Saturday, 24 November 2012

Hello again and welcome to my new look blog page. I've been toying with the idea of tarting this page up for quite a while now, as the original template wasn't consistant with the theme that I designed at Gone is the brown background with the less than interesting header bar -  'In' with the plain white and mid-grey, along with the ACP logo of Penshaw Monument. Now then, that's better! So there seems like no better time than now to write about my website and the nuts, bolts and many cogs within it. Since the introduction of back in 2006 the site has evolved and developed into much more than it originally started its life as. It's humble beginnings as a modest 20 page web site has grown rapidly during the past six years and now contains a staggering 156 pages and almost 1000 photographs. God only knows how many hours of work has gone into the site down the years, a labour of love that continues to this day and hopefully many more years ahead. I often tinker with the site, as you may have noticed from time to time, as there's always room for improvement here and there, although I always try to avoid making wholesale changes with its overall appearance as I feel that this can distract the visitor and be quite off-putting, especially if it happens regularly. I used to do this in the early days, until I realised quickly that I was chasing my tail. No more.

So, more specifics about - currently showing a hit counter of 75,111 visitors as I write this blog entry, the site was set up and designed by myself, with no previous experience of Web Build. Those first few days were an opener, to say the least, when I opened up the Content Management System and wondered what I'd let myself in for. Although the toolbox didn't look too daunting, unlike that of Photoshop CS6 (gulp!), there was a hell of a lot to get to grips with and a brief dabble with the tools left me with no doubt that my delve into website building wasn't going to be an easy one. After dipping my toes in I quickly got to grips with quite a few of the features and found the software was exactly what I'd been looking for, as everything was there 'In the box', so to speak, just waiting to be lifted out. Exhibiting photography couldn't be easier and everything I wanted was here, including slideshows with the facilty to add music, pop-up galleries, image effects and much more. With an 'All you can eat' disc space of 5000 Megabytes there is scope for thousands of image uploads in future, so the sky is the limit in that particular department.

Forthcoming plans for my site - well, unless by some quirk of observation you haven't noticed a complete lack of activity on my Profile page, I can now announce my intention to get my arse into gear and turn that blank canvas into what it's supposed to be, a page about myself with accompanying photographs of yours truly. Hang on a minute, maybe that's not such a good idea at all, he he. For one reason or another I simply haven't got my act together to design the page, although I did have it up and running four years ago, only to 'Pull it' a few days later due to the cheesiness of my profile pic. Oh dear. I need to get out there and get some new photo's of myself, on location, camera in hand, so if you're up to the task then give me a shout. Profile page aside, there are no immediate plans to add anything major to my site, although I'm constantly thinking along the lines of improvisation, so don't be too surprised if I introduce new ideas at some point in the near future. My Canon 7D shoots stunning High Definition Video, which is something I may incorporate once the footage is edited, so keep your eyes peeled for that one. The Store at will be hosting new products shortly, including my new 2013 calendar, as well as A1 and A0 poster prints of my photography. Again, watch this space!

Finally, a big THANK YOU to you, my audience. Without those 75,111 hits my site wouldn't be what it is today. I often wonder who visits my site and where they live, which town, which country, which continent. I'm looking into Google Analytics, to find those answers, which are always interesting. As far as my blog page is concerned, click on the two images above for the latest stats - these relate to my blog page only, not site-wide. To date, my blog page has 10, 733 page views since its introdution on July 18th, 2009. It's all good stuff!

And on that note I shall make myself scarce. Time for a cup of coffee.
Thanks for visiting!
Ashley Corr (Webmaster & Curry Connoisseur)

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Reflections - Durham Cathedral

