Then and Now – Knightstone Island

This is a regular series of blogs about photographs of the same place taken years apart.

I quite like those Then and Now comparison photographs that you see in books or on the Twitter or Facebook.

I always think I should give them a go. However what I have started to notice is that I have been doing Then and Now photographs unintentionally over the years and have been taking photographs of the same thing or place from the same view or perspective years apart.  The first instance of this that came to my attention was last year in May when I went to Manchester.

It only really came to my attention that I was doing this a lot, when checking the Places function on the Apple Photos Mac App that I could see I had taken the same photograph of the same thing just years apart!

Living in Weston-super-Mare and visiting the seafront on a regular basis, to be honest I am not too surprised that over the years I have taken photographs of the same place from (roughly) the same perspective. One place I seem to photograph a lot from the same viewpoint is Knightstone Island.

Knightstone Island was originally an island but was then joined with the mainland. Up until the late 1800s the island was in private hands, but was then acquired by the local council who enlarged the island by building a new retaining wall on the north eastern side.  The council also built a new swimming pool and a Pavilion, which both opened in May 1902.  

The Pavilion included refreshment rooms, a reading room, a billiard room and a theatre.  It had electric lighting and a hot water heating system.  Seawater was used in the swimming pool. Band concerts, plays, operas and other shows were performed at the Knightstone Pavilion, films were also shown. However the size of the complex restricted the audience numbers so the site was unable to have big shows or names performing. By the 1970s Knightstone Pavilion was struggling financially and it finally closed in 1991.   There were plans to convert the site into a leisure complex but these never came to fruition and the buildings gradually deteriorated.

This is a view of the island from near the Grand Pier in September 2005.

In 2007 the whole island has been redeveloped.  The Bath House and front section of the ground floor of the Pavilion were converted into commercial premises.  The rest of the Pavilion and the swimming pool were converted into homes and two new apartment blocks were built on the island.

Here is the view in December 2009. You can see the redevelopment on the site. Seeing snow on the beach is always quite a unique view.

This is the (slightly different) view in June 2011.

The same view in May 2018

Another more recent view in January 2019.

Then and Now – Sand Bay Bunker

This is a regular series of blogs about photographs of the same place taken years apart.

I quite like those Then and Now comparison photographs that you see in books or on the Twitter or Facebook.

I always think I should give them a go. However what I have started to notice is that I have been doing Then and Now photographs unintentionally over the years and have been taking photographs of the same thing or place from the same view or perspective years apart.  The first instance of this that came to my attention was last year in May when I went to Manchester.

It only really came to my attention that I was doing this a lot, when checking the Places function on the Apple Photos Mac App that I could see I had taken the same photograph of the same thing just years apart!

On the beach at Sand Bay is an old second world war pillbox. It looks like it has sunk into the sand, I am not sure if it has just sunk, or of it had slipped down the beach over the years.

This was the view in April 2017

Here is the (same) view in June 2020.

There appears to be an extra telegraph pole that was installed in the intervening  three years.

Even I was a little surprised to see that I had taken two photographs each time of the bunker.

This was another view in April 2017

Here is the (same) view in June 2020.

I do think it interesting that there are quite a few pillboxes and beach defences at Sand Bay. You wouldn’t have thought that this coastline was under threat of German invasion back in the 1940s. It’s quite a way from the continent and you would need to go around both Devon and Cornwall (going past Plymouth, a major Royal Navy port), as well as South Wales before hitting the beaches at Weston and Sandy Bay. However doing some research about the pillboxes, I came to realise that the British in 1940 did believe that invasion may come from the South West. The Taunton Stop Line was a defensive line in south west England. It was designed “to stop an enemy’s advance from the west and in particular a rapid advance supported by tanks which may have broken through the forward defences.

Then and Now – Manchester

I quite like those Then and Now comparison photographs that you see in books or on the Twitter or Facebook.

I always think I should give them a go, though often my attempts use screen grabs from Google Street View as was the case with these old photographs of Trenchard Street.

However what I have started to notice is that I have been doing Then and Now photographs unintentionally over the years and have been taking photographs of the same thing or place from the same view or perspective years apart. 

The first instance of this that came to my attention was last year in May when I went to Manchester. I was staying in a hotel close to MediaCity, so caught the Metrolinktram into the centre of the city. I arrived in St Peter’s Square and decided to take a few photographs, including this one of a council building.

I had recently been using Amazon Photos as an online backup service for my photographs. One of the nice features is that in the app it shows you photos from the same date in previous years So I was amused to find that two years ago to the day, not only had I being in Manchester, but I had also taken some photographs including this one the same council building I had taken.

It only really came to my attention that I was doing this a lot, when checking the Places function on the Apple Photos Mac App that I could see I had taken the same photograph of the same thing just years apart! So I decided I would do a series of blog posts about these photographs.

Airport photographs

I started to realise that this week that when I fly I usually post a photograph to instagram of the plane I flew on. But not any old photo, usually I have taken it from a process using the Snapseed app.

This was the photo I took this week in Edinburgh.

