Saturday, 31 January 2015

A Royal Garden, A Place to Rest and Faith Healer

"A Royal Garden" :- When you wander around and through the gardens of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton it's easy to forget that they were once the realm of the Prince Regent (who later became King George IV) and guests to the exqusite palace on the south coast. The gardens were designed by gardens were designed by John Nash at the same time as he redesigned and embellished the Pavilion itself. The planting of the garden commenced in 1816 and finished several years later in the early 1820s. You can read more about the pavilion's grounds and gardens on the +Royal Pavilion & Brighton Museums website here :- http://www.brighton-hove-rpml.org.uk/RoyalPavilion/aboutthepalace/Pages/GroundsandGardens.aspx



"A Place to Rest" :- This is near the far end of Madeira Drive in an area known as Duke's Mound on the seafront in Kemptown, Brighton. It's not often you see it this clear as camper vans, cars and coaches are often parked up here so I took the shot while I had the chance. During the sunny, summer days it's fine but area has quite a bad reputation after dark and it is best avoided at night.



"Faith Healer" :- What a belter of a sunset this was! It started out rather drab and I was beginning to think that I'd wasted my time venturing down to the beach at Ovingdean Gap. Slowly it started to develope getting brighter and brighter whilst deepening in colour at the same time. Because it was low tide the white chalk bed was exposed and the light was bouncing of the reflective surface as well as the pools left behind. I stood there in silence and in awe for ages takeng various shots as I carefully moved about over the slippery rocks and then it was gone. Just a dark sky and the sound of the waves. I trudged back home knowing that even though it was gone I'd been there to experience it and that some of it was in the camera!



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Friday, 30 January 2015

Daily Doodle : The Letter Z

Ok. A Couple of weeks ago Daily Doodle announced that the theme for two weeks would be "Letter of the Alphabet" and the first day started off with the letter "A". I chose to draw / sketch 'Marvin' the paranoid Android from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams. Over the last week or so the letters have been jumping around out of sync to keep us on our toes. I tried to keep on a theme myself which was horror or science fiction / fantasy characters and have somehow managed to stay on track. Today is the last day of the letter theme and as it started with "A" so it ends with "Z". I thought i'd also end things the way they began by sketching another character from Douglas Adams's "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". So today the letter "Z" is for ... Zaphod.



Garden Dovecot, Hasta Mañana and The Pantiles

"Garden Dovecot" :- This is the famous dovecote at Nymans which is a National Trust garden in Sussex, England. The dovecote is built into the garden wall of the old semi-ruined manor house which was destroyed by fire in 1947. The dovecote dates from somewhere within the 1920's and was built around the same time that the house was turned into a mock tudor mansion. The gardens of the entire estate are exquisite, well maintained, looked after and well worth a visit.



"Hasta Mañana" :- This was shot on Christmas Eve (2014) from Kemptown beach in Brighton, England. On the horizon to the far right of the image you can just see the end of the pier photobombing the scene. It was sundown and as beautiful as the image was in colour I chose the process it as a black and white image because the light and clouds seemed to lend themselves rather well to the stark approach. It was quiet with hardly anyone about on this end of the beach.



"The Pantiles" :- A huge break from the norm for me here as this image feature people, lots of them. They are the one thing I usually try my best to avoid when taking shots, I feel they ruin the image most of the time. However, you do get the odd occassion where they actually enhance and help make the shot and this was one of those moments. It was a sunny and pleasantly hot August afternoon and many had decided that a bite to eat and a pint may not be a bad idea. This is The Pantiles in the town of Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent, England. It's now a very popular tourist attraction but it's origins date back to the early 17th century when a chalybeate (mineral waters containing salts of iron) spring was discovered and the area was built around it. The spring or well is what gave the town its name. The "Duke of York" (on the right of the image) is an 18th century pub and first opened somewhere around 1770 in memory of Prince Edward, the Duke of York and Albany, after he died in 1767.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Daily Doodle : The Letter O

A quick sketch for today's daily doodle which was for the letter "O". I immediatley jumped at the chance to let my pen wander to see just who it was that was going to be staring back at me by the end. So today the letter O is for Orc ...



