Chalk and sea

One of the clients on my most recent workshop pointed out to me that it has been a long time since the last post on this blog! Shame on me!  So here’s a little summary of what I have been up to in the last few weeks, and some of my latest images.

desert island

Priory Bay, Isle of Wight

In my last post, I shared some pictures from Birling Gap, and I have been back there, as well as other locations nearby, a few times since.  My eye seems to be particularly drawn to chalk cliffs at the moment. Having been brought up on the south coast, they are very much the landscape of my youth and I now enjoy rediscovering them with my camera.

Seven Sisters evening

Seven sisters at dusk

While beguilingly beautiful, the South coast can also be dangerous, as I was reminded on one of my recent trips to Birling Gap.  I was, fortunately, standing out on the sand at low tide, when a huge chunk of the cliff came crashing down. No-one was hurt although there was a group of very shocked foreign students on the beach at the time. It was a sobering sight and, from now on, I will be more careful about heeding warnings not to stray too close to the cliffs.

C2C-49

Seven Sisters

Last week, I spent a few days in another chalky place, the Isle of Wight. Although the weather was trying, to say the least, there were some moments of good light and, let’s face it, it’s hard not to get a picture when at the coast.  It will take me a while to get through all the images I took, but here are a few ‘tasters’.

In other news, I was delighted to find out that one of my pictures has been selected for inclusion in the Outdoor Photographer of the Year book.  It is a year since I first submitted work to Outdoor Photography Magazine, easily my favourite photography publication. Since then, the magazine has published several of my images and commissioned a short article.  I have been bowled over by the enthusiasm and support I have received from them.

Fistral 1

Fistral beach – selected for Outdoor Photographer of the Year book

Regular readers will already be familiar with the work of my friend Jenifer Bunnett, who continues to be a great pal and enthusiastic companion on our photographic expeditions.  If you haven’t seen her work before, you can access her website by clicking on her name above.  I have also recently enjoyed outings with two other photographers, Sarah Medway and Lorraine Heaysmon, both committed landscape shooters with impressive portfolios. Photography can be a solitary activity and, while I really enjoy that solitude, it is also nice sometimes to share the adventure.

tog on the shore

A capture of Jen capturing a seascape on the Isle of Wight

My spare time (what spare time?) continues to be filled with judging at Surrey camera clubs and giving talks.  I recently presented a new talk,  ‘From Canal to Coast’ to Guildford Photographic Society which was well-received.  As a judge I am obliged also to compete in camera club competitions, which is fair enough when you think about it.  So, last month, I was pleased to win the Best Image trophy at Surrey Photographic Association’s 2015 Open Print competition.  I have shared the picture here before but I think a second airing is justified.

seascape

Of course, this is also the main season for f11 Workshops and we have had some great days out with our clients.  Our last workshop of the year was in West Sussex and, although the weather seemed determined to be gloomy, our persistence was eventually rewarded with some really special light.  My business partner, Tony Antoniou, and I will not make our own images when leading workshops, so I have no picture to share, but I have seen a few of our clients’ shots and am glad to say they did it justice.

east head sunset 2

The location of our workshop, but taken on another occasion.

Finally, Jen and I have had a couple of productive meetings about our pro bono project with the Basingstoke Canal and there will hopefully be some big developments on that front in the near future.

Phew! What a busy few weeks it has been!  What has been your best photographic adventure so far this winter?  Feel free to share in the comments below. 🙂

Focused Moments, the exhibition

A5 flyer side 1

It is a year and 5 exhibitions since I decided to shift the focus of my photography towards the fine art side of things.  This time last year I was exhibiting a series of Surrey landscapes in a joint exhibition with my shooting buddy, Jenifer Bunnett, at The Lightbox in Woking. Then, in March, we showed some of the images from that exhibition alongside new local landscapes in ‘A Certain Slant of Light’ at the Guildford Institute. In August, I hung a panel in ‘Light on the Land’ at the Mall Galleries, and in September, five black and white pictures in ‘Mistresses of Light’ at the Oxo Tower.  It was a lot of work, and the learning curve was steep, but it was also great fun.  However, the climax of all this has to be my first solo exhibition, ‘Focused Moments’, currently showing at Arté Gallery in Weybridge.

