Friday, 28 February 2014

Fallen Sky, Rainy Lane and Just Fantasy

"Fallen Sky" :- Heavy, oppressive and downright evil. This was the view a week ago (21st Feb 2014) as I walked along the undercliff walk towards Brighton Marina. I was the only soul down there and nothing stirred apart form the pounding of the waves as I hurriedly made my way for cover before the rain was unleashed. I nearly made it. I was just on the Eastern arm of the Marina when the rain eventually decided to fall in torrents but managed to find some shelter and waited for it to die down before continuing on my way into Brighton itself.

"Rainy Lane" :- A late night and very wet image of Duke's Lane in Brighton. The lane looks reasonably old and blends in well with The Lanes which were part of the original settlement of Brighthelmstone (Brighton's original name). The truth is Duke's Lane is not old at all, it's not 18th Century nor is it 19th Century as it was actually constructed in the 1980's. The shops that you find down here are mainly fashion orientated with a couple of beauty shops thrown in along with a skateboard store, jewelers, hairdressers and a coffee shop.

"Just Fantasy" :- This is Brighton's Royal Pavilion (as sen from the Pavilion Gardens) after dark. It's probably one of the most famous buildings within the south of England and has been used in music videos, films and documentaries. I have also seen images of it in a shop window in New York's Greenwich Village and a large photo of it is also hanging in the stairwell of the British Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. It's a truly beautiful and stunning building with a rich and vibrant history attached to it but is often overlooked (as if it's not even there) by many of the people living in Brighton and considered purely to be a tourist attraction.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Stairway to Enlightenment, Nature's Lines and Sad Fish

"Stairway to Enlightenment" :- This beautiful little set of steps leading up to a golden image of Buddha is located in a Theravada Buddhist temple called Wat Phra That(วัดพระธาตุดอยสุเทพ) . The temple is on top of a mountain called Doi Suthep and it overlooks the city of Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand. It is thought to have been founded in 1383 AD and it's one of the most wonderful temples that you can visit. It's very calming and commands incredible views over the city.

"Nature's Lines" :- Breathtaking isn't it! This was taken on a stretch of beach between Rottingdean and Saltdean on the south coast of England. The chalk bed and rocks were acting as a natural harbour and stopping the waves from disturbing the water nearer to the beach.. There was a surreal calmness to it all and a stunning mirrored effect that made the rocks look as if they were floating in space!

"Sad Fish" :- This is no longer there. In fact the entire park has been redeveloped and redesigned and I have to say for the better too. This is an image of the back of the old toilet block (thick with graffiti) at the Level, a park in Brighton.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Red Bin, Wet Footbridge and Martha Gunn

"Red Bin" :- This is a shot of the Hove Park cafe boarded and closed up for the night. It sits just within Hove Park which opened in 1906 and is (approximately) 40 acres in size and located on the Old Shoreham Road (A270).

"Wet Footbridge" :- A bleak, wet and stark view of the footbridge at Brighton Marina that spans between the multi-storey car park and Mermaid Walk where the cafe's and restaurants are located. It had been raining heavily and the brooding clouds were low and heavy, threatening to open up again and dowse everything once again. I was trying to get to cover as quickly as possible but stopped en route to grab this shot.

"Martha Gunn" :- If you are wondering about the title of this image there's a boat to the right of this image (numbered 1153) and it's name painted on the back is "Martha Gunn". The boat is named after one of Brighton's most famous residents so i thought I'd use this image to tell you a little about her. Martha Gunn (1726-1815) lived in East Street (No.36) in Brighton and that house still stands to this very day. She was a "Dipper" (operator of a bathing machine used by women bathers) and was once described by a newspaper as "The Venerable Priestess of the Bath". She ended up being famous not just in Brighton but within the UK. It has been noted that she was one of the Prince of Wales's favourites and that she had free access to the royal kitchens withing the Royal Pavilion (which was very near to East Street where she lived). Martha Gunn is buried in St Nicholas' churchyard which is the oldest church in Brighton. This dank and damp image of a wet seafront and promenade looks timeless to me even though it was only taken a week or so ago. There are no electric lights to give the date away, no modern trappings and no skateboarders, bongo players or jugglers to ruin the illusion. A modern day Victorian Brighton!

