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August 2009     Photographers Resource - Monthly     Edition 68

Britain's Top Heritage Sites !!!

plus Picture Composition

Westminster Palace aka the UK Houses of Parliament

In this Issue:-
  • Editorial
  • Project
  • Feature - World Heritage sites in the UK
  • Photographic Feature - Composing Photographs including projects
  • Photographers diary
  • August Wildlife Photography

We are now in the middle of the time when most of us take the majority of our photographs, long warmer days, although there have been a few showery days recently, we have got out and captured a number of extra sites and places for location guides to come out over the next few months and have a long list of others still to take.

It's a good time to just stop briefly and list the priority places you want to capture this summer, we have a list we created some time ago that started off as the 100 most 'must photograph' items in the UK, although over time it has grown and now has over 200 listed. It is likely your list would be different to ours, some places are likely to be the same, while further down the list its likely there would be far more variation. Its not surprising therefore that when we compared the UNESCO World Heritage Sites put forward by the UK Government with our idea of what is Britain's major heritage sites there was some discrepancy, although we were surprised by the amount. We felt some were missed and others included we did not have on our list. There were quite a few we had to find out about, as we had not come across them before, or where we had, we had not spotted their significance, and one that did not yet exist. So is 'World Heritage' status a factor to consider when deciding what you should include, in this months feature below, we look at what is included and the subject in some depth.


A project for you - imagine that someone was visiting you from another country and had a couple of weeks to discover Britain, what would you put on the list of places that you feel they must see. Have you seen these yourself..... Read more in Project - Must See Places.  

You will find more projects this month within the photographic feature.


World Heritage Sites in the UK

Have you seen places stating they have 'World Heritage Status', or media stories about places vying for inclusion. Often these are compared to the Pyramids and Stonehenge and major historical heritage sites. But have you thought of looking closer, at perhaps visiting those sites listed in the UK or even using it as a list of places you should see around the world.

In last months issue we mentioned that the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct   (Pontcysyllte Aqueduct Gallery ), we covered recently had just been made a World Heritage Site, BBC report. This is the UK's 28th World Heritage Site joining places like Stonehenge   and Blenheim Palace There are around 900 across the world.

The UK has 28 World Heritage sites, 3 of which are in far off lands owned by Britain and 25 within England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Many of these are not a single site but a collection of sites linked in some way. One example is the Stonehenge and Avebury  entry, this includes both Stonehenge and Avebury but also a large number of other places from around the same period near each, including at least one where there is nothing on the surface and its on land that there is no access to. A peculiarity is Hadrian's Wall, although unique in its design and construction, it forms part of a large listing of Roman Frontiers, including the Antonia Wall in the UK and large chunks of other Roman Frontiers around Europe and North Africa. Other countries have the same, for example Ghana has a single entry for all of its forts and castles, although nowhere are the places individually listed.


The United Nations agency that manages this list is made up of governments and each puts forward proposals.  In the UK we have put forward some that would be on yours and my list and others that you or I would never have heard of, and in one case is a project still to come about. Although there is no funding to the UK from the UN agency connected with this, we do support those that receive and perhaps those put forward for listing from the Lottery Heritage funds, so perhaps the need to use lottery funding towards preserving or changing something in an area, adding a road or moving one, or development of an area is a contributing factor.
At the moment, we are told a committee is deliberating the next places in the UK to put forward  so it will be interesting to see what they come up with next.

While we may at first have looked at World Heritage status as adding it to a must see list, closer inspection may not support this, take a look yourself and make up your own mind.

We have produced two lists:-

These lists are slightly different to our normal list format in that the first column usually links to our location guides, but in this

  Tower of London

case these are often collective titles so we have linked them to the external listing, and added an extra column to link to each of the location guides we have that make up this listing.

Some of the places featured in the first list you will see are clearly of major interest, and many of these we had location guides for, some others we have added with this issue. While several others form parts of projects we have in hand and we'll be adding location guides covering these over the months ahead, including Spa Towns, Industrial Heritage, Roman Frontiers like Hadrian's Wall and Maritime Heritage.