exhibition bio

I needed a lot of images for this exhibition and I wanted to make sure I could offer something for all budgets and also remain true to my own style.  I must have spent a small fortune (I daren’t add it up!) trying different papers and framing options.  In the end, I went with three fine art papers in simple black frames and a few prints on aluminium.  I also decided to have two special books made for visitors to browse.  On the advice of the gallery owners, I have made these available as limited editions, and they seem to be going down well.

arte exhibition space

There is something really rewarding about filling a gallery. I have hung 60 images of which most are new pictures, taken in the last year, but there are some going back as far as 2009.  When planning the hanging in this intriguing space with several different surfaces, it helped to create groups of images that worked together and then it was relatively easy to decide the order of the groups so that the exhibition flowed.  I say easy – it still took us two full days to finish hanging the show!

arte exhibition pv

Of course, there had to be a party.  Many thanks to local lettings agents, Martin & Wheatley for sponsoring the opening.  In a bout of last-minute nerves, I worried that no-one would come, but I needn’t have fretted. In the end, the event was buzzing, and we sold seven prints and two of my limited edition books during the course of the evening. Phew!

PV

I think it’s important to be present at an exhibition as much as possible; people like to be able to talk to the exhibitor.  I have had many interesting conversations at the gallery this week, some with old friends and some with new. And today I got to show my Dad around, which was really special.

arte 1

If you have ever thought of trying something like this, I heartily recommend it.  The experience has been amazing – exhausting, but amazing.  It’s nice to sell, but even if I had sold nothing, it would still have been worth it.  Many thanks to Mike and Sally at Arté Gallery for allowing me to bring my work into their lovely space, to my friend, Sam, for all the fetching, carrying and coffee and to my daughter, Maggie, for her excellent work as server and photographer at the private view.  I couldn’t have done it without you!

Painshill revisited

Cobham, Surrey

f/11, 2.5″, 16mm, ISO 50

This day last year, I was at Painshill Park, in Cobham, Surrey, a restored eighteenth century landscape garden.

Painshill Park, Cobham

f/5, 1/40, 35mm, ISO 400

One of Painshill’s famous follies, the Gothic Temple, is seen above, reflected in one of the arches of the bridge. Below, another folly, the Ruined Abbey is situated picturesquely on the bank of the lake.

Cobham, Surrey

f/10, 1/250, 33mm, ISO 200

The image below is the only one I shared at the time.  Another folly appears with the Gothic Temple, the Chinese Bridge.

Cobham, Surrey

f/11, 2.5″, 16mm, ISO 50

Painshill’s working vineyard produces a nice sparkling white.

Cobham, Surrey

f/11, 0.3″, 16mm, ISO 50

Seen below, the Turkish Tent is another of Painshill’s follies.

For the techies, I used a .6 ND hard grad for these shots, 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.

folly at Painshill Park

f/11, 2.5″, 28mm, ISO 50

Autumn in the vineyard

Denbies Autumn 5

I spent a very happy couple of hours this Tuesday at Denbies Wine Estate.

Denbies Autumn 4

The harvest was mostly over but the vines still glowed in the late Autumn light.

Denbies Autumn 3

People don’t tend to think of England as a wine-producing country but Denbies, one of our largest wine producers, has had considerable success, including an International Gold for its Noble Harvest Dessert wine.

Denbies Autumn 2

I may be spending more time on the estate next year. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this selection from Tuesday’s images.

Denbies path 2

Poppies at dusk

Sussex

Some may remember that last June I found a wild poppy field nearby and went a bit mad photographing it.  As is the nature of natural poppy fields, it is not there this year, the land having been rotated back to crops.   However, thanks to the photographers’ network, I have found another, rather further afield but, as last night’s visit confirmed, completely worth the trip. More to follow!

Precious landscape on the brink

Surrey landscape
On Friday, I enjoyed a trip out to Three Farms Meadows with my friend, Tony Antoniou.   The landscape here is special because Surrey is a heavily populated county.  Open spaces like this are rare and ever more under threat.   Three Farms Meadows in Surrey
I cannot hope to convey the joy of stepping through the gate onto this vast, open, empty landscape.  We spent an hour up there, in the company of skylarks, bees and a pair of red kites soaring overhead.Surrey landscapeSadly, Three Farms Meadows is under very real threat.   2,500 new homes are planned for this site.  I understand how desperate the housing situation is in this crowded little country of mine.  But still, I cannot help but dread the loss of this precious place.  The price seems too high.