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September 2011 Photographers Resource - Monthly Edition 93

Heritage Open Days

Wollaton Hall, Nottingham
an Elizabethan mansion set within a spectacular Deer Park and gardens, also on the same site in the stable block is an industrial museum which incorporates a Steam Beam Engine, textile machinery and transport and more.

Image taken with Nikon D300, with 18-200mmVR lens @ 31mm, ISO 400, 1/125th, F22, EV -1.3

In This Issue:-
  • Editorial

  • Feature - Heritage Open Days

  • Photographers Diary

  • September Wildlife Diary

Welcome to Septembers issue of the newsletter. This month we are taking a look at Heritage Open Days and how to go about photographing illuminated carnivals.

The United Kingdom is full of heritage from buildings, monuments, historical remains like Roman sites and religious buildings through to buildings captured in time at Living History Museums or still functioning such as lighthouses, windmills, water mills and factories. During September the countries which make up the UK take part in Heritage Open Days and some of these magnificent buildings are open to the public for free, and some of these are buildings that are not normally open to the public. Take a look at our feature below and see if you can find something near you, that you haven't visited before.

Carnivals in small villages and towns have been taking place throughout the summer, but September sees the start of the illuminated carnival. The Somerset Carnivals are probably the best known of these as they start at the end of September and culminate with probably the largest illuminated carnival of them all, on November 5th with the Bridgwater Carnival. Take at look out our article Photographing Street scenes at night  for some tips on how best to set up your camera for this type of photography.

Probably the largest illuminated annual event in England though is the Blackpool Illuminations in Lancashire, which runs every evening throughout September and October and many thousands of visitors descend on Blackpool each year to take in this spectacle. Six miles of the seafront will be festooned in lights those which go across the road, at the North End near Bispham there will be the placards as well as the trams, 3 piers and Blackpool Tower will be alight. So there is plenty of photographic opportunities for night time photography. I have been a number of times and each time it is magical. Photographing at night of course does throw up some photographic challenges. As part of

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the lighting up period some of the trams will also be covered in lights and some, which only come out at this time of year like the boat below will be on display and available for you to take a ride on, and these like the floats at the carnivals are moving and this in itself also gives some challenges. For hints on how to go about this take a look at Photographing carnivals with lights as this is a similar situation.


Blackpool Illuminations

Some other items recently in the news may also be of interest. The first is to do with the history of photography. The other is the demolition of a small lighthouse in Scotland.

 I know as photographers that generally we prefer to take our own photos and work out what to do with them and how to use them. However as you know our other passion is heritage and where we can we try to combine the two. Photography and history has two aspects now, you have the History of Photography, but also you have the history that photography can show you through images and technology and now we have over 100 years of photographic heritage at our disposal. Our Photography Timeline goes back to 600BC, with an early form of Pinhole Photography, but as techniques and practices became more widespread from the mid 1800's and became a consumer product from the mid 1900's, we now have a lot of equipment and photographic history to explore. Within our Photo Archive we have images from the past in photographs, paintings, engravings and more.

We also like taking a look at photos from the past, both from the technical viewpoint of how they were taken and created, but also to try and find the locations where they were taken and see if we can produce 'Then and Now' images, its not always possible as over time locations have changed, but it is fun trying. Our Photochromes Archive contains many Photochrome images from around 1905 of different places around England, Wales and Scotland. Photochromes are photographs that were taken and then hand coloured to give an early colour photograph, and they depict both places, people and activities that took place during this part of the century.

Recently it has been announced that the V&A Museum in London is to open a permanent photographic gallery on the 25th October this year. The V&A was founded in 1852 and was the first museum to both collect and exhibit photographs. In their existing photo galleries they already have a rotating display of some of the photos they hold, and will continue to use this space for temporary displays of contemporary works.  But the new space is to be permanent and used to chronicle the history of photography from its said invention in 1839 up to the 1960's. There will also be two 'in Focus' sections which will feature a photographer from their collection. So if you're into historic photography and happen to be in London then it might be worth taking in and having a look.

Lighthouse under Forth Bridge

We have a very large number of the more significant lighthouses listed within our Lighthouses section, but we do not list many of the smaller lighthouse pillars which can be found on inlets and at river junctions. Recently it has been announced that one such little red and white lighthouse, near Edinburgh, that stands on a rock close to Port Edgar guarding the entrance to Rosyth dockyard and the inner Forth is about to be dismantled and stored away until a new location can be found. It currently stands on Beamer Rock which is planned to be used as a foundation for of the three towers needed for the new replacement crossing (bridge) to be built to span the River Forth at this location.  So the little lighthouse is in the way and is scheduled to be moved later this year. If you want to visit the little lighthouse and take a picture of it in it's current location then you will need to get and capture it. For more information see this BBC News link.


