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: 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: February (Part Deux)

All the photos (15th – 28th February)

  • 15th Feb – The 1875 bandstand in Exhibition Park, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • 16th Feb – Armstrong Building stairwell, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • 17th Feb – Northumbrian Piper, Alistair Anderson
  • 18th Feb – The historic shop front of John Smail & Sons, Morpeth
  • 19th Feb – Morpeth townscape from St James’ Church tower, Morpeth
  • 20th Feb – Armstrong memorial, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • 21st Feb – Quirky camel tea pot, throwing up the tea…
  • 22nd Feb – Car behaving like a devil
  • 23rd Feb – Philosophical graffiti, Jesmond, Newcastle upon Tyne
  • 24th Feb – The Lodge, Carlisle Park, Morpeth
  • 25th Feb – Barter Books, Alnwick
  • 26th Feb – Curly Kews, Morpeth
  • 27th Feb – Eclectic still life
  • 28th Feb – Blossom in Exhibition Park, Newcastle upon Tyne

16th February – Armstrong Building Architecture

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The Armstrong Building is the oldest building on Newcastle University campus. It was constructed in three phases between 1887 and 1906. Originally designed by R. J. Johnson in 1887, architects F. W. Rich and W. H. Knowles contributed to its design following Johnson’s death in 1892. It is a grand Victorian building in Gothic Revival Architecture.

In this photograph I am looking up the main stair well from the entrance hall. I put the phone on timer and let it do the rest! Felt like such a pillock, but took solace in the fact that as I walked in, two students were taking exactly the same photograph.

  • Device – Samsung Galaxy GX-1S
  • 1/100 sec exposure
  • f/2.2 4.8 mm
  • ISO 40

19th February – Morpeth Townscape

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A very rare view over Morpeth. I was very kindly given access to the tower of St James’ Church by the vicar. To access the roof, one must crawl underneath the church bell that is hung at the top of the tower stair turret. Thankfully the vicar had cleared out all the pigeon muck before we went up!

  • Device – Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/250 sec exposure
  • f/4 18 mm
  • ISO 200

25th February – Barter Books, Alnwick

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Barter Books is an incredible second hand book shop, situated in Alnwick. It is based in the former railway station building. The owners have made it really warm and welcoming and it is the perfect place to visit on a cold and/or wet winter’s day. The words suspended on the banners between the bookcases are from the Song of Solomon 2:10, Old Testament.

  • Device – Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/50 sec exposure
  • f/4 26 mm
  • ISO 800

26th February – Curly Kews, Morpeth

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The poetically named Curly Kews was opened in the 1960s to allow access to the newly built housing estate at the top of the bank. I didn’t think I would get out to do any photography as it rained most of the day. By early evening it had stopped and I took the camera and tripod out. Really pleased with this light trail. The only thing that could have made it better would be if I had captured the passing car as it crossed the bridge.

  • Device – Samsung GX-1S
  • 20 sec exposure
  • f/16 33 mm
  • ISO 200

January 2017: An Overview

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All the photos!

  • 01  – Overlooking Morpeth from Ha’ Hill (former Motte) on New Year’s Day.
  • 02 – Sunrise over Oldgate, Morpeth (Clock Tower in the distance).
  • 03 – Back to work (Newcastle University).
  • 04 – River Wansbeck, Morpeth, at night.
  • 05 – Sunset over Newcastle University.
  • 06 – Bakehouse Stepping Stones, Morpeth, at night.
  • 07 – Coquet Island, Northumberland.
  • 08 – The wreck of Beechfield House, Morpeth.
  • 09 – Doctorate congratulatory present.
  • 10 – Cirrocumulus clouds over Kensington Terrace, Newcastle.
  • 11 – Fisheye View of the Ringing Chamber of Morpeth Clock Tower.
  • 12 – I Work with a Bunch of Muppets.
  • 13 – Angel of the North, Gateshead.
  • 14 – Center Parcs Trees, Nottinghamshire.
  • 15 – Center Parcs Trees (Part Deux), Nottinghamshire.
  • 16 – Tyne Bridge Arch Hinge Joint, Gateshead.
  • 17 – New Toy for Digitising Old Slides.
  • 18 – Chantry Footbridge, Morpeth, at night.
  • 19 – W. D. Stephens Memorial Fountain, Jesmond, Newcastle.
  • 20 – Salted Caramel Popcorn Tiffin from Olive and Bean, Newcastle.
  • 21 – Apposite Reading.
  • 22 – Grainger Street Architecture in the Late Afternoon Glow, Newcastle.
  • 23 – Civic Centre, Newcastle, at night.
  • 24 – Sunset over Ilford Road, High West Jesmond, Newcastle.
  • 25 – Devonshire Building Time-Capsule, Newcastle University.
  • 26 – Jazzy Light Fitting.
  • 27 – Morpeth Railway Station, at night.
  • 28 – A New WWI Memorial Bench is Dedicated in Sanderson Arcade, Morpeth.
  • 29 – Blue Tit (RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch Weekend), Morpeth.
  • 30 – St Andrew’s Church Interior, Newgate Street, Newcastle.
  • 31 – People Watching on Northumberland Street, Newcastle.

