Looking At You

Looking At You | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

It’s Sunday again so time for another Sliders Sunday. For this weeks image I used a photograph of one of the many stone faces carved on the outside of  the Marble Church (St.Margaret’s Church), Bodelwyddan, which is a prominent landmark in the lower Vale of Clwyd in Denbighshire, Wales.  It lies just off the A55 trunk road and is visible for many miles.

The church was erected by Lady Willoughby de Broke in memory of her husband, Henry Peyto-Verney, 16th Baron Willoughby de Broke. She laid the foundation stone on 24 July 1856 and the new church designed by John Gibson was consecrated by the Bishop of St. Asaph on 23 August 1860 after construction at a cost of £60,000. The new parish of Bodelwyddan was created on 3 August 1860, from the communities of Bodelwyddan, Faenol and Pengwern, which until that date had been part of the parish of St. Asaph.

The church contains pillars made of Belgian Red marble, and the nave entrance is made from “Anglesey marble”. It also contains elaborate woodwork, and in the tower can be found windows of stained glass on the North and South sides, featuring Saint Margaret and Saint Kentigern, and is a popular tourist destination.

Immediately to the west of the church is Kinmel Camp, which was a military camp located in the grounds of Kinmel Hall. The camp was used by Canadian troops during the First World War. The churchyard contains the graves of numerous victims of the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19 in the camp. On 4-5 March 1919 a riot occurred in the camp when the ship allocated to return the troops to Canada was diverted to carry food supplies to Russia, and five Canadian soldiers were killed in the disturbances and four buried in St Margaret’s Churchyard, the firth buried, Gunner John Frederick Hickman, is located in Dorchester, New Brunswick. A common story is that they were executed for mutiny, but this has been denied by the Canadian Department of National Defence.

For those of you who might be interested in Sliders Sunday…..

Sliders Sunday is a Flickr Group devoted to having fun pushing those sliders in your digital photography program. Group rules are quite simple

  1. You are not allowed to post SOOC pictures
  2. You should have had fun experimenting with processing the picture you post
  3. You can only post on Sunday
  4. You must describe or tag your shot as intended for this group by either describing your processing or by tagging it HSS or “sliders sunday.”
  5. Please take a moment and comment on other group members
  6. One Shot per Week

First and Last House

First and Last House | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

Depending on your viewpoint this is either the first or last house in mainland Great Britain. Well according to the sign it is. The cottage was built in the 19th century for Gracie Thomas and it’s located on the cliff tops of Land’s End. Gracie Thomas ran it as a souvenir shop selling small pieces of granite with Land’s End stamped on them and even today it still functions as a souvenir shop.

Now call me cynical. Why can’t a house at the northerly end of Great Britain be classed as the First and Last house? Well there is! At John O’ Groats, considered to be the most northerly point of mainland Great Britain, although in fact it’s actually Dunnet Head, there’s a First and Last Souvenir shop. Guess who owns it?

Soviet War Memorial – Berlin

Soviet War Memorial.jpg | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

This is a test of the Press This tool available from within the WordPress. I want to use my images from my Flickr account rather than using the WordPress media library. However Flickr’s Share to Blog facility does not let you size the images to fit your blog profile. My thanks to Frank J Casella for reminding me about the Press This bookmarklet: a little app that runs in your browser and lets you grab bits of the web. You can use Press This to clip text, images and videos from any web page. Then edit and add more straight from Press This before you save or publish it in a post on your site. Press This is available from the Dashboard of your blog in the Tools section. Having looked at the way Press This works it might mean that I will have to change my them to suit the size of the image it sends to my blog. However that is something I can play with.

So what about the image? The Soviet War Memorial (Tiergarten) is one of several war memorials in Berlin, capital city of Germany, erected by the Soviet Union to commemorate its war dead, particularly the 80,000 soldiers of the Soviet Armed Forces who died during the Battle of Berlin in April and May 1945. The memorial was designed by architect Mikhail Gorvits with the monument of the Soviet soldier by sculptors Vladimir Tsigal and Lev Kerbel.

