Year of the Rooster

Thousands of visitors came to Chinatown in Newcastle Upon Tyne to watch and take part in the Chinese New Year celebrations to mark The Year of the Rooster.

Chinese New Year is China’s most important traditional festival and brings families and communities together for a week long public holiday.

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TECH STUFF: All pictures in this set were taken on a pair of Leica M9 cameras fitted with 50mm f2 Summicron and 35mm F2 Summicron lenses. The 50mm lens was fitted with a 3-stop ND filter to allow for pictures to be taken at the f2 aperture in the bright sunshine. All pictures were subsequently edited with minor adjustments made in Lightroom and in line with standard editorial editing guidelines. No picture has been doctored or altered in any way.

See more of my work on my website and blogs… HERE

Images copyright Ian Forsyth 2017 / Getty Images

All rights reserved.

No usage without arrangement.

Northern Ballet

Northern Ballet is a dance company with a strong repertoire in theatrical dance productions where the emphasis is on story telling as well as classical ballet. Regarded as one of the world’s leading ballet companies they are committed to creating new ballets and tour widely to perform to a wide range of audiences throughout the UK and abroad.

I spent all day and much of the evening with the company shooting pictures of their intensive preparation during their company class at their headquarters in the morning before they attended rehearsals at the Grand Theatre in Leeds prior to their performance that evening of The Nutcracker in front of a full-house.

Shooting entirely behind the scenes from the wings and back-stage it was easy to see the hard work and dedication that goes into every performance and the passion and enthusiasm that the company have for what they do.

Here’s a larger edit in black and white from through the day…

 

The COMPANY CLASS

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The REHEARSALS & PREPARATION

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The PERFORMANCE

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Technical stuff: All pictures were shot on 16Gb Sandisk Extreme Pro memory cards in both RAW and high quality JPEG using either a Leica M9 with a 50mm f2 Summicron prime lens, a Fuji XT1 with a 16mm f1.4 WR prime lens or a Fuji XT1 with a 50-140mm f2.8 WR zoom lens.

All were shot in manual exposure mode with auto-white balance set. Editing was done in Lightroom 5 with colour versions of some of the pictures filed for the job with an extended edit of black and white pictures posted here.

 

See more of my work on my website and blogs… HERE

Images copyright Ian Forsyth 2015 / Getty Images

All rights reserved.

No usage without arrangement

UKIP Annual Conference

On assignment for Getty Images recently I headed to Doncaster Racecourse to cover the UK Independence Party annual conference. After increasing their vote share following the May General Election campaign the UKIP conference this year focussed primarily on the campaign to leave the European Union ahead of the upcoming referendum on EU membership.

After two long, busy and very purple coloured days I’ve included some of what I shot, edited to black and white below….

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See more of my work on my website and blogs… HERE

Images copyright Ian Forsyth 2015 / Getty Images

All rights reserved. No usage without arrangement.

Duncombe Park Country Fair

Took a trip along to the Duncombe Park Country Fair in Helmsley today for a few hours. Set in the grounds of one of Yorkshire’s most historic houses and estates this annual one-day event which was formed in 1982 celebrates all aspects of the countryside and is billed as the original country fair of Yorkshire.

On the list of things to see today were the hounds that were brought in from various hunts around the region and from across the country and which were shown in one of the arenas as well as a small selection that followed a tail across the fields. The pony and horse events of course were a regular feature as well as archery, clowns, the riding skills of the Equestrian Theatre Scotland, fly-fishing and loads more all set in the spectacular grounds of the park. So check it out next year you won’t be disappointed….

Here’s a few from this morning:

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See more of my work on my website and blogs… HERE

Photographs copyright Ian Forsyth / Getty Images

No usage without arrangement.

Pickering wartime and 1940’s weekend

Once again Pickering wartime and 1940’s weekend came to the Yorkshire town this weekend with re-enactors, enthusiasts and fans of all things 40’s getting involved and having a great time. I was down today shooting for Getty Images and arrived at the showground in Pickering at first light and spent a few hours there before heading into town to finish off the day. It was a good day of shooting and I met some great people…here’s a few of the pictures…

 

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Some of the pictures appeared soon after on The Guardian  website, the Daily Mail website and in today’s Observer…

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All images were taken on a Leica M9 with a Summicron 50mm f2 lens and a Fui X Pro 1 with a 18mm (28mm equivalent) f2 lens. Photographs were edited in Lightroom. No editing techniques were used that couldn’t be carried out in a traditional darkroom.

See more of my photography on my website and blogs… HERE

Images copyright Ian Forsyth & Getty Images

No usage without prior arrangement

Week of weeks

So this week has been pretty good to us with the surf…..The most memorable day being Tuesday which, as far as Saltburn goes was pretty much as good as it gets! Some epic swell running through all day and I think it’s safe to say that everyone, including myself left the water on Tuesday evening fully stoked and with noodle arms hanging limply by our sides!

