365 ~ 4th~10th April

Well this week has been a bit of a mixed bag really. This is ‘style’ week and the style is Golden Hour. Golden Hour is the period of daytime an hour before sunset, or an hour after sunrise, when the sky is all reddened from the low angle of the sun. Of Course Golden Hour requires the sun to be in the sky, so looking at the weather forecast I knew this wouldn’t be the easiest of weeks. Let’s begin!

Day 94 ~ Nature. In photography the golden hour is the period of daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset. It is also called the Magic Hour!  To me this is so appropriate for today’s prompt of nature. Nature is magic!  It may refer to living plants, geological processes, weather, animals or humans.  We are surrounded by a world of nature right outside our doorsteps.  Step outside at sunrise or sunset and see what kind of magic you can capture in nature during the golden hour. There is the chance that the weather or the hour for photography won’t suit or cooperate with you.  Not to worry!  If that should happen, show us what nature surrounds you today.

So basically do it in golden hour if you can but not if you can’t. Well I am not keen on this shilly shallying, and determined to only shoot in that period of time, which up here is from 6.13am and would require me to get up whilst still asleep, not do-able, or 7pm, which is doable, except that’s just around dinner time so adjustments had to be made. Day 94 did not have a golden hour at that time, it had the grey hour instead, so I made do with my blossom tree which has burst into action this past week or so and added a warming filter to give it a bit of a golden glow. It wasn’t very effective really as you can see how grey the sky is behind it, but here it is.

Nature

Day 95 ~ Energized. I don’t know about you, but when the golden hour turns the sky into a myriad of glorious colors it sure does energize me to grab my camera! When the sun is low in the sky, it is the perfect time of day to take advantage of backlighting your subject or trying your hand at silhouettes. When you illuminate your subject from behind, you might be surprised at details that stand out, things that might otherwise have been overlooked. No amazing sky today? No worries! This effect can also be achieved using the light from a window or open doorway to create your own backlighting. Can’t wait to see the light that energizes you today! 

That ‘Z’ is a bit mad isn’t it? and I had to stop myself from correcting the spelling, as I believe in letting people speak/write in their native tongues however incorrect they are. 😉 I had a really busy day at work and didn’t feel energised at all. Taking energetic pictures was the last thing I wanted to do. The sky was grey and moody when I got in from work so I figured I’d have my dinner and then play around with window light. But at the last minute, a break in the clouds happened and I spotted the chance to catch my eucalyptus tree engoldened. I know how the sun works on our estate, what will be lit up and when, and have spotted the gold happening before so was glad to get the picture. I didn’t bother with the backlighting or silhouette, nothing I haven’t done before, I just loved the side lighting on the tree. So I was energised in the end and chuffed with myself, this is my fave shot of the week.

Energised

Day 96 ~ Cable. Everything kind of fell into place easily for this prompt today.  We bought a fish house/camper earlier this year that has the most amazing cable system on it; and, the golden hour tonight was lovely.  Those two pieces together allowed me to capture the prompt and picture style week quite nicely. I hope you are able to find a cable today that catches your eye.  Just try to remember to use the beautiful hues of the golden hour to accentuate your subject.  I do believe you’ll also have a lovely photo to share with us today as well. 

This one annoyed me. Firstly, I didn’t know what a fish house/camper is. I googled it and found out that a fish house sells fish, but then found out a fish house camper is just like what we call a camper van, but in the USA people use camper vans to go ice fishing. I think that’s right. Here in the UK we don’t have many lakes that freeze over and require the fish to be removed so having a specifically designed camper for ice fishing is just not a thing. The USA ones come in various sizes, mostly ginormous, and cost more than my 4 bedroom house. I imagine the petrol needed to move it would power a small country for a year, so that’s annoying considering the climate thing. Also annoying is the assumption that we can all find a wonderful photogenic cable of all things. The picture she posted was like a winch with a heavy roped cable around it, and I’m thinking where the expletive deleted am I gonna find a winch in Wardley? I was moaning to Phil and he suggested electric cables and we still have a few of the old fashioned telephone cables on poles on the wrong side of the tracks of our estate. Luckily the sun was breaking through the clouds so after dinner I got in the car and drove over there to find one.

cables

Day 97 ~ What’s more refreshing than taking a stroll around a lovely pond at golden hour?  The water flows out of the fountain, hitting the pond surface with the spray lightly touching your face as you walk by…doesn’t that sound like a nice way to spend a warm evening?”Refreshing” can come in many forms such as a refreshing drink, a refreshing swim, or a refreshing change of scenery.  Taking photographs during the golden hour can be refreshing in itself.  The light falls so gently at this time of day, adding drama and texture to your photo. Show us the refreshing way you enjoy golden hour today. 