Heritage Open Days

As you know as well as being avid photographers we are also very keen on heritage. Although heritage is a big part of the UK and a big tourist attraction for people visiting overseas, we have loads of it, September is a particularly good month as every year we celebrate our heritage by having Heritage Open Days. These are usually set days during the month where many of our heritage buildings open to the public for free. This includes not only those that are owned and managed by the National Trust, English Heritage, private trusts, businesses and families who open regularly anyway to the public, but also many private individuals who live in these impressive architectural structures, and for one weekend a year decide to let members of the public inside to see what they are looking after.

These days are part of a wider European Heritage Days initiative put together by the Council of Europe and the European Commission and involves 50 European states. Since 1991 it has become an annual event offering opportunities to visit buildings, monuments and sites, many of which are not normally accessible to the public, and its purpose is to promote a wider access and care for our architectural and environmental heritage.

In the British Isles these special event days take place throughout September. In England it takes place over one weekend, this year being the 8th to 11th. Northern Ireland in 2011 have their days on the 10th and 11th. Wales and Scotland run their events throughout the month of September and this year have over 300 sites across Wales are taking part, take a look at Open Doors 2011 for details on which properties, whilst for Scotland visit Doors Open Days to find a property to visit. London has it's own Open House Day weekend, which takes place on the 17th and 18th of this month.

Once you have identified somewhere to visit from the links above don't forget to check out our various heritage sections to find a detailed location guide on how to get there, what you are likely to see on your visit, contact details, map links and more. Check out the following section links:-

Historic Houses

Living History


Follies and Monuments




Roman Britain

Before a visit you might also like to take a read of Britain's Buildings just to get some background to the history of buildings in the UK.

If you manage to take any great photos on your visits that you could like to share with us and other readers of this newsletter, then please do save them as 640x480 jpg images and email them to us as an attachment. Remember to include how you want your by-line to read, preferably real names and not 'usernames'.  Why not consider using a Creative Commons licensing option, this costs you nothing and allows you to define who can use your picture and for what, while still retaining any commercial income if you wish.

The Photographers Diary

Once again there are many events taking place during September and some of the highlights that are of particular interest include:-

For the motorsport enthusiast you could visit the Goodwood Revival at Goodwood House in Sussex from the 16th to 18th. This is a historic race meeting that was first staged around the fifties and sixties specifically for cars and motorcycles that would have competed at Goodwood during 1948-1966. It is now an annual event and as well as the racing there is a Rivial Car show, a World War II aircraft display, bands and much more.

If you want something a little more typically English then on the 17th you could visit Egremont Crab Fair and World Gurning Championships in Cumbria. This event combines the ancient and traditional events with modern attractions. It starts early in the morning and on show will be a talent show; hound trails; crafts; Greasy Pole; cycle racing; apple cart; horn blowing and of course the Gurning.

The weekend of the 17th and 18th is also Open House London, where hundreds of buildings off all types and periods open their doors to the public, for free. This gives you the chance to not only see the historic and architecturally important buildings of our capital, but you also get a chance to see inside some of the buildings not normally open for public inspection. So if you're in London over this weekend you might want to take a look, for planning purposes take a look at their website to see what is open.

Keeping with a heritage theme and for those who like to fly or look at aeroplanes then the weekend of 17th and 18th in Gloucestershire there is the Battle of Britain Airshow taking place at the Cotswold Airport. Here small flying displays of vintage aeroplanes combine with static aircraft on the ground. Aircraft on display this year includes the Lancaster, Hurricane and Spitfire. From those who celebrate the air to those who like to celebrate the heritage of the land on the 18th in Lincolnshire they celebrate old farming traditions with the Festival of the Plough, where Horse ploughing with heavy horses demonstrates alongside vintage tractor ploughing, how the land was worked in times gone by. There are also static engines and vintage cars on display as well as a craft tent, poultry exhibition, terrier racing, dancing and entertainment.


Celebrating the old ways of ploughing

After air and land we then have sea, and being an island we are surrounded by it. There are various events taking place during the month with water as their theme including in Southampton from the 16th to 25th when they play host to the Southampton Boat Show. On display with be over 1,000 boats of all sizes but also on display will be other water activities. If you are planning to be at one of our many beaches on the weekend of 17th and 18th to either bask in the sun, watch wildlife or just to relax then you might like to take part in the Beach Watch Big Weekend helping to record what is going on.

