Saturday, 24 July 2010

Local Coastline 4 - Seaburn, Sunderland

The last stop on our coastal journey brought us to Seaburn beach in Sunderland. I had recently been commissioned by the Tourist Board to produce a set of ten postcards featuring scenes from the Sunderland Area. The postcards would be available to buy in the Sunderland Tourist Information Centre and two of them were to be beach shots, taken along the Seaburn/Roker coastal path.

Today presented an ideal opportunity to get a typical postcard type shot as the conditions were ideal. I'd already bagged seven of the ten postcard images and the designs had been to print and then delivered to the Sunderland branch, where they are now available to buy. Only three postcards were outstanding - two beach shots and one of the local church, more commonly known as the Stadium Of Light (wink).

I'd planned to photograph my two 'Beach Shots' from planned locations, one with sandy beach and one without. The top image shows the coastal walk between Seaburn and Roker, along the promenade towards Roker Pier. It's a very popular area of our coastal region and one which has great views across the mouth of the River Wear, especially from the bank top near the Roker Hotel.

Well, that's eight cards down and only two to go. A batch of 1600 cards have been delivered so far and as soon as the other 400 have been sorted it will be time to focus on a similar project for the Durham City branch. The last shot (shown below) is my attempt at a 'Smoking Cigarette'.

So, our coastal journey comes to an end. Just two hours and Shields to Seaburn was covered, on a day that typified an ideal day beside the sea. Next time I might brave the rocks and waves by getting up close and capturing some more of those blurred water shots, similar to those I got at Dunstanburgh Heugh's a couple of years ago. Quite a challenge, but that's half the fun.

Time to go. Until the next time, thanks for reading.

Local Coastline 3 - Souter Lighthouse

Souter Lighthouse is a National Trust property that is located between South Shields and Seaburn, just off Whitburn. Boldly hooped in red and white, Souter is an iconic clifftop beacon that was first opened in 1871.

Decommissioned in 1988, the machinery remains in working order and visitors can learn more from resident tour guides. To the north, The Leas has two and a half miles of beach, cliff and grassland with soaring seabirds and, to the south, Whitburn Coastal Park provides coastal walks and family trails.

The last time I was here there was a deep covering of snow and I got some great shots of the lighthouse and it's grounds, including the pathway to the main entrance with it's converging walls.

Today was a much different affair. High temperatures, bright sunshine and broken clouds - a chance to grab some nice postcard shots. The pathway from the main car park always offers a great lead-in line (see first picture), with it's rocks that lay staggered alongside the route to the lighthouse gardens.

Souter Lighthouse - A nice photogenic area of our coastline.
Next, and final stop - Seaburn, Sunderland. The return to God's Country.


Thursday, 22 July 2010

Local Coastline 2 - Marsden Bay

The seaside town of South Shields in South Tyneside was our first port of call and this was followed by a short ride down the coast, heading south, to Marsden. There are two main access points to Marsden Beach - the first one is the steps down the cliff edge next to 'The Grotto' pub and restaurant. The second is the lift shaft, although it seems to take an age to arrive and even longer to drop down to the beach area via the pub itself.

Well the cliffs were in shade when we arrived so there wasn't much point in photographing them from the beach so I played safe and fired off a couple of lazy frames from the car park on the cliff top. It was a nice view along the beach towards Marsden Bay, and the clouds added something extra to an otherwise 'Flat' seascape. Not a great deal of interest in the picture shown here, but never mind, there's always a lot more further down the coast. Time to move - Souter Lighthouse was next on the list...


Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Local Coastline 1 - South Shields

Cooked up in the sweat shop all week before waking up on a Saturday morning to bright sunshine and the urge to get out and get amongst it. Two days off work and certainly not a time to sit indoors without taking advantage of the good weather. The little man was off out with his nana for the day so me and Mrs Corr got the owld glad rags on and jumped into the car, leaving it all behind for a few hours. A weekly ritual that has been going on for quite a while now and the first port of call was a nice pub near Fulwell Mill where a pub lunch kicked off proceedings. The Harvester does a great spit roasted 'Kickin garlic chicken' with all the trimmings, plus a free salad bar, which comes in very handy. Weshed doon with refillable pepsi - hey, ya cannit get robbed man!

