31 May 2008


After having a brilliant morning at the hides, this afternoon was for something different. I took a trip to Gibside Hall. What a glorious sunny day it's been. I wanted to take one of the buildings in the grounds that I hadn't shot before. The Banqueting House.

Thornley Woods and Far Pastures

Early start for me again this morning but not to work, off to the nature hides at Thornley and FarPastures. What a morning, I couldn't believe my luck. First at Far Pastures, the heron flew past, circled round, then landed on a pole in the pond. Then the fox got upfrom amogst the reeds and grass, he must have been asleep, shook himself and then went to wander off, he turned round, looked at me then went. I then decided to travel onto Thornley woods. Nothing much happening for at least an hour, then the wardens came to feed the birds. After they went it was a hive of activity, yellowhammers, bullfinch, jays, woodpigeons, rabbits, and then the most important thing....... I saw something in the corner of my eye and turned round. There was this deer coming from behind the holly bush. He walked slowly, eating leaves as he walked by and just meandered across to the other side of the woods. He was there for at least 5 minutes. I couldn't believe how lucky I was.

29 May 2008

Selective Colouring

I loved the hypnotic eyes of this Eagle Owl and decided to do convert it to mono and do some selective colouring in Photoshop with the eyes to enhance the hypnotic qualities of them. I think it works well.

28 May 2008

Griffin Heads

Picture of the four stone griffin heads situated on the border of the front lawn to Wallington Hall.
  • Shutter Speed - 1/500 sec
  • Lens Aperture - F/8
  • ISO- 400
  • Focal Length - 12mm
  • Metering Mode - Pattern
  • Exposure Compensation - -1 step

27 May 2008


After driving round the Derwent Reservoir I stopped to take this sailboat, sailing on the reservoir. I just missed catching the surfboarding guy (you can just see the orange sail behind the trees).
  • Shutter Speed - 1/200 sec
  • Lens Aperture - F/6.3
  • ISO - 100
  • Metering Mode - Pattern
  • Focal Length - 40mm
  • Exposure Compensation - -0.7 step

26 May 2008

St Andrews & Hopper Mausoleum revisited

Had to revisit this church & mausoleum today. We had nice blue skies and fluffy white clouds for a backdrop. Only thing was it was very very windy and I had to hold tight onto the tripod. I had a laugh taking the pictures. I emerged from therape field looking like custard woman... LOL I was covered in yellow pollen from head to toe. The rapeseed was 5 feet tall and i could just see over the top.

Wallington Hall

"Dating from 1688, the house was home to many generations of the Blackett and Trevelyan families, who all left their mark. The restrained Palladian exterior gives way to the magnificent rococo plasterwork of the interior, which houses fine ceramics, paintings, needlework and a collection of doll's-houses. The Central Hall was decorated to look like an Italian courtyard, heavily influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites, with a series of scenes of Northumbrian history by William Bell Scott. The original formality of Sir Walter Blackett's 18th-century landscape, influenced by 'Capability' Brown, who went to school in the estate village, underlies the present surroundings. There are walks through a variety of lawns, shrubberies and woodland, enlivened with water features, lakes, buildings, sculpture and a wildlife hide. The beautiful walled garden has varied collections of plants and a well-stocked conservatory. Longer estate walks encompass wooded valleys and high moorland, including land around the recently reacquired Folly at Rothley Castle. "

The Conservatory

The conservatory in Wallington Hall grounds.

25 May 2008

Walled Garden

I wish I hadn't used my wide angle lens for the garden shots as I don't think it's done the garden justice. But never mind it's done now and I know for future photos of gardens not to use the wide angle lens. We are always learning aren't we..

Red Squirrel

My day at Wallington Hall was completed by a visit to their Wildlife hide where I got my first close up view of our native red squirrel. The red Squirrel was once very common in England but after the introduction of the American grey squirrel, our red squirrels are facing extinction..
The grey squirrel was first introduced to Britain in 1876 (in England). Grey squirrels have been shown to be carrying specific antibodies to the squirrel pox virus. The virus causes a pustular dermatitis in red squirrels that has the appearance of myxamatosis in rabbits. All infected red squirrels succumb to the disease within 15 days. Grey squirrels can carry the virus with no detectable symptoms, and therefore live to spread it more widely.

24 May 2008

More Far Pastures shots

Never got out last night as I didn't feel too good. These are some more shots taken at Far Pastures Nature Reserve from the hide.
  • Lens Aperture - F/3.5
  • Focal Length - 200mm
  • Exposure - 1/50 sec
  • ISO 400
  • Metering Mode - Pattern
  • Exposure Compensation - 0.3 step

21 May 2008

Far Pastures again.

Just couldn't resist going back tonight to get another shot. What did I see but a heron right up close to the hide and I couldn't get my camera out of it's bag quick enough to get the shot of the day as the heron flew off. LOL
Anway it did come back, not as close unfortunately, but I managed to get a couple of half decent shots. The the goslings decided to come into view and nestled down for a while under Mums wing. The shot above was them just emerging after a little sleep. Then two of them must have felt a little crankie and decided to fight with each other. It was fun to watch. I enjoyed tonight.

20 May 2008

Far Pastures Hide

A trip to Far Pastures hide in Rowlands Gill for an hour tonight brought these 3 images. I didn't have my longer lens so these have turned out pretty good considering. The whole family were so cute. Mum and Dad were so protective of their babies that when they were worried by a swan which kept following them around and making a nusience of itself, Dad came to the rescue and off he swam making himself a decoy whilst Mum took them off to safety. The swan was a real nusience. But he finally gave up after a while.
It was nice meeting wildlife photographers Venetia and Cath. They had some fantastic kit with them and I can imagine their images will be spot on. Their Kids were also armed with some long lens' too. It was nice talking to them all. We found out we'd just missed the fox asleep near the reed bed and he'd just awoken, shook himself and wandered off and we'd also missed the heron. Another visit is called for soon I think.
No doubt we'll meet up again with Venetia, Cath & kids at some hide in the area one day.
Settings (1st photo)
  • Shutter speed - 1/125 sec
  • lens aperture - f/4.3
  • Focal length - 128mm
  • ISO-400
  • Metering Mode - Pattern
  • Exposure compensation - -0.7 step
Settings (2nd photo)
  • Shutter speed - 1/200 sec
  • Lens aperture - f/5
  • Focal length - 150mm
  • ISO-400
  • Metering Mode - Pattern
  • Exposure compensation - 0 step
Settings (3rd photo)
  • Shutter speed - 1/250 sec
  • Lens aperture - f/4.5
  • Focal length - 150mm
  • ISO-400
  • Metering Mode - Pattern
  • Exposure compensation - -1 step

Consett Camera Club Jaunt no.3

Jaunt number 3 found the Camera Club at East Castle where the statues of the Old Transformers are. Once a railway line that used to transport steel from Consett Iron works is now a Cycle path. Above the cyclepath are the two giant steel figures rusting high up the side of the cutting. "The Old Transformers": the words are burnt clear through the heavy steel plate.

19 May 2008

Raby Castle Deer

Have you ever seen a White Fallow deer before? Can you imagine ever seeing deer sitting on your front lawn? Things not usually seen before, well you've seen them now :-)
The 200 acre deer park surrounding Raby Castle has Red deer, the largest British wild land mammal, and the smaller Fallow deer - both herds containing the desendants of deer preserved in this area since Norman times. The Black (actually dark grey in colour), Mottled (with white spots), and White Fallow deer at Raby Park are all recognisable by their clubbed, rather than pointy, antlers.