All of the sea around us encroaches into land via our river networks and throughout the summer, with September being no different, there are many events and activities taking place upon them. Including Dragon Boat racing for charity, and of course David Walliams taking on a mammoth 140 mile swim from the source of the Thames at Lechlade to outside the Houses of Parliament in London to raise money for Sport Relief. Staying with the Thames in London on the 17th The Great River Race takes place from the Docklands to Ham House in Surrey. Over 200 rowing boats will be racing over 22 miles from the serious to those who take part in fancy dress and have a fun day.

For something a little more British if you are near Easdale Island near Oban in Scotland then you could pop along to the World Stone Skimming Championships on the 25th. Here competitors of any age get three chance to skim a special stone across the water, it must bounce at least 3 times to count as a valid skim and they are judged on the distance it travels.

Whatever you plan to get up to this month, September is the last of the summer months where there is loads of events taking place that you can get to and have a good day out as well as capturing some great images, so take a look out our diary and find something that is of interest to you.

Wildlife Photography In September

With the onset of autumn our countryside is starting to take on a new look. Trees are already starting to turn to their autumn glowing colours, the experts reckon it's because of the drier weather and earlier spring that has made the trees believe it is that time of year already to starting thinking about loosing their leaves for the

Horse Chestnuts and Conkers

winter. I can see from my office window that the tress ahead of me are already turning yellow and looking ready to fall, it will however be a few more weeks before they are fully golden. There is one advantage in it happening slightly earlier than we normally expect and that is that we should also have more sunnier days so if you get a chance to get out to water surrounded by woodland then you should get some pretty good reflections.

Horse chestnut trees are also dropping their seeds to the ground, and you have to watch out for the large green spiky cases as they drop to the ground and crack and reveal the shiny brown conkers inside. If you're taking a walk in the the vast amount of woodland around the UK then don't forget to take a look at the woodland floor as it is the start of the fungi season, with varieties such as stinkhorn and giant puff balls burst through and deposit their seeds.

The arable fields are now starting to attract the combine harvesters with farmers now starting to reap in their summer crops. Most combines we see today are very large and a lot are green and brown in colour so blend in with the surroundings a lot more, but one near us is still the bright red I remember from my childhood and if you're lucky enough to find one in a yellow field on a bright sunny day you will have a photographic treat.

Our hedgerows are also at their peak this time of year with their fruit ripening and waiting for the birds or us to take stock. I have already seen many people out picking blackberries and last week when visiting  the West Somerset Railway in Somerset I was surprised at how abundant the blackberries were on the hedges alongside the track as we travelled from Bishops Lydeard to Minehead, many

Combine Harvester

were not quite ready to be picked still being a little red rather than the luscious deep black we all desire, but there were vast quantities of them. Other berries to look out for included elderberries, shiny red rose hips and hawthorn haws. As well as providing those of us who like to make our own jams and jellies providing a perfect family activity, they are also a good food source for our bird populations and those that start to return this time of year, like the Fieldfare   and Redwings.



September is the month of migration amongst our winged visitors with those who have spent the summer with us, like Swallows and Swifts are starting to return to their wintering grounds in Africa, many of this years new offspring taking this long arduous journey for the first time. At the beginning of the month you should find large numbers in the countryside flying over fields and hedgerows picking off the insects to build up their fat reserve before their arduous journey.

Insects are also more noticeable and in abundance this time of year, with the evenings getting cooler and the nights drawing in they will be out in the warmer daytime as well as early evening. This is good news for our the birds but also for hedgehogs and bats as they provide a good food source. Craneflies are in their greatest numbers at this time of year, while on river banks and in wetland areas you may see dragonflies. Some of the butterfly species such as Red Admiral are also still on the wing. This year there also seems to have been large numbers of spiders about and with the cooler mornings their cobwebs may be more noticeable with the dew hanging on them. I know we've got lots in our garden as when I look outside my windows I can see large cobwebs joining up between the various plants we have, as well as walking into those I don't see as I walk around some parts.

For more images and details of what you wildlife to look out for in September take a look at Wildlife photography in September.

Summary of Articles Included In This Issue

Wildlife photography in September

Britain's Buildings

Creative Commons

Photographing carnivals with lights 

Photographing Street scenes at night 

An introduction to Photochromes

Lists Included This Issue

Photography Timeline

Locations Guides Included This Issue

West Somerset Railway, Minehead, Somerset

Blackpool Illuminations, Lancashire

Bridgwater Carnival, Somerset

Galleries Included This Issue

Photochromes Archive


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