With bellies full of scran we then headed off on our coastal journy towards South Shields - also known locally as 'Sand Dancer Land'. We parked up at Littlehaven, just off the dunes, and walked onto the fine sandy beach that overlooked the Groyne Lighthouse and Tynemouth. The sun was beating down and there was hardly a breeze - perfect summer weather! A couple of lads owned the waters nearby, going ape-shit on their jet ski's. We just sat for a while and took it all in. There were plenty of broken clouds kicking about, which were ideal for those polarising shots that I keep churning out, he he. These filters come in very handy, not just for landscape photography, but also those occasional seascapes. Job done - it was now time to head back along the coastline towards Marsden...


Friday, 9 July 2010

Canvas Prints

Hello again pop-pickers!
Well it has been 'Full On' in the printing department lately, mainly due to my recent expansion into canvas gallery wraps. I'd done a fair bit of research into canvas production and it seemed like a natural progression from standard paper printing, so I decided to dip my toes in.

As you may have already read on a previous blog entry of mine, I got my hands on a large format Epson printer (Stylus Photo 4000) along with several rolls of Epson printable media, including Premium Glossy, Water Resistant Canvas & Hannemuhle Photo Rag. Each roll is 17" wide and the custom 'User Defined' settings will allow a panoramic print of several feet in length, if required.

Running with genuine Epson K3 Ultrachrome ink carts, I was quite looking forward to seeing what results came off the printer and I certainly wasn't disappointed. An A2 print measuring approximately 25x17 inches took approximately 8 minutes to complete and the results were stunning! Delivering a wide colour gamut (range), these K3 carts were very much the 'Doggies Danglers' and the fine detail in the print was one that I hadn't previously achieved, even printing on smaller media such as A3.

Once the print jobs were complete I then laminated them with Giclee varnish before framing each one on machine cut fir stretcher bars. The canvases were then hung on the wall and it was great to see the finished work in all it's glory, so to speak. Mind you, they weren't on the wall for long - the first 8 were all bought by one person and it's time to set to work again and produce another batch for the various outlets I'm currently selling my work in. It's all time consuming but I wouldn't have any other way to be honest. It's great to know my work is out there and hanging on Joe Public's walls around the region and much further afield. My 'Penshaw Poppies' canvas was sold to someone in Australia a couple of weeks ago. Who's have thought it, eh.

Anyway, stay tuned for more canvas updates.

Thanks, Ash

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Red Carpet Treatment

No, I wasn't invited to a film premiere in Leicester Square - I was knee deep in poppies in Houghton-Le-Spring! Worlds apart I know, but I've never come across a field with so many poppies growing, and it was right on my doorstep.

It was hard not to notice the sea of red when dropping down Houghton Cut on the A690. Unfortunately the field, which is situated just off the dual carraigeway between Houghton and Rainton Gate, didn't have anything of interest surrounding it. Penshaw Monument sat in the distance and how I wished it was a lot nearer, like...right next to the poppy field. I've sold many photographs of Penshaw Monument recently - the best seller had poppies in the foreground. That shot was taken three years ago but the farmer hasn't planted rape seed since then so I'll just have to hang fire until he gets his arse into gear.

It was a very hot day and the sky wasn't doing much to help the shots. Sometimes when it's too hot the blue sky appears to be a light shade of grey. Never mind, grab what thee can, lad!

A rogue poppy stuck out like sore thumb and ended up being the subject of a few frames, as you can see here. That's about it folks. There's only so much to say regarding a poppy field on a hot day, but there ya go. Nice photogenic flowers though.


Sunday, 4 July 2010


Our last trip to Liverpool was an enjoyable one, despite the poor weather. Almost a year since our last visit and despite the fact it was Summer once again, the weather this time round was even worse! There was the odd bit of sunshine here and there but we made the most of it during our weekend stay near the city's Albert Dock.

I was hoping for good weather so I could get to work with the camera but again my chances were scuppered so I just had to settle for what I could get, under the circumstances. The sun broke through the clouds as we walked past Albert Dock and through the residential area known as The Anchorage. This was quite a picturesque setting with many boats and yachts moored there. Looking back along towards the dock you could see the Ferris Wheel and Liver Building.

After a bite to eat in The Pumphouse we headed through LiverpoolOne towards the shopping centre for a spot of retail therapy. Later we made our way up to the Cavern Quarter and walked through Matthew Street, passing the Cavern Club and Wall Of Fame on the way.

Well, bollocks to the weather. It's all about about making the most of, and we had a great time. Mind you, it wasn't all about Liverpool. Last year we visited Chester while we were in the area and it was time to revisit, along with an appearance at a rather damn tasty Indian restaurant in Ellesmere Port. Aye, ya didn't think the curry addict would pass up an opportunity like that, did ya (he he). I'll tell you more about it in my next blog entry - coming soon!