Tuesday, 28 December 2010
This location is the gateway to the North-East of England, as thousands of motorists pass through it each day. Since spreading its wings in February 1998 Antony Gormley's Angel of the North has become one of the most talked about pieces of public art ever produced. Rising 20 meters from the earth near the A1 in Gateshead, the Angel dominates the skyline, dwarfing all those who come to see it. Made from 200 tonnes of steel, it has a wingspan of 54 metres. Getting up close and personal with the Angel is an experience you'll not forget in a hurry! Apparently, the Angel is as tall as four double-decker buses and its wingspan is as big as a jumbo jet. Ah well folks, ya learn summat new every day, eh.
Anyway, enough of the details. Today I made the relatively short journey to the Angel with my son Christopher, who is 9 years old. We done a bit of sledging at the site as the sun was about to set. A good laugh was had. It was back to the car for a quick snack in front of the heaters before returning to the Angel for some photography. The little fella shadowed me as I ran off a few frames, but I wasn't expecting much patience from him in such freezing conditions, so it was 'Job done' and back to the car once again.
This was my first crack at the Angel with my new wide-angle lens. Great stuff once again! The whole wide-angle effect is shaping up very nicely, ta. Some nice colours in the sky shortly after sunset, which gave me an opportunity to grab some nice shots with visitors in the frame. As cold as it was, it's always worth waiting for people to enter the frame as this lends a sense of scale to the whole 'Angel vs people' scenario. Also, I was metering off the highlights in the sky, which in turn threw the Angel and people into silhouette, which finished the shot off brilliantly...in my humble opinion, of course. The second shot (illustrated here) shows my son posing in an angelic fashion, he he, which is something he is very good at...but only on request! Anyway, you get the general idea of scale with this shot.
And that's about it for now folks.
I'll be back soon - Thanks for visiting!
Monday, 27 December 2010
It's very cold at the top of Penshaw Hill, despite the bright sunlight. No-one else around, other than an owld wifey entertaining her dogs with a rugby ball at the foot of the hill. Penshaw Nursery and Tea Rooms look a sorry sight from where I'm standing. The greenhouses are caved in due to the the heavy snow! I spoke to Tony (the owner) a few days ago and he reckons a £20,000 repair bill is on the cards. Oh dear, I might have to drop the prices of my picture frames...then again...(wink)
Hey, fook this for a game o' soldiers. I'm off! Me little toes are numb and I can't be havin' this. Brass monkey weather once again, which, to be quite honest, I'm getting a bit fed up with. Roll on next Summer! Before I head off back home I'm already contemplating another outing today, especially as the sun is shining and the overcast skies of recent days have gone. I'm wondering how the new lens will shape up at the Angel Of The North. More dramatic angles I imagine - who knows...I might even get a nice sky at sunset. Yes, I think I'll give it a whirl later today. Sun sets at around 3.30pm, which is as early as I can remember, so I'll be setting off at about 2.45pm to get there with time to spare. Let's hope the A1
isn't too busy!
Speak soon, Ash
A kettle full of water later and I was soon driving to my destination. Within a few minutes I was parking up before dashing across the fields like a man posessed. A nearby dog walker looked across and was treated to some impromptu animation as I fell flat on my arse in the thick snow. What to do eh, other than get back up very quickly and pretend it never really happened, he he.
Sunday, 19 December 2010
Saturday, 18 December 2010
Tuesday, 14 December 2010
Monday, 13 December 2010
Saturday, 11 December 2010
Thursday, 9 December 2010
Tuesday, 7 December 2010
Saturday, 4 December 2010
Saturday, 20 November 2010
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
Because of my involvement with the Tourist Board this has attracted interest from the European Team who are based at Sunderland City Council. The European Team represent Sunderland and act on behalf the City to develop existing partnerships between other countries and to attract foriegn investment to Sunderland. The delegates regularly visit foreign shores and have been buying my work to exchange as gifts during their visits abroad. Consequently my work has very recently been shipped to Russia and China, with more visits to other countries being scheduled for early 2011. Naturally I'm very pleased that my work is now being recognised outside the UK and long may it continue.
I am currently in talks with representatives from other business which may well see an expansion of my work within the local area. Stay tuned for further developments!
Sunday, 7 November 2010
Saturday, 6 November 2010
I've taken many low-light photographs at this location but very few with people in the frame. I think it worked quite well to be honest as it gives a sense of scale to the viewer who may not know how big the monument actually is. When Pip chose this photo it came as a big surprise to us when we were sitting watching the weather bulletin and there it suddenly was. It was a case of little fella - big smile. He cant wait to tell his mates at school.
Til the next time, cheers.
