Drawing to year’s end

This is the seventieth blog so far this year, now time to slow down and review!  I tend to only publish recently taken photographs, although on the odd occasion I have dipped into the archives, which is useful for judging whether or not your photography has improved.

I have found that I have almost switched from Nikon to the Fuji X Series gear for my casual and fun photography; I now tend to only use Nikon for specific purposes.  Is the SDLR dead?  Well not quite but who knows what the future will hold.

We are now in a Christmas phase, the first two images were taken at Saintfield Christmas Fair at night time.  I love taking images in the dark using available street light.  and the third image is of the interior of All Saints’ Parish Church, Belfast.

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All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.  

Armistice Day 2014 – Belfast City Hall

Several hundred city centre workers paused for a few minutes to remember the armistice at Belfast City Hall in heavy rain.  This more informal and impromptu event is in contrast to the formal and elaborate proceedings held on Remembrance Sunday.

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A wider angle view show the crowd waiting in silence.

The quotation on the cenotaph reads:

“Throughout the long years of struggle which have now so gloriously ended, the men of Ulster have proved how nobly they fight and die.”  George V

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All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission

Railway links to Ballygowan

Following my last blog about the Belfast County Down Railway I began to take an interest in the vestiges that remain of the railway link to Ballygowan.  Ballygowan is a small town that is not on any main arterial road route, it has essentially become a commuter town serving Belfast.  As a result it has remained a small town and has only relatively recently started to expand.

Despite that fact that the railway line closed in 1950 there is still evidence around pointing to its past connection with the Belfast County Down Railway.  The following photographs point to this past.  All the locations photographed are within a one minute walk from each other.  Having lived here for the past twenty seven years I often think how wonderful it would be to have the railway link restored.  However this will never happen!

The only station building left standing, this was the goods shed I believe.

The only station building left standing, this was the goods shed I believe.

In the foreground the original Telephone Exchange, bedind is the Post Office, the site of the Railway Station.

In the foreground the original Telephone Exchange, bedind is the Post Office, the site of the Railway Station.

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Railway Terrace, the clue is in the name!

The Old Railway Hotel, note the mounting stone and ring for tying you horse!

The Old Railway Hotel, note the mounting stone and ring for tying you horse!

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission 

Belfast County Down Railway

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As I get older I am very conscious of change and am saddened by the lack of interest in preserving our past.  Far too often grand old buildings are torn down with little thought or regard.
 
I often drive along the Ballyhenry Road just outside Comber Co Down where there is a visual reminder of the past; railway lines crossing the narrow road where evidence of the railway is long gone.  It deserved a photograph as the original track side building survives although now modified as a dwelling house.
 
Unfortunately I have been unable to locate an image of what it originally looked like as it would have been interesting to make the comparison. However I did find a reference to it from Comber Historical Society which reads as follows:
 
‘The third level crossing was ‘Henryville’ on the Ballyhenry Road staffed by Andy Bennett, and then in the late 1940s by Mr Patrick McIlreavy. This cottage is also still in use and much modified – in fact the very railway lines are still to be seen in the road beside it to this day. A preservation order might well be considered before a resurfacing or re-alignment plan would have them buried from view forever!’
 
It’s been well over sixty years since trains ran on this line making their way to Donaghadee via Newtownards!
 
All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission

 

 

Where is that fly?

These misty September mornings are a great time to photograph spider’s webs, without having to go any further than your back door.  I also decided to try out a new lens for my Fujifilm X system, the 56 f1.2 portrait lens.  I reverted to manual focus which was buttery smooth and as you can see the system produced lovely clean files requiring little post production on the computer.  These shots were taken at 1/125 second at f5.6 to capture the perfect symmetry of spider’s endeavours.  Isn’t the world wonderfully made?
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All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission

Saintfield’s Market House

Saintfield Market House was built in 1802 by N Price. It is a two-storey three-bay structure. The pediment above the central bay contains a clock. There is a simple square louvred cupola. The building beside the market house was an hotel which was built at the same time.  Now serving as an Orange Hall it was first used as a Courthouse in 1804. The clock in the roof of the building was made by the Saintfield clock maker, Samuel Spratt. The iron gates in the three archways date from 1828.  The two photographs show the Parish Church on one side and the hotel on the other side.

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All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission

 

 

Rough Island

A gentle walk last night prompted me to write this short blog about Island Hill, or to be more precise about Rough Island, a small island of approximately 7 acres, which can be accessed via a causeway at low tide just outside Comber.

Rough Island, which sounds like something from Treasure Island, was inhabited up until the early part of the 1900’s. The remains of the old farm cottage and its orchard can still be seen. Farming ceased on the island completely in the 1950s and the island has reverted to  bramble and hawthorn. It is now owned and maintained by Ards Borough Council.

The causeway usually only remains submerged for around an hour at high tide but this can be affected by the weather and the time of year. The walk across the causeway and around the island takes around ¾ of an hour and provides a wonderful views of this part of Strangford Lough.

A couple of photographs taken yesterday:

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 All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission.  

Gill’s Almshouses, Carrickfergus

Isn’t it surprising that having visited a place many times and yet there is always something that goes unnoticed.  In my case this was Gill’s Almshouses located in Governor’s Place just across the road from Carrickfergus Castle.

The almshouses were built with finances from the will of Henry Gill in 1842 in the Tudor style from designs by Charles Lanyon.  It was was Gill’s intention that the provision of accommodation for aged men decayed in their circumstances would be made.

They were certainly preferable to the workhouse.

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All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission 

Hungering after film photography

The last time I ran a role of film through a film camera was around 2002 and in recent months I have been threatening to try film photography again.  To date I still haven’t! However I took some nighttime images at a candlelight vigil at Belfast City Hall commemorating the outbreak of The Great War when a friend of mine commenting on the image said you should try black and white.

So I have created an image using Silver Efex Pro using a Kodak Tri X Pro filter to emulate film photography.  Tri X Pro was a 400ASA black and white film which was regarded as a fast film, so I suspect this is what I would have been using for this event.

In the darkroom you would have used dodging and burning to bring up the areas of the photograph that you wanted to enhance, this is what I did using Silver Efex Pro when I lightened the face of the man in uniform.  To enable you to compare I have the original image and the monochrome copy.  I will let you decide whether or not it looks like an image produced from a negative!

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All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission 

Capturing that special event

The 100th anniversary of the outbreak of The Great War was remembered at Belfast City Hall on the evening of 4 August in line with the national commemorations held throughout the United Kingdom.  It was an occasion that I wanted to capture but the question was how?

It would be dark, so a fast prime lens seemed a good idea.  There would be large numbers of people present so I decided to travel light, using just one lens, a 35mm equivalent f1.4 that would be good for capturing the wide view yet also good for closer shots within the crowd.  Shooting between 10pm and 11pm a higher ISO setting was also a good choice, so I set it camera to auto ISO with a maximum of 3200iso.  I also decided not to use flash, which is useless for distance shots and blasts out closeup shots.

So much for preplanning, the aim was to capture the mood and significance of the evening, the following were the results.  The following images hopefully convey something of the mood.

A lucky shot, I caught someone else's flash!

A lucky shot, I caught someone else’s flash!

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All images taken with a Fujifilm X Pro 1, 23mm f1.4 lens, taken at 1/60 second, a couple at 1/30 second.  Apertures ranged from f1.4 to f2.5.

All images contained on this website remain the property of Roger Bradley. Images may not be downloaded, reproduced, copied, projected, or used in any way without express written permission