The memorial is located in the Großer Tiergarten, a large public park to the west of the city centre, on the north side of the east-west Straße des 17. Juni (17 June Street) in the Tiergarten locality. This memorial was erected in 1945, within a few months of the capture of the city. Early photographs show the memorial standing in a wilderness of ruins, the Tiergarten having been destroyed by incendiary bombs and then stripped of timber for firewood during the last months of the war. Today, it is surrounded by the extensive woodlands of the reconstituted Tiergarten. Although the memorial stood in what was then the British sector of Berlin, its construction was supported by all the Allied powers. Throughout the Cold War, Soviet Guards were present at the memorial, sent out and changed regularly by Soviet occupying forces in the Soviet sector. In the early 80’s I was living in Berlin and have memories of the guards standing at the memorial in freezing cold temperatures. It was rumoured that they were standing on hot vents, which meant they kept warm despite the cold, but of course no one could get close enough to verify this.

Built from stonework taken from the destroyed Reich Chancellery, the memorial takes the form of a curved stoa topped by a large statue of a Soviet soldier. It is set in landscaped gardens and flanked by two Red Army ML-20 152mm gun-howitzer artillery pieces and two T-34 tanks. Behind the memorial is an outdoor museum showing photographs of the memorial’s construction and giving a guide to other memorials in the Berlin area. A large Cyrillic inscription is written underneath the soldier statue, which is translated as “Eternal glory to heroes who fell in battle with the German fascist invaders for the freedom and independence of the Soviet Union”. The Soviets built the statue with the soldier’s arm in a position to symbolize the Red Army’s putting down of the German National Socialist state.

On the anniversary of VE Day, (8 May), wreath-laying ceremonies are held at the memorial which is a site of pilgrimage for war veterans from the countries of the former Soviet Union. It is also a popular tourist attraction, since it is much closer to the centre of the city than the larger Soviet war memorial at Treptower Park. The memorial is maintained by the City of Berlin.

Built in a style similar other Soviet monuments of World War II, there is a sign next to the monument explaining in English, German and Russian that this is the burial site of some 2,000 fallen Soviet soldiers. It is located in the heart of Berlin along one of the major roads with a clear sight of the Reichstag and the Brandenburg gate, both symbols of the city and it is built on a place which Adolf Hitler meant to devote to Welthauptstadt Germania. Besides the main inscription, the columns state names of only some of the Heroes of the Soviet Union buried here. It has earned some unflattering nicknames from the local population with references to crimes committed by Soviet occupation troops.

After the building of the Berlin wall in 1961 this monument was seen as a sign of communist provocation on West Berlin soil, having to be protected by British soldiers against being destroyed by the West Berliners. In 1970 a neo-Nazi, Ekkehard Weil, shot one of the Soviet honour guards at the monument, severely wounding the soldier. This led to baffles, like giant billboards, being strategically located in the woods opposite the memorial, thus not allowing a clear line of sight with the guards. In 2010, the monument was vandalized with red graffiti just before Victory in Europe Day celebrations with text “thieves, murderers, rapists”. This sparked a protest from the Russian embassy in Berlin, accusing German authorities of not being able to take sufficient measures to protect the monument.

Fleeting Moment | Flickr – Photo Sharing!

Fleeting Moment | Flickr – Photo Sharing!.

This is a test post to see how WordPress handles the changes from Press This to the actual blog. I will be experimenting with various thems and this post to see what happens. First of all though I need to change this post from draft to published and that is just a click away. Next I might have to resize the image I’ll see how that works. Maybe it will maybe it won’t but I won’t know until I have tried it…..

 

 

A car taking part in the annual Sandocross Competition on the sands at Weston-super-Mare

Weekly Photo Challenge: Movement

A car taking part in the annual Sandocross Competition on the sands at Weston-super-Mare

This weeks photo challenge is Movement, so how do we convey that in a 2 dimensional medium where everything is static. As Dorothea Lange said;

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still”.

