Monday, 29 December 2008

Tilt-Shift Landscapes ?

Tilt-shift style photography.
Some examples here.
I love the effect of miniaturising vehicles and people, combined with the enhanced colours.
From top to bottom: Sheffield, Hastings, Dartmouth and the Albert Dock in Liverpool.

Thanks to Danny Nicholson via TWITTER for tipping me off to the TILT SHIFT MAKER site, which produces a 'tilt-shift style' effect on your own photos by giving you a simple interface for deciding which bit of the photograph to keep in focus.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Coastal Earth: re-presenting coastal landscapes...

Rich Allaway's homage to Dan's Urban Earth...

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Merry Christmas to all my readers....

Image by Ronald Lampitt

See you in 2009

Monday, 22 December 2008

Nearly there...

Thanks to my editor John Widdowson for the work on final stages of the manuscript...
On course for publication later in 2009...

Saturday, 13 December 2008

Britglyph: Collaborative landscape art....

Received an e-mail from Lawrence about the BRITGLYPH project.

· Guerrilla art is old news and the Turner Prize means nothing to the man on the street

· A new project is creating a unique piece of ‘user generated art’ that anyone across Britain can contribute to

· Using the gizmo we all have, a phone, the ‘Britglyph’ project records pictures taken at locations across the UK, forming an image on the map

· A digital dot-to-dot in simple terms

· There are 63 locations around the country that will make up the Britglyph

The project website is live.

It's a modern take on the idea of geoglyphs, such as the Cerne Abbas giant.

Check out the website for more details...

Friday, 12 December 2008

Take the wrong way home....

"You're lost without geography" the classroom display label says....

Today I deliberately went left instead of right after dropping the kids off at school.

A good book by Rebecca Solnit is about the art of "getting lost". One newspaper report on this book includes the following interesting quote:

NOT long ago in the Adirondacks on the summit of Mount Marcy, New York's
highest mountain, a wilderne
ss ranger was taken aback when a hiker whipped out a cellular phone to call his office more than 300 miles away in Manhattan and report: "I'm not
feeling well. I can't make it in t
o work today."

Is it possible to get lost with today's available technology ?

It was a very frosty morning today, so I took my camera with me on the school run, and decided to take a different route home than the one I use 99% of the time. I took some pictures on the way home, and a few are added below: more for you to use on my FLICKR page.

Try it today - take a different route home and take 3 images of things that you've never noticed before. See the new in the familiar...

Wednesday, 10 December 2008


Nice fieldwork in the school grounds by David Rogers...
Photo Orienteering
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Landscape Imagery - which one's your favourite ?

Just spent a considerable amount of time sorting out some images for a forthcoming document, and was interested in Noel Jenkins' current DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY COMPETITION, where all the images were taken by Noel. Why not go along and vote for your favourite.
While you're at it, check out some of Noel's other excellent, and very geographical images HERE.
Jurassic Shipwreck: image by Noel Jenkins

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Final drafts being done...

Spending some time today working on the final changes (I hope) to the drafts for the Landscapes book...

3 of the Toolkit books have now been published, and are available for purchase from the GA.
Another 3 are due out before Christmas.

Below is a sneak preview of one of the resources from the Landscapes book:

Over the Christmas holidays, I will be adding new content to this blog with some further 'teasers' to build anticipation for the book's publication...

Also worth mentioning that the Teachers' Toolkit series is already an award winner...
It won the BOOK AWARD at the Scottish Association of Geography Teachers conference in October.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

My current reading

Plenty of wonderful descriptions of landscape...

A companion for my landscape walks...

Look at that intrepid hairy explorer.... and Barnaby...

Friday, 19 September 2008

Landscape Change...

Image by FLICKR user garethmayle

Have you climbed every mountain in Wales ?
If so, you may have to go back there because you missed one...
Proof that everything changes...

Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Miniature Urban Landscapes

Little People in the city...
The other day I was watching 'Smart' when they had a feature on someone who made tiny figures and placed them in city streets and took photos which were close-up and then actual size to show them in context.
Turns out the person is called Slinkachu.
His blog has quite a few examples of his artwork, which could potentially form the basis of a geography homework (although I'd need to think about that a little more...)
I like the idea of playing with scale...

A GOOGLE IMAGE search will lead you to more...

Book out in September.It has a foreword by Will Self.

For more on WILL SELF, check out an interview on his walk from La Guardia airport into Manhattan airport via SPEECHIFICATION.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Some student work...

Based on one of the ideas in the book...

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Farming Landscapes

Down on the farm.

