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: December Part I

The end of the year draws near.

Here we are at the twelfth and final month of the year. Writing in 2018, on the one hand it feels like 2017 flew by and on the other it felt like the longest year. I do recall that when I got to December I was beginning to feel relieved as by October I felt like I had run out of steam. I got a little more confidence with the D7200 and got some of my enthusiasm back. Here are the results.

1st December 2017 – Rutherford’s Department Store Christmas Display

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Morpeth’s famous department store established in 1846 (over 170 years ago) always puts on a very traditional Christmas display in its shop window. This display is complemented by real pine trees mounted to the shop wall which are decorated in plain white lights to produce a very simple and classy look. This is one of my favourite local sights at Christmas.

  • Nikon D7200
  • 1/60 sec exposure
  • f/4.5 40 mm
  • ISO 3200

3rd December 2017 – Coquetdale

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A fine view of Coquetdale (pronounced ‘Co-cut’) in rural Northumberland on a glorious, cold, crisp, winter’s morning. The small village is Harbottle with its castle ruins. My friends and I took a short walk on this fine morning to the Drake Stone, which overlooks Harbottle village, to remember our friend, Janice, who’s ashes were scattered there in 2016.

  • Nikon D7200
  • 1/1000 sec exposure
  • f/8 85 mm
  • ISO 800

6th December 2017 – Rothbury Village

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The largest settlement in Coquetdale, Rothbury is a pretty village of about 2000 residents. The parish of Upper Coquetdale is the largest in England by area. Its parish church of All Saints seen in this photo is known as the Cathedral Church of Coquetdale. This photo was taken from the hill on the NE approach into the village. It is quite a pleasing angle showing the heart of the village in the shadow of Simonside (the stepped mountain in the background). It is a shame that the tennis courts in the foreground spoil the view. I tried cropping the bottom off the photo by changing the aspect ratio to 16:9, but that came at the loss of the road leading into the village and the photograph. Somehow it wasn’t as pleasing as the original.

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  • Nikon D7200
  • 1/640 sec exposure
  • f/6.3 62 mm
  • ISO 800

10th December 2017 – Morpeth Riverside

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My winter take on the view of Morpeth Riverside from the weir. The reflections in the water above the weir have come out nice and crisp. It’s a shame that this photo doesn’t convey the freezing temperatures.

  • Nikon D7200
  • 1/60 sec exposure
  • f/4 26 mm
  • ISO 2800

12th December 2017 – Coquet Island

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Only the second view I shot of Coquet Island in 2017 (the other being 7th January 2017). This was another freezing day. There had been some snowfall and the local roads were treacherous. Indeed, it was so cold that the beach was frozen in places. I was really pleased with the pale blue tones of this photograph.

  • Nikon D7200
  • 1/1000 sec exposure
  • f/8 92 mm
  • ISO 400

13th December 2017 – Lit and Phil, Newcastle upon Tyne

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This was supposed to have been shot on the D7200, but muggins here forgot to put the memory card in the camera, or even the camera bag before leaving the house. Instead, it was photographed on my Samsung Galaxy S7. I exaggerated the brightness and contrast somewhat before using some of the phone filters to make the colours more vivid.

Originally founded in 1793 as the Conversation Club, it is now known as the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle upon Tyne. The current building with its impressive library was built between 1822 and 1825 to the designs of architect John Green. In 2012 the society’s membership surpassed 2000.

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: 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: June Part I

Long, long days.

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

1st June – Seaton Delaval Hall

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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

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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: May Part I

Spring has well and truly-sprung.

Desperately trying to catch up and bring the blog up to date. I have been very busy of late. Here are some of my favourites from the first half of May 2017. Hope you enjoy!

1st May – Bluebells

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This close-up was taken in my front garden.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/100 sec exposure
  • f/5.6 200 mm
  • ISO 200

4th May – Central Arcade, Newcastle upon Tyne

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Set in the heart of Newcastle’s historic Grainger Town, Central Arcade was restored in 1906 and is a fine example of Edwardian architecture. It is also home to the best music store in the world, ‘Windows.’ This is my own opinion, of course!

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

6th May – Morpeth Twilight

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This photograph was taken from a friend’s balcony, overlooking the town centre of Morpeth at twilight.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 30 sec exposure
  • f/16 105 mm
  • ISO 200

9th May – The Couple, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea

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Situated on the coast at Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, this sculpture, called, ‘The Couple’ was opened in 2007. The photograph shows a miniature version of the main sculpture which is mounted upon an artificial breakwater in the bay. Behind the couple, the ancient parish church of St Bartholomew and Newbiggin Heritage Centre can be seen.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/100 sec exposure
  • f/8 28 mm
  • ISO 200

10th May – Newcastle & Gateshead Quays

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An interesting view of the quayside at Newcastle taken from Tyne Street (appropriately enough!). The Gateshead Millennium Bridge, Swing Bridge, Tyne Bridge and High Level Bridge are seen spanning the River Tyne with the SAGE Gateshead and Baltic Centre on the left bank.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/250 sec exposure
  • f/16 45 mm
  • ISO 200

11th May – Bennett’s Walk, Morpeth (Blue Hour)

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Middle Greens was opened in the late 19th century/early 20th century to house the working class. Bennett’s Walk follows the south bank of the river. I quite liked how the Court House (1822) was illuminated in orange and contrasted against the plain houses. Sadly, the 1960s flood wall is a bit of a monstrosity!

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 30 sec exposure
  • f/13 105 mm
  • ISO 200