Sunday, 30 November 2014

St Joseph's Church, Waterworld and Doors of the Dome

"St Joseph's Church" :- This is the interior of St Joseph's Church at the bottom of Elm Grove in the City of Brighton, England. It is one of the 11 Roman Catholic churches in the city. It was founded in 1866 but remarkably due to it being built in several stages (and incurring outstanding debts) its official dedication wasn't until 1979. t is yet another one of Brighton's Grade II* listed buildings due to its architectural importance.



"Waterworld" :- Little black clouds scud overhead as a cold and grey looking sea dances to the pull of the moon. The sea view from Brighton is ever changing. The sky, clouds and sea itself produce a dufferent scene on a daily basis. It's never the same twice but is overlooked by those that don't stop to see it or appreciate it.



"Doors of the Dome" :- These are the wonderfully ornate doors of the Dome concert hall that's part of the +Royal Pavilion & Brighton Museums in Brighton. The building was built for the Prince Regent (later George IV) and work started in 1803 with designs by William Porden. TheThe Concert Hall was originally the Prince Regent's stables and held 44 horses in a circular stable. The central cupola is 80 feet in diameter and 65 feet in height. In 1934 the Concert Hall interior was completely removed and replaced with an art deco style complete with walnut paneling and new entrances were introduced designed by Robert Atkinson. Brighton Dome is a Grade 1 listed building.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Daily Doodle : Chaplin

I have to own up and admit that I am not a fan of Chaplin's at all. Some of his stuuf and routines are clever but I have never really fund him all that funny. Having said that I do recognise how innovative he was and also just how clever he was (as were many of his time). However, his little "Tramp" character is very visual looking figure (which he had to be in the silkent period) and therefore I chose to draw him today for a quick 10 minute sketch.



Russet Surreality, Granite and Bench and Cloud

"Russet Surreality" :- Different times of day create different scenes. Colours change with the light, conditions vary depending on the weather. A crisp cold morning looks very diffeent from a hot and humid afternoon and a sea mist rolling in can change the scenery so much that it's hardly recognisable (and hardly visible). This image was taken right at the end of April this year around 7:30 pm. The evening sun was low and casting wonderfully long shadows and the tones and hues that it created reminded me of something that for a while I couldn't put my finger on. There was something about the colour of the landscape and the sky that looked familier. And then it hit me....it was as if I was standing in a Dalí painting. The shadows and colours were almost a perfect match to those I'd seen in his paintings. The shot was taken on Brighton beach on the south coast of England. The The 10 'poles' sticking up are actually old Victorian iron supports that once held aloft the boards and decking of the Grade I listed West Pier that's shamefully been left to rot by the various authorities over the years.



"Granite" :- These are the wonderfully named "Bonehill Rocks" located in Dartmoor, an area of moorland in south Devon. The moors cover an incredible 954 square kilometres and are protected by National Park status. The vast area is littered with many of these exposed granite hilltops called "Tors".This type of granite is apparently from a geological time known as the Carboniferous period which means it's (roughly) 358.9–298.9 million years old. Which has to be said is rather difficult to get your head around. Bonehill Rocks sits in a chain of four on the edge of another rocky outcrop called Chinkwell Tor and is near a small village named Widecombe-in-the-Moor.



"Bench & Cloud" :- A rudimentary bench sits high up on Beacon Hill nature reserve on the edge of Brighton. The hill is situated between the old villages of Rottingdean and Ovingdean (both listed in the Domesday Book) and was used to warn of the approaching Spanish Armada attack on Elizabethan England in 1588 when a beacon was lit on its summit. Nowadays it plays host to joggers and many dog walkers. The hill is also famous for being the home of Beacon Mill, a 1802 built grade II listed smock mill at the Rottingdean end of the hill. This shot is a bit misleadng as it does look like it's in the middle of nowhere when in actual fact just over the brow of the hill there's the main A259 coast road named Marine Drive and the might English Channel!



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Friday, 28 November 2014

Daily Doodle : Turkey Leftovers

The day after thanksgiving so there's only one topic for the daily doodle that it could have been and that's the dreaded turkey leftovers. I could have cartooned it and come up with a funny slant on it but I ended up going for the straight forward approach and quickly sketching the bones and remans of a well eaten bird. So here's my sketch for the day ...




