Monthly Archives: July 2015

Lime green - Springtime moss

In the lime light for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

Lime or bright green is the theme for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week. As a keen follower of the natural world and the cycle of seasons, green is a colour that is very much part of my world. In my corner of the UK, I find bright greens are a colour I mainly associate with Summer or Springtime, such as the newly sprouted tufts of clean, green moss in my header image that brighten the floor of our beechwoods.

Lime green - Homegrown Salad leaves
Lime green – Homegrown Salad leaves

Springtime for me is also the beginning of the salad-growing season. I love the contrast of the red against lime green in my window ledge ‘garden’ of mixed salad leaves.

Lime green - Summer sun through grass
Lime green – Summer sun through grass

With the Summer sun shining through, the meadow grasses glowed lime green. My son captured this ground level image.

Lime green - Damselfly on Herb Robert leaf
Lime green – Damselfly on Herb Robert leaf

A Common Blue Damselfly was enjoying the limelight on this bright green Herb Robert leaf.

Lime green - Sunshine on leaves
Lime green – Sunshine on leaves

Woodlands in their Summer glory are filled with many shades of green. Sunshine adds yet more variety as it filters through the trees and highlights some of the leaves.

You can see what others have found on the theme of Lime or Bright Green on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week.

J Peggy Taylor

Advertisements

Waiting for the raspberries to ripen

New season's raspberries growing
New season’s raspberries – green but growing

Wild fruit foraging is one of my favourite Summer tasks and in our area there’s a forager’s feast with lots of delicious berries to find. The raspberries are usually the first to ripen and one or two berries are just beginning to show their rosy tones.

New season's raspberries
New season’s raspberries – just beginning to ripen
Last-of-the-blackberries tea scones
“Last-of-the-blackberries” tea scones

Whilst we’re awaiting the imminent raspberry-picking season, I’ve still been working my way through the last few of last year’s blackberries from my freezer. I concocted these rather delicious blackberry tea scones, tinged pink from their added wild fruit. I love cooking with wild food.

J Peggy Taylor

Large subjects - cumulus cloud

Large subjects for Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge

Cee said, “Have fun and use your imagination and creativity with this topic.” … and I took her words literally. As Cee also pointed out, what we see as large can be purely a matter of perspective. I certainly had a lot of fun trawling through my photo archives to choose my selection for this week’s Black and White Photo Challenge on the topic of Large Subjects.

Large subjects - trees
One of my favourite stands of pine trees in our woods

This stand of Scots Pine trees hugs a small escarpment above a stream in our woods and we often pass by them. At their feet, bluebells grow in Spring and then a bed of bracken takes over in the Summer months.

Large subjects - Winter Gardens
Treetop walkway at the Sunderland Winter Gardens

Whenever we visit the Sunderland Museum to see an exhibition, we never leave without taking a walk around the wonderful Winter Gardens that are there too. Here in the heart of Sunderland is a miniature tropical forest in this fascinating giant greenhouse, complete with a treetop walkway from which you can gaze down on the amazing tropical plants and mesmerising water features.

Large subjects - Koi Carp at the Sunderland Winter Gardens
Koi Carp at the Sunderland Winter Gardens

At ground level in the Winter Gardens is an artificial ‘stream’ that is home to many colourful Koi Carp. On this particular visit a few years ago, my son took a whole series of photographs of the fish – in all their colours, shapes and sizes, including this rather well-grown monster!

Large subjects - a toad in the hand
My son holding a very small toad in his hand

Staying on the theme of small boys and creatures, this young toad is being carefully persuaded to have its portrait taken. My son’s hand looks very large compared to the tiny toad. We have spent many happy hours down beside our local river, especially in Summer when the new ‘toadlets’ are just beginning to leave the water and venture into the unknown lands of the riverbank. Our boys loved to catch the little toads but were always very careful not to hurt them.