Aglow on the Hill ,Clinging and Up to the Gallery

"Aglow on the Hill" :- Today's a very good day to post this image. The shot was taken from Beacon HIll Nature Reserve that sits between the villages of Ovingdean and Rottingdean on the south coast of England. The building that you see all lit up is the flagship training, convalescent, care and holiday centre that's +Blind Veterans UK (formerly known as St Dunstan's) which opened in Ovingdean in in 1938 and today is the 100th anniversary of marks Blind Veterans UK. The beautiful 1930's built Ovingdean building is the oldest of the three Blind Veterans centres and I know the building very well as I pass it many times a week. Blind Veterans UK was founded in 1915 by Sir Arthur Pearson as the Blinded Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Care Committee. For more information on Blind Veterans UK, visit www.blindveterans.org.uk.



"Clinging" :- I have found myself walking back home this way a couple of times during the week. It's been bitterly cold and very windy but the view is still terrific. The stretch of cliff runs between Rottingdean and Brighton with Ovingdean in the middle of the run. Beyond that thin wire fence there's an 24 metres or 80 feet drop and the clifftop pathway runs right alongside it. Not a good place to walk if you're not so great with heights. The fence seems to do its job ok and keeps things and peole from going over the edge but if you happen to throw a car at it (like someone did last year) you'll find it's not so good. This is where England comes to an abrupt stop at its southernmost edge, beyond the wire there's a vast expanse of salt water that us Brits call the English channel. If you go in a staright line and head due south across the water from this point you would end up somehwere in the region of Le Havre in France.



"Up to the Gallery" :- Here's a view not many get to see. These are the old wooden stairs that lead up the the gallery that's high up inside the gargantuan St Bartholomew's Church in Brighton. The stairs are hidden behind a door that's locked and the gallery itself is not open to the public. I'd been talking to one of the curators / volunteers who worked there about the church for some time and asked if it was ok to take some photographs of the interior. After half an hour or so they approached me and asked if i'd like to go up to the gallery and take some shots of the interior from there. I didn't need asking again! The official opening of the brick built church was on 18 September 1874 and it stands 170 feet or 51.81 metres in length, 59 feet or 17.98 metres in width and an incredible 135 feet or 41.14 metres in heaigh (with the cross on the top of the church adding a further 9 feet or 2.74 metres). The most astound thing about it's interior and size is that it's free standing. There are no supporting columns or pillars holding it up so the space within the church feel huge.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Daily Doodle : The Letter L

Right. So here's today's sketch, doodle or drawing for "Daily Doodle" on Twitter. The given subject / lettter for today is "L". No question whatsoever as to the subject for my sketch as she popped into muy head imediately. I could hear her voice too and it was speaking in an unintelligable language. So today the letter "L" is for ... Leeoo (The Fifth Element).



Cliff Top Path II, Peter's and White Heron

"Cliff Top Path II" :- Twilight as seen from the cliff top at Saltdean just a few miles East along the coast from the city of Brighton. I decided to leave the beach hugging concrete walkway known as the undercliff walk and climbed the steps up to the top so I could walk back home via a different route. This shot was taken just before I walked back over the top of the cliffs to Rottingdean and then on to Ovingdean.



"Peter's" :- This is the historic fishing quarter in the town of Hastings in Sussex. Fishong has always been a major part of Hastings and to this day the town still has the largest beach-based fishing fleet in England. The shot was taken in Rock-A-Nore Road looking south east at the conservation area that includes the fishermen's 'net shops' or huts. These tall wooden structures have now been awarded Grade II star listed status and are located in an area known as The Stade to the east of the town. Incredibly the huts date from the 16th Century (although they have been rebuilt a few times since) and English Heritage have said that they are a rare example of "buildings intrinsic to the British coastal fishing industry". These thin, slender buildings were once used to store nets for catching mackerel and herring.



