From The Tower of London

Yet another set of photos that never got blogged at the time of taking them back in January (don’t ask, it’s been a very strange year) which is a shame as I was, and am, very proud of these London beauties. Many were taken from the top of Tower Bridge; I paid my tenner AND got to see some Martin Parr prints that were exhibiting there at the time.

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Tower Bridge opens its upper floor to the general public – well worth a tenner.
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How small the Tower of London now looks against all these modern constructions.
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HMS Belfast sitting tight
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The Walkie-Talkie building – twice
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City Hall and The Shard
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Lads on a bridge.
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The Sea Containers building all lit up.
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The London Eye still dressed from Christmas
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City pedestrians – they all walk so quickly.
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Hastings’ 1066 Zombie Walk of the Dead

The social calendar for Hastings continues to grow and grow, and with each event comes the opportunity to get all dressed up. Maybe preparing for the Zombie Walk is not most peoples idea of making an effort before you leave the house but it was great fun. Unfortunately, I got there too late to secure a good view of the rendition of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. If you’d like to get involved, 1066 Walk of the Dead have a Facebook Page here.

Now that my stock sites are up and running, of which the most active is https://www.shutterstock.com/g/sixpixx , I am venturing out further. Having dipped my toe in the water of http://photo4me.com/profile/sixpixx to deal with the supply of a print to anyone that might possibly want one, I found the upload laborious and the pricing structures ambiguous – this is a shame because it is a smaller, local company and, ideally I would like to use them more. However, even at these returns, it would seem the marketing is still down to the photographer being very organised on social media sites and promoting their own portal (hello – haha) so, I had another look around. I have looked at, but eliminated Smugmug, Zenfolio and Shootproof and eventually settled on (and not because there may be unicorns) Pixieset where my first albums, including this collection of Zombies, have been posted.

A warning that some are quite graphic but, I hope you enjoy the photos:

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A long weekend in Dorset, England

The Purbeck railway line transports the nostalgic voyager along the 12mile track through English countryside and past the magnificent Corfe Castle sitting high on its hill above its quaint village to the seaside town of Swanage. There, we took a tall ship out along the coast to witness, from the sea, Harry Rock and the white chalk cliffs that are so typical of the south coast. Returning, on the train, to the car park, the other half was thrilled to find a car park full of vintage racing Bugatti cars. An excellent first day.

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Purbeck railway train guards smartly dressed in their traditional uniforms
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Steam Train
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Tall ship in Swanage Harbour
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Sailing the high seas.

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White Chalk Cliffs
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Swanage from the sea.
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Memorial plates on Swanage pier.
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A whole car park full of Bugatti racing cars.

We stayed in a little farmhouse just up the road from Lulworth Cove from which, cliff top footpaths offered beautiful coastal panoramas to include the famous arched peninsula of Durdle Door.

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Durdle Door
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Lulworth Cove
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Sea Thrift
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East side of the Durdle Door peninsula

Of all the drama of this stretch of coast, one of the most bizarre things we saw in that small area was the grey stone beach, and therefore foreboding grey waters, but yet the multi-coloured seaweeds of Kimmeridge Bay.

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Grey stones made this bay feel very hostile.

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Yet, the multicoloured seaweeds were mesmerizing.
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Known as the Jurassic Coast, people love to collect fossils from this stretch of coastland.

Tyneham village, commandeered by the military as a strategic location during the war is still in the hands of the military and therefore the village and Worbarrow Bay are only accessible on certain designated days. We were lucky to see them.

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A whole village commandeered for military purposes during WWII
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Has become a tourist attraction

 

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Tyneham village remains
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Nice to see natural history was much more important in those days.
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Worbarrow Bay
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Incredible translucent colour which must be the chalk sea floor reflecting light.

We spend a pleasing day on the National Trust Brownsea Island. Pleasing firstly because it required 2 ferry rides to get there and secondly because there were no vehicles and few people about but mostly, because we saw a rare red squirrel. Red squirrels are indigenous however, they were virtually wiped out when the larger, more aggressive grey squirrel got introduced from Nth America in C19.

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The coastguard cottages at the entrance to the island
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Whole flocks of peacocks roaming free.
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My first red squirrel – and I should never have seen it if it hadn’t thrown an acorn at my head – haha.

The bridge at Wareham was very pretty

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Swan in bridge shadows
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Duck leaving bridge shadows
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Kayaks for hire.

And, after a thorough lovely few days, for the grand finale, which happens to be my favourite place ever, and happened to fall on my birthday… we visited Monkey World. We had been once before when the boys were young and I do try to catch the daily dramas on the TV series but there is nothing like spending time watching these apes and monkeys that have had such difficult lives – many rescued from the pet trade and some from the tourist trade. This place does a great job in giving them back some dignity and allowing as natural a life as they would ever be able to enjoy. They have an excellent breeding program with some of the rarest of species whose young can end up getting transported back to the wild. I think it’s a great cause.

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Gordon, born at the centre, has grown into a fine young man.
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Golden Cheek Gibbons mate for life. I love to hear their morning song.
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Many come to this sanctuary with psychological scars that will stay with them forever.

 

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Strategies to make feeding more stimulating
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One of the orang-utans from the nursery
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She has mothered 3 young and contributed to the breeding program for this species.
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Oshine was rescued from being a household pet where she was feed a diet of burgers and sweets. She has done much better than me on her healthy eating regime.