There was only grey hour this particular evening and no Missy, it wasn’t a warm evening at all, bloody freezing here this week! Refreshing swim??? In yer dreams 🙄. I had no inclination to find a pond. Also I received my new iMac today, and I had a lot to do starting with migrating everything from my old iMac to the new one. It’s an easy process as macs have a migrating assistant, and so long as both computers are on the same internet connection it’s just a matter of invoking the assistant, hitting a couple of keys, and hey presto, a couple of hours later it’s done. So I had a refreshing glass of wine whilst I was setting it up, and as it was in the golden hour timescale, put my golden faced clock next to it. I’m winning at golden!

refreshing

Day 98 ~ Prompt Free Days often bring to mind the saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side.” Some days, we feel restricted by the prompt, but on other days, no specific prompt makes us feel lost by having no point of departure.Think about these prompt free days as a check-in as to how this project is changing you. What do you notice that you would have overlooked previously? What small moments in YOUR day now feel bigger and call to be documented?Today is a blank canvas for which all of the other prompts have prepared you.

I usually use a cat for prompt free days, but today I’ve been busy resetting my old iMac to default so Phil can have it, then resetting his old one so we can give it to a grandkid. My old iMac has been with me since 2012, 9 years now and there’s nothing wrong with it, it’s just too slow now for the size of the photography programs I use, but will be fine for Phil. The one he’s been using is a smaller iMac that I got in 2008 and gave him when I upgraded last time. It still works too, 13 years and still going strong. They may be top end price wise but at least they don’t conk out after 4 or 5 years. I don’t expect I’ll ever need another, but who knows. So meet the new boss, same as the old boss,but with upgraded internally stuff. Full disclosure, it was a miserable, bloody cold grey hour yet again, so the golden hour look is fake. *hangs head in shame*. 🤪

iMac in (fake) golden hour.

Day 99 ~ Authentic. I have spent many years trying to figure out what my personal style is when it comes to photography.  In a nutshell, I have come to the conclusion that I like authenticity in my images.  I like them to reflect true and meaningful moments in life.  I think that puts me in the category of lifestyle and documentary photographer.  What this means to me is that I don’t generally set up my shots.  I don’t edit out imperfections.  And, I don’t always shoot at “the best time of day.”  My intellectual self knows that shooting during the golden hour makes for gorgeous photos, but the realist in me also knows that a lot of life’s stories take place in the other twenty-three of hours each day.  And those stories need to be captured, even if done so in less than ideal circumstances.  Think about what creates authenticity in YOUR photos.  Capture that today.  If it happens during the golden hour, yay!  If not, shoot anyway.

A woman after my own heart. So this basically means shoot what you want when you like, sod the challenge. Another prompt free day in other words. Maybe she just couldn’t think of anything prescriptive. I had of course decided it was shoot the cats time, but just as I was considering that Phil called me to the conservatory as Lucy the hedgehog had turned up again. She’s been 3 times now during the day, but also turns up at night, as we see her on the wildlife camera. We are figuring her body clock is way off. Also she’s a lot smaller than the others that visit at night so maybe she’s trying to eat herself bigger and needs to do it more often. Anyway she seems fit and healthy, eats and drinks well and runs around pretty nimbly. She is definitely an authentic Hedgehog and not a copy.

Authentic Lucy

Day 100 ~Shine. By taking photos on a regular basis you learn when the best light of the day is for you.  I love it when the sun is shining and everything has a soft glow during golden hour.  I am better at taking the photos in the evening, I am not a person that gets up early enough to see the sunrise most mornings at this time of year. By using the golden hour to take a photo of my magnolia tree, I am making the bud shine. What can you find to shine today at golden hour?

Nothing. That’s what I can find shining in golden hour because bliddy golden hour is bliddy grey. Again. But although no lovely shafts of sunlight came my way, I noticed that it still lit up the higher clouds, the white ones toodling along higher up than the grey blanket in the lower sky. I could see their reflection on the back of my car so thought that looked a bit shiney. Works for me anyway.

