It don’t snow here …

it stays pretty green.  Except this year it has and it doesn’t.  These last few days, winter arrived early in Northumberland and elsewhere across the UK.  It never used to snow much in Cheshire either, except in the long winter of 1963 ‘when it felt like the world would freeze, with John F. Kennedy and the Beatles’.  I remember rare nights in the 1950s, staring out at the dim glow of gas street lamps as they lit up huge flakes falling out of the dark night. The rarity made it even more special.  Nothing changes the world quite so dramatically.

If we get no more snow this winter then we will still have had more than the last couple of years which have been monotonously grey and wet.  The British like nothing more than to discuss the weather, perhaps because we get so much of it.  Even the trees shiver …

Snow gets me out, or at least it gets me out with a modicum more enthusiasm than when it is simply cold and wet. We have lived nearby these country lanes for more than twenty years so I have taken countless images of the same things and many have appeared on this blog. The challenge comes from seeing things differently – modern RAW processors provide endless possibilities for variation.  These were all taken on the same short walk to Sandhoe postbox – Saturday 2nd December 2017:

… the north side of Beaufront Castle.

… the north side of Beaufront Castle

… the dead of winter

… Sandhoe postbox

Oh the bitter winds are coming in
And I’m already missing the summer
Stockholm’s cold but I’ve been told
I was born to endure this kind of weather

Advertisements

Old England

There is a sameness creeping into my imagery.  Old England has taken on the role of New England these last few weeks, the countryside turning a super-saturated Fuji Velvia riot of golds, browns and reds.  I carry my Fuji X100s with me almost everywhere I go, hence the opportunity to snap, hence the sameness – however clichéd, however familiar, the temptation to press the shutter one more time is irresistible.

Ken Rockwell describes the X100s as the “The World’s 2nd Best Digital Camera”, the best being its successor, the X100T.

I have said it before – the X100s is like a jewel, a retro work of art.  By comparison my Nikon D600 is a house brick – a perfectly capable house brick (apart from the oil spots on the sensor 😠 ) but not something you feel inclined to carry around in a golf bag, for instance – a full set of clubs in a carry bag is quite heavy enough.

This is what Northumberland has looked like these last few weeks through the eyes of a Fujinon 23mm F2 fixed focal length lens:

Beech leaves...

Autumnal waters ...
Autumn ... Talk about ... Autumn leaves ... Along the lanes ... Looking north west ...

And so to the crux of this post – my ongoing communications with Nikon Support:

Many thanks for your prompt reply. Unfortunately I am once again disappointed by Nikon’s response to this ongoing problem. At the heart of the issue is the fact that the Nikon D600 is a fundamentally flawed piece of equipment which should have been the subject of a replacement exercise from the outset. To be told, on the occasion of its third return for repair, that I might or might not be subject to a charge is unacceptable. There is inconvenience, time spent packing/arranging shipment and loss of use which seems to be ignored by Nikon, quite apart from the blemished images the camera produces.

In addition, it should be noted that I was explicitly told that my camera would form part of the D610 replacement programme by your colleague  – to receive the same camera back, which remains flawed, merely adds insult to injury.

I have been a Nikon customer for many years and have an extensive system supporting the D600. Unless you can guarantee replacement, I intend selling and replacing this system in its entirety – there are simply too many excellent, competitive cameras available on the market to remain with a manufacturer who has so little regard for its existing customer base.  I would be grateful if you could escalate as necessary.

I will let the world know how they respond 😉

The Week …

This is a collection of images posted on www.polaroidblipfoto.com over the previous week.  I first started submitting to Blip in late 2013, the central idea being that you take/publish a different image everyday (I ocassionally cheat a little 🙂 ).  It has now become something of a compulsive obsession but its main benefit is that it makes you constantly think about opportunities for taking photographs and a camera is always close to hand – this is no bad thing.  Over two years later I have now built up a photographic diary which, like many other ‘Blippers’, I would be very disappointed to lose.  The future of Blip has been in doubt for some time so the opportunity to support its survival through crowd-funding came almost as a relief.  It was therefore gratifying to see this posted from Blip Central on 2nd February:

We’ve got the money  …  We wanted to let you to know as soon as we could that the collection of money from pledges and donations via PayPal has just passed the target of £120,000. We offer a massive thank you to everyone who has contributed and helped. Give yourselves a collective pat on the back for we can now go ahead and complete the purchase from the current owners.

The images show:  Our local drystone wall repairman – plenty of work in hand; the Tyne rising yet again; the Sandhoe water trough; the Pant (fountain) at Tanners Row, Hexham; Sue Dunne’s white dove; panels from Hexham Abbey (there are actually three); evidence that the sun can still shine on Allendale golf course.

... plenty of work to do - drystone wall repairs on the Beaufront Estate

The Tyne rising ... The horse trough ... The 1858 Pant ... White dove ... Hexham Abbey panels ... The third ...

It was twenty years ago today …

… Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play.

Well, much longer than that but, it was twenty years ago today that we moved into our converted farm buildings.  Things have changed since those long ago days but, we remain the same 🙂

The first image was our first sight of the buildings which now comprise our home and the second image is Pam standing in what is now our main bedroom:

The Old Barn ... The Byre ...

These images were taken on moving in day, 4th March 1995:

The Old Barn ... The Old Barn ...
And these were taken this morning – twenty years later, 4th March 2015. Like the man says, things have changed:

The Old Barn ... The Old Barn ...

Rule of thirds …

Photo Challenge – The Rule of Thirds: a literal and almost literary ( 🙂 ) interpretation, taken by chance, earlier in the week (Thursday).

This door leads into Beaufront Castle grounds from the road between Beaufront Woodhead and Sandhoe – I doubt it has been opened in years.

It was not me
Who carved his name upon this once proud tree

For one thing, I support MUFC, not NUFC 😀

Not guilty ...

(click on the image to enlarge)

Merry Christmas

This may be my last post for a while, much will depend on how good the Internet connection is on Hurtigruten MS Finnmarken.  So, in case I cannot get connected, a very Merry Christmas to all my followers, many thanks for taking the time to like and comment on my increasingly random thoughts throughout the year and all the best for 2015.  More importantly, many thanks for all the wonderful posts.  The quality of television is in inverse proportion to the quantity i.e. the more channels there are the worse it gets – by contrast WordPress always entertains 🙂

2014-Christmas-wordpress

Here’s hoping this is what we actually see:

One winter …

Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you’re at!
Up above the world you fly,
Like a tea tray in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle, little bat!
How I wonder what you’re at!

The Mad Hatter – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

Twinkle is a too twee word, much better things that sparkle.

One winter, many winters ago, the morning silently sparkled (and twinkled a bit):

One winter morning ...

One winter morning ... One winter morning ... One winter morning ...

Twinkle twinkle chocolate bar
Your dad drives a rusty car
Press the starter
Pull the choke
Off he goes in a cloud of smoke.

Anon