Large subjects - Theatre Royal, Newcastle
The Theatre Royal at the top of Grey Street in Newcastle upon Tyne

The Theatre Royal on Grey Street in Newcastle upon Tyne is a large and beautiful building. I thought of the theatre for the ‘large subjects’ theme because in its town centre location its large size makes it difficult to photograph all of it at one go. This does not prevent the Theatre Royal from being a very popular building for photographers. Whenever I have been photographing the theatre there have always been several others doing likewise, from quick phone snaps to serious tripod set-ups.

Large subjects - cloud
A large cumulus cloud over our valley

Here’s another of my favourite photography subjects, clouds. From just outside our house we often see wonderful cloudscapes. I captured this impressive cumulus cloud as it sailed away south-west, up the valley.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my selection of ‘large subjects’ and do take a look at what others have found for Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge this week.

J Peggy Taylor

European Parliament saves Freedom of Panorama

Nico Trinkhaus #saveFoP
Save the Freedom of Photography!

Do you remember this image?

Last week I posted about the European Parliament’s crazy idea that would have outlawed much of street, travel and architectural photography in Europe.

I can now happily report that there was an outbreak of common sense yesterday at the European Parliament.

“After handing over the half a million signatures on Wednesday, the parliament voted yesterday with a big majority against any restriction of the Freedom of Panorama!” Nico Trinkhaus on Change.org

Julia Reda, the MEP who was supporting our campaign to save Freedom of Panorama from Euro-meddling, was overwhelmed by the response to the petition. She said:

“the petition has changed the debate in the parliament considerably and a lot of the parliamentary groups that originally voted for a restriction of Freedom of Panorama are clearly changing their mind about this.” Julia Reda MEP

The change of heart in the European Parliament was so complete, the French MEP, Jean-Marie Cavada, who had introduced the proposed legislation amendment to end our Freedom of Panorama, even asked members to vote against his own amendment!

Commissioner Günther Oettinger of the European Commission said that they “don’t intend to restrict the Freedom of Panorama”. He said:

“what you can see with your eyes as a citizen, on public places and streets in Europe, you should be allowed to also photograph it with a camera.”
Günther Oettinger of the European Commission

So that’s a successful outcome? Almost. This outcome was certainly a win for people power, but we must not forget the whole reason Julia Reda initially brought up the issue of Freedom of Panorama for photographers in Europe. France, Italy and other European countries still do not currently enjoy Freedom of Panorama. It is hoped the European Commission will now take on board the strength of feeling on this issue and look at bringing Freedom of Panorama to all European countries.

Thank you to everyone who supported our Freedom of Panorama! 😀

J Peggy Taylor

Carvings, Statues and Sculptures - mouth of Tyne and Black Middens

Sculptures, statues and carvings for Cee’s Black and White Challenge

A monument to one of Britain’s most famous seafarers stands looking out over the mouth of the River Tyne at Tynemouth on the North East coast. From his elevated position on a substantial sandstone plinth, stands the statue of Admiral Lord Collingwood.

Carvings, Statues and Sculptures - Admiral Lord Collingwood
Statue of Admiral Lord Collingwood at Tynemouth

The plaque on the plinth recalls Collingwood’s role in the Battle of Trafalgar.

Carvings, Statues and Sculptures - Collingwood monument plaque
Collingwood monument plaque

This monument was erected in 1845 by Public Subscription to the memory of ADMIRAL LORD COLLINGWOOD, who in the Royal Sovereign on the 21st October 1805, led the British Fleet into action at Trafalgar and sustained the Sea fight for upwards of an hour before the other ships were within gun shot, which caused Nelson to exclaim, “See how that noble fellow Collingwood takes his ship into action.”

We can also read that Collingwood was born at Newcastle upon Tyne in 1748 and died in the Service of his country on board of the Ville De Paris on 7th March 1810 and was burried in St Paul’s Cathedral (London).

Finally, we learn that the four guns on the monument belonged to his ship the Royal Sovereign.