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Arteries & Veins, Bike & Concorde and Falling Away

"Arteries & Veins": - It wasn't until I began processing this image that I realised just how much like our own bodily system this tree looked. The smaller thinner sections of the ivy growth resembling veins and the thicker stronger ones looking very much like arteries. This was shot near the Lawn Memorial Cemetery on Warren Road, Woodingdean, Brighton.

"Bike & Concorde" :- I had to wait a while to get a shot of the Concorde 2 building and Madeira Lift without traffic or people in the way but it was worth it. The entire complex (including lift) was built in 1890 and links Marine Parade with Madeira Drive. The lift now has an electric mechanism operating it (yes, it still works) but it was originally operated by a hydraulic pump. The ornate looking building below was used as a shelter to protect those using it from rough weather. The "Concorde 2" (as it's now known) is a small concert venue that has played hosts to many very big names and bands including he Foo Fighters and Steve Vai.

"Falling Away" :- This is a section of the beach at Peacehaven on the south coast of England. Due to the constant battering of the sea certain sections of the sea wall and sea defense have crumbled away. I like he bleakness of this shot with very little colour other than subtle browns mixing with the white of the chalk.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Monday, 24 February 2014

Beach Tracks, Corner On and Wild Angle

"Beach Tracks" :- There's not a lot to say about this image really as it's pretty self explanatory. I'd been down on the beach grabbing a few sunset shots of what's left of the West Pier (before it falls into the sea completely) and was making my way back up the shingle when I spotted these wheel tracks going off into vanishing point. The lifeguards on Brighton beach have a few quad bikes that they use to patrol the area, keep an eye of things and deal with emergencies quickly. Judging by the lack of footprints in the tracks this quad bike was probably being returned to the lifeguard's HQ long after most of the beach dwellers had already gone.

"Corner On" :- The afternoon sun casts shadows and creates reflections on the railings and seawall of the undercliff walk near the village of Rottingdean on the south coast of England. Patches of salty water lay on the concrete from the pounding and splashing of the waves during high tide.

"Wild Angle" :- Shot back in August 2012 during a long exploration and walk around Cuckmere Haven near Seaford in Sussex. The chalk cliff suddenly rises up from the ground at a ridiculous angle and punches the sky. This is the start of the famous "Seven Sisters" who's names (from Cuckmere Haven in the west to Beachy Head in the east) are Haven Brow, Short Brow, Rough Brow, Brass Point, Flat Hill, Bailey's Hill and Went Hill.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Shadows From The West, Barrels & Crates and Beneath the Bell-Arundel Screen

"Shadows From The West" :- Unless you remember it from the Brighton of the 1970's it's hard to imagine just what these giant iron post used to support. Now they look like some surreal beach sculpture but they once held aloft the decking and boards of a very fine pier. It was built in 1866 by Eugenius Birch and is one of only two Grade I listed piers in the UK ... not that there's much left of it!

"Barrels & Crates" :- Shot on the lower promenade on Brighton beach. Several beer barrels waiting to be removed and replaced sit near one of the many beach bars. The old Victorian arches used to hold fishing boats and nets but have now been turned into cafe's, bars, souvenir shops and art galleries.

"Beneath the Bell-Arundel Screen" :- Chichester Cathedral is a truly stunning and ancient building. It's hard to get your head around the fact that it's been a place of worship for 900 years. The building of it commenced in 1076 (a whole ten years before the Domesday Book was completed). One of its most attractive and beautiful sections is the Bell-Arundel Screen which was constructed sometime during the early 15th century. The stonework is exquisite. For some unknown reason he Victorians decided to remove it in 1859 but it was (thankfully) put back in its original place in 1961. This image was taken underneath the screen, I love the golden glow of the stone.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Watching, Scattered and Call at the Front

"Watching" :- This is a view from the Rottingdean Terraces looking out over the English Channel as the sun sets. The terraces were built during the 1950's and have recently been renovated, during the Summer months they also put on live performances of music, plays and shows.

