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July 2011    Photographers Resource - Monthly    Edition 91

Britain's Buildings and
Brushing Up on Skills for the Summer

Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire  Blenheim Palace Gallery

Image taken with Nikon D100, with 24-85mm lens @ 24mm, ISO 640, 1/800th, F14; EV-1.3

In This Issue:-
  • Editorial

  • Feature - Britain's Buildings

  • Photographic Feature - Brushing Up Your Skills for the Summer

  • Photographers Diary

  • July Wildlife Diary

This month as well as giving you more to read, explore, and take photographs of we have also carried out a number of system changes which has meant the whole site has had to be re-loaded. For those of you new to our site we have also added a page entitled 'First Visit' which explains how to use the site and what some of the symbols mean. If you would like to help us then please send us an email giving details of your favourite places and any pictures you have.

The Photographers dairy has been updated and we have now added yet more activities you can enjoy for August, the summer period is busy with lots of different activities go on in just about every corner of the UK. In the wildlife world everything around us is blooming, the sunshine and heat encourages out some of the smallest of our wildlife and there are many opportunities to get some good wildlife and nature photographs over the coming month.

Our feature this month is Britain's Buildings and how the buildings we have around us tell us about our history, our communities and the way we live. Take a look below and check out the new pages added.

For our Photographic Feature we have decided to encourage you to brush up on your skills, by reading some of our more technical articles on photography so that when you are out and about during the summer months you get the best out of  your photography. Remember practice makes perfect and learning new skills or continuing to develop and perfect existing ones is an ongoing process. Make use of this site to both brush up on skills and to find suitable locations to go and photograph.

You will notice that the top line on the majority of pages has changed and we have added two new links. The first is to a more

Let's explain how this newsletter and resource works

Each month we have a newsletter or magazine and this comes out on or about the 1st of the month. The newsletter links to a number of new articles, tables of information and detailed location guides, amongst other things.

One of the most popular features is a monthly diary covering interesting and unusual things on, around the UK, in the two months ahead.

Everything that appears, or ever has, is indexed in a number of ways, alphabetically, by topic, by county, and often linked into sections. Many of the sections have their own front doorways so people with specific interests have direct access through these doors to their area of interest.

You can also get back to see every newsletter, from the beginning, via our recent editions link.

All of our links are coded showing you if it's an external link or one of our own pages and when it is, the type of page it is. You will find a key to the most popular ones at the bottom of the contents panel on the left and clicking on any of the symbols will bring up a full list. Holding your mouse over one of these symbols tells you what it means.

If this is your first visit, click here to find out how you might best use this site to help you find what you are looking for.

general magazine that we are in the process of developing. This website as you know is primarily aimed at photographers, and those who like to have days out around the UK and both visit and learn about our history. The new website Magazine4U is intended to be of a more general nature, if you take the link the current website will explain what we are trying to achieve and it would be really useful to hear from you what you think should be included.

We have also included a link to a New Portal system we are developing and would really like your help on identifying what you think should be included.

New Portal Section

We use a system we developed called scrapbook, and as its name suggests itís a collection of clippings from elsewhere, notes and pictures we may be able to use or will go towards articles. Also within our scrapbook we have a vast number of indexed web links over many pages, these are mostly to do with building the lists we create and expanding sections. On the front of this we have a small portal, this gives us one click access to the websites we are using all the time, not only for magazine editing, but for general life. This has become our Home page, we have all the browsers on our computers and pads. The scrapbook site is not tidy enough to be added to this system, and would also perhaps have some copyright problems if we did, but several people have said how useful it would be to have a 'one click' portal.

We have added now the first part of a new portal, and at the moment there are only a small number of buttons working across a small number of pages, but this gives you the chance to see the idea and try it out. We will be adding more buttons on the existing pages and adding more pages, it's not intended of course to replace search engines just to cope with the websites you go to again and again. If you find it helpful then set it as your browser home page or add it to the browsers shortcut list so that you can get to it easily.

You can get to the 'Portal' from the contents buttons on the left and from a button on the top of nearly every page.

The NEW Portal

We would also like to hear from you, what pages do you want 'one click' access to, and that we should add to the front page of the portal, and what other pages do you think should be added to the portal.

