Wednesday, 13 September 2017

1611 : Limited Exposure 8 - The Two Rules Of Photography

West Vale Mill
Another photograph from the top of the West Vale railway viaduct. When taking photographs, I have a couple of rules. Rule 1 is "If you pass a pub, take a photograph of it before it closes down". Rule 2 is "If you pass a mill, take a photograph of it before they pull it down".

Tuesday, 12 September 2017

1610 : Limited Exposure 7 - Completed By Pots

A second photograph taken from the West Vale railway viaduct and this one concentrates on the Victorian chimney pots that still grace the rooftops of the terraced houses. Most are now redundant, but when they are removed - as is the case in a couple of them - the houses seem strangely incomplete.

Monday, 11 September 2017

1609 : Limited Exposure 6 - Climbing Terraces

The sixth frame of my virtual film was taken from the railway viaduct and shows the little streets of terraced houses that climb up the hill from Stainland Road. The original shot was in colour, but somehow it looks better in monochrome.

Friday, 8 September 2017

1608 : Limited Exposure 5 - Flying Over West Vale


The Stainland branch line - which ran from Greenland Junction, through West Vale and Holywell Green to Stainland - existed as a working railway line for just over fifty years. Even though it closed almost ninety years ago, some of the infrastructure still exists, in particular the magnificent viaduct that flies over West Vale. This photograph was taken from the top of it.

Thursday, 7 September 2017

1607 : Limited Exposure 4 - Semi-Detached

Glenholme is a delightful early twentieth century house which was built as a home for the two Waller Brothers who owned a mill in West Vale. It provided accommodation for the two families and had two separate entrances. Above one door were carved the initials HHW for Henry Hirst Waller and above the other CHW for Charles Herbert Waller. These days the house is a respite care home.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

1606 : Limited Exposure 3 - Mammoth

Walking down Hullenedge Lane towards West Vale you suddenly catch sight of an old railway viaduct that seems to dominate the valley from this angle. When you are in West Vale itself you hardly notice it, but it is there, like the skeleton of a long dead transport mammoth.

Monday, 4 September 2017

1605 : Limited Exposure 2 - Score 19

Roadsign - Hammerstones Road, Elland
There was a time when roadsigns were made up of individual lettered tiles, like some hand from a Corporation Scrabble game. The second of my virtual film frames came back from the virtual film processor today and shows the hand played by one such player . Assuming no doubles or trebles and forgetting the road - score 19.

Sunday, 3 September 2017

1604 : Limited Exposure 1 : Bethesda Church


Isobel and I were out walking in the sun yesterday, and I was about to use up a boxful of SD cards, clicking away at this, that and the other, when suddenly I remembered what it used to be like. You would set off out knowing that you had invested a sizeable sum in a 20 exposure film, and taking great care before you exposed each frame. Just for the hell of it, I decided to limit myself to an imaginary 20 exposure film during my walk and I came home with five exposures to spare. This was the first "frame". I will "print" the rest over the coming few days.

Saturday, 26 August 2017

1603 : Piece Gathering

Halifax Piece Hall (August 2017)
They have just carried out a major redevelopment at the historic Halifax Piece Hall, replacing the old, stone-cobbled, sloping floor with one which is tiered and stone-flagged. Many people complain about the cost or the look of the new configuration, but it does provide a more usable space for large public gatherings, such as those which were such a part of the history of the Piece Hall in the nineteenth century.

1602 : Don't Look At The Camera

Cows In A Field, Bradford Road, Fixby (August 2017)
I tried telling these cows not to stare at the camera lens, but you know what youngsters are like. Perhaps they were spooked, not by me, but by the rather strange coloured clouds.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

1601 Old Lane Is An Old Lane

Old Lane, Halifax (August 2017)

Can a street name be more descriptive than this? So steep there has to be a hand-rail to help you up it, still covered in the stone sets of centuries past: Old Lane is an old lane.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

1600 : The Rise And Fall Of The Hills

Back Randolph Street, Halifax  (August 2017)

For whatever reason, this photograph says Halifax to me. Although I was born seven miles away in Bradford and now live four miles away in Huddersfield, Halifax as always been - and always will be - home. The built environment - whether it was built fifty years ago or one hundred and fifty years ago - cannot overwhelm the shape of the landscape, the rise and fall of the hills.