Shine

And that is the end of Golden Hour/Grey Hour week. Only 2 shots out of the seven were in a proper golden hour, and the rest I had to fudge, but at least they were taken when golden hour should have been gold. I suppose I could have got up at 5 am and done a morning golden hour thing, but that was never going to happen, and even if I had it would still have been grey more than gold. So a challenging week, but stay tooned for next week, adventures in colour. I think colour week is becoming my favourite week!

Cragside ~ Nov 2018 ~ part 3

Part 1 HERE.      Part 2 HERE

We only had a couple of hours if that before darkness was due to descend, so we drove the 6 mile route around the estate, but stopped for a wander here and there when we came across something interesting.

Our first stop was the quarry from whence the stones came to build Cragside.

Upwardly mobile tree.

It’s full of rhododendrons in summer so we will be returning then.

Next stop was a short walk up to a lake bed that was drained but still had its boathouse. On the way I spotted some weird lichen/fungi

Coral Fungi ~ Yellow Stagshorn

and on researching them I found out “Although not known to cause poisoning, the Yellow Stagshorn fungus is generally regarded as inedible because of its gelatinous texture, lack of flavour and insubstantial proportions”. We gave it a miss.

Although the North lake had been drained there was still a rivulet coming from it

 

 

the lake bed was full of bullrushes

and at the far end, a forlorn boathouse.

North Lake Boathouse

I don’t know why the lake has been drained, there are other lakes though so went to see them instead.

 

 

 

 

When it started getting dark, we went home, but stopped on the way for this

end of day

 

As always, pictures are embiggenable with a click, and for more of the house and grounds, the full album can be found by clicking HERE

 

Cheeseburn Sculpture Park ~ part 3

On to the main event following on from part 2 HERE

the reason Sophie & I went to the park in the first place was to see big shiny things, by a gentleman called Qi Yafeng.  I can’t find a website for him, maybe not allowed one in China. Anyway he’s done quite a lot of stuff, and these were his latest pieces.

The big, shiny pieces did not disappoint, they were mesmerising, you couldn’t help seeing yourself stretched thin or shortened fat, curved, wobbly, and sometimes not even there! Just like being in the house of mirrors at a funfair but with just one piece of kit. 2 large pieces in the grounds, and several in the indoor spaces.  There was also a video showing the process of making them, with some lady playing really cool twangly music in the Hong Kong studio where it was all happening. It was hard to think of them as stainless steel; the mirror finish was so perfect. What was also cool was Mr. Yafeng was in attendance, he stayed back near the trees on the edge of the lawn and took photos of people interacting with the sculpture and took photos of us taking photos!  I wish I’d said hello, but wasn’t sure if a) he spoke English, as I don’t speak Chinese, and b) what would I say? “Hi, I really like your big shiny things?”

All the works were entitled Big Shi… oops 🙂 they were entitled In Each Phase, with a number after them as in In Each Phase 1, In Each Phase 2 etc.

Big Shiny Thing 1

 

Big Shiny Thing 1

 

Big Shiney Thing 2 was my favourite as it looked different from different perspectives, and the reflections were weird.

 

 

 

that guy really has a knotted hanky on his head.

 

So very impressive and gorgeous especially in the sunshine.  But my very favourite of all is one that wasn’t on the map of where to find the sculptures, nor on the list of what all the sculptures were.  Whilst walking around the grounds on the trail of all the sculptures, we veered off down towards the river to see if there was any stuff to photograph, just at the same time the chap in charge came along to lock the gate that you would go through to get to it,  “Ah” said he, “I see you’ve found the secret one”.  And off he went again, and when we looked over the fence we saw

also by Qi Yafeng.  I have no idea why it wasn’t listed or on the trail, but it was cool to find it and I think it’s quite beautiful sitting there in the river.

There were also some smaller versions of his pieces in different parts of the stables areas, so I’ll finish with a couple pictures of those.

 

 

all pictures are embiggenable when you click on them.

More gorgeous artworks from the day can be seen HERE

 

Cheeseburn Sculpture Park ~ June 2018~ part 2

Following on from part 1 HERE

The gardens at Cheeseburn Grange are quite lovely

and a perfect place for delicate glass sculptures

Can’t remember who did that sorry!!

Laura Johnston   http://www.laurajohnston.com  thrilled us with these beautiful glassworks in the woods

click to embiggen for the full effect

I loved how the colors reflected onto the woodland path

 

Simon Hitchins    http://www.simonhitchens.com

combined the rough texture of rocks with smooth shiny mirrors

“In The Eye of the Beholder”

 

“The Other Eye” (with added appreciators)

 

On one of the walls in the grounds we came across these,

“P’s”

by Louise Plant  http://louiseplant.com

they reminded me of what I used to call ‘Jacks’ when I was a kid, can’t remember what you did with them though 🙂

 

Ending & Beginning ~ Luke Dickinson

 

“Fallen Arch”. ( 🤣🙄) ~ Ekkehard Altenburger

 

“The Earth” by Andrew Burton.  Mr. Burton did some of my favourite pieces back in part 1, his vessels series, but I was not really impressed with this….

