Thursday, 30 December 2010

Tyneside Yesterday

I have sent my two autofocus zoom lenses off to Canon's workshop for a refit, and find myself relying on a collection of old manual focus glass for a couple of weeks. Being used to 24-70mm and 70-200mm zooms it isn't easy going back to discreet focal lengths. Add to that the need to swap my Olympus to Canon adapter between lenses in the bitter cold and I remember why photography has moved on to zoom lenses. That said, the image quality is not bad at all with this old glass, if anything the corner to corner sharpness is better, but the contrast is a bit down and the colours not seeming so bright.

The light was pretty poor, the prediction was for fog, and I had hoped to take some interesting through the fog shots, but there was no fog, just grotty flat light. Having made my excuses, here are the pictures: -

Melting snow left this interesting pattern on the quayside. (Olympus 50mm f1.4)

The one redeeming feature was the lack of wind, giving rise to perfect reflections.

How many times has this been taken?

High class graffiti behind the Sage in Gateshead. (Zeiss Flektogon 35mm f2.4)

Monday, 20 December 2010

A couple from the river Wear in Washington

I saw this overturned boat, the Zephya, while walking through the wildfowl centre and therefore had to shoot against the light and through the wire netting fence. The result is much better than I anticipated. I won't worry so much about scratches on my lenses in future! However, I wonder how this sad state of affairs came to pass, did vandals undo the moorings of this boat perhaps?

I have just noticed that there is a photo of this boat moored at Fatfield on my posting dated 8-12-10. It looked to be in good shape then.

Canon 450D Sigma 100-300 f4

The setting sun made these icicles hanging from the Victoria Viaduct glow like flames.

Canon 5D 70-200L f4

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Cold places

The weather forecast predicted bright sunshine, but, late morning, it was devilish dark at Roker.

Victoria Viaduct, near Fatfield, with ice washing in on the tide.

More ice on the river Wear at Barmston Ferry/Cox Green. I seem to recall reading in a history of Sunderland how massive ice flows coming down the river had swept moored (wooden) ships out to sea. Can't remember the date, early 1800s perhaps.

The mothballed Leamside line as it passes through Washington.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Tanfield Railway North Pole Express

The Tanfield Railway's Santa Specials have begun to operate, despite the adverse weather. East Tanfield station car park was not accessible, so the trains were starting from Andrew's House station, and working through the woods topped and tailed by Twizell and No. 49.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

November Snow - Durham

The weeping willow still has a full complement of leaves, but there is a thick covering of snow.

I have yet to take the master shot of Prebends Bridge, but we're getting closer!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Distant Connections

These two shots were taken in Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA. The first shows the replica Mayflower moored in the harbour.

Above the town and with views out to sea, there is a cemetery. This second shot has a local connection, click on to the image to read the inscription.

Monday, 15 November 2010

The River Wear at Durham

There are those who know what they are doing

and those who don't

The water is very cold at this time of year. It could have ended very nastily, but, fortunately, the young couple involved managed to get away from the weir.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010


All sorts of strange people come knocking on your door come Halloween!

Sunday, 26 September 2010

St Peter's Church - Sunderland

Cycling around today the weather was overcast and far from perfect for photography. Near to the end of my ride I popped into St Peter's church in search of a cup of tea and a bun, they have a cafe at the rear of the place. However on Sunday afternoons all that you can get is Sunday lunch, but the kindly chef offered me a bowl of soup and a coffee, and I can certainly recommend the excellent soup! The cafe is open for a limited period on all days except Mondays.

There is some evidence to suggest that Bede was born in Sunderland and that he spent most of his time at the St Peter's site, which at that time was a monastery. No doubt the people of Jarrow would dispute this as they claim Bede as one of theirs.

Photography was a tad difficult within the building without a flash gun or a tripod, but I managed to capture a couple of shots.

The fruits of the Harvest Festival on display in the foreground.

I have been into the church a number of times in the past, but had failed to notice the attractively painted ceiling.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Autumn on the way!

