposure
  • f/6.7 33 mm
  • ISO 400

5th October 2017 – Spirit of the Staithes, Blyth Harbour

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A quick snap on the smartphone. The Spirit of the Staithes is an art installation installed at the harbour at Blyth in 2003.

  • Samsung Galaxy S7
  • 1/2500 sec exposure
  • f/1.7 4.2 mm
  • ISO 50

7th October 2017 – Seaton Delaval Hall Interior

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Seaton Delaval Hall was built between 1718 and 1728 for Admiral George Delaval by Sir John Vanbrugh. The exterior view of the hall appeared in the 365 day challenge on 1st June 2017. Until 2007, the west wing of the hall was the residence of the Barons Hastings. When the 23rd Baron succeeded the title, he was saddled with a huge inheritance tax bill. Ultimately the hall was sold to the National Trust in December 2009 and opened to the public in May 2010.

The impressive central hall has been in a semi-ruinous condition since 1822 following a devastating fire. It is very reminiscent of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire which is also the work of Sir John Vanbrugh. Its scale and ambition are much more modest than its more famous counterpart.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/20 sec exposure
  • f/4.5 18 mm
  • ISO 200

8th October 2017 – Late Flowering Nigella

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Another experiment with macro photography in the back garden. I sowed some nigella seeds quite late in the day, probably May or June 2017. They are a summer flowering plant and typically flower through July and August. I was a bit sceptical as to whether the nigella would flower as they had a very late start. Fortunately we had a mild October and these quirky little plants flowered solidly throughout the month. This macro was taken using the GX-1S rather than my phone as I did on 1st July (although that plant was in a different part of the country!).

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/30 sec exposure
  • f/8 55 mm
  • ISO 400

1st July comparison

1 July

10th October 2017 – Carlisle Park Promenade

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Morpeth Promenade opened at the same time as Carlisle Park in 1929. It is now nearly 90 years old and is still enjoyed by the current generation of Morpethians whether its walking the dog or a late evening stroll in late summer. The trees to the left are self-seeded and are growing out of the promenade giving it a bit of a neglected look, although I they add something to this shot’s composition.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 10 sec exposure
  • f/8 24 mm
  • ISO 200

11th October 2017 – Bothal Japanese Maple

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The very ancient church of St Andrew in Bothal has a notable unusual triple bell cote. Immediately below this is the village’s war memorial. It is flanked by this gorgeous Japanese Maple and a weeping ash tree. The maple, flame red in autumn, represents the blood of the fallen while the weeping ash represents the tears of the bereaved. Only the very top of the maple had turned flame red when I took this shot in mid-October.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/125 sec exposure
  • f/11 43 mm
  • ISO 200

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

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: 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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