 

“The Earth” ~ Andrew Burton

but the more I look at it and think about it, the more I like what he’s done.

Anyhoo that’s enough for now, can’t be having y’all bored witless, still more artwork to come, when next time I get to the main event!

Stay tooned peeps!

Alnwick Gardens ~part 2 ~ the water features.

Part 1 HERE

WARNING- long post alert, short attention spanners cease here. 🙂

I neglected to tell the History of Alnwick Gardens in part 1, so I’ll remedy that here.

The History Bit

Adjacent to Alnwick Castle, the gardens have a long history under the Dukes of Northumberland but fell into disrepair until revived at the turn of the 21st century.

The first garden was made by the 1st Duke of Northumberland in 1750 and he employed Capability Brown, a great English architect and known in the 18th century as Englands greatest gardener. He designed over 170 parks/gardens, many of which are still up and running so the title is warranted I think.

The 3rd Duke was a plant collector, and brought loads of plants and seeds back from all around the world, leading to a century of development in the gardens. In the middle of the 19th century, the 4th Duke created an Italianate garden featuring a large conservatory, and at the end of the century, the gardens were at their grandest, with yew topiary, avenues of limes and acres of flowers.

Then WW2 happened, and the gardens were given over to planting and growing food, this was called the ‘Dig for Victory’ campaign, so with that and the subsequent austerity of the 20th century, the Garden fell into disrepair, and it was closed in 1950.

The restoration of the gardens was instigated and carried out by the Duchess of Northumberland, and really I can’t separate her history from the gardens.

Isobel Jane Miller met Lord Ralph Percy at a birthday party when they were 16 & 17 respectively, and both then went on to Oxford University, and then got married, inspite of their parents telling them they were too young. They’re still together and have 4 children. The couple lived in a farmhouse in Northumberland until 1995, when Ralph’s brother Henry, 11th Duke of Northumberland, died from heart failure after an overdose of amphetamines. Bit of a lad he was. Consequently Ralph became the 12th Duke, and Jane became the 1st Duchess of Northumberland not to come from titled aristocracy.  Apparently she wasn’t happy in the ducal role until her hubby asked her to renovate the gardens. She started the work on the garden in 2000, and turned it into one of North East England’s biggest visitor attractions, as well as one of the country’s most controversial ones. A practising martial arts enthusiast, she introduced cage boxing to The Alnwick Gardens and a range of cocktails named after her. The Duchess, who claims to defy tradition, and who can disagree? has received praise and scorn for The Alnwick Gardens, but has dismissed criticism as “the snobbery element of gardening”. The locals welcomed the restoration and the influx of tourists, ker~ching! while English Heritage accused the Duchess of destroying one of the greatest gardens in England. Not that they offered to restore it, or contribute. In 2004, she was hospitalised after collapsing under pressure, and the criticism made her consider resigning the trusteeship and giving up on the project. But she rallied herself round and in 2012,  announced her plan to finish reconstruction of The Alnwick Garden by May 2015, which she accomplished, and then stepped down from managing it to concentrate on her work with over 160 charities. The gardens now have a management company and a board of trustees.  I don’t mind the aristocracy (too much) when they’re giving back, and not just leeching around.

Anyway on to the water features, the main one is the central arcade, a fountain display goes off every half hour

central arcade

 

waterwall

 

down the plug-hole

A new garden added to The Alnwick Garden. The serpent garden, designed by Peter Wirtz, includes 8 water features by William Pye which show a different aspect of the behaviour of water. They demonstrate the way water splashes, trickles, flows, clings, forms waves and reflects. You can guess which is which.

serpent garden, didn’t see any snakes.

 

unknown small person, me and Sophie headless.

 

 

couldn’t resist

 

“Stay alive, I will find you!” (jumps) which movie? answers on a postcard 😀

 

me pal

 

no idea why this one looks better in black and white and the others don’t.