A couple of shots taken at Saltwell Park in Gateshead yesterday.

Saltwell Towers was designed and once owned by William Wailes, a prominent designer of stained glass, and was completed in 1862. It is now a tearoom and exhibition centre within the park.

First signs of autumn.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Great North Run

World class marathon runners, Haile Gebrselassie and Kiplimo Kimutai. They finished first and second respectively. Seen here on the Felling bypass, about 3 miles into the run.

The gentleman in the banana suit is Tony Audenshaw, who plays Bob Hope in Emmerdale, running for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research. Thanks for the wave Tony!

And last, but certainly not least, is my younger son Tom and his friend Michael, both running for a local children's charity.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Tanfield Legends of Industry Gala

The Tanfield Railway Gala starts on the Friday night with a Photographers' evening and then there are two days of frantic activity on the railway with passenger, mixed and coal trains running. This year they imported two engines, the LNER J72 tank seen above, and a Manning Wardle cabless 0-6-0 tank, while the recently restored local Stephenson tank Twizell was in good form. Other attractions included a vintage vehicle display, model boats, a fairground organ and a group playing country music.

For more pics take a look at my web site

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Rose Line Building - Wylam Wharf

The Rose Line Building at Wylam Wharf on Sunderland's riverside was restored in 1995. Originally constructed in the late 18th century the brick extension was built in 1820.

Canon 5D 24-70L

Monday, 6 September 2010


An elderly fishing boat chugs out of the river past the University of Sunderland's buildings at St Peter's.

One of the several remaining traditional cobles still fishing (crabs or lobsters?) from the Wear.

Canon 5D 24-70L

Monday, 30 August 2010

Tyneside Trip

I cycled through to Newcastle as the weather forecast was for sunshine, but in fact there were overcast skies, and then there was the puncture. However the sun did make an appearance and, for a brief period, the wind fell away to nothing. It's not often I'm in the right place at the right time but every dog has his day.

Stopping for lunch at the Ouseburn, I had hoped to see a Kingfisher, but none were apparent.

Further along the river is St Peter's marina. It used to be the site of the Hawthorn Leslie Engineering factory, where I once worked. I couldn't find any reference to that company, but I guess that there are still some rusting relics within the river, thrown there by tired machinists on night shift when something went wrong.

If you follow the riverside path and then climb up to the old railway track you will encounter the site of the Roman fort at Segedumun, where dark skies made a dramatic setting for the observation tower.

Fortunately the rain held off until I reached the pedestrian/cycle tunnel under the Tyne but, on reaching the south bank, I was greeted by a torrential downpour. This allowed time to inspect the various photos and press cuttings describing the construction of the tunnel in the late 1940s. Apparently the workings were pressurised to keep the water out, with decompression chambers for the tunnelers. At one stage there was a major air leak and work had to be halted until silt could be dumped from barges above, to seal the fissure.

Incidentally the escalators and lift were all out of action on the north side, while only the up-escalator was working on the south side. When built they were the longest escalators in the world, and it certainly feels that way when you have to carry a heavy camera bag and bike!

Canon 5D 24-70 and 70-200 lenses.

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Some Images from Haworth

Who needs a garden?

Window in the church where the Bronte sisters' father was Parson

Keighley and Worth Valley Railway steam train climbing towards Haworth station

Monday, 23 August 2010

Model Boats at Saltwell Park

The model boat club at Saltwell invited their Tynemouth colleagues over for the day, so there was a good turn out of models this Sunday. The two boats that caught my attention were both based upon local prototypes.

A small fishing boat based upon a coble style hull, I presume that the registration indicates a North Shields based vessel.

Charles Parsons' famous Turbinia, the prototype of which resides in Newcastle's Discovery museum.

Men having fun.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Monday, 2 August 2010

Dramatic Light

It was a sunny warm day with a blue sky and white clouds, until dark skies appeared over the Sage concert hall in Gateshead. It looked pretty dramatic to the naked eye but the camera's auto exposure system has tried to control the strong highlights and has underexposed the scene, and this has enhanced the effect.