Thursday, 21 January 2021

Renewal in Newcastle


It's often said that a skyline full of fixed steel cranes is a good measure of growth for a city.  Newcastle can certainly relate to that given the number that we have at the present.

Most of the building activity in Newcastle is for residential apartments.  Many of the new builds are going up where older buildings once stood.  

With the decentralisation of the Newcastle CBD out to the large shopping centres like Charlestown and Kotara, and the recent (in the last few years anyway!) upgrade of Hunter Street for the light rail, many stores have closed doors.  As a result, buildings stand abandoned and run down.  Some of these may also have been abandoned after the 1989 Earthquake, never to be repaired.

It is good to see that, although the new builds are taking over ground space from older buildings that have been demolished, the heritage facade of the older buildings is being kept to integrate into the structure of the new build.

One such area demolished and having a new building installed, is the city block bordered by Hunter, King, Thorn and Wolfe Streets.

Within this boundary are the Masonic Hall (later to become the Lyrique Theatre) which stretches from Thorn Street all the way across the block to Wolfe St, some Victorian Terraced Houses that front onto King Street,  the Soul Pattinson Chemist building on Hunter St and on the corner of Hunter and Perkins St the building that from 2015 was Jojos Homewares.

The Masonic Hall was opened in 1910.  Throughout its life it has seen service as a Theatre, Cinema, a Mini Golf Club, a Billiards Club and a Hostel for Servicemen.  When it was built, the entrance to the hall was off Thorn St but in 1926 it underwent some major alterations.  The whole theatre was reversed and a balcony added.  The new entry was now off Wolfe St.  It has seen name changes from Masonic Hall to Lyric Theatre to New Lyric Theatre and then to Lyrique Theatre.  It had its share of changes and opening/closing/re-opening over the years.  In the late 1990s, it closed down never to be used again.  I believe though, that the top storey of the Thorn St end of the building was still operating as a Masonic Temple up until 2008.  The demolition of the building began in March 2020 and still continues.

There is a row of Victorian Terraces along King St between Thorn and Wolfe streets that will be renovated for the project.

On the corner of Hunter and Wolfe streets, at 155-157 Hunter St, the building originally housed the Royal Exchange Hotel, built in 1878.  Since then the building has been used as Pikes Boot Making Company, the Duke of Kent Hotel, the Advance Bank, the Mall Newsagency and finally, from 2015, Jojos Homewares.

Just to the east of that building is the Soul Pattinson Chemist building (complete with original Soul Pattinson signage at 153 Hunter St.  That building opened in 1860 as a Chemist.  It has seen such businesses as a Tobacconists, Lowes Menswear, Umbrella repairs, The Newcastle Manufacturing Fur Company, and the Sol Invictus Motorcycle Company.  It has housed its share of different Chemist shops also.

I have no photos for this post of what used to be the Coles building on the corner of Hunter and Thorne; that building is completely gone!

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This is the Masonic Hall front onto Thorn St.  The original entry point until 1926 when
the whole theatre was turned around for entry off Wolfe St.

Steel girders hold the facade in place.

A sure sign indicating the original use of the building with the weathered triangle
to the right.

The other end of the Masonic Hall/Lyrique Theatre in Wolfe St.
In 1926 the building was reversed and a balcony added to the original 
building.  I'm thinking that entry to the theatre was via this
pedestrian tunnel.

The Wolfe St end of the Masonic Hall/Lyrique Theatre.  

The Wolfe Street end of the theatre.  

106 King Street, Newcastle.  I believe the Doctor is still running his
surgery from here whilst the building work continues
on behind him.

The row of Victorian Terrace houses that will be renovated as part of the new build for 
East End Stage 2 work.

Through the window of 104 King St and looking across the site
to the facade of Soul Pattinson and the old Royal Exchange Hotel.

Through the window again.  The Soul Pattinson facade being the shorter one on the 
right hand side.

Detail from 98 King Street Terrace house.

Facade on the corner of Hunter and Wolfe Streets.

Facade of the Royal Exchange hotel and the Soul Pattinson buildings.

The rear of the Terraces of 98-100 King St.

Virtually the entire block here showing the Thorn and Wolfe St facades of
the Masonic Hall/Lyrique Theatre.  You can also see the back of the 
Victorian Terrace homes that are to be renovated as part of this build.

Wednesday, 16 December 2020

Focal 100 35mm film & Minolta X-700


This is another of those films that I shot earlier in the year (March/April) and then promptly forgot about when we went into lockdown!  I picked the roll up from the lab on the 1st Dec.

I have featured this film before; Focal 100 35mm film.  The Focal name is a K-Mart brand.  Their 35mm film is rebranded ANSCO (manufactured New York) and Ferrania (Italian) films.  The Focal stock that I have expired in 2005 but have been frozen for the majority of their life.

The lens I used is a Minolta MD 50mm f1.7.

Some of these were taken whilst we were on a few days away in the Coffs Harbour area in March before the lockdown really took hold.  We explored a little of the area and found some small rural towns that I would love to re-visit and explore even further now that a lot of local travel restrictions have been lifted.

The other photos, were taken in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie area, whilst we were walking the dogs, before the stricter lockdown laws came into place.  

I was a little disappointed with this roll; usually the Focal 100 has turned out great.  From a roll of 24 I only had 9 successful (my assessment!) exposures.  Some exposures turned out a little grainier than previous rolls and it appeared my focus was out slightly slightly for some although, I am wondering if that could have been a scanning issue maybe.  I have another Focal roll loaded into an Emi K 35mm Rangefinder camera for some walk around shots so I'll see how they turn out; perhaps, even though the film has been frozen, it is approaching it's ultimate use by date.  We'll see.

