Friday, 30 April 2010

The Nesting Season

It's been a while since I took any nature photo's, mainly due to the long cold winter we had recently. It was nice to get back into it this week at a local location which I will simply call 'The Pond' - for reasons I will touch on later in this post.

My son Christopher, aged 9, loves a bit of nature. Ya know, frogs, spiders, fish and the like. He was dying to get round the pond with his net and jar to catch a few tadpoles, so off we went on this calm summer's night. It was nice and peaceful and we only passed a handful of people on our journey which lasted a couple of hours.
It didn't take the little fella long to get into his stride as he brought up atleast 30 tadpoles with hid first scoop of the net, which brought a big smile from him shortly afterwards. As he sat at the waters edge I nipped into nearby reeds to photograph a coot's nest which contains both eggs and chicks. The chicks could have only been a day old and were ready to take their maiden voyage on the pond as I snapped away. I grabbed half a dozen quick shots before leaving the nest site and returning to the little fella and his jar of taddies.

We then walked around the whole site, passing many nests in the reeds as we went. It's a great place to visit and photograph but you always encounter the odd 'Bad Egg' or two on your travels.
By this I mean the regular knbob-head who has nothing better to do with his time other than rob nests and even shoot the nesting birds as they sit. It's a problem that seems to have tailed off over the years but not entirely, as a male swan was shot in the neck a couple of weeks ago and the hen then deserted the nest in search of it's mate. Quite sickening really. Only last year a Peregrine Falcon laid a clutch of eggs at Houghton Quarry but was later found dead after being poisoned by the preverbial knob-head. God knows how many years it's been since a Peregrine nested in Houghton! So, without really knowing which locals could be reading this blog entry I will avoid naming the location where I took these photographs for the safety of the birds and their eggs, especially when I came across a Mute Swan with a massive clutch of 10 eggs! More on that one later...

That's all for now,
Ash & Christopher

Sunday, 25 April 2010

My Website -

Hello again!
I'd just like to take a bit of time out from my recent photography outings to say a few words about my website - Ashley Corr Photography. In early April 2010 my site cleared 30,000 hits, which is quite a landmark even though the site went 'Live' back in November 2003.
I've been monitoring the hit counter at regular intervals recently and the last three weeks alone have turned in almost 700 hits. Behind the scenes I've been advertising my website and its domain name ( is featured on everything I sell, including framed prints, mounted prints, postcards and calendars.

I endeavour to update my site as regular as possible, whether it's new images, new pages, page ammendments, or even a link to my latest blog entry. One thing that has taken a back seat is my online store which has been under reconstruction for longer than I had first anticipated, but should be up and running within the next couple of weeks. This has been a time consuming excercise and I do it all myself, which often limits the time I spend outdoors doing the best bit - taking photographs. It's been a bit of a juggling act but hopefully everything will pan out soon and normal business shall be resumed. If it's not then you're more than welcome to call round to my house and hoy a brick through the winda! Erm, only jokin' folks - forget I said that bit, he he.
So, to everyone who has emailed me regarding online purchases, thanks for your co-operation and hopefully everyone got what they wanted while my Store section was 'Down'. I always try to help customers where I can and alternative transaction methods can be done until the store is up and running again.

To those customers who have enquired about canvas prints through my site - until now I have not been in a position to offer my work in this format but that may well be about to change as I'm currently looking into the possibility of 'In-house' canvas printing. Stay tuned here and on my website for further information...

Finally, thanks to everyone has purchased my photographs, not just through my site but also the outlets in Sunderland that currently stock my work. Also, thanks to all those who took the time to post in my Guest Book. Your feedback is always welcome!

Catch ya later, Ash

Friday, 23 April 2010

Spectacular Sunsets

Unless you've been on another planet during the last ten days or so you'll have
probably heard about the volcanic eruptions in Iceland, which has sent huge clouds of ash our way. According to news reports the micro fine particles of dust from the ash cloud are reflecting in an abnormal manner in the sky. So when the sun goes down the reflection of these particles makes the sunset more spectacular.

Well I haven't seen much of these 'Spectacular Sunsets' on my travels during the last few days. Well, there's been the odd nice sunset up here but nothing special. Maybe I missed all the action when I was sitting in the house gorging on Indian takeaways!

