Category Archives: All about Belfast

That Tree, always in Black and White…

Part of Cee’s B&W photo challenge  – Open Topic

I have photographed this tree at the Giant’s Ring Belfast a number of times, of course at different times of year and in differing lights, however, I have always turned it into varying B&W effects. Perhaps my first attempt was “the original and best” but I am posting a selection of them as it seems to me that this tree naturally tells me that it needs to be in B&W to do it justice and create the atmosphere. For that reason it seems to me to be the obvious choice for Cee’s B&W Challenge Open Topic this week.

tree 2
needless to say the little boy and his pup make the photo for me
SONY DSC
same tree, different angle
tree 1
don’t know just decided to take this with the tree and the stones as background rather – was enjoying the meadow that they have allowed to grow up in recent years
SONY DSC
the original
tree
a different day, different light, like the sky

 

Hanging, headlands, hockey and many more ;)

Lori’s Weekly Letter Challenge: Letter H

So, this is my first adventure into Lori’s weekly letter challenge and I see that I am joining rather late – perhaps I can fill in the letter ‘a’ to ‘g’ in due course, although with the letter ‘d for dog’ I just might get stuck in there for a while 😉 Nevertheless here I am. As usual I have difficulty focusing on and staying completely on one track on my blog and I, therefore, tend to diversify but I do offer variety I HOPE some decent photos for everyone to enjoy. I am consistent, however, in that I usually include something of my home land, Northern Ireland, trying to show it off in it’s better light, and also my love of animals, in particular dogs. I’m a keen photographer with a huge archive of photos and I admit to enjoying having the opportunity to share a few of them in these challenges.

OK so, the letter H… I came across a photo that inspired me to choose a few others on the same theme – Hanging!

H 2
Yes, it’s a Hangman’s noose! Crumlin Road Gaol, Belfast. The Crumlin Road Gaol dates back to 1845 and closed it’s doors as a working prison in 1996. It is now a very popular tourist attraction and believe it or not well worth a visit. The Gaol played a significant part in the recent history of Northern Ireland. The last Hanging at the Gaol took place on 20th December 1961. 

Having at last found a use for this photo I then found a few others along the same theme albeit much more fun than this kind of Hanging 😉

The first was taken through the railings of a skate park in New York, this little lad pictured Hanging from the the edge of the bowl, maybe 5 or 6 years old was there with his dad. Clearly neither of them had any sense of fear. The second is one of my boys at this point Hanging during pull ups whilst training at the gym.

Below, just some scarfs and safety gear hanging…

And back to promoting ‘our wee country’… the beautiful Headlands on the North Antrim Coast – photographed from the west and then the east

H 1
Headland from the west looking over Benbane Head, Dunluce Castle, Runkerry Point and Giant’s Causeway Headland beyond.
H
View from the east of Whitepark Bay, Portbradden and the reverse side of the Giant’s Causeway Headland beyond 

So now some animate ‘H’s from home and beyond…

Some of the connections to ‘H’ are obvious but for the sake of indulging my fastidious nature let me say in the above collection I have a pet Hamster I photographed many moons ago, a rider on Horseback, Banff Canada, a Hare, Calgary Alberta, swans in Hillsborough Lake Co. Down NI, Heron Strangford Lough Co Down NI, a Hairy chimp, a very Happy wren on my Hedge at my House, a Hawaiian Goose a lady Hunting in a bin for food Calgary Alberta and two beautiful Horses San Roque, Spain.  Fairly random selection.

So now a few inanimate ‘H’s…

The cranes you could not miss if you ever visited Belfast. They are Harland and Wolf gantry cranes, previously used in shipbuilding, now more for heavy lifting during the building of of wind turbines and refurbishment of oil rigs. Then there is a very sad Headstone for a baby, St Andrew’s Scotland, a collection of cowboy Hats on sale Downtown Calgary a Hand-knitted Hat on a Head in St George’s market, Belfast – (another place worth visiting) and finally Stormont Building known colloquially as “The House on the Hill” (where all our politicians work). I have blogged previously about Stormont if you would like to read more. Again, worth visiting.

And finally for my indulgence, no selection of ‘H’ photos would be complete without a of one of my boys playing Hockey, in this case for a team called Harlequins!

I hope you have enjoyed my first entry into Lori’s Letter Challenge. I would love to receive feedback,

Jennifer

Cee’s Black and White Photo Challenge: Roads of any kind

Random Roads from home and abroad…

I am enjoying these challenges as I find myself perusing my archives and reminding myself of photos I kept simply because I liked them, but never had reason to show them to anyone. So, for this challenge I have a little selection – the first three from my archives and three that I took this morning specially for the challenge. I hope you enjoy.

B&W Roads (1)
‘The Road Below’ – through the glass floor about 6ooft up in the Calgary Tower, Downtown Calgary, Alberta, Canada. 
B&W Roads (6)
‘The Road to Rhonda’ province of Malaga, Spain
B&W Roads (4)
‘Old Access Road to Spelga Dam’, Mourne Mountains, County Down, Northern Ireland               Cold and exposed, as we say here in NI… “It would’ve blown the head of ye”
B&W Roads 2
‘From across the Road’ – looking straight down my favourite residential road from across the road and though the traffic. Taken 22/04/16
B&W Roads 1
‘Crossing the Road’ – Malone Road, one of the main arteries into Belfast city centre. My settings were set before crossing the road so I did not need to stop, therefore, no photographer was injured in the taking of this photo 😉                 Taken 22/04/16
B&W Roads Stormont
‘Road to Parliament’, Stormont Estate, Belfast, Northern Ireland                                                        Taken 22/04/16

Normally the Parliament Buildings (home of the Northern Ireland Assembly) at the top of the hill would be my focus for the photo, however, taking up this challenge to make the road the main subject of a photo I revisited these beautiful grounds this morning and returned with this image.