Turbulence, Grand House and Gold Splash

"Turbulence" :- There are times when you discover you are at the point of no return. It's just as far to go back as it is to carry on and it usually hapens when you are not expecting it or you are just not feeling up to it. The law of averages says that this will happen to you from time to time, there's no escaping it. This was one of those moments. I'd walked from Ovingdean Gap along the undercliff walk and found myself at the halfway point towards Brighton when the storm rolled in. I'd been hoping to take some sunset shots but the skies darkened and the horizon took on a charcoal grey hue and the sunlight slowly dissolved and then vanshed behind an ominous bank of darkness. I then found myself in a bit of a quandary as one part of me was saying I had to pick up the pace and get to Brighton Marina where there'd be some cover if the skes opened and another part of me was telling me to slow down and grab some shots on the way. Naturally I ended up choosing the latter option and ended up getting a bit wet. I love the balance of light in this shot and the sheen on the sea. No bright colours, just gentle grey and blue hues with some pastel tones at the top.



"Grand House" :- This image makes me think of the old film noir movies of the 40's and some of the old black and white Hammer Horror films too. It's actually a very beautiful house and it was shot in sunlight on a very hot and wonderful afternoon back in July this year. The heavy processing style that I chose is soley responsible for the hard and harsh look of it all. This is Nymans House which is set within a 600 acre estate at Handcross in Haywards Heath, West Sussex. For several generations it was the home of the Messel family. In 1915 Lt. Col. Leonard Messel decided to replace the Regency house with a stone manor designed in a mellow late Gothic/Tudor style by Sir Walter Tapper and Norman Evill. Unfortunately in 1947 there was a huge fire which destroyed much of the building. A section of the house was rebuilt and that became the home of Leonard Messel's daughter Anne and her second husband the 6th Earl of Rosse. The rebuilt section which became Anne's home is the house you see in this image. Anne Messel was the mother of Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, the English photographer and film maker.



"Gold Splash" :- There are several way that you can walk from the ancient village of Ovingdean into the City of Brighton. One of them is to walk through the village down to the coast and then turn right at the English Channel and follow it for several miles into the City, that route takes (approx) 90 minutes on foot. A second way is t walk up to the neighbouring village of Woodingdean and then turn left which will take you over the "Racehill" and then drop down "Elm Grove" into the 'back' of Brighton placing you at "The Level", that route will also take you (approx) 90 mnutes on foot. The third option is only really available when the weather is favourable but it a very pleasant walk. That route takes you down into the old original 'Domesday Book' village of Ovingdean and then up a public right of way that winds through the farms and over the East Brighton Golf Course. It then drops down into Whitehawk and leads you into Kemptown and then Brighton itself, that route is also the quickest as it cuts over the hills and saves you a lot of legwork taking just 45 - 50 minutes on foot. This image was taken on that thrid route just as I was about to come up onto the golf course. The view that you see shows the back of Roedean's famous independent school for girls (just left of center), some of the houses of Roedean itself and a very blue looking English Channel. The shot was taken just after 6 pm in September so the sun was low in the sky and casting a wonderful golden light over the farmland and fields.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Daily Doodle : Thanksgiving

Well today is thanksgiving (primarily) in the United States and Canada so it came as no surprise to find today's Daily Doodle subject was....er....thanksgiving. Pushed ideas around in my head for a while on a bit of mental paper. Kept screwing them up and chucking 'em in the bin. All I kept thinking is that I didn't want to draw a turkey for today's topic. I searched images to see what thanksgiving primarily looked like and to my horror found thousands of turkeys (of both the alive and fried variety), images of families sitting around the table eating turkey and very little else...apart from the odd Pilgrim / thanksgiving hat. This was a serious "Ruh Roh!" moment as I thought I had met my match. "I don't want to draw another turkey!" I said out loud to myself whilst staring at a Pilgrim's headgear and in that moment I saw an image appear in my noggin and at the same time heard it in French! Result...there's today's image. So as a turn around / double bluff to Rene Magritte's "The Treachery of Images" here's today's thanksgiving doodle...



Walls & Steps, St John's Church and Bird's Eye

"Walls & Steps" :- I have a rather smug and silly grin on my face due to the title of this image. The two red, metallic signs that you see at the top of wall by the steps say "WALL'S Fancy An Ice Cream?". Wall's is an well known ice cream brand in the UK and is owned by the Anglo-Dutch food and personal care conglomerate Unilever. The biggest surprise is that Wall's was founded in 1786! The company started when Richard Wall opened a butcher’s stall in London. By the 1900's the company was run by Thomas Wall II and during the hot and humid summer months the demand for their meat products would drop and he'd have to lay off staff. To get around this problem he came up wth the idea of selling ice cream. The same ice cream is sold around the world but under many different names depending on where you are. In the USA it's known as "Good Humor". Anyway, back to the image. The cafe was closed, nobody was about but the signs were still up and wobblng in the evening breeze that was slowly picking up and indicating that a storm was on the way. The beach at Ovingdean Gap on the south coast of England appeared to have all the colour sucked out of it as everything had a greyish blue tint to it.