As photographers we have to take that instant in time that our camera catches and somehow convey movement. One possible way is to create some form of movement blur in the image by creative use of your camera.  Or, you can simulate movement by creating it in the Digital Darkroom like the one I created about two weeks ago http://mikehardisty.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/springburn-express/. But it’s not real. I simulated the movement using Photoshop.

So that brings me back to creative use of my camera. The shutter speed in the image above is fast enough to freeze the sand being thrown up by the buggy doing a sharp turn in the sand as it races in a Sandocross event. To me it looks dramatic but also serves to show that the vehicle is moving.

So what exactly is Sandocross? It’s a variation of Autocross and gives competitors the chance of experiencing speed, but it does require a slightly different approach when driving on wet sand which can be quite unforgiving.

Talacre Lighthouse

I Need Your Help!

Often as an amateur photographer I question my methods of taking photographs. Should I use JPEG, maybe RAW is better, does that work from a low angle, should I put something in the foreground. By questioning myself I hope to improve my skills and get the best photograph I can.

Now as my regular readers will know I have had trouble with my photographs being stolen, you can read about it here http://mikehardisty.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/no-more-cc-images/. Until the beginning of this year I was a supporter of Creative Commons Licensing but that changed after I found many of my photographs being used illegally in breach of my copyright and the terms of the CC License I had allocated.

For a while a used a great big watermark on my photographs but many of you said you didn’t like it and the watermark was just too distracting. So I decided to go with a frame round my photographs like the one you see in the image below.

As always though I continue to question myself, not only in the way that I take my  photographs but also in the way I present them, to you, my readers. Heres the same photograph but this time without the frame…..

…..and this is where I need your help.

What works better for you. Do you like the photograph framed? Or do you prefer to see it without the frame?

I really would like your help with this so please take time to place a short comment at the end of this article, Even if it’s only the words Framed or Not Framed

A little planet of the Hong Kong Harbour skyline

Sliders Sunday – 01 July

A little planet of the Hong Kong Harbour skyline

It’s that time of the week when it’s time for another Sliders Sunday entry. I was wondering what to do and thought maybe a “Little Planet” would be interesting to have a go at creating. I have got some software that will make the job easy, but obviously not everyone else has the same software, so for this week I sourced a tutorial for creating Little Planets.

Little planets are great to do and if you have got Photoshop, Elements or the Gimp you will find plenty of tutorials on how to create them.

For those of you who might be interested in Sliders Sunday…..

Sliders Sunday is a Flickr Group devoted to having fun pushing those sliders in your digital photography program. Group rules are quite simple

  1. You are not allowed to post SOOC pictures
  2. You should have had fun experimenting with processing the picture you post
  3. You can only post on Sunday
  4. You must describe or tag your shot as intended for this group by either describing your processing or by tagging it HSS or “sliders sunday.”
  5. Please take a moment and comment on other group members
  6. One Shot per Week

 

Young woman gets ready to pose for a photograph

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fleeting Moment

Young woman gets ready to pose for a photograph

I’ve never really been into street photography.  Here in the UK If you’re on a public right of way there’s nothing stopping you taking pictures of people in public places within reason. Basically you’re free to take photographs for personal and commercial use so long as you’re not causing an obstruction to other users or falling foul of anti-Terrorism laws or the Official Secrets Act.

UK laws are fairly vague when it comes to defining what constitutes an invasion of privacy and in theory street photography shouldn’t be a problem. Unfortunately, a few years back there was increasing paranoia over security and terrorism, resulting in photographers being challenged by police for taking photographs of potentially sensitive subjects like power stations, refineries, bridges and ports.  However, following a prolonged campaign, including a series of demonstrations by photographers abused by Police Officers and PCSO‘s, the Metropolitan Police was forced to issue updated legal advice which now confirms that ‘Members of the public and the media do not need a permit to film or photograph in public places and police have no power to stop them filming or photographing incidents or police personnel’ and that ‘The power to stop and search someone under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000 no longer exists.

