Newark Priory

Surrey landmark

365/18

I spent this afternoon teaching a student on the Wey Navigation towpath near Newark Priory. Imagine my surprise when I got home and started to look for today’s 365 redux image to find that on 18th January 2009 I was at exactly the same place! The Priory was founded in the 12th century by Augustinian Canons, also known as ‘Black Canons’ because of their black cloaks and cassocks. At one point, the prosperous Priory housed a community of 200.  Henry VIII had it sacked during the Dissolution of the Monasteries; according to one story, a cannon was placed on the hill above it to bombard the buildings.  It was subsequently plundered for its building materials and fell into ruin; all that is left now is part of the church. A Grade I Ancient Monument, the Priory was placed on the English Heritage Buildings at Risk register in 2007. I can’t offer an image of it from today as I do not make my own pictures when I am out with students. The original of this image (before the fancy editing) was featured as the cover of six local interest magazines in 2010.

To Infinity and Bakerloo

London underground

f/5.6, 1/6, 8mm, ISO 400.

My Samyang 8mm fisheye lens (Fuji fit) is one of the best value for money lenses I have.  It’s manual focus only, but at 8mm and f/5.6, it’s actually quite hard to make anything out of focus. Paired with my little Fuji X-E1, it’s a cracking set up for taking down into the London Underground. This shot is from Saturday, at Regent’s Park station, on the Bakerloo line.  Best to see it larger to appreciate the photoshop fun I had with it after I got home (the clue is in the title).

I was scraping the bottom of the barrel a bit for my 365/12 as it appears I do not often take photos on 12th January!  I had only one in the last 7 years (the extent of my digital image-making life).  It is from 2009, the year of my real, as opposed to redux, 365.  I can only guess that it was a day much like today, wet and miserable, that made me resort to photographing soap.

soap

365/12

 

 

Definitely Surrey!

Surrey landscape

f/11, 1/80, 70mm, ISO 400

Every Tuesday I go out shooting with Jenifer Bunnett, another Surrey landscape photographer. This week we went to Frensham Great Pond.  It had been years since I was last there.

Surrey landscape

f/11, 1/125, 70mm, ISO 200

The weather started inauspiciously so we strolled around the lake scouting locations for another day.  Finally, we happened upon the charming chaps of Frensham Pond Model Yacht Group who were happy to let us take a few pictures of their beautiful yachts in action.  We hope to go back and capture more pictures there in better light.

Surrey landscape

f/8, 15″. 125mm, ISO 200

I experimented with a long exposure to try to capture something of the blustery, drizzling conditions.  And then we retreated to the Frensham Pond Hotel for a very welcome cuppa, or two.

Surrey Landscape

f/11, 1/100, 35mm, ISO 400

When we set out again, the weather was still dreary but, then, it started to clear.

Surrey Landscape

f/11, 1/4, 16mm, ISO 100

One of the things I love about this country is the way the weather changes so swiftly and unexpectedly.  One minute the landscape was grey and oppressive, the next it basked in golden light.  These two shots of the same view were taken 20 minutes apart.

Surrey landscape

f/11, 1/10, 16mm, ISO 100

That last shot has surprised people; they think it looks more like something from the Lake District than Surrey.  People constantly underestimate this county.  It’s not famous for its landscapes; there are no dramatic mountains or windswept coastline.  But beauty is still there, for those with an eye to see it.

Surrey landscape

f/10, 1/10, 16mm, ISO 100

After its inauspicious start, the day turned out to be a great success. The sunset was as spectacular as one could ask but Mummy-duties required me to leave 20 minutes before it (frustrating!).  I just had time to snatch a last shot of Jen, who had longer, still doing her thing.

Surrey landscape

f/9, 1/50, 25mm, ISO 200

On sharing some of my pictures on Twitter, I have been told that Frensham Little Pond is even prettier.  Guess where we’re going next Tuesday.

***

Today’s 365 is from 9th January 2010.  Tea lights in snow.  Well, why not?

tea lights in snow

365/9

Happy snapping Sunday

West Wittering

f/7.1, 1/60. 25mm, ISO 200

This is why I didn’t post yesterday: an epic full day of shooting in West Sussex.  More anon.   Yesterday’s and today’s 365 at the end.

