Friday, 30 October 2015

Worthing Beam, Ever Watchful and Lilac Cloud Line

Worthing Beam :- Another image that looks as if I was seriously risking things. I can assure you that I was not and that I was not only no where near the edge but that I was also on the correct and far afer side of the fencing. My camera however was not. I carefully manipulated the trpiod and camera through the wire fence and aimed it (roughly) towards the horizon to the West. I had to guess thngs as I couldn't see the back of the camera of get anywhere near the view finder and my hand was through the loop hanging of the camera just to make sure it didn't go over the edge. I can't have been there for more than a couple of minutes. As soon as the shot was taken I brought the camera and tripod back through the fence and made my way back down the cliffs. The large beam of light had broken through the storm clouds and was hitting the town of Worthing to the West of Brighton on the South coast of England. The cliffs that I took the shot from are the cliffs at Saltdean which is a few miles to the East of Brighton. There was a distance of 15 miles or 24 kilometres from the lightbeam to where I was standing.



Ever Watchful :- Early evening shot of the famous Beacon Mill situated high up on Beacon Hill Nature Reserve in Rottingdean , Brighton. The mill was caught in that hour of twilight asa day turns into night. There was enough light still left to catch the odd bit of grass in the foreground but not enough to light the mill. It all fell together rather nicely. When you're up on the ancient hill by yourself there's an eerie silence and stillness that's hard to put your finger on. You do feel like you're standing on a very old and ancient place ... which of course you are! Beacon Mill has stood at this spot since it was built in 1802.



Lilac Cloud Line :- Such a wonderful view and it's just a five minute walk from my front door. Beyond that hill sits the seaside resort of Brighton, a sprawling City full of magnificent architecture and history. But it's well hidden from here. You might as well be in the middle of nowhere. The village is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 (http://opendomesday.org/place/TQ3503/ovingdean/) and has managed to pretty much avoid being built up into something else. We're still surrounded by green fields and a lot of wildlife (of the animal variety and not the sort the Brighton's used to seeing).



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Rudimentary Office, Waves and Lines and Beyond Your Deams

Rudimentary Office :- Basic, cold, and under constant electric light provided by a single bulb. The windows were permanently blacked out and taped up so no natural light or fresh air could be allowed in. There's be a constant clattering of machines heard from down the hallway, the murmer of different conversations mixed in with typewriters clacking away and cigarette smoke permeating through everything. Not great working conditions but there was a war on after all. This is a shot of one of the real offices in one of the many huts that were located in the gorunds of the now famous Bletchely Park, home of the code breakers. Everything was covert even on site. Bits of paper handed from one department to the other but hardly anything ever said. Most of the people there dind't know what each other was doing. It was all on a need to know basis. In fact many weren't even told what it was they were doing or what it was in aid of. They simply got on with it and passed on the end result knowing that somewhere along the line their work was helping. Bletchley Park is now open to the public and a fascinating and enthralling place to look around. It's atmospheric, humbling and thoroughly mind-blowing.



Waves and Lines :- The architecture on the beach and promenade / undercliff walk at Ovingdean Gap fascinates me. It's all a mixture of sine waves and hard angles. The sea defense and walkway at the foot of the cliffs was built between 1930 and 1933 and it shows. There's an overbearing hardness to it all with a dusting of elegance thrown over the top. They've tried to be practical and strong whilst retaining a flow to everything. Before this was all built the sea would batter the chalk cliff face at high tide and wear away the chalk undermining the cliffs themselves which in turn threatened the main coast road that was being built at the time up top. It was essential that the sea be held back from eroding the coastline any more.



Beyond Your Deams :- I've mentioned it before but I have never forgotten studying photography at art college (in the 80's) and being told to 'never shoot into the sun'. It was a rule that was drummed into us, a rule that I obeyed and a rule that I never thought to question. Then (much) later on in life I did question it. Why shouldn't you shoot into the sun? Well, apart from the obvious answer about looking directly into it and damaging your eyes I couldn't think of a valid reason or see whay that rule had been put in place. So I broke it and haven't looked back since. Some of my most atmospheric shots and images have been the result of breaking that rule. This image was taken on the beach (near where I live) during late afternoon. It was bright and sunny, calm but cool, the tide was out and the rocks were wet. So I took the chance, centering the shot on the gap in the old breakwater and went for it. The bright sunlight obvisouly was too much for my little camera to take so the final image ended up much darker than it really was but I love the look of it and the atmosphere it creates.