This month we have added 11 new location guides for places featured within the first of these lists, places that currently are included in World Heritage status.

Skara Brae 
Photo By W Knight

You will see some places in the listing marked with a symbol and not hyperlinked, this just indicates that it is a location guide that we have in development or partly done and not yet available.  We don't show all of these, as we have so many in development, and to advance index and then correct all the entries would be a large additional task. We sometimes use this symbol just to give you an idea of some of the additional location guides we are working on, as well as within our development system.

Exploring this in more detail, we have an article on the whole subject of World Heritage Sites covering how the system works, and its purpose, as well as looking a little more at what is included and relevant to us. If you want to delve deeper we also have World Heritage Sites - Further Information with links and more.

Photographic Feature

Composition of Photographs

Its often said that while you can teach the techniques that allow people to master the camera and get the results they require, its difficult to instil the artistic ability to make images special. Many look on it as a feature of luck, some are luckier than others, they are in the right place at the right time, the light was just right for them, and they by luck just happened to be in the most ideal position.

I was taught on a business course many years ago that LUCK is a made up word and stands for Labour Under Current Knowledge, and that we make our own luck. Those who work harder at a subject are luckier, those who research and have up to date information are luckier, and those that do both are the luckiest of all.

With photography this is definitely the case, if you don't go out with your camera you are never going to be in the right place at the right time, and you need complete control of the camera so that when the opportunity  comes up you are guaranteed to achieve technically competent photographs.

But how do we add the artistic skill, to see that standing in a slightly different place or framing the images differently would make a difference. We can solve this need by looking at exercises to develop the eye, so that like in other walks of life, walking, driving, eating, it becomes an automatic reaction.

In this feature we are turning our attention to developing 'the eye', and how you get to appreciate the possibilities. It is difficult to do when you are taking photographs as you are thinking about so many other items, all the technical stuff and the subject, plus may have others with you who are keen to move on. The solution is a number of techniques based on the way artists used to be taught, and in history people were encouraged to see the beauty in a scene.

You don't have to spend a lot to achieve this, and our exercises are based on what you can get cheaply or make up yourself.


Composing Photographs - Introduction

We have 4 articles and combined exercises, the first is an overview looking at composition generally, the second and third look at two specific techniques to appreciate the scene and develop the eye and the last puts all of this together. Besides this there are two sub pages that deal with extra information that you might find you need.

The Photographers Diary

We have a new page for September in our photographers diary section and expanded the August page. Next to the newsletter itself (this page), these are the most visited pages within our site. Often a persons first visit to our site will be when searching for an event and finding the search engine brings them to the Photographers Diary page. As many of the people you will know, will not have come across this site, why not email them a link, they don't have to be keen photographers, most people interested in going out, exploring Britain, knowing what events are on and more, find this site is of interest to them.

August is a busy month all over the UK, with many tourist attractions, coastal towns, villages, towns and cities having large numbers of events, hoping to make use of the good summer weather. And with a bank holiday in England and Wales at the end of the month, this is one of the busiest weekends of the year.

Some events coming up that you may find interesting include:-

Throughout the month Medieval Jousting tournaments take place daily at Littlecote House in Berkshire.

At the beginning of the month a weeklong sailing regatta takes place on the Isle of Wight with up to 40 races a day, there are also large visiting boats and much spectacle to see at Cowes Week.

This year the National Eisteddfod of Wales is taking place on the outskirts of Bala in North Wales, a festival of singing, music, dance and the Welsh Choir competition.

There are a number of Balloon Festivals taking place, including the spectacular Bristol Balloon Festival which takes place at Ashton Court over three days and if the weather is right there are balloon launches in the morning and evening as well as on the Saturday evening the customary Night Glow and Fireworks. Or The Big Balloon at Caerphilly in South Wales.

Edinburgh Military Tattoo from the 7th to 29th has a daily show outside the walls of Edinburgh Castle as well of course as the climax event at the end of the show.

