365 Day Photograph Challenge: May Part II

The joys of Spring

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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

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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24 April (2).jpg

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

Hidden Northumberland: Morpeth in Springtime

The plants coming back to life helps to lift spirits.

Whilst on my 365 Day Photograph Challenge, I am always trying to find new places in my hometown to photograph. Usually, I rarely spend any time wandering around Morpeth as I spend most of my time working in Newcastle and commuting to and fro. But, with the impetus of having to find at least one photograph every day, it has encouraged me to get out when I can and find new and different angles.

It has also made me appreciate just how well our public spaces are cared for and maintained. Perhaps something we can take for granted, but this year’s spring displays have been stunning and I would like to thank everyone who has worked on them. They are truly appreciated!

Here is a selection of some of my favourites.

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Cherry blossom against a stormy sky (juxtaposition to the max!), crab apple blossom, and Morpeth Cenotaph peeping out from behind tulips.

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Tulips and cherry blossom on the Newcastle Road

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Morpeth Court House viewed from Carlisle Park

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Cherry blossom next to the Chantry Bridge and Acers in full leaf in Carlisle Park

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Church of St James the Great

Hidden Northumberland: Howick Bathing House

Built in the early 19th century by the 2nd Earl Grey, the Bathing House was specifically for his children to go bathing in the North Sea. With its dramatic setting on a remote headland, it is a Grade II Listed Building and is currently a self-catered holiday home owned by Howick Trustees Ltd. It is located within the Northumberland Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty which encompasses 100 miles of coast from Berwick in the north to the mouth of the River Coquet in the south. The walk from the Bathing House along the coast to Craster and onto Dunstanburgh Castle is beautiful and is well worth doing on a bright, sunny day.

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Interesting sandstone geology.

Howick Bay.jpg

Golden sands are a common feature of Northumberland’s beaches. The sandstone cliffs provide natural shelter making the cove a safe place to bathe (in the frigid waters of the North Sea!). The ruins of the 14th Century Dunstanburgh Castle some 5 miles to the north can be seen in the distance.

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Brave/foolish/crazy girls jumping into the sea from the cliffs.

Hidden Northumberland: Howick Hall & Gardens

Home to a 19th century social reformer.

Built in 1782, Howick Hall is the (former) seat of the Earls Grey. The most notable resident was Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, Prime Minister of the UK 1830-34. Perhaps better known for lending his name to Earl Grey Tea! A Whig Politician (Liberal), his government oversaw the Great Reform Act of 1832 which reformed the House of Commons and the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 which largely ended slavery throughout the British Empire by 1838. To date, he is the only UK Prime Minister to have hailed from Northumberland.

The west wing of the house is still inhabited by descendants of Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, but are of a different branch of the family that does not inherit the title, ‘Earl Grey’. The extensive gardens and arboretum are open to the public. Spring is a good time to visit the gardens as a number of spring plants are in flower, such as daffodils, rhododendrons, magnolias and camellias.

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A fire in 1926 devastated the interior of the main hall and it largely had to be rebuilt. The restoration was completed by 1928 and is recorded in the artwork above the main entrance.

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Inscription on the side of the tomb of Charles, 2nd Earl Grey, in Howick Parish Church

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Magnolia (left) and Camellia in full bloom

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The gardens are home to many different varieties of Rhododendrons that flower in spring. The photograph at the bottom is of Rhododendron Sinogrande which was flowering for only the second time since it was planted in 1990. (That’s a long time to be taking stock!)

Hidden Northumberland: Morpeth by Night

Pretty little Morpeth.

I’ve been out practising night photography a lot this year. I have now compiled quite an archive of my home town at night. Here are the fruits of my labour! I hope you enjoy them.

The River

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The Bakehouse Stepping Stones

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Telford Bridge (1831) with River Wansbeck in flood

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Chantry Footbridge, a Victorian (1869) wrought iron bridge resting upon medieval abutments and central pier.

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The riverside walk through Carlisle Park

The Market Place

The ancient market place lies at the heart of the town centre and remains the focal point of social life in Morpeth.

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The 17th century Clock Tower and (1885) Hollon Fountain, guarding the entrance to Oldgate

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Clockwise from top left: YMCA Building (1905), Market Place from NE Corner, Town Hall (1714), Hollon Fountain (1885)

Light Trails

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Bridge Street

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The Court House (1822)

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Curly Kews

Miscellaneous

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Carlisle Park Lodge, Sanderson Arcade and the 13th Century Chantry

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Ephesus Turkish Restaurant

24 March

St George’s Church Rose Window (1860)