2022 retrospective thingy.

Photography outings with Sophie have been more sporadic, and not as many as previous years, as pandemic year saw Sophie end up moving to Spain, although she returns in University term times to teach, and we get to see each other then. I thought it would be nice this week to look back on where we’ve been this year and choose a photo to go with the memory.

Our first outing was in February, and we went to visit Seaton Delaville Hall. I didn’t do a post as I’d already covered it extensively in 2019 but there was a cool installation in the main hall which I took a shot of with my phone.

Seaton Delaville

In March we visited a few medieval churches up in Northumberland, we learned about Saint Maurice, Queen Maud , Charles Bozanquet but my favourite was coming across the C15th alabaster tomb of the crusader knight Sir Ralph Grey and his wife, Elizabeth, which we found in St.Peter’s Church in Chillingham.

Sophie was in Spain for most of April but we got back together in May and went to visit Edlingham where there’s a (guess what?) medieval church and a castle ruin. I love this shot of the castle, incongruous in the rustic, peaceful landscape, its bovine companions unimpressed by its presence.

Ralph & Lizzy
Edlingham Castle

Spring happened, eventually, it was late this year here, and still in May we visited Birkhead Gardens for some flower photography, there was a riot of colour. Strange phrase that, maybe, a multitude of colourful flowers would be a better one. Anyhow, this is one of my favourites of the day.

Delication

In June Sophie was in Spain and I spent a week down south with my grandson, so it was July when we next went out, and this time we went to Morpeth in Northumberland, and learned about Emily Wilding Davison, 1972-1913, a suffragette who chucked herself under the King’s racehorse in protest, and consquently died. Also that day we visited Herterton Gardens where Marjorie and Frank Lawley, who we met, had spent a lifetime renovating a rundown cottage and landscaping the area around it.

Herterton House and Gardens

August saw Sophie’s hubby Mentat come over for a visit, and we took him to Raby Castle, which we’ve photographed many times before, so I didn’t do very much, but got a shot of Sir Deer.

Sir Deer

In September Sophie was back to Spain, but October saw us out every weekend bar one. The Owl Centre gave us Mr.Blue, a most popular chap on that post.

Mr.Blue

We learned about Pesky Scots and Robert the Bruce’s ancestor Robert de Brus, 1st Lord of Annandale, (1070–1141) on a visit to Guisborough Priory

Guisborough Priory

and caught some autumnal colour at Watergate Forest Park.

November was cold but we still went out, first to Barter Books in Alnwick followed by lunch at the Rockinghorse Café in Rock, and a trog up to the Old Gun Battery at Alnmouth. I haven’t posted yet about the Gun Battery as those pictures will all be on Film Friday, but here’s a panorama of the view from there, taken with my phone.

View from the Old Gun Battery.

December took us to Bishop Auckland to the Spanish Gallery, and the Locomotion Museum and the following weekend to the Christmas Markets.

And that’s been it for 2022. Sophie will be back from Spain at the end of January, so we can start finding new places to go and things to see in 2023.

Lastly but by no means leastly, a big THANKS to anyone who follows any of my blogs, especially those who comment, it’s good to parlais with y’all. Special thanks to those I follow, who recommend movies and books, you’ve embiggened my entertainment and cost me a fair few quid along the way. Special thanks to the inspirational artists and photographers I follow, keep it up! Special thanks to the teachers and writers of history, I love the fascinating stuff you come up with. And a big shout out to the other members of the WP4, thanks for making me laugh, a lot.

My best wishes to all and Happy New Year! Bring it on!

📷 📱😊

The Sunday Fraggle Post

It is traditional to do a review of the blogging year on the 1st January each year, but that was inconveniently a Saturday so I’m a day late.

As you know dear reader, in 2021, after a 2020 that didn’t inspire me to do much photographically, I got inspired by the amazingly talented Connie and started a 365 (one photo a day)challenge. I joined the site Connie was using, which gave you a prompt everyday to achieve. The site was run by some nice ladies most of whomst live in the USA, with each lady doing a different prompt each day through the week. Each month had 4 sections, ‘Picture More’ which was a technique theme, i.e leading lines, framing, repetition etc, ‘Picture Style’ i.e landscape, food, still life etc, ‘Picture Colour’, and ‘Picture You’ which meant a week of self portraiture, which had I realised, would have put me right off doing it in the first place.

The prompts have ranged from easy – impossible, and a fair amount of them have been downright bonkers, and quite a lot of them have been frustrating either a) to understand or b) to accomplish. The ladies are sweet but also mostly bonkers. The whole thing was very laissez faire, and you could omit doing the prompt and do some other photo instead if you fancied, and do your picture one or two days beforehand if you felt like it, took me a while to get over thinking that was cheating, but I kind of did.

Instagram is the platform the group use so I posted there for a few months, but I found it too time consuming (all that tagging and commenting!) what with the blog, work and other bits of life, so gave that up and just backed up my photo’s on Smugmug & Flickr and of course wrote this blog to accompany the pictures.