"St John's Church" :- Quite an atmospheric shot of this rare and historic church in the village of Piddinghoe which sits the between the towns of Lewes and Newhaven in Sussex. St John's is just one of three Churches in the Ouse Valley with a round Norman tower (the other two are found in the nearby vllage of Southease and Lewes). Nobody knows why the towers were built round as virtually all Norman towers were square in their design and build. Various theories have been thrown about and many speculate on the reasons behind it but the simple fact is we do not know. There is no entry in the Domesday Book of 1086 for Piddinghoe but William de Warenne is known to have a manor by that name in 1220. The spire on top of the round tower is octagonal and covered by wooden shingles. Perched (if you pardon the fishy pun) on top there's a wind vane that is a large gilded fish. The date of he fish is not know but it was certainly on the tower by 1882 and in 1902 Rudyard Kipling wrote a poem titled "Sussex" where the truth was bent for artistic purposes (or porpoises) when he wrote "where windy Piddinghoe's begilded dolphin veers".



"Bird's Eye" :- A shot from September 2012 . It was taken from the cliff top at Saltdean around 5:30pm just as the winter sun was beginning to dip. It clearly shows the 30's built undercliff walk lit by the sunlight as well as the many rock pools that are exposed during low tide. It intrigues me that the human race has always wanted to be high up. It wanted to be able to fly for so long and then there was the endless persuit of building taller and bigger buildings. Each country trying its hardest to outdo the others by building the tallest structure on the planet. Why? I have no idea. But it's nothing new. Whether you believe the stories in it or not the bible is an ancient and old book. There's no doubting that. There's a story within it that states that the people of Babel said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth." Even then the human race was trying to build a high tower to get noticed. Why do we like looking down on things so very much? We love to be above it all and have a different perspective. Does it make us feel better or more powerful?



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Daily Doodle : Tropical Turkey

Today's given Daily Doodle Thanksgiving turkey had a tropical theme. Not an easy thing to work out what to do really as I knew everyone was going to be drawing tropical shirts, drinks, beaches etc. Once again I opted to go in close rather than draw the entire turkey. I ended up settling on a Carmen Miranda (a Portuguese Brazilian samba singer, dancer, Broadway actress, and film star who was popular from the 1930s to the 1950s) styled fruit headress with a beach scen in the background. Artistic license was used due to the size of the turkey and the size of the fruit. One single pineapple would have been twice the size of the turkey's head so I had to scale down the frut to get the idea to work. It's only a bit of fun anyway. So here's "Carmen" the tropical turkey...


Rust Line, Spritsail Barge and Balcombe Stile

"Rust Line" :- There's an old building down on the seafront / undercliff promenade at Ovingdean Gap. It's square edged and fairly basic but has an odd undulating, curved & wavy roof as well as several "porthole" windows in its side. All the structures at Ovingdean Gap are the products of the 1930's. For some reason the 30's seemed to be obsessed with nautical themes. A lot of the buildings were designed to look like boats or ships or had nautical elements incorporated into them. The porthole window is a theme that crops up quite a bit from Saltdean all the way down to Black Rock on the edge of Brighton. Saltdean's famous Lido swimming pool has porthole windows here and there as does the library which is incorporated into the same building. The huge and very opulent "Grand Ocean Hotel" in Saltdean also has a few round windows set into its frontage and the apartments known as "Marine Gate" that overlook the Brighton Marina alos have rows of porthole windows running top to bottom on either side. The block at Ovingdean Gap is a Cafe at one end and a public convenience (toilet) at the other end. The window in this image is at the Cafe end.



"Spritsail Barge" :- I found myself carefully squelching away to get this shot. I was right on the edge of solid sand and being up to my neck in it. This is a shot of the 'Spritsail Barge' that's a used as a passenger ferry at Gravesend in Kent. This type of boat was commonly used as a Thames sailing barge which was a commercial sailing boat common on the River Thames in London in the 19th century. According to Wikipedia ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thames_sailing_barge ) "The flat-bottomed hull made these craft extremely versatile and economical. They could float in as little as 3 feet (1 m) of water and could dry out in the tidal waters without heeling over."