"White Heron" :- A chance encounter that was totally unexpected. I knew I was too far away to get a decent shot of it but I grabbed it anyway as I liked the composition of it all and the various elements that made up the image. So, smack in the middle of the shot is a slender and very beautiful small white Heron also known as a little egret. This graceful creature has white plumes on it's crest, back and chest and has black legs and bill and yellow feet. It can be found on numerous sites along the south coast, which this one was as it was shot in the small coastal town and fishing port of Looe in south-east Cornwall, England. The shot was taken around 5 pm so the sun was to the West and casting shadows onto the water. The River Looe itself is tidal and it had got fed up of waiting around and had gone out to slop around in Looe Bay leaving all the boats that had been bobbing around to sit on the silted river bed.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Daily Doodle : The Letter G

Ooh aren't you lucky! Today you get to see two of my sketches / doodles as I finally catch up and come up to date. Today's given letter was G and the foirst thing that sprang to mind was this classic Japanese horror icon and movie character. Today the letter G is for ....GODZILLA!



Daily Doodle : The Letter B

Ok , so I missed yesterday's Daily Doddle due to maintenence outside in the street knocking me offline. By the time it was up and running I was running late and had to dash into town thus leaving no time at all to think up a subject and draw it. So here's the first for today which is the letter B. It didn't take me long to decide on the subject for this one. I have loved the stories and artwork by Raymond Briggs for many years. His most famous work was of course "The Snowman" which put him on the world's map but way before his frosty creation flew over Brighton's Royal Pavilion he had created a much more grimy, snotty and slimy characyter who was a lot more fun to read! So the letter B is for ... Fungus the Bogeyman.



Backlit Pier, Chantry Ceiling and A Seat in the Park

"Backlit Pier" :- Sometimes things come out of the blue and catch you completely. This scene did. I'd made my way into Brighton and was walking alng the beach hoping for one of it's huge and glorious sunsets but mother nature appeared to have let me down dreadfully as grey clouds were covering everything and a cold see was grumbling about something or other. I decided to walk on further anyway and fro some unknow reason made my way close to the waters edge where the white foam of the waves was rolling in and out and generally crashing about a bit. Ten minutes later just as I was thinking about turning around and giving up the clouds broke right behind the pier and alllowed some of the setting sunlight to shine through. I quickly set up the camera and grabbed the shot.



"Chantry Ceiling" :- This is a shot of the staggeringly ornate stonework that creates the ceiling of the chantry in the of Abbey Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul ... otherwise known as Bath Abbey. The Abbey was founded in the 7th century and then later rebuilt during both the 12th and 16th centuries. The abbey is now a Grade I listed building as is particularly noted for its fan vaulting. Aside from the famous fan vailting the Abbey is also known for Prior Birde's chantry.



"A Seat in the Park" :- An old tree sits in Brighton's Queens Park with a wooden seat built around its base. The public park originally started off life as a residential park surrounded by detached villas which was inspired by London's Regent's Park. It was the brainchild of property owner and developer Thomas Attree and it was opened in 1825. Needless to say the plan never full materialised and only a few of the ideas and plans were ever seen through and built. A few remaining elements of the 'estate' can still be seen today including a couple of large stone entrance archways to the south of the park and the famous watertower known as "The Pepper Pot" which was once part of Attree's private Villa that overlooked the park. You can read more about Atree's Queen's Park here :- http://www.brightonsarchitecture.com/attree.html


All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Monday, 26 January 2015

Three Seated, Grains and Stanmer Pond

"Three Seated" :- An eerie and somewhat creepy view underneath Brighton's famous Victorian Pier and tourist attraction on the south coast of England. It was late at the very end of what had been a warm June day and the daylight was finally admitting defeat and starting to fade. The stark overhead lighting below the pier was creating shadows all over the place, the smell of salt water was amplified by the damness of the stonework. Three people were sitting next to each other on an iron beam on the Eastern side of the pier, the blue light of the evening threw them into silhouette.



"Grains" :- Simple things are sometimes the best. An empty beach, a low tide and some shingle and sand. Nothing more. All I needed to do then was heavily process it to make the grain stand out and 'shimmer' slightly and there was the image. The beach in question is by the village of Rottingdean on the coast just a few miles East of Brighton.