So although it’s not illegal to photograph on public streets the resulting adverse publicity from the attempts to criminalize photography seemed to have a knock-on effect such that if you appeared on the streets with a camera, especially a DSLR, there was a good chance you would find yourself in a confrontational situation with some misguided security guard or member of the public….

…. and that takes me to this weeks photograph or should I say snap-shot. This young lady was getting ready for her friend to take her photograph. I just thought at the time it would make a good photograph because she had no interest in the camera and therefore wasn’t posing.

One of the old Glasgow trams photographed in the new transport museum at the side of the River Clyde, Glasgow

Springburn Express

One of the old Glasgow trams photographed in the new transport museum at the side of the River Clyde, Glasgow

Glasgow Corporation Tramway System was one of the largest urban tramway systems in Europe until it was phased out in 1962. Over 1000 municipally owned trams served the city of Glasgow, Scotland with over 100 route miles by 1922.

Track Gauge

Glasgow’s tram lines had a highly unusual track gauge of 4 feet 734 inches (1,416 mm). This was to permit 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge railway wagons to be operated over parts of the tram system (particularly in the Govan area) using their wheel flanges running in the slots of the tram tracks. This allowed the railway wagons to be drawn along tramway streets to access some shipyards. The shipyards provided their own small electric locomotives, running on the tramway power, to pull these wagons, principally loaded with steel for shipbuilding, from local railway freight yards.

Closure

The tram system was gradually phased out between 1956 and 1962 (in favour of diesel-powered buses), with the final trams operating on 4 September 1962. As a boy I can remember the final journey, through the city centre, of some of the trams before they were retired from service.

Apart from the Blackpool tramway, Glasgow became the last city or town in the UK to operate trams until the opening of the Manchester Metrolink in 1992.

Riverside Museum

The Glasgow Museum of Transport was established in 1964 and initially located at a former tram depot in Pollokshields. From 1987 the museum was relocated to the city’s Kelvin Hall opposite the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in the West End of Glasgow. The Kelvin Hall was built in 1927, originally as an exhibition centre, but was converted in 1987 to house the Museum of Transport and the Kelvin Hall International Sports Arena.  The current Kelvin Hall site itself closed in April 2010, with the Museum moving to its third home at the new Riverside Museum in 2011.

The Riverside Museum building was designed by Zaha Hadid Architects and engineers Buro Happold. The internal exhibitions and displays were designed by Event Communications. Replacing facilities at the city’s Kelvin Hall, the new purpose-built museum is the first to be opened in the city since the St Mungo Museum of Religious Life and Art in 1993 and is expected to attract up to 1 million visitors a year. Although containing approximately the same floorspace as the previous museum facility at 7,500 sq m, it creates a more environmentally stable home for Glasgow’s significant Transport Technology collections. The building also houses a workshop and office space for the Clyde Maritime Trust.

The location of the museum is on the site of the former A. & J. Inglis Shipyard within Glasgow Harbour, on the north bank of the River Clyde and adjacent to its confluence point with the River Kelvin. This site enables the Clyde Maritime Trust’s SV Glenlee and other visiting craft to berth alongside the museum.

On a personal note. I visited the museum last December, not long after it had opened. It has a fantastic collection of transport items and is well worth the visit if you happen to be in the City of Glasgow and have an afternoon free. Best of all it free, that’s right, free. It won’t cost you anything to get in, that can’t be bad. If you’ve got the time combine the trip to the transport museum with a trip to the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum. It’s free to get in there as well and is about 15-20 minutes walk away from the new Riverside Museum.

Which Way?

North Wales Coastal Cycleway

National Cycle Network

Last night as I was coming off the beach from the sunset shootthis sign for the North Wales Coastal Cycle Route caught my eye. Silhouetted against the setting sun and with some clouds behind it I thought it would make a good photograph. The sign shows directions for part of National Cycle Route 5 which  is a long distance route connecting Reading and Holyhead via Oxford, Banbury, Stratford-upon-Avon, Redditch, Bromsgrove, Birmingham, Walsall, Stafford, Stoke-on-Trent, Chester, Colwyn Bay and Bangor. The National Cycle Network is a network of cycle routes in the United Kingdom, created by the charity Sustrans (Sustainable Transport), and aided by a £42.5 million National Lottery grant. In 2005 it was used for over 230 million trips.