"Scattered" :- One of my favourite haunts is the stretch of beach that lays between the old, historical villages of Ovingdean and Rottingdean on the Sussex coast near Brighton. The beach is very different from the beach that you find at Brighton. This beach is full of rocks, chalk beds and pools, it's also flatter and more barren. When you're there you get a feeling of what the planet must have been like when it was just starting out. Before man arrived, polluted it and concreted it over.

"Call at the Front" :- A couple of old British icons stand firm near the entrance to Brighton's famous pier. There are still a few of these left and dotted around Brighton but most have been replaced by unattractive chrome edged glasshouses that let all the noise in and your conversation out. Of course most phone boxes stand empty now anyway as everyone carries their own phones nowadays. Personally I love these old bright red boxes with their scratchy glass and shelf for phone book etc. They are now very outdated but I smile each and every time I see one.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Friday, 21 February 2014

Lewes Cottages, Holy Trinity and 1513

"Lewes Cottages" :- These beautiful little white cottages are just off Cliffe High Street and next to the famous Harveys Brewery (Founded in 1790) in Lewes, Sussex, England. I wish I could tell you a little more about them but I have to own up and say that I know nothing at all about them. One can only speculate that the cottages were at some point connected to the brewery in some way. Maybe they were the houses of the brewers or part of the Brewery estate.

"Holy Trinity" :- This is a street view of the Catedrala Ortodoxa Sfanta Treime situated in the city of Arad in Romania. We'd stopped in the city to grab a bite to eat and to stretch our legs after driving for a day or so through several European countries. Naturally I took my camera along for the ride and thought I'd explore the city a little before jumping back into the driving seat and moving on. This wonderful looking structure and place of worship is very new. Most Cathedrals are centuries old and took 100's of years to build but the Catedrala Ortodoxa Sfanta Treime had its cornerstone laid in 1991 and was consecrated (by Patriarch Daniel) on December 6, 2008. The interior is still n the process of being completed as half of it is plain grey concrete whilst the other half is ornate and full of glistening gilt and gold and brightly painted walls.

"1513" :- The Black Horse (Ye Olde Black Horse) is not only the oldest public house but also the oldest entire building in the village of Rottingdean on the Sussex coast of England. It's been serving beer to locals since 1513 AD and is still keeping the inhabitants of the village well lubricated. It's original name was (apparently) the "Black Hole" and also had a blacksmith forge within its interior. There is a part of the pub known as "The Snug" and underneath that a tunnel used to link with others that allowed Rottingdean's smugglers to bring their good inland without detection. During the 1700's The Black Horse will almost certainly have been a meeting place for smugglers.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Turquoise Cape, Exposed and Slippery Steps

"Turquoise Cape" :- Rottingdean is an ancient and historical village on the south coast of England and just 5.95 kilometers (or 3.7 miles) East of Brighton. It's mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 and is famous for being (at some point) the home to the author Rudyard Kipling and the Pre-Raphaelite artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones. This is building is called "The Cape" and it's situated on the clifftop road of Marne Drive (A259) and commands wonderful views over the English Channel. This shot was taken from the clifftop looking North (with the sea way down behind and below me) towards the building. I can't help feeling that a huge amount of money passed hands somewhere along the line in order for planning permission to be given to such an odd and out of place building. It doesn't ft in with anything in the immediate area and is very out of keeping with the overall look and feel of the village.

"Exposed" :- The ever changing features of the beach surprised me yet again a week or so ago as I went down there to check the storm damage. Where there used to be a build up of silt there's now exposed rocks as the rough sea has shifted everything around to an enormous degree. This image was taken just off the undercliff walk somewhere between Ovingdean Gap and Rottingdean beach, England.

"Slippery Steps" :- The undercliff walk was built in the 1930's partly to create jobs but mainly to help protect the vulnerable chalk cliffs that form and run along the coastline. I'm pleased they did build them as they managed to protect much of the ancient chalk faces during the last few weeks of storms. They also built into the huge walkway access stairs at various point to allow people to actually get down onto the beach. When they were new they must have looked wonderful but decades of sea water pounding them and a natural built up of algae makes them quite treacherous at times. They lead you into a sense of false security as the top half of the steps are fine and guide you unawares to the ice like slipperiness of the bottom half. I have found myself on several occasions flailing around an idiot in a last ditch attempt to keep my balance (and dignity).

