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June 2010    Photographers Resource - Monthly    Edition 78

Roman Frontiers and Hadrian's Wall

The Reconstructed Roman Gatehouse at Arbeia Roman Fort, South Sheilds

Arbeia Roman Fort

Image taken with Nikon D300, with Nikon 12-24mm lens at 19mm, ISO 400, 1/640th, F13, EV -0.3

In This Issue:-
  • Editorial

  • Feature - Roman Frontiers and Hadrian's Wall

  • Photographic Feature - Traffic Free Photography

  • Photographers Diary

  • June Wildlife

This month we have a feature edition looking at Roman Frontiers and Hadrian's Wall in particular.

First some news:-

National Trust are becoming
photographer friendly

No it's, June 1st not April 1st, and we have found over the last month some extremely photographer friendly activity at National Trust properties. At Calke Abbey in Derbyshire there was a sign that said simply, "you are welcome to take photographs here". No restrictions no problems and we both took loads on photographs through the house, as well as the grounds. A couple of weeks before we visited Petworth House in Sussex, and on entering there was a sign saying 'photography was not allowed', but then without me asking I was offered a sticker that said "National Trust - Permission to take photographs" and I was able to take photographs throughout that house as well. We plan to visit many more National Trust properties this year, so will be able to update you on what we discover. You may recall last year (July 2009 newsletter) we did some little experiments to see how photographer friendly the National Trust was,  and their spokesman said at the time that they were becoming more photographer friendly, but it was a large organisation and the message was still reaching the outposts. So put National Trust properties back on your visiting list and keep us informed of what you find.

English Heritage make a big mistake

The other heritage twin, English Heritage has updated its website, well most of us do, but they have made a really big mistake in that they have changed their entire page indexing system of all the properties they have open without putting in a catch and forward system. This means that every website that sends people to see an English Heritage page, or probably other items as well, be it Wikipedia, Google, or us, just gets a '404 error page' saying the page has moved and here's a search page you may be able to find the information from.  This is a common problem with council websites, where information changes so irrationally that we and others have stripped out their links. Its not clear if large organisations just live in their own bubble, or if they commission out tasks without fully understanding the effects. On the new pages this month we have gone and found the pages, where we could, within the English Heritage site, but also just stripped out any of the links we had planned to include. Across our website as a whole there will be thousands of English Heritage links that now produce no useful information.

I did email them as soon as the problem arose asking the web development team if they were addling a section to the website to catch the 404 errors and look up and forward to the new page, but they have not replied. This would be the solution to this problem, so for now we are aware the rest of their links are not working and will just wait and see what happens next.

If you are updating your own website please remember this, and don't make the same mistake, if you do then firstly people won't be able to find information from links and secondly your server will come under a lot of load and slow down as people have to search around to try and find the lost information. Most of course will just look elsewhere.

UPDATE: The English Heritage site now seems to be catching and forwarding most of the links.

Sycamore Gap  
as featured in Robin Hood film

Are you new to our magazine and resource?

Can I explain that this is a magazine or newsletter with a difference.  We differ from printed magazines in many ways and are, we believe, totally unique and will be until someone copies us.

The newsletter is a single page, this month this page, all back issues are also available to you. Each newsletter links to articles, many of which, like this month, link to very many more detailed location guides on individual places and to photo galleries on some. Unlike a printed magazine we have no limit on the number of pages we add, so many editions have as much content as a book, you just use what interests you.

The whole lot is indexed, so each month as we add more, we add it all into a number of large indexes, alphabetically, into a structured index by subject and a county index as well. We use the old ceremonial counties, as their boundaries stay constant, and have a map to get you to these. We have also added in a lot of reference and other information, lists of many things like, all stone circles, windmills in the UK, all fords, all ..... well you get the idea, lots of information.

This means we have built over the 78 editions to date a huge resource, initially intended for photographers but now also used by very many others and we get readers every month from just about every country around the world. Each month we will add more and more and it gets bigger and more complete.