"Stanmer Pond" :- Most people take a shot of this pond from the far bank looking back over the water towards the old Church that's on this side. I thought I'd so something different and stand with my back to the church and take the shot looking back the other way. Not many people realise it but the pond is the reason the park and village is called Stanmer in the first place. The pond is surrounded by sarsen stones so it was known as 'stone pond' but in those days they spoke Old English and Old English for 'stone pond' is "stony mere" which over time evolved into Stanmer. Many know Stanmer's history goes back to the 1700's but it's actually far more ancient than that because in 765 King Aedwulf granted the area to the Canons of South Malling and there's alos evidence of a Bronze Age settlement which was somewhere around 1500BC.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Daily Doodle : The Letter W

Ok. So here's the last of the posts to make up for the ones I missed last week. So this one is for "W" which was Friday's given letter and topic.

Once again I couldn't decide what to do for the letter "W". I thought of the Wombles at first but then realised they are not known worldwide so vetoed that idea. I then thought of the wolfman as he's a classic horror character but decided to carry on thinking for a while just n case something better came along. Which it didn't. So I was all set to sketch the wolfman when suddenly there she was in all her glory. The ultimate scary "W". So today the letter "W" is for ... the Wicked Witch of the West.



Out of Bounds, In the Moat and Where I Belong

"Out of Bounds" :- This is a room that not many get to see. The reason for this is that the building that it's in is no longer in use and is locked up much of the time to protect it's interior which is listed at Grade II* because of its architectural and historic importance. When the building is occasionally opened up for the public to look around it this room is off limits. In fact, many do not even realise that this room is there at all. This is an old meeting room (now used as a store room) high inside the famous Middle Street Synagogue in the City of Brighton, England. The synagogue is often refferred to as Brighton's second most important historic building (second only to the Royal Pavilion). Construction of the building commenced in 1874 and it was consecrated one year later. Venturing inside the building is like taking a serious step back in time as its interior predominantly remains untouched and is still as lavish and as sumptuous as it was back in its heyday. I'd been exploring it during one of its rare open days and got talking to one of the volunteers who, as it turned out just happened to be the person in charge that day. To cut a long story short he evntually gave me permission to wander around a few areas that were cordoned off to the public (due to safety) and then much to my surprise offered to take me up to the "secret room" that was located high up between the outside round window and the Zodiac Window of the interior. Many people think the two windows are one and the same due to some clever architecture and planning and therefore do not even stop to consider that there's anything between them at all...but there is and it's this room in the image.



"In the Moat" :- Well, it's now houses a pathway around the old walls and ruins but it was once the protective moat of the castle. These are the ruins of Tonbridge Castle in the town of Tonbridge in the English county of Kent. The castle was built shortly after the Norman Invasion (otherwise known as the Battle of Hastings) in 1066. One of William the Conqueror's men was a Norman Lord named Richard de Clare and he was granted land in Kent to guard the crossing of the River Medway and that's when the castle started to take shape. 50,000 tonnes of earth were moved to dig the moat and that earth was then put to use by creating the motte (an artificially made flat-topped mound of earth on which a wooden or stone defensive structure would be built). Move on a few years and the de Clare familly truned against King William II in 1088 and the King's army besieged the castle. After two days it fell and the town of Tonbridge paid the price of rebellion by being burnt to the ground. They are not exactly sure who built the twin towered gatehouse that you see in this image but they do know that it was either the third Earl of Hertford, Richard de Clare or his son Gilbert. The building of the gatehouse took an incredible 30 years and was completed in 1260.



"Where I Belong" :- This beach is just a 5 minute drive or a 25 minute walk from my front door. It's located on the south coast of England just to the East of the city of Brighton by a village called Ovingdean. If you get the timing right you'll find yourself here all alone with nothing but the sound of the sea and the odd cry of gulls breaking the silence. If you really time things right you'll make sure you're here when the low tide coincides with sundown and then the place becomes something really special as it transforms into a wonderland full of visual delights.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Daily Doodle : The Letter S

Over the last couple of days I missed the Daily Doodles on Twitter due to some upheaval at home and me being offline for a while. Now I am back online and up and running I am playing catch up with the days I missed. Todays sketch / doodle relates to what was Thursday's given letter and topic.