All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Time Waits For Nobody, Planet Life and The High Altar

Time Waits For Nobody :- Now that it's getting colder and is dark by 5 pm I thought i'd bring you a little sunshine from a few years ago. The shot was taken on 24th July 2012 during a heatwave that was smothering the South of England. I'd driven out to Shoreham and been for a walk with the camera for a while. On the way back I decided to stop by the old Shoreham lighthouse (also known as Kingston Buci) built in 1842. Just to the side of the lighthouse there's a small section of beach that overlooks the harbour. I was fascinated by all the old wooden breakwaters that were dotted about.



Planet Life :- I'm lucky living on a coastline. It's amazing to be on the edge of land on this large but insgnificant planet of ours. Approximately 71% of the Earth's surface is covered with water so we exist as the human race on just 29% of land and the Earth's oceans hold about 96.5 % of all the water on the planet. Think about that. Just 29% of the planet is land. That's just over a quarter. We only live on a quarter of the planet and we are hell bent on destroying the bits we live on as well as polluting the other three quarters as we pour our waste into the seas. For an intelligent race I don't think that's very intelligent.



The High Altar :- I wasn't allowed to use my tripod inside Bath Abbey. I was told it was a danger to health and safety so I promised them it would stay folded up and over my shoulder (which it did) throughout my visit. So I was baffled to then discover others looking around the magnificent Abbey's interior pushing prams and some walking around the place with walking sticks or frames out in front of them. Double standards. Anyway, somehow or other I kept finding places to balance my camera on in order to get the shots that I was hoping to using natural light. Considering I was hampered throughout this image has come out very well. The Grade I listed Abbey was originally founded in the 7th Century and then was altered in the 10th, 12th and 16th Centuries.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Motte, Land & Leagues and Great Hall

Motte :- A group of trees nestle together on a small hill in the middle of a flat lawn. Well, that's what it looks like at first. But if you were to go travel back 945 years you'd find yourself in the middle of Castle grounds in the year 1070. Bramber Castle was a Norman motte-and-bailey castle built by the 1st feudal baron William De Braose. There's now hardly anything left of the Castle itself apart from a large section of the main gatehouse and a few bits of wall here and there around the perimeter. The large mound covered in trees in the centre is the original castle motte. It's a lot smaller than it was back in its time but it still rises to 30 ft (10 m). A 'Motte' was a raised earthwork that would have had a wooden or stone keep situated on its summit. The castle is famous for being 'confiscated' during the reign of King John (1199–1216). Bramber Castle is situated in the village of Bramber in West Sussex.



Land & Leagues :- One of my favourite beaches to take photogra[hs just happnes to be the nearest beach to where I live on the South coast of England and a few miles to the East of Brighton with all its famous trappings. More often than not I find I am the only one there so have the place to myself as I pick carefully my way out over the rocks at low tide. For some reason most of the shots and images I take here are looking West towards the coastal city and resort so I thought i'd post this one as it's looking the other way towards the East. It looks like the cliffs stop further ahead but in actual fact they curve around slightly before naturally dipping down at Rottingdean Village and then rise up again as they thunder through Saltdean, Telscombe, Peacehaven and eventually come to a stop at Newhaven where the harbour is. From Newhaven there's a large break in the cliffs for a few miles before they suddenly rise up again out of nowhere at Seaford Head and thunder off once again before dropping at Cuckmere Haven where the estuary is. After Cuckmere the once again come up out of nowhere and form the famous Seven Sisters before hitting Birling Gap and then becoming the famouos Beachy head which is the highest chalk sea cliff in Britain, rising to 162 metres (531 ft) above sea level.



