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Kent Coast and Landscape Photography
2022 Roundup
A look back over my photography in 2022. These are not necessarily my best images but they do help to tell the story of the year… January/February The year started with a trip to Fairfield Church on Romney Marsh. There is nowhere better to go when it is frosty and despite my many visits here over the years there are still shots I have yet to capture. This panoramic was one that I can now cross of my list. The bridge that links Kent with the Isle of Sheppey, known as the Sheppey Crossing, is a site of another location that I like to visit especially in the winter. The combination of frost and fog can make the commanding concrete structures of Kingsferry Bridge and the Sheppey Crossing look evocative and mysterious. I’ve written a blogpost that delves more into this area here Alas, the south-eastern English winter is not one comprised of interesting weather events one after another! There are many dull and dreary days to contend with where the will to venture out is low. On these days it pays to match the subject to the conditions. The decaying sea defences on the Sussex coast nr Winchelsea, for […]
Kingsferry and Sheppey Crossing: A Tale of Two Bridges
There are two bridges built within close proximity that cross The Swale and link the Isle of Sheppey with mainland Kent. The Kingsferry bridge is the older of the two. It was built in the 1950’s and is a combined road and railway bridge with an interesting vertical-lift design for maritime traffic. This was superseded in 2006 by the Sheppey Crossing which is a has four lanes and reaches over 100+ feet in the air over the estuary. This location has become a firm favourite of mine over the past few years. Access along either side of The Swale is good which enables lots of different views of both bridges plus the surrounding low lying marshes are prone to mist and fog which make the bold bridge structures more enigmatic. Here a few of my efforts over the past few years:
Urban Photography in Kraków, Poland
At the beginning of October I spent 4 days in the beautiful city of Kraków in the south of Poland. So, why Kraków? Well, we were actually meant to be going to Prague but I left it too late to find suitable flights for the days off we had so we chose Kraków as it fulfilled our simple criteria of looking beautiful and we hadn’t been there before. I definitely remember seeing photos of the St. Mary’s Basilica before from a photographer I follow online plus when I posted to my Instagram stories that I was going I got lots of replies from friends who each recommended the city. So I felt assured it was a good choice..! Camera Gear What camera gear would I pack with me this time? Taking all my lenses over in the carry-on bag was not an option plus I really wouldn’t want to be lugging them all around sightseeing anyway. For walking around the city during the day I picked my Ricoh GR3 which is a pocket-sized camera with a fixed 28mm lens. This was a recent purchase as a always-on-you camera and when I tested it around London with friends I was really […]
‘Another Time’ on Margate
Photographs from a few visits to the Anthony Gormley sculpture titled ‘Another Time‘ in Margate These are the first times I’ve photographed the Gormley sculpture on the Thanet coast despite it being here since 2017..! I’m not sure why. You do need the right tides to see it but perhaps it’s more because I’m somewhat of a contrarian/dick at times and when it was first installed I saw all the IG posts and probably didn’t want to be seen to jump on the bandwagon. Anyway, with the news that it is to now stay until at least 2030 there is no danger of that so I felt it was ‘About Time‘ I paid a visit or two… Having full knowledge of the tides is vital to getting the best results at the coast. My first attempt to capture the sculpture was a disaster as he was already completely submerged when I arrived so I slunk off around the corner to shoot in the harbour instead. Luckily on my next visit, I timed the tides much better, arriving at low tide so I could get a better understanding of the location and assess the best viewpoints. The first thing I noticed […]
Whitstable, West Beach
A taste of the sort of photos available at this beautiful location on North Kent coast at Whitstable, West Beach. To the west of Whitstable’s harbour is a long shingle beach known as West Beach which is as good a spot as anywhere on the North Kent coast for photography. Popular with the crowds during the day, this north westerly facing location comes into it’s own especially during a summer sunset when most people will be out of the way chilling on the beach with a beer from the Old Neptune pub. There are many subjects to shoot here but my favourite are the wildflowers that grow in the shingle and sprout out in between the various boats and kayaks left on the beach. To the far end of the beach are a row of colourful wooden beach huts. Some of these have an extravagant paint job, like this hut below which I framed in the centre of my panoramic. Near these huts is an old jetty that requires a very well-timed visit to capture the tide at the desired height. Add planning around sunset into the mix and you’ve got a recipe for a lot of failed trips..! Thanks […]
Spring Colour at Ripple Mill, Kent
A selection of images taken in April 2022 of the yellow rapeseed fields that surround Ripple Mill; a Grade II listed smock mill in Ringwould, Kent. When a friend and fellow landscape photographer alerted me that the fields that surround the windmill were full of rapeseed this year I was more than keen to plan a visit. Ripple Mill is a location I have often passed as it is situated next to a busy road and although I had shot it from afar, I think I was always waiting for a colourful crop to accompany the scene. The night before I made my first visit I looked at the local OS map and I was pleased to find the windmill was encompassed by public footpaths. This would make it a lot easier and more relaxing to find a suitable viewpoint in the morning without worrying if the farmer would spot me. To be honest though, in all the years I have been out photographing the countryside I can only think of a couple of occasions when I have been confronted by the landowner but still, I’d rather not have to bother with them at all. This first morning turned out […]
Photographing Kent; my recent article for Outdoor Photography magazine
Located in the far south-east of the UK, the county of Kent is historically known as the ‘Garden of England’ for its abundance of orchards and hop gardens. Despite also being the 5th most populous county in England, a third of Kent is registered as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty including the Kent Downs, a series of chalk ridges stretching from the Surrey borders in the west to the White Cliffs of Dover in the east. As well as being home to this iconic landmark the Kent coastline also comprises unique marshlands, tidal pools and sandy beaches which together with the easily accessible countryside is what makes Kent so special for the visiting photographer. Broadstairs Broadstairs is a coastal town situated on the Isle of Thanet; a peninsula at the most easterly point in Kent that was once separated by the Wantsum Channel but which has long since silted up. The area is home to the popular towns of Margate and Ramsgate and is a renowned holiday destination due in part to the numerous sandy beaches; there are 16 beaches on Thanet and 7 in particular in Broadstairs! The options are indeed ample but I would recommend Botany Bay […]
Wildflowers at Kingsdown, Deal
Here are a few of my recent images of the Spring wildflowers on Kingsdown beach near Deal. I’ve been to this small Kent beach before but my aim this time was to capture the wildflowers that grow behind the beach huts in their peak condition. This time of the year is always busy for Spring colour with bluebells and many orchids species growing that by the time I turn my attention to the coast the Red Valerion flowers, in particular, are a bit worse for wear. However, I’ve got no excuses this year as many plants have been delayed by the cold weather. I began by visiting this location in the evenings at the end of May to check on the blooms and also to try out potential compositions. The flowers were already looking great by this point however it was clear that the direction of the morning light would suit my shots better which was something I was hoping to avoid. Now, I tend to prefer sunrise trips to sunset shoots; there is often no one around and the light is generally softer and colours more subtle. But, in Kent and in June this means a 3.30 am alarm […]
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 […]
Feeling Blue
I’m a fan of the colour blue. I’ve noticed a growing collection of blue-dominant images in my work with the sea, skies and pre-dawn fog exhibiting the hues that I am increasingly drawn to. I have compiled together a few of my favourites in this blog. Hope you enjoy! Thanks for looking!
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 […]
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