Archive Photo Blog and Diary page
Various photo happenings and a few thoughts along the way.
Two hand held panorama shots taken late afternoon on a pleasant, warm summer day at Kielder in Northumberland.
Photo above; Kielder Forest from Blakehope Nick – the high viewpoint on the forest drive.
Photo below; Kielder Resevoir, looking south.
Click on images to enlarge.
Camera: Nikon D800. Lens: Nikon 50mm prime f1.4.
Having your photographs printed on canvas, coffee mugs, place mats and calendars etc, is now quite common place, but to have them printed on a Range Rover was certainly a new experience for me.
I had previously taken a series of workshop publicity shots for a garage that specialises in the restoration and maintenance of classic cars. As part of an advertising drive, the garage had a Range Rover fully clad in the workshop photos and logo for advertising at classic car events, such as the Goodwood Revival. The end result was certainly very different and eye-catching!
For more details of The OMH go to www.oldmotorhouse.co.uk
Camera: Nikon D700. Lens: 24 - 70 mm. f2.8.
June 2014 Emma’s wedding.
A local wedding gave me a chance opportunity for a more interesting angle on the Bride and her Grandfather travelling to her wedding in an immaculately turned out carriage and pair. The photo was taken from the top of temporary scaffolding on the local church bell tower. Looking back, some of my more interesting wedding shots have been when I was not commissioned to take the pictures and I was able to relax and take advantage of interesting situations without the pressures that photographing a wedding brings. It was nice to see so many smiling faces!
For more information about the magnificent carriage and pair go to http://www.carriagehorses.co.uk/
Camera: Nikon D800. Lens: Nikon 70 - 200 mm f2.8 VRII.
May 30th - June 1st 2014
Commissioned by the organisers of the Jim Clark Rally to cover the three-day closed road event in the Scottish Borders and centred in the towns of Kelso and Duns. This is the biggest tarmac rally and one of the most popular in mainland UK and has been held without major incident for over forty years.
Tragically, the 2014 event will be remembered for all the wrong reasons: it was the event where three spectators were killed and two others seriously injured during Saturday’s special stages. The deaths are now subject to a police investigation and all those connected with the rally have been asked not to comment until that investigation is completed.
Needless to say that all those who follow, compete or help in the organisation of the event, have been stunned by what has happened. Heartfelt sympathy goes out to the bereaved and also to the young rally driver who has gone through a shattering and life changing experience.
Further information is available at the event web site http://www.jimclarkrally.org/
Photos strictly copyright The Jim Clark Rally and AngelPeak.net 2014
Whilst the South recovered from weeks of wind and water, in Northumberland we were able to enjoy a week or so of sunny, early spring weather; even the bees were out and about early and taking advantage of some early pollen. Questions were asked in Parliament as to what had gone wrong with the weather and everything was blamed on global warming! Bizarre really!
Right: A Bee takes advantage of spring sunshine. Camera: Nikon D800. Lens: 70 - 200 mm, f2.8 VR
Below: Coquetdale with The Cheviot beyond from Lordenshaws above Rothbury in Northumberland.
Camera: Nikon D700. Lens: 28 - 300 mm. f3.5-5.6 VRII
The weather in the South of the UK dominated the news in the New Year period with severe gales and serious floods. But in the North matters were quite different with the early part of the year being relatively quiet and uneventful. The small amount of snow that we did have was generally confined to the hills: this was all in stark contrast to previous winters of recent years.
In February, the Northern Lights made an unexpected and spectacular appearance in our night skies and were visible from much further South than usual. Unfortunately, I was unprepared and failed to be in the right places for the best shots, however, I was able to capture a little of the colour in the Northern sky from outside the back door.
Left: The Aurora Borealis. Camera: Nikon D800 lens: 50 mm f1.8
One or two trips away prior to Christmas and including a brief visit to London and the National Portrait Gallery in particular, for the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Exhibition.
In addition to taking in a West End production, we also visited the re-developed British Museum and the new developments at King’s Cross and St Pancras Stations, which all goes to show how long it has been since I was last in the city. The West End play was “Jeeves and Wooster” at the Duke of York’s which was certainly a five star production and highly recommended.
Photos: Above, the clock at the recently re-developed St Pancras Station in the late afternoon with left, the famous lions and fountains in Trafalgar Square on a cold December morning.
Photos above: The Durham Lumiere projections on the Cathedral and the fibre optic dresses in the cloisters.
One of the most interesting events this month was the City of Durham Lumiere. This event is now in its third year and has become an established evening event in the autumn calendar for North-East England. The centre piece was very much the Son et Lumiere on the Cathedral Green and involved music and images of the medieval history of the region projected onto the massive North side of the Cathedral. It was certainly very impressive and popular. Throughout the city there were a number of works of art, all very different and involving the use of light. The display of fibre optic dresses in the Cathedral cloisters, for example, was typical of the variety of exhibits to be seen.