"Balcombe Stile" :- I like exploring. I enjoy a good snoop. I think it comes from being frightened of missing something. So when I set out with the camera to photograph something specific I very rarely get the shots I want and then go home without having a good look around first. This shot came about by me wanting to photograph the mighty Ouse Valley Viaduct that sits between Haywards Heath and the village of Balcombe in Sussex. After getting the shots of the 1841 built viaduct I noticed a worn and muddy path that went up between a few trees and bushes so I thought I'd follow it to see where it lead. It was muddy and fairly steep but as I neared the top this was the view that met me.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Daily Doodle : Underwater Turkey

Ok. Today's suggested daily doodle continues with the thanksgiving turkey theme and was an "underwater turkey". I'd toyed with a few idea but didn't care for them too much and settled on a simple sketch of a turkey swimming underwater with a snorkel, mask and pair of flippers. I got slightly waylaid (as is the norm) and when I was finally about to start sketching I had a quick look to see what ohers had already done online and saw quite a few turkeys with snorkels, masks and flippers. Right...back to the drawing board / tablet. With thinking cap on I once again paced around like a caged lion trying to get my grey matter into gear. Because of that it me think of animals in confined spaces which lead me onto people in confined spaces ... my brain made an almighty leap and I had my sketch for the day. So here's my "Underwater Turkey" ...



Sun in the Tree, Better World and Dark Sunset

"Sun in the Tree" :- I found myself just at the right place at the right time to make this shot work. I was standing at the back of the old Watermill that's in the grounds of Michelham Priory in Hailsham, East Sussex, England. We got there just as the former Augustine Priory was closing for the day but the wheel house was still open and it was a nice (late) afternoon for a stroll around. Michelham Priory is set on a medieval moated island (England’s longest water filled moat) and is a T-shaped building that comprises of sections from the 13th century and 16th century. It is owned by the Sussex Archaeological Society and is a Grade I listed building.



"Better World" :- Not a single blade of grass or tree in sight. No greenery, no mother nature. Of course without any of those things you neatly manage to arradicate all signs of wildlife too thus ensuring the world that you've created is neat, tidy and utterly souless. It will however be full to the brim with harsh lines and angles. Hard surfaces will be underfoot and brutal architecture will bombard your eyes until you submit fully to the concrete mandmade world. This is the "Black Rock" end of Brighton Marina which was designed and built in the 1970's. It's a full on brutal assault to your senses and is devoid of anything aesthetically pleasing. This section reminds me of the film set in the original "Planet of the Apes" (1968).



"Dark Sunset" :- The storm clouds had other ideas when I dropped down to the beach at Ovingdean Gap to grab a few shots of the sunset. They smothered it completely, stifling the light, the rays and the sun itself. I stood there muttering to myself for a while and then noticed a slight break in the clouds that allowed a small amount of light to hit the water. Seizing the moment, I quickly pointed the camera in the general direction and caught it before it got swallowed up once more. I have to admit I was actually very pleased with the outcome once i'd processed it. There's a certain unexpected serenity that sits within the turmoil. I also love the bluey greys.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Monday, 24 November 2014

Daily Doodle : Turkey On Roller Skates

When I fired up the PC this morning I checked through my messages and notifications, had a cup of coffee whilst reading through the news of the day and then I went to Twitter to see what theme "Daily Doodle" had set for us. This is the message / tweet that I read "As it’s Thanksgiving this week we’ve dedicated it to the turkey. Today it’s a #TurkeyOnRollerskates". Hmmm...that got me thinking. A whole week of turkey related sketches could get a bit tiresome. Not just that there's only so much you could do with a turkey on roller skates so apart from varying styles of art we were all going to do the same thing...a turkey on roller skates. How could I stand out from the crowd and do something a little different? I tapped my fingers and walked around the house a bit...like you do...when you're thinking. Then I saw it...and it made me grin.

A very great and dear friend of mine from childhood grew up (well he said he has but I'm a bit dubious about that having seen the way he's been carrying on of late) and became a prize winning author. His name is Philip Reeve and he wrote a series of books that became collectively known as the "The Hungry City Chronicles" or the "Predator Cities". The books in question were (in order) Mortal Engines, Predator's Gold, Infernal Devices and A Darkling Plain. On his blog (http://philipreeve.blogspot.co.uk/) he has this to say about the books which let's you know what they are all about "Together the books cover nearly twenty years in the history of the Traction Era, a far-future age when cities move about hunting smaller mobile towns and dismantling those they catch for their raw materials. Airships ply the skies, amphibious limpet-submarines lurk in the oceans, and dangerous bits of technology left over from a long-ago war lie waiting to be discovered and put to use in the looming conflict between the cities and their anti-tractionist enemies."

 Today's daily doodle image is dedicated to my very good friend Mr Philip Reeve. A wondrous chum. A superb artist. An incredible author. And a rather nice chap.