I had immense fun creating the sketch for today. I was originally going to sketch the silver surfer but for some unknown reason as I started I realised my heart really wasn't in it so i shleved that idea and went back to the drawing board / tablet. I cannot remember how I ended up choosing this particular subject but as soon as I got it into me head to do it I was eager to play around with it. I have to admit i am pleased with the result. So todaythe letter "S" is for ... Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.



Towards the Gap, Lewes Lane II and Facing It

"Towards the Gap" :- This was one of those shots that I took anyway but didn't think much of at the time. It was only when I processed it that I realised just how dramatic and powerful it was. It was shot from high up on the Beacon Hill Nature Reserve which sits between the ancient and historical villages of Ovingdean and Rottingdean (they are both mentioned in the Domesday Book which was written in 1086) a few miles East of Brighton on the south coast of England. As the sun touched the horizon out to sea the light caught the long grass up on the hill giving parts of it a glowing aura. The building in silhouette on the left of the image is the flagship training, convalescent, care and holiday centre of Blind Veterans UK (formerly known as St Dunstan's). The building is actually named "Ian Fraser House" and it was designed by Francis Lorne built in the International Modern style and was built from 1937 to 1939. The vast expanse of water beyond is the English Channel.



"Lewes Lane II" :- This dark and shaded little lane can be found in the town of Lewes in Sussex. It leads off Cliffe High Street to some little houses and cottages tucked away from the many prying eyes of tourists and antique hunters. I don't know much about the history of the lane itself but Lewes has a very rich and ancient history some of which links it to King Henry VIII. Just down the street from here there's the ornate and beautiful Cliffe Bridge which was built in 1732. Looking down on the town is Lewes Castle (originally called Bray Castle) which was was built in 1069 by William de Warenne, 1st Earl of Surrey, the son-in-law of William the Conqueror. Further on up the road from there you'll discover the wonderful 'Fifteenth Century Bookshop' which takes its name from the incredible looking 15th-century building the shop is located in. The shop is on the corner of Keere Street which is cobbled and very steep. This is the street that the Prince Regent famously drove his four horse drawn carriage (“coach and four”) down for a wager.



"Facing It" :- This is part of the wonderfully named Bonehill Rocks on Dartmoor in Devon. For some reason this particular outcrop of bedrock is not names as a 'Tor' but it is a reasonably sized tor that sits in a chain of four on the edge of Chinkwell Tor just to the east of Widecombe in the Moor. The reason I took this shot is that the small bush / tree growing up the side of the granite is a bit of a renegade as it's on the west facing side of the rock and not the east where all the other bushes and trees seemed to be growing. You can tell just by looking at a lot of the trees and bushes that much of the wind across the moor blows from the west as many of them lean towards the east. This tree obviously had ideas of its own and thought differently about it all. Maybe it thought "I can't fall over if the rocks are behind me" whereas all the other trees and bushes were probably giggling at it and saying "Silly old tree, if it did what we all did it wouldn't have to put up with much wind at all!"



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Friday, 23 January 2015

Yellow Boot, Romanian Sunset and Winter's Tale

"Yellow Boot" :- I am forever baffled when I spot the odd singular bit of footwear in the street or on the beach. It makes me wonder if they walked all the way home with only one shoe, flip flop or wellie boot without realising. How does one go about losing just one shoe or sock? Ah well. This rubber bit of foot protection along with other debris was spotted on the beach at Saltdean back in November 2012. I like this image as it shows the terrain of the beach really well as it rises up dramatically towards the chalk cliff face. On top of the cliff you can just make out the top of a bus on the A259 coast road known as "Marine Drive". The 1930's looking building is "Marine View" and was designed by the architect Richard William Herbert Jones, who also designed Saltdean's Ocean Hotel, Saltdean Lido, Teynham House and Curzon House.



"Romanian Sunset" :- Impressive view isn't it. This was the view as we passed near the city of Sebeș in Alba County, southern Transylvania in central Romania. We still had a long drive ahead of us as we were on our way to Constanța on the shores of the Black Sea. The sun was setting behind the mountains and some ominous and dark looking clouds were rolling in. We stopped briefly for fuel which was when I grabbed this shot and then headoed on our way in the darkness of the evening and towards the rest of Transylvania.



