Friday, September 29

Keeping the momentum going

Momentum is a word that doesn't tend to enter the WME vocabulary much, with updates usually sporadic and rare at best. It is with some trepidation that I actually wield the word, but I think it is justified after my third round of updates over the last few weeks. The latest batch sees more useful additions to the following galleries:
  • WME Birmingham: Four additions - another 26 at Bromford Bridge photo (newly tweaked, I'm proud of that one), a view of Yardley Wood Station, another view of Kings Norton Junction Bridge on the Worcs & B'ham Canal, and a second train photo for Longbridge (got my layers in order there)
  • WME Worcestershire: Now, its very rare that this gallery gets an update, so enjoy it whilst it lasts. Two new bus additions - the 28 at Worcester and an 8 at Kidderminster - plus a new collection for Foregate Street Station. It was about time Foregate Street was included after being on my 'to do' list for an eternity, and now its sorted. Pleasing progress I'd say.
  • WME Telford: What, another Telford update? Yes indeed - Wellington Station provides one of those much-needed new collections I mentioned last time. Its great to start off a spot for one of my favourite stations, again after a long wait in the queue.

Whilst I'm delighted with recent progress, there still seems to be loads of work to do. There are plenty of test photos that still need tweaking and amending, but this latest batch of updates does show that it is worth it. My immediate priorities are to try and sort out a few photos for WME Solihull, whilst I also want to tackle the perennial issue of Wolvtest on WME1 being crammed with local area photos that never seem to go anywhere. Looks like I'll be kept busy for some time to come...

Wednesday, September 27

More WME Additions

A few more photos have been transferred to their home WME galleries over the last week or so. Its taken me a while to get the commentaries sorted, hence I am posting now rather than when the photos first appeared.

  • WME Wolverhampton: This gallery is seeing a fair bit of update action at the moment! The latest offerings include:
    - A 698 at Wobaston photo joining Wolverhampton by Bus (another Rog trip special)
    - A close up of Autherley Junction Bridge, following on from the sequence I added last time
    - A wintry scene at Wightwick Lock which joins the Staffs & Worcs collection
    - A useful shot of Castle Bridge on the Wyrley & Essington
    - Yet another photo of a sign at Wednesfield Park in Exploring Wednesfield
    - And finally, a new collection Exploring Park Village containing a photo of Fowlers Park and the railway crossing
  • WME Birmingham: Only one addition, but a good one all the same. A photo of the 26 at Bromford Bridge has crept its way into Birmingham by Bus, adding a new bus photo location to the WME mix in the process.
  • WME Dudley: An important new collection on the Dudley gallery sees a bit more canal coverage provided in the form of the Dudley No.1 Canal. Two photos so far - Wheelers Bridge and a view of the Delph.
  • WME Staffordshire: Following on from the Bratch Bridge photos I added last time out, I've added a view of Bratch Top Lock to the Staffs & Worcs collection. This particular collection is taking shape quite nicely now with a healthy 19 photos showcasing the canal.
  • WME Telford: Two additions to Telford by Bus, both are shots of route 22 at Telford Bus Station. I'm just about managing to keep the gallery ticking over with updates, but I need more material in order to add some much needed additional collections
  • Exploration Extra: This gallery has tended to get ignored at update time, so I'm pleased that there are some new additions at long last;
    - On the North Yorkshire collection, a photo of buses on layover at Malton
    - A new collection for the Lea Hall Garage Open Day with 3 photos including an alternative view of Metrobus 3050
    - And finally, Cornwall. 7 new additions here, representing Lands End, stations at Newquay, St Ives and Falmouth, a train at St Austell, a bus at Truro and a look at Penzance Bus Station. With 11 photos, this collection is actually getting some encouraging substance behind it

So there you have it, a few more updates to keep things ticking over. I could probably still shift a few more photos across, so a further update may be on the cards, whilst I need to experiment a little more with some of the other test photos before I can include them. The work never stops does it? Enjoy the galleries :)

Saturday, September 16

A few thoughts on WME1

As well as telling you about my latest updates (see previous post) I thought I'd fill you in on whats going on with WME1...

Over the past few months I have been concentrating on ploughing back through my earlier archive, extracting additional photos that I could use to bulk up the local WME galleries before I plunge headlong into my more recent photography. Well, this process is almost at an end as I have now reached my April 2005 photos, marking the point where I cross from the early archive into the newer stuff.

Looking back, the recent focus on the archive has been really successful. I've managed to unearth some photos I am delighted with, and the galleries now paint a more complete picture of the West Midlands thanks to the photos I have now been able to include.

