Photography

Photography Through Northumberland Part 1

I’ve not written on this for a little while. Granted, I’ve not written much on this blog as of late. But I want to give you an update on how my photography skills are progressing. In a post from April, I wrote about learning all the new photography terms and concepts for my new DSLR. Last week was an opportunity to get out and explore Northumberland on my holiday and put my developing skills into practice.

I’m slowly getting there, but now I have the basics of the camera down I’m playing around mostly with the automatic and semi-automatic settings. In time, I expect to use the semi-auto and manual settings far more than the preset settings. But for now, I’m comfortable with it and I want to show off some of my art work 🙂 Without further ado, here is a tiny selection of my favourite images from the holiday.

Day 1: Alnwick Gardens

The first day of our holiday was the day for which we booked our tickets to visit Alnwick Gardens. Just a few hundred yards from the castle, this mix of classic formal garden, water features, and contemporary art displays wows visitors from the entrance gate. This incredible stepped fountain is the first thing you will see on entering the garden.

alnwick garden fountain copyright MG Mason 2018
Copyright MG Mason 2018

Impressive, isn’t it? There is also a small enclosed garden full of dangerous plants. You can’t go in as you please, but line up for a guided tour and wait until the next group to leave so your group can go in. There seemed to be a maximum of about 12 people per tour. This not only serves to talk you through the plants and their properties, but also ensures people don’t attempt to do anything stupid.

The top end has an orchard and the shrubs you see lining the fountain are cosy covered walkways. Off to the right is a rose garden, what we might consider a typical English garden while at the very top (you can just about see the walls) is a walled garden. Alnwick Gardens also gave me an opportunity to try some close ups as seen in this next photo.

Copyright MG Mason 2018

I’m pleased with both of these, to be honest.

Copyright MG Mason 2018

Day 2: Holy Island of Lindisfarne

One site I was desperately keen to see is the island of Lindisfarne off the Northumberland coast, aka Holy Island, aka St Cuthbert’s Island. It’s home to a small community who can only get on and off the island at low tide and was once the most important site of Christian pilgrimage in England, until Canterbury succeeded it in around the 12th century. It was certainly the most important to the Anglo-Saxons and was home to a Benedictine Priory until the Dissolution in 1536. There is also a castle on this lovely island and some gorgeous views across the water towards the mainland, seen in the next two images.

Lindisfarne Priory church ruins. Copyright MG Mason 2018
Copyright MG Mason 2018

The weather was mixed. It was grey and windy on our arrival (look at the sky in the photo of the priory ruins) but by the time we left the historic site and started to explore the island a bit more, it brightened up a lot as seen in the second image. We saw a large group of seals on the sandbank. Unfortunately, my standard kit lens simply couldn’t zoom in enough to get a clear shot.

Day 3: A Pilgrimage to St James

The following day was a pilgrimage of a different kind, this time to the shrine of St James. I’m a Newcastle United supporter and was pleased to take some photos around the stadium and visit the club shop. As a reward for indulging my footballing needs, I treated my girlfriend to a big lunch at Chinatown. I didn’t use my DSLR that day as it would have annoyed me to have to lug it around a busy city centre.

Me at the statue of Bobby Robson (may he RIP). Copyright MG Mason 2018

That’s it for the first half of our holiday, Please keep an eye out for the second half where I’ll post some incredible photos from Alnwick Castle, Howick Hall which is the birthplace of Earl Grey tea, and Northumberland Country Zoo on what was to be the day for the most glorious weather and the site of some of the best photos from our break. TTFN!

If you want to see daily photographs from my collection, please sign up for my Facebook photography page here.

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