Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursday 21st October, A visit to "The Deep"

A really great place to visit on a winter day in Hull is "The Deep", one of the biggest and best aquariums in the country. Pat and I have season tickets, and since we like the place so much, they get plenty of use during the winter months. Here is a view of the car park and building front.
The parking charge is £3 for four hours, but on the ticket is a detachable voucher for "Two Squid" (£2) which can be redeemed in either of the Cafes or the shop, so parking is a reasonable £1 all things considered, we also get 10% discount on anything we buy on our Season Tickets.

Pat was itching to try out her FZ38 Bridge camera and she took this in the first tank you come to on the top floor near the exhibits entrance. No Flash is permitted anywhere in the Deep, which means it can be a challenge to photograph the fast moving fishes.
Here is another she took in the same tank, I was impressed with her results.
This is the upper corridor with the audio visual displays that takes you down to the Coral Pool extension to the huge main tank. This was taken with the Nikon with the F1.8 35mm prime lens.
Even in this very low lighting, Pats camera was doing well, as here the imitation fossils on the other side of the gallery. The lighting here is very low.
We were lucky to arrive at the coral pool just as a school had passed through, so had the place to ourselves! this is one of my shots
Here is another from the Nikon prime lens, this is in a small tank on the opposite side of the gallery from the main tank, and contains This gold Butterfly and clowns of course
And here is another shot of mine of the clowns, which are the very devil to photograph as they are so fast moving!
Here is Pat at one of the panoramic windows to the main tank, I had to drag her away!!
There are some abstract lighting effects in the bubble lift which rather caught my eye!
We had lunch in the upstairs cafe then took the lift down to the shop where there is a ceiling height tubular tank and Pat had a good time here, too!
The one and only freshwater tank is the final one at the entrance and exit doors and Pat captured this portrait of a "Pacu" it looks like a Piranha but in fact is vegetarian.
And finally I took this view back into the shop, you can see the tubular tank i mentioned earlier. No matter how often we go to "The Deep" there is always something new to see and enjoy, adn you can't get a better place for Photography on a cold winter day, though you have to be ready to find some of your images are blurred due to subject movement.
That's what makes it interesting, it is challenging, too!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wednesday 13th October, A trip to Tropical World, Roundhay park, Leeds

We were looking for somewhere we could go that would be out of the weather, yet interesting from a Photographic point of view. A search for Butterfly houses on Google yielded the Tropical House at Roundhay park Leeds, so we decided to investigate.
parking was free and we entered the left hand side part of the park through "Canal Gardens" which you see here

Behind the wall on the right there are formal gardens, very neatly trimmed and kept and at the rear is "Tropical World" (it must be of Tardis type construction as it is absolutely HUGE on the inside!)
The admission charge was a very reasonble £3.25 each (It must be subsidised!) and you are in a truly tropical environment of 30 plus Degrees Centigrade and 100% humidity!

When you enter the Butterfly House you need a lengthy pause to adjust to the heat, and allow your cameras to demist, it can take some time! The first thing you see is a case where the adults are emerging from pupa.
Then there are pathways through the "Jungle" to search for Butterflies (there are ponds with some fine carp in them too!)
Pat couldn't wait to get shooting, here is one of her nicer shots taken before the lens cleared properly (but it is rather a nice effect)

Once I could see through the viewfinder I was happily shooting away (and melting through the lace holes of my trainers!)
Using Flash was necessary to reduce the ghosting of the fluttering wings and this specimen looks likes two butterflies, but there was only one there! Pat wasn't using flash and she got several blurred photos, but this one appealed very much, the wing movement is very in keeping with the subject

Here for once is one of them at rest, (not seen very often)
There were many exotic blooms as you walked though this man made junction, it was on two levels and very extensive
There was a running river fed by a waterfall and Pat was attractive by this rather pensive bird
Here is the waterfall, you could walk into the back and lean against the rail to put your hand into the falling water
There was a "Nocturnal" house with very low lighting indeed, Pat's Bridge camera surprised me with the way it could cope, this shot was 1/15 second at F3 1250 ASA
And to get this shot at all was even more remarkable at 1/15 sec @ f3.5 1500 ASA
Not exactly good quality, but I am amazed it managed even this much!

