Places I’ll miss in Manchester – Part 2

OK I’m expanding this area to encompass Greater Manchester, as Salford is technically the other city adjacent to Manchester.

Light Oaks Park is the true hidden gem, sometimes not even labelled on maps it’s literally 100 yards from my front door and I visit the park everyday, rain or shine as its where I walk my dog.

Red Spotted Woodpecker

The park is teeming with wildlife, there’s a vast array of birds – from Magpies and Jays who hang around in groups to the Woodpeckers and Finches who are more often heard than seen, not to mention the jewel in the crown – the duck pond. Mallards and drakes and Moorhens are the regular pond users but occasionally the odd Canadian goose or heron has been spotted.

Visiting Heron

In summer, the pond fills with deep green lily pads that the baby moorhens skirt across, a huge array of lush greenery surrounds the pond, protecting it’s inhabitants from the curious young children who like to explore around it’s edges.

Baby moorhens pond-ering

I love watching the colours change by season, in spring the pinks of the cherry blossoms, followed by the blue-purple of the sea of bluebells than covers the floor of the shady wooded area. In autumn the trees around the playing field at the top of the park alternate between glorious yellows and deep reds and browns as the trees prepare to shed in time for winter.

Bluebells carpet the floor in the shaded area

When we’re really lucky and it snows, the whole parks seems peaceful, draped in white, the weeping willow in the centre of the park, standing as majestic as ever sprinkled in white.

Weeping Willow

Aside from all the natural beauty the park has to offer, it’s also well equipped for all ages, as well as a children’s play area, there are tennis courts, a football pitch and outdoor gym equipment that all get regular use all year round. Not to mention the numerous other dog walkers and their pooches that like to stop and say hello.

As Seen In Salford

Tonight I’ve hastily emailed my entries for this year’s As Seen In Salford Annual Photographic Competition, which to my knowledge has been running for around 4 years now.

The competition run by Salford Council is open to anyone of any ability or age, the only criteria is that it has to be a photograph taken in Salford, with 20 shortlisted photographs being displayed online and in an exhibition in the Lowry’s Tourist Information Centre.

I’ve entered 3 times so far and each time I’ve been lucky enough to have my photographs below shortlisted (although I’ve never won, yet), one of the nice perks is that they have the shortlisted photos printed onto canvas for the exhibition which you get to keep afterwards.

Millenium Bridge, Salford Quays
Red Evening
Green Haze
Lowry Centre

One of the things to bear in mind is that they seem to be looking for photos that show Salford in a good light, and that can be used to promote tourism in Salford (one of the T&C’s of entry is that they can use your photo for promotion), so photos of this years riots and damage probably won’t get a look in. Bridgewater canal is always a popular selection, and this year they had a separate competition just for that to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the canal. Of course the Quays with the Lowry & Imperial War Museum North are also popular photogenic choices, along with photographs of popular local events (Bonfires, dragon boat racing to name a few).

The deadline for the competition is the 17th October, good luck to all those entering.

Autumn Came Quickly

.. This year. Or it seemed like it, with August feeling like a damp Spring, and early September missing the end of BBQ weather it got last year. Instead this year, global warming (or not if this happened a hundred years ago?) brought us the hottest September 30th & 1st October on record (since the late 1800’s), with temperatures hitting the 30’s in some areas. What has the weather got to do with this blog you say? well the glorious weather from last Saturday quickly changed to the usual Autumnal fare, lots of rain, hats & even gloves needed at one point, it’s hard to believe that a week ago we had a fan on to cool the bedroom for sleep and that blokes were walking the streets with their shorts on and shirts off to stay cool.
So again, how does this fit in with my blog? well it really doesn’t but as I’m keeping to the posting every day, and yesterday’s blog was delayed until today due to being out very late and I’ve done nothing exciting today as it’s been horrendous weather, you can see I’ve made full circle, finally.

A lovely autumnal photo from October last year

The nothing exciting I’ve done today included processing two, yes two! batches of photographs, from last week’s flickr meet and last night’s bowling adventure, and I developed another roll of B&W film from the fridge, this one turned out better and surprised me, as it has photos from my 2010 trip to Wales, as well as photos from the Salford photo walk earlier this year… so it seems I’m more behind in photography stuff that I originally thought. Although tomorrow I may actually get around to scanning some of afore mentioned films to post on the blog..

Night School

Only a quickie post tonight, as I’ve been at night school – an introduction to graphic design course being run in conjunction with Salford College and Oasis Academy, Media City. For 10 weeks every Monday evening I’m attempting to learn about layers, layer masks and other such stuff in an attempt to improve my skills. We’ve spent the first 3 weeks using Photoshop, so I thought I’d post my effort up here – it’s a composite using images from the internet that describe you (i did my best to find creative commons images, harder than you would imagine).

Next week comes the harder, but more exciting part – getting to grips with Illustrator, which was my main reason for doing the course in the first place.