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

 

 

 

 

 

Hastings’ Pier Health and Hobbies Fair

I surprised myself yesterday by having a thoroughly enjoyable day promoting the camera club at Hastings Pier Health and Hobbies Fair. DSC_9328We pitched out with a display of photos taken by club members and received a lot of interest and then, after lunch, things got quiet so I went for a walk and practised asking people if they wouldn’t mind having their photo taken – that’s quite hard for me but everyone was very nice.

I love these images as records of social history and a mindset that seems to be disappearing. I hope you enjoy them too.

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My Shutterstock activity

Well it has been just over two years since I opened my account with Shutterstock and by the end of today, I should have just over 500 images uploaded. This number, although seeming huge to me, is apparently, just a tiny handful for those contributors who seem to be most active.

This is one from the batch I shall upload later today. I can’t even imagine if it has a commercial value and if it will sell as a stock photo. It may do better on a site that sells contributors images as canvases – I have yet to look at that properly. I barely spend enough time doing what social media I already do (and that is another discussion).

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I can’t say stock photography seems to be all glamour – my most sold photo (and my hardest working because it usually sells for minimum return) is a photo I’m not particularly proud of being the author of. But, it has made a fair contribution to my sales, and it does seem to fulfil a commercial need for users all over the world:

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https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/romney-marsh-sheep-on-marshland-408242065

And the photo with the best average returns (least sold for most money) is another non-glamourous image that I snapped quickly on the quayside in Folkestone:

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https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/fresh-plaice-wet-fish-on-dockside-473630443

This was an early photo that I thought might have some value to show the gender differences between boys and girls but it has never sold. And now, I wonder if it is not such a good photo:

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https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/hastings-england-27-july-2015-children-331029362

 

There are a couple of early photos that I do like, and I thought they might have a commercial use but they have never sold. Maybe I need to review the keywording and titles of these images as I feel they should still have potential:

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https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/spaniel-wearing-pink-elizabethan-medical-collar-332049143

 

 

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https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/pumpkin-patch-333401099

 

I’m pleased to say I think the quality of my photos is vastly improving as time rolls on. It doesn’t necessarily mean the most recent photos outsell ones that have been there longer – yet. I hope this one does well:

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https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/free-range-chicken-on-tropical-beach-674880838

 

It is a very mysterious game but it is a game I quite enjoy… checking everyday to see what has sold. Having the occasional jolt because nothing sold that day or, the euphoria because a single image sold for a good sum of money. I shall never make my fortune with it but, yes, it’s a good game.

After reading this, if anyone is tempted to get involved in the challenge that is stock photography, there is a reasonable referral scheme. Why not message me and we could talk about how that works.

 

 

 

 

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.

Low tide at the pier

I cannot believe it has been so long since I was on the beach. The pier at low tide will always offer an interesting play with light, lines and space.

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Circles and angles looking cold even from the cafe
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Deceptive skies
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Playing with DOF
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When the reflections scream
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geometry
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No sunset then
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More reflections
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The seafront properties are looking more and more cared for.
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Playing with ICM (intentional camera movement)

Winter wildlife

I made the most of a sunny, crisp winter’s morning to get over to the  Aspinall Foundation’s Port Lympne wildlife park and see how the animals, many more used to a warmer climate, were coping with this cold spell.

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Maybe feeling a bit bolshy at having her breakfast disturbed?
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An early morning snort.
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This one is indigenous
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Waiting
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Impatient for a feed I think
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The silverback
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Learning the morning song
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Family unit