Secret Smoke

By woolybill1
Saddler Street in Durham leads from the Market Place up to the Cathedral. The blue bicycle in this photograph is parked on Saddler St. facing towards the market place at the point where Elvet Bridge joins it from the left. The person on the left is coming up the steps from Elvet Bridge.

The Bridge and the Street form a very narrow V where they join; Saddler St. is extremely narrow but provides the only vehicular access to the Cathedral, Castle, shops, pubs and five Colleges of Durham University. Elvet Bridge is medieval and has been widened, but not by much.

Thirty years ago both Bridge and Street were normal roads for everyday traffic, but you could not physically turn even the smallest of cars from one to the other in either direction. The solution lay in the Market Place, where a policeman had permanent watch standing in the middle in a box rather like a large telephone kiosk. The police box was officially a roundabout. Vehicles had to drive (e.g.) from Saddler St. down towards the Police Box and indicate to the officer by hand signals whether they wanted to turn left, go straight on or double back round the box and back to Elvet Bridge. Thus Durham was the only city in the country with a dedicated hand signal, a whirly motion in front of the face!

Elvet Bridge is now traffic free, as is the Market Place apart from the thoroughfare leading from Saddler St. in a straight line across one edge. Police box and hand signals are long gone, replaced by magic bollards and congestion charging.

These two young lads are sitting at the junction between Saddler St. and Elvet Bridge, minding their own business and enjoying an illicit cigarette. I had my camera at my waist hanging from its neck strap and pressed the shutter with my thumb. They didn't appear to feel a thing.

46mm, 1/50th sec @ f 5.6, ISO 400

Tags: Photo journalism Smoking Cigarettes Durham Boys Teenagers Lads Market place Portraits and people Saddler st

Readers' Choice Awards are given to photos that get over 30 votes

Take your photography to the next level and beyond...

  • NEWS

Why not join for free today?

Join for Free

Your total photography experience starts here

Exclusive 25% off Affinity Photo: Professional photo editing with no subscription!


bliba Plus
12 2 Austria
23 Oct 2007 10:11AM
very well the composition/crop!works very good

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

AngelaR 13 155 United Kingdom
23 Oct 2007 10:14AM
Good candid Bill - like the potted history of Durham too!
23 Oct 2007 10:19AM
Excellent candid Bill,
dianah 11 24.5k 4 United Kingdom
23 Oct 2007 10:21AM
I love these candid shots Bill..excellent history too, I so enjoy all your texts. Terry and I intend to visit all the towns we have never been too..your little snippets are such an incentive.
fentiger Plus
17 918 24 England
23 Oct 2007 10:24AM
You have both fooled me today. I thought this was Moira's! A well seen candid with lots of interesting elements ~ including the bike was good.

IainH 13 82
23 Oct 2007 10:26AM

Quote:They didn't appear to feel a thing

One of them will when he sets his hair on fire Smile
imander 11 388 7 United Kingdom
23 Oct 2007 10:36AM
great shot, but i think imo its a boy and a girl, they may be good mates but his hand on her thigh looks very comfortable. love the description too
imagio 11 12 1 England
23 Oct 2007 11:39AM
Grat candid Bill, know all the tricks heh..

derekv 11 3 England
23 Oct 2007 12:05PM
Nice candid, Bill, great detail. Feel sorry for the lads, I know how they feel, us smokers being outlawed !
woolybill1 Plus
11 23 72 United Kingdom
23 Oct 2007 12:27PM
Thak you, folks.
Ian - Um, you may be right; thought it didn't make any difference these days.
23 Oct 2007 12:34PM
Brilliant candid Bill. Particularly as you were shooting from the hip!
Richsr 11 91 223 England
23 Oct 2007 1:03PM
Like this candid image Bill, good detail and lots of interest. Well captured.
Joline Plus
12 30 53 United States
23 Oct 2007 1:26PM
Aren't you the sneaky one!!!!!!Great hip shot, I would have probably have cut off their heads or something. They do look a little bit guilty of their pleasure!
Nettles 11 England
23 Oct 2007 1:40PM
Oh, how they'll regret this habit when they're older and on oxygen.
Good capture Bill, hope their parents see this.
TyChee 13 275 1 United States
23 Oct 2007 1:45PM
Gee. They start younger every day. Excellent candid.
taggart Plus
13 47 13 United States
23 Oct 2007 1:59PM
A curious situation-- and an excellent image of-- Wondering if the sandwiches are goo-- LOL!

