Using a Ricoh GRD III and a Nikon DSLR to photograph streets, people, architecture and anything else that catches my eye.

Friday, 23 December 2011


My place of work is not far from an old canal; originally used by industrial barges throughout the industrial revolution, now used by dog walkers, nature hobbyists, house boat owners, anglers, joggers and walkers.  So sometimes in my lunch hour, I will take a walk along the toe path and get some fresh air.

I don't really do nature photography, so I don't really get many results from my camera along the canal. There are animals and birds amongst the woodland and fields which lay either side of the canal...  but I have no idea what any of them are, and do not carry expensive high speed zoom lenses anyway.  I leave nature photography to those who are good at it.

I have had a little go at nature...  Take a look at my previous post 'The Green Stuff', and you'll see my limits of nature photography.

Anyway....   I like canals because of the industrial heritage and the bridges and locks which control the water.  What an amazing invention the canal lock is!  This was in an age before railways and road haulage. 18th century barges carried many tonnes of coal, iron, goods, stonework across the country; up and down hills on hundreds of miles canals, pulled originally by horses. In the 19th century, the horses were replaced by powered barges; but the canals were still king. 

There is a typical canal lock near my work place, which I photographed last summer with my Ricoh GRD3.  I tried the excellent macro close up capabilities of this little marvel camera.  It can focus at 10mm from subject, with a very narrow DoF.  Then I took some more images, moving away from the subject, to complete the picture.

Picture number 1   (do you know what it is yet?)

Picture number 2   (still not sure?)

Picture number 3   (200 years old and still working every day)

Here are some more images of the same canal.  These are of another lock mechanism, which is also a good example of long life quality forged engineering. Nothing built today will last two centuries; a sign of our throw away society.  These are all with the Nikon D80.

Now I've mentioned the heritage and history of the canals; but they are finding a new purpose as places of leisure for boating enthusiasts and other people drawn to the peaceful outdoors.  Canals have had to evolve and keep up with the times.  The locks still have to be maintained and the bridges and paths kept safe for public use.  Sometimes, new footbridges are needed to allow access for people to cross the water.

I was surprised to see this new bridge appear across this traditional industrial canal.  This bridge must have cost quite a lot of money; and the result is a very contemporary design with steps and ramps for walkers and cyclists.  Maybe it is a little over the top for such a small crossing?...  I am not sure.  So here are some shots taken with my Ricoh GRD3.


Michael Gatton said...

That's a pretty amazing modern addition to the old stuff, but I like it! Happy Christmas by the way :-)

Bill Wellham said...

Cheers Mike. Actually, I do like the new bridge; I'm just surprised it ot permission in such a historically conservative area. I love a mixture of new and old... That is how it has always been... things have to move forward, and everything was modern at some point in time.

Bill Wellham said...

Even man-made canals, canal locks and the barges which used them were all cutting edge technology once. Now they are nostalgic reminders of a slower time.