The Miner and the Polar Bear*

With the end of British Summer Time at the weekend, the mornings are brighter and more welcoming.  Consequently at 8.00am today there were plenty of people about making the most of the beautiful conditions.

At this time of year of course the sun sits lower in the sky, so that every detail on the beach is made visible in sharp relief by the long shadows that are cast.  At high water it is even possible to see what initially appear to be some sort of tracks along the sand, but are in fact the “fingerprints” left by each individual wave as the tide recedes.

To the south the banks of cloud that have deposited heavy rains are moving away, though the draining waters create a small river that divides the beach for those without the footwear to brave the water, or the energy to make the jump.

This worked in my favour for it meant that Lester and his dog Nanook were forced in my direction allowing me the opportunity to photograph them both.  Lester (whose name is actually Edward) is a former pitman, who has seen the closure of three different collieries during his working life.  Now 76 he is still a picture of health, not always the case with those who have spent their lives inhaling coal dust.  Initially I photographed him and Nanook individually, explaining that the lens I was using was too tight to shoot him full length without backing off some distance.

Quick as a flash he was crouched down alongside his dog and the problem was solved.  His knees must be in good nick too!

*Nanook (or Nanuk) is the Inuit bear god.


A good talking to

Have you encountered TED? Not a diminutive of the late Senator Kennedy, or an ursine toy with a need to shout (though watch out for the film with Mark Wahlberg), but the organisation behind TED talks. None the wiser?  Let me explain.

TED (conference)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Curated by publisher Chris Anderson, TED is an abbreviation for  Technology Education Design, the three topics that initially united the speakers when the first conference took place in 1984. Now however, the brief seems somewhat broader and boasts the tagline “Ideas worth spreading”.  I learnt about TED through the musician Thomas DolbyThomas Dolby

who is TED’s musical director, as well as the man behind much of the ringtone technology of mobile phones.

On the website are videos of dozens of speakers; business leaders, academics, celebrities and more, all with an idea or a story to share, and a brief to do so within 18 minutes or less so as not to stretch the human attention span to breaking point. (Unlike that last sentence!)

There are numerous topics to choose from, ranging from an examination of introversion to a demonstration of the best way to use a paper towel, from Jamie Oliver promoting nutrition for kids to Al Gore saving the planet. Very much something for everyone.

It was TED that inspired an earlier blog about Rick Guidotti, and there is a lot on the site about or inspired by photography; check out Erik Johansson’s clever Photoshop wizardry here for example.  Looking at some of the more recent talks this morning, it prompted me to think about memory as a topic for today, however that idea was soon forgotten when later in Darlington’s South Park I met this gentleman. His name of course is Edward so I knew immediately what I should write about today.


I didn’t have 18 minutes to spare for a talk, but I’m glad he was prepared to be photographed, as were some of the denizens of the park.

Didn’t spot Cartman or Kenny though!

South Park title image with the four main char...