proz 13 205 United States
23 Oct 2007 2:36PM
super shot I just love this type of photography. Always a good story!
riprap007 13 1.6k 37 England
23 Oct 2007 2:46PM
yes, really like this sneaky capture technique, something I do on occasion too, good BG story
danbrann Plus
13 637 17
23 Oct 2007 2:50PM
Observation..observation...obsevation. Great.
Hop-A-Long 11 52 1 England
23 Oct 2007 3:45PM
Great capture Bill and a nice piece of history. They say, whoever they are, that you learn something new everyday, I just have so thanks for that.
mikbee 11 3 8 Scotland
23 Oct 2007 4:56PM
It's a good mix of images here Bill.A bit of a foursome.Walking figure and shop,the illicit smokers,curved detail in the stonework and then the bike.It could almost be a ''joiner''.An interesting one Bill. The sandwich bar has the correct description of the chaps.A couple of ''smoothies'' Good capture here.
glyndwr 11 66 10 Wales
23 Oct 2007 5:10PM
Lots of interest in this shot Bill, not least the stones facing us.

Herge88 11 40 4 England
23 Oct 2007 6:17PM
Sneaky, sneaky.

Best Matt
davidhu 12 19 United Kingdom
23 Oct 2007 8:00PM
Good candid, full of interest Bill.
23 Oct 2007 8:26PM
Now that's very sneaky Bill, and very effective too!

DolphinLady 12 54 1 Wales
23 Oct 2007 8:35PM
Definately sneaky, but very good.
I wish I could take candids like this, but I always seem to get spotted & asked not to take pics, very disheartening.
This is full of wonderful detail, & that looks like a new bike just behind them.
Love the story.
Lucy_Locket 10 35 England
23 Oct 2007 8:37PM
Excellent candid, Bill. Great hip-shooting!! Glad you didnt hurt them Wink
nobby2sheds 11 50 England
23 Oct 2007 8:40PM
Good candid, interesting image.

Mikelane 11 1 Wales
23 Oct 2007 9:38PM
Great candid bill .They really look to be enjoying it .Well done bill .
John_Humphreys 12 69 2 Ireland
23 Oct 2007 10:13PM
This gets my vote for the last line in your 'story'! John
Rende 11 38 4 Netherlands
23 Oct 2007 10:52PM
You've got a painless technique in shooting from the hip Bill; wonderful candid.
SandraKay Plus
11 233 4 United Kingdom
24 Oct 2007 8:53AM
Ten out of ten for your technique - the results are first class. Hope for their sakes that their parents aren't members of Ephotozine. lol.
The very best type of candid.
JudeC 11 6 3 England
24 Oct 2007 6:55PM
Great urban capture - JudeC
paulb20 Plus
11 12 United Kingdom
24 Oct 2007 8:32PM
Super candid Bill, like lots.
GlynnisFrith 11 23 3 United Kingdom
27 Oct 2007 4:56PM
Well Bill I do remember seeing the old police roundabout many years age before Tony & I were married, we were up there to visit an aunt of Tonys who lived not far from Durham thanks for the memory
nice candid shot
newy17 12 273 United Kingdom
30 Oct 2007 3:51AM
lol cleverly done bill.

Sign In

You must be a member to leave a comment.

ePHOTOzine, the web's friendliest photography community.

Join For Free

Upload photos, chat with photographers, win prizes and much more.