"Winter's Tale" :- Not a shot of the chilly weather we've been having this week but a shot of the chilly weather back in March 2013. This was taken along one of the many paths that wind up and through Stanmer Park on the outskirts of Brighton in Sussex. There was a breath catching chill that filled my lungs with cold every time I breathed in. The crunch of snow was interspersed with the squelch of mud as things were beginning to thaw. A frosty sun was trying its best to make the most of things but my fingers were numbing and my toes no longer felt like they were there at all.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Daily Doodle : The Letter P

Well, well, well. Today were given the letter "P" to play with. Trying my best to follow on with superheroes, rogbots and characters from hooro films I strained my brain trying to think of something that would fit the theme. 'Pinhead' from "Hellraiser" was the first thing I thought of but then I realsied that he was a very dark character without much colour not to mention the added difficulty of drawing all those pins so he was quickly ruled out. I then though of "The Punisher" which is the alter ego of Marvel's Frank Castle but again he is very dark to draw and also in personality, so he was ruled out too. Tapping my fingers I sat back and stared at the cieling for a minute and then saw a big smiling face as someone tried to hand me a balloon. And there he was. Today the letter "P" is for ... Pennywise the clown.



From Haven to Gap, Wide Slipway and Technicolored Reflection

"From Haven to Gap" :- This is one of (if not) the most famous stretches of coastline in England. These are not the white cliffs of Dover but they often "stand-in" as them in movies and TV programs. These are the famous "Seven Sisters" cliffs that stretch between the towns of Seaford and Eastbourne on the Sussex coast. The shot was taken from the beach at Cuckmere Haven and is looking towards Birling Gap and beyond on to the Belle Tout Lighthouse (on top of the furthermost cliff). If you carry on around the "corner" in the distance you'll come across the mighty Beachy Head which is the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain, rising to 162 metres (531 ft) above sea level. If you have ever watched the 1991 film "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" this is the beach that Robin of Locksley (Kevin Costner) and Azeem (Morgan Freeman) first land on at the beginning of the film.



"Wide Slipway" :- A view looking East from the top of one of the concrete slip ways that runs down to the beach from the undercliff walk in Brighton. The Undercliff Walk itself is a 4.5 km or 2.79 m long path at the foot of the cliffs from Black Rock to Saltdean. It was constructed over three years between 1930 and 1933. From time to time the walkway is closed off to the public due to chalk and rock falls. Last year in April a man somehow managed to leave the A259 coast road near Roedean and drive his car over that 80ft cliff. Hard to believe but he simply walked away as he got lucky by clearing the undercliff walk itself and hit the sea due to the tide being in.



"Technicolored Reflection" :- This is the grand and ornate East window of Saint Paul's Parish Church in West Street , Brighton. St Paul's was constructed between 1846 and 1848 on the site of an older 1830 Bethel Chapel. The church is famous because all of its stained glass windows in the main body of the church were designed by the renowned Gothic revival architect and designer A.W.N. Pugin. The famed Pre-Raphaelite artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones was also associated with the church and also created artwork for it.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Daily Doodle : The Letter N

Today's given letter to get our creative juices flowing was "N" and the minute I saw what it was my creative juices seemed to go instantly down the plughole! I didn't have a clue what to do for "N". I thought of Dracula and the Wolfman but they were "D" and "W". I thought of Frankenstein and his monster but they were "F" and "M". I toyed with superheroes and their repective villains but "N" wasn't all that forthcoming. So far the only thing i'd drawn was a blank. I'd pretty much given up so I stuck the kettle on for a break and popped to the bathroom to give my face a wash to try and wake up a little. As I did that the "N" for today popped nto my head from out of nowhere. I was delighted. So for today's quick sketch N is for...Nosferatu.