I have a couple of days off now and will be dropping off a Fomapan Classic B&W film in for dev and scanning.  My last Fuji Acros 100 (original!) 120 roll is still sitting in a Bronica ETRSi awaiting for me to take it out.  There was a slight mishap with this film and it's possible I have lost a few exposures but time will tell.  

I hope you have all been well given the reality of this year.

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All Rights Reserved

General Store - Nana Glen, NSW, Australia

Community Hall - Nana Glen, NSW, Australia

General Store - Glenreagh, NSW, Australia

Surfing - Crescent Head, NSW, Australia

Watching the Surfers - Crescent Head, NSW, Australia

The Stairs of Pain - Merewether, NSW, Australia

Watching the Surfers - Merewether, NSW, Australia

The Ocean Baths - Merewether, NSW, Australia

Lunchtime for Seagulls - Warners Bay on Lake Macquarie, NSW, Australia

Sunday, 29 November 2020

Bronica ETRSi & Fuji Velvia 50 Medium Format Film


It took forever (it seemed) to get through this roll of film and get it off to the lab.

I'd loaded it on New Years Day and it only took an outing over a couple of days to complete but, it sat for ages on my desk until I finally posted it off for developing and scanning.  

Newcastle does not have a lab here that does the E6 processing for slide film and I have to post it to Sydney.  This is not an ideal situation as postage both ways costs me about AU$26.  Add this onto the cost of development and scanning and I am looking at about AU$50 for the total cost.

I don't want to let the cost put me off using the film.  If I were a photographer with a  business, this would not be a problem; the cost of the postage, developing and scanning would be paid for by a client.  However, for a hobby photographer, this cost can be a real block in the scheme of things sometimes. 

I console myself with the thought that the film was gifted to me and so that was a saving in the initial stages but, costs can still be daunting for slide film.

I like to use slide film because of the low grain and the vivid colours; more so than negative film.  In saying that, slide film is also 'fussy' in that it doesn't have the latitude that negative film has for correct exposure.  Camera settings usually have to be pretty spot on when shooting on slide film.  It makes it a bit of a challenge.  I actually used a free light meter app on my iPhone to obtain exposure settings for these photos.  As you can see, It works pretty well!

This particular roll was gifted to me and is about 14 years past its expiry date.  It has been kept in the freezer which is a great way to store film if you have bulk as it keeps it as fresh as the day it was purchased.

The Bronica ETRSi is a camera I love to work with.  It took me a little while to get used to the waist level viewer though and every time I go out with it I have to re-acquaint myself with the perspective that the viewer provides.  Lens used was a Zenzanon EII 75mm f2.8.  Lovely lens and I most certainly love to get my hands on more lenses and accessories for the Bronica!

These photos taken at Catherine Hill Bay, just south of Newcastle.  The jetty there used to be used for coal loading onto ships.  It is now abandoned and part of it was burned out from bushfires back in 2013.  From there we went to Belmont on Lake Macquarie where there are always sailboats on the Lake (and, of course, Seagulls!)

It was a cloudy, overcast sort of day but still very happy with the colour representation and the 
sharpness of this film.

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Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Signal Box and disused Rail Track - Neath, New South Wales


This disused Signal Box is on the Cessnock Road at Neath in the Hunter Valley.

When the Neath Colliery was opened in 1907, the branch line was built to freight the coal.  I believe this branch line came off the Cessnock Line which was a private line operated by South Maitland Railways.  The Railway did carry passengers and merchandise for the new mining townships but was mostly used to transport coal from numerous collieries in the South Maitland area.  The Neath branch line opened in 1908.  When the mine closed in December 1984, the line was still in use until the Coal Washery was closed in April 1988.

The Station consisted of a pair of 70m platforms around the main lines.  There were 2 lines on this branch however one was lifted shortly after the closure in 1988.  The Signal Box was used as a staff exchange location up until 1996.

It has gone the way of a lot of abandoned places now; windows smashed and the odd graffiti painted on walls.

While I was out that way, I stopped and took a photo of a lagoon that I pass on the way to my daughters house.  Love the reflections off the still water and intend to return out there for some more!

Photos are © Life with Jordy Photography

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Friday, 23 October 2020

Sunset Silhouettes


A couple of weeks ago we took the dogs for a walk along the foreshore of Warners Bay and down to Speers Point on Lake Macquarie.  It was unusually warm for the time of year and there were quite a few people gathered in the park there enjoying the cool breeze off the Lake.

As the Sun set, it cast this beautiful golden colour over everything and was reflected off the water too.  

I shot these using the spot meter on my Canon 90D and metered off the people.  The light of the Sunset behind them blew out the exposure and the people became darker.  A little adjustment in Lightroom saw them become silhouetted against that brilliant Sunset colour.

We had intended on getting some takeaway and sit down after our walk to enjoy the cool lakeside.  However, as we started to get settled we were dive bombed by mozzies and the wind started to pick up across the Lake.  We decided we would grab some Kebabs and head on home.  By the time we reached the car about 100 metres away, the Sunset had been replaced by very angry clouds and the wind had picked up  considerably.  I had to hold the car door open as we put the dogs in because the wind was slamming it shut and just as Kim & I got into the car the rain came pelting down in heavy squalls driven by the wind.  The storm front brought a cool change with it and the temperature dropped by about 10° C in a short space of time.

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Renewal in Newcastle

  It's often said that a skyline full of fixed steel cranes is a good measure of growth for a city.  Newcastle can certainly relate to t...