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Garden Gatehouse, Wet Promenade and Let The Sunshine In

"Garden Gatehouse" :- If you are lucky enough to have visited Brighton (on the south coast of England) or live there then this is a view that you'll have seen or know very well. This image is looking along the path towards the ornate North gate house of the Royal Pavilion and its gardens. Just behind me and to my right is the famous Royal Pavilion itself and in front of me to my left (just out of shot) is the entrance to the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery.The North gate house is a grade II listed three storey building. It's estimated to have been built somewhere around 1774. The north gate itself was built later in 1832 and is also a listed building. It's constructed from Portland stone and has a copper "onion" dome on top.

"Wet Promenade" :- Sky, sea, beach and promenade. A very wet and flooded promenade. Never in my life (and I have lived in Brighton since birth) have I ever seen the promenade flooded or covered in pebbles and yet over the last month or so it's become a common sight. This image was taken on Saturday (15th Feb 2014) after a previous night of raging storms and turmoil. Some sections of the promenade were closed to the public altogether due to flooding or storm damage and the promenade in Hove had more pebbles on it than the beach did!

"Let The Sunshine In" :- I thought I'd treat you all to an image that gives you a feeling of what it's like to be on Brighton's famous Victorian pier in the Summer! But it wasn't Summer at all, it was February 2012 and even though the sun was shining it was a very cold February! Because of the chill I found myself pretty much on my own as I trod the boards and made my way along to the end. Thus I was able to get a few shots of the pier without the normal multitude of tourists and day trippers getting in the way of each and every shot!

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Green Carpet, Ten and Bunker Door

"Green Carpet" :- This image was shot just where Woodingdean (an eastern suburb of the city of Brighton & Hove) stops and the rolling downs take over. If you walk beyond these hills in a North Easterly direction you'll eventually stumble upon the village of Kingston and then further on the historical town of Lewes. By car Woodingdean to Lewes takes (approx) 15 minutes by road as the two are 10.3 km (6.4 miles) apart. Knowing the history of the area I go to thinking about how these places were connected before the car was invented, my thoughts drifted to an age when horse or foot was the only way. So a while back I decided to walk the route myself from Lewes to Woodingdean and found out that from Lewes Castle (in Lewes) to The Downs Hotel (in Woodingdean) it took an hour and a half to walk and was a shorter distance of 7.5 km (4.7 miles) as it cut the corner off completely.

"Ten" :- These iron posts that are sunk deep into Brighton's beach once held high the boards and entertainments of the West Pier. It was built in 1866 by Eugenius Birch and played host to families since the late Victorian age right through until it was closed to the public in 1975. I have fond memories of being on the West Pier with my mother and father, I must have been around 7 or 8 years old but some of the sights and rides of the pier are still stuck in my head. I find it all very sad when i think back to just how beautiful she was and the joy she provided for so many.

"Bunker Door" :- I only stumbled upon this unsightly mess and doorway on Sunday as I walked along the clifftop between Saltdean and Telscombe. I'd never seen it before nor did I know it was there but once again I found myself shaking my head in disgust at just how slovenly and ignorant the human race can be. The cliffs line the south coast and are so beautiful, they have stood for millions of years and play host to wildlife, families and many dog walkers. Have we no respect at all?

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Monday, 17 February 2014

Heaven's Mirror, I'm Looking Through You and Middle of Nowhere

"Heaven's Mirror" :- Shot one month ago on the 19th Jan 2014 at Ovingdean Gap near Brighton, England. There are many subjects and places that I return to time and time again. Just because I've taken images there before doesn't mean that I should not return and grab a few more. So the beach at Ovingdean Gap has become one of my many muses. If you get it right you'll find you have the entire area to yourself with no interruptions. It's calm, peaceful and very tranquil. As the day transforms into night most people leave the beach and go home, this is ideal for me as it means I get to catch the sunset in all it's beauty without a dog running into shot or some child asking me "What are you doing?" or even worse an adult asking me that time old overused question of "Get any good photos?". The best bit for me is that this beach is just a 25 minute walk from my front door.

