Still Life Outdoors Click on thumbnail to enlarge image, view caption and use slideshow options. To return to this page click on the image background A traditional indoor fine art and photography genre, this set of images uses the camera viewfinder to isolate still-life compositions from constructed or accidental assemblages found outdoors. IMAGE 01 here, a row of leaf springs was on the ground by the North Yorkshire Moors Railway locomotive running shed. Other galleries are devoted specifically to the Railway.The Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railroad has extensive freight and locomotive depots in Ballard, a northern suburb of Seattle: these driving and trailing axles were grounded awaiting their next move. Others were packed on extended flatbed trucks where the rows of discs reminded me of illustrations and films depicting Viking long ships with shields slung along the gunwales.Ties in the USA, sleepers in the UK, this array was being set out on prepared ground under a road bridge at the BNSF Ballard depot to await the addition of rails and stone ballast. I liked the repetition of forms, the dark colours of the treated timber and the chance of a unique composition. Living by a railway station and travelling by stream trains as a boy created a lasting interest but not an obsession.The Tanfield Railway in northeast England dates from 1725 and is the world’s oldest operational system. The County Durham deep mines have gone and with them the extensive network of waggonways that carried the coal to shipping staithes on the Rivers Tyne and Wear. This stack of old bought-in track was soon grounded and in use.Tanfield Railway volunteers fund raise, restore and operate small industrial steam locomotives to haul vintage passenger and coal trains. Images of the Railway are in another Gallery. Their remarkable skills can bring to immaculate life what some might term scrap to be enjoyed as a working reminder of a vanished way of life. These rods are used in the mechanical system linking moving track points to their operating levers located alongside or remotely.This group was outside the main locomotive running shed on the North Yorkshire Moors Railway. I liked the casual composition, one that could change at any time as objects were moved for use elsewhere.As a student, one of my earliest paintings was a very traditional objects and fruit still life group. The genre in its many guises has always been of interest. The paintings and cross-hatched ink drawings by Georgio Morandi have a perennial appeal. I made a conscious ‘still life’ response when I saw this little group perched on the running plate of a Tanfield Railway locomotive.This is one of a collection of images made on walks along the industrial River Tyne between Newcastle and the coast. The ground left after demolition of industrial buildings is often used for the fly tipping of all manner of waste if access roads remain open. This photograph shows part of a large deposit of plastic beading and was the starting point for Image 14 in the ‘Abstract Images – Various Subjects’ gallery.Remains of several tyre burnings were scattered around the site another demolished industrial building beside the River Tyne. I also spent time photographing the dismantling of the nearby Swan Hunter Shipyard and will post a selection in due course.The Hanover Mill was constructed between 1841 and 1844 for merchant Amor Spoor. It was a long and substantial seven-floor brick structure in the brick warehouse architectural style typical of the period. Unused for decades during which fires and demolitions reduced its length, 2009 brought completion of its restoration and conversion to apartments. This image shows a detail from the extensive scaffolding bracing the façade and providing worker access at that time.The Ballard Bridge in North Seattle crosses the freshwater Lake Washington Ship Canal linking the Lake to the salt water of the Puget Sound. It provides good views of the working and leisure craft moored in the Fishermen’s Terminal. This coil of fishing gear floats was below the bridge’s West Emerson Street approach spans.Coils of rope were piled alongside the floats. The Fishermen’s Terminal offered great scope for photography but only after written application for approval from the Seattle City Council and payment of the required fee. However, the bridge views still provided ample and free subject matter.A few yards further along the parapet brought this collection into the frame. Whilst a good vantage point, the main bridge footpaths are not wide enough for two pedestrians to easily pass one another. This also meant that the constant stream of traffic is most uncomfortably close whilst walking across.These neatly stacked and pristine fishing creels were on the North Shields Fish Quay at the mouth of the River Tyne. Creels are baited and set offshore under marker buoys to catch crab and lobster. The enormous nineteenth century catches of fish such as herring and cod on Britain’s east coast are now long gone, as are the many jobs they created.Blyth is a small commercial and fishing port on the beautiful Northumberland coast. This is a detail from a pile of heavy iron chain link and synthetic fibre netting of unknown function. The large links are several inches in diameter.This image shows part of a long stack of plastic boxes used for packing fish in transfer from boat to the quayside and fish market.Perhaps strictly not ‘outside’ these objects were piled haphazardly into an outhouse window embrasure; some had clearly been there for a considerable time. The sun brought some brightness to the inward view through begrimed and cobwebbed glass.The fine nineteenth century Newcastle City Library was demolished in the 1960s. Its gloomy and heavy concrete successor was designed by Sir Basil Spence and lasted less than forty years. In complete contrast, the 2007 library by Ryder Architecture is open and bright. This is a demolition image showing a random still life in course of assembly; the operator is about to drop another bundle of metal scrap from the concrete-crushing jaws of his machine.