For the more unusual event, Kettlewell in Yorkshire holds its annual Scarecrow Festival with over 100 life size scarecrows taking part. Or of course you could watch the antics of people throwing themselves off the end of a pier at the Worthing International Birdman. Bank Holiday Monday has a number of events including the World Bog Snorkelling Championships in Wales, or the messy World Gravy Wrestling Championships in Bacup, Lancashire or if you only want to get wet and not messy then you could visit the annual Football in The River event at Bourton on the Water in Gloucestershire, where two 6-a-side local teams play football in the River Windrush.

For an evening only event you could visit the Belvoir Firework Championships at Belvoir Castle near Grantham in Lincolnshire to watch and photograph 3 of the best teams from around the world put on 10 minute firework displays choreographed to music, each.

There is so much to do and see in August the best place is to check out This Month's diary page, there is bound to be something listed of interest to you. Don't forget with our new colour coding system it's now easier to find the type of event you are interested in.

Gavin Stewart

See Larger Image Kettlewell Scarecrow Festival

Wildlife Photography in August

We have a new article, Wildlife Photography in August.

There are many events taking place throughout the month based around wildlife including BirdFair, the largest annual show dedicated to Birds, Wildlife and Conservation which takes place on the 21st-23rd August. Of course if nothing else takes your fancy amongst the myriad of events taking place on Bank Holiday Monday (31st), then you could take your family for a visit to a Zoo and take part in National Zoo Awareness Day.


 Gatekeeper Butterfly


D300S – similar to the D300 with additional facilities. When Nikon has brought out before an upgraded 'S' version it has been principally a software upgrade, and shortly after the upgrade has been available, to the previous version to bring it largely to the same as the ‘S’ version. This is different as the 'S' model in this case has several functions and extra controls that cannot be achieved by a software upgrade, for example it has A built in microphone and speaker, 2 card slots adding an SD card as well as the existing compact flash with the ability to use two cards at the same time in different ways. It also has a movie mode.  The back appears to have two buttons near the focus selector (bottom right), while the card door release, that was in this position, has disappeared. There is also a speaker in this area. The microphone is a line of holes under the D300s logo. The multi selector, focus point selection control, design has also changed to be similar to the D3 and D700 with a central button. The button is used to start and stop the movie mode on the D300s.  Another new mode is Quick Shooting mode, which features reduced operating noise. The only other change I could see is that the active D–lighting control has one more level ‘Extra High’,  the D300 has 3 levels of low, medium and high as well as off. D-lighting allows you to bring out more detail from shadow areas. There may be other changes that are not apparent until we get to see an instruction manual.

D3000 is an entry level camera with very minimal controls, perhaps a D40 replacement that is 10.2mp. It has dust handling, but no liveview or  movie-mode. The controls and positions appear to be the same as the D40. 

New Lenses - They have also brought out a revised version of the 18-200VR lens to overcome the zoom creep experienced with the current design, and a new 70-200VR f2.8 lens.

Summary of Articles Included In This Issue

Project - Must See Places  

World Heritage Sites

World Heritage Sites - Further Information

Composing Photographs - Introduction

Developing the Eye - The Use of Mirrors

Framing Up the Image - The Use of Framing Tools

Calculating Cut-Outs (extra information)

Guidelines On Viewing Guide (extra information)

Expanding the Techniques - Combining mirrors and cut-outs

Wildlife Photography in August

Lists Added This Issue

World Heritage Sites in the UK

Proposed World Heritage Sites in the UK

Locations Guides Added This Issue

Durham Castle, Durham 

Durrington Walls, Wiltshire

Maes Howe  Stegness, Orkney

Saltaire, Bradford, Yorkshire

Skara Brae, Orkney

St Augustine's Abbey, Canterbury, Kent

St Margaret's Church, Westminster, London

St Martin's Church, Canterbury, Kent

Tower of London  Most Significant

Westminster Palace, London  

Woodhenge, Wiltshire

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