Saturday, 30 March 2019

Work, Rest & Play (Part 1) - Alice In Wonderland

Now then!

With another working week behind me it's good to look back on it in terms of perks. By this I mean the added benefit of slotting in some photography at the end of a late shift (3.30pm - 11.20pm). It's been quite some time since I done any after work shots - in fact, almost 4 months. I could rattle on about the reasons behind it, but I'd be writing all day and night, so best give it a swerve. Bottom line is - it's was great to get back on the horse, so to speak, and to take advantage of a couple of clear night skies for more of that thing that is known as astro photography. When conditions aren't ideal I usually head straight home after work and chill out in front of the box for an hour or two, before heading off to bed. When the skies are clear, there's no such luxury, as I head off into the night, which is usually cold and all things considered, I question my sanity haha!! But this photography lark has a way of getting under your skin, especially at night under the stars, when the creative juices start flowing and the fingers and toes start freezing! It's all part of the fun though.

And so to Part 1 of my Work, Rest and Play blog...

Work - that thing where I build cars for 8 hours
Rest - aye, all 15 minutes of it - driving from work to the shooting location
Play - yeah, the best bit, when the camera comes out to play

A giant image, based on the Lewis Carroll book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, has been created on the side of the old science block at Chuter Ede Community Association in South Shields.
The mural is unique in that it is the first outdoor UV piece surrounded by lights and timers to ensure it gives off an ethereal blue glow at night. This exciting development in site-specific street art references Lewis Carroll’s frequent visits to South Tyneside and the street in Biddick Hall named after him, Carroll Walk, is augmented by special UV lighting at dusk. “In a world first, UV paint is illuminated at night. bringing up the detailed portrait of Alice by artist Irony and the calligraffiti by locally-based Frank Styles.” The work shows a giant Alice trying to break out from the surreal work surrounding her. The text around her is a letter about a missing part of the story cut out of the book because the illustrator didn’t want to draw it. Mr Styles said: “Irony had created a few indoor works of art using UV paint, but this is the first time one like this has been made outside. Due to the weather conditions, we were there for a week."


I made the 15 minute journey by car, from the Nissan Car Plant in Washington, to Chuter Ede and made my way inside the grounds, not really knowing where the wall art was located. I found myself walking round and eventually finding 'Alice', tucked away in a shaded area, away from the nearby street lamps. I eyed up the North Star immediately, with star trails in mind, but its position in relation to the nearby light pollution and wall art made it a no-go. I eyed up
plan B in no time, opting for a head on shot up close, with the stars raining down on Alice. I thought this would work well, especially as Alice looked like she was reaching for the stars. I went with this idea.

Pleased with the results! Part 1 ticked off, with part 2 to follow...

Stay tuned, Ash



Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Good Morning Seaham!

A rare sunrise outing for Mr Corr, on a chilly February morning in the north-east of England. I'd just finished a week of night shifts at the Nissan POW camp and my body clock was again out of fettle, as I woke at 5am and joined the wide awake club once more. With hindsight, I suppose it worked out quite well, as I bagged a decent shot or two - the first shots I 'd actually taken for a number of weeks and my first of 2019. I'd been out of the loop, due to illness and one or two other personal issues, so it was nice to get  back on the horse, so to speak, although I did feel quite rusty and almost had to remind myself how to use my camera ha!

So off I went, slipping back into the photography loop, with a ten minute journey eastward, to Seaham Harbour. I had no real plan, to be fair. It was another one of those 'Suck it and see' affairs, where I drive, observe, then choose. The choice wasn't a great one either, as I had two locations on my radar. My first choice was the harbour beach ... the second was the Tommy artwork, on top, at The Green. With sunrise in mind I checked out the sky for inspiration and a clue as to which location to plump for. The harbour won the day, so I headed down the bank and through the overflow car park - eventually reaching the pier parking area, where I dropped anchor. The tide was almost high and with the sun about to rise, I wasted no time in getting sand on my wellies and into position. A lump of driftwood drew me in immediately. It was ideally placed and looking very photogenic, for what it was. I began to feel that things were already piecing together and the prospect of some colour appearing in the sky was very promising. It was now a short waiting game...

I didn't have to wait long to be rewarded. It was a great start to the morning and the pastel shades suddenly appeared in the sky, with the incoming tide lapping against my driftwood prop. To my right hand side I was distracted by a man with a dog … and a short rake. Ah well, he obviously likes his props too, eh. It's just … he wasn't a photographer as such, just a man walking a dog. So why the rake, I asked myself. Not to be distracted any further, I turned away and fired off a couple more shots. The scene unfolding in front of me was rather special!

