Earlier posts

Earlier posts
This blog is a continuation of an older one. To explore previous posts please click the photo above.

Thursday 30 November 2023

Six thousand steps

We finally had a couple of dry days last weekend. Not that it lasted! It was, however, very welcome after so much rain, wind and general gloom. I made the most of it with a Sunday stroll around my usual circuit - park, river, canal. There are small variations in my possible route but it usually works out at around 6000 steps, about 2.5 miles. Even when I move house, this route will still be possible, though it will be bookended by a steep walk downhill and a steep walk back uphill at the end. I'm choosing to see that as a healthy addition to my exercise routine, which will go some way to compensating for the loss of a staircase in the move from house to flat!

My photos are mostly self-explanatory for regular readers of my blog who have 'accompanied me' many times on this circuit. 
Winter is settling over the landscape. Most trees have lost most of their leaves, though there are still flashes of gold here and there. There were more folk about than my photos would suggest: joggers, cyclists, people walking dogs. On the river there were several rowing boats. Most seemed to be crewed by people learning how to navigate the river in those long, thin, flimsy craft. There were coaches in some of the boats and at least one chap cycling up and down the riverside path with a megaphone and a safety rope. The river has been in flood recently so it was good to see it calmer and running at a lower level. The rowing club members were taking full advantage. 

In contrast, all was very calm on the canal, allowing for some stunning reflections in the still water. 

On Salts' sports field, there was a lively football match taking place, though I haven't been able to find any details online.  It looked like a proper match rather than a practice and there were a few spectators. 

Returning on the home straight, it's always good to see the New Mill chimney and the church reflected in the canal as I arrive back in the village.

Wednesday 29 November 2023

Calls Landing

Meandering back from Leeds Dock into the city centre, we crossed the river and walked through the area known as The Calls. At one time it was an industrial area with warehousing for the docks. Industry declined and moved out in the 20th century and the area was regenerated in the 1980s/90s, with buildings converted into offices - mainly media and creative businesses - and residential use. It's beginning to look a little run-down again now. The Covid pandemic seems to have changed working patterns so that many more people now work from home, meaning that footfall in these commercial areas is much less. There are still bars, so maybe it all comes to life at night. 

The industrial past is still evident, particularly if you look upwards. The building above with the fine brickwork is called The Old Brewery so I assume that's what it once was. Calls Landing (below) was a warehouse built in the early 1900s to support the adjacent Fletland Mills, which in the mid 1880s was a huge corn mill supplying flour and horse feed. The mill is now, I think, a hotel, though currently 'closed for redevelopment'.  

The 'You & Me, Me & You' mural on the side of this historic building is by graphic artist Anthony Burrill, and was completed in 2021.  The grey heron mural, by Peter Barber, is designed to submerge and re-emerge as the river levels vary. 

Just glimpsed between the buildings, this tribute to the former Leeds United and England footballer Kalvin Phillips (who now plays for Manchester City) was painted by street artist Akse P19. 

And finally, I couldn't resist the light and shade on these old steps - and it was a mono outing, after all!


Tuesday 28 November 2023

Crown Point Bridge

You know my attraction to colour and I couldn't get enough of the shimmering hues and patterns reflected in the River Aire around Leeds Dock, which to me had a 'stained glass' quality. We walked up to Crown Point Bridge and the light and shadow around there was amazing. 

Crown Point Bridge is a Grade II listed structure, originally built in 1842, when this part of Leeds was developing fast. It was made in a Sheffield ironworks, of cast iron in a 'Gothic Revival' style, a single broad span with an ornate parapet and trims. They don't (sadly) make them like that any more. 

Monday 27 November 2023

Eye catching

When I'm walking around somewhere like Leeds Dock with my camera, I rarely have a preconceived idea of what I'm going to photograph, finding it better to let the surroundings 'speak to me' and see what catches my eye. Sometimes the collection of images that results is extremely random, though overall it was colours and shapes that were waving at me this time.  

The sign made of fancy fonts (above) was in a window near the studio from where the live Channel 4 weekday TV show 'Steph's Packed Lunch'  has been broadcast for the past three years. A 'magazine' mix of news, interviews, cookery and consumer advice, hosted by Steph McGovern, it had a shaky start because of the Covid lockdown and I understand it has recently been axed. 

When the sun came out, reflections in the water were bright and interesting. 

I was intrigued by the reflections in windows too. Inevitably these modern buildings have large areas of glass that mirror complex and repeated shapes and colours. 

Some scaffolding with bright netting caught my eye... 

as did the swooping shadows of the chain fencing. 


Sunday 26 November 2023

Sunday meditation: Rainbow colours

In the Leeds Dock area there is an intricate and vibrant rainbow-like sculpture made of multi-coloured sheets of perspex. I find it fascinating, especially when the sun shines through casting vivid shadows around it. I took a few photos and made a collage of them. Guaranteed to brighten a rainy day! 

'Look upon the rainbow, and praise him that made it; very beautiful it is in the brightness thereof.' Ecclesiasticus 43:11

'I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.' Genesis 9:13

Saturday 25 November 2023

Leeds Dock area

Leeds Dock is an interesting area. Originally Victorian docks and warehouses, it marks the point where the Leeds-Liverpool Canal terminates and joins with the Aire and Calder Navigation. Goods and commodities were shipped in and out of Leeds and coal was brought in to supply the industries of the 19th and early 20th centuries. By the second half of the 20th century the docks were in decline. Most of the buildings were derelict and have been demolished, to be replaced by contemporary residential and office developments. One of the first buildings to be constructed was the Royal Armouries Museum (top right in the photo above), opened in 1996, which holds the national collection of arms and armour - and is more interesting than it sounds!  Its rather alarming figurehead is in the picture below.

The area has failed to take off as a retail centre but some businesses have settled there and the dock itself is used as a marina for canal boats. 

Looking back towards Leeds city centre, the tower of the parish church is now dwarfed by skyscrapers. 

Friday 24 November 2023

Nature encroaches

Even in the middle of Leeds' urban development, nature creeps in. A tree has shed a pile of leaves and berries around a bicycle that has obviously been parked there for a while. A lone red leaf rests on a metal bench. 

Grass sprouts in the joints of the dock, a contrast to the rusty mooring ring. 

An attractively-shaped tree's curves contrast with the regular lines of the tower blocks, whilst its colour is echoed in the green sculptural forms. 

Potted plants with sculptural leaves and vibrant pots seek to soften the urban architecture. 

Thursday 23 November 2023

Keeping the ball rolling

Off to Leeds again with my camera club's mono group... I was actually in the mood for colour, but out of respect for the group I have converted a few of my photos to mono. We took the water taxi from the rail station to Leeds Dock and had a wander round this interesting area, which is a mixture of residential, business and a tourist destination, home to the Royal Armouries Museum. It was surprisingly cold, so my images possibly show signs of incipient hypothermia! (Note to self: Should dig out my proper winter coat!)

I've photographed this sculpture - 'A Reflective Approach' by Kevin Atherton - a few times. It illustrates man's struggle with life, a Sisyphean task. It also illustrates my struggle with photography, as the reflective sphere is both fascinating and annoying to photograph and process. It's a battle, for a start, to hide yourself as the photographer so that it isn't 'a selfie'. The reflections of the surroundings are at the same time intriguing and also a bit 'busy'. I can never decide whether to go high key (light) or low key (dark) in the processing. Sisyphean, for sure! 

Wednesday 22 November 2023

Graphic designs

Having coffee in the Courtyard Café at Harewood, I noticed a wall display of colourful graphic prints in the style of 20th century travel posters, which I thought were rather good. Designed by Ellie Way, a Wakefield-based print designer, they showed various West Yorkshire landmarks, including the one above of my beloved Roberts Park in Saltaire. Some of them are on sale in Harewood's shop. Her website shows more (HERE). 

Tuesday 21 November 2023

Harewood's Terrace

Harewood House opens out at the back onto a large, gravelled terrace with formal beds and statuary. It has wonderful views over 'Capability' Brown's sweeping landscape - seemingly natural and yet meticulously planned - and down to the lake. Even on such a dull day there was interest and colour to be found. 

There are various small statues of cherubic figures, though these two weren't behaving in a very cherubic way. What a horrid little thug! 

I'm fascinated by this little arbour of trees, in neat lines and pruned tightly to grow straight up, surrounded by a tightly clipped box hedge.  There's something quite magical about it, even in late autumn. 

On the field below the current 18th century house, they have begun to excavate the previous country house that stood on this estate. (In the photo below, you can see a sandy patch to the left that is part of these excavations.) Gawthorpe Hall was a 13th century manor house and was only pulled down after the sizeable estate was bought by the Lascelles family in 1738. They built Harewood House, which was completed in 1771 and then Gawthorpe was demolished, turfed over and effectively disappeared. The University of York started an archeological dig in 2009 and the house's foundations have gradually been uncovered. The project continues and many interesting artefacts have been discovered. (See more HERE