Great Hall :- I love this place. The gardens are immense and seriously well looked after and the remains of the house have got to be seen to be believed. It was once a grand regency style house owned by the Messel family who transformed it in the 1920's into a 'Medieval' Manor House. Then in February 1947 a vast asmoun t of the house was destroyed by a severe fire. It's hard to believe but somehow or other a small section of the house escaped unscathed and the rooms that were left behind were lived in by the last of the Mesels Anne, Countess of Rosse up until her death in 1992. Nymans house and gardens are now owned and looked after by the National Trust and are at Handcross, Haywards Heath in West Sussex.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Monday, 26 October 2015

Watching the Wheels, All Along the Breakwater and Outside the Cage

Watching the Wheels :- Brighton's iconic seafront and architecture is mirrored in the glistening wet sand. This view will change drastically next year as the 'Brighton Wheel' is due to come down in May 2016 due to its contract and lease not being extended. It's been a fascinating few years watching it become part of the famous resort and coastline. When it was first erected there were objections flying at it from all directions. Ridicule and hatred poured out of Brighton's residents as they demanded this and asked that of the local authorities. However, it did proceed to slowly turn and over the last 5 years it's pretty much been accepted to the point where people are now saying that it will be a shame to see it go. So now the hatred, ridicule and bitterness is being aimed at the i360 as it's being built by the old West Pier. Brightonian's never seem to be happy unless they are moaning about something. I am hoping that the i360 will eventually win a lot of people over in the same way that the Brighton Wheel did. We can only wait and see.



All Along the Breakwater :- A little bit of delicate agility was needed to get this shot. Due to the angle of the shot the top of the breakwater doesn't look to high but it was impossible to climb up onto from the pebbled beach below. So I took the steps up onto the promenade, climbed onto the sea wall and then carefully dropped down five or 6 feet onto the top of it making sure I didn't drop the tripod or camera or lose any dignity in the process. There's a stark and hard calmness to this image that I really like.



Outside the Cage :- Here's something very different form me. I'm usually all beach, landscape or architecture shots but I liked the look of this so shot it anyway. Below the Brighton Wheel and down on Brighton promenade there are a few stores that sell souvenires (buckets, spades, rubber rings, hats etc). They are permanently in shade due to the structure above them. On the concourse outside the stores there are several additional towers of girders and metalwork as well as the older concrete pillars that are helping to support 'Daltons Bastion' that the wheel is built upon. To stop people or children walking into the girders they have been 'wrapped' and encased in wire mesh. The image is very abstract compared to what I normally create but it's still another side and view of Brighton.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Sunday, 25 October 2015

13th Century Gatehouse, Shaded Churchyard and Conclusion

13th Century Gatehouse :- The wonderful thing about living in England is that wherever you go you'll find a serious part iof history staring right back at you. This is the gatehouse of Tonbridge Castle in Tonbridge in Kent. It's said to be Britain's finest example of a Motte and Bailey Castle with a turbulent history that's spanned over 900 years. The castle was built shortly after the Norman Invasion (otherwise known as the Battle of Hastings) in 1066. The gatehouse you see ijhn this image was built far later by either the third Earl of Hertford, Richard de Clare or his son Gilbert, it took 30 years to construct and wasn't completed until 1260.



Shaded Churchyard :- This is a shot of St Margaret's Church and Churchyard in the village of Rottingdean on the South coast of England. The shot was taken by placing the camera on the churchyard wall as I was passing. I liked the heavy shadows that were falling across the grounds. This is the graveyard where the esteemed Pre-Rapahelite artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones and his wife Lady Georgina are laid to rest and the Church is famous for having several large stained glass windows designed by Burne-Jones. It's also where you'll find the grave of the legendary rock and blues guitarist Gary Moore. Parts of the Grade II* listed Church date from the 13th century.



Conclusion :- Shimmering sand caught in the dying light of the evening. It had been an immense sunset which had surprisingly been somewhat overshadowed by the incredibly low tide. The two had combined to create a Brighton never seen before. Calming and breathtaking all at the same time.