For those with specific interests we also have a range of front doors, so you can find a front door for steam trains, for Romans, for .... well lots of different interests. We also have special portals on specific topics.

Within articles we can link to previous coverage, so our articles are like pieces of a jigsaw, filling in all the pieces, making things clearer. You know its a link to one of our articles as it has the symbol, similarly if its a link to one of our lists you see the symbol. Our route guides have a compass symbol like and the location guides have three symbols, with a more detailed feature guide having an eye symbol, and quick guides which are just basic information shown as an egg timer.   Galleries have a gallery button with the word gallery on, but can also be linked using the camera symbol, system pages like sections, indexes, topic pages etc being marked with . External links to other websites always open into a new window and are shown with a red chain link.   Where you can click on a photo to see a larger version we use See Larger Image. We also have symbols for different types of places, most make sense when you see them, and if you put your mouse over any symbol it displays its meaning, clicking on any symbol shows you a full list of them.

We also have a set of calendars that tell you what's on, with links to find out more. We don't keep out of date calendar pages the links all change too much.

So please come back each month to see what's new and use us as a resource in between. You can also become involved if you like, and feel free to use our pages within your website or link to us, the bottom of every page except the newsletter explains how to do this.


Roman Frontiers and Hadrian's Wall

Its 1600 years since the Romans control of Britain faded away, but we still have a lot of remains and will be still digging up more of those we know of for the next 100 years or more, as well as discovering more each year. You can even get involved in digging up some, if you wish, like at the large fort at Roman Vindolanda.  

One of the major remaining features is, the World Heritage site, Hadrian's Wall, running from coast to coast in the north of England. Its in wild country, but also highly accessible as a road runs very near or next to it much of the way. So you can walk along the wall on the Hadrian's Wall (National Trail) long distance path, or choose the easier option and drive, walking just a short distance at some points. Other options include cycling and there is a bus service designed to allow you to walk parts and ride parts. We will cover more about the walking option at a later date when we look at the walk and walking routes of the wall.  In this edition we are looking at the driving option, seeing the major features and the major attractions along the wall.

Last year we made two visits, each two days long and saw most of what can be seen. From this visit and the photos we took we have produced a write up on the wall, a list of featured places,   selecting the major points, plus those that are photogenic, plus adding a few places you can stop along the way. We have also produced a Hadrian's Wall Route Guide  showing the route along the way that allows you to see the most. Linked to these we have nearly 30 location guides, providing more information and photos, and with the main 7 attractions along the route we have also produced photo galleries with a few of the many hundreds of photos we took.

Along the wall you can see sections of wall, some stretching for miles, the remains of forts, milecastles and turrets, bits of bridges, the remains of a roman town, bathhouses and far more. You could quite easily enjoy a week covering this, and have the time then to look at every museum exhibit and possibly visit some places several times looking at a site, going to see a recreation then back to see the original again. In the guide to Hadrian's Wall  we have listed all the places you can see each type of reconstruction, such as full size pieces of wall, a gateway, accommodation for man and officers, temples and a bathhouse.

We have also worked out a couple more days of visits in the area that we want to do, filling in gaps and seeing first hand a small number of items we did not see ourselves. We did visit Steel Rigg on both of our visits and this together with Cawfields Roman Wall and Milecastle 42 offer the major scenic opportunities.

We have concentrated on the coast to coast section, there is an extension to this down the Cumbrian coast that involves forts, milecastles and turrets but no wall, we still have to explore and write this extension up.

This is not the only wall, there is a second further north, the Antonine Wall, and while there is not as much to see, you may find this interesting. They all form a part of the Roman Frontiers and other sections of this stretch across parts or Europe, and North Africa, together they are a World Heritage Site.