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

1599 : My Concrete Muse

Burdock Way, Halifax (August 2017)

This is a scene I keep returning to: I can never pass the concrete Burdock Way Overpass without taking out whatever camera I may have with me. My adolescent eye was captured by these concrete curves forty years ago and I have been returning to them ever since.

Monday, 17 July 2017

1598 : Chairs

Grounds Of Polesden Lacey House, Surrey

More deck chairs, but an entirely different scene. We are now looking across the South Downs from the splendour of the gardens of Polesden Lacey House - a great Victorian/Edwardian country house constructed out of the eye-watering profits of the McEwens Brewery. Cheers! - or should it be Chairs!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

1597 : A Large House - A Small World

Oakley Court Hotel, Windsor

We recently spent a night at the Oakley Court Hotel near Windsor - a splendidly spooky place on the banks of the River Thames. Whilst there, I discovered that it had been used as the set for the films "The Brides of Dracula" and "The Plague Of The Zombies". Laster, I also discovered that my good friend Jane Gordon-Cumming had used it as the setting for her novel "A Proper Family Christmas". A large house - a small world.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

1596 : The Duchess Of Cambridge

Thames Street, Windsor

​In the shadow of the massive stone walls of Windsor Castle stands the Duchess of Cambridge Pub. In the shadows of the Duchess of Cambridge Pub sits someone who is highly unlikely to be the Duchess of Cambridge.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

1595 : Welcome To Paradise

Havana House, Windsor

Deep within Windsor Station there is a small shop - Havana House - that sells the finest malt whisky and the very finest Havana cigars. Next to the door is a sign proclaiming "Welcome To Paradise". Was ever a truer word written?

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

1594 : Shaking Heads In Shropshire

Timbered Building, High Street, Bishop's Castle, Shropshire

Bishop's Castle takes its name from the castle built by the Bishop Of Hereford on land given to him in Saxon Times by Edwin Shakehead. By far the most fascinating part of that explanation is that someone could have the name Edwin Shakehead. Wonderful!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

1593 : Rustic Ride

Old Bike - Presteigne, Wales

Just around the corner from the old petrol pump is parked - permanently, it is to be hoped - this old rust-covered contraption. I love the way the seat has been protected from the elements by a plastic bag, just in case some dare-devil owner decides they want a rustic ride.

Monday, 3 July 2017

1592 : Running Board School

Petrol Pump, Hereford Street, Presteigne, Wales 

A strange combination : a petrol pump which must have been last used when cars with running boards were running by, and a plaque to a school (Harford House Private Girls School 1860-70) which must have last resonated with the songs of young schoolgirls when schoolgirls sang rather that texted. 

Saturday, 17 June 2017

1591 : The Shoe Seller Of Pinosa

Pinosa Market : The shoe seller. The market can be in Pinosa, Pondicherry or Pickering - but the shoes will probably be the same and the patter of the shoe seller will definitely be the same. "They'll last you a lifetime, these - like walking on air"

Wednesday, 14 June 2017

1590 : Blowing In The Wind

Market Day, Pinosa : "The wind in Spain blows mainly off the plains". And once it comes off the plains, it sweeps around the mountains and gets funnelled through the concrete streets of little market town, playing games with hanging garments, throwing coloured caution to the wind.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

1589 : Land Of Mobility Scooters And Cheap Beer

Benidorm : land of mobility scooters and cheap beer. But there is nothing wrong with that - if you have worked in a hard industrial environment all your life you probably need a mobility scooter to get around, and if you have worked hard for just enough to get by on, you deserve all the cheap beers you can get.