Through this system we have many thousands of web links, many in lists, and location guides. One of the problems this creates is that many website developers donít think about links to their website when they make changes. Although forward links are easy to implement, often its the councils and large organisations that are ones to fail at this most often, so over time more and more fail to work, we have a rolling programme of checking all links on this site and constantly updating sections to overcome this, however when you come across a link that is not working, we would be grateful if you could let us know, so we can correct it for the next issue rather then when the section gets its next update.

I hope you enjoy this months edition and it inspires you to get out and enjoy the summer weather.

 


Feature

Britain's Buildings

Take a look at Britain's Buildings and you can get a good insight into the history of our country. From the early beginnings of living in communities using roundhouses right through to the modern day with high use of glass and materials that make buildings quick to assemble, if not always cheap, or the new buzz word today sustainability, Britain's history is on show for all to see through it's buildings.

In the Time Line of Britain's Buildings we have tried to encapsulate the major developments of buildings throughout our history and give you some examples of buildings that you could visit to see some of the wealth of features, creativity, functionality and sustainability. Going anywhere in the UK you will see history through buildings from the countryside to the towns and cities. Of course some of the very early buildings no longer exist such as roundhouses, but there are a number of sites where you can see reconstructions of what they may have been like, including at St Faganís National History Museum,   a living history museum near Cardiff in South Wales (it is FREE to visit) and at Llynnon Mill   on Anglesey. Our earliest community structures, can be seen in the ruins of prehistoric structures and settlements such as those in Wiltshire at Stonehenge and Avebury.

A Roundhouse at Llynnon Mill   Stephen Roddick

For the next period there is a wealth of examples on display through the UK, with the majority of our tourist attractions such as Historic Houses, Abbeys, Castles, and Gardens showing off the period they were built in, and developments that have taken place since. Of course many of the buildings have developed over time, so in some instances very little of early development will be evident, but for those that have been preserved it is a step back in time when you walk inside.

Another good place to see buildings from differing periods, but also encapsulating the community that they represent, rather than that of the gentry, are Living History Museums. There are a number of them spread throughout the UK and in many cases the buildings have been rescued from demolition and rebuilt on the site they now sit. As well as being able to see the outside of the buildings and what they looked like, and were built of, internally they are decorated and recreated back to the time when they were around. So you get to see that very few domestic houses had today's taken for granted mod cons such as running water, toilets and bathrooms or even a bedroom each. And from peering into the past you can get a good idea of what it might have felt like living in such a small space with larger numbers of people.

Once we get to the Georgian, Victorian and more up to date periods in history then much can be seen in our communities around us. A good example of Georgian buildings can be seen in Bath, in Somerset from it's terraces and large opulent facades, while Victorian terraced houses in streets can be seen in cities such as Liverpool and London. And bringing us right up to date, London is a good spot for modern day architecture with buildings like the O2 Arena and The Gherkin.

Sustainability is today's new buzzword and many ideas, concepts and inventions from the past is now being used in buildings we build today, such as wooden frame structures, natural products such as hay to insulate walls (wattle and daub), through to glass for light and heat, and also turf can be found on roofs. All these products made up some of our earliest buildings went out of fashion and now many hundreds of years later are coming back again. Perhaps those in the past were more advanced than we sometimes give them credit for! What do you think !

I hope this inspires you to get out and about through the summer, and in combination with the many sections and locations guides we have on this site and a read of Britain's Buildings you should be able to find something to suit your interest and hopefully take some photos in the process.

 The Gherkin, London

  Barney Jenkins

 


Photographic Feature

Brushing Up Your Skills for the Summer

Now the summer is here and the school holidays about to start at the end of this month, the cameras will be out in force. Whether your out and about with family at UK attractions, having friends and family over, or taking a quiet stroll in the countryside, there is always something to photograph and as you will have seen, over the vast number of issues we have produced, what you can photograph is a never ending list. So this time of year with the longer daylight hours and the good weather it is the perfect opportunity to get out and try out some new skills or practice some more on those that you already have.

Brushing up your skills to get the most of your photographic time is always a good idea, as photography is like any other skill you acquire, the more you are able to practice or carry out a task, the better you get. There is no magic formula for being a good photographer, in fact there is very little in photography, with today's digital technology, that will make you a poorer photographer than anyone else. Practice makes perfect and that's it.