We like Creative Commons, the idea that we allow others to use our photos and we in turn can use other peoples, and make good use of photos others have taken to illustrate points we have not been to, where it rained when we were there or in some cases images from another time of year. We all take many more photos than we are going to use commercially in any way, so it would make more sense if more people were to share their images where they can. Projects like Geograph also have many useful photos and we have this time linked many of the Geograph squares to the items. Anyone can join and put in photos to the Geograph Project at no cost. This has become a major resource now. I think one of the benefits many get from joining in Geograph and other projects involving creative commons content, is that they then have a use for the photographs they take, which is an encouragement to get out and enjoy taking more.

We also link many of our location guides to aerial or satellite photos. In the location guides we have added this month we also have a number of aerial photos that we have had permission to use, these were taken from a gyrocopter, and allow you to get a really good idea of the layout of some of these large features, like forts and sections of wall.

The full list of pages added are at the end of this newsletter, all the other pages within the Roman Section are being updated to include links and more, and we should have these up by the middle of this month.

We have already visited and photographed a number of other Roman sites and attractions, and have a number of others on our must visit this year list. We hope to get these location guides written up and added later this year.

Photographic Feature

Traffic Free Photography

Have you wondered how some photographers get scenes of market towns with no traffic, London streets when no traffic or people are present, photos of empty motorways, or photos at attractions with no crowds.

At 6.10am Winchcombe High Street, Gloucestershire,
which is normally packed with people and through traffic

You might think that each has its own story, for example motorway closed for some reason leaves it with no traffic, or special permission to enter an attraction when its closed allows you to get photos with no people, or perhaps you think the photographer is a retired police officer who got his mates to close a road or hold up the traffic. In most cases none of this occurred, its just a matter of the photographer having the knowledge, skills and taking the actions required to produce the photo he or she required.

There are a range of approaches that can produce the results required:-

  • Planning to take photos at a specific time

    • early morning

    • weekends

    • others

  • Causing an obstruction

  • Arranging a community project

  • Use of filters

  • Multiple images

  • Editing

  • Combination of methods.

June and July are the best months for much of this photography. We cover all of this in more detail in the article Traffic Free Photography.

The Photographers Diary

The July diary is now up in the next month position. With the summer months now upon us and longer warmer days there are many activities taking place throughout the UK. We are not able to list all of them, but do make a concerted effort each month to identify both major events and those of particular photographic interest. There are also many similar events each month/week like country agricultural shows and it would be impossible to list them all. We also like to include as many of the FREE events or at least for spectators as this keeps the costs down.

June is no different there are lots of things taking place this year, so take a look at the diary page and see if there is something you could do. Some of highlights that are of particular interest are:-

This weekend we have a scarecrow festival at Barton Mills in Suffolk. This years theme is 'Scary' and you can view the 'scarycrows' throughout the village and also watch musical bands and dancing the local playing fields. At Russell Park in Bedford they are holding an International Kite festival with kites from competitors from all over the world, there are also demonstrations and an arena for the public to fly their own kites. Sunday 6th is the London to Brighton Classic Car run which is being started this year by Sir Stirling Moss and it is possible to catch it anywhere on it its route, but from midday they should start arriving in Brighton.

On the water the 11th of June sees a Canal Boat Gala Weekend at Stoke Bruerne in Northamptonshire where there will be many visiting historic boats on the canal, some selling canal crafts and cheese, plus boat trips and other entertainment. On the 19th there is the Round the Island yacht race a 50 mile race around the Isle of Wight. Or on the 20th you could go and watch the Dragon Boat Festival at Peterborough as they raise money for charity.

The longest day of the year is on the 21st and as well as the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, it is also the start day for the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament and the beginning of National Insect Week.

By the time you get to the end of the month there you could celebrate our history at Shugborough Hall, Staffordshire by visiting the Festival of Wings, wheels, Speed, Steam and Horsepower, with as well as around 1,000 classic vehicles taking part, there will be air displays, and up to 60 heavy horses on show.

If you want something a bit more light hearted and squirmy then you could go along to the World Worm Charming Championships in Cheshire on the 26th, or just light heated and wet then on the 27th why not visit Olney in Buckinghamshire and watch the Olney duck and Raft Race, you could even have a got a Water Zorbing!


