Dunstanburgh Castle

Northumberland

Today I thought I’d share some images taken at Dunstanburgh Castle on Northumberland’s beautiful Heritage Coast. The castle is the largest in Northumberland. In 1313, Earl Thomas of Lancaster, cousin of Edward II of England began construction and John of Gaunt added to it later in the century.

Northumberland

During the Wars of the Roses, the castle was badly damaged and it slowly fell into decay. The castle is now owned by the National Trust and in the care of English Heritage. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunstanburgh_Castle

Dunstanburgh Castle

This beautiful and evocative ruin can hardly fail to inspire, perched on a rocky outcrop above the coast and the plain below.  Some great painters have immortalised it, including Turner and, one of my favourite contemporary artists, Michael Morgan.

Northumberland

Lilburn Tower, the most intact of the castle buildings, seems to demand a moody black and white treatment. Can you imagine a knight riding along that path, perhaps to rescue a princess from the tower?  I kept thinking instead of Macbeth, riding to meet the three weird sisters, perhaps because Roman Polanski’s film, Macbeth was shot in the area.

Northumberland

Dunstanburgh Castle is reached via a footpath from Craster, a sleepy fishing village to the South.  Or via the beautiful sands of Embleton Bay to the North.

Northumberland

I chased down a rainbow there on our visit, only just managing one hasty exposure before the colours faded, from which I made this, rather more painterly than usual, image with a little help from Topaz Simplify:

Northumberland

For all that I enjoyed the, admittedly rather over the top, colours of the last two images, it remains, for me, the black and white images that suit this location more.  If you get the chance to visit this atmospheric ruin, I thoroughly recommend it.

Lilburn Tower

Westminster Autumn

20121015-135040.jpg
Autumn in the Victoria Tower Gardens, Westminster. In the foreground (and below) is the Buxton Memorial Fountain, commissioned by Charles Buxton MP to commemorate the emancipation of slaves in 1834, dedicated to his father Thomas Fowell Buxton, and designed by Gothic architect Samuel Sanders Teulon (1812–1873) in 1865.
In the background, of course, is the Palace of Westminster aka the Houses of Parliament, designed by Sir Charles Barry with advice from the great Augustus Pugin.

20121015-135141.jpg

A detailed city

black and white cityscape

Vancouver waterfront

As a respite from the bug macros, I thought I’d pay a visit to one of my favourite North American cities, Vancouver.

black and white view of Vancouver

Striking shapes mingle with softer planting

I thoroughly enjoyed prowling round the most modern parts of this city, playing with angles and snapping details that caught my eye.

black and white view of Vancouver

The same place looking the other way

I often convert my shots of architecture to black and white to bring out the interesting shapes and patterns.

architectural detail

Diagonals meet verticals, and some palm trees

It can be fun to zoom in tight.

Architectural detail

Loads of contrast here

Or pull back for a wider view.

black and white Vancouver city

Contrasting new and old

Sorting out converging lines can be tricky with tall buildings but sometimes it’s fun not to bother…

architecture

Well, this building does actually lean anyway.

…or to go mad:

warped architectural detail Vancouver

One way to cope with those converging lines

Reflections are always a lot of fun.

city detail

Fairmont hotel reflected in office block.

I did allow some colour, sometimes a lot of colour:

Five panels of city reflections

If a triptych is three panels, what do you call five panels?

I hope you enjoyed my architectural safari. Vancouver really is a super city and there is, of course, much more to it than its modern architecture. More another time. I will leave you now with this thought: what’s not to like about a city that has a giant lego orca?

killer whale sculpture

You have to love Canadians.

A recycled habitat

Fragile

A recycled forest in the heart of Montreal’s Eaton Centre.

Last summer, while in Montreal on holiday, we visited the Eaton Centre and came across an art installation made from recycled waste materials from the shopping centre.  Called Fragile, it was the work of Roadsworth and Brian Armstrong.  Given access to the Centre’s recycling bins over eight months, the artists transformed the retail centre into an ecosystem.

Cardboard trees with soda can leaves.

Bubble wrap salmon leap up a plastic bottle stream.

Cardboard lily pad with plastic bottle and coat hanger frog.

Coat hanger dragonflies with cellophane wings.

Strolling through the recycled garden.

“When you present something playfully, or even satirically, you create a space where people can drop their defences. When you manage to do this, you can reach them at a level at which they’ll be receptive to what you have to say.”
— Peter Gibson (a.k.a. Roadsworth)

FRAGILE

 

Shooting the City

20120617-215138.jpg

On the whole, I find photography a solitary activity, and I am happy with that. I very rarely go out shooting in a group. When I do, I usually end up deleting the images I take; I just can’t seem to relax into it.

20120617-220055.jpg

But a couple of years ago I did enjoy a stroll around the City of London with fellow members of a Flickr group, T189 Oct-Dec 2008. All members of this group, which I administer, took the Open University’s short digital photography course in Oct-Dec 2008.

20120617-220140.jpg

Although activity in the group has gradually waned over the years, there is still a core of supportive and keen digital shooters and it was a pleasure to meet some of them in person on our City photo walk.

20120617-220246.jpg

And I didn’t delete every image.

20120617-220329.jpg

The Cathedral of the Thames Valley

20120610-113643.jpg

A view of St.James’s, a beautiful Victorian church in Weybridge, Surrey designed by Sir John Loughborough Pearson. This is a series of shots I took in 2009 pro bono to support the renovations work of The Friends of St.James.

20120610-113740.jpg

The Church of Saint Nicholas stood on this site from 1175 until the middle of the nineteenth century. St Nicholas’s was demolished in 1846 and a rebuilding programme was commenced.
The new church was dedicated to Saint James and was consecrated in 1848. Seven years later the Spire was completed, and in 1864 the South Aisle was built. A further eleven years would pass before, in 1875, the ‘Eight Bells’ were dedicated.

20120610-114018.jpg

Finally, in 1889, the Chancel was enlarged and the outer South Aisle was added; it was also at this time that the height of the Chancel was increased by roughly ten feet which gave a better harmony to the overall proportions of the building. The interior of the church is a lovely example of arts and crafts design.

20120610-114116.jpg

Installed in the West face of the south aisle is the Sacramental Window. Made from Victorian stained glass, it is probably intended to depict the sacraments of the church. This important window is made after a design by the celebrated pre-raphaelite, Edward Burne-Jones.

20120610-114250.jpg

St.James’s is the work of John Loughborough Pearson. Pearson, 1817-97, was a Gothic Revival architect renowned for his work on churches and cathedrals. Pearson revived and practised the art of vaulting, and acquired in it skill unmatched in his generation. St.James’s has been described as the ‘Cathedral of the Thames Valley’.

20120610-114523.jpg

20120610-120708.jpg

20120610-120756.jpg