Hastings Pier Wins the 2017 RIBA Stirling Architecture Prize for the Best Building in the UK

Wow, that’s quite an accolade for the structure that locals either love or hate, and regardless of opinion, colloquially call ‘the plank’. The 2017 RIBA Stirling architecture prize for best building is, according to some, excessive for a space in which there is ‘nothing to do’ and well deserved for others who love to promenade to the end and enjoy the huge void above the waves. Hopefully, these photos on, off and of the pier, taken over a period of time in the past couple of years, may prove this open space, that is adaptable for a range of events such as music, yoga and…. a car show room…., is well worthy of the prize.

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In extreme weather
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Hastings and Ore Photographic Club stall out at the Health and Hobbies fair
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These heraldic, colourful flags went up again this summer.
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Choir practice
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Car Sales Room. Really?
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The Plank
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I managed to get a photo in the camera obscura before it was blown across the pier and broken during Storm Brian
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Accessible for most.
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Sunsets from here
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Storm weather
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From the beach at low tide
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With sunset behind me.
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Simon Robert’s Pierdom exhibition
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reflections in glazing panels
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The community space
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Moon rising
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A cafe with a sunset
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Zombie Walk
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Yoga
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Yarn bomb decor
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Eating space on upper deck.
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Where the sun sets
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In the rain
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Dramatic location

 

 

 

 

 

Wildflowers on Winchelsea Beach

Every summer, these wildflowers astound me with their ability to exist on…. nothing. Where do they get their nutrients from? All these photos were taken within a 1km stroll along the pebbles at Winchelsea Beach and the wildlife around them (butterflies, moths, bees…) was abundant.

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Thistle
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Viper’s buglos
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Teasle
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Ragwort
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Hawk’s beard?
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Wild Carrot?
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Thistle
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Viper’s bugloss
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Sea kale
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Rosebay Willowherb foregrounding the old Mary Stanford lifeboat station.
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Rosebay willowherb and sea kale framing Dungeness nuclear power station
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six spot burnet on viper’s bugloss
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Thistle seed head
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Teasle

 

St Michael’s Hospice Moonlight Walk

Having cared so well for both my dad, and then my mum when her time came, I rushed to volunteer to take photos of any marketing event held by St Michael’s Hospice – it’s not much I hope it helps a little.

So, I got an email for my first assignment – an open garden afternoon might have been a little easier that their Moonlight Walk… But, hey, I got on with it. Unaware of the poor camera settings at the half way point (ISO VERY high), I’m not so proud of those taken with the flash. And, next time I MUST take a torch a) to actually see what I’m doing and b) to highlight my subject so the camera can focus. Every day’s a learning day.

Here are a few of some of the local people who also believe St Michael’s Hospice is very worthy of their free time:

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Porte Lympne finale

My annual ticket ran out yesterday so I scurried over to Porte Lympne wildlife park in Kent for what might be the last time for a while. As usual, I took a couple hundred photos of which all bar 50 were dealt with by the delete button. Here are my final 10:

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Paying homage to the alpha male
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The Aspinall foundation have release many rhinos back into the wild
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When you choose your food to match your hairdo.
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A natural looking new enclosure for the meerkats
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What a magnificient beast.
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Through the wires of captivity
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The moral dilemma of wild animals in captivity
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Gibbons seem such good parents.
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The grounds of Port Lympne wildlife park.
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A new, huge enclosure for the tigers.

The Walled Nursery, Hawkhurst

I have been lucky enough to get permission to photograph the ongoing restoration work that is happening at The Walled Nursey in Hawkhurst. The young couple that have taken on this horticultural nursery have embarked on an exciting and commendable project to restore the 4 commercial sized Victorian greenhouses, the vinery, the orangery and the cold frames. My camera and I hope to be regular visitors, helping Emma and Monty and their team to document this

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Closed for refurbishment
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Greenhouses and cold frames
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Cast iron detail
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Structure
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Cast guttering
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Window fittings
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Window operators
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Internal sump
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Timber doors
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Threshold grill
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Some of the team
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Discussions
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Humour
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The Orangery
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Overgrown
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Cold frame panels
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Operating handle
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Temporary accomodation
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Nursery c

Bodiam Tractor Rally

Warning – Post of many photos

Lots of tractor owners got together in Bodium today to rally through the countryside, raising money for the excellent local cause that is St Michael’s Hospice. There was a huge variety of modern, vintage, big and small tractors that made for an interesting, bright and colourful parade.

Probably not the right platform to dump all these photos but I want them in a public space for others to view. Does anyone have any recommendations for a suitable platform for placing large volumes of event photos?

Images have been uploaded at low resolution – get in touch if you want a better quality image, Click on images to see them full size.

New Kit

After quite a few years of photographing with my trusty Nikon D5300, this week I took the plunge to spend some money (that I possibly shouldn’t have – but hey) on the new Nikon D500. I’ve been doing some live music photos and some sport and this camera is supposed to be excellent for high shutter rate and dealing with low light.

I’ve yet to test it in low light but today I tried it out on the kite surfers at St Mary’s Bay in Kent. The camera performed excellently… Now to bring the user up to speed 🙂

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