Alternative Reality, Gate & Chain and Little Boxes

"Alternative Reality" :- An old ruined school and church slowly get consumed by nature in the hamlet of Bedham in West Sussex, England. It's a strange place to explore as a feeling of unease that follows you around. It's eerily quiet and full of dancing light and shadows. There was a time when this place would have been filled with the sound of children learning by rote during the week and parishioners singing at the tops of their voices at the weekend. That fireplace (on the right) once held a roaring fire to warm bones and keep the cold at bay. I found it very hard to wander around without thinking of the ghosts of the past. The adults and children that had passed through its doorways, learned something new or felt enlightened and enthused by a Sunday service. Now it's open to the elements with the wind blowing through and the rain lashing the brickwork with only the odd solitary photographer dropping in.



"Gate & Chain" :- Shot back in June 2014 on a very pleassant, hot and sunny afternoon. I'd already been walking for an hour or so around the Castle Hill Nature Reserve on the eastern outskirts of Brighton and was still only (approx) halfway around. It was, as they say, the point of no return. It would have taken me just as long to turn around and walk back as it would to keep on going around the 'loop'. I stopped to take this shot as I like the way everything was in relation to everything else. The patha dn gatewat seemed to lead nicely into the slope and gentle undulation of the hill behind. The trees and gate on the left added enough interest for there to be space on the right. It all seemed to balance up naturally as nature once again proved that it adhered to the golden ratio (also known as the divine proportion, golden mean or golden section).



"Little Boxes" :- Here it is. Not the conventional view of Brighton that people are used to but it's most definitely the famous seaside resort in most of its glory. So what can you see in this image...let me try and give you a rough tour. At the bottom you have the multi coloured houses of Blaker Street and White Street. Then on the left you have the 1977 built Amex House which was the European headquarters of American Express. To the right of that you'll see a very modern looking structure that's mainly glass panels, that's the new American Express European centre in John Street. I you look to the far left edge of the image you should be able to make out the main "onion" dome of the Royal Pavilion which was once the residence of the Prince Regent who later became King George IV. Just up from that you should see a spire sticking up, that's Saint Paul's Parish Church in West Street. The large blocks of flats / towers sticking up on the left are Chartwell Court and the white Sussex Heights. Behind thenm you can see the blue water of the English Channel. If you look from the towers straight across to the far right of the image you should fnd the gentle curving, glass panelled roof of Brighton's vitorian train station. Beyond that the green, rolling hills of the south downs.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Monday, 19 January 2015

Daily Doodle : The Letter K

Many year ago I dropped in to visit a friend just as some film was starting on TV. He grabbed a couple of beers from the fridge and we sat down in front of the TV and started to chat. Slowly the conversation ground to halt as both of us were transfixed by the visuals and were laughing a lot by the antics of the characters in the movie. I hadn't seen it before and didn't know a thing about it and was pleasantly surprised by it. In fact, I loved it. I liked it so much that I then set out to find it on video (as it was back then). I didn't know it at the time but the film had been withdrawn on video and was therefore no longer released and available. I had to search the second had video stores...which I did...for three years. I popped into every video store I passed, searching through the bargain bins or scanning the racks of videos on the walls in the hope that i'd fnd a copy. The search seemed never ending and then one day .... there it was sittng on a shelf in a second hand video store in some backstreet in Eastbourne. I was overjoyed and grabbed it then and there. I still have that very old VHS copy. So today's skecth by me is of one of the main characters from that very Chiodo Brothers film. Today the letter K is for .... Killer Klowns from Outer Space.



Cobalt Beach, Queen's Road and Cropped Lines

"Cobalt Beach" :- That wonderful time of the day when the transition between day and night kicks in. Some call it the "blue hour" and it's easy to see why. This was shot on the beach near Saltdean on the south coast of England. The sea had long receded to expose the large chalk clumps and rocks. It's hard to get your head around the fact that this area dates from the late Cretaceous period which was (approx) 65 million years ago and around the same time as the dinosaurs died out and became extinct. As I was standing on this ancient bit of coastline taking the shot I found myself thinking about the sea moving in and out with the tides and that it's been doing that since time immemorial. Suddenly I felt very insignificant and small.