 West Wittering

f/7.1, 1/80, 19mm, ISO 200

 West Wittering

f/7.1, 1/50, 35mm, ISO 200

 West Wittering

f/11, 0.3″, 16mm, ISO 100

 West Wittering

f/11, 0.3″, 16mm, ISO 100

365/4 and 5 are from January 2009.  I was a digital newbie, just learning my way around pixels and processing.  I would convert to shooting exclusively RAW later that month.  Never looked back really.

bird

365/4

snow

365/4

Dubai, colourless.

sculpture in Dubai

365/2 – Dubai Divers

This day last year, we were in Dubai, having stopped off on our way back from Australia.  I wish I could say I loved Dubai.  It’s just not my kind of place.  In fact, it reminded me strongly of my least favourite place in the whole world, Las Vegas.  I did quite like this sculpture of diving figures in the otherwise overwhelming temple of excess that is the Dubai Mall.

We thought it might be interesting to take a tour into the desert, but the more than 3 hours round trip just to get to a scrubby bit of dirty sand and some very smelly camels inside a wire fence did rather take the gloss off the experience.  Still, I liked these strange little bushes with their roots exposed.  They looked as if, at night, they might secretly tiptoe across the sand.

desert scene

365/2 – Dubai desert

A new year, a new project, and getting back to blogging

The arrival in my mailbox of WordPress’s Year in Review prompted me to reflect on what has been a very patchy year of blogging. When I first started Focused Moments, back in April 2012, I wrote a new post every day, and kept that up for the best part of a year. But, during 2014, the flow of posts somehow dwindled, and dwindled… 2014 was a year with challenges, but that’s no excuse.  There’s no point in promising to do better; you’ve heard it all before. I should just get on and do it; less talk more action!  After all, WordPress is a great platform, and some recent enquiries and sales have reminded me that it is also one that does every well in search rankings. So, time to get back on that horse.
To start with, I am beginning a project 365. After I completed the usual one-new-image-a-day project back in 2009, I swore I’d never do it again. But this is going to be different. I don’t need motivation to go out and take new images; I can hardly help myself. But I have a massive, sadly disorganised and neglected back catalogue. So I am going to post a ‘this day x years ago’ image every day this year, and it has to be a new edit or an image never before shared.  Not only will I be forced to trawl through those forgotten pictures, I will also be forced to log in and do something on Focused Moments. And, once I’m here, I might as well post new stuff too. We’ll see.

national park

Dartmoor National Park 365/1

Anyway, here’s image 365/1, from a bracing New Year’s Day 2013 spent exploring Dartmoor National Park. I’d love to spend more time in this atmospheric location. I have a couple of windows of opportunity for exploring more of the UK this year and Dartmoor, with its windy tors and lonely, tortured trees, is definitely on the shortlist.

Spectra over London

London

Spectra, by Rioji Ikeda, is one of several art installations in London at present to commemorate the centenary of the start of WW1.   Certainly an imposing sight.  You don’t have to go into London to see it as it is visible for many miles around.  However, if you do want to see it for yourself, you will have to be quick – tonight’s the last night.

Spectra 1 (moonless)

Portuguese wanderings

Portugal

We are back from our summer travels.  This year we chose Portugal.  We used to holiday in the Algrave often, when the children were small, but hadn’t been back in 11 years.  I was afraid we’d find it much changed.  Certainly, the Algrave is very much discovered.  It already was back in 2002 and the spread of tourism that was marching inexorably West from Faro has reached a little further now.  But the extreme South Western tip, at Sagres, still retains its off-beat, surfing vibe, and the wild West coast beaches are just as glorious as I remembered.   This is one of my favourite sunset spots, Praia do Castelejo.

f11 Workshops

I can finally explain why Focused Moments has been so quiet lately.  It’s been a long time in the planning but this week my business partner, Tony Antoniou, and I launched our new venture, f11 Workshops.

Papercourt Lock

We are going to be leading photography workshops and tours in Surrey and West Sussex. The photographer is spoilt for choice when it comes to workshops in some of the UK’s more famous beauty spots, like the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, the Lake District, or the Scottish Highlands, but there are few tours elsewhere.  Yet there are rewarding locations everywhere if you know where to look.  I am really looking forward to introducing other photographers to some of my favourite local places.

Dell Quay

Taking small groups of 6-8 maximum, we aim to tread lightly in our chosen locations, leaving nothing behind and taking nothing away but our photographs and some great memories.

Moonrise over Weybridge

I’ll be blogging about our tours as they happen.  Plus, now that the business is up and running, I should be able to get back to regular posting, and reading.  In the meantime, if you have time, please visit our website.  I’d love to know what you think.  We are also on Facebook and Twitter.