All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Fountain Blue, Beach Break and O Sole Mio

Fountain Blue :- This was the result of a late night walk around the Marina Village in Brighton. I'd been walking around for an hour or so taking various shots here and there with the camera on the tripod so i could make use of the natural and available light. Whilst i was wandering around several others were out and about taking shots too. A spotted three or four different sets of teenagers all posing and pouting infront of their phones for various fish lipped selfies. It stuns me that with the advent of smart phone technology we have inadvertently created a world full of narcissistic individuals who are hell bent on photographing themselves at every given opportunity and find it impossible to pass a mirror. Another photographer was also out taking shots in the same area as me but he had all the gear. A huge camera bag over his shoulder. A massive camera body with an equally massive lens sticking out from it. Various things hanging off his belt etc etc. I presume it was all just for show and that he didn't have a clue as to what he was doing as he proceeded to point it at absolutely everything and each time he took a shot his flash unit lit up the entire square! One other person was about too and that was 'SECURITY'. All dressed in black to the point where he almost looked military with walkie talkie clipped on jacket etc. Out of all the people there who did he choose to come up and question? Yup...me! Apparently I was drawing attention to myself by not being self obsessed or lighting up everything like a Christmas tree. Strange world isn't it ... and a rather sad one at that.



Beach Break :- The various elements all fell together just right for this this shot. There was a harsh afternoon sun which created the hard light. That in turn made the big concrete breakwater into a "cut out" silhouette with just enough light spilling over it to hit the rocks on the beach. It also lit the pebbles in the foreground nicely too which pulls you into the image.



O Sole Mio :- I was going to describe a few things regarding this shot but sometimes words aren't enough. I think i'll simply let the image speak for itself and do the talking for me. All i'll add is that it was taken on Beacon Hill Nature Reserve on the South coast of England.


All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Friday, 23 October 2015

The White Horse, Phantom Theatre and Sunset Coast

The White Horse :- An evening shot of the famous White Horse Inn, Restaurant and Hotel on Rottingdean seafront. It was built in the 1930's but stands on the site of a much earlier building that looked out to sea in the 1800's. The parking spaces are usually all taken so it was a rare opportunity to get an image of it all lit up without cars getting in the way. Shame about the white van to the right but white vans seem to hold the fabric of Britain together and without them the whole system would collapse!



Phantom Theatre :- This is all that's left of Eugenius Birch's 1866 built West Pier. The strangest thing is that as much loved as the pier was in its heyday and right up until its closure in 1975 it's probably more iconic and famous now than it ever was! There's not a day or night that goes by without several photographers being down on the beach pointing their lenses towards her delicate frame. I have known it my entire life and was fortunate enough to go on her and walk upon the decking as a child. I loved her then and I still love her immensely now. I consider her to be a thing of beauty. This image was shot during one of the incredibly low tides on the 29th September 2015 in Brighton on the South coast of England.



Sunset Coast :- A combination of low tide, stormy skies and sunset helped create this moody and atmospheric image at Ovingdean Gap just a few miles East of Brighton. I loved how the light caught the rock pools but the heavy clouds threw the cliff face into shadow. The seaside city in the distance was beautifully backlit.


All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Turquiose Brighton, Exit This Way and Past Present Future

Turquiose Brighton :- White cliffs, sunshine, exposed rocks and a haze in the distance. Wonderful. The shot was taken somewhere on the beach between the villages of Rottingdean and Ovingdean on the South coast of England. The shadowy high rise shapes that you see on the left of the image are that of Brighton Marina and the City itself including the immense slender and skinny tower of the new i360 which is currently being put together on the seafront.



Exit This Way :- Almost camoflagued and blending in with the sea wall. Just the shadow gives these steps away. The beach steps dotted along the sea wall are now old and worn as they've been carrying people up and down since the 1930's. The beach itself has shifted dramatically too. There are places in Brighton where the beach is now 15 feet (4.57 meters) higher than it used to be in the late 1800's early 1900's.



