St.Helier in black and white

While we were on Jersey in the summer, I took the opportunity to try out some high contrast black and white photography along St.Helier’s seafront.

St.Helier is Jersey’s capital.  According to Wikipedia, it has a population of 33,000.

The city is named after Saint Helier, an eremetic monk who believed that living as simply as possible brought one closer to God.

The Hermitage of Saint Helier perches on an inhospitable crag of rock out to sea.  It is now joined to Elizabeth Castle but, during St.Helier’s day would have been a place of austere isolation.

Poor St.Helier’s reward for all his privations was to be murdered by pirates.

His hermitage can be reached at low tide by a causeway or at high tide by Elizabeth Castle’s amphibious ferries.

Over on The Shed blog today I write about five more of my favourite images from the Gallery.

Maternity ward

aphids

Seeing this, one can understand why greenfly are public enemy number one in the garden. The aphid’s latest ‘baby’ has not even dropped to join its siblings yet, but another baby is already being pushed out.  And the aphid ‘mum’ is feeding at the same time.  Way to multi-task!

Over at The Shed Gallery blog today I am discussing some of my favourite images by other Shed creatives.  And not a greenfly in sight, I promise.

Spider in red

macro

This shot didn’t make the cut first time around but it has been growing on me so I thought I would share it. The spider was completely hidden under sumach leaves so the light is poor but I like it anyway.

Over on The Shed Gallery’s Blog today, my post is about photographing flying bugs. If you have been reading Focused Moments since the beginning, you will already know the piece as it is almost the same as one I posted here in April. If not, why not pop over – I share all my secrets, such as they are 😉

Artist of the Week at The Shed

This will be a slightly different week on Focused Moments as I am honoured to be Artist of the Week at The Shed Gallery.  I first came across this gallery when I stumbled upon their summer exhibtion at The Malthouse in Lyme Regis.  Entitled Albion, the exhibition featured art celebrating this island nation of ours.  It was a topical exhibition for 2012, a year when we have celebrated being British more than any other.

Dorset

The Cobb at Lyme Regis

Although largely an on-line community, The Shed differs from other internet photographic and art communities in that it has a permanent real gallery space in Barcelona plus seasonal exhibitions in its second home, Lyme. Furthermore, next February, Albion will be coming to London, to the Cock ‘n’ Bull gallery at Shoreditch.  I hope they will include something of mine!

Barcelona

Inside La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona

The Shed is only in its second year, and relatively expensive compared with other sites, but I like it that it is still small; one feels more part of a real community than one does on the impersonal mega-sites.  Direct contact between individual artists and the Shed Team is as frequent as the artist requires and hopefully there will be an opportunity to meet many of the other artists at the London exhibition.

Barcelona

Detail from Gaudi’s beautiful church, La Sagrada Familia

As Artist of the Week, I am writing some posts for the Shed’s Blog.  The first one is an introduction to me and my photography and the images will be familiar to anyone who has been following along here for a while.  But I would be hugely chuffed if you had time to pop over and say ‘hi’.

Dorset

Summer evening, Lyme Regis

Dunstanburgh Castle

Northumberland

Today I thought I’d share some images taken at Dunstanburgh Castle on Northumberland’s beautiful Heritage Coast. The castle is the largest in Northumberland. In 1313, Earl Thomas of Lancaster, cousin of Edward II of England began construction and John of Gaunt added to it later in the century.

Northumberland

During the Wars of the Roses, the castle was badly damaged and it slowly fell into decay. The castle is now owned by the National Trust and in the care of English Heritage. It is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Grade I listed building.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunstanburgh_Castle

Dunstanburgh Castle

This beautiful and evocative ruin can hardly fail to inspire, perched on a rocky outcrop above the coast and the plain below.  Some great painters have immortalised it, including Turner and, one of my favourite contemporary artists, Michael Morgan.

Northumberland

Lilburn Tower, the most intact of the castle buildings, seems to demand a moody black and white treatment. Can you imagine a knight riding along that path, perhaps to rescue a princess from the tower?  I kept thinking instead of Macbeth, riding to meet the three weird sisters, perhaps because Roman Polanski’s film, Macbeth was shot in the area.

Northumberland

Dunstanburgh Castle is reached via a footpath from Craster, a sleepy fishing village to the South.  Or via the beautiful sands of Embleton Bay to the North.

Northumberland

I chased down a rainbow there on our visit, only just managing one hasty exposure before the colours faded, from which I made this, rather more painterly than usual, image with a little help from Topaz Simplify:

Northumberland

For all that I enjoyed the, admittedly rather over the top, colours of the last two images, it remains, for me, the black and white images that suit this location more.  If you get the chance to visit this atmospheric ruin, I thoroughly recommend it.

Lilburn Tower

Stepping off the path

stepping off a path

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

If there is a path it is someone else’s path and you are not on the adventure.

– Joseph Campbell 

 

Road to no-where