Wildlife Photography In June


June is the start of summer and with the longest day at it's centre the UK is teaming with wildlife and in particular birds. Probably my favourite bird is very busy at this time of year feeding their young, Puffins.   Puffins can be seen in many island locations around the UK, but probably the most popular for both the Puffins and visitors is Skomer Island in South Wales and the Farne Islands in northern England. These two locations are easy to get to with daily boat trips leaving the mainland. See How To Photograph Puffins and Where to Photograph Puffins to help you identify where to go and what to look out for when photographing them.

Many birds this month will be out foraging either for their young or as in the case of our woodpeckers, Greater Spotted and Green, out with their young showing the ropes.


If you're lucky enough to live in the countryside near a woodland and have feeders in your garden it is possible you will have them visit you and with patients and a little understanding will be able to get great photos. We have two galleries of photos we have taken in the past the Great Spotted Woodpecker gallery and Green Woodpecker Gallery.

You may have already seen baby rabbits on the side of roads as you drive through the country lanes, and if you're lucky also foxes in the early evening running across the road a head of you.

Of course June always brings the warmer weather and with this more bugs, great for our bat populations and bird visitors such as swallows, but not so good for us as we get eaten in the early evening as we are trying to eat our BBQ's. In our gardens you many mini beasts will be visiting like butterflies, where the Red Admirals is a common visitor to gardens, bees eating the nectar from our delicious flowering plants, also look closer at ground level and you will probably see ants, and insects of all sorts.

Of course anywhere there is water, rivers, streams, canals or even ponds in our gardens, local parks, and other wetland areas you may also catch a glimpse of Dragonflies and Damselflies as they emerge to procreate for next season. There are also many plants in these locations like water lilies and the Yellow Iris which is seen on the edge of canals. For a more complete picture of what you might be able to catch this month take a look at our Wildlife Photography in June page from the Wildlife Diary.

Summary of Articles Included In This Issue

Roman Frontiers    

Hadrian's Wall  

Antonine Wall

Traffic Free Photography

Lists Added This Issue

Hadrian's Wall - Featured Places

Locations Guides Added This Issue

Hadrian's Wall Route Guide

Banks East TurretBanks, Cumbria

Benwell Roman Temple and Vallum Crossing, Newcastle Upon Tyne 

Birdoswald Roman Fort, Cumbria

Blackcarts Turret nr Tower Tye, Northumberland    

Brocolitia Roman Fort, Carrawbrough, Northumberland  

Brunton Turret and Wall, Northumberland   

Cawfields Roman Wall and Milecastle 42 nr Haltwhistle, Northumberland   

Chesters Roman Fort, nr Chollerford, Northumberland

Corbridge Roman Town, Northumberland

Coventina's Well, Carrawbrough, Northumberland   

Denton Hall Turret, Newcastle Upon Tyne      

Great North Museum, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland    

Housesteads Roman Fort, Northumberland

Leahill Turret and Piper Sike Turret nr Wall Bowers, Cumbria    

Milecastle 37 nr Housesteads, Northumberland   

Milecastle 49 Harrow's Scar, Cumbria

Pike Hill Signal Tower  Banks, Cumbria  

Poltross Burn - Milecastle 48Gilsland, Cumbria

Roman Army Museum, nr Greenhead, Northumberland  

Roman Vindolanda, Chesterholm, Northumberland

Segedunum Roman Fort,  Wallsend, Northumberland

Steel Rigg nr Twice Brewed, Northumberland  

Sycamore Gap and Castle Nick, Northumberland   

Temple of MithrasCarrawbrough, Northumberland   

Willowford Bridge, nr Gilsland, Cumbria

Winshields Wall, Northumberland   

Galleries Added This Issue

Arbeia Roman Fort

Birdoswald Roman Fort

Chesters Roman Fort

Housesteads Roman Fort

Segedunum  Roman Fort

Roman Vindolanda

Corbridge Roman Town


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