Photography in the dark always presents a challenge and when it is raining as well it doesn't make matters any easier. All the photos were taken with a Nikon D700 with a 28 - 300 mm, f3.5 - 5.6 VRII lens.
The magnificent vastness of the candlelit interior of The Cathedral in the Choir South Aisle was a particular challenge.
Left: Durham Cathedral in candlelight.
November was also a month that was notable for the autumn colours in the countryside around home which were much brighter and lasted much longer than usual. This was due largely to the fact that the normal leaf stripping gales were absent this year.
Below: Autumn shades in the Vale of Whittingham.
A two week trip with Tina to Ottawa, to visit family, provided an opportunity for some seasonal photos of the fall in the Canadian countryside and before the onset of winter which, in this part of the World, can be very cold and severe.
In the forests of Ontario, trees such as the Maples, Oaks and the Aspens produce a riot of brilliant reds, yellows and oranges which, when set against a dark backdrop of conifers, can be especially dramatic and spectacular.
There is also a considerable amount of water in the region in the form of the many lakes and rivers which provide further excellent opportunities for landscape photography. During the short period we were there, we could feel winter starting to move in. In a short time everything will be frozen and when the snow comes the whole countryside will be entirely changed.
As we tend to travel light and avoid check-in luggage my main camera equipment was reduced to a single camera and lens. This was a somewhat ageing but still reliable Nikon D300 with an 18 – 200 mm VR lens. I also carry a small Nikon Coolpix P5100 for situations where a big camera is not practical.
Photo above: The Coulogne Falls in Quebec Province.
Photo left: Maple leaves turning to their autumn shades.
Image above: A bee collects the last of the pollen in preparation for winter. Camera: Nikon D800. Lens: Nikon 70 - 200 mm. f 2.8 VRII G.
Click photo to enlarge.
Image above: "Into the Fairie Forest". Camera: Nikon D700. Lens: Nikon 28-300 mm f3.5/5.6 VR G.
Click the photo to enlarge.
I always like autumn, although it can at times be a little sad as natural life in the countryside withdraws as summer ends in preparation for the colder months of winter ahead. But the colours and changes can be spectacular and an hour or two wandering through a quiet Northumbrian woodland, for example, can reveal all sorts of interesting images that often go completely un-noticed.
The new and contentious windfarms of Middlemoor and Wandylaw, seen across the Pilgrims Way to the Holy Island of Lindisfarne on the Heritage Coast of Northumberland. Camera: Nikon D800. Lens: Nikon 70 - 200 mm f2.8 VR. Click the photo to enlarge.
This summer saw the construction and commissioning of two very contentious wind farms adjacent to the Heritage Coast of Northumberland, a recognised Area of outstanding natural beauty. There are plans in the pipeline for further wind farm developments in this area that have the potential to increase very considerably the new modern industrial backdrop to this historic coastline. There are extensive wildlife reserves of international importance in this area.
Wind is a very inefficient, sporadic and expensive way of generating electricity and is only viable if heavily subsidised. It has the ability to enrich the landowner and developer whilst raising costs, through green levies, to a level where fuel poverty becomes very real and industry struggles to remain competitive. We are told that so called green energy is essential in order to reduce our CO2 emissions and combat global climate change and the horrors that will occur if we fail. To my mind this is largely a very elaborate marketing strategy and has very little to do with actual climate science as such and much more to do with carbon profits and “Green” technology bottom line results. As it happens wind generation has proved to make no significant contribution to our efforts to reduce emissions and in some instances has compounded the problem.
We have a duty to care for our environment and that is right and sensible. Climate is changing, but to suggest that the natural fluctuations of the climate are caused primarily by the activities of man is delusional; to further suggest that we have the ability to significantly change those fluctuations is basically dishonest. The so-called computer models used to calculate and determine the extent of the approaching Armageddon are now being questioned as the passage of time is not confirming their validity. I think in the next few months the climate debate will become very interesting!
Alnwick International Music Festival
Above: Tina Cho of the Where Dance - Drama Theatre, Sonia and Lillian Dance group from Taiwan.
More photos of the Festival at www.flickr.com/photos/angelpeak/
Camera: Nikon D800. Lens, 70-200mm f2.8 VRII
Above: Vidhi Shah from the Indian Group, Shilpagya.
Below: Members of the Where Drama Dance Theatre and Sonia Dance from Taiwan.
More photos of the Festival at www.flickr.com/photos/angelpeak/
Camera: Nikon D800. Lens, 70-200mm f2.8 VRII
Above: Zeel Shah from the group Shilpagya, India.
Left: Where Dance and Sonia Dance, Taiwan.
Camera: Nikon D800 with 70 – 200 mm f2.8 VR Nikon lens.
Alnwick International Music Festival
The beginning of August is always a busy time as it includes the week long Alnwick International Music Festival which is an event I have covered with my camera for many years. It is a week of colourful song and dance in several venues around the town but centred on the Market Square where the daily outdoor performances are free and provided by groups coming from all around the World.
In addition to several Eastern European groups there are also groups from Taiwan, Mauritius and India. The group that represents India, “Shilpagya” and one of my favourites, are on their third visit to Alnwick, having first appeared here in 2008. It is very pleasing to meet so many familiar faces again amongst the new performers.
As in the past and after the event is over, I will be producing a separate page of Festival photos and the link will appear here.
Please visit the Alnwick International Music Festival Flickr web site at: http://www.flickr.com/groups/alnwickmusicfestival/
If you have some photos or video of the event then it would be good if you could upload them to the Festival Flickr site.
Cars seem to have featured on a number of occasions recently and a visit this month to a client who owns a garage that specialises in everything to do with advice, storage, servicing and restoration of quality classic cars, provided further interesting photo opportunities. People and businesses that specialise in quality are becoming somewhat rare in these days of a throwaway society and it is very refreshing to find a team of committed engineering craftsmen who are not only enthusiastic but very skilled and able to restore some of the iconic quality cars of the past to their former glory. If you own a classic car or are interested in classic car restoration then it is certainly worth contacting the Old Motor House in Rothbury, Northumberland. www.oldmotorhouse.co.uk
Photos left and above: A vintage 1935 Mk II Aston Martin, exuding quality and craftsmanship, waits in a quiet corner of the garage for the next day out on the country roads of Northumberland or beyond.
Camera: Nikon D800 with 70 – 200 mm f2.8 VR Nikon lens.
The pictures above and to the left are the last photos I took for a small community web site in rural Northumberland which has now been discontinued. I have been responsible over the last several years for the editing, production and sponsorship of the community web site and it is not without a little sadness that it all came to an end this June.
Although we now live in a super connected world there are still many of the more rural areas of the country, such as where I live, where there are deep suspicions of incomers and all things modern. Not surprising really when the decline of the rural communities at the hands of modern agricultural methods, supermarkets and overpriced rural property etc, are considered. There is a grumbling minority, especially amongst some of the older generation, who consider the Internet to be either the conduit of all evil at the worst, or a short lived novelty that will soon pass at the best! Where they have some local influence they can be quite active in their condemnation and obstruction of those who promote the net and those who have not lived in the community for the past several hundred years!
As far as I am concerned life is too short to engage in mortal combat over the internet! Having retired I would prefer a more peaceful life. After all, my forebears were Reivers from across the Border in Scotland and probably stole the cattle and burnt the houses hereabouts on several occasions over the past centuries; I don’t need any more excitement!
Photos: Nikon D800 with Nikon 70-200mm. f2.8 VR II Lens.
31st May – 2nd June 2013
Back in the Scottish Borders this time for the annual Jim Clark Rally centred on Duns and Kelso. Three days of rallying with special stages on closed public roads, makes the Jim Clark the only major rallying event held on public tarmac roads in mainland UK. The problem with following a rally to take photographs is that it is all about being in the right place at the right time and that can often be very difficult, especially as the countryside is also full of other rally followers who are trying to do the same thing!
Anyway, a weekend with plenty of photos in very good weather and with a real feel of summer about it – at last! Go to www.angelpeak.net/apweb/jimclarkrally for a full collection of photos.
Camera used: Nikon D800. Lens Nikon 70 -200 mm f2.8 VR II.
This year is the 50th anniversary of Jim Clark winning his first F1 motor racing World Championship. The event was celebrated this month in Jim’s home town of Duns in Berwickshire where he is a much celebrated local hero as well as being a Scottish national hero. He was sadly killed in 1968 in a racing accident in Germany. His string of successes makes him one of the greatest motor racing drivers of all times. He was very much associated with Lotus and Colin Chapman. The type 25 Formula 1 car, in which he won his first World Championship, together with other cars, such as a Lotus Elan and a Lotus Cortina that he raced, returned to Duns for the celebrations.
Photo below: Jim Clark’s Lotus type 25 F1 car in which he won the Word Championship in 1963.
Photo left: Clive Chapman, son of Colin Chapman the founder of the Lotus racing brand, was a special guest at the Anniversary.
Camera: Nikon D800. Lens: Nikon 70 – 200 mm f2.8 VR II.