Past Present Future :- It has always fascinated me the way that the human race moves somewhere because of seas, rivers and views and then proceeds to build up on them to protect itself thus ruining the place where it's just moved too. Having said that I'm pleased that we do that because it makes for some great images. Brighton is all about protection. Withought the giant breakwaters and sea walls we would have been under water a long time ago. Over the last 100 years or more the sea's been pushed back and the beaches have been built up to ensure that thousands of people can safely visit the City and leave their litter strewn about the pebbles.


All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

The Haunted Wreck, Close Enough and The Chancel

The Haunted Wreck :- It's funny how stories, myths and legends arise over time and become part of folklore. This old wooden wreck of a boat stticks up out of the mud on the banks of the river Adur in Shoreham, Sussex. Local legend says that this fishing boat was carried up the river during a massive storm in 1893 where it was then smashed against the rocks. The boat was supposedly the only means of income for the fisherman and his family and that they pretty much starved because the boat was wrecked. So now this wreck has ghost stories attached to it as various reports of crying and moaning have been heard and on the odd occasion shadowy figures of a family have been seen trying to push the boat back out to the river. All very creepy and scary ... and all absolute hogwash too. The reality is that this boat was a barge (not a fishing boat) that used to go up and down the river from Shoreham Harbour. There's actually an image of her online taken in 1970 where she looks pretty much intact but the years and weather have taken their toll and now just a few old timbers remain. So what of the ghostly family trying to save their fishing boat from the rocks? I have no idea how that story came about but there are no rocks in the area that a boat could smash against and the barge was more 20th Century than 19th so it's quite obvious that the shadowy moaning figures are the result of an overactive imagination.



Close Enough :- I get so used to walking around on the cliff tops on the south coast that I forget just what it is I am doing sometimes. There's the odd occasion when I find myself up there looking out to see with nothing at all between me and the huge drop but most of the time there is fencing between me and the void. As you can see by this image it is only rudimentary fencing that dates back quite a long way. Just a few old concrete posts with thin wire keeping you from straying too near the edge and the footpath takes you within a few feet of the cliff face. This image was shot at Ovingdean Gap, Brighton.



The Chancel :- This is an interior shot of St. Nicolas Church in Shoreham. The church was founded c. 900 and was dedicated c. 1080. The shot was taken from below the Norman Tower and is looking East down the 13th Century Chancel and up towards the Altar. There is an ancient feel about this building and it is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. The church is a Grade I listed building because of its architectural and historical importance.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Coruscation, Termination and Fun on Legs

Coruscation :- An image taken a little off the beaten track and far from the coach loads of tourists and day trippers in search of their cream teas. It was shot early morning (before breakfast) up a winding, steep and narrow lane in Widecombe in the Moor which is in Dartmoor, Devon. The lane runs off of the the main B3387 road and winds around piles of rocks known as 'Tors' whilst being flanked by mossy dry stone walls and rolling fields. I was lucky enough to be staying with a very good friend of mine and his family who live in the area and I'd skulked out early to get some morning light shots and take in the scenery. Whilst I was staying there he was still writing a new book and I was sleeping in the room where he did all his writing. Somehow or other I managed to withold temptation and refrained from taking a peek. The book is now finished, published and out in stores and bookshops. I've since read it and it's excellent. It's called RAILHEAD and it's by Philip Reeve.



Termination :- Brighton is famous for having so many historical world firsts within its boundaries. The Royal Suspension Chain Pier (built in 1823) was not just a landing stage but did have various attractions placed upon its deck and therefore canlay claim to being the world's first ever pleasure pier. The Duke of York's Picture House lays claim to being the oldest cinema in continuous use in Britain. The Brighton Aquarium (now SEA LIFE Brighton) is the world's oldest operating aquarium (opened in 1872). Then there's the Volk's Electric Railway which opened in 1883 and is the 'world's oldest operating electric railway'. There's more and I could go on and on but shall refrain for fear of boring you all. Many of these things are still found in the famous coastal seaside resort and City of Brighton and are still open to the public. However, much like the Royal Suspension Chain Pier not everything was built to last or made it. One of those was "Volk's Electric Sea Railway" which was also known by its nickname "Daddy Long Legs". Volk's had a madcapped idea and ran with it. He built underwater rails that stretched from the Paston Place breakwater (known as Banjo Groiyne due to it's shape) all the way out to the village of Rottingdean which was several miles away. The double rails were on large concrete blocks that ran parallel to each. Running along those rails was the 'Pioneer' which was 45 ft by 22 ft (13.7 by 6.7 m) structure that stood on four 23 ft (7.0 m) long legs. It was rather ill fated and short lived as it only operated between 1896 and 1901 before being 'killed off'. In this image you can clearly see several blocks in the bottom left of the shot. These were the last blocks in the run and therefore the end of the line at Rottingdean. You can actually trace the line of the "Volk's Electric Sea Railway" from Rottingdean all the way back to brighton as various blocks are dotted along the route and where they are missing the sea bed and rocks are scored. If you look to the center of this image you can see patches of water and sand stretching off which give you an idea of the span of the rails and the entire scale of this mad venture.



