Over on the Universe Blog on the last and next sundays are my close-up digital shots of the flowers Sophie and I found at Birkheads Secret Gardens. I also had my Contax Aria loaded with Kodak Gold 200 film, and used it to do wider shots of the gardens, and to photograph the quirky decorations that you come across when walking through the gardens. So to accompany the Universe posts, I’m doing a Film Friday post with the results from the Contax.
In one of the corners there’s a nod to pirates
There’s also an oriental kind of place
and you can sit by a pond and look for the fish and the newts.
Walking around you come across mini statues
the owners have a sense of humour
They’ve left an area to become a wildflower place, with it’s own not-a-scarecrow and fake geese 😃
Sophie has been home from Spain for a couple of weeks and we’ve been out and about with our cameras. We spent a Sunday up in Edlingham and Craster ~ the Edlingham shots are mostly with the FujiXT2 so will be appearing on Sundays over on the Universe blog, but we also went over to Craster and had a windy walk up the coast to Dunstanburgh Castle, and I employed the Contax Aria for the visit, loaded with Kodak Gold 200 film.
Craster is a small fishing village on the Northumberland coast. It has a small harbour and a grassy path leading up to the castle which is the only way to get to it. For many years, the village has had a herring-curing business: Craster kippers are well known around the world.
Dunstanburgh Castle was built on an epic scale atop a remote headland along the coast. It was built at a time when relations between King Edward II and his most powerful baron, Earl Thomas of Lancaster, had become openly hostile. Lancaster began the fortress in 1313, and the latest archaeological research indicates that he built it on a far grander scale than was originally recognised, perhaps more as a symbol of his opposition to the king than as a military stronghold.
Unfortunately the earl failed to reach Dunstanburgh when his rebellion was defeated, and he was taken and executed in 1322. Thereafter the castle passed eventually to John of Gaunt, who strengthened it against the Pesky Scots by converting the great twin towered gatehouse into a keep.
The focus of fierce fighting during the Wars of the Roses, it was twice besieged and captured by Yorkist forces, but subsequently fell into decay.
Before we arrived at Craster we had lunch at our favourite café in Rock, which readers of theUniverse blog will have heard me bang on about.
It was a really blowy~blustery day so walking up the coast was a bit like being beaten up, we didn’t get right up to the castle before we’d had enough and turned round, wimps that we are, but far enough for a long shot of it.
There are quite a few holiday cottages to rent, or maybe they are second homes for posh people, along the sea front, and the have their own little gardens to sit in with views of the harbour, castle, and sea.
Over on the Universe blog, I’ve been posting my outings to Northumberland churches, but I also took a few shots along the journey.
Sophie spotted this tree whilst I was doing my Ben Hur around the country roads, think it could be an oak.
We had late lunches and afterwards travelled home via the scenic route. Going through and out the other side of Warkworth there are parking spaces on the A1068 which runs along side the River Coquet. Looking back towards Warkworth you can see the medieval castle on the hill that dominates the landscape.
Looking forwards and ahead is Amble marina, you can just see the boat masts next to appartment blocks called ‘Coquet Cottages’. Pfft. Like no cottage I ever saw.
Further along towards the coast we came across a stone gateway which seemed incongruous all alone on a country lane.
It was built in the late 1700’s and made of whinstone rubble, and belonged to Craster Tower. The tower was a 14th century pele tower and is referred to in a survey of 1415 as in the ownership of Edmund Crasestir. When Edmund died the tower remained in the Craster family and a two storey Manor house was added to it in 1666 by another Edmund Craster. In 1769, George Craster erected an impressive five-bayed, three-storey Georgian mansion adjoining the south side of the Tower, which was reduced to three storeys and recastellated at this time.
In 1785 the estate was in the hands of Shafto Craster who changed the appearance of the pele tower, to give it a gothic style. It was at this time he also built the coach house and the gateway. Shafto was also responsible for starting the kippering industry in Craster which still thrives to this day.
Not much point in numbering the posts really as the Aria is now my go-to camera for shooting film with, and all my others stand forlornley on the shelf gathering dust.
I’ve recently been shooting some more Kodak Ultramax 400 and got the results back. A fair few I’ve taken when on outings with Sophie, so they’ll get incorporated in to the Sunday Fraggle reports over on the Universe Blog. I made good use of spring and summer which came the week before last, and took the Aria on walks around the neighbourhood. Sadly we’re back in winter now and it’s a bit miserable out there. Anyhoo here are a few from my walks:
The path that leads to the Hebburn Quarry Nature Reserve (or Wardley Lake as it’s known chez Fraggle) is lined with hawthorn trees, and is lovely to walk down in spring.
The arch isn’t natural, Storm Arwen made it, and though some of the trees got broken and uprooted, somehow they’re still flowering.
This young one is quite exposed but managed to survive.
Their branches gently reach out for the light and their buds open one by one.
It was so nice to walk in sunshine, and hear the miriad birds warning each other of dogs and humans in their territory. A flash of red here and there across the sky as the bullfinches go about their nest building and the ubiquitous pigeons crash landing in the tree branches.
I turn back towards home at the end of the path and walk back through the houses. Cherry blossom trees are a favourite with the inhabitants of our estate
the pink blooms glow in the sunshine and you can’t help feel uplifted at their promise of warmer times ahead.
I have to say our resident graffiti artist(s) are a bit lacklustre, could do better I think.
The oak tree I once spent a whole month photographing is still standing, though it doesn’t look any bigger considering that was 6 years ago now. Wow, where did those years go??
Last bit before home, and it made me smile to see this couple holding hands, still love’s young dreams in their hearts.
More shots taken in Newcastle this time with Kodak Ultra Max 400.