The rest of the week at the beach has seen some fairly decent surf coming through. Not as big as Tuesday however but fun waves nonetheless and with some decent dawn sessions for those who prefer cold water, damp wetsuits, great sunrises and early starts to a nice warm bed…

So here’s a small selection of pictures from the week for you lazy sods who couldn’t be arsed getting up showing a little bit of what it was like in the orange glow of morning…

 

Saltburn morning surf

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See more of my pictures on my website and other blogs….. HERE

All images copyright Ian Forsyth – No usage without agreement

Melting pot for the imagination

If you happened to drive through the east Cleveland town of Redcar and then continued through what’s left of the small village of Warrenby – where before they were demolished all the streets happened to be named after marsh birds – and continue on past the collection of small business premises and car garages that are staggered either side of Tod Point road there lies a small roundabout.

If you don’t know the area and reach this roundabout then you have two options. Either assume the road ends there and you’ve gone the wrong way before going all the way around it and heading back the way you came or the alternative, and far more interesting choice is to follow the small road that leads off to the right.

If you decided to take this road then very quickly you would cross a railway line that unless you watched your speed you would fairly rattle your suspension!

But once you cross over it…

You have crossed quite literally a line into a place that is truly a surreal and conflicted mix of heavy industry, natural beauty, cutting edge technological advances, history and traditional ways of life that are now either hanging by a thread. A very frayed thread or thriving against all the odds.

You will find wide open spaces that especially through the bleakness of a grey and windy day provide an exhilaration like you get when standing on the top of a high mountain with the wind in your face and yet at the same time an equally crushing sense of claustrophobia as the dark walls of industry close in around you. Both clash together like a wave smashing against a sea wall.

The area you’re now in is called South Gare – a man-made area of reclaimed land and breakwater on the southern side of the mouth of the river Tees. Constructed from January 1861 to 1884, using 5 million tonnes of solid blast blast furnace slag and 18,000 tons of cement that were cast and moved into position along the banks of the river Tees. No mean feat. These were then back filled using around 70,000 tons of material dredged from the river bed!

Coming in at a cost of £219,393 the Gare opened on 25 October 1888 and offers a safe harbour in stormy weather to ships off the coast and allowed for the dredging of the river Tees entrance.

During the construction of South Gare a rail line was also built from the Warrenby iron works to help carry the men and materials. When construction was complete the rail line was used, wind permitting, with a sail ‘bogey’ to help move visitors, servicemen, lifeboatmen and lighthouse crew members out to the lighthouse and gun installations close to the end of South Gare that guarded and protected against a multitude of possible offenders either through the actions of man or nature.

So as you drive past the steelworks along the tight road littered with pot holes many of which are more akin to the craters left after an artillery barrage rather than your average pot holes you pass by the man-made fire breathing monolith of steel representing the industrial heritage of Teesside. Operating fully, then closed down, then re-opened again by SSI Industries to breath life, as well as the occasional smell of sulphur into the region the works, especially at night, offer up an impressive sight as the blast furnace flames and smoke reach skywards and the sirens shriek in the darkness.

UPDATE: Sadly the blast furnace nows sits quietly after the closure of the furnace in 2015 and steel production was halted.

Beyond the steelworks the road turns and runs through the high banked sand dunes draped with Marram grass that sways lazily in the breeze.

You might then, if you look through the dune slacks (or dips) and if it’s low tide catch a glimpse of the wreckage of an old ship. Held fast in the unrelenting grip of Bran sands as it slowly rots away with the ebb and flow of each new tide. The name of this vessel and the story of how it came to be held here is unknown to me – so use your imagination and you could make up some really interesting tales of dramas on the high seas to entertain your kids! Some real ‘Boys own’ adventure stuff!

The observant will also see what is left of the defences. Bunkers, pill-boxes, look-out posts, former gun emplacements – all remnants of the strategic defence the area had during World War Two. Many are now overgrown or toppled having served their purpose. Nature wins.

Further along you then pass Paddy’s Hole.

Paddy’s Hole is a small harbour in the lagoon on the Teesmouth side of South Gare constructed from the same slag used in the larger construction of the Gare. It is named Paddy’s Hole because of the many Irishmen who helped build the South Gare. It forms a safe area for the small fishing boats to tie up. Although the amount of boats that actually put out to sea now is reducing with depressing regularity as the fishing industry wanes..

Although some hardy and brave souls do still do manage to make the lonely trip through the sea fret and cold early mornings and make their way out of the mouth of the River and into the grey north sea although more to check their lobster and crab pots now rather than for fish. Quotas, low fish prices, the general effects of overfishing and increasing seal populations have all reduced the worth and a decent living that could have been made with 20ft of net has gone and you now need 40ft or 60ft to catch the same. But then the prices have dropped. It’s a vicious cycle. The seals don’t seem to mind.

Many of the fishermen who owned and operated these boats are part of the South Gare Fisherman’s Association and along with their rod wielding brethren who fish from the end of the breakwater own some of the ‘Green Huts’ tucked discreetly into the dunes.

Those huts with the smell of coke and wood burning stoves drifting on the morning breeze out of the stovepipe’s. Constructed from wood gathered together over the years some are built from reclaimed wood left after homes were demolished in the Southbank area of Middlesbrough a number of years ago. Each conforming to the code of using green paint to help them blend into the landscape and yet as different and individual on the inside as their respective owners.