 

Sophie-bombed

and finally,

On the edge

Well done if you stayed to the end, and thanks,

pictures as always are embiggenable with a click. 😀

Herrington Country Park~ March 2018~part 4

Part 1           Part 2            Part 3

So on we go over the dinosaur rib cage and back towards the lake, alongside a rivulet where we watched a swan doing it’s thing

 

Oooh look at me!!!

I’m so pretty!

Back at the car park we came across a hound meeting

Eau de Beagle

I think they were Beagles after googling doggy pictures.

Corporal Beagley

Reflecting Penshaw’s Folly

Saw this cute little lad at the cafe while we had lunch

counting

and then after lunch, back to the lake for more birdy shots

We watched a seagull fighting a tern for some bread

OY! That’s my bread!

gimme gimme!

Birds on a buoy

In the distance the sky did a thing over the standing stones,

And that’s the end of our day at Herrington.

all images can be clicked on for bigger versions so you can appreciate their magnificence so much better 🤣  

Full album can be found HERE for more birds and stuff.

Stay tooned, though god knows what for, the constant rain has put paid to Sophie and I going anywhere since this day, but we’ll be back! Meantime I’ll be over at The Other Place, click on that and I’ll see you there 🙂

 

 

 

 

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Herrington Country Park ~ March 2018~ Part 3

Part 1 HERE

Part 2 HERE

After we’d finished at the standing stones, Sophie and I made our way down the hill and went on to the next hill where there appeared to be a big rock.

The rock has square metal engravings fastened to it, as you can see, each one bears the face of a miner (not sure whether living or dead)

I think if you had some paper and charcoal or crayon you could do like a brass rubbing in churches and get a better idea of the face. Each panel had a different face and a letter in the bottom right corner that when put together spelled out Johns Rock. No relation. 🙂

On the far side of the rock we discovered these,

there’s a story there somewhere but I don’t know and can’t guess what it is.

When we were back at the stones, we had seen some big wheels in the distance, so headed back down the hill in the general direction of where we thought they were. Passing a curve of trees

and found the lichen shot of the day

I ♥️ lichen

we came across some more miners houses

before reaching the wheels, and a cracking puddle for the reflection.

These are old pit wheels flanking a path leading to a Miners’ Memorial Garden, though the garden was pretty bare at this time of year.

We continued walking, heading back towards the lake and passing some more watery sections of the park, and some more swans

I think this sculpture is based on a ribcage, but of which animal I am not too sure, and I could be completely wrong!

We are almost back to the lake from here, where we go to lunch, meet some hounds, see more majestic swans and capture a birdy fisticuffs, so stay tooned for the next episode!

all images can be clicked on for bigger versions so you can appreciate their magnificence so much better 🤣

 

 

 

 

Rising Sun Country Park ~ Nov 2017 ~ Part 3

Part 1,  Part 2,  

We’ll finish up walking the last leg of our trek around the park today, there were not many leaves left on the trees

so it was nice to come across some pops of yellow

 

but mostly it was grey and brown

 

I’m not sure what this next thing is, maybe stocks for naughty giants?

even when the leaves have gone, and there are no bright little flowers to photograph, there are always some interesting shapes and textures to find,

and reflections in puddles

and that’s the end of our visit to the Rising Sun Country Park, though I think we may do a return at some point, when spring finally arrives.

Stay tooned for next time when we’re off to see the Camel Parade!

 

 

Rising Sun Country Park ~ November 2017 ~ part 2

Part 1 HERE

So we’ve had a little rest, and now continue past where the Back to Future train disappeared, turning right and starting the long trek up an incline to the top of a hill under some stunning cloud formations

the horses we saw earlier came charging past us in the opposite direction

giddy-up!

Looking back down the path at the top of the hill we could see from Hebburn on the right to Newcastle on the left. The yellow structures are on the River Tyne and we saw one of them being brought up the river when we visited the Anglo-Saxon farm at Jarrow Hall   you can click through the link there to see the yellow thingy bigly.

View!!

There were gorse bushes in bloom here and there

and a bench to sit on if the uphill struggle made you out of breath, not that comfy though!

and then we made our way down the other side of the hill.  We found a puddle..

 

where there were some more horses, and people

saw a blackbird

Then we came to another wetland area

so we took some pictures of the water birds

and here we rested, taking shots of the birdies whilst a couple of little girls threw crisps to them 🙄 before the final leg of our long walk.  ( And no, we didn’t tell them off, this is Sunderland and parents don’t take kindly to interference, especially from Non- Mackems! )

So stay tooned, and next time we’ll get to the end.

(all pictures can be clicked on to see larger)

 

 

 

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