I looked across to my right once again and noticed said dog walker crafting something in the sand, with his beloved rake. From the angle I observed from, it wasn't easy to see exactly what he was writing, but all became apparent as I stood and watched him taking a photograph of it on his mobile phone. GOOD MORNING … was his greeting in the sand. Well, as I packed up and headed back to the car I grabbed a quick shot of his work, just for the record. I really do need to thank him, as my photo of it appeared on the Tyne-Tees Television weather bulletin later that day!

All things considered, this morning was a return to my photography after a four month exile. I have to say … it was a nice return, which yielded a decent shot or two. I really need to get back into the seascape scene... especially sunrises. If only there was a way around the early morning alarm calls, eh. Now, that would be ideal. I'll just have to make more of an effort to drag me jaxey out of the fart sack more often. Until then …

Catch ya sooner, rather than later.

Ash    

Thursday, 3 January 2019

International Space Station - A First

Hello again - Welcome to a new year and a new blog entry!

First of all, I'd like to wish my blog readers all the best for 2019 and beyond. Let's see what this one brings, eh. The last few weeks of 2018 were hectic, to say the least, which played havoc with my camera time. The run up to Christmas is always a busy one regarding printing and framing of my work, and although I got bogged down at times, it was easily the best year yet for selling my work. I don't advertise my work for sale as such. I generally cater for requests as and when the enquiries come in, which is a nice place to be - I much prefer to produce at my own speed, rather than go balls out and take too much on. That way, the enjoyment of it all is always there. Lose that and it becomes rather pointless … very much like photography itself, which brings me nicely onto this...

ISS … (without abbreviation) - International Space Station...
a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit. The ISS is the largest human-made body in low Earth orbit and can often be seen with the naked eye from Earth.
According to the original Memorandum of Understanding between NASA and Rosaviakosmos, the International Space Station was intended to be a laboratory, observatory and factory in low Earth orbit. It was also planned to provide transportation, maintenance, and act as a staging base for possible future missions to the Moon, Mars and asteroids. In the 2010 United States National Space Policy, the ISS was given additional roles of serving commercial, diplomatic and educational purposes.

With the blatantly copied and pasted intro now out of the way, it's probably the time to let you in on my ISS debut, as I've been into this astro photography lark for some time now, yet haven't attempted to photograph the space station during this time. I've read about it and always fancied a bash at capturing its movement, but haven't actually put my arse into gear and done anything about it. "It's only a light moving slowly across the night sky" I told myself. It does actually pass over during the day, but you have as much chance of finding hen's teeth, than seeing a daytime ISS. With the introduction of apps that go something like "ISS detector" and "ISS Spotter", amongst others, the task of an ISS sighting is now as easy as it possibly can be.

With the detector app now downloaded and installed on my trusty Galaxy S9, it was now time to put this little game changer through its paces.
Upon first inspection, this app really is the box of tricks I hoped it would be. Not a great deal of information at hand when you first delve into it, but all the relevant information is at your finger tips, so what more could you ask for - it is a FREE app after all. First up, there's the fly by date and precise timing. Then you've nailed down it's starting point, according to the built-in compass, which is telling me the ISS is coming at me from a westerly direction, heading to a south eastern point as it disappears from view. All fairly straightforward then, or so it seems. But where will the space station appear, I wondered. Will it be high … will it be low … or even somewhere in between? Wonder no more, bonny lad … the app is your friend and it's telling you it will appear at an elevation of 40 degrees. Ah well, that's the last box ticked, I told myself. Time to pick a location and get over there to set my gear up.

So now I find myself at the Angel Of The North, with a clear sky above and a clear view from west to east, which is roughly the path the IIS will take, approximately 20 minutes from now. Dusk is among us - the blue hour, as it's known in photography circles. Not a cloud in the sky, so all is good and game is most definitely on. Based on the information my app has provided, I set up my camera in relation to bagging a good composition. I don't want the ISS leaving its light trail along the top edge of my frame - Niether do I want the trail to be partially obscured by the angel itself. Elevation is now key to pulling in the shot I'm after. I'm facing south, so I'm gonna fit the flight path in … no probs there.

With 2 minutes remaining before fly-by, I haven't .got time to reposition my camera, so I 'll simply run with how it's positioned right now - my first guesstimate! And there she blows … bang on time and bang on compass! The finished composition shows a series of 30 second exposures, with 1 second gaps in between. The gaps show how fast the ISS is travelling in such a short amount of time.

I'll just leave it there. Mission accomplished. Over the moon - LITERALLY!

Till the next one … cheers... ASH