 Ladies and gentlemen...

 Turkey On Roller Skates



Better Future, Dyke Path and East Beach Cafe

"Better Future" :- Ok, so the title's sarcastic and very tongue-in-cheek. It's another dig at the human race's never ending rampage on the planet. We are hell bent on building down, out and up as far a we can go with scant regard to what it is we destroy, remove, demolish and flatten in the process. The title refers to something in this image that's hardly noticeable at first but once it's seen it stands out like a sore thumb. In the distance to the right there's the Brighton City skyline and just to the left of that you can see the large, grey protective arm / wall of Brighton Marina (built in the 1970's). For a long time the Marina sat below the level of the cliffs, you'd only see it if you were looking for it or knew it was there. That's all about to change big time. In the 80's and 90's other structures started to appear in the marina. An area that used to be berths for boats was filled in and turned into a car park, Superstore and a few shops, restaurants and bars. A cinema appeared along with a gym and a casino (not to mention the obligatory McDonald's). Then all went quiet for several years. Over the last few months several high cranes appeared in the outer harbour ... now I've mentioned them you can clearly see them sticking up from the marna in this shot. Huge metal walls were dropped into the water and the sea was drained out as the concrete was poured in. This is the going to be the site of the Brighton Marina Tower. When it is completed there will be 853 new homes, 2,000 square metres of retail and leisure space and what they are referring to as a "landmark tower" that will be Brighton's tallest building standing at 128 metres tall. It will stand out for miles, it will be a blot on the landscape and it will ruin shots and mages like these. You can read more about it here :- http://www.skyscrapernews.com/buildings.php?id=347



"Dyke Path" :- A worn chalk path winds and undulates over the land as the rest of Sussex spills out down below towards the horizon. This is the incredible beauty spot known as Devil's Dyke on the edge of Brighton. It's actually situated in West Sussex (Brighton is n East Sussex) but it borders the outskirts of Brighton so many regard it as being part of the city even though technically it's not. The Dyke itself is on the other sde and is a 100m deep V-shaped valley formed by "tremendous amounts of water running off the Downs during the last Ice Age when large amounts of snow thawed and the frozen chalk prevented any further absorption" on the South Downs Way. This vew is looking North from the top of the Dyke.



"East Beach Cafe" :- No, you're quite right. It doesn't lok like a cafe at all does it! To be fair this is the back of the cafe, the front looks much the same but has large glass panels that allow the customers to sit and drink their coffee on the seafront at Littlehampton whilst gazing out to sea. It's an incredble bit of modern architecture designed by Thomas Heatherwick. His design team was headed by architect Peter Ayres and the resulting building offers wonderful sea views as well as protection from the elements. The cafe's structure won a national architecture prize awarded by RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects). The East Beach Cafe was awarded "Coastal Cafe of the Year" by National Magazine Company's Coast Awards 2011. Littlehampton is a harbour town and seaside resort in West Sussex.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Daily Doodle : Pepe the King Prawn

Once in a while someone will come up with a character that you feel you've known of all your lifetime. They become iconic and fit right into the world that they were designed for so well that it's hard to imagine things without them. Freddy Krueger, Giger's Alien amd Predator fitted immediately into their horror and sci-fi worlds and Edward Scissorhands sprang out of Tim Burton's mind and slotted straight into a modern fairytale that we thought we already knew. Today's chosen subject / model also fitted immediately into a madcap, crazy and chaotic world that many of us grew up knowing and still love to this day. Pepino Rodrigo Serrano Gonzales hails from Spain and is very much a ladies man ... well, he thinks he is a ladies man. Ladies and gentlemen I give you Pepe the King Prawn, okay?



Watching it All, Chapel of the Holy Cross and Three Doors

"Watching it All" :- It was approaching 8pm and I found myself on Hove beach watching an early September sunset. That hadn't been my plan. I'd walked into Brighton from Ovingdean and for some reason carried on going for a while. As I walked along the promenade and got nearer to Hove I could see the light changing in the evening sky and realised that mother nature was about to put on a good show. As luck would have it the tide was out too and it had exposed a lot of glimmering wet sand which was catching the light. I made my way down to the beach and squelched my way along the sand, grabbing the odd image as I went. This was one of the last shots I took before turning around and walking back into Brighton to partake in a few drinks in my favourite pub.