Looking from my archives I found these other photographs on my Instagram feed. Continue reading “Airport photographs”

Stuff: Top Ten Blog Posts 2016

Across this blog I wrote fifteen posts in 2016. As might not be expected most of the top ten posts that year were from 2016, and I was pleased to see how popular my 1990s photographs of the Bristol Harbourside were.

I visited Legoland in 2013 and felt that it was A bit tired and this was the tenth most popular post, dropping one place from last year.

Also about Legoland Miniland was the ninth post.

The eighth post was about Time travelling by train which was a post on the newly painted GWR High Speed Train in the classic 1970s blue and yellow.

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The seventh popular post was inspired by a newspaper article and talked about the many Changes at the railway station in Weston-super-Mare.

The sixth placed post was from my 2012 series of Cinematic Advent Calendar posts, this one was #07 – The Eagle has Landed. There were quite a few films in the advent calendar that have significant memories over and above the film itself. Queuing for Star Wars was significant for example. With The Eagle has Landed I went to see it at the Aldeburgh cinema with my grandparents.

When I used film, I didn’t take than many photographs, but I did take a fair few of the Bristol Harbourside, so the fifth post was of the Bryan Brothers’ Garage Demolition, Bristol, circa 1999.

Three of the next four posts were similar and all contain photographs from the Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s.

Construction in the Bristol Harbourside

Fourth was this post Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s and third was this one: Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s (second part).

The second most popular post was a comparison of Trenchard Street, Bristol, circa 1970s and the view today.

The most popular post of the year on the Stuff blog was a series of photographs of Bristol Harbourside in the 1990s.

So quite a few posts from 2016 in the 2016 top ten.

Buongiorno Italia

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Back in the mid to late 1990s I visited Italy quite a bit, usually going twice a year, once for the carnival and once in the summer. I initially would take my 35mm SLR film camera, but in later years replaced this with the first HP PhotoSmart Camera. These images are from my 35mm camera, which were developed and then scanned into the computer.

On many of those visits I went to Venice, but I have very few photographs of that place from my 35mm collection, though I have some digital ones from the PhotoSmart camera. I really liked Venice and though it was full of tourists, one of the advantages of having a friend who was  a local, was finding those really nice places for coffee, cake and pasta, that were frequented by locals. So yes you could spend €4 for a coffee in St Marks Square, the places we went to, you paid €1 for an espresso.  This photograph is one of the Grand Canal.

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The local restaurant in Venice we went to, was more of a cafe then a restaurant, but served some delicious food, the seafood pasta I had was great with clams, prawns, squid and lobster.

Another place in the area I visited was Verona.

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This is Piazza Bra in the heart of Verona.

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This is the Arena di Verona, which is a Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Bra in Verona. Back in Roman times, nearly 30,000 people could sit inside, despite its age, today 15,000 people can sit inside.

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The one place where I spent most of my time when visiting Italy was Padua.

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An early morning walk with the mist slow rising before the hot summer day.

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Interestingly from a technical perspective, the prints from those trips are still with me (in a box) however the original digital images seemed to have gone missing, they were probably backed up to a series of floppy disks that I discarded many years ago when moving house (this was in the days before cloud storage became ubiquitous and a quick and easy way to backup and store digital photographs). What I do remember from those images was how awful the quality was, 0.3MP or similar if I recall correctly.

Shooting the Moon

The Moon

When we had the recent super red moon, I did think about taking some photographs, then I realised I would need to get up at 3am so made the decision to stay in bed.

However the evening before I decided I would try and take some photographs of the moon and you can see from this first attempt, I failed miserably…

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After doing some reading, I realised that I really should use a tripod and change the settings on my camera.

I used my 75-300mm lense on my Canon EOS400D DSLR. I used full manual settings, the ISO setting was set to 200, f10 and a shutter speed of 1/200.

As it is night we often forget how bright the moon actually is, so though I might usually use a higher ISO, with the bright moon, you can set this right down to ISO 200 or 100.

I didn’t want the aperture too closed, but still needed a reasonable amount of time for the shutter to be open. As a result I used full manual settings to set both the aperture and the shutter speed. Rotate the dial to the M setting to get to the full manual setting. You can then use the rotating dial to set the shutter speed. Holding down the exposure compensation button you can use the rotating dial to set the aperture (the f number).

This is what the exposure compensation button looks like on the camera.

exposure compensation button

I also used a tripod and a remote control. This kept the camera steady and avoided any blurring from moving the camera.

The end result I was quite pleased with, not perfect, but much better than previous attempts to photograph the moon. Click the image for a larger version.

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I did crop it for posting onto Instagram, which is the photo at the top of this blog post.

Gloucester Docks

This is still one of my favourite photographs of the Gloucester Docks.

Gloucester Docks

I like the use of the Instagram Rise filter and the way it has enhanced elements of the image notably the bright light from the sun. There is almost a painting quality to the photograph.

Slip, sliding away….

Slit-scan is a photographic process in which a moving slit is placed between the camera and the subject, causing strange stretching and compression effects. Slit-scan was used to create the stretching Starship Enterprise warp effect for Star Trek: The Next Generation.