"I'm Looking Through You" :- Here's a shot taken on Brighton's famous Victorian Pier. The windowed partition / windbreaker has the odd gap situated along its length to allow people out for a stroll to change sides if need be. This image is looking East through one of the gaps and towards Kemp Town, the Marina, Roedean and Ovingdean. It's official name is "Brighton Marine Palace and Pier", it was affectionately known as the "Palace Pier" but the present owners informally renamed it the "Brighton Pier" in 2000 (the name change is not recognised by the National Piers Society or many of the residents of Brighton and Hove).

"Middle of Nowhere" :- Two figures walk along an otherwise empty Brighton beach on the south coast of England. Behind them the English Channel merges seamlessly with the sky with only the odd boat letting you know that it's there at all. This image was taken in April 2013 during a heatwave that had hit the south. Everything was shimmering and generating heat. The pebbles on the beach were hot to the touch, the Victorian metal railings were too hot to touch and when you took a rest on one of the many benches situated on the front you could feel your backside and legs start to burn. It was glorious.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Sunday, 16 February 2014

DaVinci Clouds, Divided We Stand and Doors of Time

"DaVinci Clouds" :- Shot from the East Dean Road (A259) as it nears the turning for Beachy Head (the highest cliff face in Britain) and just before the road drops and winds down into the town of Eastbourne. Farmers fields flank the road on either side and it's easy to forget just how close to the picturesque coast you are when driving along this route. Of course the tell tale sign that you are near the coast is the fact that the English Channel can clearly be seen from various points along the road and in this shot it is very visible.

"Divided We Stand" :- Well, here she is. During the recent and never ending storms that battered the UK and its coastlines our famous ruins of the West Pier took a direct hit. A major structural section of her couldn't stand the barrage, gave up the fight and fell into the sea. So now she stands in two sections, still defiant and still pulling in the photographers and tourists. As many of you know by now she is a muse of mine and it breaks my heart to see her like this. However, she's still a beauty and I still love her as much as ever.

"Doors of Time" :- This is the door to "Wings Place" in Ditchling in Sussex, England. It's a large 16th-century timber-framed house and is a Grade 1 Listed Building. Henry Poole was given the house (as part of the dowry) when he got married and there he lived with his wife until he died on 28th March 1580. It's easy to forget just how much ancient and wonderful history there is in the UK. You can easily spin a bottle and head off in the direction it finally points in and bump into historical things along the route. Ditchling is just 13 km (8 miles) from Brighton.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Hold Me Close, Omega III and Bench & Chair

"Hold Me Close" :- Shot from the pier on Brighton seafront during more peaceful times and well before we even realised storms were going to devastate the front. I walked down this way this afternoon, the entire area that you see in this image is now closed off to the public. The entire beach has been shifted by the sea and there's damages right the way along.

"Omega III" :- This is a darker and more non touristic view of Brighton. Even though it's a thriving seaside resort it still has its share of rundown, disheveled and sometimes derelict buildings. This one is located in Preston Street which leads from the Kings Road on the seafront up to Western Road where most of the shops are.

"Bench & Chair" :- An old bench on the undercliff walk at Ovingdean Gap on the south coast of England is kept company by a younger and fresher looking plastic garden chair. The light was beginning to fail and the light from the road above as well as the lights from the 30's built stairwell were spilling over illuminating the concrete giving it an odd pink glow.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Friday, 14 February 2014

Village Grocery, Overcast and Ashdown Forest

"Village Grocery" :- Fresh fruit and vegetables sit outside a greengrocers in the village of Rottingdean on the south coast of England. The afternoon sun picks out the natural colours and the pineapples feel as if they are back home once more as they warm up. Rottingdean's first official mention was when it was recorded in the Domesday Book (which compiled and written in 1086) but it was already in existence then and probably dates from when the Saxons invaded the region in 450- 500 AD. Either way the village is extremely historical and very old. Two of its most famous inhabitants were the renowned Pre-Raphaelite painter Sir Edward Burne-Jones and (his nephew) the author Rudyard Kipling.

"Overcast" :- Storm after storm after storm has hit Europe and Britain has been right in the firing line each and every time. I managed to make the most of it a few days ago as the winds dropped and the rain stopped long enough for me to get out and explore the beach to see what damage had been done. The undercliff walk has held up extremely well and it's protected much of the fragile chalk cliffs from the angry seas that have been hammering the coast. The pebbles and sands have shifted a lot, being pushed up towards the sea wall which has exposed more of the shoreline than you would normally expect to see. As I was taking in the sea air this large bank of dark and foreboding cloud moved in and settled right along the line of the cliffs and sending much of Brighton and the surrounding area into dark shadows and on that note I decided it would be a good time to make my way back home.

"Ashdown Forest" :- This is the real 100 Acre Wood and home of Winnie the Pooh. Alan Milne (the author of Winnie the Pooh) bought Cotchford Farm near the village of Hartfield in East Sussex and would often take his son Christopher Robin on long walks through the forest. Christopher Milne later wrote : "Anyone who has read the stories knows the Forest and doesn't need me to describe it. Pooh’s Forest and Ashdown Forest are identical". So somewhere out there you could possibly encounter heffalumps and woozles or even spot a bear covered in mud hanging onto a blue balloon whilst trying desperately to look like a "small black cloud in a blue sky". It's also famous for being a medieval hunting forest created soon after the Norman conquest. King Henry VIII (a highly notorious King of England) used the forest a lot and had a hunting lodge at Bolebroke Castle, Hartfield and also courted Anne Boleyn at Hever Castle. Today the forest covers 9.5 square miles (2,500 ha) and is largest open public access area in south-east England.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Ornamental Garden, White Horse Wall and Beach Furniture

"Ornamental Garden" :- This ornamental garden is called The Rockery and it's the biggest municipal rock garden in Britain. It's probably also the heaviest municipal rock garden in Britain as there is 1,350 tons of stone from Cheddar in Somerset, England.   The Rockery was landscaped in 1935 by Captain B Maclaren and is part of  the 63 acre Preston Park (situated directly opposite) on the London Road.

"White Horse Wall" :- The White Horse is a hotel (and bar) in the ancient village of Rottingdean and is situated directly overlooking the seafront and English Channel. There is a small outside beer garden / seating area above Rottingdean Terraces that commands wonderful sea views. This shot was taken late afternoon as the sun was going down. The serrated and jagged looking wall in silhouette is just by the car park of the hotel.

"Beach Furniture" :- Referred to locally as "The Doughnut" this sculpture's official title and name is "Afloat". It's situated on the far end of the Victorian built East Street Groyne / Breakwater just west of Brighton's famous Victorian Pier. This huge bronze sculpture was put in place and unveiled to the public in 1998 and was designed by sculptor Hamish Black to look like our planet with it's North and South poles pushed together thus forming the central hole. I took this shot a few days ago (on the 10th February 2014) between storms.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Gangway, Cold Horizon and Memorial Window

"Gangway" :- On the River Adur in Shoreham you'll discover a row of houseboats. Each one is very different form the next and they all have varied ways of boarding. This particular houseboat has a gated gangway that leads from the path and curves around enabling you to board. It's a wonderful place to wander when the sun is shining and the weather is fine.

"Cold Horizon" :- A bleak and chilly shot of low tide at Rottingdean beach on the south coast of England. This entire area has changed since I took this shot due to the ferocious and never ending storms that are hitting the UK. The whole beach has been lifted and shunted up towards the promenade creating a steep rake. The chalk beds are gleaming white as they have been scrubbed clean by the pebbles bashing against them with the rough seas.

"Memorial Window " :- This window is located within an old Baptist Church (built in 1904) on Gloucester Place in Brighton. During WWII a stray bomb hit the church and the repairs were carried out by the congregation who rebuilt the damaged walls themselves! If my memory serves me right this window dates from the 1920's.

All Photography Copyright © Justin Hill