"Chapel of the Holy Cross" :- The lighting makes this shot. This little area is known as the "Chapel of the Holy Cross" and it's tucked off to the right hand side within the mighty and very impressive Buckfast Abbey which is an active Benedictine monastery at Buckfast, near Buckfastleigh in Devon, England. The first monastery at Buckfast was founded in 1018 but that was flattened and floored in 1539 thanks to Henry VIII and his Dissolution of the Monasteries act. The grand (and very new looking) church and abbey that you see at Buckfast now started construction in 1907 but wasn't consecrated until 1932 and was finally completed in 1938. Fortunately for me they didn't mind me wandering about with my tripod and they were quite happy to leave me to my own devices which suited me down to the ground! I tried to keep out of everyone's way as best as I could and remained discreet throughout which allowed me to sneak around gathering shots for as long as I wanted! Outside it was raining hard so I was more than pleased to be in the warm glow of the candle light and remain dry.



"Three Doors" :- This a section of the beach chalets that are at Ovingdean Gap, a few miles East of Brighton on the south coast of England. The chalets are owned by the local council and are let out to people via a tenancy agreement. Ovingdean Gap itself is primarily 1930's built. The huge steps that lead up and down from the cliff top and the undecliff walk itself were built between 1930 and 1933 and I'm guessing that these chalets date from somewhere around the same time. The wave like styling of the undulating roof certainly looks more 30's than 40's and anything later than that would have simply had a flat roof put on it to keep the construction costs down. The metal doors are obviously a more recent (and ugly) addition and make them look more like nuclear bunkers than beach huts. They are not that big at all but I have seen a few with their doors open and it's surprising just how much you can fit in one. I'm not sure what the going rate for them is now but an article I found online from 2011 stated that a non-Brighton and Hove resident could pay rent of more than £621 a year for a Beach Chalet in Ovngdean but that a resident would pay £517. I am sure those prices fluctuate and have probably risen since then but that would work out somewhere around £10 a week if you were a local.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Daily Doodle : Zig and Zag

Last weekend I indulged myself by sketching "Gilbert the Alien", the ITV puppet from the 80's on Saturday and Sooty's famous (and iconic) companion "Sweep" on the Sunday. After a lot of deliberation today I decided to keep the puppet theme running a tad longer and chose to draw another couple of characters that amused me greatly in the 90's. "Zig & Zag" were extraterrestrial twins from the planet Zog and they also co-presented Channel 4's breakfast show The Big Breakfast in the 1990's on British TV. They were an endless source of amusement for me and proved to be a great way to start the day.

 

Engulfed, Higher Market Street and Overgrown Bench

"Engulfed" :- Due to the severe weather that had hit much of the south coast of England at the beginning of the year the look of our beaches changed drastically. In fact much of Hove's beach ended up on the promenade itself as the sea had unceremoniously picked it up and dumped it several yards further and higher than it should have been. Brighton was no exception. The seafront got hit hard and various cafes, bars and nightclubs had to close up shop and embark on a cleanup operation. On one particular night the Sealife Center and the Brighton (Palace) Pier lost all power as the sea breached the defences and the salt water poured in and knocked out the generators that supplied the electrics. Emergency services raced down to try and get things up and running again as quickly as possible in order to save the various sea creatures in the large tanks. Ironic that the sealife center was nearly the death of them all. This image was shot at the beginning of March this year (2014) around sunset. As you can see I am standing on the pebbles of Brighton's famous beach but my head is almost at the height of the decks of the pier itself! I had never ever seen it look like this before. The sea had pushed the entire beach up and back, raising its level by many feet.



"Higher Market Street" :- A shot of a narrow and tight Cornish street after all the day trippers and tourists have gone home. This is Higher Market Street in the town of Looe in Cornwall. It's a very picturesque and pleasant place to visit and is everything you'd expect a Cornish town to be like. It's streets and roads twist and turn as they wind around old stone houses in an attempt to confuse you and help lose your way around. They evoke the long lost days of the excise men and the smugglers they were trying to catch up with and a time when the biggest and main (legal) industry was fishing. Most of that's gone now. Fishing is still an industry in Looe but it's been overtaken by tourism and the coch loads of people shipped in on a daily basis and carted out again at sundown.