 

Home of the ‘House on the Hill’

A few days ago I  blogged about St Georges Market in Belfast that I always knew was there but did not realise it was a great place to visit  (Belfast ‘born and bred’ )

Well, Stormont Estate, on the outskirts of East Belfast is another such place. For me, when growing up, Stormont was seen on the news, that is where we see our politicians being interviewed and a place I remember my parents attended a huge demonstration way back during the most troubled times in the 1970s. As a student doing my dissertation I was inside once to interview a politician who had kindly given up his time to answer my pretty mundane questions about politics and the media. Those were my experiences of Stormont.

Now I know it to be so much more… another gem of Belfast and well worth visiting.

Parliament Buildings, commonly known as Stormont or ‘The House on the Hill’ because of its location in the Stormont Estate, is the seat of the Northern Ireland Assembly and previously of the Parliament of Northern Ireland. Until a few years ago, even though I had driven past it many hundreds of times, it had not dawned on me that the grounds are open for us all to enjoy, in fact 365 days a year!

The grounds are beautifully kept, 407 acres, a beautiful mixture of woodland, walking and fitness trails, children’s playgrounds, sculptures and even a dog park – a large enclosed area where dogs can be let off the lead to run and socialise with other dogs.

One of the most dramatic features of the estate is the long straight driveway leading  to the House on the Hill.  The Prince of Wales Avenue is flanked either side by double rows of red limes – 305 of them, planted in 1929, all of which survive until today. It never fails to impress me when I park at the gates and walk up that pristine driveway with the dogs on a sunny Sunday morning towards the House on the Hill. Yet it amazes me that this is yet another gem that passed me by as a child largely thanks to the many troubles that existed in our country at the time.

Stormont 1

Belfast ‘born and bred’

Born and bred
Belfast, the home of many a bakery, was famous for it’s bread. The proliferation of the different types of bread that you see now in supermarkets all around the UK was something we always knew here – potato bread, soda bread/farls, wheaten bread, veda bread etc etc., yes before it became trendy in mainland UK we took it for granted here.

Born in 1964, pretty much all of the childhood that I can remember (i.e. from the age of 6) and well into young adulthood, was a life surrounded by ‘The Troubles’. Don’t worry, I do not intend to be political in my posts, however, there is no doubt that living in Belfast during this time was a different and often difficult way of living, but life it was and we just had to get on with it. Perhaps sometime I will write about some of the very negative things we had to live with as a matter of routine, but not now.

Since the whole ‘peace process’ thing, life here has certainly changed for the better in many ways. For me, one significant improvement is to be able to have much more freedom to safely enjoy the lovely little country in which we live. In the past we were often compared to Beirut, ironically now with everything else going on everywhere else in the world perhaps we are one of the safest cities/countries to be in.

As a keen photographer, I am happy to go off with my camera most places and try to capture the atmosphere of what we have on offer in and around Belfast and other places in NI. Actually we are such a small country that almost everywhere is ‘on our doorstep’ – an hour and 15 minutes will take me from Belfast to the furtherest point on the beautiful North Antrim Coast, home of the Giant’s Causeway, Dunluce Castle, Royal Portrush Golf Club, filming of The Game of Thrones, not to mention the Titanic (we like to remind people that it was fine when it left Belfast!) and many of the most beautiful beaches in Europe.

One of the places I have enjoyed exploring over the last couple of years has been St. Georges Indoor Market, right on the edge of Belfast City Centre. I had always known it was there but until my son began to frequent it for the fresh food on offer I had never been. Having benefited from one of the National Lottery Heritage Projects it was named UK’s Best Large Indoor Market 2014 by the National Association of British Market Authorities. So, I took the plunge (and my camera) one Sunday morning to see what all the fuss was about…

I discovered that it is a vibrant, happy, cosmopolitan place, busy with traders, eateries, musicians, locals and many tourists. A place that underlines how far we as a little country have come in the last number of years.

Browsing or buying local fresh food and crafts and enjoying cooked food from all over the world (including Belfast Baps (aka buns) filled with a mountainous supply of bacon, sausage, eggs and of course ketchup) to the sound of a live musician is a real pleasure.

The opportunity to browse with my camera is what I tend to do there – other than maybe buying a ball of wool or two every now and then ;). I always liked to photograph the mundane and see the beauty in it…

 

As a photographer I always prefer to capture the candid, and what a great place to do this.

However, what strikes me most when I pop down to the market is that the range of both stall holders and visitors make it a truly cosmopolitan place. Tourists from all over the world, China, Germany, America – everywhere, huge countries coming to ‘our wee country’ to to enjoy what we have to offer. Perhaps this is one of the biggest changes our country has seen since the ‘peace process’, not only can I, who had to endure the many years of The Troubles, enjoy life here but so also can so thousands of visitors from every corner of the world.