Thursday, 31 December 2009

Last Posting of 2009 - Stormy sea at Roker

I have seen larger waves breaking over the pier, sometimes they are as high as the lighthouse, but the combination of a boiling sea within the harbour and the spray over the pier caught my eye here. People have been swept away to their deaths from Roker pier, despite there being a gate preventing access when the weather is rough.

Canon 5D Sigma 100-300 f4

Alamy image BGH2MM

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Grasmere in Winter

We braved the weather to drive over to the Lake District on Monday. The roads were clear of snow until we reached Keswick, the road to Grasmere had been ploughed and gritted but was rather more interesting!

I was not expecting to see that both Grasmere and Rydal Water were partially frozen over, making for some interesting part reflections.

The following shot is of Rydal Water.

If you click on this last image you will see the form of a jet plane and its trail more clearly in the enlarged view.

Canon 5D 24-70L and, last shot, 70-200L f4.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Bishop Auckland on Boxing Day

Escomb church dates back to Saxon times (AD670), the weather was miserable as we approached, but the sun made a very brief appearance as I took the photo.

The town of Bishop Auckland takes its name from its association with the church as it is the location of the home of the Bishop of Durham. This image shows the entrance to the 300 hectare park associated with that person's residence. There is a lovely walk around the estate, which, in the snow, took on a magical quality. I have lived in the NE for most of my 59+ years, but I discovered this walk for the first time yesterday.

You can just see the moon to the right of the gatehouse roof.

The early bishops enjoyed hunting within the estate, and this Deer House was constructed for the purpose of increasing the stock.

Despite the appearance, the cold was relinquishing its grip and the air temperature warm enough to do without gloves. This photograph does not do full justice to the actual scene with the sun's reflections sparkling on the snow.

Canon 450D various lenses.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Snow in the North East

You don't often see snow on the beach at Roker, but there it is. This monolithic sculpture marks the end of the coast to coast cycle route. The positions of the planets are engraved on its surface.

Canon 450D Sigma f2.8 24mm

I went to Durham looking for master shots of the cathedral in the snow but there was a haziness in the air and some stubborn cloud cover, which prevented my taking the photos that I wanted. The reflected light beneath the arches of Elvet bridge provided some compensation.

Canon 5D 24-70L

Friday, 18 December 2009

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Step This Way - Weardale Railway

The Appalachian dance team "Step This Way" were invited to perform on the Weardale Railway on the occasion of the Santa Specials today. They danced on the platform at Stanhope and also rode a couple of the trains, dancing along the corridor.

Canon 5D 24-70L Vivitar 285 flash.

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Durham Xmas Festival and Duck Race

The Durham festival has been in progress this weekend, with the Xmas market and Durham University students' famous charity duck race taking place this afternoon. The charities that were being supported by the duck race were Water Aid and a local hospice. This first shot shows a brave student ticket seller in appropriate garb.

The launching of the ducks into the river Wear from Elvet bridge.

The actual Xmas market takes place within a marquee erected on Palace Green just in front of the cathedral. I took some candid shots but for the most part asked people if they minded having their photos taken. Only one person refused, as I was not "The Official Photographer".

Many of the stall holders dress in traditional costume, and this lovely couple smiled very nicely for the camera.

Sunday, 29 November 2009

Angel of the North

Despite living close to the Angel, I had not previously photographed Mr Gormley's sculpture. People either love or hate the angel in these parts, I rather like it!

The statue is made from Cor-Ten steel, which, in time, acquires an attractive protective coat of oxide that gives it the lovely colour. Unlike common or garden rust, this stuff clings on tight, preventing further corrosion.

Canon 5D 24-70L lens

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Morning Light

The Alexandra bridge in Sunderland once carried a railway line on its top deck in addition to the road below. The railway has long gone, but this stub of masonry, a set of arches in red sandstone, stands isolated and out of use as a reminder of its former function. I see this view every day as I cycle to work, and, on occasion, the low sun picks out the detail very nicely.

This is a savage crop from a portrait format shot. I know that there is an attractive image there somewhere, but it's playing hard to get!

Canon 20D - Zeiss Flektogon 35mm lens.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Durham Festival of Light

The Durham Festival of Light was intended to boost that city's bid to be the UK City of Culture in 2013 and was presented over four evenings starting last Thursday night. I thought of going on Thursday but the weather was poor and Friday worse. Fortunately Saturday and Sunday were better and I spent a couple of hours on Sunday wandering around Durham. I have never seen so many people in the city, coming down from the cathedral square after the Son et Lumiere display, stewards were marshalling people onto the right side of the road, to allow new visitors to use the left. All motorised traffic was stopped.

The castle and cathedral

Prebends Bridge

The cathedral seen across the weir at the fulling mill.

The cathedral reflected in the river

Part of the Son et Lumiere display.

Canon 5D 24-70L

Monday, 9 November 2009

Last of the Autumn Colours

The builders planted this cherry tree before we moved into the house over 20 years ago. I think that the variety is called Hisakura. It has a rather stark upright aspect, nothing like as pleasing as the form of our weeping birch, but the colours in the spring and autumn are superb.