Sunday, 22 January 2017

Shipley Women's March

There was a brilliant turnout on Saturday in Shipley for the Women's March. It was organised by 'Shipley Feminist Zealots' (who formed after our local MP, the Conservative Philip Davies, famously made a speech at a conference last summer on men's issues in which he said: "Feminist zealots really do want women to have their cake and eat it.") It was one of a number of marches in the UK taking place in solidarity with our sisters in Washington DC, who are demonstrating their opposition to the newly elected President of the United States of America, Donald Trump. Most of the marches were in the big cities so I was proud of our little town. Estimates suggest there were more than 1500 marchers in Shipley.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Autumn, winter, spring?

We've had quite a few dull, damp, misty days lately, when the daylight never really seems to fully arrive. I find this time of year unutterably depressing if I let myself fall into the slough of despond. I need to motivate myself to get out and experience it anyway. Luckily, I've good friends who enjoy a walk too, so we donned our boots and waterproofs and did a seven miler right from our own front doors, hardly touching a road in the process. Actually, I felt overdressed in the end as it was very mild and after a while the act of walking itself generates quite some heat, especially going uphill. Though I was glad of the waterproof layers when I slipped in my muddy boots on a rock and landed on my behind in the mud!  My camera was, thankfully, unscathed, as was I. Nature is in transition; some trees never seem to lose their autumn leaves and then careful observation discovers some spring bulbs, mostly snowdrops, poking their way into the light. The photo is taken in the woods around Heaton.

Friday, 20 January 2017


'Funny Cow' filming in Saltaire
I'd assumed that since the village was being used to recreate childhood scenes in the film, the main star, Maxine Peake, wouldn't necessarily be around. I was just concentrating on taking photos of what seemed interesting and not bothering too much about the detail. When I got home and uploaded the results I was rather pleased to see that I did actually catch a photo of both Maxine Peake (in the fur coat) and the director, Adrian Shergold (in the trilby hat). Does that mean I've suddenly become paparrazi? 

And then she let go of the balloon....

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Take 1

'Funny Cow' filming in Saltaire
I did manage to catch one or two of the 'takes'. In this one a small girl, (the comedienne as a child, I assume) skips across the road holding a red balloon. In the background, a number of children waited and then ran up the street - and an old green Morris Minor drove past a man on a bicycle and a street sweeper with a bin. I expect these scenes will last mere seconds on the screen but each took several 'takes' and a lot of time to create. 

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Back in time

'Funny Cow' filming in Saltaire
Obviously the public (me!) couldn't get too close to the actual filming. It was hard from a distance to really see what was going on and when they were actually filming 'takes'. There were various props scattered about - old vehicles, washing lines across the streets (Sir Titus will be turning over in his mausoleum!), billboards, old dustbins, prams and suchlike. It did look quite authentic to past times, I have to say. Actually, it was then hard to recall if they'd changed something... Surely Saltaire's back alleys are paved? Have they taken up the stones or thrown down some dirt? They had certainly added some old streetlamps to the corners of Mary Street and Fanny Street. 

Hard, too, to tell who were actors, who were the movie makers and who were just people like me being nosy. It was such a cold day that the actors had to don thick jackets and even duvets between 'takes'. I was part amused and part fascinated by the guy whose job was to create and waft smoke about. (No scene in the North of England prior to the 1970s is complete without a bit of smog, it seems!) I'm sure he does other exciting things as well. 

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Another happening

Ooh, ooh - something happening in Saltaire again...  Streets closed and lots of vans and activity. They're making another film. This time it is a big budget film called 'Funny Cow', documenting the struggle of a female British comedian (played by Maxine Peake, of 'Silk' fame) trying to crack the tough 1970's northern nightclub circuit. It also stars Vic Reeves. Saltaire is being used to recreate scenes from the comedian's childhood in the 1950s.

The film's producer, Kevin Procter, is quoted as saying: 'Saltaire is the perfect location for our film. It is cinematic. We have not had to build any sets. (Though they have converted the inside of a house on Mary Street to a 1950s' interior) It has given us a snapshot of England that we don't see anymore. It is a picture postcard of what Yorkshire used to be like.'

Look here at our local newspaper's article for some more photos, including the interiors.

Monday, 16 January 2017


Bradford Industrial Museum - There is a working forge at the museum. The blacksmith warned me to avoid the flying sparks when I was setting up my tripod. Kind of ironic, I thought...  I wonder if his chest hair is fire-proofed?

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Soft and hard

Bradford Industrial Museum - studies in texture. A hamper full of raw wool and the pock-marked floor of the spinning shed.

Saturday, 14 January 2017


Bradford Industrial Museum - After some experimentation, I decided it seemed more effective to focus in on the detail in the museum. Being housed in an old mill, it has huge windows which give good light but also create reflections on the metal and glass and mean you are shooting against the light, if you aren't careful. I'm quite pleased with both these compositions, one relying for impact on colour and the other on pattern. The top one shows the value of my new(ish) longer lens for getting an effective depth of field, something I'm still working at perfecting.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Beastly Machines

Bradford Industrial Museum -
When I visited there was a travelling exhibition of kinetic animal sculptures: Beastly Machines by Derbyshire-based artist Johnny White.
Made in metal, and using recycled junk, they were all quite wry and funny, commenting on current affairs or making a play on words. Many of them had buttons to press to set the pieces in motion. One even had an exercise bike so that you could power the movement by pedalling hard!

The top one is called frog cycle and had a frog pedalling a bike, whose wheel spokes were tadpoles at various stages of development. Clever.

Then there was a motorcycling thrush...

The flying pig, for some reason, reminds me of Richard Branson!

And the Owl and the Pussycat went to sea in a boat that was not only pea-green but apparently made of large peas.

Thursday, 12 January 2017


Bradford Industrial Museum - all the bobbins and spools on the machines are very photogenic. Perhaps there is a reason why the spool ends are painted different colours. I don't suppose it was just in order to delight photographers a century or so later!

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Machine wheels

Bradford Industrial Museum - It always amazes me to see the huge variety of cogs and wheels in the machinery in the museum. I notice new variations each time I go. I like the different patterns and colours in the top image; three wheels, all different, all with a specific purpose.

The machine below was painted in muted greeny-brown colours but the red disc really stood out. I wondered if there was a reason this piece was painted red - danger, maybe? Seemed to cry out for a mono conversion and a colour-pop!

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Bradford Industrial Museum

The coming series of photos were taken last year on a camera club trip, this time with the Ilkley club I belong to, to Bradford's Industrial Museum. I haven't had space to post them before. The museum is local for me and I have been many times before. I don't usually take my tripod but I did this time, as without one it is pretty tricky to get good, sharp shots inside.  I am not a great fan of shooting on a tripod, I have to say. It always feels like grappling with an octopus! (Even though it only has three legs.)

Maybe I have never been on a weekday before but there seemed to be a lot going on, with people working in the display areas and many of the machines actually working. It made me realise why so many mill workers ended up deaf. The noise of those spinning and weaving machines is incredible. Outside this old tram was parked up. It is a horse-drawn tram, pulled by a horse but running on tracks. Sadly the working horses they used to keep at the museum have been 'retired' as a cost-cutting measure.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Romance in the air!

I decided a while ago to get winter tyres fitted to my car, since I have to drive over the high Pennine moors to my daughter's home periodically. I find it a hair-raising drive at the best of times and, whilst I don't deliberately drive in snow if I can help it, there is always the chance of getting caught out by bad weather. So, the expense and hassle of specialist tyres seems worth it. It meant a bit of waiting around at the garage in Silsden, so I went for a walk. The Leeds-Liverpool canal winds its way through the centre of the little town. I took a snap from the bridge on my iPhone and then added some textures to the image, whilst I waited for the car to be finished. Much better than being bored! The end result gives a decidedly romantic flavour to the scene.