"Overgrown Bench" :- You can't photograph this anymore. It's still there but public access has since been denied to the safety fears of Brighton and Hove Council. This is the old 1890's built Victorian terrace that runs the length of Madeira Drive on Brighton's Kemptown seafront. There are benches and seating areas at various intervals but as you get towards the black rock end of the terrace a long stretch of seating appears. It's old, worn and overgrown in places but I found it added to the character of the entire place. The terrace itself is almost 3,000 feet long but only 25 feet wide and cost an incredible £150,000 to built (an awful lot of money in the 1890's). Over the last 100 years or so the constant exposure to the elements and salt water has got to the iron work and caused decay and deterioration. It could have been sorted out easily by the various councils keeping an eye on things and rennovating it every few years but they didn't and simply left it to rust. So now it's been closed to the public for the first time since the late 1800's. They have said that renovating the terrace will cost millions of pounds and that it will be almost as big a job as it was building it in the first place. Maybe they should have thought of that long ago.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Friday, 21 November 2014

Daily Doodle : My Pet Piranha

Well today's given inappropriate pet to draw was a piranha. It was quite an instant image that popped into my mind for this one. As sson as I had done everything else I needed to do I set oubout trying to capture the thought and vision in my head. Using a very light grey I sketched out the rough outline and shape and got it spot on with my first go. Then I set about painting it (digitally) adding sections bit by bit on separate layers so as not to muck up or ruin anything that I'd done previously. One of the reasons I enjoyed creating this mean looking fish was that a long time ago someone I knew actually had a couple of red bellied piranha (pygocentrus nattereri) in a large tank in his living room. Incredible creatures to watch. Love the flecks of gold that gleam and glisten as they swim around. Anyway here is today's pet piranha...



Dark Land, Lewes Graveyard and Penny for Your Thoughts

"Dark Land" :- Move along...there's nothing to see here! But there is if you open your eyes and take in the big picture. As I was taking this someone walking their dog passed behind me and I happened to glance around just in time to see a look of bewilderment on their face as they tried to work out what it was I was photographing. I love that. The shot was taken on the Beacon Hill Nature Reserve that sits between the villages of Rottingdean & Ovingdean to the east of Brighton in Sussex, England.



"Lewes Graveyard" :- This is the churchyard of St John sub Castro Church in the town of Lewes in Sussex. The church itself is grade II listed and dates from 1839 but was built on the site of an 11th-century Saxon church that once stood there. The churchyard undulates, winds and covers a large area. I took this shot because I liked the light coming through the trees and bouncing of the stonework and fern covered grass. The churchyard is also home to a Grade II listed memorial that's for the Finnish prisoners from the Crimean War who died while confined in Lewes Naval Prison.



"Penny for Your Thoughts" :- I'll actually let this image speak for itself as I think it has a lot to say without me having to bang on pontificating about something or other. What I will tell you is that it was taken this year in early September just as it was approaching 7pm on Kemptown seafront in Brighton, England.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Daily Doodle : My Pet Flamingo

A straight forward approach to today's daily doodle. We were told to sketch a pet flamingo so I opted to paint a protrait for mine with no frills, hats, scarfs, children or paraphernalia involved. Just a simple profile...



Rough, Hard Flight and Golden Stone

"Rough" :- A rather bleak and grey vision of the ruined West Pier just off Brighton beach on the south coast of England. When the weather gets wild here it really blows in and the sea turns into a raging angry mass. Tourists take cover and hide within the safety of the bars, clubs and restaurants within the city and the beaches empty of all life. Only the odd die hard local can be seen wandering along the shore and braving the elements. The West Pier was built in 1866 but was closed to the public in 1975. Since then several serious storms and a couple of dubious fires sealed her fate and this is now all that remains of the Grade I listed pier designed by Eugenius Birch.



"Hard Flight" :- They look like like the entrance to some huge fortification or fortress. They could even be part of some huge villain's hideaway in James Bond set. They are in fact neither and are in reality nothing more than the steps at Ovingdean Gap that allow access to and from the cliff top and the undercliff walk. I use them a lot as I often walk down this way and sometmes walk into town via this route. They were constructued at the same time as the undercliff walk itself so they were built sometime between 1930 & 1933. An image showing the steps being built (circa) 1932 can be seen here :- Constructing Ovingdean Gap



"Golden Stone" :- A late afternoon shot from the cloisters of Chichester Cathedral. She stands at an impressive 276 feet or 84 m and is at least 900 years of age as it dates from the 12th Century. Like many of Britain's churches, cathedrals and places of worship her architecture is Norman with some English Gothic thrown in. Due to her location she is the only medieval English cathedral which is visible from the sea. Chichester is a county town and also the only city in West Sussex. It has a strong and long history that includes Roman and (later) Anglo-Saxon settlement.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Daily Doodle : My Pet Octopus

Well I had fun doing today's quick sketch and doodle. The idea was pretty simple. Why show the entire octopus when just one tentacle implies the entire creature? Tentacles with suckers are eitehr squid or octupus and cannot be anything else so I decided to jump right in and paint a giant tentacle with a child sitting at the top. Basic but effective. Could have taken time and perfected it but wanted to knock it out and keep it lively without spending hours on it. So here it is...my pet octopus.



Color of Kings, Dining Room and Living on the Edge

"Colour of Kings" :- Brighton promenade and seafront is famous. It's featured in various films, programs, books and even songs. The split level prom is long but reasonably narrow as it follows the line of the beach and shore. But as you near the neighbouring town of Hove the two levels meet up and join and the promenade doubles in size. It gets quieter too as the busy road is suddenly further away (separated by Hove's famous lawns) and less tourists wander that far along. This image was shot as it approached 8pm on the wide promenade near Grand Avenue in Hove. The brightly painted beach huts add a splash of colour to an otherwise grey and brown scene. The large building to the right of the image is Kings House which is now used as Brighton and Hove City Council's offices. The building was originally constructed as a hotel between 1871 & 1874. Much later on it became the HQ of the SEEBOARD electricity company before being taken over by the council. English Heritage have listed it at Grade II.



"Dining Room" :- This shot wasn't planned at all and was an afterthought. It was a "I might as well" sort of moment and I have to be honest and own up by saying I really didn't expect it to turn out quite as well as it did. I'm not quite sure what the room is used for now but it was originally a dining room and played host to some of the most important people in the country. This is the dining room within the Mansion at Bletchley Park in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, England. The Mansion was built by Sir Herbert Leon starting in 1882 and went on to have various bits added here and there. In 1938 the Mansion and its grounds were acquired for the wartime headquarters of the Government Code & Cypher School and the first personnel moved to Bletchley Park on 15 August 1939. The Mansion was split into two sections with the top floor being given to MI6 and the Naval, Military, and Air Sections were allocated the ground floor of the mansion which also held the telephone exchange, teleprinter room, kitchen, and dining room (which you see here in this image). This was the stomping ground of Alan Turing and where the Enigma machines were cracked and broken on a seemingly never ending daily basis. It's been said that the efforts of Turing and all those at Bletchley shortened the Second World War by two to four years. A film about Bletchley and Alan Turing called "The Imitation Game" starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley has just been released.



"Living on the Edge" :- Before you all start shouting and waving your arms about the shot's not as dangerous or as drastic as it actually looks. I was sneaky. If you look on the far right hand side of the shot you'll see a rudimentary looking fence set a few feet in from the edge of the chalk cliff. I was actually on the right side of that fence but my camera and tripod was not. I had placed my hand through the loop of the fabric handle of the camera and had then stuck the entire lot through the fence and on the edge of the cliff. Nothing could fall or drop as i still had a firm hold of it all and was on the safe side of the proceedings. This did of course mean that I had to roughly guess what the camera was looking at as I couldn't actually see myself but my judgement proved spot on and I got the shot I was hoping for. The image was taken on the cliffs between Saltdean and Rottingdean near Brighton on the south coast of England.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Daily Doodle : My Pet Sloth

Carrying on with the unsuitalbe pet theme today we were given the adorable sloth to sketch, draw, doodle and play with. Initially I was going to stick a party hat on my sketch or do something to make him look cute but after some research and looking at various images of sloths I realised that there was little I could add to make them look any more adorable. So on that note here's my pet sloth...



Sun Cement and Sand, Blackfriars and Haze

"Sun Cement and Sand" :- This image was shot way back in February 2013 just after 5pm. There's a long and wide promenade at the foot of the cliffs that stretches all the way from Saltdean, through the villages of Rottingdean and Ovingdean, past Roedean and eventually delivers you in Brighton. It was built in the early 30's at a cost of £360,000 and is (approx) 5.63 km or 3.5 miles in length. This shot was taken at a point somewhere between Saltdean and Rottingdean. Rough seas overnight had thrown up sand, seaweed and a few pebbles over the walkway and t was all catching the afternoon light.



"Blackfriars" :- The very old and the very new all in one shot. Modern architecture peeps through a hole in the ruins of Blackfriars in the town of Arundel in west Sussex. At some point in the middle of the 13th century Dominican friars arrived in Arundel and created its first religious building known as Blackfriars. These few walls are all that remain of that ancient building and they sit by the side of Mill Road between the famous 11th Century Castle, the River Arun and the town's bridge.



"Haze" :- This image conjures up heatwaves, pollen, buzzing insects and gentle breezes. It was taken back in June (2014) on a hot and humid afternoon as I was wandering around Castle Hill Nature Reserve which is tucked and hidden away behind Wodingdean Village on the outskirts of Brighton in Sussex. I was about halfway round on the walk when I stood in the shade by the footpath to catch my breath and noticed this wonderful contrast of light so I grabbed the shot so I could share it with you.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill