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Kent Coast and Landscape Photography

Kent Wild Orchids

I’d like to share some of my photographs of Kent Wild Orchids from the past few summers. Whilst I am more of a ‘landscape’ photographer, seeking out and learning about these marvellous rare flowers turned out to be a great way to explore the county and fill those long summer days before a sunset shoot. The first orchids I came across were in a small reserve in Denge Woods named Bonsai Bank. I had been to the woods before to shoot bluebells in the spring but after doing some more research online I found out about this chalk scrubland well known for its Lady Orchids. There are hundreds of Lady Orchids here and all quite easily visible from the footpaths in the reserve. The difficult part is setting up the tripod and committing to a subject without worrying there is something better around the corner! On my first few trips looking for orchids the only suitable lens I had with me was my 70-200 f4 zoom. This telephoto lens is perfectly capable of getting some nice ‘record’ type shots but I soon added a Samyang 135mm f2 lens which offered the chance to get very different sort of images. It […]

Fairfield Church

Fairfield church, also known as St. Thomas à Beckett church is an iconic isolated building on Romney Marsh in Kent. Little remains of the village it was first built to serve in the 13th century, Fairfield along with many other villages on the marshes vanished as the population fell, notably due to malaria which was prevalent in the area into the 1800s. The medieval church now sits alone in among the fields of grazing sheep, intersect with various watercourses and drainage ditches. These waterways offer fantastic opportunities to frame and reflect the church in all directions and are evidence of the practices in use to keep the sea from reclaiming the marshes. I have compiled some of my favourite shots of the church in the different seasons and times of the day. As you will see, there are many ways to shoot this iconic structure..! I’d better stop there although I have a few more..! As you can see, I’ve shot here a little bit over the years and yet it is still appealing to me due to the variety of angles available which all change depending on the time of day and when in the year you visit. Thanks […]

Christmas lights!

A selection of photographs from this years Christmas decorations from Canterbury, Faversham and Ramsgate Marina. As I have been supplying images for calendars recently I thought it would be a good idea to shoot some festive images for next years designs. These images were all taken in December 2019 during the blue hour which would show the lights off at their best. Canterbury I live in Canterbury so you would have thought I’d get these images easily. However, the crowds of shoppers at this time of the year made shooting in Mercery Lane near impossible so that one required an early Sunday start! Faversham I was due to go into The Refinery to restock my greeting cards anyway so it made sense to shoot some Christmas lights here too. I was lucky that there was a light shower just before shooting which reflected the lights nicely on the town centre streets. Ramsgate The illuminations at Ramsgate Marina in aid of the RNLI have been going for years but I had never made it over to see them. If I get sunsets like this every time I’ll go every year..! Thanks and I hope you have enjoyed seeing my 2019 Christmas […]

Behind the shot: A Kent Downs Cloud Inversion

Behind the scenes look at a photograph I took at the beginning of December 2019 on the Kent Downs. As I write this on New Year’s Eve, there has not been much winterly weather so far here in Kent with the only real spell of cold weather occurring at the start of the month. This brief 3-day spell did produce some fantastic mist and frost though which I am always keen to make use of in my landscape photography. I have been shooting this area of the Kent Downs nr Folkestone quite a bit over the past couple of years and I had a list of the views I wanted to capture in the forecasted cold snap. The first shot I got on that initial cold morning was this panoramic from Farthing Common. I could see the landscape was covered in a frost as I passed in the car and with sunrise only a few minutes away I decided to grab this rather than risk missing out around the corner. The next morning had very similar conditions. Low winds and low temperatures overnight is usually a good indicator for mist but again it did not occur on the Downs. Perhaps […]

behind the shot – dungeness fishing boat

Dungeness is a vast shingle headland located on the tip of Romney Marsh in Kent. The abandoned fishing boats and huts of Dungeness’ fishing past are popular subjects for photographers and I am no different. I have been visiting here for years, often coming in bad and changeable weather to utilise another of the locations best features; its huge skies! On my more recent trips, I have been focussing on the small fleet of charter fishing boats that are still in use here. These well maintained, colourful boats are often in prime unobstructed positions on the very edge of the shingle heaps next to the coast. I took this above shot in November 2018. It had been a clear, bitterly cold and windy day. As the day came to an end, I made my way to the fishing boats where I spotted potential in the incoming clouds to the south. As I made my way there I kept stopping to take a shot as the light changed. These shots below show my attempts to make sense of the scene with these improving conditions. By the time I made it up close to the boat I was buzzing as I found […]

behind the shot – viking bay tidal pool

There are numerous tidal pools on the Isle of Thanet in Kent which are fun to photograph. This paddling pool off of the Broadstairs coast at Viking Bay is one of the more innocuous ones and is very easy to pass by as it gets completely submerged at high tide. I first set my sights on photographing this scene because of the interesting shapes to use. The symmetry of the pool with the two little blocks that stick out make it unique and the position of the sea post beyond is an important compositional element too. I did my research and I found that the ideal tidal range looked to be an hour or so before/after high tide. This would reveal the outline shape of the pool and the top of the larger rocks in front whereas at low tide the extra features can look cluttered and distracting. The view faces east which is ideal for sunrise but it would make planning for this shot that little bit harder and uncertain. See the images below..! On the morning that this shot was made the light and tides had coincided nicely. There was the right amount of cloud to hold in […]

Postling: The 23rd of January Trilogy

  Postling is pretty village nestled in the Kent Downs near the coastal towns of Folkestone and Hythe. From the church it’s just a short but steep walk up on to the surrounding ridge that enables marvellous views of the Kent countryside all the way to the Channel.         This is a shot from one of my first visits in early Autumn. I liked this angle of the church with the wooded ridge in the distance acting as a counterweight. I like the way the light tinges the trees but the Sun is at the wrong angle to highlight the church and it gets lost because of this. If only we had some mist to isolate the spire I thought…         I’ve found mist on the downs to be rather elusive over the years. I’ve been disappointed many times when a good looking forecast has come to nothing but as Joe Cornish says, to be a landscape photographer you must be an optimist so it was with this attitude that I set my alarm to get up early on the 23rd January 2014.   As I made my way along Stone Street in the […]

Snow Day 2018

Welcome! In this blog I’ll be going over what I did during the recent snow spell on the Kent Downs.     According to my Lightroom catalogue, there hadn’t been a sustained period of snow in Kent that I could get out to photograph since 2013. Shortly afterwards I remember writing a list of all the places I should visit next time to fully make use of the fluffy white stuff. Good planning, except that 5 years later when the list could finally be utilised, we got so much snow that the locations were inaccessible anyway! So, on the morning of the 27th February I wasn’t left with much choice where to visit. I decided to go to the nearby Chartham Downs as I knew the area well and I was fairly sure I could get there safely. On arrival the layby I usually park in looked like a disaster waiting to happen so I had to park at the end of the road and make the walk through the fields to get to the spot I had in mind.   It was a bit of a slog as you can see from the video       On route through the […]

Greatstone to Dungeness Day Trip

Thanks for visiting and reading my write-up of a recent dawn to dusk photo trip. I’ve included the best photos from the day which started in Greatstone and ended in Dungeness as well as my favourites from earlier trips to give readers a more rounded view of the locations. Hope you enjoy..!   Greatstone is a coastal village on Romney Marsh which I like to visit for it’s sand dunes. The dunes are not as tall as those found at nearby Camber Sands but it is a much quieter and more peaceful location. The beach faces due east so it is a perfect sunrise spot all year round and therefore an ideal place to start this morning.     I arrived before dawn, hopeful of a colourful sunrise like the one I encountered above on a previous trip. That morning was also quite special because of the ‘sandblasted’ beach caused by the receding tide, I haven’t come across this again. The sunrise on this Saturday morning however was one of those ‘nothing special’ occasions. I used this time instead to test out my new 2x teleconverter for my 70-200 lens by looking south towards Dungeness. Unfortunately most of these shots […]

Folkestone Photographic Guide

    Folkestone is an increasingly popular town on the East Kent coast which I have visited many times and so I thought I would share my tips for any visiting photographer. The main areas can be broken down into three sections; the harbour arches at Sunny Sands the harbour arm and lighthouse   The harbour   The rows of brightly coloured fishing boats in the harbour can make for an attractive shot from either direction. My favourite image here was taken just after sunrise with the old railway bridge which intersects the harbour beautifully side lit by golden light. The harbour can completely empty out at low tide which is something to beware of if you are interested in shooting reflections. Blue hour shots can also work well here using the illuminated town and seafront restaurants in the background.           Arches at Sunny Sands beach   The arches underneath the promenade on Sunny Sands beach are ideal for when the weather or light is not the best. Typical shots include shooting through the gaps to show the arches fade off into infinity, also shooting out to sea towards the harbour arm can work well. The […]
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