Each owner conforming to the old rules of no women being allowed on the site after 8pm in the evening. Despite the severity of wind, rain or storms that might sweep across this area over the years the huts remain standing. They might take a beating every once in a while but they remain. As do their owners. Holding on.

Looking beyond the huts and a kilometer and a half out to sea you will see the wind farm. The jewel in the EDF energy crown along the northeast coast. Twenty seven modern sentinels to environmental technology standing tall at 126 metres and when all are fully turning produce enough low carbon electricity to supply the annual needs of approximately 40,000 homes, or the equivalent of most of the households in Redcar and Cleveland. It will they say, offset the annual release of approximately 80,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide.

Like two gangs nature faces off in a constant battle against the industrial. Facing each other across the breakwater.

Both fighting for control of the environment.

Perched at the north end of the breakwater is the Lighthouse. Built in 1884 and currently owned by PD Ports it stands 43 feet high on blocks of concrete weighing from 40 up to 300 tons. Using a paraffin wick lamp initially until around 1955 when it was replaced with a mains powered 500 Watt tungsten filament incandescent light bulb with a back-up generator, just in case.

Flashing every 12 seconds when in use it can be visible out to 17 nautical miles (20 miles) giving warning to those heading into Teesport or making their ways along the coastline. The frequent container ships turning and meeting up with the pilots whose headquarters are based on the breakwater. Those pilots who, regardless of conditions clamber aboard unfamiliar ships before guiding them safely through the meandering Tees until they are safely moored at their respective docks ready to load or deposit their cargo.

South Gare. Sitting at the end of the river Tees. Opening the way to the Tyne, Dogger, Fisher, Forties and German bight fishing areas and gateway to Holland, Denmark and Norway. With its sand-dunes and grasses in the foreground, and its varied wildlife – foxes and deer can be seen making their way cautiously through the scrubland. With the sea birds both home grown and more exotic dropping in on their travels. With the on-going conflict of the industrial versus the natural. With its visible and invisible history.

It truly becomes a melting pot for the imagination.

 

 

 

 

 

 

North East SurfingSunlight breaks through clouds over the steelworks

DSCF0152A tanker makes her way down the Tees and out to sea

South Gare on TeessideSteelworks at night

Huge waves crash against the lighthouse in the area known as South Gare on Teesside.Heavy seas crash over the lighthouse at the end of the breakwater

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Surf_0076.jpgSitting on the breakwater

South Gare on TeessideLights shine through on a radio mast in the early morning fog

South Gare on TeessideA tanker heads out through early morning sea fret

DSCF0223Sunset at Paddy’s Hole

South Gare on TeessideA single fishing boat heads out in the first light of morning to check the pots

South Gare on TeessidePaddy’s Hole

South Gare on TeessidePaddy’s Hole

South Gare on TeessideA fisherman heads out to his main boat at first light

South Gare on TeessideReturning safely to shore from their larger fishing boat after anchoring her in Paddy’s Hole after a morning at sea

South Gare on TeessideThe pots stacked up

South Gare on TeessideOld chains and ropes, many unused for a long time fasten boats safely in the harbour

South Gare on TeessidePaddy’s Hole

South Gare on TeessideFish heads

South Gare on TeessideSun rise over Paddy’s Hole

South Gare on Teesside

South Gare on TeessidePaddy’s Hole

South Gare on TeessideA fisherman digs for bait at low tide on Bran Sands

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South Gare Fisherman's huts

Fisherman at South Gare Fisherman’s Association

South Gare on TeessideSouth Gare Fisherman’s Association

Freezing fog at South Gare, Teesside

South Gare Fisherman’s Association

South Gare on Teesside

South Gare Fisherman’s Association

South Gare Fisherman's huts

South Gare Fisherman’s Association

South Gare Fisherman's huts

A fisherman sits inside his hut at South Gare

IF1_8762Fisherman Colin Oliver

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Fisherman Graham While

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Fisherman James While

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A man cycles through snow towards the steelworks

2IF_5552Steel production

IF1_7247EDF energy off shore windfarm

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Freezing fog at South Gare, TeessideRunners follow the shore line in front of a wind turbine

DSCF0126Former World War Two gun emaplacement

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IF2_9282.NEFDefences from WW2

South Gare on Teesside

Wreck of a boat on Bran Sands

Freezing fog at South Gare, Teesside

Winter in the dunes

IF1_4113A fox crosses the road

IF1_4121A fox out and about in the bushes of South Gare

IF2_1712Seabirds of many breeds drop in to the area

IF1_4085Swan’s arrive during winter

IF1_8048Seabirds are in abundance on the dunes

IF1_8074-2Local woman Alison Wake feeds the seabirds almost daily

L1004187Winter at the gare

IF1_7999.jpgA dumped mattress

DSCF0078Some of the waste washed up onto the shoreline

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Umbrella

See more of my work on my website and blogs via the link….

Room 2850

All images copyright Ian Forsyth

No usage without arrangement