Friday, 2 June 2017

1588 : Benidorm - Brash And Proud Of It

If you move a few miles down the coast from Denia with its picturesque little streets and wall-hugging cars you come to the brash and proud resort of Benidorm.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

1587 : Why Oh Why?

Why would anyone want to get hold of an old Schweppes van, cut it in half and then mount it on the side of a north-facing wall in a back street in a small Spanish town? Is the other half similarly mounted on a south-facing wall in another town? Who knows? But it made me stop in my tracks and take my camera out.

Monday, 29 May 2017

1586 : Blowing In The Denia Wind

Another example of Denia graffiti. The rough concrete wall adds to the quality of this piece of art which was hidden away in a loading bay down a back street. I was seriously tempted to chisel it off the building and take it home.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

1585 : Sculpture In A Bottle

The simplicity of the lines and of the colours of this scene in Denia make you want to stop and stare. You could bottle the scene up and present it as a piece of sculpture.

Monday, 22 May 2017

Sunday, 21 May 2017

1583 : Lazing On A Sunday Afternoon

The problem with sitting in the sun all day on the Costa Blanca is that it is all a bit tiring. You read a page or two, have a glass of fizzy lager, lay back in the sun and .... yawn ... before you know where you are, you are fast asleep.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

1582 : The Concrete Canvases Of Denia

Spain seems to lend itself to street graffiti such as this example on the side of a building in Denia. The buildings tend to have concrete canvas sides and there is a tradition of graffiti which is decorative rather than self-promotional. And for photographers, they present endless opportunities to frame and selectively enlarge.

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

1581 : Blue, Blue, Yellow And White

This is such a typical Mediterranean scene - blue sky, bluer sea, yellow sands and whitewashed buildings. It was taken on the beach in the Valencian city of Calpe.

Friday, 12 May 2017

1580 : Tunnel Music


There is a tunnel under the castle in Denia. It looks and it feels as if it has been there for ever - just like the castle that sits on the hill high above. It was, in fact, only built in 1937 and it was constructed, not as a convenient short cut across town, but as an air raid shelter during the Spanish Civil War. The musician looks as though he might have been there since those horrific days.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

1579 : Sandhill Passive Sunbathers


A couple of weeks ago, Yorkshire was full of cyclists: Lycra-coated, hill-attacking, sweat dripping athletic titans. Whilst they were here, I was in Spain. There they were uncoated, sandhill passive, sweat dripping sunbathers.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

1578 : Some Like It Hot


The problem about hot countries is that they are hot. I have no problem with "hot", not for the occasional week here and there. It makes a nice change to cold and grey. Knowing, however, each day when you wake up, that yet again it is going to be hot, that must be a challenge. What can you do but take your chair out into the street and think about it.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

1577 : Spouting Fountains And Tall Palm Trees


Elda isn't a particularly big town and its buildings are not particularly grand. There is, however, a gem of a public park complete with spouting fountains and tall palm trees.

Monday, 8 May 2017

1576 : Dreams Come True


Perhaps dreams do come true, but if the dream is of a new apartment rising like a concrete phoenix from the ashes, this Spanish dream is certainly taking its time. Graffiti comes in two forms - the formulaic broadcasting of a meaningless tag, and graffiti that makes you stop in the street and think. This certainly falls into the second category.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

1575 : A Neat Place, Ripley

Hollybank Lane, Ripley, Yorkshire

Ripley is a neat little village; neat houses, neat roads, and no doubt below the streets the sewers are as neat as a matron's apron. Each evening, when dusk has descended, a group of cleaners take to the street, wash down all the stonework and polish the pavements. A neat place, Ripley.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

1574 : Let's Not Forget The Cast Iron Bridge


It's all about the look. It's no good building an ancient castle complete with towers and turrets, you need a lake to set it off. And some finely manicured lawns, not to mention a cast iron bridge. Let's not forget the cast iron bridge