Friday, 5 November 2010
Saturday, 30 October 2010
One of the best sunrises I've ever witnessed was at Roker Harbour in Sunderland, just a few weeks ago when I dipped my feet into sunrise photography after a spell away. The colours that were present in the sky shortly before the sun appeared were spectacular and it was a great reintroduction to low-light work during the 'Silly hours'. You may also have seen this photo here on my blog at an earlier date - I'm sure it's here somewhere!
Anyway, I give you the same shot in a short video clip that was shown on Tyne-Tees Television very recently.
It's another video clip folks.
Once again I've been hogging the weather slot on regional television - I must give it a rest, eh. Maybe not. This time it's a recent sunrise shot of mine that you may have seen earlier on my blog page, it's Roker Pier in Sunderland, gods own back yard. A fisherman takes up position just I'm ready to trip shutter, adding a presence to this dramatic sunrise on the north-east coast of England.
Jobs a good 'un!
Durham is a great place to visit during the Autumn season and the riverside pathways and walks are quite picturesque, offering plenty of colour when the sun hits against the trees. From a vantage point on Prebends Bridge overlooking the River Wear I spotted a break in the trees ahead of me, just off the river bank. I was drawn to this spot immediately as the ground was covered in golden brown leaves and I noticed a wooden bench in the middle of the plot. I suddenly imagined what view I would get if I were standing on that spot, looking towards Prebends Bridge where I was actually standing at that time. Only one way to find out so I got my arse into gear and headed across, passing a couple of elderly ramblers on the way. After reaching the spot the first thing that struck me was how quiet it was. I sat on the wooden bench for a minute or two and adjusted my camera settings, priming the toy for action. As I took my first couple of shots I was distracted by some movement to my left - a young couple walking along the path towards the bridge. They stopped behind me, looking straight ahead into my field of view and admiring it for what it was. A few whispers were going on and I got the distinct impression they fancied a bit of action - photography, that is!
Well, I got the shot I wanted so it was time to make tracks and head up towards Palace Green and the nearby Durham Castle. As I walked along the riverside path I looked over my shoulder and noticed that the young couple had nicked my position to take photo's of their own, he he. Aye well, it was worth it. I was probably one in a long line of folk who had been at the exact same spot at some point this Autumn, and no doubt not the last.
Ten minutes later I was amongst the people at Palace Green, a grassy area directly in front of Durham Cathedral. This was my main reason for visiting Durham today as I was after one particular shot of Durham Castle. Some idiot had parked a builders skip exactly where I wanted to take up position, so it was a case of pretending it wasn't there and simply working around it, compsing my shots the best I could . The house in the castle grounds was almost covered in red leaves, giving it that typical Autumn postcard appearance, but there were a lot of visitors kicking about, spoiling the shot. You need a lot of patience in these situations and especially when a pair of fishwives spark up conversation in the place where you least want them. Jesus, I must have waited a good fifteen minutes before they ran out of gas and buggered off, and when that eventually happened the sun went back in!!! Patience kicked in again as I noticed the clouds moving rapidly south - the sun would be out again within minutes. Whe-hey!
And it shone brightly, folks. I was just about to raise camera to eye when I noticed the pair of gasbags were walking back down towards the castle and bang-centre of my frame!!! I won't tell you what I was thinking at this point, he he. I quickly fired off a few frames and got out of there - relief - JOB DONE.
Before I knew it I was travelling back along the A690 towards Houghton. Although the sun was still quite high at this point I decided to pay a quick visit to Lumley Castle on the outskirts of Chester-Le-Street. The castle is tucked away in it's own grounds and is surrounded by tree's of all types, many of which have changed colour as Autumn reached its peak. I parked in the overflow just off the main drive and looked around for a spot to photograph from. I was drawn to a tree near the main lawn which was covered in golden brown leaves, just like the floor beneath it. Seconds later I was lying on the grass underneath said tree and focusing on the castle facade. The shooting angle was critical to the shot and the result I was aiming for - it worked well, as you can see here in the third shot.
As always, click on an image to reveal the enlarged version of it.
Thanks again for reading. I'll be back soon...
Tuesday, 19 October 2010
This is my fifteenth and sixteenth appearance of 2010 on Tyne-Tees Television's weather bulletin. This time it's a seascape, taken on the rocky foreshore at Dunstanburgh Heughs on the Northumberland Coast. Although it was a sunny day the conditions on the rocks were anything but ideal - I'll get swept away one of these days!
My photo appeared on TV the day after I submitted it, but it had been cropped (see clip one). Strangely enough they showed my original uncropped photo a few days later, which you can also see in the second video clip below.
Without further ado...
