A Trip to Cleveland, North Yorkshire

A Grand Day Out.

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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

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

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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

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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.

365 Day Photograph Challenge: March Part II

Summary 17th – 31st March

  • 17 – The Key Building, Science Central, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • 18 – The Wedding of Chris and Tessa, Burbage, Leicestershire
  • 19 – Nuthatch, Coombe Country Park, Warwickshire
  • 20 – Robin of Pegswood, near Morpeth
  • 21 – Wylam Brewery, Exhibition Park, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • 22 – Leazes Park Gates on a Stormy Evening, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • 23 – Cheerful Daffodils in Leazes Park after the Storm
  • 24 – St George’s URC Rose Window, Morpeth
  • 25 – Guisborough Priory, North Yorkshire
  • 26 – Azalea Sylvester
  • 27 – Elswick Riverside, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • 28 – Daffodil Close-up
  • 29 – Academic Waste, Art Installation by Helena Lacey, Newcastle University
  • 30 – Great North Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • 31 – Cumulus Congestus Clouds near Stannington, Northumberland

19th March – Nuthatch, Coombe Country Park

19 March

Taken the morning after the wedding and after my friend’s and I had seen the newly weds off for their honeymoon. We took a stroll in Coombe Country Park which is down the road from the wedding venue. I was really pleased to get this snap of a nuthatch while we were there.

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

20th March – Robin of Pegswood

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Officially called, ‘Fire,’ it is known locally as Robin of Pegswood due to the pose of the bronze miner. It was designed by local artist, Tom Maley, stands 36 ft high and was unveiled on 10th September 2009. I captured this shot just after sunset.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 10 sec exposure
  • f/19 88 mm
  • ISO 200

21st March – Wylam Brewery

21 March

Originally built as an exhibition venue in 1929, Wylam Brewery is a good example of Art Deco architecture. As such, it is Grade II Listed by Historic England. I particularly liked the light at this time of the day as the shadows helped to define the lines of the building.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/125 sec exposure
  • f/16 43 mm
  • ISO 200

24th March – St George’s URC Rose Window

24 March

A bit of a hidden gem this one. The rose window of this church is no longer visible from the inside of the church as a mezzanine floor was constructed in 1962 to host the church hall. I was wandering around Morpeth on the evening of 24th March looking for interesting photographs. The church hall was in use and the lights from inside the hall lit up the window to viewers such as myself on the pavement below. I happily took this cheeky close up.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 4 sec exposure
  • f/4.5 105 mm
  • ISO 200

27th March – Elswick Riverside

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An interesting cityscape on the north bank of the River Tyne. There are three phases of construction that comprise 140 years. The tower of St Stephen’s church dates from 1878, the high rise flats of Cruddas Park date from 1963 and the riverside apartments have been built within the last 10 years. It had been an overcast day, but I quite liked the glow from the setting sun as it peeped through the clouds and the reflections in the mud flats.

  • Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/60 sec exposure
  • f/9.5 58 mm
  • ISO 200

30th March – Great North Museum

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A little detour through one of my favourite childhood museums one lunchtime. It has been recently refurbished (in the last 10 years) and rebranded as the Great North Museum and is much better than when I was a kid.

  • Samsung Galaxy S5
  • 1/15 sec exposure
  • f/2.2 48 mm
  • ISO 500

365 Day Photograph Challenge: Day 75

Practice makes (almost) perfect.

I attempted to do a night time photograph of Morpeth Court House (built 1822) on 6th March. However, by the time I got set up, it was already too dark. As it was dark, I had to increase the aperture size and shorten the exposure time. Also, the camera sensor and lenses badly needed cleaning. The quality of the image was consequently impaired. My first effort looked a bit like this:

06 March

Morpeth Court House, 6th March 2017

Camera Settings:

  • 10 sec exposure
  • f/8 18 mm
  • ISO 200

10 days later, I was back for round two. This time I managed to get set up earlier in the evening. Also, 16th March was a completely clear evening which gave good conditions for improving the shoot. The colours of the twilight after sunset were very vivid. I experimented with different white balance settings to get the right effect.

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The headlights are slightly yellow in this rendering. Additionally, the tail lights aren’t very vivid.

  • 30 sec exposure
  • f/27 23 mm
  • ISO 200

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Getting better…

  • 30 sec exposure
  • f/27 23 mm
  • ISO 200

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Best… Although the court house might be slightly out of focus.

  • 30 sec exposure
  • f/27 20 mm
  • ISO 200

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

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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: Wallington Crocuses

A carpet of crocuses

Since the start of March, Wallington’s Walled Garden has featured a lot on social media groups that I follow. (One has to have sources of inspiration.) At the weekend, the family and I went up to Wallington to have a look at the crocuses that have been so widely talked about. The rumour is that the former head gardener planted the crocuses before his departure last year. Whether there is any truth in this I don’t know. However, the crocus lawn has never been there in all the years I have been visiting Wallington (including last year). It is simple but stunning!

Wallington Hall and its grounds are a National Trust property. There is too much of Wallington to cover in one post. I aim to do a series of posts about it in the future.

Wallington Crocuses (2)

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Just a little disappointing that it was a grey day and the crocuses were closed up! (Beggars can’t be choosers!)

365 Day Photograph Challenge: Day 66

An ambition fulfilled.

It has been a long-held ambition of mine to photograph the Newcastle/Gateshead Quayside at night. The Tyne crossings are amazing feats of engineering and they all complement each other. Even The Sage, a live music and performing arts venue that opened in 2004, was designed to be an accompaniment to the bridges. Undoubtedly, the quayside must be one of the most photographed locations in the city, and it is easy to see why as the architecture is stunning!

My photographs may not break new ground, but it was great fun to finally get to do a night shoot on the quayside, and to practise my night photography.

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The Sage – A landmark live music venue for Gateshead, Newcastle and the North East (opened 2004).

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Gateshead Millennium Bridge – “the blinking eye bridge” (opened 2001).

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The majestic Tyne Bridge rises high above the waters of the Tyne (opened 1928). Further upstream the Swing Bridge (1876), High Level Bridge (1849) and QEII Metro Bridge (1981) can be seen.

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The Tyne Bridge with the Millennium Bridge and The Sage Gateshead in the distance.

I hope to be back for round two, soon!

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