Carvings, Statues and Sculptures - Thomas Bewick
Thomas Bewick’s sculpture marks the site of Bewick’s engraving workshop

Here we have another of North East England’s famous sons. This wall-mounted sculpture of Thomas Bewick marks the location of his engraving workshop near St Nicholas’ Cathedral in Newcastle upon Tyne. Thomas Bewick (1753-1828) is renowned for his wood engravings, many of which were published as book illustrations. Bewick was a keen naturalist and observed nature closely. Some of his finest wood engravings form the illustrations of his two-volume “A History of British Birds” – Volume 1, Land Birds, was published in 1797 and Volume 2, Water Birds, soon followed in 1804. You can see a few classic examples of Bewick’s work here on the Bewick Society’s website.

Carvings, Statues and Sculptures - Bird of Prey
Bird of Prey wood carving in our woods

After looking at the acclaimed wood engravings of Thomas Bewick, I thought we’d take a look at another wood carving of a bird but this carving is of rather a different sort. This majestic bird of prey sculpture stands perched on its pole at one of the viewing points in our local woodland.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my sculptures, statues and carvings. Please do take a look at what others have found for Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge this week.

J Peggy Taylor

Medieval doors for the WordPress Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge

Doors -  St Nicholas' Cathedral, Newcastle
St Nicholas’ Cathedral, Newcastle
 Castle Keep, Newcastle - external view of original entrance
Castle Keep, Newcastle – external view of original entrance

Sometimes, a door can let you enter the past. As you cross its threshold you can imagine all of the historical figures who have made that same step. The doors I have chosen for the WordPress Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge belong to two of Newcastle upon Tyne’s medieval buildings. Ever since the 14th century, people have been entering and leaving through these doorways – from medieval kings to modern day visitors.

J Peggy Taylor

“On 9 July 2015, the European Parliament might destroy photography.”

Nico  Trinkhaus #saveFoP
Save the Freedom of Photography!

Have you heard about this attack on photography?

The Freedom of taking photos in public places is under attack. Until now, in most countries in Europe you were safe to take and publish photographs that are taken from public ground – This is called Freedom of Panorama. When you were on vacation, you could take a photo from the London Eye and share it with your friends on Facebook*. If someone wanted to pay you for using this photo, that was okay as well. But this is about to change and may destroy photography as we know it.

Save the Freedom of Photography – Change.org Petition to European Parliament

When news of this Change.org petition dropped into my inbox, my first thought was, “It’s not April 1st is it?” It really did sound quite mad. However, when I read on, it seems that bureaucratic trouble-making was seriously at work here.

Julia Reda, a Member of the European Parliament from Germany, had highlighted that whilst in most European countries the Freedom of Panorama for photography is enshrined in law, in some other European countries, such as France and Italy, there is no Freedom of Panorama law. Through her position as a Member of the European Parliament, Julia Reda was seeking to address this situation. Freedom of Panorama allows anyone to take, publish and sell photographs of public buildings or structures provided they are taken from areas that are open to the public.

However, the current draft amendment for a new European Union law on this issue has turned Julia Reda’s plan on its head. Instead of providing for Freedom of Panorama for photography in a few more countries, the draft law seeks to take this freedom away from everyone! As Nico Trinkhaus has said in the text of his Change.org petition, if we allow this law to be passed, street, travel and architecture photography would effectively be killed stone dead. *Julia Reda has pointed out, you could not even privately upload your photos to Facebook without seeking the consent of the relevant architect, as uploading grants Facebook a license to use the photograph commercially.

When I read this last part, I was just wondering how the European Parliament proposes that people might make contact with architects who are no longer with us … when my son sent me a link to Wikipedia –

“Absence of full Freedom of Panorama means we can’t illustrate Wikipedia properly.”

Freedom of Panorama in Europe in 2015 – Wikipedia

W-h-A-A-A-t! Imagine life without Wikipedia … no, I can’t either.

I hope you will agree with 190,000 of us that this European Parliamentary madness must be challenged. Please take a look at the petition that Nico Trinkhaus has put on Change.org. If you are in the EU, you can also help by writing to your MEPs. Here in North East England, our Labour MEPs have said on their website:

“This amendment is a bad proposal and as MEPs we’re working to make sure it’s rejected:”

Labour MEPs for the North East – Freedom for Commercial Photographers

#saveFoP

Thank you.

J Peggy Taylor