Many routes hope to minimise contact with motor traffic, though 70% of them are on roads. In some cases the NCN uses pedestrian routes, disused railways, minor roads, canal towpaths, or traffic-calmed routes in towns and cities. Some places have more off-road paths than others – Stoke-on-Trent, for instance, uses canal towpaths and its old mineral/passenger railway network to provide over 100 miles (160 km) of off-road paths through the city.

North Wales Coast

Along the North Wales coast between Talacre and Penmaenmawr there is 34 miles of cycle path which is part or NCR5 . It is mostly hard-surfaced and nearly continuously off-road, apart from a 2-3 mile gap at Llandudno, a 260 yard gap on a main road at Rhos on Sea and a handful of very short linking sections on quiet roads. (There is also an official, signed, on-road short-cut between Rhos-on-Sea and Conwy that avoids Llandudno.) The route passes through the resorts of Prestatyn, Rhyl, Kinmel Bay, Pensarn (Abergele), Llanddulas, Colwyn Bay, Rhos-on-Sea, Penrhyn Bay, Llandudno, Deganwy, Conwy and Penmaenmawr. It goes along the promenades or sea-fronts at all these places except Llandudno, where Conwy’s cabinet have contentiously refused to rescind an ancient bylaw, so old it almost predates the invention of the bicycle, and which is used in an attempt to ban cycling on the promenade. This stretch along the coast affords fine views of the coast and the sea, but also of the countryside, the Clwydian hills, the mountains of Snowdonia and the Great and Little Ormes.

Total National Mileage

The original goal was to create 5,000 miles (8,000 km) of signed cycle routes by 2005, with 50% of these not being on roads, and all of it being “suitable for an unsupervised twelve-year-old”. By mid 2000 5,000 miles (8,000 km) of route were sign-posted to an “interim” standard, and a new goal was then set to double that to 10,000 miles (16,000 km) by 2005. August 2005 saw the completion of that goal. As of mid-2011, the total stands at 13,000 miles (21,000 km) of signed cycle route at NCN standard.

Numbering System

National Cycle Network Routes beginning with numbers 1 to 6 are generally in England, while those beginning with 7 start in the far north of England and Scotland. Those beginning with 8 are generally in Wales, and 9 in Northern Ireland. The main routes have one digit (1 to 6 radiate clockwise from the south of England). Other NCN routes have two digits, starting with the number of the relevant main route.

There are also many regional routes, reaching smaller towns and cities within ten designated regions. Each region is divided into a maximum of 9 areas. Regional route numbers comprise the area number 1 to 9, followed by another digit. (An exception is in the Scottish Borders council area, where the regional routes are numbered 1 to 9.) This means that across the UK there could be 10 regional route 12s, for instance, as well as the national route12. To reduce confusion, identically numbered areas in adjacent regions do not abut, and so routes with the same number are widely separated.

As of 2009, regional routes are being renumbered with 3-digit national numbers. Routes are occasionally numbered to match the names of major roads and motorways which connect the same destinations; examples of this practice include the NCN Route 62, which by connecting the two sides of the Pennines mirrors the M62 motorway.

Signing

The network is sign-posted using a white bicycle symbol on a blue background, with a white route number in an inset box but no destination names or distances given. National Route numbers have a red background, Regional Route numbers have a blue background. The system of symbols is based on that used by the Danish Cycle Network.

Mileposts

1000 Millennium cast iron mile-posts funded by the Royal Bank of Scotland to mark the creation of the National Cycle Network, and found along the cycles routes through the UK. There are four different types of posts, “Fossil Tree” (designed by John Mills), “The Cockerel” (designed by Iain McColl), Rowe Type by Andrew Rowe, and “Tracks” (designed by David Dudgeon). The four artists are from each country of the UK, though all posts can be found in all four countries.