Yesterday, as Newcastle’s Indian summer came to a rainy end, a group of intrepid photographers set out to capture what there was to see of Alexandra Business Park Shipyard on the Newcastle Photowalk.

Walking Down Shipyard

For those that don't know, a photowalk is an event where a group of people go on a walk, and yes, take photos. (This group is largely twitter-based, though the actual discussions happen via Flickr).

Many were professionals (with kit to match) and came up with some amazing shots. (I'm only showing ones here that are available under NC-CC, but there are a lot more amazing shots in the group Flickr set).

Alexander Business Park NPWalk-1.jpg Outside In

Shots by Darrell Birkett

My PhD colleague (and experienced illustrator) Malcolm came with his own kit to do a sketchwalk (hampered a bit by the rain, but he did get some good shots).

Malcom Sketching Detail
Malcolm sketching…

Slated for demolition
… and his work (not from the shot above, but from the photowalk).

I decided to try taking pictures with an iPhone.

Parrot 2Claw 2 RubbishSafety Details on Digger

I did learn a few things from doing a dedicated photo session with an iPhone:

  • You have to look for things close-to-midrange. This is fairly obvious, but it is frustrating when you see something that would make an amazing shot could you zoom in a bit.
  • The darker it gets, the more your quality suffers. I know that iPhones aren’t great in the dark (I probably need to get a tripod), but even semi-darkness can be a problem.
  • The display is a bit different from the photo taken. I was a bit surprised by that: for some reason I’d assumed it would be the same. It is only slightly different, but different enough if you’re doing close crops. From what I can gather more is chopped off the top and bottom than you’d think from the viewfinder.

What I loved about the photowalk was seeing how other people would take shots of things you’d seen (or even taken photos of yourself) and made them amazing through attention to composition and detail (as well as some editing afterwards).

A couple of examples (theirs, not mine):

Orange boxes
I took my own shot of these 2001-esque boxes, but Craig Rodway's emphasis on the colors and fearful symmetry were far better.

The Watcher
The tower was interesting, but against a unimpressive sky. Darrell Birkett made the most of its imposing structure.

To see the full set, check out the official Flickr set (my best pictures are there, while all of them are in a set in my own photostream). For those that are interested in attending a photowalk, join the group (and follow @npwalk) to stay in the loop.

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Photos all mine apart from Outside In, NP Walk and The Watcher, all NC-CC by Darrell Birkett; Slated for Demolition NC-CC by Malcolm Jones; and Orange Boxes, NC- CC by Craig A Rodway

Vicky Teinaki is a user experience designer at Newcastle upon Tyne agency Orange Bus. She is also working on a PhD at Northumbria University about better ways of communicating design methods within the design industry.