We have a vast amount of photography information within this resource, hence our title 'Photographers Resource' and a lot of it is written so that you can take on a skill, read up on it, use our guides to help you, follow a project to experiment with it and to this end using our resources you are able to teach yourself photography. Because we add articles on a monthly basis on different topics it is possible to put together a list of the skills you would like to learn, and follow them one at a time, then experiment and carry out in a real situation. To make it a little easier for you, for some topics we introduced article routes where, within a particular topic, we have linked a number of articles together in a sequence we feel is best to follow to get the most out of that topic. A good example of an article route is on Exposure.

Take a look at our Training section and you will find a whole host of articles on techniques you can read up on. Beyond what is listed under the heading 'learning structure', which deals with the technical skills such as depth of field, white balance, composition etc. We also have many other 'How To' type articles for specific applications such as macro photography, or  photographing sunsets. And it doesn't end there we also have a large number of articles covering particular topics such as photographing landscapes, wildlife photography or specialist areas like 3D Photography.

Teaching yourself has advantages in that you can do it at your own pace, you can take a topic at a time, segment it and try out experiments or design Projects to test out what you have learnt and to put some of your photographs to good use. As a part of project you could also include not only taking the photos but think about how you are going to use them afterwards, whether it be printing them for family or friends, adding them to a website or your Facebook page, or putting them onto a photo website like Flickr, or putting together your own photography coffee table book.

To find something to photograph isn't usually a problem there is much out there, through many sections of this website you will find location guides, covering the common tourist attractions and some items that are not generally featured, for example the listings of fords. It also does not always cost a lot of money, there are many places that are FREE to enter, as well as many attractions and other places that are open throughout the year.   There are also ways of cutting the cost of getting your photographs, including using vouchers schemes like the Tesco clubcard deals   to cover entry fees and being able to travel at reduced rates as covered in ways to cut the cost of rail travel.

So why not take time through the summer months and make use of the sunny weather and longer days to learn a new skill and go out and experiment and take a fantastic photo you will be proud of.


The Photographers Diary

The New August diary is now in the 'next month' slot with July moved to in the 'this month'. Both months have a lot of opportunities for everyone.  July being the start of the main holiday season has a vast amount of events and activities taking place. Our diary is just a highlight of the sorts of things you could get involved in or go along to photography. Here are some highlights that maybe of particular interest:-

There is plenty going on, in the air, on water and on the ground, from festivals to carnivals to military and vehicle events. The largest annual military air show in the world takes place on the 16th and 17th at Fairford in Gloucestershire, The Royal International Air Tattoo, with both static displays on the ground and many flying displays showcasing the latest military air power. But there are many other air shows this month, many with older flying machines on display including on the 2nd at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, Wales National Airshow in Swansea on the 9th, along with the Yeovilton Air Day in Somerset and the Duxford Flying Legends Show in Cambridgeshire, while on the 20th RNAS Culdrose in Cornwall has their Air Day, so wherever you are in the UK there is an airshow nearby.

 

International Air Tattoo 2010 - Fairford, Gloucestershire
 
by Jennicatpink

 
Another summer activity which takes place all over the country is the County/Country Show, where animals and humans display side by side, showing off their skills and displaying their latest creations. Some of these include The Cotswold Show at Cirencester Park in Gloucestershire on the 2nd and 3rd, Rempstone Steam and Country Show in Leicestershire on the 9th combines nostalgia as well. The Great Yorkshire Show in Harrogate is over 3 days and starts on the 12th, while the Kent County Show near Maidstone is from the 15th to 17th, the Royal Welsh Show begins on the 18th, and the New Forest and Hampshire show is at the end of the month from the 26th. There are many more.

Staying with the country theme, there are also the Welsh National Sheepdog Championships on the 28th, where dog and

 Great Yorkshire Show
 
by Chris Ibbotson

man show off their partnerships and skills, and there are at least a couple of Game Shows, including the largest in the UK, the CLA Game Fair held at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire, covering country sports, horses, dogs, conservation, wildlife and more.