The blog entries are coming thick and fast, well...for now at least. Last Saturday afternoon I headed across to Durham City Centre and made my way along the riverside path as the light fell quickly. I was surprised to cross paths with a few people along the way, as the riverside has no lighting on its route and it's not the type of place you'd walk alone, unless you're a photographer with intentions of 'Getting the shot' regardless of the conditions. At 4.30pm I was in position next to the boathouse ramp on the north side of the River Wear, opposite Durham Cathedral. Fifteen minutes passed and it was now pitch black where I stood, with no-one else around. A big splash on the water directly in front of me had me thinking I wasn't alone after all. Was someone lurking in the thick woods behind me, throwing rocks and getting a kick out of it - 'Let's scare the shit out of that bloke with the camera.' Well they certainly did that! I was looking through the viewfinder at the time of the splash and I must confess that I nearly shat me'sel when the rock hit the water. Or was it a rock after all? Was it a Salmon jumping, I doubt it, unless it had been on the roids for weeks on end. A mystery to me. I started to ask myself what the hell I was doing here, it pitch darkness, nowhere near assistance if some dodgepot came looking for bother. Time to man up and forget the crap, so I grabbed a few photo's and got out of there. As I left the scene at 5.00pm the Cathedral bells chimed on the hour, adding an even more eerie slant to the whole experience. Walking back along the riverside path to Framwellgate Bridge I passed a goth, on his own, long black trench coat and all the horseshit, looking a bit sheepish as I passed him. God knows where he was heading, and why. Maybe another photographer looking to bag that nice shot, who knows.

The shot above is my favourite from the outing, a nice reflection, captured shortly before 5.00pm. I emailed it to Tyne-Tees Television the following morning and it was shown on their weather charts a few hours later. Result! Worth the effort after all. Where will I take my camera next, I wonder. You'll find out soon enough. Thanks for visiting.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Today's Sunrise

After working through the night and hurrying home to catch the sunrise I managed to get to my chosen location just in time to catch the colours. It was well windy at the top of Copt Hill Barrow, where the Seven Sisters Neolithic Burial Ground is situated, on the edge of Houghton le Spring. Before leaving for work the night before, I had my camera bag at the ready, knowing I would be heading home shortly before sunrise at 7.44am, but the Mrs stuck her beak in and said 'You're wasting your time, the weather forecast isn't good for tomorrow morning.' I mean, she's a cracking wife and all that, but I tend to ignore her advice when it comes to photography, but on this occasion I gave in and put my gear back where it belongs. Bad move! It was a dramatic sunrise, to say the least. The wind was up and it was freezing cold, but nevertheless I was at Copt Hill Barrow, armed with a mobile phone (yeah, p*ss poor, I know). I took a couple of shots and grabbed an HD movie clip to go with it.
Here they are...

And next time I'll tell the Mrs to keep her advice to her'sel (he he).
Back soon!

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Another Book Cover!

Following recent news regarding my photography appearing on my first ever book cover, I have been approached by Graeme Reynolds, a novelist who specialises in Horror and who currently has publications for sale via Amazon, so a second book featuring my work is now in the pipeline. The book in question is a sequel to 'High Moor', which was published exactly one year ago today, and although a working title is not yet available, the scene is set in Finchale Abbey, County Durham, a location I have visited and photographed on several occasions. The book goes to print in early 2103 and a proof of the cover will be uploaded on my blog just as soon as I get my hands on it. Here is the photograph that was requested (above), which will be used as a background on the front cover. The book illustrator, Stu Smith, of Graviton Creations, sent me this email following agreement of Image Licensing terms between myself and Graeme...

Hey Ashley,

Just to fill you in on a few details, I'm the bloke that is illustrating Graeme Reynolds second book (I did the first one too) and it was me that was searching for great images of the Priory because I'm unfamiliar with it (I live in Cleethorpes!). I did an advanced Google image search as I recall and your picture stood out.

I suggested to Graeme that instead of sending him out there to take a picture we might simply just ask you if we can reproduce it under license for the cover! Good job we did because it makes my life so much easier if I can have some quality reference images.

So, I just thought I'd personally send you a thank you from me as well. I'll send you a copy of the full resolution cover when I get it done (but that's a few moons away!)


Graeme sent me a copy of the first book, High Moor, which I started reading a few days ago, so by the time the sequel arrives I'll be 'In the picture' and ready to pick up from where I previously left off. I'm staying away from the curry though, as it's not a wise idea to eat that stuff then read a horror novel afterwards - don't want any accidents, and I've had a few close shaves in the past, I'll tell ya!