Fun on Legs :- There was a point in history where we were building piers everywhere. The industiral revolution helped create the railways which in turn created tourism and also enabled building materials to be transported with ease. Put all that together and you get the birth of the piers. Long, thin structures, stretching out to sea on spindly legs making them look like huge metallic millipedes. They are sadly dying out and rapidly becoming a thing of the past as more and more suffer fires and damage. We're at a point now where instead of building out the world is obsessed with building up. Everywhere seems to want the highest this or the tallest that as we all compete to scrape the sky that little bit more. Technology once again pushes the boundaries as intricate and complex computer designs pave the way to us building structures that would have been impossible to build a few years ago. Where will it end ? Who knows. Where will it lead us? Well ... either up, out or down is a good guess!



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Monday, 19 October 2015

A Pier and a Pole, Still Mill and Low Tide

A Pier and a Pole :- Thank to the closeness of the Moon to the Earth it's gravitational pull was at its strongest so it had pulled the sea back further than normal. This enabled me to wander out from the beach further than normanl and get this shot. Central to the image is the old iron frame of the West Pier backed by a stunning sunset. To the far right of the image there's the colossal i360 observation tower that stands at 162 metres. Alongside that you can see the 750 tonne yellow crawler crane (nicknamed T-Rex) that's 100 metres in height which has now completed it's work and since trundled off somewhere else. The Brighton i360 is the world's first vertical cable car, the world's slimmest tall tower and also the tallest UK observation tower outside London. It's due to open in 2016.



Still Mill :- This shot of the grade II listed smock mill known as Beacon Mill was taken from the far side of Beacon hill Nature Reserve near a road named Sheep Walk. It's a clever bit of composition and camera trickery as the 1802 mill from this angle looks like it's in the middle of nowhere when in actual fact it's near a main coast road and the historical and ancient village of Rottingdean on the South coast.



Low Tide :- I love looking down on the rocks, pools and seaweed after the sea's popped out for while. There's an entirely different world down there that's held in limbo as it spends half of its time above water and half below. The geology fascinates me too. Deep ruts, scars and fissures appear random at first but the more you start to look at them the more you see structure and pattern. In this image you can see lines heading out to sea.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Sunlit Door, Towering Reflection and Pefect Formula

Sunlit Door :- This is the side door of St Michael le Belfrey Anglican church in High Petergate in the City of York, England. It's quite a large church but is dwarfed by the mighty York Minster which is situated right alongside it. This Grade I listed church was built between 1525 and 1536. What makes this church famous is that it's where Guy Fawkes was baptised on 16 April 1570. He was born in his mother's cottage (now a Grade II listed pub named the Guy Fawkes Inn) which is directly opposite this church ... in fact the shot was taken from the Inn's doorway. Guy Fawkes’ mother’s cottage is in the rear courtyard area at the back of the Inn. Like most of York and it's buildings the In is said to be haunted and famous for its strong paranormal activity.



Towering Reflection :- The stunning and picturesque Scotney Castle in Kent. It was built between 1378 and 1380 by Roger Ashburnham after the French invaded Sussex and Kent in 1377. Originally the fortified moated manor house would have had a tower in each of its four corners but now just the Ashburnham Tower remains. Most castles look like robust giant fortresses but Scotney Castle looks more like it's stepped out of a fairy tale or one of the stories compiled by the Brothers Grimm.



Pefect Formula :- Low tide at Ovingdean Gap exposes the seaweed encrusted rocks. The sky is a mixture of light and darkenss as the sun sets in the West and a storm rolls in from the East. Peace and tranquility with just the odd cry from a passing gull and the sound of the waves breaking the silence. Not a boat or soul to be seen. Just me and a big wide world.


All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Scintillation, Hot seat and Over the Hell

Scintillation :- If i've learned anything at all about taking photographs it's to look around. Turn a full 360° if need be but look around. Don't get fixated on the main subject and focus soley on that as you'll be missing out on loads of other stuff because of self inflicted blinkers. As I was taking this image of Brighton's seafront all lit up on the King's Road everyone else behind me was facing South or South West looking at the ruins of the West Pier and the fading light of the dramatic sunset. I didn't see anyone else taking this shot or paying the scene any attention. It's rare to be standing this far out on the wet sand looking back towards the mixture of hotels, guesthouses and restaurants. The Moon was at its nearest to the Earth and its pulling power on the waves and salt water was at its strongest. I don't think the sea stood a chance as it was ripped away from the shoreline and effectivley peeled back to expose more of the beach than normal. I merrily squelched around with a huge grin on my face whilst making the most of the moment.



Hot seat :- It was the shadow that caught my eye. That and the sudden realisation that nodoby elese was about. I set up as quickly as possible and then just as I was about to take the shot two minutes worth of cyclists came through and I had to wait. Typical. I was surprised that so few were about on such a sunny and pleasant afternoon. The beach was pretty empty and the promenade was periodically desserted. I was free to wander, take in the sea breeze and enjoy some time with the camera. The shot was taken at Rottingdean on the South coast of England.



Over the Hell :- There's something very pleasing and yet unnerving about this shot. It's also extremely moody and atmospheric. It was taken on Beacon Hill Nature Reserve which sits a few miles to the East of Brighton. There are a few natural dips in the land and I positioned myself in one of them to get this shot of the sunset. It's was deadly still and quite up there. No joggers or dog walkers about. Just me and the dying light.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Friday, 16 October 2015

Where The Wild Things Aren't, Proximity and Red Square

Where The Wild Things Aren't :- This large crop of reltively small trees are just to the side of 'Happy Valley Park' in Woodingdean, Brighton. Like a lot of places that are named 'happy' this or 'happy' that it seems to be the direct opposite of what it's name implies. Not a large park by any means, right at the side of a busy road that connects The villages of Falmer and Woodingdean to the village of Rottingdean on the coast. The park is mainly used by dog walkers but it does also have a small children's playground in it too. For some reason this image made me think of the "Cottingley Fairies" and various paintings by Brian Fround & Alan Lee which in turn lead me to think about Maurice Sendak's wonderul "Where the Wild Things Are".



Proximity :- Even if you shut your eyes tight you could sense this storm coming in. It silently approached like a stealthy, clammy monster. Its presence was dropping the temperature with every new inch of ground gained. Goosebumps were soon to arrive too as I stood on the empty beach trying to ignore the cold.



Red Square :- No, not the famous Russian one but a rather mundane metal one on the Undercliff Walk between Rottingdean and Ovingdean in Brighton. I'm not sure why it caught my eye, maybe I was walking past and happened to see it just at the right angle. But I do remember walking back a few steps, taking another look at it and then grinning. Grey concrete, grey wall with white / greying chalk. An otherwise colourless scene apart form the huge bright red metla container dumped to the side. Mundane and non interesting to most but an absolute visual treat for the likes of me.


All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Taxi Back, Step This Way and Silent Beach

Taxi Back :- It takes a few seconds to work out just what it is you're looking at here but then the mundane reality kicks in and it all falls into place. It's surprising what a few carefully places lighting units will do to anotherwise bland structure. If you see this building in daylight hours it simply blends in with the rest of the grey and unispiring architecture, shops and restaurants that are "The Waterfront" in Brighton's Marina. 1980's built boxes that are nothing but a mixture of large glass panelled walls, metal work and raked out mortar bricks. I'd waited for pedestrians to get out the way and the odd car to drive past before taking the shot. It was only after I got back and processed the image that i realised I'd caught the back of a Taxi in the reflection of the glass on the right ... hence the title.



Step This Way :- A set of old concrete steps built into the seawall that runs between the villages of Rottingdean and Ovingdean to the East of Brighton. It was late afternoon, the sun was still relatively high in the sky and the shadow was just in the right place to pick out the stairwell by throwing it into darkness. The entire sea defense, wall and undercliff walk was built between 1930 and 1933. I'm surprised that it only took three years to build because the entire structure is immense and much of the work was done by having to lower the materials down the cliff face with the sea crashing about below. The sea wall and walkway stretches for several miles along the South coast joining Brighton to Saltdean.



Silent Beach :- Standing to attention. Cold, iron sentinels remain staring out to sea having been relieved of their duty. They no longer hold aloft the finery of a golden age. The planking and amusements have long since gone. The storms and fires took care of the rest. Only a few linger now as some of these were removed a year or so ago to make way for Brighton's newest tourist attraction the i360 which is being built on the site of the old West Pier. Some of the iron supports will (apparently) be placed back on the beach whilst others are going to be incorporated (somehow) into the i360's area and buildings.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Dining Room Window, Block on the Landscape and Gert & Henry's

Dining Room Window :- I was lucky with this shot. The doors to the dining room were open but they were just about to prepare for a function so i nipped in quick, set up, took the shot of the window and then made my exit. A minute or two after taking the shot the dorrs to the dining room were shut and the public were no longer allowed in. So what you are looking at here is a large window that's in the dining room of Bletchley Mansion in the (now) famous Bletchley Park, home of the code breakers. The Mansion itself dates back to the 1870's but during WWII served as the headquarters and recreational building. The telephone exchange, teleprinter machines and cafeteria were in this Dining Room up until 1942. The Dinning Room was used by senior members of staff only. It was in this room that news of the sinking of the Bismark was heard.



Block on the Landscape :- The butterfly effect. Chaos theory states that the "sensitive dependence on initial conditions in which a small change in one state of a deterministic nonlinear system can result in large differences in a later state". Ok, so this is not exactly the butterfly effect but it does make you stop and think a lot about just what we are standing on and just where our place (as a planet) in the Universe is. So we have a small moon. It pops up from time to time and lights up the night sky. Due to its eliptical orbit (i.e. not round) there are times when it's furthest away from us and times when it's nearest to us. Depending where it is in relation to us effects our seas and oceans greatly. This image was shot on the 28th September 2015 during a "Proxigean Tide" (the next one will be on 14th November 2016) and as you can see the moon's gravitational pull has shifted the sea so far out. It's rare to see sand on Brighton beach, it's even rarer to be able to walk out so far and stand below the pier. Anyway, this was shot looking towards the East as everyone else behind me was looking towards the west at the setting sun. I suddenly realised I had an open and empty beach behind me so turned to grab this image. In the distance you can see Brighton Marina and the new tower blocks that are beginning to rise up above its protective arm. They will continue to rise too as they are nowhere near their maximum and will stand out like giant sore thumbs. Brighton manages to hold onto its elegant seafront and coast for so long but now it looks as though all that will change.



Gert & Henry's :- Wherever you choose to walk within the City of York you find your mind is constantly being blown. It's probably the closest thing you can get to travelling back in time. It's City streets are still predominantly laid out the same as they were back in Medieval times, full of narrow twists and turns. Evidence of times gone by jump out at you constantly ... and then there are the buildings. Loads of them. Ancient dwellings, shops, pubs and restaurants in buildings that date back centuries. "Gert & Henrys" is a restaurant in Jubbergate which is part of York's market area. The building dates from the 1600's and has surprisingly been used as a restaurant since the late 1920's. The two-storey, gabled and timber-framed medieval building is now a free-standing property but originally had other buildings surrounding it. It's been rumoured to have housed six families at one point. The building is part of the York Conservation Trust.



All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill