APRIL 2019

Getting wet on a trip!


“Why doesn’t the camera club have an ‘away day/weekend?’ was my simple question a few months ago. Seemingly it wasn’t really the sort of thing the club did, but if “you want to organise one Paul then get on with it”.

Paul, Julie, Bob, Stuart, Trevor & Kathryn on the side of Rydal Water 28/04/2019

So the six interested members (Trevor, Bob, Julie, Kathryn, Stuart and myself) of Northallerton Camera Club sorted out a mutually convenient date and we agreed on The Lake District as the venue. A chance stop for a pub snack with friends at The Glen Rothay Hotel / The Badger Bar in Rydal back in March meant I’d found a venue for the overnight stop.

Badger at dusk

We agreed the transport logistics and a first group meeting time (for lunch) in Grasmere and then went on from there to locations around Rydal Water. The evening was, of course, when we met for the all important social time, over a meal in the bar, and a few drinks. The Badger Bar gets its name from the fact that the badgers in the local sett come out at dusk for food. Eventually they did and a few very low light shots were obtained.

On the Monday morning we did a few more local shots before dispersing to various other locations and then home.

So where does ‘getting wet’ come into this? Well, I was chauffeur to Kathryn and Julie and also a bit of a tour guide too. So we decided that we’d head over the Kirkstone Pass and back along Ullswater. We stopped a couple of times to take shots, the penultimate one in the grounds of a hotel called ‘Another Place’, where there are some good views over the lake and a couple of jetties. In my pursuit of a great shot I went along the shoreline until I found the place I wanted to be. Getting exactly to the place I wanted to be meant standing on a rock in the water. Little did I know that this rock was slimy and therefore very slippy. I ended up falling forward with the water up my armpits and my camera and lens in the lake too. As I write this my camera appears to have survived but my lens, which I dried out, will not function properly! So it’s either repair or replacement, I’m not sure which yet, but either way it’ll be an expensive slip!

Even though my day ended on a low point because of this, I know that Trevor Thurlow, Julie Swales, Kathryn Marsden, Bob Mc Avoy and Stuart Goldie have said how much they enjoyed and benefited from the couple of days we had together. It seems to me that sometimes photographers are only interested in themselves and their desire to get the shot that no one else has. At some point in time someone must have shown them what to do and encouraged them to do it. I believe that’s what we all did for each other on the outing.

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Lesson learned and “this time next year we’ll be millionaires Rodney”


Having just decided to sort out the photos from our recent holiday to Cyprus it became clear that they, and some I took a while ago on the same camera, my mirrorless Canon M3, had a blue cast to them. It had puzzled me previously, but I’d not really remembered to find out why. So when I loaded the Cyprus images into Lightroom yet again I noticed this blue cast over them all.

It then struck me that, when it all boils down to it, I am a complete amateur numpty!! In August 2018 at my nieces wedding I’d altered the white balance to “Fluorescent” for the evening indoor shots and never changed the setting back again. Lesson learned!!!

Print Display Rack, stocked and ready to go!

Today Anne and I went to an Art exhibition in Northallerton and there I saw some nice pieces of artwork displayed on those racks you see in art or photographic galleries. One of my plans for the impending retirement is to have a go at Craft Fairs and see if “by this time next year…….”, no chance of that, but one or two sales of prints would be a welcome boost to the confidence! Anyway, there’s an Art Shop in Northallerton and we went in on the off chance. What did I come out with but a print rack, so all I need now is one of those rotating card display racks and I’m set to go, oh, and to know where the craft fairs are!

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Official website launch and the stresses of such!


sunset over fields
Sunset over the fields in Morton-on-Swale

So Lent is over and I’d set myself the target of having this website ready, finished and running by today, Easter Sunday, which it is! So I thought what could be better for potential customers than the encouragement of ‘opening offers’ in the form of a discount off the full price of prints and cards – simple!

I now use WordPress to create my websites and a plugin called WooCommerce for the ‘shop’. However, being a tight Yorkshireman meant that the ‘light’ version doesn’t allow bulk updates across the site. So this tight Yorkshireman actually decided to buy a ‘plugin’ to do this function? Did it work? Well yes and no! It globally altered all the prices based on a % discount and then proceeded to make all the prices the same, whatever the item was. So Notecards were the same price as an A3 print! Even more helpful the ‘plugin’ has no option to revert back to previous versions – aaagghhh!

Anyway, the problem is sorted now with another free ‘plugin’ and I’m delighted to offer a 15% discount on any product ordered during Easter week. It would make my day if someone actually bought something. My wife Anne has even promised to open (and share) a bottle of Prosecco if someone we don’t know buys an item!

Note to self here, paid products are not necessarily always the best, sometimes free is better! I guess that’s the same with photo equipment too. It doesn’t matter how much you spend on a camera or lens, it’s actually what you do with it and the skill you have behind the camera that creates a great shot.

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Killing Time Double Exposure


Double exposure of Kings Cross roof
Double exposure of Kings Cross roof

Last night LNER cancelled the 07:15 Northallerton to Kings Cross train, so this morning I ended up getting on the 06:09 service instead. This meant I had 1hr 20mins to kill in London whilst a colleague arrived on the train from Leeds. I’ve often marvelled at the roof at KX and this morning I decided to play around with my iPhone. I’m quite pleased with this “double exposure” – although to be honest, it’s not two shots, it’s one photo over-laid on itself with one of the images rotated. Even so I’m quite pleased with the result, especially as it was created on my iPhone.

I’ve been impressed with this roof for some time and done a few ‘grab’ shots before. Next time I go I must take a camera, although there’s nothing wrong with camera phones these days, unless you want an A3 print that is!

The Western Concourse was opened in 2012 and I guess the roof is almost as photographed as ‘Platform 9 and 3/4’ at the far end.

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Social Presence


So, one thing that I’m trying to do is increase my ‘Social Presence’ and have now joined Instagram as well as setting up a proper Facebook ‘Page’ for my photography, as opposed to my own personal Facebook page. Those of you will know me will know that’s where I post mostly bad jokes!! The additional page will be all about photos and not about jokes! Phew I hear you say. So please, if you have Facebook Like/Follow the new page and I’d be delighted to connect with you on Instagram too.

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New images added to Patterns / Abstract Gallery


Wilsis Ear by Jaune Pelmsa
Wilsis Ear by Jaune Pelmsa

Following a recent visit to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park with Trevor Thurlow, a friend from Northallerton Camera Club a few weeks ago, I’ve just managed to get around to uploading some of the images to the Patterns/Abstract Gallery. Please feel free to have a look and leave any comments too!

The Yorkshire Sculpture Park is an open-air gallery near Wakefield in West Yorkshire, showing work by British and international artists, including Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. The park’s collection of works by Moore is one of the largest open-air displays of his bronzes in Europe

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A day on the Durham Coast


Seaham Pier and lighthouse

Yesterday I spent the day on an RPS Northern Region “Field Trip’ along the Durham Coast led by Paul Mitchell. Beginning at Seaham we then moved onto Roker Lighthouse, Souter Lighthouse and ending up at South Shields.

Roker Lighthouse, Sunderland
Roker Lighthouse, Sunderland

The gathering numbered about 12 members of the RPS Northern Group, all, by the look of them, well experienced photographers. I can’t help feeling intimidated by these fine folk with their impressive array of cameras and lenses. All of whom look like they know how to take great photos. I’m sure I’ll see lots of them on the group’s the Facebook Page!!

Lighthouse at South Shields
The Conversation
The Conversation Piece by Juan Munoz

It was pleasing that many of the participants were happy to share some of their knowledge and skills and I will look forward to attending more of these kind of events in the future.

This original set of sculptures, collectively known as ‘Conversation Piece’, was created by Spanish sculptor, Juan Munoz in 1999. There are 22 bronze figures in total, each weighing arround a quarter of a tonne and standing 1.5 metres high.This eye-catching installation is quite a popular addition to the sea front at South Shieds and the figures themselves are sometimes referred to as the ‘weebles’ on account of their dimensional likeness to the children’s toy of the same name.

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Crackpot Hall to feature in Tennants Calendar Exhibition


Crackpot Hall, Swaledale
Crackpot Hall, Swaledale

The image of Crackpot Hall (Left) in Swaledale has been short-listed by Tennants Auction House in Leyburn for exhibition in late April/early May. Public voting will take place and the 12 winning photographs will appear on the Tennants 2020 ‘My Yorkshire’ Calendar. Voting will close on May 9th 2019 with the winning photos being announced on May 10th.

The curiously named Crackpot Hall is an abandoned 18th-century farmhouse that lies in ruins near the village of Keld in Swaledale. The name is said to be derived from the Viking word “pot,” meaning a deep hole, and an Old English word for crow, and it is also the name of a cave nearby.

Little is known about the history of the mysterious structure, which was abandoned in 1953 because of subsidence caused by lead mining nearby. It is now an intriguing and impressive ruin in an equally impressive location; the crumbling house sits on the edge of a remote hillside in the Yorkshire Dales, surveying the valley below.

Wandering around the atmospheric remains you inevitably start to wonder about the secrets this old stone farmhouse holds. The old fireside range is still in situ, and there is a rusty tin bath on the stone floor in front of the fire, a poignant reminder of the former lives lived in this place.

Folk stories about the abandoned house also abound, in particular one about Alice, a four-year-old child who is said to have been discovered roaming “wild” near Crackpot in the 1930s. A BBC radio 3 documentary has more recently established that Alice was, in fact, a young girl who lived at Crackpot Hall with her family, including her five brothers and sisters, and these hills and valleys were her playground. 

The Cow and Calf Rocks, Ilkley
The Cow and Calf Rocks, Ilkley

Last year my image of The Cow and Calf Rocks, Ilkley (left) was also short-listed and included in the exhibition, but narrowly missed out on making the Calendar. This image and the Crackpot Hall photo are available to buy as both Notecard and/or print.

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Notecards available


I’m delighted to say that a selection of my notecards will shortly be available to buy in the Village Shop in Morton-on-Swale and priced at £2 each. The full selection can be viewed and ordered by using the Shop link above.

Sometime soon also they will hopefully be available in The Granary Shop at Caring for Life in Leeds.

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Camera Club Success

Time for off
Time for off


The Roebuck Trophy
The Roebuck Trophy

Following on from the success in last years (2017/18) Northallerton Camera Club season when I won the Neesham Cup for the best PDI in the Beginners Section, this year (2018/2019) I was lucky enough to win the Outings Competition and will be presented with the Roebuck Trophy at the clubs Annual Dinner on 13th April 2019. This was for a series of three photographs taken on two out of the four days during the year where the club specifies a date and location.”Time for off” (above right) was one of the three images.

Preparing Engine 926 at Goathland (Colour)
Preparing Engine 926 at Goathland (Colour)

In the clubs Annual Print Exhibition I gained a 2nd place in the Intermediate Section with my image “No 926 (Colour)” seen here on the right.

A few other images have achieved Highly Commended and Third in various competitions throughout the year.


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