Monday, 17 April 2017

1572 : In Loving Memory Of Whats-his-name

Gravestone, St Andrew's Church, Aldborough  (March 2017)

You can just imagine it - the monumental mason's sales pitch. "It will be a memorial for posterity sir, a lasting reminder of John's life which will last until eternity". And outside, down the bleak Yorkshire Dales comes the whisper of the wind, "Not if I have anything to do with it"

Thursday, 13 April 2017

1571 : A Blast From The Grave

Gravestone : Aldborough Churchyard, Yorkshire (March 2017)

"So how can I guarantee that I will be remembered?". "Well, you could get a big gravestone". "But would people notice it, the churchyard is full of gravestones?" "We could always hire an angelic trumpeter to blow a blast loud enough to wake the dead every time someone walks by". "Now that sounds like a good idea"

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

1570 : A Reset Jewel In The Crown

The architectural jewel in the crown of Halifax is, of course, the eighteenth century Piece Hall which contains a fine open square surrounded by over 300 trading rooms which were originally used for trading in pieces of cloth. Over the years it has been used for a variety of purposes from orchestral performances to a wholesale fruit and vegetable market. It is currently undergoing a major upgrade and redevelopment and should open later in the year. For the moment, the imposing stone gates are as far as you can get.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

1569 : A Collaborative Effort

Causey Hall, Halifax Minster - April 2017 (Alan Burnett and iPhone FCDQJ91YG5QW)

I took this photograph on my mobile phone the other day as I was walking passed Causey Hall which is next to Halifax Minster. The building dates back to the mid-nineteenth century - it was built originally as a Parish School - but it is distinctly modern compared to the old Parish Church which was built more than four hundred years earlier. For some reason my mobile phone didn't like the original photograph and decided to do some work on the image itself (a stylised edit, it calls it). Pleasant as it's edit was, it had left in a decidedly modern burglar alarm box on the wall, so I did a stylised edit on its stylised edit. I am waiting to hear back from my phone as to whether it is satisfied with the final product of our collaboration

Monday, 10 April 2017

1568 : Nigh To This Place

Gravestone : St Andrew's Church, Aldborough, Yorkshire (March 2017)

There is something gloriously imprecise about the wording of this gravestone. No "buried here below" or "beneath this stone"; but a poetic "nigh to this place". It could be in the shade of the tall grass, it might be amongst the springtime stems. We don't need to know - just remember.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

1567 : History On A Brick Wall

The Old Court House, Aldborough, Yorkshire  (March 2017)

There are two quite fascinating elements to this photograph. First of all look at the memorial to the wartime Canadian aircrew, and, in particular, look at their ages. The eldest was the pilot, aged just 24,  and the rest of the crew were little more than teenagers. And then there is the second memorial - to the old courthouse where the members (note the plural) of Parliament for the village were elected until the parliamentary (rotten) borough was abolished in 1832. History on a brick wall.

Friday, 31 March 2017

1566 : Holding Up The Market

Market Trader, Otley (March 2017)

Sometimes it is unclear whether you are holding things up or desperately trying to prevent them from flying away. But sometimes, you are just stretching your limbs after a morning selling shirts on the market.

Thursday, 30 March 2017

1565 : Tinctures Unlimited

Brimelow's Herbalist, Dewsbury (2017)

Could there be any better description of a tin-roofed, vitamin-laden, herbalist shop than "Tinctures Unlimited"? I had a sudden desire to invite tinctures into my life.

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

1564 : Seeking Arcadian Aggrandisement

The Arcade, Dewsbury (2017)

There were a good few arcades in Dewsbury (the collective noun for arcades ought to be "a contentment of arcades", but it isn't). There was a King's Arcade and a Queen's Arcade; but there was one that needed no aggrandisement - it was "The Arcade". Now it needs all the aggrandisement it can get.

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

1563 : So Many Lines

Kings Arcade, Dewsbury (March 2017)

So many lines. Straight lines, curved lines, solid lines, false lines.