Sunday, 17 October 2010
Wednesday, 13 October 2010
All of my recent photography has been either sunrise or sunset efforts, mainly due to the more convenient times when the sun appears and disappears at it's best. I'm not one for getting out of bed during the summer months at 3.00am to catch a sunrise - opting for a more sensible start during the later months of October onwards. As for sunsets, these times also vary, but at least you don't have too much inconvenience if the sunset isn't a good one.
It was early October 2010, Sunday evening and I was toying with a visit to the Angel Of The North, hoping for a decent sunset. I always tend to check the sky before making a final decision as this offers clues as to whether a potential 'Good one' is round the corner. A clear sky doesn't bode well for a dramatic sunset, although I've photographed a few decent ones - like this one.
Tonight there was a fair bit of cloud kicking about and I had high hopes of a visit that would be well worth the effort. The Angel Of The North is often the first place I visit when anticipating a good sunset. The location is entirely dependable on a good sky and a few visitors to include in the shot. I say this because everything else stays more or less the same during each visit. The static Angel obviously doesn't affect the shot but a sense of drama can be included by simply shooting from the best available angles. Being close up to the Angel and almost underneath it gives an impressive and dramatic angle to work from. I've found a couple of great spots to capture the sculpture and seeing the results in print just adds to the drama as the Angel towers above the lens.
During the year the sun sets in different positions along the horizon behind the Angel. This is ideal for photographers who can then capture the best angle of the Angel with the setting sun included in the shot. Because of the bright backdrop it's virtually impossible to balance the exposure and picking out detail on the sculpture itself, so a silhouette is normally the route to go down in such low-light conditions. From my main viewpoint I also had the silhoutted leaves on the nearby trees to add another dimension and these also 'Framed' the subject which was central in the finished shots.
Moving on to the subject of people - another important element in the shots. If you haven't visited the Angel Of The North you may well be unsure of its size. Scale is important in this type of shot as it answers the question by simply glancing at the photograph. Of course you don't get an exact size by comparing a persons size to the Angel itself, but you get a rough idea of what we're talking about.
There's been the odd occasion when I've visited the Angel and there's been hardly anyone else around. Not exactly ideal if you're wanting extra's in the shot. I was lucky tonight though as people were coming and going at regular intervals so all I needed now was that bit of drama in the sky - the main event, so to speak. The sun was very low as I took my first shots in continuous shooting mode and this gave me a batch of shots that I could cherry-pick from, singling out the best ones. A couple of lads passed me as they walked the path towards the Angel - I was now off and running.
Once the sun had set it was then a waiting game. The clouds above started to change colour and within a few minutes the sunset I had hoped for was right in front of me. Everything was in place by this time and the visitors were still offering that bit extra to my shots. The silhouetted extra's came in the shape of people, bicycles and dogs, but my favourite shot of the Angel included a young mother holding her young child, beneath the Angel itself. The silhouette was captured just as I had intended, with the mother looking at her young child during the dramatic burst of colour that lasted around ten minutes in total.
This was without doubt the best sunset I've witnessed at the site of the Angel Of The North. I'm now looking forward to sending some of these images to print and displaying them at their best - probably on A2 canvas.
I've lost count of the times I've made the fifteen minute car journey to the Angel Of The North, hoping for a dramatic sunset and not seeing one. The law of averages would probably state that I would eventually get my wish one day. Today was that day!
(click image to enlarge)
Sunday, 3 October 2010
Saturday, 25 September 2010
Wednesday, 22 September 2010
The first clip features a night time shot of the 'Angel Of The North'. This was the very first low-light effort with my 'Then new' Canon 7D. The second shot is another low-light exposure, taken near the Blacksmith's Needle on Newcastle Quayside. Hope you like them.
Broadway is lively and vibrant with an excellent range of unique shops and designer boutiques, restaurants and hotels but is also steeped in history. Over the centuries it has made its mark in many different ways. In the 1600's it was a major stopping place for the stage coaches that travelled between Worcester and London – with the world-renowned Lygon Arms remaining popular with travellers and visitors.
After parking up we walked through a small arcade which brought us out onto Broadway. And broad it certainly was! Olde worlde architecture greeted us as we made our way up the street before crossing the main road and heading back down the other side. The place wasn't as busy as expected, although quite a few coach trips were coming and going during our one hour stay.
Broadway Tower, which stands at 65 feet tall, watched over the main street and green
below. At 1024 feet above sea level this is the second highest point in the Cotswolds. From the top of the tower is one of England's finest viewpoints with 13 English counties to be seen on a clear day.
Ground level was the location of my photography today though. A wide lens would have suited me down to the ground today (no pun intended), but I had to settle with a standard 18-135mm job. It was up to the task, but photographing at closer quarters might have upped the game slightly, especially when getting close up to the fine detailed architecture itself. Here is a selection of shots from my debut visit to Broadway. A bit of mix n' match.