Did I learn anything from this challenge? Not really anything much about photography as I’ve been doing it a few years, though it was cool to revisit a couple of techniques I’ve tried before and discarded because I don’t really need them. I was quite enthusiastic as I started the challenge but soon enough found myself getting annoyed or frustrated more often than not. Even worse, everyone doing it in the instagram were doing works of art whilst I was either doing a quick snap after work or clueless as to what to shoot, so was miserable at my crappiness (another good reason to get off the Gram). There were times of despondancy! So that’s mostly the ‘bad’ stuff, but it’s not important considering the state of the world.

There was good stuff! Honest! It was great to be doing it in tandem with Connie, and we’ve moaned about it together and had a laugh about it too and that kept me going really, I’m not sure I’d have stayed with it had I been on my own. Also Phil, who although was ready to divorce me if I started another one, has been a star whenever I needed help to accomplish a shot. I also loved it when I could find an excuse to include Winnie and Lord Vincent. I hate being in photos so am quite proud of myself for getting on the other side of the camera, even if it was only a thumb or finger sometimes. For all the frustration I’m glad I did it and got through to the end. It’s the 4th 365 I’ve done, but the first time I’ve had someone else dictating the days shot. It’ll be the last time I have that constraint, but I may yet do another 365 on my own, further down the line.

Not this year though as I’m all fired up to do more film photography. My Christmas present to myself, pah! who am I kidding, it’s an October present! to myself is a rather gorgeous Contax Aria, and it’s a dream to use. I’ll be posting on my Fraggle Film blog which is https://fragglefilm.com/ so click on that and follow there, I don’t post too often on there so it won’t take much of your time up!

Other than photography life has gone on in much the same way in our strange new bug~ridden world. Still working 3 days a week, still wearing a mask and gloves etc to do my job. I can’t imagine doing it without them now. Phil’s eyes are all better which is good for him, but I was looking forward to getting a seeing-eye doggy so that’s disappointing. 😉 Inspite of working in high-risk venues both of us have avoided having the plague so far, though Phil’s kids and grandkids have all succumbed but survived OK. I’ve visited my son Ben and grandson Lewis twice which was both traumatic and wonderful simultaneously, so am dreading/looking forward to going to visit again in February this year if plague factors don’t get in the way.

Hoping also to have a lot of photo trips out with Sophie this year, but who knows what’s going to happen? It seems hard to plan anything anymore and we just have to live day by day more or less. A great lesson in Zen for us all.

So that’s my review of 2021 such as it was. I’m supposed to do my best pictures from the year but to be honest I’m not really impressed with any of them, but I have a couple of favourites so here they are. –

From ‘Picture Colour’ ~ red. This was Phils favourite so it became mine too just because he liked it so much.

uplift

From ‘Picture More’ ~ marble. Trying to herd marbles was funny.

marble

From ‘Picture Style’ ~ 7 O’Clock. ~ I like making up story photos, and downloaded a copy of a 3rd class ticket for the Titanic ship for this one.

7 O’Clock

Also from ‘Style’ ~ broken, love the fogginess.

broken

From ‘Picture You’ ~ positive. I had fun dickying about doing this one.

Day 64
positive

My favourite of Phil ~

My favourite of Winnie ~

Winnie

and Lord Vincent ~

Lord Vincent

So what to do in ’22? Like I’ve said, it’s quite hard to make plans per se, but vaguely am definitely using the Contax more for photography over on Fragglefilm, will resume Fraggle Curated on this blog maybe once a month and maybe do a few movie review again and general chitchat over on Fraggles Other Place, so I’ll still be popping up now and then, and I’ll still be lowering the tone of the comments sections of everyone’s blogs that I follow. Especially those of the WP4. 🤣

WP4

Spam

A little while back on The Other blog, I was moaning about getting hundreds of comments in the spam asking how to log in from what seems to be a Spanish Bot. It only happpened on this blog, I presume because I have more ‘followers’ on here than on the other two blogs, and as I forget to check the spam with any regularity I had herds of them when I did check, and it took a while for them to delete. Since then I have had my Sherlock Holmes hat on, and have been digging about in the back corridors of the blog, and so found a way to stop them.

For anyone else who is having the Spanish invasion, here is how to repel borders. The images can be clicked on for a bigger version if you need it,

1) Go into the Admin section of your blog.

2) Go to settings which is on the left at the bottom

you can see at the top how many Spaniards this has trounced!!

3)In settings go down to ‘Discussion’ and click on it.

4) In the second section where it says Other comment settings make sure there’s a tick in the box next to where it says ‘Users must be registered and logged in to comment’.

Since I ticked the box on my blog I have had no spam at all, and all my regular commenters are getting through. I just get people who have wordpress accounts and are logged in to their own site when they comment on mine.

Of course this means that no-one outside of wordpress can comment, (and that includes bots), so you might miss out on a genuine outsider comment, but for me that is a small price to pay for being rid of the damn Muchos graçias. ?Como puedo iniciar sesion.

Anyways, hope that helps someone somewhere!