On then into brighter lighting and an extensive Meerkat Warren!
By now we were ready for some lunch and even though we had by no means seen everything we made our way back to the entrance to find something for lunch!
I just had to take a last shot of this beauty that had just emerged from it's pupa.
The Cafe was our next stop and here again the food was good and a bargain. We shall certainly visit again during the winter as there is lots to do out of the weather and in the warm.
Pat liked it so much she took 101 photographs!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Sunday 10th October: Home again!

A day earlier than anticipated, but the day dawned damp and misty, and the forecast was for more of the same, so we decided the best move was to up sticks and head for home!
Considering the lateness of the season, we had some really good weather during the week (some not so good too!)
So all in all we felt we had had a very good last long(ish) outer of the year. We shall still go out, but only for a couple more weekends before clearing the caravan and draining irs systems down for the winter!
Roll on next spring!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Saturday 9th October, Bamburgh, Morpeth, Berwick

After the fog of yesterday, even the dull day we have had today was an improvement! we set off south and stopped for our morning coffee on "The Wynd" in Bamburgh where we could enjoy a view of the castle. as can be seen here there were some people on the beach, too!
After coffee we continued south again, pausing briefly in the empty castle car park for Pat to take this photograph
For once we didn't stop in Seahouses, passing along the coast road where we noted to our surprise that the caravan site at Annstead Farm had closed for the winter, and the Camping Club Site on Beadnel corner was closed too, and battened down till next year.
Pat wanted a photo of Aknwick Castle so that was our next destination, typically a large part of it was covered in scaffolding!

And even the poor old Percy lion on the bridge had a damaged tail, it was missing the coating of concrete and the arrow head at the far end!
Next stop Rothbury and lunch in the Biker Cafe (the Dales) and it was very busy here with hundreds of cars passing through on their way to a big country fair at Alwinton
The Street lamps in Rothbury remind me of those on the Thames embankment, they look sort of out of place in this little provincial market town.
late afternoon Pat was was resting so I drove to the southern end of the Tweed bridges and parked, then walked under the modern bridge to get this shot
And another one a little further along the river bank.
I spotted some steps that led up to the top of the bridge and climber them to get this view down onto the old bridge.
A few minutes later I was in Berwick on the bridge over the road north, it was market day and ~i have always liked this view of the Moot Hall
From up on the ramparts there are great views, her of the new bridge.
And the railway viaduct that carries the main east coast railway line
Then down the hill and back across the old bridge, this sundial caught my eye, it was a very pleasant walk!
We had made the best of an indifferent days weather, some of the inland scenery will be well worth visiting again when the weather improves!
A pretty good day all things considered.

Friday, October 08, 2010

Friday 8th October: Fog and rain all day!

Briefly clear at dawn, then thick fog and drizzle, we went shopping briefly than had lunch at the Oxford farm shop before setting down in the caravan and spending the rest of the day reading or watching TV.
Hopefully tomorrow will see an improvement in the weather!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Thursday 7th October: Cragside

After breakfast we headed inland in the direction of Wooler and stopped in a layby to have our morning coffee with this view of the cheviot in the distance, touring inland in Northumberland is always a pleasure as the roads are very good, and there is hardly any traffic (especially at this time of year.
We made good time down to Cragside, to find that the house opening was delayed till 1PM, which didn't really bother us as we love the carriage drive and the lakes, and lunch in the visitor centre (the old stables) shown here.
And as an added treat in October you get a free dessert with every meal. (It was Banana and Walnut sponge and custard)
Because the drive near the house is being resurfaced, the carriage drive has been diverted to operate in reverse, which rather added to it's already considerable charm!

This is the highest of the lakes and as you can see it has a lovely level walk at the shore level. Just look at those reflections!
Further along the second lake was just as still and really rather fine
I can't get enough of the views of these lakes, they are really something!

Down by the lakeside it was very mild and obviously there are signs of impending autumn like these berries
But rather surprisingly large buds on the Rhododendrons, it looked more like spring than Autumn, and it certainly felt like it too!
We came back via Alnwick, stopping at our favourite view point for the lovely landscape
Pat has made a very good job of this one!
Just before tea I ventured down into Spittal and had a walk along the all but deserted promenade.
And on returning to the caravan I took this shot in the fading evening light, as you can see we have a fine view from out caravan!