Maybe it is April but Winter still has a grip on the Cheviot and surrounding Northumbrian hills. The above picture taken from Hepburn Moor looking west to The Cheviot. Camera: Nikon D700. Lens: Nikon 28-300mm. f3.5-5.6 VR.
It is very hard to believe it is supposed to be Spring. Very cold winds; snow on the ground and temperatures which remain around zero or less for day after day. Snow drops, crocus and daffodils are all struggling at the same time. There are birds flying around with nesting materials wondering if they have got something seriously wrong. The only plant that seems to be happy is our Amaryllis; probably because it is inside and separated from the harsh realities of Spring by double glazing and central heating, which is currently working overtime.
If you like huge showy and spectacular blooms that seem to defy the reality of what is going on around them, then grow a South American Amaryllis. They certainly brighten up a cold and uninspiring spring and, most importantly, provide an interesting altenative photographic subject!
Camera: Nikon D800. Lens Nikkor 70 - 200mm f2.8 VRII.
Above: Engineers working on a newly installed wind turbine at Wingates, Northumberland. Click image to enlarge.
Christmas, New Year, lots of snow and then some more snow. Plenty going on but not much in the way of photography due to family matters and a large chunk of it emigrating to Canada – where there is even more snow!
An interesting commercial commission in February for a series of publicity and web photographs of a garage specialising in the service, repair and restoration of quality classic cars - Rolls, Daimler, Jaguar etc; with plenty of walnut, chrome and steering wheels with spokes. They just don’t build cars now with the style they used to!
The rest of the time was taken up with the provision of several photographs to the media, including television, in support of editorial items mainly connected with the development of wind farms in rural Northumberland.
This month saw our last booked wedding of 2012 and for that matter our last wedding as photographers as we decided some months ago to call time on the wedding photography scene.
We could not have chosen a better final event to mark our retirement. It was a very traditional and uncomplicated coming together of two families and their friends, at the village of Ellingham in North Northumberland, for the marriage of a very genuine and popular couple. It was a traditional country church wedding with the reception being held at nearby Ellingham Hall which provided the ideal location and backdrop for the occasion and the photographs.
There is always an increased risk of bad weather in November but on this occasion it could not have been better which made a welcome and pleasant change from this year’s norm. Instead of using cars, the couple chose to walk the short distance between the church and Ellingham Hall. The picture above, of the newly married couple leading the congregation through autumn leaves along the country lane, back to the celebrations at the Hall, creates an almost timeless and traditional rural image, which I rather like!
On the right one of the windows in the Hall provided a good backdrop for a quirky shot!
Camera: Nikon D700. Lens: 24-70mm, f2.8.
After the worst summer I can remember, autumn has at least been without the extremes of climate that now seem to have become almost the norm. For the landscape artist or photographer it is a magical time of year when the shorter days and early frosts persuade nature to begin, in a display of fantastic colours, the slow retreat into the fall and preparedness for the long winter ahead. Evening light in particular can be very moody, especially when a frost is imminent.
Photo above: An Autumn evening in October at Catcleugh in Redesdale, Northumberland. Camera: Nikon D800. Lens: 28-300mm f3.5-5.6. VR.
The above photo is a very typical Northumberland landscape; wild and open with far distant horizons. In the modern day-and-age such an environment is a vital tonic for the soul, far away from the modern trappings of life and with the opportunity to breath clean air and appreciate the simple things in life such as the plaintiff call of the Curlew, a bird very much associated with the high wide open spaces of the County. But all is to change.
In a very short time the dominant features in this landscape will be massive industrial wind turbines in a push by government and developers for the County to become the centre for onshore wind farm development in England. The population density is low and therefore there is little opposition to the financial ambitions of the manufacturers, land owners and developers who stand to make massive amounts of money from a deeply flawed subsidy system paid for by the ordinary bill payer. Sadly, and as amply demonstrated by official figures, energy from wind is basically unreliable, sporadic and relatively insignificant, which is hardly a sound foundation for an alternative green energy policy. However, there are fortunes to made battling supposedly man-made carbon footprints and global warming. Ironically, the science that is slowly emerging may well show that carbon dioxide is the result of global warning rather than the cause. But why let the science get in the way of a good money making scam! After all, who cares?
Right: Newly constructed industrial turbines at Greenrigg, Northumberland. Similar scale turbines are currently being constructed in North Northumberland and will eventually dominate the Heritage coast and moors from Holy Island to the Tyne.
Below: This is not an artists impression, it is an actual typical scene some forty miles to the North in the Lammermuir Hills of south-east Scotland. In this area hundreds of wind turbines are being installed in what was previously wild and remote upland countryside. Proponents of wind turbines claim that they do not conflict with scenic values. Click to open to a larger size.