And on that note I shall scurry off with embarrassment, he he. I shall return soon, folks.
Cheers, Ash

Tyne-Tees Television (Parts 40-43)

Hello again!
It's been a few months since I last posted any video clips on my blog, February in fact, so it's time to update my TV credits with four more snippets. I haven't been as active with the Weather Photo's this year, the four clips below take this years total to just 8, which isn't as many as previous years, so I'll try and make more of an effort to submit more to Tyne-Tees Television before the end of 2012. The latest four photographs are -

1. Penshaw Monument (Venus/Jupiter Conjunction)
2. Washington Old Hall
3. Autumn, River Aln, Alnwick
4. Littlehaven Sunrise (Part of a compilation)

Clip number 1 shows Penshaw Monument, Sunderland, taken back in March 2012, during the Venus/Jupiter conjunction. To read more of this phenomenon click here, and if you like what you find then click here for more, there's two blog entries devoted to it. As for the other video clips - you'll find recent blog entries referring to each photograph, so go looking and you'll find them.

There's no more Pip (Philippa Thomson) on Tyne-Tees TV, she's jumped ship and is now sailing with Sky, who offered her an extra £1.50 an hour for her services. Ah well, she has my best wishes. She was behind many of my photo appearances on Tyne-Tees and even posted in my Guest Book many moons ago.

I've been out with the camera tonight, along Durham riverside, capturing low-light shots, so there's a chance I may have another photo on Tyne-Tees TV very soon. To all blog readers in our region - keep your eyes peeled!


Monday, 12 November 2012

Bamburgh Dunes, Northumberland

The Northumberland Coastal Route has a stretch of coastline that is up there with the best, at least in the UK. A few weeks ago I found myself driving these roads again and one thing is sure, you never seem to tire of them, no matter how often you cover them. Of course the weather plays a big part, as it does no matter where you travel, and this day in particular was fine, with almost clear sky despite the obvious chill in the air. After taking in Amble, Druridge Bay and Craster, I found myself at Bamburgh, just as the sun was preparing to set. I arrived at Bamburgh and headed along the Windings to a secluded car park next to the sand dunes. Bamburgh Castle sat at the top of a massive outcrop, dominating the skyline in front of me. I managed to get my gear set up as the sun threw a massive shaft of light through across the castle. I was alone in the dunes, give or take the odd person or two passing through, although the beach behind me was busy with dog walkers and the like, at low tide. As the sun was ready to set the deep orange hue threw the walls of Bamburgh Castle into fine colour, as was the grasses in front of me, although I had hoped for more movement which I never got due to the lack of wind and breeze. Never mind, the conditions were still ideal so I grabbed a few shots before the sun made its bow. It had been a great day for photography - stops at Warkworth & Alnwick proved more than worthwhile, as you may have seen the results in my recent blog entries. If you want coastline then get yourself to Northumberland, there's more than enough that catches the eye, plus there's even more further north in the shape of Holy Island & Lindisfarne, just take notice of the tides and the safe crossing times over the causeway!

Back soon,

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Guardian Angel - The Book Cover (Pt.2)

I'm back on the blog trail with news of my work shortly going to print as a book cover. Regular readers of my blog page will be aware that I was recently approached by Dr Laura Mazzoli Smith of Warwick University, regarding the possibility of reproducing one of my images on a book project that she had undertaken with Professor Jim Campbell (see original blog reference here). Together they had written case studies in the construction of high achievement - Families, Education & Giftedness. My 'Guardian Angel' image was one that had caught their attention and immediately fitted the profile of what they wanted on the front cover of their book. Of course I was very happy to help, so we agreed terms and I forwarded the image for reproduction. This was in turn forwarded to their chosen publisher, Sense, who this week completed the proofs and emailed them to me before going to print. Once published I will receive a hard copy of the book, which will contain a credit of the photographer. A couple of hours after receiving the proofs via email (PDF) I received another Image Licence enquiry from an author of horror novels - more news on that one very soon!

Meantime, here is a screen shot of the 'Guardian Angel' cover - click to enlarge.
Back soon, Ash