Last Friday night I headed off to the Angel Of The North in the hope of seeing one of these fine sunsets. I thought a silhouette of the Angel against a sunset backdrop would work well, so off I went. When I got to the location the car park was stuffed! It was obvious there were a lot of other folk up here for a nice sunset, but although there was quite a bit of cloud kicking about I wasn't expecting much in the way of a great sunset. I eventually got parked along the far end of the car park and made my way towards the Angel. When I got there, as I expected, there were lots of of photographers kitted up and ready to go. It was a case of jostling for position without p*ssing anyone off. Aye, it's a bummer when you set up stall and some tit walks right in front of you and sets his own gear up. You're then thinking to yourself 'Ere mate, can ya shift out me way afore ah wrap that tripod aroond ya skinny neck' !!!

As the sun went down there was a young couple sitting on a nearby bank, taking in the view. I took a photograph of them and waited for the colours in the sky to show, which they usually do shortly after sunset. After about 15 minutes a few photographers packed up and disappeared. I waited a while longer in case the colours got better. A couple of times in the past I've left a scene too early and the sky suddenly burst into colour, so I wasn't gonna make the same mistake this time.

Well, that was about it. Nothing spectacular tonight and although it was a decent sunset it wasn't what I and quite a few others had hoped for. I hung around and took a few more
photo's before walking back to the car. Never mind. Maybe next time...


Sunday, 18 April 2010

Staithes, North Yorkshire

The remote village of Staithes is located on the North Yorkshire coast, between Middlesboro and Whitby. This is a perfect example of a village that has expanded over time - the original 'old' village is located at the bottom of a very steep hill. At the top of this hill is the 'new' village where there are houses that are mainly occupied now by local residents.

I usually visit Staithes in Spring as it has an excellent viewpoint that overlooks the village and its harbour, as well as Cow Bar Nab, the nearby cliffs. The viewpoint, which is accessible from the approach road to Cow Bar, is always decorated with daffodils and this adds to the picturesque scene that I have captured above.

The village really is a walkers paradise. There are 2 art galleries displaying paintings of Staithes and other nice villages of the area, while there are the usual village amenities of a Butcher, Post Office and Village Shop. The Bottom of the village has numerous holiday homes for people to stay in and is resident to two pubs, one of these is the 'Cod And Lobster' that famously gets flooded each year by the sea as it is on the sea front, the other is The Royal George. There are also a couple of eateries; the best of these is the Endeavour fish restaurant which is opposite 'The George.'

Staithes is a nice little stop-off. My wife and I were on a little tour of the North Yorkshire coast today as the weather was very nice, although a tad chilly at the same time. Time to move on - next stop Whitby.

Cheers, Ash

Saturday, 10 April 2010

The Daffodil Story

As readers of my blog will probably know by now, I occasionally e-mail a selection of my photographs to Tyne Tees Television, as they encourage viewers to contribute towards their weather bulletins with suitable photo's. I've been lucky enough to have had quite a few of mine shown on their evening bulletins, with 'Staithes Daffodils' being my sixth in total so far. The whole episode recently took on a bit of a twist recently and it's now time to enlighten YOU, the readers of my blog...

As Spring arrived, Philippa Thomson, Weather Presenter on Tyne Tees Television, appealed to the viewers for daffodil photographs. Well, the daffs weren't out in Houghton yet so I had nothing to send. I decided to submit one that I took LAST YEAR, just to get the ball rolling with the daffs on the weather slot. I had a feeling that Pip (Philippa) would have guessed my photo wasn't taken taken this year as the daffs weren't out yet due to the bad winter we'd had, which knocked back the arrival of the flowers for a few weeks. Did she guess? Well, play the clip below and find out...

Yes, the game was up, my little joke was out in the open, he he. Anyway, as the daffodils started to appear, people were sending in their photographs and Pip then had a playful dig in my ribs. Oh the next clip and all will be revealed...

Aye, I nearly choked on me Nescafe when I was watching the programme 'Live'. But hey, the story doesn't end there. I decided to prolong the fun a little while longer as I had a daft idea which I couldn't resist putting into practise. Obviously by now there was a doubt about when my daffodil photo was taken - was it 2010 or 2009? Of course it was 2009, he he he. So I decided to photograph a vase full of daffs that we had on our dining room table and then send the photo to Pip, with todays date on the actual photo as proof it wasn't taken LAST YEAR, he he. This was what happened next...

The very next night my original daffodil photo was shown again but there was nowt said this time...