Over to Hall Farm, Wickmere (between Aylsham and Holt) today for a 6th Form Student Day organised by Holt and District Farmers Club.
Took minibus full of students - weather was fine - in fact I've got a sunburnt neck... - and had a farm tour which included 7 stops where we had talks from Bernard Matthews representatives, cattle managers, farmers, potato marketers, agronomists and people from British Sugar. Thanks to Bill, a potato farmer himself, who took us round.
There was a very nice glossy booklet full of very useful information on management and economics of the farm to take away with us, and at the end of the trip there was a free HOG ROAST, which was much appreciated by all (I had a cheese and cucumber sandwich...)
Below is a sample of pictures for a taster of the day...
If you teach in a school in Norfolk it is much to be recommended, especially as it is "my favourite price"...
Good to meet up with several colleagues from other schools, and thanks to Miss Muncaster for her excellent navigation on those windy country roads with the grass growing down the middle... Here is a sample of some of the pictures I took, with some more in my new FLICKR set. Feel free to use appropriately (Creative Commons licensed)Thanks to all involved in the organisation of the event...

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Wordle produces "WORD LANDSCAPES"

My new favourite site: Jonathan Feinberg's WORDLE.

The text is an opening section from an early draft of my forthcoming Landscapes book.

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Up to 100 000 people killed ?

By Flickr user TZA (Creative Commons) - image credit Google and associated imaging partners

Sunday, 4 May 2008

The Wild Landscapes of Britain...

Just catching up with the Monday night lecture that Robert MacFarlane gave at the Royal Geographical Society on the 14th of April relating to his wonderful book that I have blogged about before: "The Wild Places". I was unable to attend this particular lecture (it being my daughter's birthday), but this is the next best thing...

It's available to RGS-IBG members, and I would recommend that you listen to it.
It's full of humour and powerful images, and introduces a new way of exploring the landscape: "border crossings" as Dr. MacFarlane calls them....
It was also good to hear mentions of some of my favourite authors: Barry Lopez (probably my favourite writer if pushed...), Colin Thubron, William Least-Heat Moon, Roger Deakin, Thoreau and Bruce Chatwin, and mentions of some of my favourite places, such as Camasunary and Coruisk on Skye, Wistman's Wood on Dartmoor, the Burren's limestone, Bleaklow in the Peak District and the wild expanse of Rannoch Moor and other 'emptied' landscapes of Scotland, and also the more local wildness of the Norfolk coast.

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

New KS3 QCA site


The new QCA SUPPORT WEBSITE is now open (thanks to Simon Renshaw for the tip-off on that)
You will have to register, which is a very quick process taking less than a minute. A confirmation e-mail is sent immediately and you can then log in.
This allows you to make use of a CURRICULUM PLANNING WIZARD, or viewing RESOURCES that are relevant to Geography (and the other subjects....)

The resources section includes some videos of 'COMPELLING LEARNING EXPERIENCES' and also RECOMMENDED WEBSITES, and it's good to see GeographyPages getting the QCA seal of approval again:

A vast array of good ideas, links and resources for KS3 work can be accessed from the GeographyPages website.

It includes all the details such as the IMPORTANCE STATEMENT. I have taken one sentence from this as our departmental 'statement of intent'...

Geography inspires pupils to become global citizens by exploring their own place in the world, their values and their responsibilities to other people, to the environment and to the sustainability of the planet.

... and of course knowing all about landscapes...

Sunday, 30 March 2008

Toolkit Workshop

GA Conference 2008 : University of Surrey, GuildfordJust sorting out my luggage and various pickings from the conference, which was based in the AP building of the university. This was one of the dry moments, there were lots of wet ones...

Will post more details later in the week once I have more time, but just wanted to make a link to the BLOG of the TEACHER's TOOLKIT workshop which I was particularly involved in.
Alan Kinder opened the session, then 4 of the authors talked through some of the ideas...

Thanks to those who came along to the session...

Friday, 21 March 2008

GA Conference Workshop 2008

Want to hear me talk about some of the ideas involved in the production of the Landscapes book ?
Come along to our workshop at the University of Surrey next week and find out more.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

New New Zealand (Zealand) Pics.

Coming soon, some more fab images of the landscape from Simon Hathaway..
A taster below:

Protecting Landscapes

New in for Year 7 students...

A new idea using the Countryside Code as a basis for some creative work.
Also available on SLIDESHARE.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

David Attenborough

David Attenborough
Got a nice surprise yesterday: entered a ballot for RGS-IBG members earlier in the year, and a ticket arrived in the post !
Image by Flickr User Bryan Ledgard (made available under Creative Commons)

Monday 31 March at 18.30
RGS-IBG Balloted lecture Members only
Wallace and the birds of paradise
Sir David Attenborough
David shows film footage and describes the various species that so obsessed Alfred Russel Wallace, who was the first European to see the display of the spectacular birds of paradise.
Please note that this lecture is balloted. One ticket entry per member.

