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!

Lifeboats and heroes

RNLI

Last week I had the chance to pop down to Selsey and photograph the RNLI’s Lifeboat station.  It is an imposing structure, with its long gangway linking it to the shore.  I have always been fascinated by the story of lifeboats.  Perhaps my interest lies partly in the fact that a good portion of my first twelve years were spent at sea, even encountering a lifeboat on a particularly foggy day off the Devon coast when it was a very welcome sight indeed. The story of the lifeboat service is full of daring deeds and sacrifices.  I have often wondered why the BBC, or indeed, Hollywood, has failed to make a drama about it.  Still, to this day, the lifeboats are manned by volunteers, people with day jobs who feel it right to offer their service in aid of those in peril on the sea.

If you are interested in maritime history, you might enjoy this blog: Map of Time.

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.

Fields of gold

rapeseed field
Fields of oilseed rape are in full bloom right now.
rapeseed field
Oilseed rape is not a subtle crop. Each Spring it blazes out its presence in the English countryside, briefly turning this ‘green and pleasant land’ into something far more extroverted.
rapeseed field
I took the opportunity to capture some of its moods twice last week, near Wisley in Surrey and the village of Northchapel in West Sussex. It was interesting how the colour changed with the light, from acid yellow to something far more mellow, with a hint of amber.
rapeseed field

The farmer of this field has sown his crop right over one of the many public rights of way that criss-cross the meadows here.

rapeseed field

What footpath?


If you are not a fan of swathes of yellow in the countryside, you might be interested in this news item from last year, although after seeing the artist’s impression of how the future of oilseed rape farming could appear, you might feel that yellow is not so bad!
rapeseed field

Cowdrey Park ruins

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More iphoneography, this time taken today at Cowdrey Park ruins in Midhurst, West Sussex.

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This atmospheric building was once a magnificent Tudor house, visited by both Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.

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Today it is part of the Cowdrey Park Estate, probably most famous for being the home of British polo.

La Belle et la Bête

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I thought that this tree tunnel at Pagham Harbour in West Sussex had a slightly fairy tale feel. When I edited the shot I was inspired by Jean Cocteau’s iconic film, La Belle et la Bête (1946). I wanted to create a black and white that captured something of the aesthetic of the film. It was just an experiment but fun to do.

Have you ever taken or edited a photo inspired by a favourite movie?