1st January – Overlooking Morpeth from Ha’ Hill (former Motte Castle)


This photograph was taken around midday on New Year’s Day. Ha’ Hill is a great vantage point to overlook the old part of Morpeth. In this photo, the main buildings that can be seen are the Clock Tower (1634), YMCA Building (1905) and Town Hall (1714). The sun was at its strongest point of the day and produced some good shadows to define the lines of buildings. I increased the contrast to really bring this definition out.

  • Device – Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/30 sec exposure
  • f/27 160 mm
  • ISO 200

2nd January – Sunrise over Oldgate, Morpeth

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Quite a tricky shot this one. I got up early on this cold and icy morning to capture this photo. Achieving the correct exposure proved difficult. In the end I went with a fairly quick exposure and edited the photograph in paint.net to lighten the buildings. While I’m pleased with the composition, the editing has messed the clouds up. Again, the Clock Tower can be seen with its dramatic setting in the middle of the street. Oldgate has many fine Georgian town houses.

  • Device – Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/15 sec exposure
  • f/11 21 mm
  • ISO 200

5th January – Sunset over Newcastle University

05 Jan.jpg

This was quite a fun shoot. It was literally taken out of the kitchen window at work. I used a linear polarising filter to bring out the colours of the sunset.

  • Device – Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/30 sec exposure
  • f/6.7 73 mm
  • ISO 200

6th January – Bakehouse Stepping Stones, Morpeth, at night

06 Jan.jpg

It is said that to be a true Morpethian, one must fall in (be baptised in) the River Wansbeck at this location! A long exposure photo, I increased the ISO slightly to get a slightly sharper image. The trade-off is that the sky is slightly more grainy.  Additionally, I increased the light and contrast to give more definition to the image.

  • Device – Samsung GX-1S
  • 6 sec exposure
  • f/5.6 35 mm
  • ISO 400

7th January – Coquet Island

07 Jan.jpg

Pronounced ‘Co-ket’, Coquet Island is a small (6 ha) island, 1.2 km off the Northumbrian coast at Amble. Originally a Benedictine monastic cell dating from the 14th century was sited on the island. However, in 1841, its remains were incorporated into the lighthouse. It is quite an usual lighthouse due to its square plan. The day I visited the sky was overcast, however, the cloud broke to the south and the sun shone through the gap. This highlighted the island and lighthouse and I got this cool shot. Again, I increased the brightness and contrast to really show off the lighthouse and make the sky look moodier.

  • Device – Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/320 sec exposure
  • f/13 200 mm
  • ISO 400

11th January – Morpeth Clock Tower Ringing Chamber

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Quite a fun one for 11th January. I have a fisheye lens for my phone (amongst others) that rarely gets used, but I thought it would be perfect for this photo. I had to use the flash to get the camera to focus.

  • Device – Samsung Galaxy S5
  • 1/30 sec exposure
  • f/2.2 4.8 mm
  • ISO 125
  • Fisheye lens

22nd January – Grainger Street Architecture, Newcastle upon Tyne

22 Jan.jpg

At the heart of Newcastle upon Tyne is the historic Grainger Town, designed by Richard Grainger between 1824 and 1841. Of the 450 surviving buildings, 250 are listed, including 29 Grade I and 49 Grade II* listed buildings. I happened to be town this day and by the late afternoon the sun was producing this awesome glow on the buildings. This building is on Grainger Street. I’m not sure why it is dated 1874. It may have been restored or rebuilt at this time.

  • Device – Samsung Galaxy S5
  • 1/100 sec exposure
  • f/2.2 48 mm
  • ISO 64

23rd January – Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, at night

23 Jan.jpg

Newcastle Civic Centre was built between 1960 and 1968 and is a very interesting piece of post-WWII architecture. Many people mistakenly believe that the tower is concrete when it is actually faced with Portland Stone. I particularly like the blue lighting at night.

  • Device – Samsung GX-1S
  • 3 sec exposure
  • f/8 21 mm
  • ISO 200

27th January – Morpeth Railway Station, at night

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Morpeth railway station opened on 1st March 1847 (nearly 170 years ago) on the Berwick and Newcastle railway (part of the modern day ECML). A Grade II listed building, it was designed by Benjamin Green the Scottish Baronial style. It is due to undergo a major refurbishment in 2017 that has been funded by Greater Morpeth Development Trust (GMDT). I have finally figured out that for night photography, if the scene is not very well lit, it is necessary to slightly over expose the photograph and increase the aperture a bit more than I would expect to.

  • Device – Samsung GX-1S
  • 10 sec exposure
  • f/6.7 28 mm
  • ISO 200

29th January – Blue tit (RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch Weekend)

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A first attempt a wildlife photography. Unfortunately I do not possess the fancy telescopic lenses required for professional wildlife photography. However, despite the graininess of this photograph, I am still quite pleased with the result.

  • Device – Samsung GX-1S
  • 1/250 sec exposure
  • f/5.6 200 mm
  • ISO 3,200

30th January – St Andrew’s Church interior, Newcastle upon Tyne

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Reputed to be the oldest parish church in Newcastle, St Andrew’s is a peaceful oasis to escape from the city (even for this agnostic). I particularly love the very fine Norman chancel arch.

  • Device – Samsung Galaxy S5
  • 1/15 sec exposure
  • f/2.2 4.8 mm
  • ISO 1,000