David Attenborough has obviously produced more footage on the theme of landscapes and natural history than most other people over the years...

Anyone else successful ?

Wednesday, 20 February 2008


This is the video I used as a starter with groups this week, courtesy of David Rayner...

While it's showing, ask people to think "Where would I JUMP to...."

Congratulations to Mark !

Mark Beaumont cycled into Paris last Friday to smash the Guinness World Record for cycling solo unsupported around the world, covering 18 300 miles in 195 days.

Thanks to Val Vannet for sending this image of Mark's first taste of champagne after he'd finished ...

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

Mark nearing the end of his journey...

Mark Beaumont is just a few days away from finishing his epic solo cycle around the world.
We have mentioned his trip in quite a few lessons this year.
Also a good article in this week's Sunday Times

The opening paragraph gives a good flavour for the effort that Mark has put in:

Imagine getting up tomorrow, climbing bleary-eyed onto your bike and cycling from Bath to London; or Birmingham to Liverpool; or Belfast to Dublin. Then imagine doing it again the next day. And the next day and the day after that. For six months.

Now picture doing the same thing, but in the mountains of the Indus Valley, the torrential rain of Thailand and the mind-melting heat of the Australian outback. Throw in a few nights in a police cell in Pakistan, a collision with a moped in India and a mugging in a Louisiana crack house, and you’ll have some idea of what it takes to cycle around the world in record-breaking time.

Val Vannet has continued to blog the journey daily, apart from a short Christmas break, and the next few days, where I will track Mark's progress through France, before Val brings him into the capital...
In her Geography department, Val has used a map which has a series of pins. These started out as yellow and have slowly been turning red...

There are now just 2 yellow pins remaining...
Log on to the blog for the final few days and you'll be able to see the last part of the journey...

Monday, 11 February 2008

Wind Farms

Ecotricity are the company behind the huge turbines at Swaffham that I pass regularly - went past them last week on the way to a conference at UEA.
They have a very useful website which features a whole range of resources. There is a time lapse video showing the construction of one of their installations.

I particularly liked the interactive map of their installations, and also the PDF downloads of the plans, for example the wind turbines that they are putting into Manchester City's football ground. These include photomontages and maps showing how the turbines will look once they are in place.

Swaffham is also KINGDOM COUNTRY after the Sunday evening ITV series starring Stephen Fry. Two of the students I teach featured in a recent episode as they were in a local cricket team which hosted filming of an episode.The local tourist authorities are finally waking up to the potential that this has to attract visitors. I used to live quite close to Holmfirth: the Last of the Summer Wine country...

Here is a Kingdom map I found on the VISIT NORFOLK website.

Sunday, 3 February 2008


With thanks to David Rayner

Spot the landscapes links !

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Blogging Landscapes

cartoon from

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Monday, 14 January 2008

Edible Landscapes !

Edible landscapes...

This was in the Sunday Times at the weekend. Photographer Carl Warner has been making landscapes out of food. There is now a selection on the BBC WEBSITE.

I love them !

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

How we are Now

Tate Gallery recently held a photographic competition called "How we are Now" which asked people to post pictures of contemporary Great Britain...

The winners have been announced, and it's worth checking out the ones in the Landscape category.

Also discovered the SUBURBANALITY pool... All very Martin Parr...

Maps of wherever you want...

Our Year 7s are being asked to create faces which are made up from OS Map Symbols.
Their faces need a key of each of the symbols they use (spot the shoehorned 'education' bit...) and can be made up of layered symbols. They are given a laminated key to use. I will post some of the suggestions later once they have been judged.

On the FLICKR Geography Teacher Resources Pool (which you should join and contribute to if you haven't already) some wonderful maps have been added by Flickr user mearse.

These are the result of a project where students were asked to draw a map of anywhere: the 2 I've included are of unconventional 'landscapes': a student's house (and their pathways through it) and a fridge's contents...
Click to make them larger. Some great ideas and so creative.

Some great ideas.

While we're at it, I recommend that you visit the gallery of Bryan Ledgard, who does a lot of design work for the Geographical Association and has a large collection of eminently geographical images with lots of great LANDSCAPES of course. Here's a sample image...
I love this one, as that's the same chippy I use when we go to Whitby (which we do every year at some point) - the picture is called Xmas Dinner

Picture Credit Copyright: Bryan Ledgard