All that remains is for me to do a bit more tidying up. There are still some photos that I need to transfer onto their respective local WMEs, plus a few I'll have to tinker with some more before I'm totally satisfied that they can be included. Once this is done, I can start working away on the newer stuff safe in the knowledge that the older layers have been properly dealt with.

The focus on the older archive has meant that certain parts of WME1 have suffered, notably the Rog Files. Very few of the photos from our 2006 outings have made their way online yet, although by way of compensation I have today added one tasty morsel from our most recent Bridgnorth outing. Starring none other than Mr Mark Wood himself, having coat problems in The Golden Lion - an instant Rog Files classic methinks!

WME Updates

Progress has once again been slow on the WME front (when isn't it?) but I have at least managed to squeak a few more photos onto their local WME galleries.
  • On WME Wolverhampton, a couple of buses representing Choice Travel and routes 517 and 817 join Wolverhampton by Bus. Usable photos that might as well be included.
    I also managed to sort out the sequencing for my Autherley Junction photos, so three of those have found their way into the Shropshire Union collection.
    I've finally managed to extract some useful Wyrley and Essington photos, so a collection has at long last been started for one of my favourite canals. Only 2 photos to begin with, a BCN sign and an alternative look at Devils Elbow Bridge
    And finally on WME Wolves, a new collection for Exploring Wednesfield that includes a nice shot of the memorial gardens, plus two rather boring shots inside Wednesfield Park. Hope to add a lot more to this as times goes on
  • On WME Walsall, a photo of the 319 at Bloxwich joins Walsall by Bus, good to include another photo from a Rog outing. Also, a Hills Rail Replacement minibus creeps into the Walsall Station collection, showing the less than ideal alternative to the Walsall - Wolverhampton rail link
  • On WME Birmingham I've added three photos to the Witton Station collection, building up a better look at the station as a whole
  • On WME Sandwell its a big welcome to Exploring Blackheath, with pubs The Ashley and The Beech Tree kickstarting this new collection. Blackheath is still a place I know very little about so a return visit may be in order
  • And finally, WME Staffordshire takes receipt of two Wombourne Station photos in the Railway Walk collection and two Bratch Bridge photos in the Staffs & Worcs Canal collection. Useful stuff, but I still have hardly any photos of Wombourne the village as regards pubs, shops and facilities - another future outing there too perhaps?

Useful progress then as more of the jigsaw falls into place. Enjoy the photos.

Tuesday, September 12

A Wander Around Willenhall

It had been absolutely ages since I'd had a proper look around Willenhall, so last Friday I decided to pay the town a visit and get some local photos in the process.

I quite like Willenhall, its a proper Black Country town and it certainly comes alive when the market is on. I remember visiting the market as a kid, looking at the stalls as they wind off down the High Street, Saturday mornings out shopping and bumping into relatives that we hadn't seen for ages.

The walk renewed my acquaintance with the market, and also allowed a return to the Memorial Park, a nice spot in the early autumn for picture taking. Also on the photo front, I found a number of pubs to add to the archive - The Windmill (by the park), The County, The Crown (by the library), and The Waterglade. I didn't photo the Royal George but its certainly distinctive with a bright green exterior overlooking the marketplace.

Willenhall also offers good bus photo opportunities with routes such as the 341 and 369 calling at Union Street, and the 331 terminates by the Lion Hotel - two good locations that have served me well in the past; I might drag Rog across for a look around in the future.

The pub photos continued as I extended the walk down into Bilston, revisiting Portobello and then calling at Bunkers Hill for a look at The Borough and The Hustler, the latter all boarded up and looking forlorn. Saturday afternoon memories came flooding back of visiting Queen Street to watch Bilston Town play, with a cup win against Nuneaton Borough a particular highlight. Next was The Samson and Lion on Newbolt Street, before I came across a previously unexplored bit of Bilston in the form of Villiers Square, complete with Villiers Arms pub and a post office, a great discovery.

The outing finished off with a look around Hickman Park, looking absolutely glorious in the autumn sunshine, and recalling even more memories as I reflected on visits to the park for the annual bonfire spectacular, complete with hot pork sandwiches. The park had a magical atmosphere on those chilly, dark November nights, and it wasn't quite the same visiting on a September afternoon but even so I could enjoy strolling around admiring the flowerbeds and the amphitheatre and getting a few more photos. A look at the Dog & Partridge pub just down the road preceded a visit to the Metro stop on The Crescent for a few tram photos and a ride back into Wolverhampton.

Exploring is a year-round hobby, but the trips can certainly take on a seasonal character - take Hawkesley on an icy February morning for winter, or boiling hot days walking along the Wyrley and Essington Canal to Pelsall for summer. Well, this outing had a real autumnal air and I thoroughly enjoyed it.