Next door to the long closed Gaiety Theatre in Nelson Street was the Café Royale, and it’s thespian pillars are fab. Sadly the café closed in 2020 and it’s owner converting it into offices. Or would have done if not for the plague.
I’ve now completed 2 rolls of film on my Aria, had them developed by the wonderful Analogue Wonderland people and sorted them out ready for posting. Not all have turned out well and mistakes were made, but I’ll be leaving those ones in the dustbin of posterity and just posting the ones I like. I am on a steep learning curve with the Aria and though I’ve worked in manual mode before with the Rollei’s it’s been a while so that’s an ongoing refresher too.
The first roll I put through was a Fujifilm Superia X-TRA 400 135/36 Color film, and I started that at the back end of December. These shots are test shots mostly around the house and a few from South Shields. I haven’t faffed with any of them other than to crop or straighten where necessary, I save all that malarky for my digital work. It’s nice just to have them as they are.
like a lot of small coastal towns in the North things have gone downhill, with shops closing down, the shoppers going to Newcastle or Sunderland instead of local. In (a vain~ sorry- cynic) an attempt to regenerate the town centre, the council are demolishing buildings in King Street, which housed Mothercare, and Thorntons (chocolate shop) amongst others. This is in order to ‘clear the way for further development’ and according to Councillor Dixon, “We know that for our town centre to thrive we need to move beyond retail and create a more vibrant environment”. More details HERE.
Back at home we had a snow day. I say snow day but I really mean a snow 2 hours. The picture isn’t so good, I was hanging out the bedroom window and camera shake was a thing, but I had to document the only snow we’ve had this winter so far. 2 hours I ask you? What’s the point in that?
We had Livvy and Matty to stay over one Saturday night, another dodgy shot as I didn’t get the exposure right so the shutter speed was too slow for a crisp shot, but I like it anyway, makes me smile.
Of course I had to turn the Aria on the cats..
I have always taken images of the sunsets I see from the bedroom windows, I have an ongoing series of Wardley Sunsets, so I had to see if the Aria would be able to contribute.
So that’s enough for this week. Out of 36 frames I got 19 I was happy enough with, so thats 50%, considering how expensive film is that percentage needs to be improved, but that’s fine, I’m at the beginning of this journey and I’ll get better with practice. Stay tooned for next time when I shot a few frames in Newcastle. 🙂
all pictures clickable and embiggenable, but don’t, they look better smaller 🤣
I quite often visit Tynemouth Market, either with Sophie on our photographic adventures, or with Phil on his quest for bargain vinyl.
Replacing the original station which opened in 1847 to link Newcastle to Berwick by rail, the station we have now opened on 7th July 1872. It was designed by William Bell for the North Eastern Railway Company and in 1980 it was switched over to serve the Tyne & Wear Metro. (Like the Tube if you’re in the South of England, or the Subway if you’re in the USA. Not sure about anywhere else!) The station had had a long period of neglect so underwent a major restoration and was subsequently was reopened by Princess Anne on 2nd July 2012.
Newcastle Library has a few photos of it back around 1890 – 1910
On Saturdays and Sundays the market appears. There are over over 150 stalls where you can find local produce and homemade, artisan treats from independent traders, rummage for treasures on the eclectic bric-a-brac stalls or riffle through tables of second-hand books and records. There are vintage clothing stalls, vintage jewellery and accessories, where you can also pick up unique antique items, retro fashion, vintage homeware and furniture. Local artists and designers also have stalls of artiisan crafts, unique artwork, prints and photography. Food stalls with Indian, Greek, Chinese et al street food for lunch and the smells are so enticing when you walk past.
I think it lends itself wonderfully to photography, especially on film, so I took the Riva with me when I went with Phil a few weeks back and Christmas was on the horizon.
I think it’s time for another visit when the weather is a bit warmer!
Back at the end of 2019 I’d decided that 2020 was going to be a year of shooting film, from instant to 35mm and 120mm and using many of my funky film cameras. Ah well, I managed a few posts before the plague lockdown and a post in July when we were allowed out to walk when I tested out the Canon Sureshot. 2020 was a bit of a washout for me photographically speaking, but I did a digital 365 throughout 2021 on the Universe Blog and that has at least fired me up for shooting film again. I put a roll of Fuji Experia 35mm I had knocking about in the film drawer into my Minolta and stuck it in my bag when Sophie and I started going out again at the end of 21, and did some shots with it when I remembered it was in the camera bag. I’ve since had it developed and will do some posts with the pictures. The Minolta Riva has been my favourite point and shoot and I rarely use the other ones I have as the quality of pictures from the Riva always surpass the results. I’m currently getting to know the Contax Aria and will be posting those in the next series, if any come out!
In October Sophie and I revisited one of our favourite places, Belsay Hall & Castle. We first visited back in 2019 and it is such a great place for photography. I did a history post regarding it HERE if you want to know about it.
Belsay Hall was commissioned by 6th Baronet Sir Charles Miles Lambert Monck in the early 1800s, he was inspired by Greek architecture.
I did take many pictures with the fuji as it was full of autumn colour in the walled garden, so look out for a post on the Universe blog at some point.
I got a job lot of old film cameras at the end of last year one of which is a Canon Sureshot Z135. I put a roll of Kodak Portra 400 in it and carried about with me when I was out and about. It’s a sturdy little camera with the usual Canon programs to choose from but no manual controls. It has a 38-135mm fixed zoom lens, and an annoying pop up flash that pops up whether you want it or not.
I wasn’t too impressed with the quality of the shots, quite grainy considering portra is a quality film and the photos were taken in good light. Not terribly impressed wiith the focus either. I have chosen 12 images only from the 36 I shot, so I don’t think I’ll be using this camera overmuch.