Some of the more unusual events taking place during this month include, the Banbury Hobby Horse Festival on the 1st in Oxfordshire, the World Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling event in Wales on the 9th, where competitors cycle along the bottom of a 6ft deep peat bog wearing a mask and snorkel and try to get across in the quickest

World Tin Bath Championships
 
by Steve Babb

time. Also on the 9th there is the World Pea Shooting Championships in Witcham, Cambridgeshire and on the 10th is the British Pedal Car GP at New Milton in Hampshire. Of course if you want a good afternoon out and have an activity at a much slower pace and you happen to be near Kings Lynn in Norfolk, then you could pop along to the World Snail Racing Championships. For those who like to take a bath, then you could see how they use their baths on the Isle of Man by going along to the World Tin Bath Championships at Castletown Middle Harbour on the 23rd, where many a competitor will probably end up wet! In South Staffordshire a prickly event only for the toughest to endure takes place, with the Tough Guy and Nettle Warrior event, while only those with no fear at all will be taking part in the Ilfracombe BirdMan and throwing themselves off the Pier in Ilfracombe Devon, both these events taking place on the 31st.

For those into speed there are events on land and on water. The fastest of these events on land and on four wheels is the British Formula One Grand Prix at Silverstone in Northamptonshire on the 8th. On the same weekend is the fastest carriage event, with the National Horse Driving Trials at Catton Hall in Derbyshire. Whilst some speed events on water include The Zapcat Racing Grand Prix at Leith Docks in Edinburgh on the 2nd, and those taking part in the powerboat and jet ski events as part of the Eastbourne Extreme in Sussex on the 16th and 17th are just some examples.

 

ZapCat Racing
by Gary Tanner

Staying with the water theme on the 2nd is the Dover Regatta in Dover Harbour, with as well as speed there will also be Dragon Boat Racing and RNLI sea rescues. In York they celebrate the Festival of Rivers, with all sorts of
water activities taking place on the 9th, for a little bit of water heritage then the Thames Traditional Boat Rally on the 16th and 17th may interest you, with boat building skills on display, over 200 craft on the water, and an illuminated parade on the Saturday evening.

At a much slower pace and including some water wildlife, with a little bit of history, July is Swan Upping time when the annual count of Mute Swans on a section of the River Thames take place, this starts on the 18th at Sunbury Lock. At the end of the month the 30th sees the start of National Marine Week where we are encouraged to explore our seashore, discover dunes and take part in activities around the UK coastline.

Swan Upping
by David Quick

For those of you who like a bit of British Heritage there are many steam rally's and vintage vehicle weekends taking place including on the 9th and 10th, the Stourport Vintage Steam Rally in Worcestershire and the Vintage Vehicles Weekend held by the North Yorkshire Moors Railway at Pickering in Yorkshire. Or on the 22nd to 24th there is the Silverstone Classic, in Northamptonshire, where over 4,000 classic and historic cars will be on display, some of them racing!

For re-enactments and our heritage brought you life then the biggest heritage event of the year takes place on the 16th and 17th at Kelmarsh Hall in Nottinghamshire, the Festival of History organised by English Heritage. If you'd like something a little smaller then take a look at the Tewkesbury Medieval Festival in Gloucestershire on the weekend of 9th and 10th, or The War and Peace Show in Kent on the 20th.

 

A Parade at the Festival of History, Kelmarsh Hall

There is so much going on I can't list it all here, take a look at the diary page and you will definitely find something of interest to you and plenty to photograph.

 


Wildlife Photography In July

The birds are largely quiet now, but chicks are still growing, especially those of sea birds, such as Gannets, Herring Gulls, Kittiwakes, Storm Petrel, Shag, etc on cliff nesting sites. Whilst on some of our more remote islands there will still be some burrow species such as Puffins still flying out to see and coming back with beaks full of sand eels for their chicks. Some good places to see puffins are included in List of places in the UK where you can see Puffins.

In land any bird song you hear are likely to be the cooing of the collared dove and the wood pigeon or the melodious songs of song thrushes, blackbirds and blackcaps. In the countryside or along roadsides you may come across flocks of goldfinches perched on top of thistle stems and their favourite, Teasel, as they twitter and rattle loudly to one another whilst using their specially adapted beaks to claim the seeds from within. In woodlands some of the summer warblers are still singing, but you are more likely to hear the clicks and wheezes of robins in the undergrowth as they scurry around for food. On open farmland you may hear the buntings, or in open countryside or on heathlands you may hear the stonechat and the yellowhammers. It doesn't seem that long ago that birds were arriving here, but this month will see the first of the summer migrants leaving our shores and make their way back down to Africa, the first to leave are the cuckoos, the adults leave in July to be followed by their offspring later. 

