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 […]
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 […]
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 […]
Faversham – The start of a new project
I had my first solo exhibition earlier this year at Garage Coffee Canterbury. The show lasted for about a month and it was a great way to get my work and myself out in the public a bit with the chance it could lead to sales and other opportunities. And it did. After the exhibition finished I was contacted by the owners of a new venture in Faversham who had some fresh walls for me to fill. In April I moved my Kent Landscapes and Seascapes exhibition over to ‘The Refinery‘ in Faversham’s West Street and since then I have been focussed on producing new local Faversham landscapes to display. I had a few good images local to Faversham anyway but I would need to get out exploring again if I were to fulfil my aim of filling the space with purely local shots. Over the next few weeks, I visited previously known and unknown locations looking for photographic potential. I’ve come to discover that Faversham is blessed with marshes, creeks, historic buildings and charming town streets which offer a lot to the photographer. There are a few locations that I think will come into their own in Winter but […]
Herne Bay Location Guide
Herne Bay is a seaside town on the North Kent coast which has a lot to offer the photographer and all within a tight area. In this guide I have compiled my favourite views in and around Herne Bay to shoot, I live nearby so it has become a go-to spot for me when the light is right. This is in no way exhaustive as I have a few more angles on my to-do list also! Herne Bay Pier Herne Bay used to have the second longest pier in the country before storms collapsed the central section in 1978, leaving the pier head isolated out to sea. This only makes the view of the pier leading towards the detached head in the distance all the more interesting and unique in my opinion though. The pier can be shot well from either side depending on the direction of the light. For example, during the Summer it can be effective to shoot the setting sun in between the pillars of the pier; just be careful of standing too long in the mud. That stuff is treacherous! Pier Head The detached pier head can make for an ideal subject in its own right. […]
Canterbury in the Mist
I always try to take advantage of the misty weather. Shooting in the mist and fog can be great for adding atmosphere and mystery to images; it’s just a shame it doesn’t happen often enough! I’ve been waiting for the right conditions in which to shoot viewpoints of Canterbury and the recent unseasonably warm weather would bring that opportunity. The 1st Morning No mist hadn’t been forecast the night before but luckily my partner woke me up just in time. I jumped out of bed to get to the top of Whitstable Road for sunrise and I witnessed the drama unfold as the sun slowly burnt through the fog in the valley below. This event couldn’t last forever. As the sun rose higher in the sky, a thick haze had replaced the earlier mist, which made visibility poor as I walked onto the grounds of UKC. I found a row of trees that I could frame the silhouette of the Cathedral around to add some depth to the images and I made a few different compositions before calling it a day. The softness to these images gives them an almost romantic feel which was fitting as it was Valentines Day. […]
White Clifftop view
I’ve put together a series of images taken from on top of the White Cliffs of Dover. Facing East, this is a great spot to watch the sunrise from and catch the ferries as they cross the Channel to the continent. The Strait of Dover is the busiest shipping route in the world and the ferries leaving from Dover can make for great subjects as they catch the first rays of light on their sides. A simple shot of sea and sky can work nicely though when there is a gap in the traffic. It is hard to plan shots like this as you have to get lucky with the weather and then react to the light. Often I have been out with the intention of shooting something else and have just happened to turn around and change my plans. For example, this above shot was taken on a very frosty morning at South Foreland. My original plan was to capture first light on the lighthouse surrounded by frost but as you can see I got distracted by these incredible skies out to sea! Thank you for reaching the end. I hope you have enjoyed the images..!
Botany Bay, Broadstairs
For this blog I’ll go through some of my best shots from Botany Bay on the Kent coast. Botany Bay is one of seven sandy beaches in the town of Broadstairs on the Isle of Thanet. It is an especially good sunrise location and one which I have regularly visited over the years and continue to.         One of the reasons I like this location so much is its potential for an uncluttered, minimalist shot. With this example above, I was able to strip the scene back completely to include just the elements I wanted of sea, cliffs and sky. It was a very high tide that morning so by going in a few feet I was able to fill my foreground with water. An exposure time of 15 seconds has made the water smooth and reflected the colour in the sky. I positioned the cliffs to the right hand side and tried to make an interesting shape out of them. Now, it gets a little trickier with the final element of the sky. Between the months of March – October, the sun will rise out to the left of the cliffs from this view. If the […]
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 […]
Reculver Location Guide
  Welcome to my photography location guide for Reculver on the North Kent coast. Located a few miles away from Herne Bay, Reculver is a very small village consisting of a pub, a new coffee shop and a few hundred holiday caravans. For us photographers though the iconic twin towers of the medieval church built on the site of an early Roman fort will be the main purpose for a visit. I live in nearby Canterbury and have thousands of images taken here; it must be my most visited location.   The Reculver Towers dominate the skyline for miles and so naturally they will also dominate this guide although they are other things to shoot here as you’ll see. I have split this guide into 3 sections; front of the towers, behind the towers and the other things to shoot.   Front   The front face of the towers can be best photographed from down on the beach. Walk westerly along the sea wall from the car park and you’ll find the small slope down onto the beach in front of the sandstone cliffs. Access is available to this section under the cliffs even at high tide but to get out […]
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