I couldn't help but laugh. LOL ! And th, th, th, the...that's all folks! Ash

Monday, 5 April 2010

Lake District Revisited

Easter 2010. A long weekend in the English Lake District. Weather forecast says 'Unsettled'. Nothing new there then. Our family 'Weekender' was booked weeks ago and we were really looking forward to this one. Despite the cold, and the unsettled weather forecast for the whole weekend, we were determined to make the most of our break. We had a great time, staying on a lovely site just outside of Keswick. We were staying in a nice caravan right on the river and the place was very quiet. For the most part the weather was very much as predicted, although each late afternoon saw the sun breaking through the clouds and the whole place was transformed. The Lake District is a place of outstanding natural beauty and if you're gonna see it at its best then the weather has got to be kind. Over the Easter weekend we visited Bowness On Windermere, Keswick, Hawkshead, Coniston, Ambleside and Elterwater. With the weather acting itself I didn't bother with the camera, apart from dozens of family shots - opting to wait for the cloud cover to disperse and the sun to finally show up. It didn't disappoint! The first three photo's (shown here) were taken at Keswick Launch, a popular place where visitors can take their own boat trip across the waters of Lake Derwentwater.

The mountains in the distance had a covering of snow that added that extra something to my photographs. Giving an almost Icing Sugar effect it certainly made for a picturesque scene and after visiting Hawkshead during the day I eyed-up an excellent viewpoint at the top of the hill next to St Michael and All Angels Church. The scene had a bit of everything - all that was missing was the sun. The sky was overcast and on a better day I would had an opportunity to bag a great postcard shot. After returning to the camp site the weather took on a dramatic change - typical really. The clouds had parted and the sun was shining brightly. After half an hour there was a big break in the clouds and lots of blue sky was present. That was when my mind started working overtime and I was having flashbacks of the church at Hawkshead and the mountain backdrop. That was it, time to revisit. The fifty mile round trip was a bit of a gamble as the sun might well have buggered off by the time I hit Hawkshead. But luck was very definately on my side and the gamble paid off. On arrival I headed up the hill towards the church and round the back where I'd walked the earlier path. What a view! In my own humble opinion this is without doubt one of the best landscape shots I've ever taken...

Thanks again for reading. Ash

Out And About In Sunderland

The Easter weekend is upon us.
Last Thursday afternoon I had the luxury of an early finish at Nissan so I decided to take advantage of the nice weather as I had a couple of hours to kill. Lovely blue sky with broken clouds everywhere - just right for those nice postcard shots I like to grab now and again.
I started off in Sunderland town centre, on the top level of St Mary's multi-storey car park, overlooking Wearmouth Bridge and the River Wear. The wind was up and the corrugated roofing was rattling like neebody's business. I was sure it was about to fly off any minute, ending up god knows where. As long as it didn't tw*t me then I wasn't really bothered ...(that's twit, by the way). I got the shots I wanted before heading off to the ticket machine to pay the £1.10 charge. Quite steep for only five minutes stay!

I was quickly off on my travels over the Queen Alexander Bridge and a swift shuffle through the one-way system brought me out along Keir Hardie Way, near Southwick. I parked on a double yellow and nipped over the fence to grab a couple of quick shots of the Stadium Of Light and the banks of the wear. No time to hang about though. I was in and out like a ferret down a rabbit hole!

From there I drove along Wessington Way towards Hylton Castle. On arrival I dropped anchor in the adjacent car park and grabbed my gear from the car boot. Once inside the castle grounds I heard a few shouts and noticed a gang of local chav's playing footy on the grass - right in front of the bloody castle! I considered adopting my 'Park Keeper' routine and telling them to 'Get the f*ck of MY grass', but decided against it when I realised that five against one would probably see me coming off worse in the event of a stand off. I decided to suck the preverbial lemon and simply grab what photo's I could. Here's an angled effort, with the local riff-raff cut out of the shot...

Well, it was half an hour to go before my Indian scran was ready to collect so I headed up the A19 and then along towards Tandoori Garden in Shiney Row. Hang on a minute - I'm fifteen minutes early so I'll pop into Herrington Country Park for a last bash with the camera. A pair of Mute Swans were swanning about gracefully on a small pond, as they do, so I took up position with Penshaw Monument as a nice backdrop. Bob's yer uncle. Fifteen minuted was over in a flash. Time to nash. Fifteen minutes later I was back to base and gorging me'sel on the finest chicken Vindaloo money can buy. Aye, ad already done me prep work and the bog roll had been chilling in the fridge for a good twelve hours! With me belly filled it was time to check my latest photographs. Hey, quite pleased with the results, considering it a was an all round rush job.

Thanks for reading my latest exploits folks.
Til the next time, ta ta!