With July generally being a warmer month and the air is scented with cut grass it is also hive of activity with all manor of insects scurrying and flying about. With the advent of these swarms of summer insects house sparrows and starlings join the house martins and swallows in pursuit of aerial prey. Other insects you may come across include some butterfly species like the Marbled whites, Chalkhill and Common Blue in flight.  Down by our feet crickets and grasshoppers are most noticeable and easy to find in July and August, having reached adulthood they want to now be heard. We have 20 varieties in the UK, so there are plenty for you to look out for. The larger broad-bodied chaser dragonflies can be easily spotted as they aggressively tussle with competitors over a patch of river, pond or wet ditch.  They clash in mid air and with surprising loud impacts.  Damselflies will be a common site where there is any standing water.

Grasshopper amongst the Grass

The hedgerows are full with nettles, the tall upright hedge parsley, burdock, cleavers, creeping thistle, meadow crane's-bill, and grasses are setting seed.  You will also notice traveller's joy, where it takes hold it seems to smother the plants below.  It is also known as old man's beard, from its woolly seed head, later in the year.  Greater bindweed also climbs though the hedge,  its big white trumpet flowers open during the day then twist closed as night falls.  Where the verges have escaped being cut false-oat grass and cocksfoot are the most dominant grasses on display. Beyond the hedgerow into the field along the edges of arable fields there may be stunning displays of red poppies, although from a newspaper report I saw in the last few days, in a few fields in Oxfordshire the poppies are carpeting the whole of a field, but are white and not red, looking a bit like the local area has had a snow storm.

A Carpet of Red Poppies in Worcestershire

by Tony Hisgett

In our parks and gardens the buddleia comes into flower and as it does so it attracts many insects such as bumble bees, and cabbage white, small tortoiseshell, red admiral and peacock butterflies.  Large collections of slugs and snails will also be munching their way through plants, and although not liked by gardeners, they are a good food supply for Hedgehogs that can be found snuffling around in many gardens now.

The chalk and limestone grasslands are usually rich with flowers during July and some plants that you might see include, clustered bellflower, harebell, betony, thyme, marjoram, basil, black knapweed and greater knapweed.

Our river banks and canals are also colour sweet scented places during this month with displays from the creamy white meadowsweet flowers and other waterside species such as yellow flag iris, figwort, hemp-agrimony, reedmace and the tall spikes of purple loosestrife and hoary willow herb. You may also still see young water birds such as mallards, coots and moorhens still trying to get a feed from their parents rather than feeding themselves.

With the summer and school holidays upon us a visit to the seaside may also provide a great opportunity to search rock pools for the smaller sea creatures that like the water off Britain, or take a look at the beach strand line and you may come across the odd Jellyfish washed up on shore.

Swan Upping

July is also in Britain a time for tradition and heritage, with many activities taking place on the water from ducks and other water birds showing their young how to fend for themselves and stay safe, to the homosapien taking to water in all guises to cool off, whether it be on a watercraft or not. A group of homosapiens in the UK do take to boats to carry out a traditional task on behalf of our Queen each year with the annual Swan Upping event. The Mute Swan is the only wild swan which stays in the UK all year round and a group of them on the River Thames are protected by law on behalf of the Queen. Each year in the 3rd week of July, this years event starts on the 18th, when a group of boats headed by the Queen's Swan Marker will travel 70 miles down the River Thames from Sunbury Lock in Surrey to Abingdon Bridge in Oxfordshire and do a census of the population of mute swans and their new off spring.
This is a traditional ceremony that dates from the 12th century and came about when the Crown claimed ownership of all Mute Swans, because back then swans were regarded as a delicious dish at banquets and feasts, of course today they are no longer eaten. The Crown stills retains this ownership right, but only on unmarked swans in open water, but the Queen only exercises this right on certain stretches of the River Thames and its surrounding tributaries. Its purpose is to weigh, measure and ring any new cygnets, and carry out a health check and county of the current Mute Swan Population. It takes place over 5 days and at the end a report is produced with the data collected and it is used to determine what sorts of conservation methods and other protections may be required. To read more on the traditional event take a look at Swan Upping for more details.

To find out more about what you can see in the wildlife and plant world this month take a look at Wildlife Photography in July  for more.                         

 

 

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