Photo essays and projects

seascape

4″, f/11, 35mm, ISO 200, Big Stopper and circ. polariser

The internet has, mostly, been a marvellous thing for enthusiast photographers, not least because images are readily available for our viewing and educational pleasure.  Although there is still nothing quite like seeing an image in print, we no longer need to buy a magazine or go to an exhibition for our daily dose of photo inspiration.

Wreck on Bognor beach

1.6″, f/7.1, 70mm, ISO 200, Big Stopper and circ. polariser.

As most of us have realised, however, volume does not equal quality and discernment is a skill we must develop to become better photographers.  One of the difficulties in our way is that fact that most photosharing sites, like Flickr and 500px, reward the high-impact, stand-alone image.  Often, subtler images, that reward a more lingering gaze, are overlooked in the frenetic world of internet attention spans.

Groynes on Bognor beach

2″, f/8, 70mm. ISO 200, Big Stopper and circ. polariser.

Recently, I have found myself enjoying Adobe’s image-sharing site, Behance, not only because overall the standard of imagery is high, but because Behance is geared towards projects rather than stand-alone images.  This is where the professionals hang out and, perhaps because they tend to be working on commissioned projects, the site abounds in sequences of images, connected visually and creatively into cohesive wholes. If you have not yet found Behance, I recommend a visit.  Just select photography from the ‘creative fields’ drop down menu and soak up the gorgeousness.

West Sussex seascape

20″, f/11, 70mm, ISO 50, Big Stopper and circ. polariser.

Inspired by what I have been seeing there, I have started to make sets of images, linked by style, subject or even colour.  The five images posted here were all taken on the same day last week when I had to be in West Sussex.  The weather was stormy, with sudden bursts of bright sunlight in front of heavy skies, so I decided to exploit that changeable feeling, deliberately using a variety of shutter speeds to capture the sea’s mood.  By afternoon, the weather had eased but I attempted to carry the morning’s colour palette into the afternoon’s shoot, at Selsey Lifeboat station.

West Sussex seascape

1/60, f/11, 16mm, ISO 50, Big Stopper and circ. polariser.

Incidentally, the second image is of a wrecked portion of WW2 mulberry harbour that has been rusting away on Aldwick beach for seventy years.  Believe it or not, I grew up literally a stone’s throw from this wreck but have only now bothered to photograph it.  Sometimes we overlook the things closest to us.

Of barges, trains and automobiles

Railway in Surrey
Recently I have started to retrace my steps along the Wey Navigation towpath with a view to getting some more up to date pictures for a possible book project.  Most of the Navigation runs through pretty countryside but there is one spot, between New Haw and Pyrford, where it runs close to, and is indeed crossed by, the M25, Britain’s busiest motorway.  It is not the most picturesque of landscapes but still full of interest for the photographer.  I enjoy the challenge of trying to make images here.
The M25 crosses the Wey
Although not conventionally beautiful, this is a very significant spot in the history of transport.  Here, within a few paces of its passage under the motorway, the Wey Navigation meets the Basingstoke Canal. The Navigation is not a canal strictly speaking but a river made navigable, and it predates the canal age by some hundred years.  Thus the Basingstoke Canal (opened in 1793) represents a later evolution of British transport, although it was never as successful as the Navigation and fell into disuse first. A sign here points to Thames Lock (3 miles), Guildford and Godalming (12 miles) and Greywell Tunnel (31 miles via the Basingstoke Canal).
The M25 and the Wey Navigation near New Haw
Immediately after its junction with the canal, the Navigation passes under a bridge that carries the main London to Southampton railway line (1838).  The railways of course were a further development and largely responsible for supplanting the canals as the principal means of goods transport.
Railway in Surrey
Railway in Surrey
Then there’s the motorway, the next stage in the development of transport.  An iron footbridge next to the railway bridge adds a further layer, albeit rather older and more environmentally sound!
railway in surrey
I have had a few funny looks from people during my visits here, and on a couple of occasions people have stopped to ask me what on earth I am photographing.  Yet, rather amusingly, I am clearly not the first photog to see potential in this location, although I don’t think I would ever go to such lengths to advertise my Flickr photo stream!

railway Surrey

Some people will do anything to get people to look at their photos

In some of my shots I have tried for a desaturated, moody look, to suit the industrial feel of the place.
Railway in Surrey
But sometimes I just can’t resist going for colour.  When the late afternoon sun peeps under the motorway, it almost looks pretty.
Railway in Surrey
The next shot does not properly belong here as I took it at Weybridge Station, while waiting to meet my daughter.  But it was taken on the same afternoon as some of the earlier pictures, just a few minutes later, and it has got a train in it…
Weybridge Train Station
Of all the photographs I have taken here so far, strangely my favourite has no train.  I like the simplicity of the brick bridge against the sky. It seemed to demand a contrasty black and white conversion.

Black and white railway bridge

ISO 50, 16mm, f/16, 11″
ND .6 Hard Grad, Circ. Polariser, .9 Pro-glass

Painshill in winter

Surrey landscape

 

A shot from Tuesday’s visit to Painshill Park in Cobham, Surrey.  Those eighteenth century landscape designers knew a thing or two!  Two of Painshill’s famous follies are visible in this view, the Gothic Temple and the Chinese Bridge. For the techies, I used a .6 ND hard grad for this shot, and a circular polariser, of course. I have written several other posts about this favourite location of mine.  Just click on the tags, Painshill or Painshill Park to find them.

The little iron church

Esher, Surrey
The tiny, corrugated iron, ‘mission’ church of St. George is in the hamlet of West End, near Esher in Surrey. It was built in 1879 on land given by Queen Victoria so that the poor labourers of the village might be able to worship without the steep, muddy climb into Esher. Despite its temporary nature, the church, which overlooks the cricket green, is currently 134 not out!
Many thanks to my friend, Tony Antoniou, who kindly popped round yesterday to re-calibrate my monitor and at the same time showed me how to get better results from the HDR facility in Photoshop CC. This photo is my first effort using the tool properly. Tony is a talented photographer with a flair for environmental portraits and image manipulation. Do pop over and have a look at his website.

Hundatora

Dartmoor

f/14, 1/24, ISO 400, 18mm


Hundatora is a ruined medieval village near Hound Tor on Dartmoor. It is likely it was abandoned either because of deteriorating climate conditions or the Black Death (bubonic plague). Somehow it seemed to me to suit a slightly brooding, black and white treatment.

Fort Grey

Guernsey
Fort Grey, in Roquaine Bay on Guernsey’s West coast, is one of the Channel Islands’ many ‘Martello’ towers.
Guernsey
It was built in 1804, during the Napoleonic Wars, for defence against the French.
Guernsey
During WW2, the occupying German forces used it as an anti-aircraft battery. The tower was restored in the 1970s and opened as a shipwreck museum in 1976.

Guernsey

Looking North towards WW2 tower

The area has seen plenty of shipwrecks over the centuries, as it is fringed with extensive reefs.

Guernsey

Looking North from Fort Grey

A canon on the roof of the fort points towards the Hanois reef, nemesis for many a vessel. According to the Guernsey Museums website, between 1734 and 1978 over 100 ships were wrecked in the Hanois area. The earliest known wreck dates back to 1309.

Looking West towards Hanois lighthouse

Looking West towards Hanois lighthouse

The museum, well worth a visit, displays relics, paintings and photographs of many of the local wrecks, together with their often tragic stories.
Guernsey