"Queen's Road" :- A very mundane and rather boring looking shot unless you know the history of the area and how busy the road in question is. This is a section of Queen's Road which is a busy road that leads from Brighton's famous Victorian built Train Station (built in 1840) down to the famous Jubilee Clock Tower (built in 1888 in commemoration of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee). This means that the pavements (sidewalks) are packed with pedestrians and the road is constantly busy with taxis, buses and traffic in general. I picked my spot and bided my time waiting for a fleeting moment when a break in traffic would coincide with a break between pedestrians creating the illusion that the road was emtpy. It wasn't it was packed and I had to wait 10 or 15 minutes before I got the shot I wanted. So what you are seeing in this image is a shot from a raised pavement with Victorian iron railings looking across the road to a small enclosed garden opposite. Hanover Chapel and Cemetary was built in 1825. In 1845 Queen's Road was constructed and built over the western side of the cemetary! The original boundary wall and railings of the cemetary were kept in place and now form the raised pavement that I took this shot from in Queen's Road. A bit of mad Victorian macabre planning. Many people walk and drive up and down this road on a daily basis without even knowing the history or realising what it is they are passing over at this point. This is the only section of raised pavement in Queen's road. If you look at the churchyard opposite which is known as the Queen's Road Rest Garden the length of the garden is exactly the same length as the raised pavement / walkway. They are connected and are indeed one and the same. The church is still in use but is now known as the Brighthelm United Reformed Church or The Brighthelm Centre.



"Cropped Lines" :- Time flies. This shot has been on file and waiting to be uploaded since I shot it on the 2nd November 2012. The sunlight is sparkling away to the left as I'd been down on the beach and the odd bit of seaspray had hit the lens causing the light to scatter. The field is stiuated by the side of a road called "greenways" in the village of Ovingdean. The village dates from at least 1086 as it's listed the Domesday Book. If you were to walk up and over the hill in this image you'd find yourself behind Roedean School and looking towards the sprawling City of Brighton which is just a couple of miles West.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Daily Doodle : Tigger

Today is A.A. Milne's birthday so I thought it only appropriate that I chose one of his much loved characters as the subject for my quick sketch. Disney has long since held the rights to Winnie The Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood so I also thought it only right that I chose their version. Today's quick sketch is of Tigger...



Watching Over Us, Prestigious Door and Heart of the Sun

"Watching Over Us" :- This is a view from The Chattri, a memorial built to honour the Indian dead of the First World War. It's situated high up on the downs just north of Patcham on the outskirts of Brighton. The memorial was constructed using white marble from Sicily, grey stone and three blocks of granite. The reason it's so far away from the City is because it was built at the place where the Hindu and Sikh soldiers who died in the Brighton war hospitals during 1914-1915 were cremated. The three blocks of granite I mentioned earlier cover the slabs used during the cremations. The Chattri is a 8.8 meter or 29 feet tall domed pavilion. It's dome is help up by eight columns that sit on an octagonal base. The view in this shot is looking out over the downs towards Patcham and Brighton. If you look carefully (zoom in) you can just make out the English Channel by the pillar on the far right of the image. I hasten to add that I carefully placed the tripod on the edge of the structure for the shot and never once climbed up or stood on it myself. It's a very beautiful, peaceful place and a stunning looking memorial. Well worth the effot to get there if you have the time to visit and pay respect. Here's a Google map link showing you where it is :- http://goo.gl/maps/e9JXq



"Prestigious Door" :- Doesn't look very prestigious does it! In fact it looks like some sort of hidden entrance to a military bunker or instillation. It's not. If you were to gain entrance through this metal door that's on the undercliff walk between Brighton and Ovingdean you'd discover a very long flight of stairs that rise up through a tunnel in the cliffs. The "Secret Tunnel" is actually anything but "secret" now as many have written about it and there's much to be found about it online. The entrance / exit at the much higher other end brings you out into the grounds of Roedean School which is an independent day and boarding school for girls in Roedean Village on the outskirts of Brighton on the south coast of England. The school is the most expensive girls' schools in the United Kingdom and was established in 1885.



"Heart of the Sun" :- This was the view as I walked along Brighton beach on Christmas Eve (2014). There weren't many people about at all so I found I had the beach to myself apart from the odd dog who'd run up to say hello as they were being taken out for a walk. It was a fresh but pleasantly warm late afternoon. It was Brighton at its best.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill