The River


B&W Challenge



Swing Bridge



Here’s some long exposures I took at night.  Note to self: remember to pack the cable release before you leave the house instead of looking for it when you get there.  It’ll make life easier.

The last one’s a bit ‘experimental’ or just plain shaky.

Canon EOS1, Ilford HP5+, 400


Here’s two pictures of the same Millennium Bridge at night which I took on a long exposure.  The top one is the better one, but I kind of like the fuzzy, shaky version below as well.  This is what you get for not taking a tripod. What does anyone else think?


Canon EOS1, Ilford HP5+, 400

The View From The Bridge

Canon EOS1, Ilford HP5+, 400, long exposure


Smog and Art

This is Middlesbrough.  I recently took a trip there by car.  It was a traditional English day, the sky was seven shades of grey and the temperature was not warm, not cold, not quite in the middle.  I felt a few spots of rain but it never quite started.  In short – average, it could have passed for a day in any of the four English seasons.

A small provincial town in the North East on the River Tees.  Middlesbrough’s great advantage is that it has a busy port nearby and it is also the home to lots of chemical plants.  This has led to its inhabitants being branded ‘Smoggies’ and rival football fans often wear gas masks on their visits to the town’s club.  Perhaps during the 60’s the joke about a smog of chemical pollution across the town was valid.  These days, I’d rather breathe the air here than most parts of London.

The town’s great disadvantage is that little of the money from that industry has stayed in the region and over the last thirty years the industry has shrunk along with its related jobs.  On the plus side, should the Russians ever launch a nuclear attack their third target in the UK would be the Boro due to the town’s importance for trade and industry, so the residents of Middlesbrough will proudly tell you this.  Actually, I once checked this fact up and found that it was ranked 18th on the Soviet hit list at the time of the cold war – that’s still quite impressive.  Either way, Middlesbrough would be completely destroyed within the first ten minutes of World War III.

My trip involved a journey on the Transport Bridge (more on which is here).  For the uninitiated, this is a bit like a ferry hung from a bridge which makes regular crossings.  To me it also looks like a gutted dinosaur with its last meal hanging from its spine, the flesh rotted away through the heavy chemicals in the air leaving only a metal skeleton for future generations to ponder.

The bridge was constructed a century ago with the concern of heavy river traffic, but its difficult to make a case for all the queuing up, waiting in the car while the tickets are sold and the slow crossing while there is now a perfectly good motorway running around the river.

After crossing the grey river under the grey sky, I drove through a neighbourhood that had more mobility scooters than jobs.  There was some sort of Aldi level supermarket and a feeling of unease from the locals who gathered on the street corners in shell suits.

Fortunately, the car radio picked up ‘community radio station’ only receivable from this post code.  It sounded like it was presented by someone who’d never left home and played records in his back bedroom.  I expected to hear his mother shouting that tea was ready at any moment.

Finally, I reached my objective.  Nothing cleans up urban blight like a bit of municipal art, just ask Gateshead and The Angel of the North.  In Middlesbrough’s case it’s the Tees Valley Giants.  These are five large scale public art projects that will be built around the Tees.  Only the first, to my knowledge, has been built – it is called Temenos.  With the two large rings at either end, reminds me a little of a femidom that had a brief spurt of popularity when I was a lad, but with a lot more holes.  It’s a fairly impressive piece, also reminiscent of a spacetime diagram in a physics text book.

As you can see, its a worthy addition to the Boro’s skyline but the problem with these pieces of art is what you do next.  This part of the Tees isn’t great for a walk and the only other thing around is Middlesbrough FC.  So unless it is matchday, you only have the club shop and signed photographs of Juninho to look at.  The Angel has a similar problem, you’ve got me there but with nothing to spend my money on, I’ll probably just drive off and not help the local economy.  And drive off I did, although I took a different route home.

This is the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, the hub for much of the Boro’s attempts to drag its reputation out of the smog.

The Hits

I was looking at some of the search engine terms produce hits on this blog and I came across three standout categories that seem to bring traffic my way.


This one makes a lot of sense.

The Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge

Not sure why this one pops up so often.  It is an iconic piece of architecture and it’s coming up to its centenary, I think.  Perhaps ex pat Smoggies spend a lot of time on the web looking for pictures of ‘The Tranny.’

Climax Wind Pump

Don’t get this one.  I can only guess that people with a need for low-carbon power generation like to see pictures of this in monochrome.  To that end, I repost the Climax Wind Pump at dusk.

So in theory, I need to persuade some one in a bikini on the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge to climax with a wind pump and I will have one of the most popular photographs in history.

Ten Other Search Terms That Landed Here:

  1. over designed structure
  2. 0.00039
  3. nose art on vulcan
  4. lute reenactor
  5. medieval babe
  6. royalty free tardis
  7. small girl with beautyful dark brown eyes
  8. bath house jew
  9. toy cars crash in water
  10. cone of circular cross section opening downward and with its vertex at

Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge 2

Some more shots of the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge in all its glory:

Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge

Reflected on the waters of the Tees is the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge.   This Grade II Listed building was erected in 1911 and is one of the few bridges of its type in the world still in daily operation although it frequently gets shut by high winds, bad weather and just about anything else.  The bridge is 851 feet long and the passenger gondola, which also takes cars, travels on steel cables160 feet above the water.

It’s an icon for the Tees region and visible for miles around and built out of two halves which lean into each other across the river.

To me, it looks like a giant dinosaur stretching across the river with it’s belly hanging down.